- The outfits worn by the characters in the Barbie movie were a major draw and generated a lot of interest even before the film’s release.
- Some of the outfits, like Weird Barbie’s nostalgic look and Midge’s purple dress, had significance and connections to Barbie’s history and fans’ childhood memories.
- The costumes in the movie paid homage to iconic Barbie looks, referenced significant moments in Barbie history, and incorporated popular trends, making them both visually appealing and meaningful.
Barbie was praised for its heartening and laugh-out-loud moments, but it’s hard to ignore that the film’s outfits were also a massive part of its appeal. Before Barbie‘s plot was revealed, there were several theories about its storylines based on leaked set photos. However, what invoked even more interest in the set photos were the outfits the characters were wearing.
A few sneak peek photos of Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling’s ensembles inspired fan-made Halloween costumes despite the film not coming out for another nine months. However, as Barbie‘s premiere date neared, Robbie took fans into Barbie’s closet via her Architectural Digest Dreamhouse tour. Now, with the film in theaters for almost a month, all the looks have been released, and some are truly unforgettable.
16 Weird Barbie’s Colorful Dress & Boots
When the official Barbie Instagram account first shared images of all the Barbies from the film, Kate McKinnon’s Weird Barbie was hard to decipher. However, the film cleared up any misconceptions about why her hair was cut off and why she had marker around her eye. McKinnon’s Weird Barbie had simply been played with too hard by her owner, and her outfit backs this up.
Stereotypical Barbie’s outfits look like they were just taken out of the box, and everything was hand-picked for her by a Mattel executive. On the other hand, Weird Barbie’s pink floral dress and yellow snake print boots look like something a child dug out of a toy box. For any child who grew up with at least one doll they neglected to take care of, Weird Barbie’s look was pretty nostalgic.
15 Midge’s Purple Maternity Dress
Midge’s purple maternity dress was a recreation of the one worn by the discontinued Midge doll. Midge was introduced in 1963 as Barbie’s friend and went on and off shelves for the next few decades. However, in 2002 Midge was officially discontinued after a pregnant Midge doll received too much backlash. Parents believed Midge looked too young to be pregnant and to have a three-year-old son already.
People also felt the Midge doll promoted teenage pregnancy, and Mattel agreed to take it off the shelves to please parents. Midge made a brief appearance in Barbie as the narrator explained a pregnant Barbie was too weird for some consumers. Still, Midge was an essential part of some kids’ childhood, so including her in the film in her purple dress was a wise decision.
14 Ken’s Denim Vest & Ken Underwear
Ken’s denim look appeared in one of the early photos released from the Barbie set about a year before the film came out. However, shirtless Ryan Gosling in a denim vest and matching jeans wasn’t even the best part. Instead, fans were fascinated by Gosling’s Ken-labeled underwear, which closely resembled Calvin Klein’s iconic briefs. About a year after the photos were released, costume designer Jacqueline Durran revealed in Vogue that Gosling was the one to come up with the idea. Allowing the actor the creative freedom to pitch such a genius detail certainly paid off.
13 Earring Magic Ken’s Purple Look
One of Mattel’s most controversial dolls was Earring Magic Ken, released in 1993. The doll was a result of a survey that found young girls wanted Ken to look cooler, but Mattel accidentally created something else. Instead of being cool, Ken’s fashion choices resembled gay culture, and writer Dan Savage joked Mattel modeled him after New York or Los Angeles rave attendees.
English actor Tom Stourton portrayed the doll in Greta Gerwig’s film with a few minor differences. Stourton’s hair wasn’t styled exactly like the doll’s, his shirt was more opaque, and the doll’s circle charm necklace was replaced with one that said Barbie. Still, seeing Earring Magic Ken come to life was one of the most comical aspects of the blockbuster film.
12 Dua Lipa’s Mermaid Barbie Look
The announcement that popstar Dua Lipa would have a role in Barbie came as a surprise. Lipa has had a busy last few years promoting her music, so it’s understandable that her cameo in Barbie was pretty quick. Still, her blue, pink, and purple Barbie looks were reminiscent of some of the colorful mermaid Barbies Mattel has released throughout the years. It’s rare Mattel only has one version of a doll on the shelves of a toy store, so Lipa’s multicolored mermaids paid homage to Mattel’s creativity. With Barbie, kids are always given options, whether it’s with her career or which color her mermaid hair and tale are.
11 Barbie’s Pink Gingham Perfect Day Dress
One of the first outfits Barbie fans saw in the film’s official trailer was Barbie’s pink gingham dress. This dress was important to the film as it’s the dress Barbie wears at the start of her perfect day when she floats off the roof and rides in her pink Corvette. It’s also one of the outfits Mattel released a doll for, so anyone who loved the dress in the film can purchase the doll version for their Barbie collection.
