"Barbiecore", is an aesthetic popularised by Tiktok and Instagram Gen Z around mid-2020 when nostalgia for the early 2000s was at a high. Gen Z specifically was drawn to creating and demanding this trend because not only was their adulthood delayed due to the pandemic disrupting the normal we knew then but they also realised that our time around is limited. The nostalgic and simple iconic time was thought of as a classic case of “good ol’ days” syndrome. But given that most of us were at home in lockdowns or quarantined because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we did want to recreate times that simply made us happy. The fashion trend draws inspiration from the popular and ever-present doll Barbie from Mattel. The aesthetic is comprised of elements that Barbie was often seen dressed in, typically pink and sparkly dresses with bright and shiny hair. Similarly, Barbiecore includes those elements in daily life objects as wearing monochrome pink outfits with high heels and looking your best. To add to the craze luxury designer house; Valentino came out with their pink collection which included designs that resembled the general desire to have platform high heels and pink dresses like Barbie’s.
Originally also done by Moshicino in 2015 with their barbie inspired collection which included millennial pink. Also seen as a way to challenge traditional gender norms and embrace feminine aesthetics in a playful and empowering way. Barbiecore is a delight and whimsical aesthetic that celebrates femininity instead of frowning upon it as it was in the 2010s. It became popular right at the time when maximalist fashion became a coping strategy for a lot of people. Primarily also because surrounding yourself with objects that just make you happy is a simple solution to the world in utter despair. Escapism and general romanticism of life around us, which were often seen to be frowned upon before the pandemic turned out to be a great creative outlet for most of us during a time of great uncertainty.which were often seen to be frowned upon before the pandemic turned out to be a great creative outlet for most of us during a time of great uncertainty.
Celebrities who were seen as the early admirers of this trend and considered to be the general inspiration for this style were Doja Cat, and Resse Witherspoon’s Legally Blonde character Elle Woods, Paris Hilton.
Another reason why Barbiecore has risen to prominence is the way the covid 19 pandemic made us realise how fragile our systems of cultural values are. For instance, we were raised to think that pink colour was only for weak, dumb and ditzy women who will grow up to be bimbos. Whereas a lot of part of Barbiecore is reclaiming this discourse and saying that femininity is not a weakness nor does it equate to being dumb or uncultured. Women today can and should embrace their femininity without having to compromise their intelligence and knowledge almost like we are out there reclaiming our childhoods.
Here are some key elements of the Barbiecore fashion style:
1. Pink is of utter importance but pastels are a MUST. Barbie is often known for her millennial pink attires but she is not limited to those (or anything). With each diverse Barbie doll comes a palette of pastel shades and purples which complement a variety of people everywhere.
2. Retro Pieces; since barbie’s identity includes her being from different places, and working in diverse professions and places her wardrobe will include such pieces. All of them are also timeless pieces be it pencil skirts from the 40s or 50s pin-up dresses or low-waist skirts from the 2000s.
3. Accessories are the pinnacle of femininity, no outfit is complete without a matching bag or pair of shoes. Along with those, you need rings, in particular, if you're going for a proper y2k look, Chunky resin jewellery in different colours is essential to the playful look. And for a cheery on top, a pair of sunglasses is a classic Barbie move. Bonus points if they are pink or white-framed!
4. Shoes of the highest chew-ability; just kidding, but ideally we’d all be wearing PU and PVC shoes if we were to follow in Barbie’s footsteps (literally). And even those clear shoes have made a huge comeback with the Y2K trends;
5. Fun makeup, now this is a tricky space to navigate because growing up we were taught that makeup is bad and women only do it to hide their insecurities. But the dynamic has so far long changed. Makeup companies now treat makeup as more of a creative outlet, now that a larger population is using makeup with more gender-inclusive marketing, makeup is more than just a shallow thing. It is an art skill for everyone to try. So if you are typing to recreate The Barbie look, we suggest trying liquid eyeshadows, graphic eyeliners, sparkles and colourful eyeshadows for more fun looks!
In conclusion, barbie-core is all about having fun with things that made you happy as a kid. Think about all the sparkles from your mom’s eyeshadow palette or your drawing your lips from your mom’s lipsticks. The crowns you worse on your birthdays and the amount of time you wished you were a long lost princess just living on an island with your animal friends. All of this wishful thinking is coming to life and it's all within your reach.