Psy’s ‘Gangnam Style’ Music Video: Look By Look

A still from Psy’s “Gangnam Style” music video.
Photo: Courtesy of YG Entertainment

If you’ve never heard of “Gangnam Style,” the K-Pop video by the artist PSY (pronounced like the first syllable of ’psycho’ not spelled out like, ’pee ess why’) that’s DOMINATED Youtube with 74 million views and is currently sitting pretty atop the iTunes charts, you should seriously reconsider your priorities (helpful hint: stop reading so many books! JKJKJK). Anyway, it’s a great, noisy, catchy song that features a fun, giddyup dance sequence that’s as easily mimicked as the Dougie or the Chicken Noodle Soup. Just go watch it and then read this thing in the Atlantic about its “subversive” themes that soooooorta treats the prospect of a pop song containing a meaningful social message as if Maru the box-jumping cat solved cold fusion. But I digress…

Long story short, there’s a lot going on in this video that everyone from CNN to Gawker has covered regarding this “underground rapper” < -- (LOL meanwhile, this is PSY's 6th studio album) so all I want to talk about is the FASHION. Especially since "Gangnam Style" refers to a tiny neighborhood in Korea that prides itself on its bougie boutiques and pretty people. Obviously dude is label mates with 2NE1 and Big Bang on YG because he is DECKED OUT. It’s also no surprise that Justin Bieber’s team is interested in this middle-aged, South Korean superstar because MAN would those two look cute together. I smell a duet! (…And it smells like kimchi etc etc…)

THIERRY LASRY STRIATED SPECS

A still from Psy’s “Gangnam Style” music video.
Photo: Courtesy of YG Entertainment

How fly are these? As a fellow Korean, I can attest that we tend to have enormous domes. The circumference of PSY’s head is impressive and generously features an expanse of face-flesh that can prove challenging when buying sunglasses. These Theirry Lasrys from last year (s/o to K-pop Commentary for sussing out the brand since most of the internet thought they were Supers) are seriously boss and provide a dazzling pop of color without being clownishly oversized, effete, or just way too small. A gormless expression and a slack jaw complete the look. When interviewed about his motivation for this video, thespianishly-speaking, PSY said the goal was to look “not cool at all, not even once” throughout the video. Of course, the cavalier attitude just makes him look FUHREAKING AWESOME. Just another thing that us Koreans are afflicted with. Preternatural, unassailable COOLNESS. It’s an albatross. Truly.

HIGH-WAISTED BLUSH SHORTS AND BLINDING WHITE MANDALS

A still from Psy’s “Gangnam Style” music video.
Photo: Courtesy of YG Entertainment

PSY gives good resort. Curly-haired little man in the maroon trousers to the left gives good undershirt. Another reason why Asian dudes rule is that they have phenomenal heads of hair and are unafraid of taking fashion risks to the beach or the playground like wearing bright white man-sandals. On a related note, sometimes, Korean dudes about their business will take the mandals look one step further, by coupling it with a tiny man-purse (murse) or clutch (mlutch?). Pairing orange with rose after you’ve committed to the shoes is just an obvious choice.

UNTIED BOW TIE; SANS JACKET

A still from Psy’s “Gangnam Style” music video.
Photo: Courtesy of YG Entertainment

Here’s another view of the dance, made more visually arresting by the contrasting two-tone palette. There’s something so damned cavalier about deconstructing an otherwise straightforward black tie look by dressing it down entirely into play clothes. Nix the jacket and untie the bow tie and you’ll prove that a) you’re not an animal and would sooner die than opt for a clip-on bow and b) you are a dancing machine who can “White Man’s Overbite” with the best of them whilst boogying with FEELING. Also, there’s something nice and ’rude-boy-skanking’ about the black + white + glasses.

STUNNA SHADES INDOORS

A still from Psy’s “Gangnam Style” music video.
Photo: Courtesy of YG Entertainment

If you lack the gold jewelry, full Yakuza-steez back tattoo or the dude-boobs to truly deliver a look in the sauna, keep it simple. A bright towel gathered at the pit makes for a modest but cute onesie. Comfort exudes confidence.

SHAWL COLLAR ACTION-TUX

A still from Psy’s “Gangnam Style” music video.
Photo: Courtesy of YG Entertainment

Baby blue is a bold choice for a tuxedo jacket especially one trimmed in a darker color about the lapel and flap pockets. But that’s the point! If you’re shooting pyro, you mustn’t allow yourself to get upstaged by the glimmering flames. Blue stands out amidst reds and oranges and this jacket also looks outlined which lends a comic-book appeal to the ensemble. It’s perfect for an action sequence. Look like a hero and the whole world will treat you like one.

