Recently as Tony An from H.O.T. joined a relatively new and young idol group Smash as a member, there has been growing interest in first generation male idols. Male idol culture started back in the late 1990s and is now in its third generation. Today, we are looking at the differences among first, second, and third generation male idols.
◇ First generation: Masculine Charm
First generation male idols appealed their masculine charm. The longest running idol group Shinhwa showcased powerful and charismatic performances with songs like “T.O.P,” “Hey, Come on,” and “Brand New.” They also showed off their sinewy bodies through “Shinhwa Nude Pictorial Book” back in 2001.
On March 5, Shinhwa appealed to fans and press with ongoing masculine charm at their comeback press conference. The six members were all dressed in black suits, accentuating Shinhwa’s masculine image. Jun Jin wore a long coat to focus attention on his tall statue and Eric highlighted his manly broad shoulders with a one-button blazer.
Tony An from H.O.T. also produced a masculine rebel image in the late 90s with songs like “Aiya,” and “Warrior’s Descendant.” He is still appealing the tough-guy charm in his “Tony&SMASH” activities with rider leather jackets and big combat boots.
◇ Second Generation: Emergence of Flower Boys
The second generation of male idol groups consist of TVXQ, Super Junior, Big Bang, and others who debuted in the early to mid 2000s. These groups grabbed idol fans attention with much softer looks than their senior idol groups. Their pretty faces gave them the nickname of “Flower Boy Bands.”
While the first generation male idol groups used dark and masculine colors like black and navy to create their unique aura, the second generation idols preferred more modern and softer colors like khaki and brown, which allows them to still look masculine, but not macho. Big Bang, who recently came back with “Blue,” matched black jeans with khaki colored military jackets, fur coats, and brown outerwear to complete their sophisticated look.
◇ Third Generation: Androgynous and Uni-Sex
The third generation male idols took the “Flower Boy” syndrome a step further. As female fantasy and demands of “younger boyfriends” grew and cuteness became a major charming point of guys, “Uni-sex style” attracted many fans. The third generation of male idol started in mid to late 2000s with the debut of SHINee, followed by other groups like Teen Top, Infinite, BEAST, and MBLAQ. Among these groups, SHINee, Teen Top, and Infinite shows the clear transformation in male idol trends from first to third generation.
Skinny jeans, pastel colors, and extravagant accessories beautified these male idols. Teen Top and Infinite wear narrow-shouldered jacket and skinny pants to appeal their androgynous suit fashion. SHINee is all about looking lovely with their pastel colors and accessories. Recently at a launching promotion of Etude House, they looked lovelier than ever with their “younger boyfriend” look.