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Style > Fashion

The Barbiecore Aesthetic Is Giving The Iconic Doll A New Edge This Summer

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Today, we’re breaking down Barbiecore and how it’s taking on an old fashion icon with a new attitude. In Anatomy Of An Aesthetic, Her Campus dissects the latest style trends to tell you where they came from, why they matter, and how to DIY.

The biggest mystery of the summer is the plot of Greta Gerwig’s new Barbie movie, which is slated to release in 2023 and stars a variety of A-list actors, from Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling to Issa Rae and Simu Liu. The details of what goes on in the movie have been kept pretty hush-hush so far. But what’s not a mystery? The fashion. Not only have photos from the set already gone viral, they’ve also spawned a new fashion trend that’s taking over red carpets and TikTok For You Pages alike: Barbiecore.

Vogue has declared that “Barbiecore Is Everywhere This Summer,” and they don’t just mean on the Barbie set. Celebrities have been showing off their monochrome hot pink outfits all summer, from Kim Kardashian’s hoodie-leggings-purse combo to Florence Pugh’s daring sheer Valentino dress. In fact, most of the stars attending the Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 22-23 fashion show in Rome this month were decked out in pink, from Anne Hathaway to Riverdale star Charles Melton. Barbiecore icons were also all over your TVs in the 2000s, from Elle Woods to Sharpay Evans.

So does Barbiecore entail just… dressing up in all pink? Well, kind of. Yes, there’s an emphasis on bubblegum pink, bright ’80s nostalgia, and more feminine silhouettes. (Unfortunately for high heel haters, Barbie hasn’t seemed to shake off her love of uncomfy stilettos yet.) But there’s a bit more intention behind the trend than that.

In each of the photos that have been released from the Barbie set so far, Robbie, as Barbie, is decked out in bright colors with an edge of nostalgia (she’s a cowgirl! She’s an ’80s roller skater!), but the part that stands out most is how much of a blast she’s clearly having. We see bright smiles and a carefree attitude — maybe Barbies have more fun. Barbiecore, then, is also a mindset, as OK! Magazine puts it. Barbie is always confident, always fun, always feeling herself. Who wouldn’t want to partake?

Barbiecore blowing up is probably good news for Mattel, the company behind the iconic doll. In recent years, they’ve been pushing for a brand evolution of Barbie, one that divorces her from her 1950s roots (think stick-thin, always white and blonde, the perfect silent feminine companion) and turns her into an inspiration for young girls dreaming of careers in space travel, science, or anything they want. Barbie is no longer only white — or only cis, thanks to Laverne Cox — and it seems that Mattel is hoping to keep Barbie’s legacy alive into a new generation that places a greater focus on diversity and inclusivity, two things Barbie was long pitted against rather than associated with. Barbiecore is either mirroring that shift, or catalyzing it.

Indeed, Barbiecore isn’t limited to those who look like Margot Robbie. The trend spans genders: Remember Sebastian Stan’s Met Gala look from earlier this year? It didn’t match the theme, but it definitely evoked Barbie. Maybe he was just ahead of his time. The aesthetic is also being worn by those of all body types — Lizzo rocked a Barbiecore fit at the red carpet premiere of her show, Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls, for example. 

Over on TikTok, the tag #barbiecore has reached 8.6 million views and counting, with many creators showing off their own takes on the trend and proving that Barbiecore transcends far beyond Robbie and Greta Gerwig. There’s plus-size Barbiecore outfit ideas. There’s examples of Black girls in Barbiecore that make it clear Barbiecore was never just for white women. “Anyone can be a Barbie,” one creator said in a video calling out those who gatekeep the look.

Anyone includes you, by the way. So if you’re curious about trying out Barbiecore for yourself, here are 10 essentials that will have you feeling fantastic (life in plastic not necessary).

Pink denim mini skirt

While a lot of the celebrity Barbiecore looks involve dressing to the nines, you can pull the look off with a casual skirt like this denim mini one that will look super cute with a white top and some pink sandals.

VENUS, $25

Pink short suit set

Emulate boardroom Barbie with a sharp blazer and shorts that will keep you looking and feeling cool in the summer heat. As much as Barbiecore embraces feminine silhouettes, it’s also enjoyed playing around with more angular shapes, making this structured outfit a great option.

VENUS, $64

Summery pink sandals

A lot of celebrities donning Barbiecore have opted for larger-than-lifel platform heels (see: Lizzo, or K-pop star Hwasa from MAMAMOO, who was also at the Valentino show). Of course, heels that high aren’t realistic for most of us, but you can still rock a fun pink sandal like these strappy ones that won’t make your feet hurt quite so bad.

ASOS, $27

Hot pink cami top

This top is lightweight and fun, with some gathering of the fabric to add a more unique touch to your basic cami. Match it with white, black, or even more pink — after all, the pinker, the better.

Lulus, $24

Ruffled pink jumpsuit

The best thing about this trend is you can pick any decade, and there’s a Barbie for that. Emulate the ’70s with a jumpsuit like this one, which has ruffle detailing to add an extra feminine touch.

Nordstrom Rack, $34

Retro pink sunglasses

Who would Barbie be without her accessories? When it comes to Barbiecore sunglasses, opt for a more retro shape like these blocky rectangle ones, or maybe a heart- or cateye-shaped lens to add a playful edge to your outfit.

Urban Outfitters, $16

Hot pink shoulder bag

A small to midsize purse makes for a cute homage to Barbie’s doll accessories. This one is still large enough to fit all your things, plus it’s made with sleek vegan leather.

Nordstrom Rack, $38

Pink swimsuit

Have yourself a fabulous pool or beach day in a Barbiecore swimsuit, like this one-piece that has fun side cutouts.

Lulus, $15

Pink claw clips

Claw clips are already becoming a go-to summer hair accessory, so why not Barbie-ify them? This set from Anthropologie includes claw clips in three shades of pink with one white option, so you can pin your hair up effortlessly and have that Barbie-off-duty aesthetic down pat.

Anthropologie, $24

Pink biker jacket

If you’d rather give Barbie some edge, try a leather biker jacket in a hot pink hue — you can wear it over a dress to dress it down, or over jeans and a t-shirt to dress them up.

ASOS, $55

Erica Kam is the Life Editor at Her Campus. She oversees the life, career, and news verticals on the site, including academics, experience, high school, money, work, and Her20s coverage. Over her six years at Her Campus, Erica has served in various editorial roles on the national team, including as the previous Culture Editor and as an editorial intern. She has also interned at Bustle Digital Group, where she covered entertainment news for Bustle and Elite Daily. She graduated in 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in English and creative writing from Barnard College, where she was the senior editor of Columbia and Barnard’s Her Campus chapter and a deputy copy editor for The Columbia Spectator. When she's not writing or editing, you can find her dissecting K-pop music videos for easter eggs and rereading Jane Austen novels. She also loves exploring her home, the best city in the world — and if you think that's not NYC, she's willing to fight you on it.