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Lately there’s been a surge in aesthetic trends with the suffix “core” on TikTok, such as cottagecore, gorpcore, bikercore, auntiecore, clowncore, workcore, kidcore and Y2Kcore. One of the “trendcores” that caught my interest is “bimbocore,” a micro-trend characterized by bubbly and girlish fashion elements like hot pink clothes, bling accessories and bodycon dresses (think Barbie).
According to Collins Online Dictionary, bimbo refers to “an attractive but empty-headed young woman” a.k.a. a “dumb blonde.” This term that has long held negative connotations is undergoing a major update as more Gen Z reclaim the word and link it to embracing femininity and going extra to freely express yourself regardless of the male gaze.
Some wear bimbocore-style clothing to challenge stereotypes, while others simply love the aesthetics of this trend. All in all, bimbocore is a culturally interesting and aesthetically pleasing trend that’s worth looking into.
Here’s a list of pop culture icons whose fashion styles help fuel the bimbocore trend. Maybe you’ll get fashion inspiration from them too!
Marilyn Monroe in the movie Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)
“You wouldn’t marry a girl just because she’s pretty, but my goodness, doesn’t it help?”
— Lorelei Lee from “Gentleman Prefer Blondes”
Blonde, Netflix’s upcoming biopic on Marilyn Monroe, focuses on the turbulent life of the Hollywood star. One of Monroe’s best known fashion moments was during her rendition of the song Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend in the musical comedy Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.
Portraying gold digger Lorelei Lee, Monroe is dressed in a strapless fuchsia satin gown cinched at the waist with an exaggerated bow at the back. Besides wearing long gloves, she’s accessorized in plenty of bling including a bedazzled choker, cuffs and drop earrings, all complemented by her signature curly blonde hair and bold red lips. The rest of the female dancers wear floor-sweeping pink tulle ball gowns, ballerina shoes and top knot buns furnished with pink bouquet.
The scene has inspired many entertainers since, including Madonna for her song Material Girl (1984) and Britney Spear’s song Lucky (2000).
Mattel’s fashion doll Barbie (1959)
“I’m a blond bimbo girl in a fantasy world. Dress me up, make me tight, I’m your dolly.”
— “Barbie Girl” by Aqua
The first live-action movie based on Mattel’s famous fashion doll is set to release on July 21, 2023, with actress Margot Robbie as Barbie. Arguably the world’s most popular and profitable doll, Barbie was created in 1959 by Ruth Handler, the then president of toy manufacturer Mattel. The Barbie doll was based on a German doll named Bild Lilli.
The OG Barbie doll wore a shoulder-baring one-piece swimsuit with black and white stripes, white cat-eye sunnies with blue lenses, black heeled sandals and gold hoop earrings. Its hair and makeup also reflected aesthetics of that era: a curly ponytail, arched brows, black eyeliner, blue and white eye shadow, apple red cheeks, red lips and red nail polish.
In the music video for Barbie Girl (1997) by Danish dance-pop group Aqua, lead singer Lene Nystrøm portrays Barbie as a fun-loving girl in floral headpieces, neon clothing and bright eye shadows. The song became a pop culture sensation, though it has been subject to controversy due to the lyric’s sexual connotations.
Katharine Ross and Nicole Kidman in two movie versions of The Stepford Wives (1975/2004)
“All the women around here are perfect sex-kitten bimbos… Doesn’t that seem strange?”
— Bobbie Markowitz from the 2004 “The Stepford Wives”
Upcoming psychological horror film Don’t Worry Darling, to release on September 23, 2022, boasts a story premise similar to Ira Levin’s satiric dystopian novel The Stepford Wives (1972). The novel’s protagonist Joanna Eberhart serves as an evergreen reminder to pursue your dreams and follow your own will.
There are two film adaptations of the book, one led by Katharine Ross in 1975 and another by Nicole Kidman in 2004. In both films, the brainwashed Stepford wives exude 1950s glam in floppy hats, printed pastel sundresses and heeled sandals even when shopping for groceries.
Pamela Anderson in the TV series Baywatch (1992-1997)
“Don’t call me ‘babe’.”
— C.J. Parker from “Baywatch”
The recent Hulu drama Pam & Tommy has rekindled interest in the TV drama Baywatch, where Pamela Anderson played the role of the skilled and sexy lifeguard C.J. Parker. Her uniform, a red one-piece swimsuit with a high leg cut and bare back, was inspired by those worn by lifeguards in Southern California.
Reese Witherspoon in the movie Legally Blonde (2001)
“There’s nothing I love better than a dumb blonde with Daddy’s plastic.”
— Boutique saleswoman from “Legally Blonde”
Legally Blonde is an uplifting comedy that tells the story of Elle Woods, a fashion merchandizing student who enrolls in Harvard Law School in an attempt to win her ex-boyfriend back. Life at an Ivy League institution doesn’t dampen Elle’s flamboyant wardrobe of flouncy tie-dye dresses, sequined bikinis, skinny camisoles, bodycon dresses, berets, mohair cardigans and fluffy jackets, in mostly pink or blue. She also has a chihuahua named Bruiser Woods dressed in pink.
Amanda Seyfried in the movie Mean Girls (2004)
“On Wednesdays we wear pink.”
— Karen Smith from “Mean Girls”
Amanda Seyfried, who plays businesswoman-turned-fraudster Elizabeth Holmes in the Hulu TV drama The Dropout, looked very different in her 2004 debut feature Mean Girls, in which she plays the pretty and simple-minded Karen Smith. The epitome of “dumb blonde,” Karen is bad at sports and often clueless. She’s nonetheless one of the most memorable and beloved blonde characters of teen movie history. Like all members of the Plastics, Karen wears pink on Wednesdays. One of her stand-out outfits is her Halloween party costume consisting of a black ruffled babydoll mini dress with silver ribbon waist tie, along with a fluffy mouse ear headband and tasselled hoop earrings.
Paris Hilton in the song Nothing in This World (2006)
“I’m not a dumb blonde. I’m just really good at pretending to be one.”
— Paris Hilton
As the great-granddaughter of Hilton Hotels founder Conrad Hilton, Paris Hilton is unafraid to go extra with sexy pink dresses, Juicy Couture tracksuits, rhinestone-studded pieces and oversized sunnies. Like Elle Woods, the heiress also has a chihuahua named Diamond. Paris started off as a socialite but eventually cultivated her own career through the entertainment industry and various endorsements.
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