Restyling Childhood (80’s) Barbies for Display

Childhood 80's Barbies Restyled for Display | 80's Retro Place |

Want to keep the childhood Barbies you played with—and not tuck them away in a box? Why not “restyle” them to make them display worthy?

What is “restyling”? It doesn’t have to be anything major. For our purposes, some 80’s toy Barbies were restyled in very simple ways to make them look more like collector dolls that may be shown in a display case. No hair re-rooting or face painting was done. In fact, the rules were to not make any permanent changes to the Barbies so that they could be brought back to their “childhood state” at any time. For example:

  1. The dolls were to be kept in their original basic condition. No hair was to be taken out, re-rooted or cut.
  2. No face painting. Any “make-up” added would need to be removable.

It works best to use Barbies whose faces have more of a “classy” look, so they resemble the more refined faces of collector dolls; but that is admittedly up to you. (For these purposes, “collector dolls” are the more expensive Barbies not meant to be played with but rather displayed in cases.)

How to Restyle a Barbie Without Permanent Changes

There are then three ways to really change the look of the dolls:

  1. Obviously, the clothing. Collector dolls on display generally have fancy gowns or unique outfits. New glamour gowns to dress up older Barbies could possibly be one-of-a-kind outfits (aka “OOAK,” often found on e-Bay), gowns from official collector dolls (also found on e-Bay) and even Barbie fashions from childhood that are a bit more on the fancy side.
  2. Accessories (jewelry, shoes, etc.)
  3. Hairstyles and “make-up”

Without further adieu, here are examples from all three of the gown categories, plus some hair and accessory makeovers.

Dream Date P.J. in a Gown from Chocolate Obsession Barbie


80's Barbie Restyled: Dream Date PJ in Chocolate Obsession Barbie Gown | 80's Retro Place | 80sretroplace.wordpress.comE-Bay is a great place to find gowns by themselves that were originally adorning collector dolls—and this is a great way to dress up a childhood Barbie that is still in good condition. In this case, a gown from Chocolate Obsession Barbie was used. It also came with shoes, tights/pantyhose and a shawl, though the shawl was not used for the restyle.

80's Barbie Restyled: Dream Date PJ in Chocolate Obsession Barbie Gown | 80's Retro Place | 80sretroplace.wordpress.comDream Date P.J.‘s face very much lends itself to a “collector doll look.” To make up her lips (and the lips of all the restyled Barbies on this site), peel-off nail polish was used. (Important note: There is no guarantee that this will not change the mouth once peeled off, so do this at your own risk; see here for more info on the madness behind the method.)

Her hair is simply brushed smooth and held at the very bottom with an invisible elastic to keep its shape.

The only extra accessories were some gold hoop earrings from e-Bay.

80's Barbie Restyled: Dream Date PJ in Chocolate Obsession Barbie Gown | 80's Retro Place |









Peaches n’ Cream Barbie in a OOAK White Dress


80's Barbie Restyled: Peaches n' Cream Barbie in OOAK White Dress | 80's Retro Place | 80sretroplace.wordpress.comPeaches n’ Cream Barbie has a more tan complexion than most Barbies, so this white OOAK dress makes a striking contrast to the skin tone. The outfit, which actually is a white satin dress underneath a fancy robe-like covering, was picked up years ago from someone who creates doll clothes and sold them at a church boutique (you may find OOAK outfits at the most unexpected places). Unfortunately, I have no idea what the name of the seller was, but they made beautiful doll clothes.80's Barbie Restyled: Peaches n' Cream Barbie in OOAK White Dress | 80's Retro Place |

The hair was curled with large doll curlers and set with human hairspray.

Accessories include a white purse (e-Bay) and earrings fancied up by some adhesive sparkly stones (such as these ones) from Hobby Lobby. The adhesive stones were cut, and made into dangle earrings by sticking fishing wire on the back and attaching those onto an actual Barbie earring. The adhesive on the back of the top stud can stick to a real Barbie earring (though it admittedly looks a bit bulky if looking up close).



