Re-Styled: Advice from an Expert Stylist: How Merchandisers Should Handle Barbiecore (And Other Microtrends)
Retail Trends
January 10, 2024

Re-Styled: Advice from an Expert Stylist: How Merchandisers Should Handle Barbiecore (And Other Microtrends)

Update: January 10, 2024

The Barbie Movie may not have swept the recent Golden Globes, but the power of pink shows no signs of slowing down. Nor do retail micro trends. These specialized categories highlight everything from camping to coastal grandmother, mermaids to old money. If you’re looking to capitalize on the next micro trend to increase basket size and margins, while reducing returns, this article is as relevant as ever.

Are you a retailer trying to keep up with inventory demands of the Barbiecore trend that’s been everywhere for months? With these microtrends on the rise, and retailers struggling to manage unpredictable surges in purchase behavior as a result, we put together some expert strategies that will help you lean into these specialized categories and increase basket size and margins.

What is a Microtrend?

Microtrends are “of the moment” fashion movements that gain popularity among a niche audience. These trends often emerge from sources like street fashion, subcultures, social media, celebrity influence, or movies (like The Barbie Movie), and offer a unique way to express and experiment with one’s personal style.

Barbiecore outfit 2 by Stylitics core outfitting solution

What is Barbiecore?

Barbiecore has sparked excitement surrounding the upcoming release of the Barbie movie. Shades of pink, fuchsia, and magenta highlighted with pastels and easter egg hues are all associated with the doll who has been a part of popular culture since 1959.

Key Items: Think of what Barbie would wear – we have seen her in halter tops, mini skirts, bodycon dresses, oversized jackets, crop tops, skirt sets, high heels, high top sneakers, leg warmers, and hair accessories.

Novelty: Opt for costume or theme-inspired looks without going too obvious. Think plastic accessories and jewelry, with novelty shapes like hearts, stars and rainbows. Neon hues. Top it all off by adding a “decade aesthetic” (i.e. 70s Barbie with bell bottoms and a wide lapel top, or 80s Barbie with roller skates and leg warmers).

Barbiecore is all about feeling like a dolled-up version of yourself. While it’s not necessarily a timeless trend, it offers a range of colors and silhouettes that work for many different kinds of demographics. If a certain clientele is not on board with this over-the-top way of dressing, make the microtrend work for her by introducing one pattern or bright color. Even the most traditional and conservative shoppers can appreciate accessorizing with a pop of pink.

Barbiecore outfit 3 by Stylitics core outfitting solution

Do’s and Don’ts for Microtrends

Here are some of the Dos and Don’ts for capitalizing on Barbiecore and other microtrends: 

DO Highlight Key Complimentary Products

Many merchants may rush into restocking the key items from a trend. However, if you rush to purchase more pink products, it’s unlikely that they’ll arrive before the trend fades — leaving you with overstocked inventory. Instead, use product placement, outfitting technology, and marketing channels to highlight key complimentary items. For example, white jeans are commonly paired with pink tops, creating a fashionable combination that aligns perfectly with the Barbiecore aesthetic. This approach allows retailers to make the most of their existing inventory while meeting the demand for associated items.

DON’T Rely Too Heavily on Microtrends

Retailers facing the challenges of microtrends like Barbiecore must understand their temporary nature and adapt their strategies accordingly. As the old adage goes “don’t put all your eggs in your Barbie Dream House refrigerator.” Understanding that microtrends disappear as quickly as they start allows merchants to lean into the trend while being cautious of not overinvesting in specific items, spending too many marketing dollars, or focusing too many internal resources on such over too soon sales cycles.


DO Stay Consistent with Your Branding

It’s easy to get caught up in the fun of Barbiecore, but don’t get lost in the aesthetic. Focus only on the trends that are inline with your brand and your products. Customers crave consistency. In other words, make the microtrend work for you and move on. 

DON’T Forget Who Your Core Customer Is

You shopper is still the most important part of what you do. Make sure that the microtrends not only work for your brand and your product, but also speak to your customer. For example, your customer might be a chic mom who loves her oxford shirts and black loafers, but wants to play with some added pink. Or, they may be shopping for their child’s back to school wardrobe and want to incorporate some Barbie-inspired colors and textures. Retailers for each type of customer can show the right combinations of products for the perfect outfit for the shopper. 

Customer experience is still king. Focus on providing the best shopping experience and only lean into a microtrend if it inspires and excites.

Barbiecore is a fun aesthetic that is having its moment. Enjoy it while it’s here, but don’t be afraid to skip this microtrend if it doesn’t make sense for your brand. 

Personally, I love the trend. Colors have the potential to have an incredible impact on mood and energy. By incorporating the Barbie color palette into your summer wardrobe (and beyond), you’re more likely to open up your closet with a smile on your face. And isn’t that what dressing up is all about?

Barbiecore outfit 5 by Stylitics core outfitting solution

Our Stylitics experienced retail and stylist teams have worked with top global brands. They partner with our tech and product teams to research and track metrics on consumer trends, influences on retail, product trends and visual merchandising solutions. Their expertise guides the rules for machine learning and automation that drives our outfitting and bundling solutions.

Want to learn more about how Stylitics’ automation driven outfitting technology can help you with your microtrend strategies? Schedule a demo.