Some Barbie and family outfits are promoted and/or photographed incorrectly. The way the outfit is laid out in its packaging, or the way the doll is shown dressed in it in the clothing booklet, can be misleading. Not until you, the buyer, remove the clothing pieces from their box and dress the doll do you realize the purpose of the outfit.
Or, the doll shown in the outfit in its promo materials is not the best figure to wear it. You may see the dress in the booklet and think it is unattractive and ignore it at the store. Not until a different doll dons the dress do you discover that it’s actually darling!
These are some of the items that I think have been misidentified. I’m showing you the ones that I photographed (they've got asterisks), and am simply listing the rest.
1. *1969 #1479 Leisure Leopard. In the clothing booklet, Barbie is wearing this, with that middle piece hanging between her legs. That separate piece looks like a huge saggy yellow diaper reaching to her ankles. Not only does it look stupid, it looks uncomfortable and how on Earth do you walk in it? The 1969 Sears Wish Book has a different picture, of Julia wearing it with the yellow piece off to the side. You realize this is the correct way to wear it, and it’s meant for the African-American dolls, because the color combination really sets off their smooth dark skin. Twist N Turn Julia in #1479 Leisure Leopard.
2. 1969 #3043 Hair Fair two curls. This hairpiece with the barrette is not meant to be worn on the side of the head, as if it were one set of Nellie curls. Instead, put the barrette through the hair in the upper back of the head, making a ponytail.
3. 1969 #3043 Hair Fair curly bun. This is a chignon. Put it atop the head of a blonde doll who’s wearing a ballgown.
4. *1976 #9155 At the Supermarket. This was an unnamed Best Buy in the US, was named Al Supermercarto in Italy and Statdbummel/City Spree in Germany. Here, SunSet Malibu PJ models this shopping outfit.
5. *1977 Best Buy #9622. This dress, plus Skipper’s #9710 Casual Fashion and Ken’s Best Buy #9703, are hideous in their packaging. Once you put them on the doll, you figure out their purpose. These are Christmas outfits, circa late 70s. Note that Barbie’s and Skipper’s dresses are reminiscent of long wool skirts with knitted vests and polyester satin blouses. Ken looks bundled up for the night as well. Funtime Skipper in Casual Fashion and SuperStar Barbie in Best Buy #9622.
6. 1980 #1372 Slip on N Tie Evening Gown/Slinkeroo. This looks like a skin-tight, flimsy, sheer evening gown. Not even the person at Mattel who named it seems to have realized that this is a swimsuit cover-up!
7. 1982 Best Buy #3633. At first glance, you think this is a bland, too-tight flapper dress. In Europe, its name is Indian, which indicates that it is actually a Native American costume.
8. *1984 Fashion Extra #4914. The shorts are obvious. But what is that white thing with the ties? It’s NOT a bra or bikini top. It’s a sun visor! The outfit is meant to be worn with one of the T-shirts from Fashion Extras #4910. Once you put the shorts, shirt and visor on the doll, you’ll realize that this is a very sexy women’s softball uniform, and the wearer is probably the pitcher. Great Shape Barbie in Fashion Extras #4910 and #4914.
9. *1985 Fashion Extras #9870 (shirt) and 7960 (shorts and tie). You think the tie is a belt or boa. It looks best as a headband, as shown by a second Great Shape Barbie.
10. *1985 B Active #7915. A cute knit dress with a full skirt? No, it’s a pink knit bodysuit with full skirt and ballet slippers. In other words, it’s for practicing ballet. Astronaut Barbie in B Active #7915.
11. 1986 #2192 Glamorous Dressing Gown. Since this is shown in the 1986 booklet with the other Dream Glow gowns, you might assume it is also a long dress. Actually, it’s a peignor with a long robe.
12. *1986 B Active #2184. Do you know who looks best in this long pink dress with the huge turtleneck? Grandma Heart! The dress is very matronly. I nicknamed it “Mother of the Bride” a long time ago. http://twitpic.com/e4sna4
13. 1986 #1170 Disco Mice. You can’t go to a nightclub in this--the bouncer would burst out laughing and never let you in! It’s a sweatshirt with print stretch pants, and it’s for bed!
14. *1987 Jewel Secrets Barbie, Ken, Skipper and Whitney, and their separate outfits, #1859 Ruby Rose of Rio, #1860 Island Secrets, #1861 The Secret of Pleasant Manor, #1862 Whitney’s Ruby Rose, #1863 Island Secrets (Skipper) and #1865 Pleasant Manor (Ken). The dolls and their costumes with masks are not for Halloween but rather for Mardi Gras. In fact, the accompanying story booklets talk about Carnivale. Jewel Secrets Skipper in her original outfit, Jewel Secrets Whitney in her original outfit, Two Jewel Secrets Kens in their original outfits, Jewel Secrets Skipper in #1863 Island Secrets and Funtime Barbie in #1862 Whitney’s Ruby Rose. (The mask goes with the Ruby Rose gown.)
15. 1988 #3313 A Day at the Mall. I guess if you were rich and famous and wearing this Beverly Hills outfit on Rodeo Drive, no one would say anything. But for us peons, this print knit top and pants are meant to be worn to bed.
16. *1991 Costume Ball Magic Barbie and Ken, and Barbie’s separate outfits. The two dolls and four costumes, #7763 Ballgown or Gorgeous Mermaid, #7764 Ballgown or Glamorous Genie; #7765 Ballgown or Beautiful Bunny and #7766 Ballgown or Fabulous Bird, just like their Jewel Secrets counterparts, are designed for Mardi Gras, not Halloween. African-American Bathtime Fun Barbie in #8866 Fabulous Bird.
