I don’t know how Netflix do it. One minute you are going about your day, and the next it’s 2am and you are 8 hours deep into a new series with no sign of stopping. Characters have always been a huge source of fashion inspiration for me, be it for colour, silhouettes or generally channeling the essence of their being. So when I got my teeth into Stranger Things, there was one character that captured mine and everyone else’s hearts. Of course, I am talking about Barb.
From the moment she (birefly) stepped onto our screens in her mom jeans, high collar ruffles and glasses that would make Sally Jessy Raphael jealous, Barb stuck out way before she was found covered in green slime. The perfect expression of geek chic with an uncanny resemblance to fellow style icon, Velma from Scooby-Doo, Barb could have easily been the star of the show. Never before have we seen such a small character create quite the stir, but Barb? She spoke to pretty much every (former and present) awkward teenager who struggled to fit in and find social standing in High School and brought that oh so amazing eighties nostalgia with her. I mean, was I the only one adding 80’s retro twists to my outfits weeks after finishing? I think not.
See, what everyone loves about Barb, is that she wasn’t Nancy. We all knew a Nancy, but not everyone was cool enough, thin enough or pretty enough to be a Nancy. So when her BFF Barb came on the scene and embodied the kind of awkward everywoman that most relate to, we did what every other gal would do: celebrate the hell out of her. From “In Loving memory of Barb” murals in LA to the hashtag #WeAreAllBarb, everyone got onboard to champion one of TV’s briefest known characters, and I was of course one of them in the only way I knew how: my outfit choices.
Swapping the Mom Jeans for a set of dungarees, I kept the high neck and paired with my new favourite 80’s style metal aviators from IOLLA and this season’s must-have velvet jacket from Boden. What makes me so inspired by characters is that you can almost dream up the rest of their wardrobe, rather than straight up copy what they wear scene to scene. Bringing out your inner Barb means more than just big glasses and some eighties realness, for me, it’s about feeling the character. The Barbs of this world don’t run away from their problems. The Barb’s store that shit up, move to a big city, find ‘our people’ and then turn that pain or resentment into creative magic in its many forms, full of determination to succeed. It’s hard not to embrace the power of Barb especially as she was left to be such an enigma. Even when you are donning what is a giant baby grow, there is something so powerful in embodying the strength of your favourite characters. Thanks Barb, here’s hoping your spin off is on the way!
Do you find your style changes in line with the programmes you watch? Hit me up with your awesome character recommendations! I’d love to add more to my wardrobe repertoire!