Introduction to Barbie
Barbie is one of the most famous dolls in the world. This fashion doll is made by American toy manufacturer Mattel and was introduced in 1959. In her 50 year history, Barbie has been both a beloved and reviled character. Fans can’t seem to get enough, with even adults collecting the famous doll, while opponents have argued that she promotes an unrealistic body image to young girls. A Barbie collector may have a particular focus, such as collecting vintage Barbie dolls or unusual items with the Barbie theme. There are certainly plenty of fans, with estimates that more than a billion dolls have been purchased in more than 150 countries. Mattel claims that there are Barbie dolls purchased every second.
When Barbie was created, most children’s dolls were baby dolls or paper fashion dolls. Barbie was different—a three-dimensional adult figurine with an unbelievable wardrobe. Barbie was named after the creator’s daughter, and her boyfriend, Ken was named after their son.
Barbie has experienced many changes along the way, staying current with the latest clothing, hairstyles, and makeup. Famous fashion designers have created wardrobes for Barbie, often in limited edition styles. Although she has been criticized for her unrealistic figure and for promoting negative stereotypes of women, Barbie has also been a positive role model. Career choices over the years have included a veterinarian, ballerina, cheerleader, Olympic gymnast, a Versace fashion model, paediatrician, and an astronaut. Of course, she can also be seen as obsessed with her wardrobe and makeup, and who can forget the controversy of the talking Barbie that said “Math class is tough,” which was usually misquoted as “math is hard.”
If you’re a Barbie fan, there are practically endless choices available. Price Inspector’s buying guide will give you enough information to find what you want to buy, and then we’ll find you the best price. We shop all the UK stores to bring you the best deals.
Dolls and clothes
Barbie comes in hundreds, if not thousands, of different versions, as well as having many different friends and family members. Each of these characters has a different wardrobe, letting your little girl imagine limitless different situations.
Every year, Mattel features their holiday Barbie. This limited edition doll is more expensive than a traditional Barbie, but it also features more elaborate attire. The dress is different each year, but common features include long flowing dresses and jewellery. This is more of a collectible doll than for actual play, as Barbie is dressed for the most formal holiday parties.
There are also different races of Barbies available, including black Barbie and Asian Barbie. These let children of all races love and enjoy Barbie. You can also find specially themed Barbie dolls, including Princess Barbie, Beach Barbie, and ballerina Barbie.
Of course no Barbie collection is complete without the Barbie clothes and shoes. For the adult dolls, clothes are interchangeable among the female figurines, so this can help multiply their choices. Younger characters wear smaller clothes, so they can’t share items. These younger dolls also have a different shape to the foot, rather than Barbie’s iconic arched foot that fits high heeled shoes.
Consider buying an assortment of outfits that support how your child will want to play. As with any real person, Barbie needs different outfits for different situations. You don’t wear a swimsuit to your wedding or a wedding dress to the office. Make sure to get at least one formal dress, one career outfit, and one casual ensemble. Of course you can buy as many as you want after that, because Barbie has no shortage of fashion choices.
Games and movies
In addition to the dolls, Barbie offers games and movies. Mattel’s My Scene web site lets girls play games and watch videos online in a safe environment. While the online site is free, there is also a line of dolls and clothes available for purchase.
You can also find Barbie games in numerous different formats. You can choose traditional board games, computer software, and games for any of the popular gaming systems, including Wii and PlayStation. A popular choice for a board game is Queen of the Prom. This reproduction of the 1961 board game lets girls find a boyfriend, buy a prom dress, and get elected class president. Smart Cycle software takes a more educational approach, teaching letter identification, rhyming words, shapes, patterns, colours, and vocabulary, all in Barbie’s Fairytopia land of fairies and mermaids.
The Barbie video collection is nearly as diverse as the doll herself. Popular movies include the Barbie Island Princess movies, plus Barbie stars in numerous different classics, including A Christmas Carol, The Three Musketeers, and The 12 Dancing Princesses. Barbie’s Fairytopia movies create a fantasy world of mermaids and fairies, which are incredibly popular themes for many little girls.
The Barbie Fashion Fever line of toys includes large heads and bust that your child can use to create different hairstyles and makeup looks. Other toys in the series include a kit so the child can create and decorate their own doll room, as well as a shopping boutique.
If you want to get your child outside in the fresh air, consider a Barbie bike. There are many different designs and sizes to choose from, but they are often pink and feature handlebar streamers.
Houses, Furniture, and Accessories
Once Barbie has her clothes and her friends, she’ll need Barbie accessories. The Barbie Dream House has been popular for years. This large, expensive house features a three-story house, offering hours of imaginative play. For a much smaller price, you can buy a smaller Barbie house such as the Barbie Pink World House. This play set folds for easy storage and comes complete with modern Barbie furniture, a washing machine that works, and a large closet to store all Barbie’s clothes.
Even if you don’t buy a doll house, you can buy furniture items that will enhance your child’s play. Popular choices include a bathtub, kitchen set, armoire desk, a Barbie bed, sofas, and tables. For imagining Barbie playing outdoors, there is a BBQ grill, wave runner, and Glam Pool. The pool includes a slide, poodle, float toy, and a drink bar for making refreshing cool drinks.
Another popular choice for little girls is the Barbie horse collection. There are several different horses that Barbie can ride, plus smaller horses for her little sisters. These beautiful horses have flowing manes and tails, which your daughter can care for with a show horse shower and grooming stall.
Barbie also has several different vehicles to choose from, including a Barbie jet, a van, an RV, and cars. There’s even a Hot Tub Party Bus Play Set. This large, expensive RV play set features three rooms for entertainment and 20 play pieces. The entertainment centre has a flat screen TV, and the RV includes a fridge, microwave, sink, and table. More affordable vehicle choices include convertibles, scooters, and cruise ships. There is also a remote control convertible that lets the child control the car while Barbie rides.
Things to consider before buying Barbie
- If you’re buying a Barbie for a younger child, don’t be surprised if the doll doesn’t stay looking pretty for long. Many girls experiment with cutting their doll’s hair or play roughly with them so their hair gets tangled and ratty. For this reason, stay away from the expensive collectible versions until she’s a little older.
- If this is your child’s first Barbie, consider buying a couple of Barbie’s friends. Her imaginative play will be enhanced by having other characters to complete the storyline. In addition to her boyfriend Ken, Barbie has many different friends and family members to choose from, including younger brothers and sisters.
- Consider buying some type of system to organize all those clothes and accessories. Those shoes are tiny and easily lost. You can buy an actual closet with hangers for the clothes and drawers for the shoes. A less expensive option is to buy a little plastic home organizer. These small drawer systems may be designed to hold paperclips or other small household items, but they can be perfect for storing all those Barbie items.
- If you’re buying a Barbie for someone else’s child, check with the child’s parents first. The reasons are two-fold. First, some people have strong feelings against Barbie, and you don’t want to offend by buying a Barbie for the wrong family. On the other hand, if they are a Barbie fan, this can help you find out exactly which version of the doll or which outfits would be most appreciated.