Barbie Dolls Derry NH
“My First” Barbie
|Written by Kerra Davis|
|Friday, 01 December 2006 00:00|
The “‘My First’” Barbie appeared on the doll scene in 1980 or 1981. Her box has the 1980 copyright date, but that often means the doll was not available for sale until the following year. Whatever the correct date, most mothers agreed it was about time such a Barbie came on the market.
Barbie was already the most famous doll ever. She was recognized worldwide as being the leading doll seller of all time. No one—whether great-grandparents or three-year-old children—needed an explanation as to who she was because everybody knew.
So what was the problem? Barbie was hard to dress! Older children included the popular doll in their play world without a care, but for millions of younger girls, who weren’t as manually adept yet, it was quite frustrating. Barbie’s clothes were so tiny and fit so perfectly that getting them on and off became more a chore than a fun pastime. It was also agitating for parents. Being the good moms and dads they were, they often found themselves having to be the doll dressers because it just wasn’t working for their little ones.
Mattel listened and responded: “Just slip on or close with a touch! That’s all there is to dressing ‘My First’ Barbie doll. Where did we get the idea for easy-on doll fashions? We listened to mothers like you. We know that fashions that go on easily are fashions that are played with again and again.”
Velcro fasteners plus longer and wider openings were factors making the clothes easy on and easy off. Another was the straight arms and smooth legs— limbs where clothes were not likely to get stuck. “Straight arms slip easily into clothes! Shiny smooth legs glide easily into skirts and pants!”
Hair was another “easy” feature on the “My First” Barbie. The original hairdo was not elaborate, and the hair was smooth and could easily be combed over and over with a comb and brush, which were included in the packaging.
Produced only as a blonde, the number-one original “My First” Barbie had a middle part and two ponytails. Her clothing was a yellow wrap bodysuit with turquoise trim and yellow mules. Extra fashions in her box consisted of matching yellow pants, a turquoise knee-length skirt and a multicolor stripe sleeveless top. Her popularity with children and adults alike was clear when Mattel expanded the “My First” line by adding outfits for the doll that could be purchased separately. All these wrapped, snapped and tied quickly and easily.
A new boxed edition went on the market in 1982. The doll was the same, but the clothing was pink and white—a sleeveless bodysuit with white lace trim at the bodice and sleeves. For a change of pace, a pink-and-white gingham, full, knee-length skirt was included along with hot pink mules.
Two years later, in 1984, “My First” Barbie was wearing a white short- sleeve, knee-length dress with pink ribbon trim and lace edging at the neck. On her feet we...