Top 10 most iconic Barbie dolls of the 1980s

by Rana Schenke | 15 Jul 2021

Play Through History

Barbie has always been on top of the latest fashion trends, and the ‘80s were no exception. From big hair to big shoulder pads, Barbie rocked it all. Check out this list of the most iconic Barbie dolls of the decade that truly embody the spirit of the ‘80s. 


10. Fashion Jeans Barbie



Following the designer jeans craze, Fashion Jeans Barbie of 1981 was the epitome of style with her dark-wash skinny jeans tucked into pink cowgirl boots, and her fluffy pink sweater. (Image: Mattel dealer catalog)






9. Tropical Barbie


From one of the many Barbie beach lines produced in the ‘80s, Tropical Barbie stands out with her brightly patterned swimsuit and long, two-toned blonde hair. (Image: Deluxe doll via Live Auctioneers)






8. Astronaut Barbie



More of a fantasy than a realistic depiction, Astronaut Barbie from 1985 wore a pink and silver metallic outfit with huge puffed shoulders, knee-high boots, and a clear plastic space helmet. Carol Spencer designed Astronaut Barbie’s outfit. A set of “Astro Fashions,” also designed by Spencer, were released along with the doll. The fashions featured lots of metallics, tall boots, capes, and huge ‘80s shoulders. (Image: Mattel promotional image via Fashion Doll Guide)






7. Crystal Barbie



With her holographic white dress and sparkly jewelry, Crystal Barbie was another vision of ‘80s glamour. Released in 1983, she was accompanied by Crystal Ken. Both dolls were available in Caucasian and African American versions. (Image via Pinterest)






6. Happy Holidays Barbie



The first in the Happy Holidays series, this doll was not originally planned as a collector’s item. After the doll sold out and quickly began to climb in price on the secondary market, Mattel realized there was a large (and previously untapped) market of collectors who would pay more for unique and collectible dolls. The Happy Holidays series lasted under that name until 1998, but holiday dolls have been continuously produced annually to this day. This series is one of the most, if not the most, popular Barbie doll series of all time. (Image: Mattel)


5. Western Barbie



Sold in 1980, Western Barbie had a mechanical eye that winked when a button on her back was pushed. Unfortunately, the materials used for the winking eyes did not age well, giving the dolls a very odd appearance. Western Barbie came with a stamp to stamp her signature and was available with a few different hairstyle variations. Western Ken and Skipper were also available in this line (without the winking feature), and horses were sold for each doll as well. (Image: Promotional image via Pinterest)






4. Day to Night Barbie



Barbie was a boss during the day in her pink double-breasted suit, but at night, she became the star of the party in a glamorous pink dress with a tulle skirt. Barbie carried a briefcase and a purse, and wore a white hat and two-tone pumps for her office look. A pair of pink mules was also included for the evening look, along with a host of cardboard accessories to enhance play. A reproduction of the blonde Day-to-Night doll was released in 2017. (Image: Reproduction doll, Mattel)






3. Peaches and Cream Barbie



The lovely Peaches ‘n Cream Barbie, released in 1985, wore a lovely long gown of peach chiffon with a white metallic bodice and ruffled peach stole. The look was so iconic that it was reproduced as a part of Unique Vintage’s Barbie collaboration collection and as a Funko POP! figure. Naturally, a Peaches ‘n Cream reproduction doll was released in 2009 to celebrate Barbie’s 50th anniversary. (Image: Reproduction doll, Mattel)






2. Great Shape Barbie



Fans of the Toy Story franchise will recognize the Great Shape Barbie doll’s outfit as the one worn by Barbie in the films. Although the original Great Shape Barbie didn’t have bangs, she did have a long blonde ponytail and the same cheery smile. The line included Caucasian Barbie, African American Barbie, Skipper, and Ken. Released in 1983, a direct reproduction of Great Shape Barbie has not yet been released by Mattel. Three dolls with similar looks, however, have been released along with Barbie’s appearances in the Toy Story films. (Image: Mattel dealer catalog)






1. Barbie and the Rockers



With big hair, neon colors, and wild clothes, Barbie and the Rockers is the line most emblematic of the ‘80s. Created to compete with Hasbro’s Jem line, Barbie and the Rockers had two waves of dolls (1986 and 1987) before being replaced by the Barbie and the Sensations line. Barbie’s first animated feature, “Barbie and the Rockers: Out of this World,” followed the characters from the line performing in outer space. A reproduction Barbie and the Rockers doll was released in 2009 for Barbie’s 50th anniversary, and the Rockers line was rebooted in 2017 as a Target exclusive, featuring new dolls and playsets. (Image: Reproduction doll, Mattel)








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