Types of Barbies – Explore Your Options Today 

There is a wide variety of Barbie dolls available today, learn more about the different types of Barbies and discover which one is perfect for you!

Types of Barbies

Welcome to the world of Barbies, where you can find iconic and classic dolls that have been empowering children’s imaginations since 1959! 

From the first Barbie Doll released in 1959 to today’s wide range of doll types available in various shapes, sizes, styles, skin tones, and hair textures, one thing remains true: a Barbie will always be your perfect companion. 

Whether it’s buying your daughter her first-ever doll or adding to a cherished collection of planes or action figures – there is something magical about this plastic legacy toy that appeals to all ages. 

In this blog post, we are going to look at the different types of Barbies available today and explore why they remain so popular after more than 60 years! So don’t forget your lineup stance because it’s time for some fun-filled exploration with everyone’s favorite girl—Barbie!

Barbie Doll’s Origin Story

Barbie’s origin story is an intriguing tale of inspiration and success. It all started when Ruth Handler, the co-founder of Mattel, came across a Bild Lilli doll during her European vacation. This doll, based on a German comic strip character, sparked Handler’s imagination and led her to create Barbara “Barbie” Millicent Roberts, a teenage fashion model doll intended for children.

Handler drew inspiration from her daughter, Barbara, who expressed a desire to have an older doll to play with. At the time, baby dolls were more prevalent, so Barbie filled a gap in the market.

Despite initial doubts from toy buyers, children immediately fell in love with Barbie when she made her debut in 1959. Sporting a stylish striped swimsuit and a cheerful blond ponytail, Barbie quickly became a sensation. In her first year alone, approximately 300,000 Barbie dolls were sold.

Barbie captured the hearts of children across the globe and became a household name. The adoration for Barbie persisted throughout the years, making it a joyous experience for those involved in designing the beloved doll at Mattel.

It is fascinating to see how a simple doll could elicit such a passionate response from children, turning Barbie into an iconic figure in the toy industry.

Types of Barbies Dolls

Types of Barbies Dolls

In early years, Barbie’s appearance remained constant over the years, but her clothing styles changed.

Barbie, the iconic doll, has been a staple in the toy industry for decades. But did you know that her look has evolved over the years while staying true to real-life trends?

In the early years, Barbie maintained a consistent appearance, standing at 11.5 inches tall, with specific measurements that showcased her fashionable outfits. Although subtle changes were made to her hair and makeup, the focus was always on the latest styles.

Ruth Handler, the creator of Barbie, drew inspiration from her surroundings in Los Angeles. The vibrant fashion scene of Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive, and Melrose Avenue influenced Barbie’s wardrobe, along with the swimwear seen on the beaches of Malibu and Venice.

As the fashion landscape changed, so did Barbie’s outfits. One of her most famous versions, Malibu Barbie, reflected the transition from prim ’60s fashion to the laid-back, free-spirited styles of the ’70s. With a new face mold, sun-kissed tan, and long, platinum blond hair, Malibu Barbie became a symbol of California cool.

But it wasn’t just the clothes that evolved. Barbie’s physical features also transformed over time. Her eyes shifted to a forward gaze, departing from the seductive sideways glance of the original doll. Additionally, her body became more flexible, allowing for movements such as bending knees and swiveling at the waist.

What makes Barbie truly remarkable is her ability to change with the times. Her style always mirrored real-life trends, making her relatable to children of every era. As Linda Spencer, one of Barbie’s designers, explains, “Barbie was meant to be treated as a real person, so each update made her more lifelike and in tune with popular culture.”

Barbie’s fashion evolution is a testament to her enduring appeal. From classic to contemporary, she continues to capture the hearts and imaginations of children worldwide.

Most Popular Barbie Dolls at This Time

1959: The Original Barbie in Bathing Suit

Experience the birth of the iconic Barbie doll on March 9, 1959, as she made her grand debut at a prestigious toy fair in New York City. 

Standing at a charming 11 inches tall, this trendsetting doll flaunted her ponytailed, blonde hair and donned a striking black and white striped bathing suit. (A later release offered a brunette version too!) 

Unsurprisingly, the original Barbie dominated the market, enjoying immense popularity throughout the entire decade, as confirmed by Mattel themselves.

Would you believe that this timeless treasure only cost $3 back then? Fast forward to today, and a pristine original Barbie commands astronomical prices, fetching upwards of $27,000. 

1960: Ponytail Barbie 

Softer, more alluring, and with a touch of rare beauty! This iconic Barbie features a new eye makeup style, a subtly arched brow, and captivating blue irises. But that’s not all – she also comes with a stunning “titian” hair color option, the trendiest shade of red at the time. And here’s the cherry on top: the mesmerizing combination of blue eyes and red hair makes her the most elusive and unique Barbie in existence. 

