Teri Silver is a journalist, commercial copywriter, editor, broadcast anchor, and Public Relations Specialist.
And Then There Was Francie!
It was 1966 and the world was changing — the Vietnam War and the Space Race were both in full swing and racial tensions soared in the United States. In the United Kingdom as well as America, fashions got wild and colorful. In London, Soho’s famous Carnaby Street — with its eclectic shops and boutiques — was the place to buy “swinging” clothes and accessories.
By the late 1960s, fashion models Jean Shrimpton, Veruschka, Peggy Moffitt and Twiggy (also called “the Queen of Mod”), appeared on runways, magazine covers and television. The “Mod Era" was here — brightly colored shirts, pants, hose, mini-skirts, “granny” dresses, flat shoes, go-go boots and love beads — and Mattel’s Francie Doll was in the thick of it!
Francie, marketed as Barbie’s “swinging" and "mod” cousin, had a slim, boyish figure that allowed her to wear the stylish clothes of Carnaby Street. The first Francie Doll was straight-legged, with either brown or blonde hair and real eyelashes. She came dressed in a two-piece red and white spotted or checked swimsuit. The bend-leg version Francie Doll wore a one-piece swimsuit that was either blue or white with green and pink colored squares and white flowers. Francie's outfits brought out her moods; mod, hip, classic, little-girl and career woman.
Francie's 1966 Collection
Francie had 13 outfits to start with in 1966 with other pieces sold separately.
Gad-About (#1250, 1966-1967); gray-blue knitted sweater with a lime-green swirly floral print pattern worn over a lime-green skirt. Included with the outfit were stockings that matched the sweater, a lime green cap, flat green shoes and light blue “go-go” glasses.
It’s a Date (#1251, 1966); straight-lined dress with a turquoise bodice and long sleeves with white cuffs. The bodice had lime green polka dots and a matching grosgrain bow from the top of the high waist. The skirt area was turquoise and lime green stripes. Light blue patterned stockings and blue-heeled shoes finished the look.
First Things First (#1252, 1966); full white tricot slip with floral and lace hem. A matching floral half-slip, garter belt, underpants and a pair of stockings completed the set.
Tuckered Out (#1253, 1966-1967); nightgown of white with a light blue gingham bib — the short white sleeves and bottom hem were trimmed with the same material. A matching nightcap and booties, pink brush, comb and mirror came in the package.
Fresh as a Daisy (#1254, 1966); bright yellow sleeveless dress with white lace bands and green trim around the skirt. A matching tote bag, lace bonnet with yellow ties and soft yellow shoes completed the outfit.
Polka Dots ‘n Raindrops (#1255, 1966); red plastic raincoat with white polka dots, yellow cotton lining and zippered pockets. A matching hat and red rainboots completed the look.
Concert in the Park (#1256, 1966); this long-sleeved empire waist dress had a white top with medium red dots and attached navy blue skirt. The neckline and sleeves were ruffled. The ensemble came with a blue vest lined with the white and red dotted fabric, matching hat, purse and soft red-heeled shoes.
Dance Party (#1257, 1966-1967); sheath dress in pink crepe with a delicate, lacy white collar and sleeves. The outfit included a pink-spotted half-slip, lace bonnet with pink ties, patterned hose, soft white shoes and accessories: a record player, records, napkin, chocolate parfait and spoon.
Clam Diggers (#1258, 1966); yellow knit top, orange “clamdigger” shorts, yellow and orange wide-striped vinyl jacket and matching hat, yellow flat shoes and orange “mod” sunglasses.
Checkmates (#1259, 1966); houndstooth plaid in red, white and navy — the belted jacket topped a pleated skirt. A white short-sleeved blouse, red vinyl shoulder bag and heeled shoes completed the look.
More of Francie's 1966 Outfits
First Formal (#1260, 1966-1967); sleeveless bodice in light-medium-blue, the attached white taffeta skirt was covered with a fabric embroidered and edged in soft yellow, pink, blue and green. A dark pink bow accented the waist; the same color as the shear organza cape. Soft blue shoes and short white tricot gloves completed the outfit.
Shoppin’ Spree (#1261, 1966); sleeveless white crepe sheath dress with scattered red dots. Along with the dress: a double-breasted red and white tweed coat (lined with the dress fabric), matching clutch bag, short white gloves and pink shoes.
Sportin’ Set (#1044, 1966); this was only found at J.C. Penney department stores; the package included a bendable-leg Francie Doll in her original swimsuit along with tennis and ice skating outfits. The long-sleeved turtleneck skating dress had a pink and blue floral top attached to a pink skirt. Tights that matched the top of the outfit, plastic ice skates and blue plastic mittens were included. The one-piece white tennis dress with built-in panties had a short wide skirt edged in ric-rac trim. A tennis racquet, balls, anklet socks and plastic shoes came in the set.
Francie and Her Swingin’ Separates (#1042, 1966); this was a Sears department store exclusive; the package included a Twist ‘n Turn Francie Doll in her original swimsuit, shiny, blue cotton pants with a sleeveless yellow top cropped with the same material as the pants, a sleeveless top patterned in red, yellow, pink, white and blue, a red cotton skirt and yellow-heeled shoes.
Fur Out (#1262, 1966-1967); mid-length “fur” coat in white with black and brown print and a black vinyl belt. The outfit came with a red knitted hood and matching hose, red plastic mittens, soft black shoes and attachable boot spats.
Orange Cozy (#1263, 1966-1967); dark orange velour, long-sleeved dress with gray and black patterned trim at the hem and necklines. A matching orange hood, cotton hose, soft black ankle boots and short black gloves completed the ensemble.
Swingin’ Skimmy (#1264, 1966-1967); long-sleeved red knit mini-dress with a pale yellow hood. Navy trim lined the neck and down the front of the dress, which had a zipper in the back. Accessories included red knit hose and matching ankle boots.
Hip Knits (#1265, 1966-1967); navy blue and aqua plaid skirt with an aqua long-sleeved sweater and matching hose. Soft yellow shoes and a yellow vinyl belt completed the outfit.
Quick Shift (#1266, 1966-1967); pink felt jumper with olive green trim, matching turtleneck and hose. Pink shoes came with the outfit.
Go Granny Go (#1267, 1966-1967); this ankle-length “granny gown” dress was dark green with straight-lined floral print and white lace trim. The sleeves were just past the elbow. Accessories were hot pink shoes, a record player in either red, pink or blue plastic and a record; Barbie label, Francie sleeve.
Style Setters (#1268, 1966-1967); long sleeved, multi-colored, brightly floral printed dress with matching hose. The accompanying cape and separate hood were made of aqua velvet and lined with the same material as the dress. The cape had large silver clip buttons. Soft blue-heeled shoes completed the outfit.
Leather Limelight (#1269, 1966-1967); white vinyl skirt with four gold buttons down the front on a strip of pink braid trim, which was also at the waist and hem. The ensemble included a pair of white pants with pink trim, matching hood, multi-colored paisley printed long-sleeved top and matching skirt, white calf-high boots with pink trim and blue “buckle” flat shoes.
And Then …
Francie Doll’s wardrobe grew in 1967 and she got a new friend; Casey could wear the same clothes! Mattel released more than two dozen new outfits for Francie in 1967, in addition to repeats from 1966 and clothing and accessory packages sold separately.
Fancy Francie and Casey, in their mod and funky clothes, were a swingin’ hit!
© 2011 Teri Silver
D7ana on July 05, 2014:
Neat article. I like your Francie fashions. Congrats on having them.
Susan S Spencer from UK on October 04, 2011:
Love it! Voted up.