Since the original ‘Barbie’ doll was dropped in 1959, multiple editions of the popular toy have been rolled out as new styles and societal attitudes have evolved. The 1st of March marked the simultaneous release of thirty-three editions of the doll, which include three new body types, seven skin tone variations, twenty-two eye colours and twenty-four hairstyles.
To commemorate the release of the radically altered editions of the fashionable doll, Impact Style is going to guide you through the last six decades of fashion according to ‘Barbie’.
The earliest editions of Barbie, which were released in the late 50’s, were inclined to wear poodle skirts, silk neck-scarves and leather brogues. One of the most popular editions in this decade was Barbie styled in a striped monochrome one piece; this is representative of beachwear at the time.
Much like the women of the 60’s Barbie wore bold patterns, shift dresses and large geometric jewelry. To commemorate the first female astronaut, and to aid the progress in gender equality movements, an astronaut Barbie was released in 1969; she came complete with a space suit and helmet.
Transitioning into the 70’s, wide- legged flares, fluid maxi skirts and “flower power” patterns were worn by Barbie; there was even a ‘Peace and Love’ edition of the doll that came with a tan suede waist coat and round rimmed sunglasses – Woodstock style.
Big hair, fitted leggings and shoulder pads featured heavily in the 80’s editions of the Barbie doll; inspiration clearly being drawn from the famed Cyndi Lauper, Sinitta and Madonna. In addition, an Army Officer Barbie, which was approved by the Pentagon, was released in 1989 to honor the forthcoming Gulf War. This served as indication of the advances made in women’s rights; however, unanimous gender equality still remained to be seen. In 1985, the first black Barbie was released demonstrating advancements in another sociological aspect – diversity.
The 90’s Barbie, the styling of which millennials are most familiar with, resembled the characters of romantic comedy –‘Clueless’. Fitted mini-skirts, bold windbreakers and side ponytails tied with scrunches are typical of the editions released in this decade. In an attempt to lessen the divide between men and women, Mattel Inc. released a presidential candidate Barbie, who wore a coordinated skirt suit and campaign buttons. Further endeavors into improving gender equality included releasing variations of different career Barbie’s. These variations included a fire-fighter, a police officer and a doctor; all wore the attire associated with their respective careers.
Moving into the millennium, the 00’s Barbie fashioned cropped tops, cargo pants and defined highlights. In this decade, Mattel Inc. focused on more intellectual careers when developing new editions of career Barbie. The organization developed an engineering Barbie’, with a lab coat and portable laptop, to encourage their young target market to persevere in scholarly careers, as well as vocational careers.
In the midst of the 10’s, a greater emphasis has been placed on representing a wider range of body types and races. Accordingly, the release of the ‘Fashionista’ range of Barbie’s appears to be moving congruently with the times, both in fashion and society. The tall, petite and curvy versions of the doll represent a much broader spectrum of real women, whilst the variations in skin tone cover a much larger proportion of the female population in respect to race. The styling of the latest Barbie dolls appears in keeping with this decade’s fashions. Brightly dyed hairs, including bold pinks and muted lavenders, are present on certain editions of the ‘Fashionista Barbie’; typing ‘mermaid hair’ into the search bar on Instagram will demonstrate colored hair is a profoundly current trend. The highly anticipated ‘Fashionista Barbie’s’ wear structured tailoring, mesh sports dresses and vibrant textiles: just some of the styles that can be seen in the ongoing decade.
Image Credits: Barbiestyle via Instagram, Mattel Inc