1. EXO - Growl
First off, it would almost be a sin to leave out EXO's "Growl" as one of the prime examples of the classic schoolboy concept. As a follow-up song of "Wolf," the schoolboy look here reminds the audience of a unified group, like a pack of beasts in disguise. The grey suit-turned-uniform outfits look clean and coherent without much extra fringe, except for some light accessories and a few snapbacks donned here and there. United as one, and not trying to appear too conspicuous as 'wolfmen,' these boys imprinted an exciting paradox to the year of 2013 with their catchy song, concept, and M/V outfit for the "Growl" sensation.
2. BTS - Boy In Luv
Another signature schoolboy concept is, of course, BTS's "Boy In Luv." Contrasted with EXO's clean-cut formal styles, BTS often wore a modernized version of Korea's more traditional uniforms. For example, the collar-less black jackets with gold buttons mimic the country's colonial era with uniforms designed with Japanese influences. As a symbol of rebellion, most of the members didn't wear these uniforms "properly" on stage, with shirt tails hanging out and leather jackets flying everywhere like a typical bike rider's image. But once they decided to give a strong contrast with their follow-up song "Just One Day," the boys wore cream-colored sweaters for uniforms instead of those with darker tones. Most definitely, the two tracks showed the versatility of BTS as a group -- the rebellious boys at night capable of turning into diligent students by morning.
3. NU'EST - Face
Because the school concept naturally asks for youthful visuals, a lot of groups choose the schoolboy look when they are rookies. As one of the earlier examples of this generation's boy groups, NU'EST had also debuted with a schoolboy concept back in 2012. What NU'EST did, however, was more than simply do a typical schoolboy concept; their main outfits had hot pink borderlines as the boys shouted out lyrics such as "The news is the same, but only the age is different" / "You don't know why we're like this." Not only is the color hot pink a radical choice for any schoolboy uniform, but the lyrics that go against the conservative forces of the society reflect an attitude similar to their alternatively tailored uniforms. On top of that, NU'EST's member Ren was also famous for his atypical feminine features that challenged gender roles and masculine images. In many forms, NU'EST had long before taken a step forward to shed light on many social aspects through their outfits.
4. The Boyz - Boy
As the most recent debut on this list, the group The Boyz was actually one of the initial inspirations for me to write this feature this month. Fresh, diverse, and full of interesting details, the outfits for "Boy" present a schoolboy look that showcases all types of schools and clubs. From American varsity jackets to Korean hoodies and velvet materials, the differences in the clothes portray an interesting mix of young boys who come from diverse backgrounds and subject areas. The title M/V also suggests how these individuals suddenly all come to meet, fated to become one by happenstance occurrences. Going for another schoolboy concept at the end of the year might have been a risky move for them, but the stunning visuals of all twelve boys with an eye-catching choreography still made the outfits look really high-powered and ideal.
5. ASTRO - Confession
Since their debut, ASTRO has embodied the definition of vibrancy with bright colors such as yellow and green. With songs like "Hide-and-Seek" and "Breathless," their concepts always evoked a sense of feeling similar to opening a can of fresh soda. But with this third single "Confession," the boys showed off a different look that suggested a coming-of-age story, with their school uniforms coordinated in fall colors of burgundy and gold like a gang of Gryffindors. The keywords that accompany the season of autumn are usually 'transitional' or 'sentimental,' and these warm uniformed did just that, rekindling long-lost memories of loves and confessions.
6. SEVENTEEN - Mansae
To present a balanced look of thirteen boys shining under the name "Seventeen," the uniforms that they chose looked exceptionally fresh and dynamic. Often designed with plaid, the uniforms truly evoked a sense of old-fashioned nostalgia with the modern playfulness of today. This unique yet unified look brings Seventeen's intricate choreography on-point, with the boys flaunting their dynamic physiques along with acute teamwork and facial expressions. Even though the group's choreography is well-known for its extremely active nature, the boys do not look uncomfortable at all dancing in these fitted uniforms. Donning all-time favorites such as slim-fit slacks and herringbone jackets, the boys accentuated the musical genre with an M/V that is set in a fun (and almost unrealistic) co-ed high school.
7. NCT Dream - My First and Last
Who can leave out NCT Dream when this group is one of the rare ones to have all of them actually still be in school? Except for the older members of the group such as Mark becoming an adult soon, this year for NCT Dream was the perfect year for them to go for their (possibly last) preppy look. With shorts, long socks, and shoulder pads, the main outfits for "My First and Last" depict how these boys are trying hard to grow up fast, giving their utmost best to impress their school teacher they all have a crush on. The M/V itself spells out why NCT Dream had to wear these oversized uniforms, showing how their hearts do not actually match their real ages. But even with these ironic styles, the cute hats and golden tassels working as accents for their image made them look cuter than ever, stealing the hearts of the audiences once again.
8. SF9 - Easy
For SF9's "Easy," the intention of the schoolboy-like uniforms in their M/V doesn't seem to have any links to specific school-related themes. However, the group had explained previously that this song is about the digital love of the younger generation of today, reflecting those who break up and makeup too 'easily' through text messages and emails. While showing a charismatic side to their already-powerful concept and dance moves, the suitlike uniforms with ties and sneakers symbolize a group that is young but also mature enough to talk about the dark sides of modern dating rules.
9. TRCNG - SPECTRUM
Just like NCT Dream, the members of TRCNG are also still in school, with all of them being 00-liners or younger. Their main outfits actually look more like regal suits than school uniforms, though, verging on the line between boy scout looks and royal officers. Their colors also reflect a tone of regality with toned down shades of blue, green, red, and grey. If this were a high-concept look for their title song "Spectrum," the second track from their album "My Very First Love" is the one that has them wear more typical uniforms suited to their ages. This lovely ballad track which they performed for their debut stages worked as a prelude to the group's powerful main song, introducing both the youth and maturity that many groups tend to aim for.
10. Golden Child - DamDaDi
Following the footsteps of their company's predecessors, Woolim's new boys Golden Child debuted with an energy-filled title track while wearing striped baseball uniforms. Just like INFINITE who also tried a schoolboy concept with their song "Nothing's Over" in 2011, the rookie group tried various sports uniforms, mainly going for baseball, basketball, and tennis. As the golden rookies of this year, the jumpy choreography for "DamDaDi" perfectly matched these cute gym class looks with bright smiles on their innocent faces. The clothes alone made everyone give them a second look, a refreshing visual that helped us cope with a hot summer with an overflow of energetic and youthful vibes.