1961: Bubble Cut Barbie

This iconic Barbie doll flaunts a sleek and sophisticated bob, known as the “bubble cut.” Available in blonde, brunette, and titian, this Barbie doll even sports matching eyebrows to complete the look.

Not to be outdone, 1961 also marked the debut of Ken. And here’s a fun fact: Ken was named after Ruth Handler’s son, Kenneth.

1962: Red Flare Barbie

This iconic doll traded in her long locks for a stylish bob and rocked a fabulous red velvet swing coat. Complete with a chic clutch and elegant white gloves, Red Flare Barbie embraced the fashion trends of the era, including the iconic pillbox hat. 

Fast forward 30 years to 1992, when Barbie proved that dreams can come true by becoming the President of the United States in her own Barbieland.

1963: Career Girl Barbie

Breaking barriers and paving the way for working women. In a time when female employment was rare, Barbie shattered expectations with her sophisticated tweed jacket, matching pencil skirt, hat, and stylish black gloves. 

This doll exuded professionalism and was ready to conquer any job interview she encountered.

1964: Miss Barbie 

Miss Barbie was the first Barbie to have closing eyes when lying down, ensuring she gets her beauty rest. Since then, Mattel has introduced a variety of Barbie-themed sleep accessories.

1966: Color Magic Barbie

Her hair and swimsuit magically change color with a nontoxic solution. Choose between a blonde or brunette doll and watch the transformation take place. 

Plus, this revolutionary Barbie also features bendable legs, making her even more desirable. It’s no wonder that every kid had this Barbie at the top of their wish list that year!

1967: Twist N Turn Barbie

This revolutionary doll marked the beginning of the Mod Barbie Era from 1967 to 1973. With her unique features like rooted eyelashes, sleek straight hair, bendable legs, and a waist that can twist, she truly stands out from the crowd. 

Unsurprisingly, the Twist N Turn Barbie was the ultimate favorite among doll enthusiasts during the 1960s, as confirmed by Mattel. 

1968: Happy Go Pink Barbie

This iconic doll showcased Barbie draped in a stunning ensemble of all things pink – from her blouse to her poofy skirt, tights, and even her miniature heels.

Delve into the fascinating tidbit about the history of pink as a “girl” color. Learn how a 1914 Ladies Home Journal article cemented the association of pink with little girls, while blue became the color for little boys. 

1968: Talking Barbie

Pull the string at the back of her neck and watch her come to life. With rooted eyelashes, a sassy side-swept ponytail, and innovative separated fingers, this is a Barbie-like no other. 

1969: Flip Hair Barbie 

Inspired by the iconic Marlo Thomas, this Barbie exudes the spirit of the ambitious young career woman. Just like Marlo’s signature ‘do, Barbie’s shoulder-length hair flips up at the ends, capturing the essence of the era. 

In an interview with InStyle, Marlo herself acknowledged the connection between her character in That Girl and the aspirations of young women across America. If you are captivated by that independent and adventurous spirit, this doll is the perfect companion.

1971: Malibu Barbie 

Originally from Wisconsin, Barbie transformed into a sun-kissed beauty in 1971. Joined by Malibu Ken, she resided in the glamorous, hot-pink Malibu Beach House. With her stunning smile and aqua blue bathing suit, Barbie exudes a cool, fun-loving West Coast vibe. 

Donning a yellow towel and sunglasses, she is the epitome of beach chic. According to Mattel, Malibu Barbie was the reigning queen of the 1970s. 

In the ’70s, Barbie: From Fashion Model to Career Icon

In the '70s, Barbie: From Fashion Model to Career Icon

In the 1970s, Barbie underwent a transformation that would change her image forever. Originally marketed as a fashion model doll, Barbie’s creators made a groundbreaking decision in the early ’70s to give her a diverse range of careers.

Barbie’s professional journey began in 1972 with the introduction of the “Get Up and Go” line of fashions. The goal was to inspire children by showcasing different career paths they could aspire to.

One such career came to light when a designer named Spencer noticed a shortage of women doctors during a hospital visit. In response, Surgeon Barbie was created in 1973, marking the advent of Barbie’s career dolls.

Since then, Barbie has held over 200 jobs, ranging from an Olympic athlete to a wildlife conservationist, a United States Air Force pilot, a news anchor, and even an astrophysicist. She has even run for president six times, demonstrating her ambition and determination.

