Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Mod Barbie Fashion Find

Mod-era Barbie clothes are just fantastic things, reflecting the daring, day-glo designs of their time (1967-1972). The individual outfits were given creative names by their designers, like "Maxi 'n Mini," "Knit Hit," and "Velvet Venture." They are also fragile things, made of glittery metallic and foiled fabric, velveteen, vinyl, and synthetic fur. These two factors combine to make mod-era Barbie fashions desirable, scarce, and costly. I've not been willing to pay the extortion-level prices usually asked for such pieces, and so my mod Barbies have sadly remained naked. Until now.

 While browsing some sales late last week, I stumbled upon a "bargain box" full of modern (1990s-2000s) Barbies. I was going to pass over them, as modern Barbies don't interest me much...but then I thought I better take a closer look at the box "just in case."

Well, it's a good thing I did: the contemporary Barbies were all clothed in original 1960s mod-era fashions, including some of the most highly sought Barbie clothes out there. Each doll was priced at $2.00, and at the bottom of the box was a plastic baggie filled with more mod pieces, the whole bag labelled $3.00. The score was about $250.00 worth of vintage Barbie clothes for $9.00!

 In the bag were the sleeveless minidresses "Knit Hit" & "Togetherness" (upper right), Francie's far-out and furry turquoise corduroy poncho (center), and 2 pieces from Sears' exclusive "Glamour Group" (bottom right), as well as a cool bowling bag and some vintage shoes.

The bag also included a couple of "mommy-made" pieces (top, left and right: stripey dress and yellow sweater/floral skirt ensemble).

After I recovered from my swoon, I rushed the Barbies home, where they were stripped and given to a friend who likes the new dolls. The vintage clothes were gleefully adopted by my mod Barbies, who model them below.

My blond Hair Fair Barbie sports the fabulous, and rarely found, "Maxi 'n Mini," a turquoise foiled maxi coat with a metallic striped mini dress. This outfit originally came with matching thigh-high boots, which were incredibly fragile and seldom survived. 

Check out that fab faux fur collar!

My blond TNT (Twist 'n Turn) Barbie models the coat from "Velvet Venture," a cool pale green plush with gold braid trim.

My brunette Hair Fair Barbie showcases one of the mod-era's day-glo outfits, which was named "Hurray for Leather" by Mattel designers who were apparently unaware of the naughty allusions this title could stir up amongst a certain group of sex fetishists. Unfortunate naming aside, this is one of the coolest of the mod fashions, consisting of a leather-look yellow vinyl miniskirt with day-glo orange shag trim that matches the sweater, completed with yellow "pilgrim" shoes.

She's ready for a night of go-go dancing...

My mod Barbies are thrilled with their extensive new (and cheap!) wardrobe.

To see lots more mod Barbie fashions, check out Carnaby Street at modcolors.com.


  1. Great find! Your girls look amazing in them! And especially on that great Maxi N' Mini. I love, love, love that coat.

  2. I wonder if Maxi coats are on the way back. Such a find!!!! Love the orange go go outfit too! :)C

  3. The bowling bag is the best. Was there a Barbie bowling ball?

  4. Nope, no bowling ball: the girls are using it to store their shoes.

  5. You are living proof of that saying the harder I work the luckier I become.
    People watch the Antiques Roadshow and then think they can find treasures on their once a year trip to a garage sale but I've noticed that your discoveries come from a lot of leg work and not being too lazy to rummage around .
    Lesson learned.

  6. Yep, lots and lots of rummaging and poking about. But it's fun, like a treasure hunt. (Except for one time when I got poison ivied in somebody's field. That was NOT fun.)

  7. Also, a lot of my greatest discoveries came from preparation beforehand, too: LOTS of reading and researching. I think that's a step that's skipped by many of the "people" you reference. My saying is, "Fortune favors the prepared who have done their homework." I read for YEARS before I purchased a single thing, and that has prevented me from making too many dreadful mistakes and enabled me to often recognize a treasure when I spot one. Read, read, read! And then read some more. You can't read enough, even when you think you have, and just googling doesn't count.

  8. A gorgeous collection! Brings back a few memories of 60s fashion, what a great time that was! I think my fav here is the orange and yellow outfit :)