MURDERED-OUT TUX; SPECTATOR SHOES

A still from Psy’s “Gangnam Style” music video.
Photo: Courtesy of YG Entertainment

Wow. The number of men who can truly pull off a black-on-black tux are rare but the accessories are what makes it here. Check out the lovely glint of the belt buckle and the gleam of the Thierry Lasly (this time from 2012) sunglasses. People do this wrong ALL THE TIME in terms of thinking that monochromatic dressing requires a play on textures but there’s nothing more sadfaced that a dressy suit on a rotund man that features velvet or slippery satin. The ivory tie and the ivory upper on the wingtip also makes for elegant accents. Also, note the fit of these trousers. There’s nothing more off-putting than a thick dude tryna get his Thom Browne on with a stingy break or a slender cuff, especially when he anticipates having to dance like a goddamned champion.

PEAK LAPEL; POINTY HARDWARE

A still from Psy’s “Gangnam Style” music video.
Photo: Courtesy of YG Entertainment

This has to be my favorite look, not for the studded Loubou slip-ons but for what has to be the LOUDEST tuxedo look ever. I MEAN, where do we begin? First of all, the warmth of the cream is already such a risk and yet PSY nails it with aplomb. The soothing color also anchors all the shapes and sharp corners. The contrasting peak lapel is SO extra and geometric that you have to see it and raise it with massive, contrasting buttons. It’s hard to tell, but the collar of the shirt is similarly exaggerated and brilliantly covers a section of the cream tie. As such, PSY’s pale neck and face aren’t STRANGLED by a swath of off-white AND the collar tips even creates a tiny notch on the tie which mirrors the valley of the lapel. The sock-free ankle provides a reprieve before the busyness of the shoe. This is NOT FOR AMATEURS.

OF COURSE THIS DUDE IS WEARING WESTWOOD

A still from Psy’s “Gangnam Style” music video.
Photo: Courtesy of YG Entertainment

I love that we get a close-up on this shirt with its triple placket because this is a Vivienne Westwood classic. If you’re going to go casual with a pair of light-colored knee shorts then going to town on a crisp, starched, shirt with the Westwood embroidered insignia and zillions of buttons is the correct decision. PSY stays dressed to impress even on a bus with ripstop nylon-wearing older ladies who also have a predilection for visors. It’s just right.

BODYCON COLOR BLOCK

A still from Psy’s “Gangnam Style” music video.
Photo: Courtesy of YG Entertainment

If you’re going to stand upright in an idle speedboat then colorblocking on a life vest in retro colors is the obvious choice. I mean, couldn’t you just see this look as a midi bodycon dress in neoprene with a black harness? I KNOW! Freshest dress ever. Well, this is the waistcoat dude version of that. With a couple added safety features.

SLEEVELESS, SPREAD-COLLAR TUXEDO SHIRT

A still from Psy’s “Gangnam Style” music video.
Photo: Courtesy of YG Entertainment

Talk about a freaking Easter Egg. Who knew that this shirt would be sleeveless? It’s casual, it’s fun, it’s a delight! It’s like business in the front and back and party AT THE GUN SHOW. Normally, this would be absolutely brutal on the lining of a jacket but this is why the ever-practical K-pop veteran hitches the jacket below the armscye. It provides much-needed ventilation and looks sexy as hell. Someone’s clearly been exfoliating his shoulders. Let this be a lesson to all of us for fall. This is also a good time to see the arms of the sunglasses as well.

CLASSIC SPY PSY

A still from Psy’s “Gangnam Style” music video.
Photo: Courtesy of YG Entertainment

See, this is the mark of a truly gifted entertainer. Our guy PSY knows when to take a back seat to a dude in a cowboy hat, acid wash jorts, YELLOW Jesus piece, gladiator mandals and a lime-green mullet shirt. Here our protagonist goes classic James Bond with all the fixins in order to generously let our eyes explore all the sartorial chaos around him.

MIRRORED GOGGLES MEET RAZOR-CUT BANGS

A still from Psy’s “Gangnam Style” music video.
Photo: Courtesy of YG Entertainment

PSY’s shellacked, sexy-man hairdo is allowed to fall free when he takes a dunk in the tub of a public bath house. We see here that what was pulled back in a punishing amount of product is a set of expertly razor-thwacked dude bangs. Only a-holes wear sunglasses in the water so this time, the superstar has opted for the mercurial sheen of mirrored goggles.

PINTUCKED, PLEATED PARTYTIME!!!

A still from Psy’s “Gangnam Style” music video.
Photo: Courtesy of YG Entertainment

These are PLUM PANTS in every sense. Since this money shot finale involves a slew of backup dancers and MAJOR LASERS, PSY’s styling team ramped up the color and the shine and slick details. Our superstar’s trousers are textured, fit beautifully and set off the tuxedo shirt with a zillion vertical skinny pleats that looks spectacular with the shooting beams of neon light. This is a masterful vision of fashion truth. Sure, Samsung took a HUGE loss to apple in the recent patent verdict but WHO CARES? Look at this guy: Korea is CLEARLY winning. Suck it, Cupertino.

+ WATCH PSY’S ’GANGNAM STYLE’ MUSIC VIDEO

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