But Barbie’s influence goes beyond career options. She has also been transformed into a real-life celebrity and historical figure. It all began with Twiggy, a model and actress who epitomized the ’60s fashion scene, becoming the first celebrity Barbie.

In 2023, Mattel continued its tradition of embracing diversity by releasing dolls inspired by Anna May Wong, Sasha Calle, Simu Liu, and Bessie Coleman. These dolls allow children to celebrate and admire the achievements of remarkable individuals from various backgrounds.

And it doesn’t stop there. In anticipation of the “Barbie” movie, Mattel launched doll versions of Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling as Barbie and Ken, as well as dolls representing Liu as Ken, Rae as President Barbie, and America Ferrara as Gloria. These dolls bring iconic characters to life and spark the imagination of children and adults alike.

Barbie’s evolution from fashion model to career icon reflects a commitment to empowering children and encouraging them to dream big. With endless possibilities and an ever-growing assortment of diverse dolls, Barbie has become more than just a toy – she’s an inspiration for the next generation.

Most Popular Barbie Dolls at This Time

1965: Astronaut Barbie

Released in 1965 alongside Ken, these pioneering dolls reflected the excitement surrounding the space program in the US. Astronaut Barbie made a major career move, sporting a sleek silver space suit and stylish brown space boots. 

While Soviet astronaut Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in space in 1963, it wasn’t until 1983 that America saw its first female astronaut, Sally Ride. 

In recognition of Barbie’s historic journey, the original Astronaut Barbie was generously donated to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum by Mattel in 1995.

1967: Twiggy Barbie

Step into the swinging sixties with Twiggy Barbie, the first-ever celebrity Barbie. Inspired by the iconic supermodel, this doll captures the essence of Twiggy’s style with her trendy mod dress and booties.

Immerse yourself in the nostalgia of ’60s fashion with this time capsule ensemble. Despite Twiggy’s nickname for her delicate frame, Twiggy Barbie still embraces Barbie’s timeless curves. 

1973: Doctor Barbie

This iconic doll made her debut in vibrant turquoise scrubs and a fashionable mask. Complete with a doctor’s coat and a miniature stethoscope, Barbie was ready to save the day. 

Fast forward to 2021, and Mattel pays tribute to the incredible women of the medical field with their #ThankYouHeroes campaign. 

1975: Gold Medal Barbie collection 

Not only is Barbie incredibly intelligent, but she’s also a sports superstar. To celebrate the upcoming Montreal Winter Olympics, Mattel released a line of Gold Medal Barbies. 

This collection included Barbie as a gold medalist in sports such as skiing, swimming, and ice skating. Even Barbie’s little sister, Skipper, and her boyfriend Ken joined in on the fun. 

In recent years, Barbie has been transformed into a real-life gold medalist athlete, like American gymnast Gabby Douglas. 

1977: Superstar Barbie

After years of exploration and endless transformations, Barbie is finally ready to paint the town red with her stunning new look. With a confident smile and voluminous hair elegantly swept to one side, she is the epitome of glamour.

Her eyes shine with vibrant colors, thanks to the mesmerizing combination of vividly painted eyelids, electric blue shimmer eyeshadow, and a touch of pale pink lip gloss that perfectly captures the disco-glam vibes of the era. And let’s not forget her show-stopping ensemble – a striking full-length pink dress paired with a feather-like boa – because Barbie means business.

1984: Day-to-Night Barbie

This doll was designed to flawlessly transition from work to play. With just a quick change, Barbie went from a career woman to a belle of the ball. 

Her stunning pink blazer and pencil skirt could be effortlessly removed to reveal a glamorous glittery pink evening dress. And that’s not all – she even came with a cute purse and a pair of heels to complete her stylish transformation. 

1986: Rock Star Barbie

This iconic doll was Mattel’s response to the famous Jem and the Holograms, Hasbro’s sensational all-girl rock band. 

But Rock Star Barbie didn’t just come with a doll – she came with her band, Barbie and the Rockers. Both Jem and Barbie released their incredible original songs on cassette tapes. 

Embrace the New Era of Barbie: Inclusivity and Realism

Barbie has transformed from a blond 19-year-old into a symbol of diversity and representation.

In 1968, Christie became the first Black character in the Barbie universe, followed by the introduction of the first full-fledged Black Barbie doll in 1980, designed by Kitty Black Perkins, Mattel’s pioneering Black designer.

Perkins recognized the importance of providing a doll that truly reflected the little Black girl’s image. “Black Barbie: A Documentary” captures her sentiment.

Over the years, Barbie’s body has evolved to become more lifelike, including the iconic arch of her heels being relaxed in 2015 so she could finally step into a pair of flats.

