As soon as photos of Greta Gerwig’s Barbie adaptation hit the Internet, fashion fans have gone absolutely wild. Many interested in fashion got their start by playing with Barbie dolls, changing from one fantastic outfit to the next. Perhaps no doll has been as picked apart, examined, and re-examined as Barbie. As she passes onto a new generation, Gen Z has embraced Barbie’s hyper-femininity and over-the top style as an expression of both nostalgia and a bright future.
First making her appearance in March of 1959, Barbie’s look changes as frequently as fashion does, with new dolls and accessories guiding us through fashion trends. A retrospective of Barbie’s outfits provides an idealized and perfectly pink glimpse into the history of fashion. While the trademark blond hair and bright-pink shade have lasted, Barbie no longer conforms to the rigid, unrealistic body expectations she once did. In 2022, Barbie dolls come in a wide range of realistic body sizes, skin tones, and ability levels. Throughout the doll’s life, a consistent aesthetic of bright, bubbly colors and vibrant prints has reigned supreme, even when Barbie blasts off into space or becomes a veterinarian. Recently, Barbie has been loving bright tie-dye and florals, with fun neon colors and cropped, playful silhouettes.
While Barbie is obviously a key influence, the rise of Barbiecore has many more diverse, if opaque, influences. Moschino, the favorite brand of many Instagram fashion influencers, has owed a debt to Barbie since their Spring 2015 show, dressing Kacey Musgraves in Barbie-inspired attire for the influential 2019 “Camp” Met Gala. Most recently, Valentino debuted a monochromatic collection for Fall/Winter 2022 that was-you guessed it-bright Barbie pink. Add on the popularity of Barbie collector, makeup mogul, and drag queen Trixie Mattel, and you realize it’s been high time for a Barbie fashion revival.
Barbiecore Color Story
To truly dress like Barbie, replace all of your neutrals with bright pink. Saturated and neon color palettes will perfect your maximalist look. Try pairing pink with orange, bright teal, or minty green for eye-catching color combos. If you’re looking for prints, large florals, tie-dye, and conversational prints are a must.
Fabrics and Materials Used
Barbie truly wears everything, so you have your pick of fabrics to use! Try neon suitings or glittering sequins for a high-fashion look. Build volume and drama with tulle or try printed silk charmeuse for extra glamour. Finally, if you’re looking for outerwear, glam it up with bright, textural faux fur.
Free Pattern Suggestions
With a wardrobe packed to the gills with clothes for every occasion, it can be hard to figure out where to start with your new, Barbie-inspired wardrobe. Try clothes with classic silhouettes or accented with fun details, perfect for displaying a bright, large-scale pattern!
Embrace maximalism and a cheeky, nostalgic look by taking cues from everyone’s favorite fashion doll! Fashion has been steadily moving to a more fun and accessible place, and taking cues from Barbie is just one way to experiment with your personal style. What was your favorite Barbie doll growing up? Let us know in the comments down below!