Magic Moves Barbie in an 80’s “Twice as Nice” Barbie Dress
80's Barbie Restyled: Magic Moves Barbie in 80's Twice as Nice Reversible Fashion Dress | 80's Retro Place | 80sretroplace.wordpress.com80's Barbie Restyled: Magic Moves Barbie in 80's Twice as Nice Reversible Fashion Dress | 80's Retro Place |
















Sometimes, the very Barbie dresses that are made as toys can actually make a beautiful display-worthy gown. Such is the case with the gown on this Magic Moves Barbie; the gown is a genuine Barbie “Twice as Nice” reversible fashion dress.

Her hair withstood the test of time pretty well and kept most of its waviness, however it was slightly curled and set with hairspray.

The cummerbund-like belt is actually a satin ribbon bought from Hobby Lobby or Joann’s sewing section. It was easily cut to size and secured at the back with Velcro. The shoes were from a large set of shoes purchased from e-Bay and painted red with acrylic paint, as was the purse.

And for the last detail, if you need collector doll-type stands for your restyled Barbies, just search e-Bay for “Barbie straddle stands” or something similar.

More restyled Barbies will be posted later, so be sure to subscribe!


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Barbie Pets from the 80’s

Barbie Pets from the 80s |

Barbies in the 80s had a good selection of pets, from dogs and horses to birds. While not all of the 80s Barbie pets are listed here, we are going to look at some of her dogs (Beauty and her puppies, Prince and a dog that came with the vet set at the time) and her cat, Fluffy.

Barbie Dog: Beauty and Puppies | Barbie Pets from the 80s |

Beauty and Puppies

Beauty has had more than one incarnation, but when she came out in the 80s, she was an afghan hound that came with a couple of puppies, one tan and one gray (though the puppies looked nothing like afghan hounds 🙂 ). Some silver leashes were included, and Beauty had a pink studded collar and crown (not shown) to match, plus a bowl.

80s Barbie Dog: Beauty and Puppies | 80sretroplace.wordpress.com80s Barbie Dog: Beauty |







(Left: Barbie’s dog, Beauty, had a pink collar studded with “rhinestones” in the 80s. Right: At the time, the playset with Beauty came with a couple of cute puppies.)

80s Barbie Dog: Prince the Poodle | 80sretroplace.wordpress.comPrince

Prince, a poodle, was about the same size as Beauty. His fur was very well done, sporting the curliness of poodle fur. He came with two collars: one with a bowtie and one reversible pink or silver collar. He also came with a yellow bowl (a similar pink one is shown). Prince also came with a very dark pink beret (not shown)—a beret that was interestingly close to a raspberry color (hopefully, that reference makes sense 🙂 Coincidence? Hard to say).

The box of the playset showed Prince with Day to Night Barbie.

80s Barbie Dog: Prince the Poodle | 80sretroplace.wordpress.com80s Barbie Dog: Prince the Poodle |








(Above: Prince in his bowtie collar and reversible collar)


80s Barbie Cat: Fluffy |

80s Barbie Cat: Fluffy | 80sretroplace.wordpress.comFluffy was a white cat with a collar showing a fancy cursive “F” on the tag. She was covered with fuzzy, felt-like fur. Fluffy’s playset came with a cat bed (with a sticker to make it look like a basket), a plastic bag of cat food and a pink carrier. The carrier had a working door, and you put Fluffy in there. The playset also came with a scratching post (not shown).


Barbie Vet SEt

The Barbie Vet Fun Fashion Playset came with several items designed for Barbie from her graduation from vet school to actually becoming a vet: a graduation cap and gown, a nice pink dress, a white doctor coat and medical bag. It featured a patient, as well: a little white puppy that was basically the same mold as Beauty’s puppies. It’s actually a very beautiful little white toy puppy.

Photos of the dress and doctor coat will follow at a later date.


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