Golden Style Moves From BTS's Golden Maknae, Jeon Jungkook
Falling in love with Jeon Jungkook is the easiest thing I ever did. Go ahead, ask any ARMY about their experiences getting to know JK and you'll get the same answer. That he's easy to love is as true as saying "lamb skewers are delicious" or "seeing a live performance of "Euphoria" is a transcendental experience."
You could fall in love with Jungkook's powerful, gravity-defying dancing, his giggle-inducing sense of humor, or his openness and vulnerability. The way he confesses his mental health struggles so easily will make you feel seen on a molecular level. Or maybe you'll fall for his complete devotion to his art, his passion for performing on stage, and his love of his fans (he did get our name tattooed across his knuckles, after all). Or maybe you'll fall in love with his voice — the voice of an angel — that so beautifully carries emotion it basically telegraphs "everything's OK. I know you and understand you in a way that's profound and deep." Jungkook's songs seem to blast through the calamity of the world, leaving you feeling warmed, healed, and loved. They're like one of those magical elixirs in a fairytale.
And all that talent is wrapped up in the prettiest package. Jungkook has a smile that could save the world and a duality that will give you whiplash. Seriously. He could have a soft-as-a-bunny-pout one moment, and turn into a smoldering, thunderstorm of a man the next.
Basically: Jungkook is the blueprint.
In spite of all that natural-born talent, he's still one of the humblest people walking the earth, never letting the praise puff him up and instead using it as motivation to work even harder. In the BTS docuseries Break the Silence, he explained, "I envy the image people have of me. People call me the 'Golden Maknae,' but that's not how I feel, so I have to try harder to make myself appear that way. After all the time since my debut, I think finally I'm trying really hard." Please excuse me while I quietly sob in the corner over this wonderful man.
Today, in celebration of Jeon Jungkook's birthday, please indulge me as I gush even more about my favorite maknae [youngest sibling] and his golden style. Raise a glass of lemon kombucha, stream "My Time," and read on for my absolute favorite JK fashion moves. Prepare for devastation.
One of the best things BTS (and the Hallyu Wave at large) does for Western audiences is open the door to their culture. It's estimated that BTS's influence specifically contributes $5 billion annually to the South Korean economy as ARMY fuels tourism, fashion and merch sales, and more. BTS (Jungkook included of course) is so generous with sharing their culture with us that they even created an entire language learning system for international ARMY to study Korean. And then there are the hanboks.
I think we can all agree on hanbok Jungkook supremacy.
The golden maknae's handsomeness increases 100x when he wears the traditional Korean garment. He's performed in them (my favorite examples include performing "Idol" in front of Gyeongbokgung Palace and performing a verse in "Daechwita" in front of Agust D himself) but I think it's especially important to note that Jungkook is so proud of his culture, he wears modern hanboks casually off-stage as well. In 2019, JK surprised a small brand, Zijangsa, by wearing one of their cotton hanboks at the Gimpo International Airport as BTS headed to Osaka, Japan for their Love Yourself: Speak Yourself world tour. The resulting aftermath included a traffic spike that crashed Zijangsa's servers, a complete sell out of the Kookie-approved hanbok, and the birth of thousands of new Jungkook-biased ARMYs.
Petition to cast Jungkook in a lead role in a historical K-Drama so we can see an all-hanbok wardrobe for an entire 20+ episode arc.
The two most important colors to ARMY are: (1) purple and (2) whatever color Jungkook's hair currently is.
The healing power of a brand new JK selfie with fresh color cannot be underestimated. They bring on a dose of serotonin as powerful as a tidal wave and will sustain you for hours afterwards.
Of course I love every hair color of the Jungkookie rainbow, but there's a special place in my heart for his black hair. Especially when it's long enough to be tied up in a ponytail. Need an example? Try revisiting the "Black Swan" performance for The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon where Jungkook danced with his dark hair pulled back into a ponytail looking so fine that I astral projected to another plane of existence.