10 The Pink Stealing Back Barbieland Jumpsuits
Greta Gerwig is known for dressing for the theme of the film she’s directing, and Barbie was no exception. Behind-the-scenes images of Gerwig reveal her running around set in the same pink jumpsuit Barbie and the other characters wear to steal back Barbieland. The outfits are so special because it’s what the characters wear to awaken the Barbies after Ken brainwashed them with his patriarchal views. The outfits are representative of Barbie’s freedom, but they also look very cool on all the characters.
9 The I’m Just Ken All Black Ensemble
If Ken’s “I’m Just Ken” all-black ensemble looks familiar, it’s because it’s precisely what John Travolta’s character Danny Zuko wears in Grease. Earlier in the film, when Ken first arrives in the real world, he sees messages of the patriarchy everywhere. One of these messages comes from the “Greased Lightnin” scene in Grease, where Danny is dressed in all black. Ken’s outfit in “I’m Just Ken” seems to be a callback to the earlier scene because the Barbie musical number feels very reminiscent of Grease and other iconic movie musicals.
8 Barbie’s Sequin Jumpsuit
Another enviable look from Barbie is her sequin jumpsuit from her party scene. She dances with the other Barbies and Kens to Dua Lipa’s “Dance The Night” right before she announces that she’s been thinking about dying lately. The glittery jumpsuit, appearing right before Barbie mentions death, is the last moment Barbie is still a carefree doll, and it’s in stark contrast to the dark thoughts in her head. The outfit holds a lot of significance as Barbie is about to see her entire world change before her eyes.
7 Barbie’s Iconic Black & White Bathing Suit
Creating costumes for Barbie was about more than borrowing from trends and introducing iconic looks fans could recreate for Halloween. It was also about referencing significant moments in Barbie history, like the first outfit Barbie ever wore. When Barbie was released in 1959, she sported a black and white striped bathing suit with white sunglasses. Margot Robbie wears just this during the Barbie intro, and it was the perfect way to honor the original doll and her creator, Ruth Handler.
6 Allan’s 1964 Striped Outfit
Allan, later known as Alan starting in 1991, was another discontinued Mattel doll. Michael Cera’s lone Allan wears the exact striped shirt the 1964 Allan doll wore, finally giving the underappreciated doll his spotlight. Recreating looks from Barbie’s history proves how dedicated Gerwig was to the film and to honoring Mattel’s past work. The outfit was an exciting moment for anyone who owned the Allan doll and for fans who appreciate Barbie’s history.
5 Ruth Handler’s Tea Time Outfit
When Barbie escapes from the Mattel CEO’s office in the film, she finds herself in the home of Barbie creator Ruth Handler. Ruth is sitting at her kitchen table wearing a floral jacket, a blue shirt, and a set of pearls around her neck. This was a crucial detail as most photos of the real Ruth Handler show her with a set of pearls around her neck. While it’s hard to trace the character’s outfit back to an exact outfit the real Handler wore, the pearls are a beautiful Easter egg honoring the woman who started it all.
4 Ken’s Faux Fur Coat
One of Ken’s most praised and memorable fashion moments is his Faux Fur Coat that he wears at his Mojo Dojo Casa House. Ken’s look is inspired by a man he sees leaving the gym in the real world right as he’s learning that the real world is run by men. The look is so funny because it’s an assortment of pieces that Ken believes represents masculinity which is why he looks so powerful in the outfit. Mattel recently released a Ken doll wearing the fur coat look, and it will likely go on to become a popular Halloween costume as well.
3 Barbie & Ken’s Roller Blading Outfits
Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling broke the internet in 2022 when set photos showed them rollerblading through Venice Beach. The rollerblading outfits were inspired by Mattel’s Hot Skatin’ Barbie, released in 1994, but they also looked reminiscent of an 80s workout video. Barbie and Ken wear the outfits right as they arrive in the real world, and they catch a lot of attention from the California natives. The looks became so popular that Impala Skate began selling the neon roller blades on their website, so now every Barbie fan can rollerblade in style.
2 The Kenough Sweatshirt
The Kenough sweatshirt appeared on Ryan Gosling in a brief scene at the end of Barbie. However, it unexpectedly went on to become a viral social media moment. Ken wears the fleece hoodie after Barbie gives him a pep talk and lets him know that he is enough on his own, not just because he’s Barbie’s boyfriend. The pun became so beloved by moviegoers that the sweatshirt is available for preorder on the Mattel Creations website.
1 Barbie & Ken’s Western Looks
Of all the costumes unveiled in the Barbie movie, Barbie and Ken’s Western Looks remain one of the best. The looks went viral with the roller skating outfits and also inspired a slew of Halloween costumes in 2022. The outfits align with recent trends, as Harry Styles fans have been wearing similar looks to his concerts since 2021.
This could have an influence on why the internet loved the Western outfits so much. Within the context of Barbie, the outfits only become even better since they’re the first thing Barbie and Ken wear in the real world that didn’t come from Barbieland. They also act as a form of foreshadowing since Ken would later become obsessed with horses.