Tuesday, December 9, 2014


A while back, I went to hang out with my friends Elisha and Kane, and found their living room had been completely taken over by large cardboard boxes. I'm incredibly nosy, so I asked what the heck, and it turns out that all those boxes were filled with new, still-in-the-box Barbie dolls from the eighties up to today. Barbie dolls! My friends had all the Barbie dolls I'd had as a kid, neatly stacked and in pristine condition, smiling blankly from inside their boxes. Turns out, my friends made a huge score on over 1,000 Barbies, and were selling them one by one in their Ebay shop. I might have passed out from excitement, I honestly don't remember. They had Peaches and Cream Barbie, you guys! Peaches and Freaking Cream! I received her as a gift for my 6th birthday, and managed to turn her into a charred husk of a doll with frizzy hair and hand-drawn Sharpie tattoos within minutes, but man, I loved that gorgeous thing.

I found myself fascinated by all these dolls, and gladly stuck around to help my friends sort, remove price tags, and dust them. I felt like I owed Barbie something, since she introduced me to fashion. Doesn't it always start with Barbie? Sure, she could be a little heavy-handed with the pink and the ruffles, but she was always glamorous to me. Barbie could do anything! She was a doctor, a pilot, an astronaut, and a...sitter-on of plastic, blow-up furniture.

As I sorted through the dolls, I started to get the feeling that the Barbie creative team began to run out of good ideas right around 1991. Sit in Style Barbie? Really? She sits, but only in that strange, straight-legged way that Barbies sit. I suppose you can't make every Barbie into an astronaut, but some of the dolls that made it into production were simply puzzling to me. For instance, there's Caboodles Barbie.

She's just a Barbie with a makeup case and some makeup. Don't get me wrong, I loved Caboodles in the 90's just like everyone else, but did they really need to make a Barbie for the brand? Then there are Share a Smile Barbie and Pretty Hearts Barbie.


What makes these Barbies special? They have designs on their shirts! Impressive! I imagine that in some alternate universe, there are annual Barbie reunions, and while everyone is flocking over to Doctor Barbie and Scarlet O'Hara Barbie, poor Share a Smile Barbie and Pretty Hearts Barbie are standing alone in the corner, drinking spiked punch and talking crap about everyone else. Maybe Air Force Barbie comes up to them and introduces herself. "Hi, I'm Air Force Barbie, and I serve my country! What do you do?" Pretty Hearts takes a drag on a cigarette and blows the smoke into Air Force's face and says, "I'm Pretty Hearts Barbie, and I got freaking hearts on my shirt." It doesn't seem fair, does it?

Some dolls are just strange, like the soft-bodied Slumber Party Barbie who is imprisoned in a plastic take-along tote. She may be smiling, but her body language says, "Please let me out, I want to see my family again."

All the Barbies are special in one way or another (or not), but my absolute favorite had to be Home Pretty Barbie.

She might look like your typical Barbie, but do not be fooled! This doll has "gown changes for every room! Perfect for all Barbie houses!" That's right, this is a Barbie who stays home, who has a wardrobe change for each room of the house. Her dresses are "perfect with the Magical Mansion and Sweet Roses furniture." She matches her furniture! Who dresses to match their furniture? Other than me?

Barbie may be strange at times, but she still inspires me. I might have to start dressing up according to which room I'm in. My love of fashion started with Barbie and her massive poufs and pink overkill, and I think she deserves a little credit for that. So, I put together an appropriately Barbie-esque look to honor my favorite oddly-proportioned heroine.

I know my hair and my legs and my arms and my waist are all too short to really look like Barbie, but I think I got the pink right, and that's the most important thing. And look: I have a heart on my shirt! Maybe I can sneak into the annual Barbie reunion myself and start some trouble with Share a Smile Barbie.

For the curious: All of the Barbies featured here as well as many, many others, are available for sale on Ebay. You can find my friends' shop information here. If I'd had the money, I would have gone home with armfuls of these pink boxes; they have some great dolls! My red and pink sweater is from Target. The black skirt is actually a dress worn as a skirt. My pink tights are also from Target, and my black pointy-toed shoes are Vince Camuto, found at Goodwill. The bow belongs to my daughter, and you better believe she noticed it was missing.

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