Teri Silver is a journalist, commercial copywriter, editor, broadcast anchor, and Public Relations Specialist.
The Year Was 1973
Inflation was on the rise in 1973 but that didn’t stop Barbie Doll from getting a new closet full of clothes and accessories — she received 33 new Best Buy outfits, accessory cards, Sew Magic and Get Ups ‘N Go fashions that year. Mattel no longer listed outfits and ensembles by name — only by number — and the garments did not have labels sewn into them. The packaging was scaled down but not the clothes — maxi, midi and the “peasant” look were all the fashion rage.
Mattel also released Quick Curl Barbie, whose hair could be styled with a brush or comb. Francie, Skipper, Kelly and Miss America Barbie were also given Quick Curl hair. Malibu Christie (with her red swimsuit and white beach towel) hit the shelves in 1973. Live Action Barbie and P.J., in their (previously released) original outfits, were sold in what collectors call “baggies;” clear plastic bags with printed paper tops that could hang from display-wall pegs.
1973 Barbie Doll Fashions
(#3203, 1973); puffy, long-sleeved, white (with black dots) blouse that was cropped at the waist — it had a black and white checked bow at the neck. The ankle-length skirt and matching vest were red with white polka dots. Red “pilgrim” closed-toe shoes came with the outfit.
(#3205, 1973); long-sleeved white blouse with small leg-of-mutton shoulders and white eyelet lace arms — it had a high collar and thick yellow ribbon sash around the waist. The top was worn over a long light-yellow and white gingham-patterned skirt (with a high ruffled hem). White squared-toe pumps completed the look.
(#3206, 1973); the dress had a bright-green knit halter shell sewn onto a “bubble” printed maxi skirt in colors of red, orange, purple, blue and green. The skirt fabric was the same used in 1971’s Bubbles and Boots. A plastic sky-blue belt circled the waist. The dress came with a matching “bubble” patterned floppy hat (bright-green ties). Green squared-toe shoes were in the package.
(#3208, 1973); two-piece orange twill pantsuit — the wide-legged pants matched the long-sleeved jacket. A halter top in orange, blue, indigo and off-white was sewn onto the pants. A purple belt tied at the waist. Matching purple "pilgrim" closed-toe shoes finished off the look.
(#3343, 1973); peasant dress with two different floral prints for the bodice and skirt. The blue top — patterned with small red flowers — featured leg-of-mutton sleeves, a red sash and flower corsage at the waist. The blouse was sewn onto a differently-shaded blue skirt with large red, yellow and white flowers. The skirt’s ruffled hem matched the top. Barbie wore red shoes with the dress.
(#3346, 1973); two-piece outfit in red, white and blue. The blue top with white polka dots and “sailboats” had long sleeves and a wide, white, square-backed “sailor collar” with red piping. The skirt matched the top. Red shoes completed the ensemble.
(#3347, 1973); satin mini-dress with a floral print that featured hot colors of yellow, red, blue, green, purple, pink, orange and white. The sleeve cuffs and collar were white and the dress sported a white vinyl belt. Long white tricot socks and white squared-toe pumps completed the set.
(#3348, 1973); bright-yellow “baby doll” tricot nightgown with nylon netting. It was trimmed in white lace at the breast area and lower hem. The matching robe (yellow-netted nylon) had a wide white lace collar and yellow satin ribbon ties (that matched the straps of the nightgown).
(#8620, 1973); this dress had two pieces sewn into one — its white short-sleeved blouse had a lace-ruffled collar and a single red button at the neckline. The attached floral dress had “straps” over the blouse. The skirt (colored flowers in red, pink, blue, chartreuse and white on a yellow background) had a wide ruffled hem. Red squared-toe shoes finished the outfit.
(#8621, 1973); skirt and top in a light-blue gingham pattern — the long skirt had a ruffled hem with scattered flowers printed on the crisscross design. The long-sleeved peasant-styled blouse — with scattered flower print — had white eyelet trimming at the collar and down the lapel. White squared-toe shoes came in the package.
(#8622, 1973); a brightly colored evening ensemble — this outfit consisted of hot-pink tricot pants underneath a sheer orange nylon skirt (with a large ruffled hem). The skirt and pants were attached to a white tricot halter top. Barbie wore a sheer white blouse over the halter; it had a flower (orange and cerise) attached to its lapel. The outfit included a silver clutch purse and red “chunky” shoes.
(#8623, 1973); Barbie is getting married (again)! This time, she chose a white A-lined gown covered with patterned nylon. The dress’ sheer long sleeves matched the ruffled yoke and wide hem. The bodice, trimmed in white braid, had a white ribbon around the neck — it matched the ribbon around the waist. The wedding ensemble came with a simple white tulle veil, bouquet with a single white flower and green tulle (with a white satin ribbon) and white pumps.
(#8626, 1973); shoe card with eight pairs — squared-toe pumps in white, yellow, beige, red, turquoise, light-pink and black. A pair of light-brown knee-high “laced” boots finished off the collection.
(#8680, 1973); halter top maxi dress with ties at the midriff section and waist. The dress came in various patterns, including; floral, stripes, zigzags, crisscross, dots and swirls. The colors were vibrant; pinks, yellows, oranges, purples, blues, greens and white. The materials were mostly left over from previous outfits.
(#8681 & #8682, 1973); this golden-tanned fleece skirt with its center pleat was worn with a red and tan knit high-neck sweater. Red squared-toe shoes came in the package. Sold separately was the tan coat with its wide “fur” collar. The coat had a large pocket in the front and tie belt around the waist. A pair of brown squared-toe shoes came with the coat.