Speaking of black...
All Black, All the Time
If you were building your own Kookcore wardrobe, the first key element you'd have to nail is filling up your closet with his signature monochromatic black. The idol wears (almost) all black in his off-duty wardrobe demonstrating a gothic sense of style that's in complete opposition to his angelic voice (ahem, stream "Euphoria" for clear skin and good credit!). From his dark face masks, to his giant, black backpacks (overstuffed with GCF camera equipment), down to his chunky platform combat boots, the idol is basically the Dark Knight of BTS.
Want to see a JK bias go feral? Send them one of his relentlessly adorable workout selfies featuring more of his all black, emo gym rat wardrobe.
All the Bucket Hats
Like it or not, a lot of questionable Y2K trends are coming back, and maybe you're not ready. Maybe you're like me, who still occasionally wakes up in a cold sweat after a nightmare about living through the low-rise-jeans-and-exposed-thong era. There is, however, one Y2K trend that makes me completely swoon. Bucket hats. Is it because it's been a favorite accessory of Jungkook (and his fellow idols) for years? Maybe. Probably. If I'm being honest with myself, yes: my love of bucket hats likely stems from how great Jungkook makes them look.
Jungkook's off-stage style is especially bucket-hat-heavy. He reaches for the doe-eye-grazing accessory for airport runs, long rehearsal days, and dance practices. Whether it's a retro FILA version or an ultra-luxe Louis Vuitton monogram, all of JK's bucket hats manage to highlight a jawline so sharp it could cut glass.
Do I even have to explain in 2021 that adhering to the arbitrary gender divide is boring? That assigning one piece of clothing as "for women" and one "for men" is completely silly? Of course I don't.
Like the rest of BTS, Jungkook has been unbothered about post-gender dressing. He wears unisex labels like A Nothing that embrace non-binary design. He doesn't shy away from wearing chokers, crop tops, fuzzy sweaters, corsets, smokey eye makeup, cinched waist silhouettes, heeled boots and he looks damn good doing it.
If all those examples are too subtle for you, please allow the Prince of Busan himself to spell it out: "Great style is wearing anything you like, regardless of gender," he said to Vanity Fair in 2019. We stan an evolved, inclusive king.
Rockstar JK Era
October 10th, 2020: the day Jungkook officially ruined my life.
I woke up before the sun rose and joined my fellow ARMYs all over the world tuning in to live-stream BTS's epic concert Map of the Soul ON:E. We had no idea what we were in for. It was there, in the pre-dawn glow of my laptop, that I witnessed peak Rockstar JK.
This past year has represented an evolution for all of Bangtan as they level up with more industry accolades, arguably their most honest and vulnerable album yet, and collaborations with hugely prestigious brands, but Jungkook in particular has emerged as the most-confident, most-comfortable version of himself. And I love that for him.
Since he's the youngest of BTS, joining the group when he was just 15 years old and still in school, he's always been the cute little baby bunny by default. But sweetly shy Jungkook has grown up and Rockstar JK has taken over.
Back to Map of the Soul ON:E. In all, a record-breaking 993,000 total paid viewers from 191 countries & regions tuned in for the virtual concert and were given no mercy by Rockstar JK. Outfitted in black leather on Day 1 and showing a dangerous amount of chest in unbuttoned red silk Day 2, Jungkook slithered through his co-written solo song "My Time" while the rest of us helplessly tried to pick our jaws up off the floor. Have you recovered from that moment yet, besties? I haven't.
And that sleeve tattoo he's been working on for years that we've only seen brief glimpses of? It was on full display along with a dangerous undercut and (fake then, but real now!) eyebrow piercing for the next live BTS concert, Soowoozoo.
In the 2020s, it certainly feels like we're in a new era of Jungkook, ARMY. We're watching a fully developed, fully confident artist at the top of his game and I'm gasping for air like a trout Jin fished out of the water.