As an '80s kid, nothing was more exciting than getting a Barbie for your birthday or Xmas. Barbie was the absolute bomb! Gathering together a short list of Barbie babes from the '80s for this post was actually a little bit exhausting. I had no idea just how many different Barbie dolls were pumped out by Mattel after the first one in 1959. And that's before you even start looking at Barbie's beau-hunk Ken, her friends, her sisters & cousins, her horses, her dogs... she even had a frigging parrot FFS! How do you even start to whittle that list down to a Top 10 (+1)?
I decided to play things safe, and go with the Barbie dolls that I had, or remember my friends having. I can't believe how many of these I did actually have as a kid. My folks were pretty rad & obviously mailed my letters to Santa on time every year. I also think I might've inherited my big sister's Barbie collection when she grew weary of them - the perks of being the youngest. So I guess this list hinges on my being a typical kid...
#10. Peaches & Cream Barbie (1984)
I didn't have a Peaches & Cream Barbie, but I'm almost positive one of my school friends did. She's very familiar to me, without making me terribly nostalgic.
She was clothed in this HUGE-ASS peach ballgown that was very elegant indeed. A classy Barbie for sure, not that there were too many skanky ho Barbies, so you know, perspective. She actually looked like those dollies you'd put over the toilet roll if you were living in one of those impossibly kitsch environments. Poor you if this was your reality.
#9. Happy Birthday Barbie (1983)
Check. Out. The. Mullet.
That is some crazy girl hair right there! She puts Billy Ray Cyrus to shame! I have this great vision of a Mattel designer getting fired after approving Happy Birthday Barbie for the assembly line, with a full headed mullet.
Despite the horror of the hair, I really loved her dress of a layered bodice that was quite popular at the time - usually paired with some sort of terry-towelling item. Barbie chose something a bit more sophisticated and paired hers with a skirt of thin, sparkly mesh layers with floral features. Barbie was always so in vogue.
But that hair though?! Jiminy Cricket!
#8. Crystal Barbie (1983)
The thing I remember most about Crystal was her accessories. She had a fair bit of bling going on back in the day. Ken must've been getting pretty fresh with Barbie in 1983 - wooing her with gifts of expensive jewels, hoping to get in to her satin pants.
Crystal Barbie's gown was quite elaborate too. An evening dress paired with a large shawley-drapey-poofferey kind of thing. Crystal Barbie had great hair, Happy Birthday Barbie should've asked Crystal for styling tips - maybe then she wouldn't have ended up with that mullet mop. You live & learn I guess, even when you're Barbie.
#7. Day To Night Barbie (1984)
Well look at Day To Night Barbie 'having it all'! What a great role model for the next generation of empowered women.
Proving to young girls everywhere that you can stride confidently into the office with your briefcase & dress hat, then slip into the ladies at knock-off time & frock up for a night out on the town.
I'd love to know what's in that little purse of hers... we all know how loose Barbie gets with a margarita or 6 under her pink belt.
#6. Dream Glow Barbie (1985)
Woahh! A glow-in-the-dark Barbie?! What kind of Barbie sorcery is this!?! It's a shame the world never caught on to Barbie's glow in the dark style... that would've been a great '80s fashion fad! I guess she was just a bit too ahead of her time for 1985.
And check out Ken getting in on the iridescent look with his dapper, glowing waistcoat. With her two favourite accessories - her parasol & Ken (both of which are glowing alongside her), I think Barbie is up for a big night indeed.
#5. Twirly Curls Barbie (1982)
Did anyone else have Twirly Curls Barbie?! This was such an exciting development in the world of Barbie.
You would put her hair into the little clips & press the gun repeatedly to twist her hair into a fabulous curled 'do. And the best part? Once you'd done Barbie's hair you could get stuck into doing your own! WINNING!
#4. Dream Date Barbie (1982)
Well ooh la la! How swanky was Dream Date Barbie?!
This has got to be one of the most elegant outfits Barbie had in the '80s. Her fitted sequined bodice was all sparkly & amazing, and the rest of her was swathed in luscious layers of hot pink satin with a purple trim. Sounds romantic, doesn't it? Well that's because it was. How could Ken possible look past a lady dressed in pink & purple?
I don't know about your school, but at mine, in the early '80s, pink & purple was EVERYTHING! So this Barbie ticked all of the boxes.
#3. Angel Face Barbie (1982)
Angel Face Barbie was a pretty big deal. She was decked out in an outfit that harked back to the Victorian era, but it was the accessories that came with her that made us love her even more.
This Barbie was all about personal grooming. There were more brushes & combs in her kit than your local Stefan salon, and she carried with her a cute little makeup case, with eyeshadows & lipstick. So very very chic.
#2. Golden Dream Barbie (1981)
How amazing is Golden Dream Barbie? She looks like she's heading out for a night at Studio 54, absolutely rocking that gold pantsuit with a gold-trim peplum.
What I remember most about this Barbie was how scratchy her outfit was. The material felt brittle to the touch, and she was covered in it. An itchy bodice, itchy pants, itchy peplum, & itchy long-sleeved gloves. I felt sorry for her having to wear all that itch.
I suppose she was just teaching all of us young girls that sometimes fashion makes no sense at all, and looking simply stunning sometimes comes at a price. But you do what you gotta do. Word sista!
#1. Pink & Pretty Barbie (1981)
There is no other Barbie that could possibly come close to pipping Pink & Pretty Barbie at the post for the #1 spot. She was one super stylish lady.
'80s Barbie bloody loved a nice pantsuit didn't she? Pink & Pretty was no exception with a chic pair of satin pants that could be swapped out for the matching skirt if she wasn't feeling the pant-love that particular day. She had a long, fur-trimmed peplum, and a pink fur stole. And can we all just take a moment to admire that stylish, fur-trimmed bergere hat please?
And all of this in her signature shade of soft baby pink. Her elegance is overwhelming. Pink & Pretty Barbie was definitely my favourite, and to be perfectly honest, I have a soft spot for her still.
( + 1 ) Barbie & The Rockers (1986)
I just coudn't go past Barbie and the Rockers for the +1 '80s Barbie pick. This was something a little bit special.
It was the ultimate doll band showdown. Jem & the Holograms hit the stage and Barbie rounded up her Rockers to give them a run for their money.
Between the two outfits, there was a whole lotta awesome '80s glam rock fashion going on up on those plastic stages. It was actually all quite breathtaking, and we loved every minute of this battle of the doll bands.