Usually beloved, at times boundary-pushing and sometimes even controversial, Barbie is one of the most enduring figures in toy history. No other doll has worn quite so many hats or embraced so many professions, so it’s no surprise that she’s remained relevant to this day. With that said, if any decade saw Barbie reach the height of her fashion prowess, it was most definitely the 1980s.
From cowgirl to astronaut to red-carpet strolling fashionista, here are Barbie’s best 80s looks, and how much it would cost to own them.
Loving You Barbie – $810
First released in 1983, Loving You Barbie has become the Holy Grail for many doll enthusiasts. This is in part because of her beautiful floor-length gown complete with velvet hearts, puff sleeves and a heart-shaped bodice, and in part because of the doll’s unique accessories. If you’re lucky enough to find one in like-new condition, Loving You Barbie comes with heart-shaped stationary, stickers and a stamper that fits in Barbie’s hand! So how much would you need to pay to add this Valentine’s doll to your collection? With all the accessories included, you’re looking at a secondhand price of over $800.
Jewel Secrets Barbie – $724
Jewel Secrets Barbie has one of the most complicated storylines in all of the doll’s history. The story goes that she was voted The Most Glamorous Woman in the World by a famous fashion designer, and invited to a fashion show at the La LuxCherie Hotel. However, while there, her friend Whitney revealed that the patrons had come together to fund Barbie’s younger sister Skipper’s school tuition – how nice is that? For the fashion show, this 1986 Barbie wore a pink and silver gown with a detachable skirt, which has a resale price of around $700.
Happy Holidays Barbie – $697
Happy Holidays Barbies have been a mainstay of the toy line for decades, but it is the original iteration that enthusiasts go wild for. Mattel didn’t expect the first-ever Holiday Barbie, in her poinsettia-red dress and tinsel-puffed sleeves, to become a cherished collector’s item, but when the limited edition doll sold out immediately, they realised they had a hit on their hands. Now, if you want to add a 1988 Happy Holidays Barbie to your shelf, you can expect to pay almost $700!
Magic Curl Barbie – $653
If the 80s are famous for anything, it’s big shoulder pads and even bigger hair. So it should surprise no one to know that in 1981, Mattel introduced the Magic Curl Barbie, a doll whose hair could be curled, straightened and then curled again. This revolutionary new hair technology made this Barbie ultra-popular back in the day, but those same dolls, unfortunately, don’t look as glamorous today. However, even with the huge, frizzy hair, Magic Hair Barbies still regularly sell for over $650 on the secondhand market!
Pink & Pretty Barbie – $489
If you prefer sophistication to straight-up sparkle, then Pink & Pretty Barbie is for you. Released in 1981, this doll has a fur stole, huge fur-trimmed hat, and a fur-trimmed tulle dress to top it off. Made in Tawain only, this Barbie features the subtle make-up that is the hallmark of Tawainese-made Barbies, and it was also released as part of a larger-than-usual run. The large number of Pink & Pretty Barbies on the secondhand market has not affected their resale price, however, as they still regularly sell for upwards of $450.
Feelin’ Groovy Barbie – $448
The word ‘groovy’ carries with it connotations of go-go dresses, white patent leather knee-high boots, wide silk headscarves and purple paisley print. Feelin’ Groovy Barbie, released in 1986, features none of these things. Groovy Barbie looks more like a villainous stepmother than a carefree hippy, with her black and silver fur-trimmed, high-collared jacket, deep purple satin top and matching leggings. Nevertheless, there’s no denying this Barbie makes an impact, which might be why she is worth almost $450 on the secondhand market.
Barbie and Ken Camping Out – $402
This 1983 Barbie and Ken Camping Out toy set raises more questions than it answers. First off, how can the pair possibly be camping if they aren’t in possession of a tent? Secondly, if this toy set is supposed to represent a camping holiday, then why are they dressed so matchy-matchy? Are they camp counsellors? Whatever the case, you could probably buy a real tent for the price of these dolls secondhand, as in-the-box examples often sell for over $400.
