I dressed like Barbie for a week and she’s just as high maintenance as I expected
Just like every other little girl, I lusted over all the pint-sized pumps, itty-bitty mini skirts, and scaled-down gowns that outfitted my Barbie dolls. Now, even though I’m nearing my thirties, I’m still jealous of my childhood idol’s coveted wardrobe. But thanks to vintage-inspired e-tailer Unique Vintage’s recent collaboration with Mattel, my fantasy of owning a closet full of Barbie-approved outfits is no longer the stuff of kiddie dreams. I can actually slip into the exact retro outfits the iconic doll has worn through the years.
From a disco-ready mini dress to the outfit Barbie wore to her office job in the’60s, these exact replicas will make you feel like playing dress up every day. And get this: the entire collection is available in a range of sizes to fit figures from XS to 4X. Ahead, find out what happened when I dressed like Barbie for a week. Spoiler alert: She’s just as high maintenance as I imagined.
Monday: Barbie’s 1962 Red Flare Coat
This is the outfit I chose for the first day of my fashion experiment—it’s one of my favorites of the bunch and, lucky for me, it just happened to be cold and gloomy today. I wake up extra early and get crackin’ on my hair and makeup. Two hours later, my hair is still in rollers, the glue on my false eyelashes is still drying, and I’m cleaning up the edges of my red lipstick with concealer for the third time. As I’m nearing the two-and-a-half-hour mark, I smooth out my curls with a paddle brush and spritz my face with some setting spray before pinning my pillbox hat in place and running out the door.
It’s only day one, and I’m already exhausted.
Tuesday: Barbie’s 1959 Rose and White Gingham Barbie-Q Swing Dress
The good thing about spending so much time on my hair yesterday is when I wake up this morning, my curl is mostly still intact. I massage some dry shampoo into my roots, run a brush through my curls, and viola. Now all that’s left is to draw on a cat eye—luckily, I’ve mastered the art of the wing, so it takes no time at all—and slip into my gingham recreation of Barbie’s outdoor soiree ensemble, originally released in 1959.
Maybe I can do this after all.
Wednesday: Barbie’s 1963 Grey Tweed Career Girl Suit Set
I feel like getting all decked out today, so I lay out my outfit and accessories—faux leather gloves, fascinator hat, and all. Today, I opt to recreate a look that Barbie first slipped into in 1963. Her “Career Girl Suit Set,” is just what I need to step it up at work today. However, the only difference between me and Barbie now is that I’m an actual working girl in the 21st century, and these gloves are doing nothing to help me text, Tweet, or type on my laptop. They look cute but they’re certainly not touchscreen friendly.
Barbie prefers fashion over functionality. Must be nice!
Thursday: Barbie’s 1968 Swirly Cue Shift Dress
It’s warm out today and I can’t think of a better time to break out a colorful mini. Boasting all the Studio 54-fashion vibes, this vintage-inspired dress is a copy of Barbie’s outfit from 1968. I throw on some cat-eye sunglasses and instantly feel like the lady of the house. As for my beauty look, it has progressively gotten less and less involved (yes, I know I’m only four days in, but a girl’s gotta live). I do a minimal makeup look and wear my air-dried hair in a center part and slicked behind my ears.
I originally planned to wear this look with a beehive hairdo, but I’m realizing I can’t quite keep up with Barbie.
Friday: Barbie’s 1959 Red and White Gingham Woven Picnic Blouse and Jeans
It’s casual Friday and I jump at the opportunity to recreate the only denim look in the Barbie collection. Of all the outfits, this one has felt the most wearable so far—mostly because this is a look I feel like I’ve worn a hundred times before. A pair of high-waisted jeans and a button-up top is the perfect outfit formula for days when I feel like I have nothing to wear. It’s comfortable and always looks pulled together.
I guess Barbie celebrates casual Fridays, too.
Saturday: Barbie’s 1964 Magic Sheath Dress and Cape
Saturday evening, I get dressed to the nines in this black sheath dress and sheer cape (complemented with little black gloves). While I have nowhere remotely as glamorous to visit, this replica of Barbie’s evening look, originally released in 1964, is making me feel all kinds of fabulous. I pull my hair into a high donut bun, slip on some satin gloves, and throw on some cat-eye glasses. Instantly, I feel like I have a breakfast date at Tiffany’s.
Barbie doesn’t need a reason to dress up, and I’m realizing I don’t need one either.
Sunday: Barbie’s 1961 Red Sheath Sensation Wiggle Dress
My week of dressing as Barbie is coming to an end, and I’m ready to send her off in style. I slip into a dress that makes me feel like I’m getting ready to jet off to a vacation in the French Riviera—straw hat, gold wedges, and all. This body-hugging red sheath dress with nautical-looking gold buttons on the front was first worn by Barbie in 1961, but it’s somehow still as on trend today.
I might be bidding adieu to my Barbie lifestyle, but I’m taking the red lipstick with me.
It’s been real, Barbie, but it’s time I return to wearing yoga pants to the grocery store, letting my hair air dry, and getting to work on time. It’s no secret I spent countless hours applying (and reapplying) my red lipstick, but if there’s one thing I learned from playing dress up for a week, it’s this: Barbie’s fabulousness comes not from her wardrobe, but her confidence. While I’m a fan of the vintage look, it’s not a style I wear in my day-to-day life, so a few times this week I felt like I was wearing a costume at a non-costume party. It was only when I flipped my hair and strutted down the street without caring about what others thought that the look began to feel like me.
Think you have the stamina to dress like Barbie for a week? Unique Vintage has plenty of other retro Barbie outfits to choose from, including her iconic black-and-white chevron bathing suit and a darling 1960s wedding dress. See, even your wildest childhood dreams can sometimes come true.