Blast From My Past: 1970s Barbie

I am not a saver, in the general sense.

There are people who have saved as much as they could from their past, keeping it in boxes and moving it with them. I, on the other hand, have always felt like getting rid of things was a bit, um…cleansing (for lack of a better word).

And, yeah, I can look back and wish maybe I didn’t get rid of a couple of things, but for the most part, I like not having to worry about storage issues (as much…we all have storage issues to some degree, I think).

I have only two things from my childhood that have ridden around with me in the bottom of my blanket chest (which I use to store my sweaters, not blankets). A ceramic blue and white tea set and a box marked “Barbie” that contains these:

Yep, that’s Malibu Barbie and Malibu Ken, circa 1972. I had owned and played with a barbie before this, but I remember really wanting the Malibu dolls for Christmas.

And, man, was I ever in play heaven. Over the next few years I got a big house, a camper, an airplane and a pool. I would set up their little world in my room and play for days.


Now that I think about it, my gardening actually started then. I remember making a garden out of some brown construction paper that I folded accordion-style. I cut some slits down the accordion “rows” and inserted little vegetables that I made out of more construction paper. Barbie would go out to the “garden” and weed and harvest vegetables that she would put on plates on the table- complete with the tops and roots attached.

Lest you think I kid about the era, these clothes should confirm it.

Faux leather fringe vest? Check.

Bell-bottoms with add-0n hems? Check.

Hippie-style mini dress and go-go boots? Check.

Hey, wait a minute- aren’t these things back in style?

How about the groovy lace ensemble with the long, flowy pink vest? And what would the 70s be without cords and a halter top?

Nothin’- that’s what.

But these were my favorite outfits of all. And come to think of it, probably the reason I never got rid of them- I LOVED the wedding sets and, come on, the coat, dress and boot combo was so stylish.

I always wanted them to wear the wedding outfits, but being that you only wear them when you get married, I had to get creative to be able to dress them in these as often as I wanted. So every. single. time. I played with them there was the same scenario:

Barbie is shopping at the grocery store and is looking down at something (her list, or in her purse, depending on where the action was taking place) when- BAM!- her cart knocks into Ken’s cart (or Ken, depending…you get the idea).

And, you guessed it, love at first sight and married within a month.

Which was a Barbie-Time month. This was about 20 minutes our time.

Hey, it was all about getting to wear the wedding dress.

And look what I discovered when I was separating the vintage items from the 2000-era Barbies my daughter had?

Notice I don’t say “played with” since she never really did. Have I ever mentioned she’s really not like me? *sigh*

Anyway, apparently 70’s Ken was not macho enough for the powers-that-be and they’ve increased his shoe size (and who knows what else?).

Sheesh, is nothing sacred?


This is linked to Finer Things Friday





  1. says

    Oh, you had me “rolling on floor” laughing..This was so gosh darn cute…and I had Barbie dolls, too…in the 80s..and I remember all the funny clothes. I would style their hair. My mother bought me a few international Barbies too which I played with…but one poor Barbie, her hair didn’t make it, because I decided to play hair stylist one day…oopps.. In any case, this brought back memories of playing with my dolls. This was really cute and those clothes are funky but super cool. Oh, remembered something else..My mother and i would go to craft shows…and back then there were people who’d make these fancy ball gowns…sewn, crocheted etc for Barbie dolls…so if you wanted a “Gone with the Wind” Barbie…you could have it. I even remember someone who made dresses for Barbie’s so the dolls would look like vintage Gibson girls…Oh, so cute. have a great weekend, Jami. Love and hugs from Oregon, Heather :)

  2. says

    I never had a Barbie Doll, we were too poor. My girls had so many they used to cut their hair! I have many ball gowns (circa 1995) waiting for my granddaughter.

    However, I think that looks like my wardrobe from when I was in 8th grade!

  3. homeclynn says

    OK- am so impressed. I have malibu Barbie as well but she is still wearing her original swimsuit. I don’t think I even had an out fit for her, and you can be sure I did not have the cool camper!

  4. says

    Jami, what a great find! I am pretty sure I have my Barbie stuff in a box somewhere around here.

    When I was a girl I played with my mother’s barbies also… and I cut her hair (gasp!) (I think it looked similar to the pic I just posted of myself, haha!) I think it was either the 1st or 2nd Barbie!! You know my mother loves me:)

  5. Thoughts for the day says

    I still have my original barbie in her box. With the little hangers and clothes and shoes and all. so fun really should dig it out for the grand daughters but since it is collectible maybe it should stay in storage. My doll was the original one from the sixties and even might have midge.
    so fun take me back in memory just to think of it.

  6. says

    Love seeing these–my barbies are a bit earlier–circa 60’s and maybe early early 70’s. I remember getting the first Barbie that you could bend her legs–she was called “Miss Barbie” vs the regular “Barbie” name. Her leg was broken within a month, lol, but it was cool while it lasted!

  7. says

    We must be about the same age. I think I actually had a few of those outfits. My Barbie and Ken looked about like that. Nice little bit of reminiscing.

  8. Jeralee says

    Thanks for the laugh! I soo needed that today. I never had Barbies growing up. My mother thought they were too mature for little girls to be playing with. I think as an adult she felt bad about that one and gave me a Barbie as a Christmas present a couple of years ago… Yeah, not quite the same thing. It was just…odd.
    My girls ages 10 and 9 had barbies.. They never played with them and came to me a couple of years ago and said I could donate them to the GoodWill because they really weren’t interested in them.

    I do have a sweet Strawberry Shortcake collection from the 80’s however. :-)

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