Nostalgia is a look at what we loved, way back when. Teri is a journalist who enjoys writing about life and the cool stuff of yesteryear.
From the classic clothing styles of “Jackie O” to the “mod” scene of the late 1960s, Barbie Doll wore it all. Barbie Doll clothing and accessories from the 1960s mirrored the styles and fashions that young women and men wore back then, just as they did in the 1970s and 1980s. What we were wearing . . . Barbie was wearing. Whether you’re a collector, admirer, or you simply have a few items from your own childhood, you know that vintage Barbie Doll clothes are not children’s playthings; they are a statement of history.
Barbie’s “Birthday Suit”
The Mattel Toy Company introduced Barbie Doll to the world in 1959; the first Ponytail Barbie wore a black and white zebra swimsuit with gold hoop earrings, white sunglasses with blue lenses, and black open-toed high heel shoes.
Barbie’s outfits and accessories were all made by machine in Japan, but they were hand-finished by Japanese housewives who added buttons, trims, zippers, and adornments. Accessories were included with the outfits—things like tiny scissors that opened and closed, knitting needles, wooden bowls, and tiny balls of yarn and miniature "books.” The clothes were tagged with Barbie labels.
Barbie Clothes: 1959’s Original Outfits
When Barbie hit the fashion runway in early 1959, three outfits were available; Gay Parisienne (#964), Roman Holiday (#968), and Easter Parade (#971). Gay Parisienne included a “pearl” necklace and earrings, blue tulle hat, tan-colored clutch purse, real rabbit fur stole with white satin lining, long white gloves, and blue open-toed shoes.
Roman Holiday included a red straw hat, “pearl” on a chain necklace, handkerchief, comb, brass compact, purse, open-toed shoes, and black-rimmed glasses.
Easter Parade featured an apple-printed sheath dress and black coat with a hat, clutch purse, graduated “pearl” necklace and earrings, gloves, and open-toed shoes.
These outfits are rare and expensive finds for collectors, although reproductions are available.
Barbie Clothes: 1959–1964
After the first three Barbie ensembles, Mattel released more dresses and complete outfits for the “900” series. They were produced during the next few years; accessories for some outfits varied, as did the length of time outfits were available.
- Golden Girl (#911, 1959–1962); sheath dress in white and gold brocade.
- Cotton Casual (#912, 1959–1962); navy blue and white striped cotton dress with two bows on the bodice.
- Peachy Fleecy Coat (#915, 1959–1960); off-white/ecru woolen coat, brown felt hat, brown open-toed shoes, white plastic gloves, and a mustard-colored clutch purse.
- Commuter Set (#916, 1959–1960); two blouses, jacket, skirt, necklace, shoes, short white tricot gloves, red silk hat, and hatbox.
- Apple Print Sheath (#917, 1959–1960); this is the solo dress from Easter Parade.
- Cruise Stripes (#918, 1959–1962); this is the solo dress from Roman Holiday.
- Undergarments (#919, 1959–1962); girdle, half-slip, and panties in light blue tricot.
- Floral Petticoat (#921, 1959–1963); embroidered half-slip, bra, panties with a plastic comb/brush and mirror.
- Evening Splendour (#961, 1959–1964); this outfit featured the white and gold brocade dress from Golden Girl with a coat, fur and “pearl” headband, graduated “pearl” necklace and earrings, turquoise corduroy clutch purse, handkerchief, short white tricot gloves, and brown open-toed shoes.
- Barbie-Q Outfit (#962, 1959–1962); salmon-colored cotton dress with white lace trimming, white bib apron, chef’s hat, white open-toed shoes, metal and wooden cooking utensils, and a red and white checked potholder.
- Resort Set (#963, 1959–1962); red jacket with white-lined square collar, white shorts, navy and white striped top, white cotton hat, and corked sandals.
- Gay Parisienne (#964, 1959).
- Nighty Negligee Set (#965, 1959–1964); light pink, sheer nightgown with long ribbons and a rosebud attached to the bodice. A matching sheer tricot robe and pompom slippers, along with a small stuffed dog, completed the set.
- Plantation Belle (#966, 1959–1961); sheer pink and white-laced dress with a ruffled bottom, white nylon and tulle petticoat, wide-brimmed hat, straw purse, pink “pearl” necklace, earrings and bracelet, pale pink shoes, and short, white tricot gloves.
- Picnic Set (#967, 1959–1961); blue jeans, red and white-checked bodysuit shirt, wide straw hat with a red brim (complete with flowers and a frog!), woven picnic basket, fishing pole (with a multicolored fish), and corked sandals.
- Suburban Shopper (#969, 1959–1964); sundress of thick, light blue and white horizontal stripes, big round straw hat, fruit basket tote bag, white open-toed shoes, chain necklace with a single “pearl,” and a pink “dial” telephone.
