When I volunteered to "become Barbie" for a week for an article during our team meeting, I honestly had no idea what was in store. As somebody whose everyday wardrobe consists of muted tones and more neutral oversized blazers than I know what to do with (team Quiet Luxury over here), I was completely unprepared for the inward examination that would come with the task.
The buzz around the upcoming live action movie, the plethora of incredible Barbiecore pieces on the market right now, and the possibility of feeling like Margot Robbie were perhaps the factors that made me agree without hesitation...
There were some laughs (at me, not with me), some memorable moments and plenty of stares from strangers. Here's what happened when I became Barbie...
Tuesday: Party Barbie
If it was acceptable for me to record the faces of passengers on the bus, and the commuting cyclists as I sat at the bus stop at eight in the morning, I would have. The sheer panic of wearing something totally out of my comfort zone set in, and I ended up carrying four (yes, four) extra pair of shoes with me to the office. A rookie error, as this probably enhanced the outlandishness of my look, walking through Waterloo struggling because: a) the bag was extremely heavy and b) high heels and I are never friends for more than 30 minutes...
The first two colleagues I see at the Hello! Fashion office both say "well now I feel underdressed," the polite yet utterly British way of saying 'what on Earth is she wearing?'
Despite stares from strangers passing by and comments from colleagues who I actually know, going to a post-work event was going to be the real test. Unsurprisingly, I stood out. But after recieving two compliments almost immediately after arriving, I instantly felt more confident. When taking the photograph you see above, I recalled saying "at this point I'm over it" and "ignore the haters" words of affirmation to make my photos more Barbie, less 'incredibly awkward in front of a camera.'
I did however, leave feeling rather confident (albeit some dutch courage helped). I was raring to go for the next day.
Wednesday: Office Barbie
A less dramatic outfit acquired less stares - the lack of fuschia-hued, satin, 80s-esque platforms probably helped. The two schoolboys (circa 12 years old) who were sat next to me at the bus stop, were more interested in arguing about Dragonball Z, than batting an eyelid at what I was wearing.
Proving that the Barbiecore phenomenon isn't just a social experiment by a fashion journalist, a lady on the bus was wearing a neon pink jumpsuit and another, a fuschia blazer. Moral of the story: feeling out of place was all in my head. Did I absorb my own advice? Absolutely not.
In the office a colleague said, "pink's your colour," whilst the reception lady said "you’ve been wearing lots of incredible pink outfits recently." Despite feeling entirely uncomfortable, I have never received so many compliments in my life.
Thursday: Supermarket Barbie
The day I thought I'd dread the most was actually my favourite. By this point, I'd got my colleagues in a Barbiecore chokehold. I received a Slack message early in the morning saying "Have you done the sequin dress yet? I can't wait to see this article!" I'd made such an impression I was revelling in my newfound courage. To celebrate, I headed to my local supermarket in the most stunning Raisa Vanessa dress I had ever seen.
I think my friend who I dragged along to shoot my 'content' was more embarrassed of me than I was of myself. She hysterically said to a shopper staring at us filming pints of milk, "it's for an article she's writing!".
My confidence was still at an all time high, until I heard sniggering from the guy stacking bread. When I looked him in the eyes, he quite literally chuckled so much he had to put his next loaf down to gain composure. I was yet again humbled, ready to see what day four would bring.
Friday: Date Night Barbie
Suffice to say, this Barbie is terrible at mini golf (though she’s great at eating chicken burgers). The weather quite literally rained on my parade, therefore a trench coat left only the feather trim peeking out on the way to the venue. Also, heeled sandals were necessary because, as mentioned, heels and I aren't compatible at the best of times. Playing golf? A disaster waiting to happen.
No amount of rain could put a dampener on this dress though. I felt ultra glam as soon as I flung my coat off like I was in a Beyonce music video, and the (very few) funny looks I received whilst out were probably because of the numerous times I swung my golf club and missed the ball.
Saturday: Brunch Barbie
Honestly, I did not expect that after being out all week in 50 shades of pink and wearing many more extravagant outfits, the final event would be the toughest. Aside from having so much fun at brunch I forgot to get content until 10 minutes before my train arrived, being surrounded by people eating during a casual Saturday lunchtime was daunting.
I'd like to think they were staring at me because the pastel pink Chanel jacket I was wearing was something straight out of Blair Waldorf's playbook (I'd stare at me too, it was exquisite).
It turns out, this Barbie outfit was actually the perfect girly brunch uniform. Style cues were noted for my next non-experimental outing.
What I learned about being Barbie:
I didn't learn I'm bad at mini golf - that's old news. But what I did learn, is that dopamine dressing is a real thing. Despite feeling incredibly out of my comfort zone, I felt a strange boost of confidence and happiness thanks to my pink-hued wardrobe.
Also, I realised how worthwhile it is to rent high-end pieces rather than buy from the high street. The dresses I wore had a certain je ne sais quoi. The fit, the feel, the look helped keep me feeling confident, even when I feared I looked out of place. I felt amazing in quality clothes, and renting gives easier access to designer labels. My Wardrobe HQ and Front Row had an incredible number of exquisite outfits to choose from. Look no further for your next special event.
If you're not quite ready to go total Barbie, ease yourself in gently by adding a statement accessory. Marina Raphael have some ultra glam handbags, whilst Toolally is perfect for some playful Barbie-inspired earrings. More Luxury Club gives you all the access you need to the most coveted designers to co-own.
Though it may not be bright pink platforms and ruffled mini dresses everyday (I'll leave that to Margot Robbie), I will certainly be injecting some sartorial statement into my everyday looks from now on.
I am officially a Barbiecore stan.