Mattel has faced criticism for Barbie’s unrealistic physical proportions and the potential impact on girls’ body image. A 2010 study in the Netherlands revealed that girls exposed to thinner dolls ate less when given food than those playing with dolls with more realistic proportions.

A 2021 study continued to shed light on this issue, showing that girls exposed to “ultra-thin” dolls like Barbie had a skewed perception of an “ideal body” towards smaller sizes.

To address criticism and accommodate more diverse fashion options, Spencer, a Mattel representative, explained that Barbie’s slim frame was designed to allow for fabric seams. However, in response to growing demands for representation, Mattel introduced curvy, petite, and tall Barbie dolls in 2016, marking a significant shift in plastic proportions.

Mattel has also made strides in representing people with disabilities through their Barbie dolls. From a wheelchair-using Barbie in 2020 to hearing aids and a prosthetic leg in 2022, and the recent inclusion of a Barbie representing people with Down Syndrome in April, Mattel is broadening the scope of inclusivity.

Most Popular Barbie Dolls at This Time

1979: Parisian Barbie collection

Experience the glamour and romance of the iconic Moulin Rouge as Barbie and her friend Steffie don outfits inspired by the French Can Can dancers. 

Although the famous movie Moulin Rouge didn’t hit the screens until 2001, Mattel delighted fans in 2011 with a limited-edition Moulin Rouge Barbie. 

1980: The Groundbreaking Black Barbie

In 1980, a momentous addition was made to the Barbie family. While Barbie’s friend Christie, a Black doll, had been introduced in 1968, it wasn’t until 1980 that the first Black Barbie made her debut. 

Sculpted with care by designer Kitty Black Perkins, this unique doll wore a striking red jumpsuit and contemporary jewelry, setting her apart from the traditional Barbie.

Reflecting on her creation in a recent interview, Perkins shared her original vision: “I wanted her to embrace diversity with her unique skin tones and embrace natural, textured black hair instead of the long, blonde locks of the typical Barbie.” Little did she know at the time, but this groundbreaking creation would go on to make history.

While Barbie has claimed the title of number one doll for years, she owes her success to being the very first doll of her kind. With the introduction of the Black Barbie, Perkins ensured that this milestone extended to her creation as well. 

The Black Barbie became the pioneering doll, breaking barriers and paving the way for a more inclusive world of dolls.

1982: Western Barbie

This cowgirl extraordinaire is far from a simple farm girl. With her sleek black-and-white outfit, white high-heeled Western boots, and stylish cowgirl hat, she’s ready to conquer the rodeo. 

And let’s not forget about her trusty companions – Western Ken and a majestic white horse (sold separately). In the commercial, Barbie takes the reins and rides off into the sunset with Ken. 

2002: Mermaid Fantasy Barbie

Inspired by the beloved movie The Little Mermaid, this Barbie doll combines the enchantment of mermaids with the iconic Barbie brand. With moveable arms and a tail, this Barbie is ready for under-the-sea adventures. 

Her shiny, hot pink hair shimmers under a beautiful seashell crown. And she’s not alone – join Barbie as she swims with her mermaid friends Christie and Kayla.

A new era of Barbie in the highly anticipated “Barbie” movie. 

The film has sparked a wave of Barbie-inspired fashion and lifestyle trends, with hot pink dominating the red carpets and everyday closets. You can even stay overnight in a real-life Malibu Barbie DreamHouse!

Join Margot Robbie as she brings Barbie to life on the big screen, accompanied by Ryan Gosling as the charming Ken. Follow their journey from the fantastical Barbie Land to the real world, a story that will captivate audiences of all ages.

Through the vision of director Gerwig, this movie promises to breathe new life into the beloved doll. Barbie’s timeless appeal is a testament to Mattel’s dedication to keeping her relevant, whether through a cinematic universe or engaging YouTube vlogs.

Don’t miss out on this exciting chapter in Barbie’s legacy. Get ready to be enchanted as Barbie evolves alongside us, staying true to her roots while embracing the ever-changing times.


In conclusion, Barbie is an iconic doll that has a deep impact on generations of children. From the original feminine Barbie to the introduction of themed dolls and body shapes, Barbies have opened the door to different appearances and points of view. 

It’s amazing to see how vast the selection of Barbie choices is today. There is something for everyone in an array of looks and backgrounds that inspires and educates kids in new ways. 

If you, or someone you know, love playing with Barbies – it could be a great way to create stories, learn about different cultures, or just have some fun! 

So why not go put together your own Barbie collection? You might just discover something new that will bring endless joy.

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