How to dress on theme for Homecoming: A guide to Barbenheimer fashion

By Grace Hogsten

Copy Editor

As Homecoming approaches, Washington College students are planning their outfits, making new purchases, or figuring out a new way to style what they already have in their closets.

This year, the dance is themed after Barbenheimer, the cultural phenomenon that occurred when Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie” and Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” were released on the same day.

The two films cross a broad range of aesthetics, so they can inspire lots of fantastic semi-formal outfits, whether considered separately or when combined.

According to People, Barbie has influenced fashion since her 1959 debut, and these looks have experienced a dazzling resurgence in the past year.

Barbie fashion is characterized by bright colors, specifically shades of pink, as well as dynamic fabrics with eye-catching patterns and textures like sequins, tulle, fake fur, and glitter.

Because they are inspired by children’s toys, the costumes in “Barbie” also feature exaggerated silhouettes, with full skirts and fluffy layers of fabric.

However, though we typically picture Barbie wearing a pink dress, the film offers other options too, such as rompers or matching sets. In a dance sequence that embodies every WC student’s dream for Homecoming, Sharon Rooney’s character, Lawyer Barbie, wears a sparkly gold jumpsuit that shimmers under the disco ball.

Do not feel forced to wear a pink dress to evoke the spirit of Barbie; the iconic figure can often be seen wearing a variety of styles and a rainbow of colors.

“[Barbie] doesn’t wear pink all the time…she wears a lot of pink, but if you choose a pop of color or you combine colors and you’re just bright or quite punchy, I think you can do a Barbiecore look in almost anything,” “Barbie” costume designer Jaqueline Durran said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.

Incorporating “Barbie”’s secondary promotional color, sky blue, into your outfit can be a great way to reference the film while standing out.

Matching jewelry or a carefully crafted hairstyle also add to an outfit’s doll-like charm, and can turn a regular semi-formal look into the box-ready Barbie ensemble of your dreams.

High heels are a great addition to any Barbie-themed outfit, but do not be afraid to consider your comfort — you might want to bring a pair of pink sandals to change into if your fancier shoes end up hurting your feet.

As for “Oppenheimer,” the film’s costuming is characterized by dark neutrals and sleek silhouettes that are straight out of a 1940’s workplace. When dressing for a semi-formal event, you can never go wrong with a classic power suit.

“There’s an elegance, an empowerment, and a strength about who that man has become as he walks out of his office in the totality of this outfit,” “Oppenheimer” costume designer Ellen Mirojnick said in a Vox article.

A suit or a form-fitting dress will likely be common choices to align with the other half of the dance’s theme. However, an “Oppenheimer”-inspired outfit doesn’t need to be completely comprised of the color black. Another dark neutral like forest green or maroon can break up an all-black ensemble.

Furthermore, adding a standout accessory — like Oppenheimer’s characteristic hat, which is featured prominently in the movie’s posters and other promotional materials — can be a fantastic way to make your Oppenheimer-themed outfit more interesting.

Finally, if you want to take your ensemble to the next level, you can combine the opposite aesthetics of “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” into one dynamic outfit.

One way to pull off a Barbenheimer look is to wear an article of clothing with bright colors and a sleek silhouette; the classic style and cut of the outfit will let the eye-catching colors take the stage.

Another way to embody the theme is to compose a monochromatic black outfit with a dramatic silhouette or a novel texture, especially a glittery sequined fabric.

As you decide what to wear to Homecoming, let your creativity and personal style take the lead. Take the theme as a chance to wear something you know you love, or to experiment with something new. Either way, you will find an outfit to help you look and feel your best on the dance floor.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Photo Caption: Greta Gerwig’s film “Barbie” offers plenty of outfit options inspired by the classic doll.

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