Crystal Barbie – $390
If you had a Crystal Barbie way back in 1983, then you’ll remember the sound of the ultra-crinkly fabric from which the crystalline dress was made. This mermaid-cut gown came with a tulle boa and tulle flare at the bottom of the dress, in addition to diamond earrings and a diamond necklace made from transparent plastic. As well as Crystal Barbie, a Crystal Ken was also released, and both have a secondhand resale price of around $390 for mint condition, in-the-box examples.
Peaches and Cream Barbie – $384
If any Barbie doll epitomises the glamour the 1980s were capable of, it’s Peaches and Cream Barbie. Released in 1984, this doll wears a delicate, almost blush-coloured tulle ballgown, complete with combs shaped like peach blossoms, and a floaty stole that can also be tied around the skirt for a different look. Peaches and Cream Barbies were produced in both Taiwan and the Philippines, but the Taiwanese version is ever so slightly more popular amongst enthusiasts, and so has a slightly higher resale price of over $380!
Golden Dream Barbie – $381
The 80s were a decade of rampant consumerism and unapologetic decadence, so it should surprise no one to know that Mattel kicked the whole thing off with a Barbie dedicated entirely to gold. Golden Dream Barbie was released in 1980 and came with a shiny faux-lamé pantsuit, a beautiful big blond blowout laced with gold tinsel, and open-toe crystal heels. In short, she looks ready to hit the red carpet and any after-parties that might follow! Golden Dream Barbies have a fluctuating resale value that sits mostly between $380 and $400.
Fabulous Fur Barbie – $355
Barbie dolls have always reflected the fashion trends of the year they were released, but they also can’t help but echo the underlying attitudes of their time, whether that’s shown in the clothes they wear, the jobs they do or the friends they make. Fabulous Fur Barbie was released in 1983 and as such now feels anachronistic, as society no longer idolises fur as the pinnacle of luxury like it used to. Despite this, Fabulous Fur Barbie is considered to have one of the most elegant looks in Mattel’s history, leading to a resale price of over $350.
Music Lovin’ Barbie – $322
Everyone remembers the Walkman craze of the 1980s, so of course Mattel had to get Barbie in on the action. Music Lovin’ Barbie was released in 1985 and features the blonde doll in a complimentary lemon yellow sparkly jumpsuit, complete with tinsel legwarmers and a crocheted yellow jacket. Is Barbie going to an aerobics class where you have to provide your own music? Is she super into silent discos? Whatever the answer, a Music Lovin’ Barbie is a highly in-demand doll, with a secondhand price of over $320.
Great Shape Barbie – $250
Fitness was a huge part of the 80s, from the legwarmers and lycra of the aerobics craze to the enthusiasm for jogging and gyms in general. That’s why one of the biggest releases of the toy world in 1983 was Great Shape Barbie and Ken, who wore matching cassette players in addition to their sweatbands, leotards and gym bags. A mint condition Great Shape Barbie has been known to sell for $533, but the average price for an in-the-box example is around $250.
Astronaut Barbie – $248
The genius of Barbie is that she can be anything a child could dream of being, from a baker or a dogwalker to a nurse or even the President of the United States. Therefore, when the 80s rolled around, it was only a matter of time before Barbie went to the moon. Astronaut Barbie was released in 1985 and has a stylish pink and silver spacesuit, complete with silver boots, a cape and even huge puffed sleeves. Is that impractical for going into orbit? Yes. Does it look great? Of course. If you want to add this Barbie to your collection today though, you’ll need to set aside nearly $250.
Twirly Curl Barbie – $220
The 90s and early 2000s were filled with dolls that came with gadgets designed to help braid and twist their hair in elaborate ways. With that said, the idea was around in the 80s too, as proven by the 1982 Twirly Curls Barbie. This doll had extra long, straight hair that could be twirled into two-strand braids by the so-called Twirly Curler, a gadget that could also be used on the child playing with Barbie. Many Twirly Curl Barbies have succumbed to frizz over the decades, but they still command a secondhand price of $220 when the Twirly Curler is included.
