A New Era of Barbiecore Fashion Is Upon Us

In 2022, the doll is still a style icon, so it's no surprise she's inspiring outfits everywhere — again.

The Era of Barbiecore Is Upon Us
Photo: Getty Images/InStyle

Beaming from the front seat of her hot pink convertible, dressed in a blue and white striped halter with a matching bracelet and headband, Margot Robbie looks just like Barbie in the flesh. In this case, that's a good thing, especially since the actress is playing the iconic character in a live-action movie, set to be released in 2023. While we're pumped to see the star do her thing on screen (it's a comedy!), we may be even more excited for all the clothes. Barbiecore as a trend already seems to be bubbling up in the fashion world, and the colorful aesthetic exudes confidence and fun — something we'll happily take more of.

The First Look At Margot Robbie as Barbie is Finally Here
Warner Brothers

A bit of history about the famous doll: Barbara Millicent Roberts made her debut on the American toy market in 1959, but the truth is, "Barbie" was never meant to be just a pretty plaything. Created by the co-founder of Mattel, Ruth Handler, the true intention was to give young girls a doll that doubled as a role model. Although Barbie was first introduced to the world wearing a black and white swimsuit, matching sunnies, gold hoops, and black pumps, it wouldn't take long for her to shed that swimwear for the over one billion looks donned across the franchise. Over 200 outfits have represented the fictitious persona's many impressive career paths, including doctors and nurses, astronauts, air force pilots, and beyond.

Still, even as Barbie added to her resumé and her look evolved (Mattel now has a much more inclusive offering in terms of body type), part of the draw was still the doll's bold fashion sense. In many cases, Barbie served as a child's first experience with "grown-up" style, and was the inspiration they needed to experiment with clothes outside their world of play pretend. For many designers, Barbie was a muse.

Barbiecore
A model walks the runway at the Moschino Spring Summer 2015 fashion show. Getty Images

This was the case for CULTNAKED founder Mary Furtas, who tells InStyle that hand-sewing Barbie clothing is what allowed her first to explore her creativity as a fashion designer. "I experimented with my first ever designs on her," says Furtas. "I think a lot of designers first grew interested in the field by doing that."

For fashion stylist Shea Daspin, Barbie was an inspirational role model. "It's easy to associate her with material objects and the color pink, but I think she represents a lot more," Daspin tells InStyle via email. "She represents ambition and female agency, and that can manifest in how someone dresses, or who they decide they want to become."

Barbiecore In The Early Aughts

It's safe to say barbiecore as a fashion movement has been building even before we caught sight of Robbie stepping into the titular role. For instance, Tyra Banks took on the doll's tailored aesthetic as Eve in the 2000 Disney film Lifesize, and Reese Witherspoon as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde circa 2001 was essentially a Barbie girl in a lawyer's world.

Tyra Banks in Life Size
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We also saw many glimpses of the trend sprinkled throughout the 2010s: Nicki Minaj often sported some serious Barbie-inspired looks after her own Barbie doll hit the market in 2011 (and you'll still catch the rapper wearing her signature diamond Barbie nameplate necklace to this day). In 2015, Paris Hilton donned a hot pink Barbie one-piece by a pool in Ibiza, and footwear designer Sophia Webster collaborated with Barbie on a collection of limited-edition shoes the same year. We also can't forget Gigi Hadid's shiny, millennial pink, Kreist pantsuit from 2017, which she wore with matching, pink velvet Aquazzura platforms. The look is still one of our favorites in fashion history.

Kacey Musgraves also had an iconic Barbie outfit at the 2019 Met Gala: A floor-length, hot pink motorcycle dress designed by Moschino (a very Barbiecore brand!), complete with a matching hairdryer clutch, cat-eye sunglasses, chandelier teardrop diamond earrings, and shiny silver pumps from Aldo. The look was almost an exact replica of the Barbie x Moschino doll, which was being sold in the museum's gift shop at the time.

Barbiecore
Kacey Musgraves at the Met Gala in 2019. Getty Images

Women aren't the only ones honing in on the Barbiecore craze. Pete Davidson had his own Ken doll moment back in 2019m when the SNL comedian graced the cover of Paper Magazine looking very much made of plastic — and it was fantastic. Even Jay-Z hopped on the trend when he and Queen Bey dressed up as Barbie and Ken for Halloween 2016. Fast-forward to August of 2021, and Beyonce is still channeling Barbie — and in Versace, no less.

Barbiecore In 2022

Kim Culmone, SVP of Design for Barbie and Fashion Dolls, tells InStyle that, like the beloved doll, what constitutes Barbiecore is ever-evolving. "Barbie is inspired by pop culture and fashion. And like many of us, her style evolves to be reflective of today's trends and culture," she says. For 2022, as we head back to the office and regain our social lives, it's Barbie's authentic playfulness and bright, bold color palette that people are trying to inject into their daily routines.

The Era of Barbiecore Is Upon Us
Getty Images

So, how can Barbiecore translate into your wardrobe? Well, pink does remain Barbie's go-to shade. "Pink has always been Barbie's favorite color — she even has her own signature 'Barbie Pink' Pantone shade, PMS 219," says Culmone. "For Barbie, pink represents limitless potential and is a symbol of female empowerment, which is such a perfect fit with the brand's purpose."

In a time when power dressing reigns supreme, Barbiecore encompasses all things empowered, bold, and bright, so if pink isn't your color of choice, you can stick to hues that are more "you," or experiment with other statement-making shades like orange and green. As for specific pieces to add to your wardrobe, suits and matching sets are obvious staples, but fashion designer Betsey Johnson, wants you to remember that Barbie has always been symbolic of a blank canvas, inviting people to envision their own style amidst the trends.

Barbiecore
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"Especially millennial women who grew up with Barbie — specific aesthetic lines are blurred more and more every day," Johnson tells InStyle. You can mix the vacation look with the workplace look, or mix styling genres, like pretty and punk. Her advice? Shop for pieces that are "simple, sleek, and can mix and match for any occasion."

Ahead, we picked out a few great Barbiecore pieces to help you get started.

Artesano Malibu Hat

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Le Patou Bag in Peony

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CULTNAKED Hourglass Jumpsuit

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FUNBOY x BARBIE™ Dream Swim Georgia Top

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Dia & Co Bella Donna Dress

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ASOS DESIGN Relaxed Wide Leg Flare Suit Pant in Purple

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Ego Violet Closed Toe Statement Platform Block Heel

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Wildfang The Empower Colorblock Tux Blazer

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Christopher John Rogers Marker Test Oversized Trench Coat

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Maeve Bow-Tie Tank

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BONBONWHIMS Baby Blue Rainbow Lucy Ring

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