Were the beloved big-eyed Bratz dolls and their “passion for fashion” ahead of their time?
One YouTuber got the answer to that question when she dressed like four different Bratz dolls over four days. Beauty and style vlogger Safiya Nygaard was nine when Jade, Cloe, Yasmin, and Sasha first gave Barbie a run for her money in 2001. “I found myself loving the Bratz’s clothes…I figured, by trying this experiment, I would both be fulfilling a childhood dream of dressing like a Bratz doll and also opening a time capsule into over the top early 2000s fashion,” Nygaard said in the beginning of the video.
She chose versions of the four original ladies, and challenged herself to hunt down life-size imitations of their outfits, and recreate their hair and makeup.
The first was “gen 1 Yasmin.” The outfit consisted of purple “velour-ish velvet” tube top, a pair of white jeans with orange embellishments at the bottom, purple platform shoes, a woven backpack, and a brown bandana headband. While strutting her stuff in this hard to miss hippy outfit, Nygaard explained that the outfit was not easy to put together, but did ring true to the early 2000s, resembling the type of outfit she wanted to wear but wasn’t allowed to.
She also pointed out that the doll makers might not have been the most fashion savvy. They described Yasmin as bohemian, but to Nygaard, it was much more 2000s hip-hop, like Jennifer Lopez in the “Jenny From the Block” music video or “generally like MTV 2001.”
Overall, the outfit was fun but “mildly uncomfortable” because the tube top and pants required a lot of “adjusting on the go” and “the platform shoes were kind of like miniature stilts.”
Next was Cloe from the Xpress It collection. “I think the Xpress It collection is basically just a funky fashion collection with most of the girls just wearing contemporary clothing in like warm tones,” she pointed out of Cloe’s sparkly skinny scarf, orange tank top, denim maxi skirt with a lace inset, bedazzled red belt, cowboy boots, and red and brown purse. In fact, Nygaard felt it was more in line with the bohemian style the toymakers assigned Yasmin. And while she noted that peasant tops and denim skirts were popular during this time, this outfit turned out to be folksier than she remembered Bratz dolls being. She compared it to Phoebe Buffay, and noted that the “boho-chic” term was apparently coined in 2002.
Thanks to the non-platform cowboy boots, this outfit, which required some DIY-ing and secondhand shopping, was one of the more comfortable ones. The cowboy boots also got her a bunch of compliments. “People have actually been like, ‘I like your boots.’ Maybe that’s them kind of being like, ‘not the rest of the outfit though,’” she said.
The third outfit was Sasha’s somewhat ridiculous Winter Wonderland look. It included a blue faux fur hat, blue sunglasses, a green turtleneck with a sparkly snowflake, a white vest, a blue-sequined belt, a green messenger bag, jeans, blue faux fur legwarmers and white platform boots. Nygaard and her team headed to a ski resort to re-enact the Bratz Winter Wonderland commercial in which Sasha is sledding. “I feel a little bit less like Shaun White, and a little bit more like if Paris Hilton had like done The Simple Life at like a ski lodge,” she remarked.
While colored fur and pastel Uggs were once all the rage, the pieces don’t seem to hold up: “I’m pretty sure the people working on the mountain thought I was insane.”
Last was Spring Fling Jade. The outfit included a yellow-glittery newsboy cap, a purple faux fur jacket, a yellow tank top with the word “chick” on it, a bedazzled yellow belt, dark flared jeans, silver platform shoes, and a blue spherical-beaded handbag. “I never owned anything quite like this,” she said. “But I did have a cap or two and I think everyone had a bedazzled T-shirt — I’m pretty sure that was just a right of passage.” She compared it to the bedazzled Bebe shirts of yesteryear.
“I think this ended up being my favorite outfit because of the giant, purple and fuzzy jacket — it surprisingly had some swagger to it,” she admitted.
In the end, she concluded that the shoes were the most unrealistic part of the Bratz style, and that the clothing is mostly past its prime. But, their irreverent vibes and bold makeup couldn’t be more current. She proved her point by placing a photo of Kylie Jenner next to a picture of a Bratz doll. And the resemblance is real: the Bratz dolls’ puffy lips, oversized eyes, and airbrushed skin might have been two decades ahead of its time.
Nygaard summed her experiment up nicely: “I think if Instagram existed in 2001, the Bratz would definitely be influencers. They’d be Fashion Nova babes.”
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