The Fashion Evolution of Barbie

barbie fashion outfits evolution history
credit: Depositphotos.com

In the last 67 years, Barbie has rocked nearly every outfit, fashion trend, uniform, and designer imaginable.

Since first making her debut in 1959, Barbie has quickly become a style icon — and an accomplished one at that! After all, who else can say they’ve been an astronaut, a doctor, and the president?

In honor of Greta Gerwig’s high-anticipated and super campy movie Barbie — coming out July 21, 2023 — let’s get nostalgic and look back at our favorite doll’s incredible fashion evolution.

sources: Barbie Wiki, Doll Scroll, Susan Dolls, Mattel

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1959, Original Barbie

In 1959, Barbie officially made her debut wearing this super cute black and white stripe strapless knit swimsuit. She finished off her look with white cat-eye sunglasses and black sandals.

1959, ‘Wedding Day Set’ Barbie

Barbie’s first wedding gown was such a classic! The white, floral-embroidered satin, tulle, and lace gown came complete with white open-toed pumps, a faux pearl veil, white gloves, a floral garter belt, and a lace-wrapped bouquet.

1960, ‘Busy Gal’ Barbie

It’s 1960 and Barbie is on a mission! Hoping to become a fashion designer, Barbie wore a chic red suit, a red stripe bow blouse, black cat-eye glasses, a navy blue hat, and gold hoop earrings. She also came prepared with her portfolio and two fashion sketches.

1960, ‘Solo in the Spotlight’ Barbie

Barbie was all about showing off that body! Ready to take the stage, Barbie wore a black strapless sequin form-fitting gown with a tulle hem. She completed her look with a four-strand faux pearl necklace and black gloves.

1961, ‘Registered Nurse’ Barbie

Barbie has had *many* jobs over the years but one of her first was as a registered nurse. As part of her uniform, Barbie wore a fitted white midi dress, a navy cape with red lining, black cat-eye glasses, and a white hat. She also came complete with a diploma that she can’t wait to show off!

1962, ‘Enchanted Evening’ Barbie

By 1962, Barbie was ready to modernize with a brand new haircut — a “bubble cut” reportedly inspired by Jackie Kennedy. Her looks remained timeless as she dressed in a light pink strapless satin gown with pink rose appliques. She completed the outfit with a white faux fur stole and a faux fur choker necklace.

1962, ‘After 5’ Barbie

Once Barbie was finally off work, she wore this gorgeous black, double-breasted contrast fit-and-flare dress, complete with a matching white hat, white gloves, and black sandals.

1965, ‘Campus Sweetheart’ Barbie

In addition to her many, many jobs, Barbie was also a college student. When attending the Valentine’s Dance, she wore a strapless gown with a white satin bodice and a large red tulle and satin skirt. You’ll also notice Barbie’s updated hairdo — a chic bob with bangs.

1968, Christie

In 1968, Mattel debuted its first Black Barbie — aka Christie. She looked stunning in a red, cold-shoulder, slit midi dress with a gold embellished neckline.

1971, Malibu Barbie

Malibu Barbie officially made her debut in 1971, along with her friends Malibu Christie and Malibu P.J. Barbie herself wore a simple, high-neck blue one-piece swimsuit while Christie rocked a red halter one-piece and PJ wore a pink halter one-piece swimsuit.

1977, ‘Superstar’ Barbie

The iconic Superstar Barbie wore her signature hot pink from head to toe. Her outfit consisted of a pink satin sleeveless gown, a pink boa, pink pumps, a necklace, and faux diamond earrings. She also rocked big, voluminous wavy hair, fit for a star.

1984, ‘Peaches N Cream’ Barbie

Perhaps one of the most beloved Barbies of the 1980s, Peaches ‘N Cream definitely lived up to her name. She wore a beautiful peach chiffon gown with a ruffle hem paired with a peach chiffon stole.

1985, Barbie and the Rockers

Barbie has come a long way since her days singing solo in the black sequin gown! In 1985, Barbie was ready to rock on in a pink sequin blazer, a mini skirt, and hot pink leg warmers. And, of course, she rocked some seriously big hair!

2000, ‘Hip 2 Be Square’ Barbie

Hip 2 Be Square Barbie was the epitome of early aughts fashion. The pink cutout mini dress is giving us *major* influencer vibes.

2000, Barbie For President

Barbie first ran for president in 1991, but her look was more beauty pageant than presidential candidate. Her 2000 look, however? Well, we can’t help but notice she happens to look *a lot* like Hilary Clinton. Either way, the blue skirt suit is a huge update.

2003, 45th Anniversary Barbie By Bob Mackie

Bob Mackie designed several dresses for Barbie over the years but the gown he designed in honor of Barbie’s 45th anniversary was absolutely one of the most memorable. The black metallic couture gown featured black and white swirl accents and a strapless bodice.

2009, ‘Then And Now 1959-2009 50th Anniversary Bathing Suit’ Barbie

In celebration of Barbie’s 50th anniversary, Mattel updated Barb’s original swimsuit into a two-piece bikini consisting of a striped halter bikini top with pink trim and a stiped, bow-adorned ruffle bikini bottom.

2013, ‘The Blonds Blond Gold’ Barbie

Talk about sex appeal! Designed by The Blonds, the Blond Gold Barbie featured a gold chain corset dress, gold spikey cuffs, and gold dangle earrings. Her false lashes and flowing wavy hair really take this look over the top.

2014, Barbie Entreprenuer

Always the businesswoman, 2014 Barbie was ready to take the world by storm! The asymmetric pink and black midi dress’ silhouette certainly bares a resemblance to that of her 1960 ‘Busy Gal’ look, but updated to include a smartphone, a briefcase, and a sleek ponytail.

2016, ‘Sweetheart Stripes’ Barbie

In response to the growing backlash against Barbie’s unrealistic body standards, Mattel expanded its line to include petite, tall, and curvy body types. The Barbies were also dubbed “Fashionistas” and included this curvy Barbie that rocked blue hair, a black and white stripe mesh peplum top, and a contrast stitched denim mini skirt.

2016, ‘Oscar de la Renta Bride’ Barbie

Although many designers have created looks for Barbie over the years, Oscar de la Renta become the very first back in 1985. Yet it’s his 2016 bridal gown that really caught our eye. The dress was a far cry from Barbie’s original 1958 gown and featured a strapless embroidered lace bodice with voluminous blue tulle flowing out the back.

2022, Today’s Barbie

Mattel has continued to expand its Barbie collection to portray a variety of body types, including the Barbie above, who rocks pink hair, a purple asymmetric puff-sleeve floral mini dress, and a purple prosthetic leg.

Lena Finkel
Lena Finkel is the Editor and Founder of Femestella. Prior to starting Femestella, she worked at People, InStyle, Tiger Beat, and Sesame Workshop (aka Sesame Street). She loves all things Real Housewives and Vanderpump Rules. When she's not busy binge-watching TV, you can find her hanging out with her tuxedo cat Tom.