Teri Silver is a journalist, commercial copywriter, editor, broadcast anchor, and Public Relations Specialist.
The Late Sixties
1968 was a time of peace demonstrations, race riots, rock music and hot fashion. Barbie Doll kept up with the times — her wardrobe consisted of bright colors, bold patterns and sparkled fabrics, as well as the classic styles she'd always loved.
In 1968, Barbie added Fashion Pak items and 24 new outfits to her closet. 14 of 1967’s releases were also back; Bouncy Flouncy (#1805), Pajama Pow (#1806), Disco Dater (#1807), Drizzle Dash (#1808), Mini Prints (#1809), Bermuda Holidays (#1810), Tropicana (#1460), Sunflower (#1683), Underprints (#1685), Print A Plenty (#1686), Intrigue (#1470), Fashion Shiner (#1691), Patio Party (#1692) and Pink Moonbeams (#1694).
In 1967, Barbie Doll saw facial molds and makeup changes. In 1968, Mattel introduced the Talking Barbie doll line (which included friends Stacey and Christie). Children (and adults!) could pull strings in the dolls’ backs to hear a variety of phrases. Talking Barbie’s original swimsuit was pink with a yellow braid. Stacey’s two-piece suit was patterned with a variety of colored stripes. Christie wore a green knit top with cerise-colored panties and braided trim on the hem.
Barbie’s New Clothes: 1968
Twist ‘n Turn (#1160); Barbie Doll — her waist twisted to different positions — had several original playsuits or swimsuits. One in particular had a pink knit top (patterned with colored checks), pink vinyl panties and a chartreuse belt.
Twist ‘n Turn (#1165); Stacey’s original outfit was a red one-piece swimsuit that cut out at the waist. The bodice was fashioned with white buttons.
Knit Hit (#1808, 1968-1969); sleeveless knit dress in pastel pink and blue. The blue top had pink and green stitching that crisscrossed over the bodice. The attached shirt was in matching pink. Blue closed-toe pumps came with the dress.
Snug Fuzz (#1813, 1968-1979); plush hot-pink skirt and matching jacket. The jacket had white piping down the front, at the sleeves and bottom hems. A white vinyl belt went around the waist. A long-sleeved silver-sparkled threaded top, matching hose and silver-gray go-go boots came with outfit.
Sparkle Squares (#1814, 1968-1969); large-checked pattern in glowing pink, yellow or green and shiny silver — the silver spaghetti-strapped dress had a layered organdy skirt and metallic belt that hung below the waist. The matching long coat had organdy lining and a ruffle down the front. Accessories included glittery white hose, a silver clutch purse and soft, white, bow shoes.
Zokko! (#1828, 1968-1969); sleeveless metallic knit dress — the dropped mini-skirt was aqua and the bodice was fashioned in silver. A silver belt (with an orange stripe) accented the dropped waist. Gray-silver go-go boots with orange cuffs and plastic rectangle-drop earrings completed the look.
Underliners (#1821, 1968-1969); lacy chemise made in hot-pink with yellow, chartreuse and turquoise floral print tricot. A matching garter belt, nude hose and hot-pink open-toed shoes gave Barbie a special spark.
Swirly Cue (#1968-1069); sleeveless straight-lined mini-dress with ruffled hem — the swirls were bright greens, pinks and blues. The dress came with triangle-drop earrings and hot-pink closed-toe shoes.
Jump Into Lace (#1823, 1968); long pink taffeta pantsuit with white lace overlay — the pink pants had thin legs, the white lace overlay was ruffled with wide bell-bottomed hems. The outfit included pink open-toed shoes.
Snap Dash (#1824, 1968); short-length dress of textured fabric, it was lime-green with elbow-length sleeves and yellow vinyl cuffs (the front was trimmed with the same yellow material). Yellow knee-socks, bow shoes and a matching green felt hat topped off the outfit.
Night Clouds (#1841, 1968); a short nightgown of pink, yellow and orange ruffled organdy. The matching long-sleeved, sheer yellow peignoir was adorned with two pink ribbons.
Togetherness (#1842, 1968); sleeveless knit dress — the bodice had wide pale-blue horizontal stripes with a line of pink and green floral in between each level. The skirt and floral print lines were vertically-striped. Matching (horizontally-striped) hose, a bonnet and hot-pink bow-shoes completed the outfit.