- Sweet Dreams (#973, 1959–1963); baby doll pajamas with matching panties in either pale yellow or pale pink. The set included an alarm clock, hair ribbon, pompom slippers, wax apple, and a “diary.”
- Roman Holiday (#968, 1959).
- Easter Parade (#971, 1959).
- Wedding Day Set (#972, 1959–1962); this long-sleeved gown was made of silver-glittered white satin. It had a long flowing train, flower-printed tulle, satin underskirt with tulle edging, and a white tulle veil edged with “pearls.” Accessories included short white tricot gloves, cloth flower bouquet with long ribbons, open-toed shoes, and a blue garter.
- Winter Holiday (#975, 1959–1963); black-footed stretch pants with a blue, black and white horizontally striped hooded top, a white “leather” coat with red lining, short red vinyl gloves, cork wedge shoes with white straps, and a red and black plaid vinyl travel bag.
- Sweater Girl (#976, 1959–1962); orange knit sleeveless shell, long-sleeved sweater, and gray flannel skirt. A miniature pair of scissors, bowl of yarn and knitting needles, and a “how to knit” book accompanied the outfit.
Barbie Clothes: 1960–1964
- Silken Flame (#977, 1960–1964); strapless “sweetheart” dress with a red velvet bodice and white satin skirt. A gold belt with matching purse and open-toed shoes completed the outfit.
- Let’s Dance (#978, 1960–1962); medium blue full-skirt dress with white floral print and a wide blue sash. The back was cut low with a tie at the nape of the neck. Black open-toed shoes, a white clutch purse, and a chain “pearl” drop necklace were included.
- Friday Night Date (#979, 1960–1964); corduroy power blue jumper with felt appliqués on the skirt and a white cotton blouse-petticoat. Black open-toed shoes, a Barbie serving tray, and two drink glasses with straws and “fizz” completed the ensemble.
- Busy Gal (#981, 1960–1961); vertical red and white pinstriped bodysuit blouse, red linen two-piece suit with a thin navy blue belt, navy blue open-crown hat, navy open-toed shoes and accessories of black sunglasses and a Barbie, Fashion Designer portfolio complete with sketches.
- Solo in the Spotlight (#982, 1960–1964); “mermaid-like” long, black glittery dress with a thickly laid tulle bottom which held a red satin rose. A pink chiffon scarf, four-strand “crystal” bead necklace, long black tricot gloves, open-toed shoes, and a silver microphone completed the set.
- Enchanted Evening (#983,1960–1963); pale pink tight-fitting satin gown with a wide, long train and either a cloth rose or sequins at the waist. Included with the outfit: a white rabbit fur stole, clear open-toed shoes with gold glitter, long white tricot gloves, a pink “pearl” choker, and matching earrings.
Barbie Clothes: 1961–1965
- American Airlines Stewardess (#984, 1961–1964); navy blue straight-lined suit with metal “wings,” a white bodysuit blouse, blue hat with the American Airlines insignia, and a zippered flight bag with the company’s logo. The outfit included black open-toed shoes and a black plastic shoulder bag.
- Open Road (#985, 1961–1962); slim black, gray, and red-striped pants; short-sleeved white knitted sweater; khaki coat with “toggle” buttons; straw hat with a red band and attached red chiffon scarf; red sunglasses with blue lenses; red strapped corked wedge sandals; and a road map.
- Sheath Sensation (#986, 1961–1964); slim red dress with short capped sleeves, short white gloves, wide-brim hat, and open-toed shoes.
- Orange Blossom (#987, 1961–1964); medium yellow sheath with sheer lacy over-dress. The ensemble included a yellow tulle hat, short white tricot gloves, white open-toed shoes, and a “flower” bouquet with white and yellow ribbons.
- Singing in the Shower (#988, 1961–1962); yellow monogrammed terry bathrobe complete with slippers and accessories of a blue bath towel and washcloth, powder puff, bar “soap” and sponge brush, an (empty) gold talcum powder box, and blue shower cap.
- Ballerina (#989), 1961–1965); black leotard and tights with a silver lamé and white tulle tutu, white ballet shoes with their own pink satin carrying bag, silver tiara, and a paper ballet program.
- Registered Nurse (#991, 1961–1964); white nurse’s high-collared uniform dress with a fitted waist and an attached metal nursing pin. The outfit included a navy cape with red lining, white nurse’s cap with black trim, black eyeglasses, white open-toed shoes and accessories of a red rubber hot water bottle, an orange plastic “medicine” bottle, and a metal spoon.
Also in 1961 . . .
Mattel released packages of Barbie Doll accessories that would allow children to replace lost items. Pack #923 included shoes, gloves, hoop earrings, eyeglasses, a straw tote bag, “pearl” necklaces, and a coral-colored strapless swimsuit. Nine outfits for Ken Doll (released in 1961) also came out that year.
© 2011 Teri Silver