Style Points is a weekly column about how fashion intersects with the wider world.
When this spring’s Met Gala, with its theme of “gilded glamour,” collided with the leaked draft of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling, there was plenty of talk about the cognitive dissonance of the two events—celebrities preening in couture while the rollback of abortion rights loomed. But, of course, the timing was just an unfortunate coincidence, not a manifestation of some kind of post-Roe mindset in fashion.
More jarring might be the way that since then, fashion—in the wake of a new, more circumscribed world for women—has accelerated the rise of a new (old) archetype: the bimbo. On TikTok, self-described followers of the trend congregate on #BimboTok, engaging in “Math is Hard” Barbie cosplay in a repudiation of the girlboss. Onscreen, there’s a sudden prevalence of projects like Peacock’s Angelyne, Hulu’s Pam & Tommy, and, coming up, Greta Gerwig’s much-ballyhooed Barbie, which, if the paparazzi pictures are anything to go on, will include a lot of pink matching sets.
On certain corners of Instagram, Anna Nicole Smith and aughts-era Paris Hilton are held up as avatars. And on red carpets, celebrities are opting for a style that’s been dubbed “Barbiecore” (think: Anne Hathaway’s hot pink look at Valentino couture, Kim Kardashian’s monochrome bubblegum ensemble, or Megan Fox’s abbreviated outfit from the premiere of Machine Gun Kelly’s documentary (titled—what else?—Life in Pink). The hallmarks of the look, beyond lots of pink, are exposed midriffs, sparkly mini bags, and elephantine platforms that evoke Barbie’s credo of “accessories sold separately.” If femininity is a performance, these women are doing it with jazz hands.
When our bodily