Dancing Stripes (#1843, 1968); straight-lined horizontally-striped evening dress held up with magenta-colored metallic spaghetti-straps. The stripes, in shades of purple, pink, rose and pale-pink, were accented with metallic threads. The hem of the dress was ruffled in hot-pink lace. The outfit included a matching coat and hot-pink shoes.
Extravaganza (#1844, 1968); long, straight-lined, pink evening gown covered with glitter-spotted tulle and fabric flowers at the hemline. The pink sheath’s halter neckline was trimmed with a hot-pink ruffle and silver braid. Accessories included a silver clutch purse, long pink tricot gloves and silver-glittered open-toed shoes.
Scene Stealers (#1845, 1968); pink satin mini-skirt with three tiers of sheer ruffles edged in green, a sleeveless green top trimmed in pink and a sheer pink coat with satin trim on the cuffs, collar and down the front. The outfit came with hot-pink closed-toe shoes.
Trailblazers (#1846, 1968); corduroy pants with wide vertical stripes — the colors were pink, chartreuse, dark green and orange. A matching jacket had the same colors, but the stripes were horizontal. A yellow graphic-printed t-shirt, green and striped “mod” glasses and ankle boots completed the look.
More 1968 Barbie Fashions
All That Jazz (#1848, 1068-1969); this thin strapped, one-piece dress featured wide metallic stripes of hot-pink, orange, chartreuse and gold. The pattern on the bodice ran in several directions, the dropped-waist pleated skirt had wide horizontal stripes. The matching coat had wide horizontal stripes and a gold belt. Hose and hot-pink bow shoes came with the outfit.
Wedding Wonder (#1849, 1968-1969); straight-lined, sleeveless wedding gown in white nylon with a satin band and trim at the neckline. The dress was covered by a sheer, dotted and floral-embroidered, tent-like sheath that fell from the shoulders. It was trimmed with white satin down the back. A tulle veil fell from the crown, which was made from the dotted fabric. Accessories included a velvet flower bouquet and closed-toe shoes.
Now Wow! (#1853, 1968-1969); soft corduroy long-sleeved mini-dress — the pale-blue bodice and top waist were trimmed in chartreuse (the same color used to create the braided, scalloped skirt). A matching bonnet, pale-blue hose and blue boots with chartreuse trim finished the set.
Twinkle Togs (#1854, 1968-1969); sleeveless mini dress with a turquoise metallic bodice and yellow-green skirt with a sheer overskirt. The overskirt had colored, horizontal metallic stripes. Glittery chartreuse hose and turquoise shoes completed the outfit.
Team Ups (#1855, 1968-1969); double-breasted, fuchsia-pink, long-sleeved jacket with four gold buttons at the bottom, it fit over a sleeveless one-piece dress — the skirt matched the jacket but the long-waisted knitted bodice had wide and thin horizontal stripes of yellow, fuchsia and green. The dress had a gold belt that went around the waist. Hot-pink closed-toe shoes were included.
Wild ‘n Wonderful (#1856, 1968-1969); multi-colored, geometric-patterned mini-skirt in hot-pink, orange, turquoise, green and chartreuse. A sleeveless high-collared blouse matched the skirt. Plastic orange panties and knee-high orange cut-out sandals came in the package.
Dreamy Pink (#1857, 1968-1969); hot-pink tricot-lined nightgown with lace straps. The matching robe and overlay of the gown were made from sheer ruffled nylon. The package also contained pink “booty” slippers.
Fancy Dancy (#1858, 1968-1969); sleeveless one-piece dress with a long, fuchsia lace-trimmed bodice. The flared skirt was chartreuse. The long-sleeved chartreuse jacket had pink lace ruffles down the front, at the cuffs and around the neckline. Accessories included sheer hose with floral print flocking and pink bow shoes.
Tunic ‘n Tights (#1859, 1968-1969); long-sleeved turtleneck top patterned with bright yellow and hot-pink horizontal stripes on the bodice and vertical ones on the arms. Matching (horizontally-striped) tights, vinyl yellow shorts, scoop-necked tunic and yellow go-go boots gave Barbie that “mod” look.
