The O-town Scene

March 10, 2011

The O-town Scene - Oneonta, NY

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Laygirl Fashion by Emily Popek Experiments with Barbie clothes I wouldn’t exactly call Barbie one of my key fashion inspirations, but the little plastic doll with the ample bosom certainly gave me many hours of fun pretending to be her personal stylist. I did what most little girls do with their Barbies: dress them up, style their hair and mutilate them slightly in my misguided efforts to So I was either a particularly ham- handed 7-year-old, or Mattel failed, because I found My First Barbie’s yellow and blue polyester jumpsuit to be as complex as origami. The wraps, ties and tiny Velcro and snap closures improve their looks. I still remember my first Barbie doll (My First Barbie), whose looks suffered heavily from my lack of haircutting prowess. She ended up with some sort of Mohawk/buzz cut hybrid that did not at all match her kicky wardrobe. (The chew marks on her face, courtesy of my cat, did not help her look, either.) learned, dressing Barbie was anything but child’s play. Ironically, My First Barbie was designed to be a user-friendly model, according to Kerra Davis of Dolls Magazine. Before this particular doll model came out in 1981, getting Barbie dolled up for her date with Ken could be quite an ordeal. “Barbie’s clothes were so tiny and fit 14 O-Town Scene March 10, 2011 so perfectly that getting them on and off became more a chore than a fun pastime,” Davis wrote in 2006. My First Barbie’s “shiny smooth legs” and straight arms _ as well as her versatile ward- robe _ were meant to make dressing her a breeze. was (I believe I named her Jane, for reasons I can’t explain), it didn’t stop me from attempting to design fabulous garments for her to wear. But as I soon As ghetto as this Barbie As ghetto as this Barbie was, it didn’t stop me from attempting to design fabulous garments for her. boggled my mind. More than once, I ran to my mother or older sister for help untangling the bondage-like appa- ratus poor Jane had been saddled with, thanks to my lack of manual dexterity. It wasn’t long before I tossed Jane’s ready-made garments, kicky though they were, and began experimenting with my own “designs.” Due to Barbie’s unique proportions, special efforts were required to craft clothing out of fabric scraps. Jane looked dynamite in a strapless cocktail gown that I fashioned from nothing more than a length of black synthetic silk, wrapped and wound around her to resemble a ruched sheath. (Not that I knew what either of those words meant.) I gave up playing with Barbies by the end of elementary school, but some- times I miss the days when whipping up a party dress was as easy as tying a ribbon around a scrap of fabric. Emily F. Popek’s mom refused to buy her Barbie dolls because they promoted an unrealis- tic image of female beauty. Fortunately, her grandparents disagreed. She is also assistant editor of The Daily Star.

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