We don’t know about you, but our childhood playthings were no sartorial slouches. Between Barbie, Polly Pocket, and Li’l Miss Dolls, it’s no wonder we grew up with a penchant for all the latest trends. These girls were showing us what fashion was long before we could truly appreciate their efforts. Don’t believe us? Click through to see which dolls were — and are — total fashion goals.
Barbie: Of all the fashionable toys in existence, none so much as holds a candle to Barbie. In her near six decades of existence, the 11.5-inch wonder has seen more than her fair share of looks, rocking pin-up style swimsuits, Gone With the Wind fabulous, ballgowns and leather mini skirts. Through major changes to her tresses (RIP, Totally Hair Barbie) and tweaks to her physique, her killer sense of fashion has never faltered. Girl has been been dressed by the likes of Oscar de la Renta, Bob Mackie, Dior, Zac Posen, Moschino, and Versace (you name ‘em, she’s worn ‘em!). *Bowing down*
Bratz: Barbie’s biggest rival came in the form of 2001’s Bratz dolls, which were kind of like the OG plastic queen’s younger, hipper sisters (because apparently, Skipper wasn’t cool enough for the modern-day gal). All four gals are rumored to receive their most hip remodel yet come next fall, which we hope will include their trademark pattern mixing and OTT prints.
Moxie Girlz: These Bratz-lite dolls were introduced in 2009 in the midst of the gnarly lawsuit between their producing company, MGA Entertainment, and Mattel over the rights to Bratz. Given the recession taking place when these new dolls were released, creators placed a heavy focus on “everyday fashion” over “lavish” looks, but they certainly didn’t sacrifice any style, as is clearly evident by this ultra-cool Avery doll from the collection.
Liv Dolls: Canada’s answer to Bratz came in the form of Spin Master's Liv Dolls, which consisted of four girls (Sophie, Katie, Daniela, and Alexis) and one boy, Hayden. Though they only stuck around for three years before being discontinued, the ladies (and gentleman!) definitely made their mark on toy fashion with a diverse lineup, chic apparel, and next-level accessories (those cowboy boots, though!).
Polly Pocket: Polly Pocket didn’t exactly start out as a fashion star, donning a simple collared shift dress and matching heels, but over the years, her look got a *major* upgrade. Mattel, who purchased the brand from Bluebird Toys in 1999, completely redesigned her clothes to a plastic “Quik Click” model in 2004, which allowed her to be changed into stellar styles with ease. Check out those resort-ready prints!
Spice Girl Dolls: Even Barbie would likely be impressed with our ‘90s Spice Girls dolls, which were made in the likeness of the pop group and came dressed in varying apparel depending on the set they came from — their “on tour” looks differed from their “superstar” ensembles, for instance. We saw a resurgence of these beauties earlier this year when Posh Spice’s own daughter, Harper Beckham, was introduced to the dolls, and totally approved.
Monster High: If you weren’t exactly the world’s biggest girly girl as a kid (or even now!), Monster High dolls were for you. These half teen, half ghoul creations burst onto the scene at Justice in 2010, since which time they’ve spawned a multimedia empire. Frankie Stein, for one, lets you unleash your inner goth, all the while maintaining some serious schoolgirl style.
Cupcake Surprise Dolls: Originally created by Tonka in the ‘90s, these cute-as-a-button dolls appeared to be toy cupcakes at first glance, but morphed into gorgeous Southern belles when you turned their rubbery bottoms inside out to reveal princess-style ballgowns. You could also remove their “icing,” which turned out to be sun hats. Even their bags pulled double-duty, also functioning as a working comb. They're still around today, though they look quite a bit different than, say, the Cuti Fruit Beri Blue version (above) from our youth.
Li’l Miss Dolls Magic Hair: Mattel’s L’il Miss Magic Dolls had it going ON. The series of 13-inch divas ruled our toyboxes from 1989-1993, and included such gems as Li’l Miss Singing Mermaid (whose song we’re STILL trying to get out of our heads) and the ever-charitable Li’l Miss Candi Stripes. Our fave, by far, however, had to be Li’l Miss Magic Hair, who came with a magical straightener which could add rainbow highlights to the dolls hair with just a bit of water added to its base. You could also use the same tool as a hair stamp to add multi-colored hearts to Li'l Misses' tresses. Paired together with her neon bodysuit and removable flared skirt, she was one rad ‘80s babe, indeed. (Photo via Mattel)
Sally Secrets: Mattel struck fashion gold yet again with Sally Secrets, the uber-hip, neon-loving, crimp-haired wonder who was full of stylish surprises. Her shoes clicked open to reveal a set of stamps, while her belly spit out stickers you could decorate your notebook with. That bold statement necklace held cardboard pictures, while her earrings could be opened to reveal even more stamps.
Betty Spaghetty: Like Polly Pocket, the rubbery, bendable Betty Spaghetty looks a bit different than she did when she burst onto the scene back in 1998, only to be discontinued in 2004. Revived in 2016, the new, less-bendy Betty is 100-percent modern with her multi-hued locks and mix-and-match apparel, giving her the ability to go from Pop Star Betty to Cupid Betty in a jiff.
Rainbow Bright: Say what you will about Rainbow Bright, girl had edge. The Hallmark staple was practically a punk rock beacon in the ‘80s with her knee-high striped socks, intergalactic blue dress, high pony, and dayglow hair. Eat your heart out, Debbie Harry!
American Girl: Launched in 1995 by the Pleasant Company, American Girl Dolls not only came complete with historically accurate backstories from different eras in history, but they also represented on the sartorial front. Favorites such as Samantha, an only child in the Victorian-age with a penchant for pretty outerwear ($17), or the more modern Ashlyn ($60), who comes complete with a tiara and decked-out glitter wellies, are STILL fierce enough to give us serious style inspo.
PJ Sparkles: PJ Sparkles was so cool, she had her very own movie, with actress Jodi Benson (that’s Disney’s Ariel to most) as her voice. Despite her backstory as an orphan, the twinkling doll came equipped with plenty of bling in the form of a sparkling bow, earrings, bracelet, and heart, which lit up with love when you squeezed her. She was also a master of resourcefulness, changing her dress into a nightgown at a moment’s notice with just one tug.
LittleMissMatched Dolls: Born from the NY-based sock company of the same name and produced by Tonner Toys, it’s no surprise that this childhood companion would have features that are not only unique when compared to competitors, but stylish AF. Of the four original dolls ($40) launched in 2012, three remain, including Sporty, Rocker Girl, and Uptown Girl (pictured), who sports a black-and-white checked ensemble even Clueless’ Cher Horowitz would envy and a flowing mane of flaming red locks.
Which toy gets your vote for “Most Stylish?” Cast your vote over @BritandCo.
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(Photo via Amazon)