Remembering 90s Barbie Dolls, Outfits, and Dreamhouse

By: Alyssa Miller | Last updated: Apr 01, 2024

From her black and white bathing suit to her latest silver-screen debut, Barbie has a long and rich history that is truly iconic. However, no decade is as loved and remembered by kids, toy collectors, and parents as the 90s Barbie dolls.

Today, we are breaking down some of the most beloved Barbie dolls, outfits, and Dreamhouse of the 1990s. Let’s get into it!

Barbies From the ‘80s and ‘90s

They don’t make dolls like the vintage Barbie dolls in the 1980s and 1990s. Mattel, the company behind the different types of Barbies, had a simple Barbie marketing strategy: keep the hair long and stay ahead of trends.

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Ruth Handler, Mattel Inc. co-founder and Barbie Doll inventor poses with a selection of Barbie Dolls

Source: Vicky Kasala/Getty Images

Many of these Barbie dolls are instantly recognizable. Whether you played with them yourself or say Margot Robbie recreated the look on the red carpet for Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie,” these are the dolls that left their mark on history.

Happy Holidays Barbie

This 1980s Holiday Barbie is the first in a series of dolls that was not originally planned to be a collector’s item. However, the doll, dressed in a glimmering red poofy dress and adorned with bows, sold out and quickly began reselling for a higher price.

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1988 Happy Holiday's Barbie in a box

Source: Mattel Store/Amazon

The Happy Holidays series lasted until a name change in 1998. While the series still exists and is as popular as ever, the Happy Holiday Barbie, especially the ones from the ‘80s, are some of the most popular themed Barbies of all time.

90s Barbie Dolls

1990 Barbie dolls reached the peak of popularity with Totally Hair Barbie in 1992. Since then, Barbie has tried everything to capture the imagination of young children everywhere. Millennials and Gen Zers had a childhood filled with Barbie play dates that included the introduction of Kelly, a flexible waist, and the first doll to be sold with a wheelchair.

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United Colors of Benetton Barbie, Benetton Christie, Benetton Ken; Benetton clothes.

Source: vaniljapulla/Flickr

From the Bead Blast Barbies to Olympic Gymnast Barbie Doll, here are some of the best Barbies from the ‘90s.

Most Popular Barbies

Some of the most popular Barbie dolls of the time include Teen Talk Barbie, 101 Dalmatians Barbie, Generation Girl Barbie, and Gymnast Barbie. Some of these toys’ bodies were brand new, featuring bendable bodies, dolls that walked on their own, and a mold that would become the standard body for Barbie until 2009.

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Totally Hair Barbie in a 90s commercial

Source: Mattel/YouTube

These vintage Barbie dolls changed the game for toys. Focused on creativity and fashion, Barbie brought diverse and captivating dolls to ‘90s kids everywhere.

Iconic Barbies from the 90s

While the dolls mentioned above were popular, there are a few iconic Barbies from the 90s that we have to mention. The Bob Mackie 1990 Barbie creation and his 1992’s Empress Bride remain a staple in the fashion world. However, fitness Barbies were still all the craze with Gymnastic, Ski Fun, and Scuba Diver Barbies.

1992’s Empress Bride Barbie posing on a white background

Source: Stinky Pete's Toy Store/eBay

However, the most iconic vintage 1990s Barbie is Totally Hair, with her long hair reaching her feet.

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1990s Holiday Barbie

Mattel’s best-selling line of Barbies didn’t stop in the ‘80s. The ‘90s Holiday Barbies, which can sell for around $1,000 (via SecurCare Self Storage), remain untouched in a lot of our basements or attics.

The Brunette version of Holiday Barbie 1994

Source: Dollect

The most expensive reselling Holiday Barbie is the 1994 Brunette Version. Only 540 of these models exist, so consider yourself lucky if you have one.

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Controversial ‘90s Barbies

Of course, nothing popular is without its controversies. While Mattel tried to be as innovative with Barbie as possible, there were a few issues that many parents and children found concerning. Teen Talk Barbie was under fire for its sexist phrases, including “Math class is tough,” and “We love shopping.”

Teen Talk Barbie posing on a white background

Source: TheBearsHouseTOYS/Etsy

While Becky was the doll’s first disabled character, the doll’s chair wouldn’t fit through the doors or elevators at Barbie’s Dream House.

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Popular Barbie Accessories in the 1990s

Can Barbie be Barbie without her fabulous accessories? Of course, she would, but that doesn’t mean Millennials weren’t obsessed with the ’90s Barbie play sets or Barbie Jeep. From the McDonald’s play set to Barbie Horse Nibbles, these accessories were the best Barbie toys besides the doll herself.

Barbie and Ken in her 90s Dreamhouse

Source: House Beautiful/YouTube

The ‘90s Dreamhouse was all of the rage, too. While the ‘90s wasn’t known for its design, the pink hues of this era of the Dreamhouse felt oddly familiar. The chance that you could someday own a house like Barbie’s was inspiring for children.

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Where Can You Find Vintage Barbie Dolls 1990s?

There are many places you can find vintage dolls from your childhood or your collection. While you can eBay Barbie dolls, Facebook Marketplace and Mercari are great places to find vintage dolls at affordable prices.

Vintage Barbies on display

Source: Corey Seeman/Flickr

However, your local vintage stores or specialty stores might have some high-quality vintage Barbies that are exactly what you are looking for.

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Unique Barbie Toys

Y2k Barbie brought some new technology into the line of dolls. While not every Barbie worked out (sorry Barbie Video Girl and Happy Family Midge), dolls like the Princess and the Pauper dolls would sing together if a child pressed the button on their backs at the same time.

Barbie Princess and the Pauper next to each other

Source: Ayrton G. Schmidt/YouTube

Barbie stepped away from the real world in the 2000s in favor of a more fantastical one where she could be a mermaid or a fairy. Many of these Barbies and toys often accompanied a Barbie movie of the same name.

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Best Barbie Dolls

The best Barbie toys depend on the nostalgia you attribute to them or the value placed on them by collectors. While 2023’s best Barbie easily goes to Barbie Margot Robbie, the first edition Barbie is easily the best.

Ruth Handler, executive of Mattel Toy company, posing with collection of Barbie dolls, 1961 Original Caption: CAREER WOMAN--Mrs. Elliott Handler, executive of Mattel Toy, Inc., smiles easily despite pressures of operating a $25 million-a-year business. She has been named outstanding Business Woman of Year.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

African-American Barbie and Malibu Barbie changed the tides of what a toy could mean for children over the decades, and Barbie keeps pushing the boundaries of what the future of toys will be.

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