Infographic Category Education

The History of Barbie: A Timeline

By | source:Here Aug 4th, 2023

In 1959, Barbie was born in a man’s world. She didn’t have any friends or family at the time (they’d come later), but she had a lot of potential—and it was obvious that she would soon become one of the most influential dolls in history. Over the next few decades, she transformed from an innocent blonde with a huge smile into something more mature and modern but still just as stylish: today’s “new” Barbie is still blonde haired and blue eyed but has shorter hair and smaller feet than her first iteration; she wears jeans instead of dresses and sneakers instead of heels; her nails are painted instead of plain; her lips are usually glossed rather than nude.


Barbie and Ken were introduced in 1959. Barbie was the first fashion doll to have a career, an adult body and face, as well as a boyfriend named Ken.



Barbie has had many careers over the years. She started out as a doctor, but later became a nurse, vet and astronaut. Barbie also worked as a firefighter and farmer–and even became an airplane pilot! Mattel has developed many different kinds of dolls for girls over the years. In addition to Barbie’s many professions (and hobbies), she has friends who are doctors or pilots too!



Barbie’s first bathing suit was an inflatable pink number, worn in 1962. She also wore a one piece with a matching cap and sandals, but it wasn’t until the following year that she began wearing more revealing bikinis.



In 1967, Barbie’s wardrobe expanded to include a rainbow of shoes, purses and handbags. The accessories pile up as Barbie’s wardrobe expands to include a rainbow of shoes, purses and handbags. Barbie was not always just a doll–she started off as a fashion doll (and still is one).



In 1980, Barbie introduced her first black doll with an Afro-style hairdo and gold hoop earrings. The doll was named Christie and sold for $10.50 at Toys R Us stores throughout the United States. In 1983, Mattel released a series of African-American dolls that included: Teresa (a teenager), Tina (a young adult), Terri (an adult) and Tiffany (a mature woman). These dolls had more realistic bodies than previous versions of Barbie; they were taller and had wider hips than regular Barbies did at the time–but they still looked very Caucasian nonetheless!



1992 was the year that Barbie received her first makeover in over four decades. The new body proportions were more realistic, with a shorter neck and wider waistline–but they were also less attractive. In fact, many argued that she looked like an overweight woman in her late 30s or early 40s rather than an actual teenager. There was still no sign of breasts on this model’s chest; however, there was one significant difference: for the first time ever (and according to Mattel’s official website), “Barbie’s feet were made from vinyl instead of plastic.”


2004 to 2010s

For its 50th anniversary in 2004, Barbie gets cleaned up with a contemporary look that includes straight hair and strappy sandals with wedge heels. A few years later she opts for jeans with a white T-shirt or tank top, or a flirty sundress paired with pumps; she also sports an updated hairstyle (curled bangs) and fresh makeup look. In 2019, she – like so many other “trendy” celebrities – gets a bob haircut! Barbie has undergone a lot of changes over the years.


Barbie has come a long way since she first appeared on the scene in 1959. She’s had her ups and downs over the years, but she always seems to bounce back with an updated look that keeps her relevant for today’s kids (and their parents!).