Olympic Skating Star Barbie – $217
Along with ballet dancers, zoo keepers and pop stars, competitive ice skaters are some of the most idolised professionals in the world. So it makes sense not only that Barbie is proficient on the ice, but that the 1988 Olympic Skating Star Barbie was popular enough to be rereleased in 1995. The original iteration of the doll features a white sparkly sweater with tulle accents and even comes with roses thrown at her to celebrate her amazing performance. This in-demand Barbie has a resale price of over $200 when kept in good, in-the-box condition.
Funtime Barbie – $217
As far as quintessential 80s Barbies go, it doesn’t get better than the 1986 Funtime Barbie. Dressed for the school summer break, this Barbie is dressed in a tinsel crop top emblazoned with a day-glow clock, and has matching sparkly lilac shorts, fabric ankle warmers and plastic purple trainers. This Barbie was produced in China and the Philippines, but it is the Chinese-made Funtime Barbie that is constantly sought out by collectors, owing to the plastic degrading more slowly. To add a still-in-the-box example of this 80s doll to your collection, you’ll need to be willing to shell out over $200.
Dance Sensation Barbie – $201
Dance Sensation Barbie was released in 1983 as part of the Spectacular Fashions series, which also included Red Sizzle Barbie and Blue Magic Barbie. The Dance Sensation doll may not have a colour-themed name, but she does have a heavy focus on pink and purple, with a leotard and detachable tulle skirt that would be perfect for the dance studio. In 2023, the value of Dance Sensation Barbie climbed to just over $200.
Dream Glow Barbie – $199
If you want to know if a Barbie is from the Superstar Era or not, you only have to check her wardrobe. Superstar Barbies are always red-carpet ready and are most likely to be seen wearing garments with multiple fabrics, elaborate detailing and over-the-top silhouettes. Of these dolls, maybe the girliest of them all is 1985’s Dream Glow Barbie, which features a crushed velvet, lace-tripped pink bodice and tiered ballgown skirt emblazoned with stars. This pretty in pink look is coveted by enthusiasts, who will pay almost $200 for one secondhand!
Barbie and the Rockers – $196
When you think of things that go hand in hand with Barbie, glam rock probably isn’t at the top of the list. Nevertheless, glam rock and hair metal bands were a big part of the 80s, so it makes sense that Mattel wanted to jump on the trend too. Barbie and her rockers could sing, dance and play instruments, and each one was sold with its own cassette tape that unfortunately had a tendency to unravel. These 1986 dolls were a huge hit, and have a secondhand resale price of almost $200.
Western Barbie – $181
Some Barbies age as beautifully and gracefully as a real model would, which is what collectors and enthusiasts always hope for, but other dolls are not so lucky. The 1980 Western Barbie had a winking eye that could be activated via a button on her back, which originally lent the doll a cheeky and flirty air. Unfortunately, nowadays most secondhand Western Barbies have a bad lazy eye and big southern hair that’s close to god no longer, leading to a secondhand resale price of around $180.
Vacation Sensation Barbie – $180
Many Barbies allow you to live out high-powered professions like doctors, vets or lawyers, while others allow you to play-act dream jobs like pop stars, figure skaters or models. By contrast, Vacation Sensation Barbie, released in 1986, allows you to indulge in the fantasy of… packing for a holiday. This doll comes with three pieces of luggage and some changes of clothes, so you can fold and unfold to your heart’s content. An in-the-box example of this Barbie with all the accessories intact will cost you $180 though, which could go towards a real holiday.
Angel Face Barbie – $178
Looking at just her head and shoulders, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Angel Face Barbie is some kind of Victorian governess, with a lace blouse and traditional broach given the signature Barbie pink twist. However, this doll’s full outfit includes a voluminous pink poodle skirt, making it clear that this 1982 doll is more inspired by the 50s. Angel Face Barbie also got her name thanks to her minimal make-up, which dials back the usual bright blue eyeshadow and pink lipgloss. As for her secondhand value, her auction price usually sits at around $175.