(#8683, 1973); long-sleeved bright-yellow wrap blouse that tied around the mid section. It fit into a long tricot skirt of pink, orange, yellow, green and white with a triangle and floral pattern. Chunky yellow shoes completed the look.
(#8684, 1973); an ecru-colored muslin peasant dress with short puffed sleeves that ended with a wide, loose flourish. The waistband sported an ecru grosgrain ribbon with a single red flower. The maxi-length skirt had a high ruffled hem. Off-white shoes accompanied the dress.
(#8685, 1973); Mattel produced several variations of this pantsuit (yellow vests with different patterned pants). It was a one-piece jumpsuit — the pants were black or navy blue with assorted prints (flowers & turtles in various colors per piece; white, red, pink or orange). The pants were sewn onto a long-sleeved white tricot blouse with a high neckline. A yellow sweater vest — it was open underneath the sleeves to the pants — fell over the blouse. Yellow squared-toe shoes finished off the outfit.
(#8687, 1973); two-piece pantsuit in pale-pink felt — the pants flared down the legs. The backless pink tricot blouse slipped through Barbie’s arms and could be seen when she wore the jacket open. The jacket, which tied at the waist, had a wide “fur” collar and patch pockets. Pale-pink squared-toe shoes completed the ensemble.
(#8688, 1973); this outfit featured a pink halter-top that was sewn into an A-line ankle-length skirt. At the waist, the gown was covered with black tulle (adorned with black flocked dots and a ruffled hem). The tulle skirt tied around Barbie's waist with a black velvet ribbon — the ribbon held a white flower. Barbie Doll wore a matching black tulle shawl. The dress was sold with pink squared-toe shoes.
(#8689, 1973); two-piece outfit — the white tricot blouse had long, sheer sleeves with lace trimming at the cuffs. The satin maxi skirt, which came in various colors (some in turquoise, pink, yellow, red and orange), had a high ruffle at the bottom hem. The skirt was accented with two flowers and a bow at the waistband. White cut-out shoes were included in the package.
(#8690, 1973); it’s bedtime! This two-piece sleep ensemble featured a long nightgown — it was made with white tricot material and a sheer white overlay (from the waist down). The ribbon-strapped bodice was pink with a bow (and long ribbons) at the waist. The accompanying robe was white with pink and green floral print. The robe had sheer pink nylon ruffles at the cuffs and matching material around the neck.
(#8691, 1973); variety outfit — Barbie had her choice of the red knee-length skirt (with small white dots) or the pants (same pattern). A sleeveless white blouse (adorned with a large red flower on one lapel and rickrack trim down the front) fit into (and over) the skirt or pants — a red vinyl belt circled the waist. The outfit came with an open-crown circular nylon hat (its red and white trim matched the pants and skirt). Red shoes finished off the look.
(#8692, 1973); aqua-blue satin gown with a sleeveless bodice and a sheer (aqua) lace yoke under the high neckline. A lavender-colored satin ribbon wrapped around the neck. The dress’ high waist sported a similar ribbon (sash) and two flowers. The dress came with matching shoes.
Sew Magic Fashions and Accessories
Mattel introduced two new Sew Magic sets in 1973. The Sew Magic Barbie Doll Fashion Set (#8670, 1973-1975) contained the materials and patterns for four outfits; a dress, two blouses, two skirts, pajamas and a purse. Fabrics, threads, fasteners, a doll-clothing mannequin, sewing accessories and a “girl-sized” sewing machine gave children the opportunity to make their own Barbie Doll fashions.
The Sew Magic Add-Ons kit (#7726, 1973-1974) included “make-your-owns” for both Barbie and Ken. It had the materials for Ken Doll’s swim suits, pants, sleeveless and short-sleeved shirts, shorts and a vest. Barbie had a poncho, long dress, slacks, evening dress, shorts and a top. The kit came with various notions and accessories.
Get-Ups ‘N Go
Mattel released several Get-Ups ‘N Go ensembles in 1973, featuring Barbie clothes with more accessories.
(#7700, 1973-1974); the first “Doctor Barbie” outfit: blue surgical gown; head covering; mask and white doctor’s coat. Accessories included a diploma; stethoscope; skeletal chart; telephone; blue towel and white shoes.
(#7701, 1973-1974); Barbie Doll’s latest ballet collection — a long-sleeved black leotard; black tights; white satin ballet dress with a short tutu (the tutu was made of gold accented tulle and the dress' bodice was trimmed with white and gold “chain” braid); pink ballet slippers; pink satin toe-shoe bag; gold foil tiara; company announcement and two silk roses. Skipper Doll had a similar set.
(#7702, 1973-1974); camping outfit and accessories — the package contained blue jeans and a matching backpack; red and white plaid fleece shirt; red shell; red tennis shoes; green calico sleeping bag (with red flannel inside). This outfit coordinated with Skipper’s (#7715) and Ken Doll’s (#7706) Get-Ups ‘N Go camping ensembles.
(#7703, 1973-1975); Barbie Doll took to the skies (again) in this airline clothing collection — it consisted of several pieces: red cotton skirt; navy-blue pants; navy-blue vest; red top with long horizontally-striped sleeves (blue, green and red); long-sleeved body blouse (white, printed with red, green and blue polka dots); navy-blue vinyl belt and blue squared-toe shoes. Ken Doll had a coordinating outfit (#7707).
1974 and Barbie at Sweet 16!
Barbie turned Sweet 16 years old in 1974 so Mattel celebrated the milestone with a special promotional “birthday present” … a new doll! Several updated versions of Barbie and her friends were released in 1974, as well as a number of new outfits and some that were repeated from 1973’s Fashion Runway.
© 2012 Teri Silver
Edna Straney from Oneonta New York on June 24, 2020:
Great article! I love Barbie as well!