Smasheroo (#1860, 1968-1969); long-sleeved shirt-dress ... it was red with spaced-out vertical stripes of yellow, purple and black. Gold buttons adorned the bodice and a gold chain belt fit around the waist. The accompanying wide, furry jacket was yellow with lining that matched the dress. A plush yellow hat, patterned hose and tall red boots completed the outfit.
Other 1968 Pieces
Mattel’s designers created clothing pieces and accessories as samples for upcoming production. Some of the items were made with mismatched materials and others were created with fabrics that would actually be used. Many of the designs and fabrics were used to produce the outfits hanging in Barbie Doll’s closet; some were used for Skipper, Francie and Julia. Some were used in Barbie Doll gift sets and Fashion Paks.
Sears and J. C. Penney Exclusive Gift Sets
Sears and J. C. Penney department stores, in conjunction with Mattel, released several Barbie gift sets in 1968. Travel in Style (Sears, #1544) included a standard, straight-legged Barbie doll in her two-piece hot-pink swimsuit. The outfit consisted of a sleeveless navy/royal-blue shell, aqua-colored mini skirt with bright-green floral print and green waistband. The accompanying flared jacket was the same material as the skirt. Accessories included dark-blue hose, bow shoes and a round, plastic suitcase/hatbox.
The New Talking Barbie Doll featured Barbie in her pink-textured swimsuit and a two-piece suit called Dinner Dazzle (Sears, #1551). The skirt and full-collared jacket were made of pink lamé, the silk blouse was ruffled at the collar and down the front. Glittery pink hose and closed-toe shoes completed the look.
Glimmer Glamour (Sears, #1547) was a delicate dress of turquoise-blue silk and an organdy overlay adorned with gold glitter dots. The bottom of the bodice was trimmed with gold braid and a wide belt. A wide, mid-sleeved, gold lamé knitted coat was worn over the dress. Accessories included gold-colored hose and clear glittered shoes.
Stripes Are Happenin’ (Sears, #1545) was all Stacey! She had her own gift set featuring the doll in her red swimsuit. The outfit was several pieces — a multi-colored striped mini-skirt, matching sleeveless knit top and knee-socks. The pink fabric vested-jacket had sleeves that matched the skirt. Pink go-go boots were included in the package.
Silver ‘n Satin (J. C. Penney, #921-1552) included a Talking Barbie Doll in a sleeveless lamé mini-dress — the bodice was in silver and the skirt in a pink and silver “wiggle” design. A wide pink satin waistband encircled the dress. A pink satin coat with a wide silver-foiled belt fell just below the breast area to create an empire waist. Accessories included a lacy, hot-pink half-slip, pink hose, closed-toe shoes and a silver clutch purse.
1968 Extras and Accessories
Accessory cards for 1968 included Flats ‘n Heels (13 pairs of shoes in different colors), Extra Casuals and Add-Ons (purses, hat, shoes, bracelets, earrings, glasses, beads, make-up kit), Dressed Up! (one-piece dresses with brocade or lamé tops and blue or red satin or silk skirts) and Pedal Pushers (blue capris pants and matching sleeveless top with yellow flats).
Francie Doll got an assortment of Fashion Pak items along with her 13 new outfits in 1968. Mattel released Twiggy Doll; she wore the same sized clothes as Francie and Casey. Twiggy was “modeled” after the real-life model, Twiggy, who lit up the fashion runways of the late 1960s. Skipper Doll and her friends also had new clothes that year.
Ah yes, 1968 was a great fashion year but Barbie was getting ready for 1969!
© 2011 Teri Silver
Teri Silver (author) from The Buckeye State on October 12, 2011:
Thank YOU ... and all of you who offer kind comments. I love these pieces, they take a long time to write and edit but they are really fun to do. My husband rolls his eyes at the Barbie stuff, but even he admits ... they're cool. I have a number of these pieces for Barbie and Francie in hubs, a few in draft form and a few more yet to be written. Thanks everyone!
cre8ivOne from Midwest, USA on October 12, 2011:
Thanks for the awesome Barbie article! I grew up loving Barbie dolls. I had loads of homemade clothes and accessories someone made for my dolls. Sad story, when I was 11 our babysitter S T O L E the entire collection of dolls, clothes and Barbies. I was absolutely crushes. This article helped me remember how special they were to me. Thank you : )