Magic Moves Barbie – $167
Not all Barbies have a special gimmick that sets them apart from standard articulated dolls, but the 1985 Magic Moves Barbie does. This supermodel doll has a switch on her back that can be pushed in order to allow her to switch poses, seemingly all by herself. Her long platinum hair, halterneck bodysuit and luxurious fur-lined cape have made her a fan-favourite among the Superstar Barbies, which has led to a resale price of almost $170.
Day to Night Barbie – $149
If you grew up reading a lot of fashion magazines, you probably thought that (along with quicksand and the Bermuda Triangle) adulthood would be filled with situations that required you to reckon with “dressing from day to night”. Day to Night Barbie wears a pink double-breasted suit and carries a briefcase during office hours, but also has a flashy pink dress complete with a tulle skirt ready to go. If you would like to own the 80s’ most versatile Barbie doll, you can expect to pay nearly $150 – briefcase included.
Wedding Fantasy Barbie – $149
Maybe it’s the promise of cake, maybe it’s the beautiful and over-the-top white dresses, or perhaps it’s the idea that true love is indeed real. Whatever the reason, lots of children grow up acting out their dream wedding with dolls, pets or even family members, so it should surprise no one to know that 1989’s Wedding Fantasy Barbie was an instant bestseller. Not only that but her intricate tulle gown and veil have made her an enduring favourite amongst collectors, leading to a resale price that sits consistently around $150.
Barbie Dream Furniture Bath – $148
When you really think about it, the people behind Mattel are geniuses. Somehow, they convinced legions of parents to buy hundreds of identical blonde dolls wearing different outfits, rather than selling just one doll and then the outfits separately. Similarly, you might think that buying the Barbie Dream House would give you all the furniture and accessories you could ever need, but no. Items like the Barbie Luxury Bathtub are still hugely coveted by collectors, and often sell for as much as $150 secondhand.
Easy-On Ballerina Barbie -$143
Barbie might be popular with children of a wide range of ages, but there are some kids for whom the dolls are too complicated. Not only do the shoes, necklaces and handbags present a choking hazard for younger children, but the clothes often have fastenings or openings that are too small and finicky for a toddler’s fingers. The Easy On-Barbies were designed to be easier to undress and dress, and the most popular of them all was the 1988 Ballerina Barbie, which has a current secondhand price of almost $150!
Enchanted Evening Barbie – $135
It’s clear from a glance that Enchanted Evening Barbie doesn’t look at all like any of the other dolls on this list, but don’t worry, she was indeed released in the 1980s. This special edition doll was released to pay tribute to the earliest Barbies Mattel ever made, harking back to their more delicate, nostalgic designs and classy formalwear. Despite the uniqueness of this doll, collectors seem to prefer simply seeking out original-era vintage Barbies, resulting in a resale price of just $135.
Horse Lovin’ Barbie – $124
In the decades since she was introduced to the toy market, Barbie has had hundreds of hobbies. So of course, she has tried her hand at horseriding once or twice. Horse Lovin’ Barbie was first released in 1982 and was so popular that she was rereleased multiple times, with the original iteration of course remaining the most valuable. Want to add this plaid and cowhide-clad Barbie to your collection? You’ll need to shell out almost $125.
Fashion Jeans Barbie – $118
At first glance, skinny jeans and pink cowboy boots are two items more at home in the early 2000s than in the decade of aerobics and Flashdance. However, Fashion Jeans Barbie from 1981 rocks both, along with a fluffy pink sweater that definitely seems like something Andie from Pretty in Pink would wear. While 1982 Fashion Jeans Barbies are fairly easy to source, finding an original 1981 iteration is much harder and will set you back nearly $120.
Sun Gold Malibu Barbie – $98
There’s no denying that Malibu Barbie is one of Mattel’s most iconic products, after all, she’s even referenced in Debbie Jellinsky’s high-camp villain monologue in Addam’s Family Values. With that said, just over a decade after the original Malibu Barbie hit shelves in 1971, the Sun Gold Malibu Barbie was released in 1983. This Barbie sports a silver and gold checkerboard swimsuit with a backless, halter neck design, and usually fetches around $100 on the resale market.
