8 Out-of-Sight 70s Barbies That Put the Fab in Fabulous

Who needs Barbenheimer when you've got the Barbiessance? Revisit these far-out 70s Barbies and see which ones are your favorites.

Published February 27, 2024
old Barbies at a flea market sale

The Barbie we know today is a far cry from the 1950s elegant ponytailed collectible. Those long, swaying blonde locks and that athletic build didn’t break onto the scene until the 1970s. From the Malibu Barbie that broke the mold wide open to the kitschy dolls with gimmicks that every kid loved, these are some of the 70s Barbies that we still think are groovy today.

1970s Barbies That Are Still Out of Sight

Strap into your hot pink convertible and get ready to take a trip down memory lane to a time when Barbie was blonder, tanned, and more popular than ever.

Malibu Barbie 

Is there a Barbie doll that embodies the 1970s better than Malibu Barbie? Not at all. Released in 1971, this tanned surfer girl with her bright arctic blue bathing suit and platinum blonde locks created quite a stir.

Featuring a new smile and straight-on gaze, she was such a far cry from the sophisticated woman people knew Barbie to be that they either loved her or hated her. But if the Marcia Brady stans of the time are anything to go off of, most people were in the former camp rather than the latter.

@humanoidhistory Malibu Barbie, 1971. #tv #sun #barbie #70s #1970s #malibu #beach #summer #malibubarbie original sound - Humanoid History

Growing Up Skipper 

Without a doubt, the most infamous 70s Barbie of the whole bunch is Growing Up Skipper. In this 1975 release, you could send Barbie’s kid sister through puberty and back again with a twist of her arm. Rotate the arm forward, and Skipper’s adolescent frame would gain the curves that Barbie is so well-known for.

As is the case with most controversial toys, kids didn’t bat an eyelash at this gimmicky doll. And it was the 1970s, of course, so their parents didn’t either.

She’s even more popular today than she was in the 70s, with doll collectors frequently shelling out hundreds of dollars on boxed Growing Up Skippers.

Sears Exclusive Walking Jamie 

Vintage 1970/72 Sears Exclusive Walking Jamie Doll, Original

Today, kids curate impressive Amazon holiday wish lists, but back in the 70s, you had to break out the colorful markers and scour through the Sears holiday catalog. Sears was the Amazon of its time, so it’s unsurprising that there were several exclusive Barbies sold through Sears in the 1970s.

One rather rare exclusive Sears Barbie is the Walking Jamie doll. Released in 1970-1972, this one features a delightful late-70s sleeveless turtleneck sweater dress splashed with a bright acid-toned square pattern. Mid-calf go-go boots and a pink scarf in the hair finish off her ensemble.

Dramatic Living Barbie

Vintage Dramatic Living Barbie Mattel TAIWAN 1970 Titian Hair

When you think about the 1970s, lamé fabrics probably come to mind. Mattel captured that sparkly, eye-catching goodness with their 1970 doll, Dramatic New Living Barbie. What made her worthwhile was that she was “as poseable as you are.” Bend her at the knees, wrists, neck, or any joint you can imagine.

Decked out in a silver and gold swimsuit and bright coral cover-up, this Barbie is as dramatic as she claims. But she showed us that no kid is meant to blend in — not when they can stand out.

Related: 8 Barbies From the 80s That Embody the Decade

Growin' Pretty Hair Barbie 

1970 Growin' Pretty Hair Francie Doll, Original Dress, Vintage

There’s something special about the kind of regret some people experience after going for a big hair chop and realizing they’re so not chin-length bob people. If only we could be like Growin’ Pretty Hair Barbie with her magical Rapunzel updo. Available in 1971-1972, this coifed Barbie’s claim to fame was her magical ponytail. Just pull a bit of hair at the base of her head, and a long extension of golden locks came flowing out.

Flip Twist 'n Turn Barbie 

Vintage Brunette Marlo Flip Twist n Turn TNT 1160 Barbie

Flip Twist ‘N Turn Barbie embodies that seamless shift from the 1960s to the 1970s with her flippy hairdo and colorful patterned knit swimsuits. Modeled after Marlo Thomas’s trendy shoulder-length flipped hairdo featured in the TV show That Girl, this Barbie screams 1970.

Donnie & Marie Osmond 

Variety shows were all the rage in the 1970s. From The Carol Burnett Show to The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour, you could get the latest stars sketching, singing, and dancing under one roof. And there wasn’t a variety show that captivated teens more than Donny & Marie, which starred sibling duo Donny & Marie Osmond.

The sparkly pink and purple Barbie dolls that came from this show were delightfully overdressed. They embody that mid-70s burgeoning disco influence and spare no expense on capturing the exact mood of the moment.

Busy Barbie 

Busy Barbie doesn’t have to worry about idle hands being the devil’s workshop because she’s got all kinds of cool articulation possibilities. Released in the early 70s, the Busy Barbie series’s gimmick was that their hands could move, twist, open, close, and hold onto something. These busybodies had things to do and were always on the go.

Talking Busy Barbie is particularly special for her absolutely stacked shag haircut. This isn’t the sweet peasant style kids today associate with the early 1970s — this is the hairdo that’s hidden in your grandparents' yearbooks.

@addisonmcqueer #greenscreenvideo #barbie #vintage #1970s #mod #barbiecollector #dolls #retro #fashion #fyp #foryou #foryoupage #collectorcheck original sound - Addison McQueen

Barbenheimer? More Like Barbiessance

Who needs a double feature like Barbenheimer when the Barbiessance is right there? The 1970s marked a huge shift in the kinds of Barbie dolls that were being made. And you can thank the 1970s for helping build the Barbie that kids know and love today. 

8 Out-of-Sight 70s Barbies That Put the Fab in Fabulous