1992 Barbie and Ken #2969 Prince and Princess Fashions for the Costume Party. See my comments about Jewel Secrets and Dance Magic.
17. *1999 Fashion Avenue #23365 very sexy halter top and short skirt of black with turquoise trim. I had to try this on a couple of dolls before I found one that it suited. The bizarre Talk with Me Barbie looks good in it, and with a little finagling you can get her "button" to fit inside the keyhole collar. Is this a drunken Hollywood groupie outfit? Or a streetwalker outfit? I prefer to think of it as lingerie.
18. *1969 #1975 Sunny Suity. This sure is fancy for a sunsuit to wear at the beach. Not to mention that Skipper's a little old to be wearing a sunsuit. And why does this come with a mob cap? Am I the only one who thinks this is a funky teddy pants set for bed with wild slippers? A 1969 blonde Twist N Turn Skipper is wearing it.
19. *1970 #1733 Rik Rak Rah. The blue loose-fitting bodysuit is easy to find but the overskirt is a tough one. The set is always listed as a playsuit. Actually, it’s for cheerleading, even though the outfit never came with pompoms. Living Skipper in the rompers for Rik Rak Rah.
20. *1970 #1738 Fancy Pants. I've come to the conclusion that this is a stage costume. Not even a Brady or Partridge would wear this in public. It's shown by a blonde 1970 reissued straight leg Skipper.
21. *1972 #3372 Fun Runners. I’ve had this outfit since I was a little girl, and never knew what the mismatched scarf was for until last year. The outfit is always pictured with a doll wearing the scarf and sunglasses covering her head. I bought a toy horse last year and went looking for jeans outfits for my dolls to wear while riding, and about fell over when I figured out that this outfit is neither for running nor for sitting in an open convertible. It’s for horseback riding! The scarf goes around Skipper’s neck to protect her from the dust! It took me 40 years to discover this! Pose N Play Tiff in Fun Runners.
22. *1974 #7775 Raining Flowers (its name in Sweden was Blomster-Regn) isn't a long granny gown. As you can see 1973's Quick Curl Skipper modeling it, it's a nightgown that is made of cotton that looks like flannel.
23. *1975 Growing Up #9023. At first impression, the wide straps of the red bandana dress look like the top of the dress, the middle part looks like a waistband and the length makes you think it is a maxi dress. But once you put the dress on a Growing Up Skipper doll, you notice that, even with breasts, GU Skipper doesn’t fill out the straps. Pull up the straps higher around her neck and tie them. The waistband becomes a bodice and the skirt becomes midi-length. It becomes a much more sensible and comfortable calf-length sundress. Growing Up Skipper in #9023.
24. *1976 #9166 Warm Weather Weekend Wardrobe. Whoever named this ensemble at Mattel must have been blind! The heavy slacks, jumper, long-sleeved blouse and matching cap, and knee socks were obviously meant to be worn to school during autumn. Modeled by another SunSet Malibu Skipper.
25. *1981 Fashion Collectible #1943. After trying this dowdy blue thing by itself and with several outfits, I’ve come to the conclusion that it is simply a bathrobe with a waist tie! It won’t stay shut so it can’t be a spring coat or a blue coatdress. It fits better on the taller Growing Up/SuperTeen dolls. It’s too long for the original 9-inch dolls. 1982 Western Skipper in Fashion Collectible #1943 and #4878 Sweet Dreams from 1984.
26. *I am also showing you some other late 70s/early 80s Skipper outfits that are meant for the taller girls. 1979 SuperTeen Skippers in Fashion Collectible #2806 (blue and yellow) from 1979 and Best Buy #2236 from 1978 (pink).
27. 1982 Best Buy #3780. This isn’t a play outfit with a fringed tunic and jeans. It’s actually a Native American costume. See Barbie Best Buy #3633.
28. 1986 So Active #2235. Another outfit whose identity has been revealed overseas. In the United States, it’s just listed as a nameless exercise outfit, but in Europe it is called Squash. There is a corresponding Barbie outfit, So Active #2183, which I assume is also for playing squash.
29. *1986 The only doll I am showing in her original outfit is Music Lovin'/Tempo Skipper, sold only in Europe. Music Lovin'/Temp Barbie, Ken and Skipper were redressed Sun Gold Malibu dolls wearing knit jumpsuits and handmade yarn sweaters and carrying Walkmans. Although never advertised as such, they are supposed to be joggers listening to music while they run.
1988 Teen Fun #5874. It’s pajamas, not an exercise outfit.
30. *1990 Cool Tops #9080. The lace skirt, the shiny flats and the decal on the T-shirt indicate that this isn’t a party dress, but rather that it’s designed for a tap dance performance. African-American Cool Tops Skipper in Cool Tops #9080.
31. 1993 High School #3629. The lace is too filmy to be worn out in public as a party dress, but the fanciness of the shiny purple bodice makes the dress too elaborate for a nightgown. Perhaps this is a stage or talent show costume.
32. 1993 un-numbered Trendy Teen with pink torso, white lace sleeves and skirt made of layers of tulle. This outfit is pictured in a tiny magazine that came with several Skipper ensembles. The caption above it reads “Love to Dance.” This indicates that it is a tutu.
33. High School #2472. Dear God, what IS this thing? What adolescent boy would go out in public in a bright blue T-shirt under purple striped shorts with suspenders? I’ve decided this is a stage costume, and that Kevin is playing either Friedrich or Rolfe in The Sound of Music.