Sears Lilac and Lovely Barbie – $91
With hundreds of Barbies released in the 80s alone, it can be difficult to know where to start your collection. With that said, there are plenty of special edition Barbies that have special places in the hearts and on the shelves of collectors, such as the Lilac and Lovely Barbie. First released in 1987, this Barbie doll was a Sears exclusive, and could only be purchased at the store. Since she was a promotional doll, many enthusiasts believe her clothes are of a higher quality, leading to a resale price of over $90.
American Beauties Mardi Gras Barbie – $83
In the late 80s, Mattel released the American Beauties collection in collaboration with legendary toy store FOA Schwarz. This line of dolls featured everything from an Army Barbie to a George Washington doll, but by far the most glamorous of them all is Mardi Gras Barbie. This doll, released in 1987, comes complete with a glittering masquerade mask and purple polka dot parade outfit. Despite the beautiful look and limited edition status though, this Barbie rarely fetches prices above $80 at auction.
Fashion Play Barbie – $83
Fashion Play Barbie might have the most generic name of any Barbie doll released in the 80s, but her look is pretty unique. Unlike many of the Barbie dolls of the decade, who are adorned with more ruffles, sparkles and tulle than you can shake a stick at, Fashion Play Barbie wears a simple halterneck top with an oversized bow, and a classic red midi skirt with a tropical print. Unfortunately, simple elegance doesn’t seem to be what Mattel collectors are in the market for, as this doll most often sells for around $85 secondhand.
Star Dreams Barbie – $79
Notice anything strange about this doll? That’s right, the top half of this 1987 Star Dreams Barbie’s outfit is basically identical to the 1988 Olympic Skating Star Barbie. The only difference is that, while Star Dreams Barbie wears a full-length white tulle skirt, Olympic Skating Star Barbie wears a mini skirt more appropriate for ice skating competitions. As for which doll has won the popularity contest as far as collectors go, the numbers speak for themselves, and Olympic Skating Star Barbie is the one skating away with a gold medal.
Superstar Barbie – $71
The Superstar Era Barbies are the favourites of a lot of collectors, as they are known for having the most unique make-up, the most glamorous outfit designs and the best accessories. However, not all of them can shine so brightly, as the simply-named Superstar Barbie can attest. This bedraggled doll has a pink fur boa, giant tulle skirt and shimmering bodice, but all three elements are on the generic side. Maybe that’s why she usually commands less than $80 on the secondhand market.
Barbie Dream Store – $68
Everybody knows about the Barbie Dream House, but it’s not the only 80s playset that enthusiasts are always scrambling to add to their collection. In 1982, Mattel released the Barbie Dream Store Make-up Centre, a boutique make-up counter featuring tiny vanity mirrors, eyeshadow pots and lipstick tubes that both Barbie and the child playing with her could use. Want to nab a Dream Store Make-up Centre for yourself? You’ll need to shell out almost $70, which is the price of four non-plastic lipsticks.
Tennis Barbie – $64
With such an immense number of Barbies released in the 80s alone, it’s mathematically impossible for them all to be winners. Tennis Barbie, released in 1986, is one of the less cherished of the bunch, owing to her slightly lacking design. Most obviously, despite being dressed for a tennis match, Tennis Barbie does not come with a racket, so one has to be purchased for her separately. Secondly, the collar and vest combo she is wearing is far more evocative of a golf outfit than a tennis one. As a result, if you’d like to add Tennis Barbie to your collection, you’ll only need to pay $64.
Garden Party Barbie – $37
If you were going to a summer garden party, what would you wear? Probably something simple and floaty, in a light colour and with a delicate floral print. Barbie, however, seems to have other ideas about what is an appropriate look for such an occasion, as evidenced by this 1988 doll. The lurid purple, huge puff sleeves and giant tulle skirt of this outfit are not exactly tasteful or restrained, and maybe that is why the secondhand price for this doll sits at only $37.