Friday, July 5, 2013


Dolls of the World Collection Big Ben Barbie (2010) and Russia Barbie (2010)

Before the July 4th festivities, I take a lap around the store to grab last minute groceries. In passing, I do a double take of the clearance shelf--partly from the oddity of seeing a Barbie doll (unheard of, as I'm outnumbered 3 to 1 in my mostly-male household) and mainly because the outfits catch my eye. For years, Barbie was the ultimate impersonation of America with her casual clothes, blonde hair and cheery features. I grew up choosing toy cars over dolls; Bikini-clad Barbie had no chance up against a cement mixer or a '57 micro machine Bel Air reversible. To me, toy cars had more character and a distinctive style--Barbies were cookie cutter and overly dainty. Two decades later, as my tastes in clothing evolve from tomboy to trendy, seeing these "international" Barbies is somewhat exciting. It's almost as if both Barbie and I grew up (in age and in style) and experienced the world a little bit! 

Cocktail Dress Barbie (2013) [source]

Browsing through a sampling of Barbie fashion, I'm impressed by the wide range of styling that has surfaced in the last decade. Despite the controversy around body image that resurfaces every so often, Mattel has made quite an effort to incorporate style, culture and diversity in its span of Barbie doll offerings. The elegance that has emerged results in a sophisticated look that's so different from the almost exclusively "fun in the sun" impression I had of Barbie growing up. What do you think?

Swan Barbie (2000) [source]

 Cynthia Rowley Barbie [source]

 Donna Karan Barbie (1995) [source]

 Ralph Lauren Barbie (1996) [source]

Midnight Tuxedo Barbie (2001) [source]

Model No. 03 (2010) [source]

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