Our Little Girl Is Growing Up


Everyone knows Barbie’s little sister Kelly right? Except that in some countries she was called Shelley and now she is called Chelsea. Or maybe it’s a different child but why the switch and what has Mattel done with Kelly?

I was aware that a few years ago the Kelly/Tommy body was changed and that the new ones had longer legs. Naomi has a few Tommy’s and it is noticeable. I’ve never had many Kelly’s. In fact I have only three, costume dolls that Naomi gave me.

Kelly in Irish costume.
Kelly in Irish costume.

Here are two of Naomi’s little Tommy’s. One is the older style and the other I believe was a Swimmer Tommy but he is taller than his “brother” with longer arms and legs.

 

When I was looking online to see what the sort of playline dolls Mattel would be releasing in 2017 I noticed that the Kelly Club, sorry Chelsea Club was making something of a come back. The “Lil Friends of Kelly” were very popular some years ago and there were some rather cute dolls. Today I happened to be in Hobart so as Naomi had said she had seen some half decent playline Barbies in Target recently I went into the city store to have a look. I was disappointed to see the usual collection of dolls with a plastic torso and others that I could not get excited about. The Pink Aisle these days is more of the Pink Shelf. You really have to search for Barbies in Target amongst the other fashion dolls and accessories.

I moved on and found there were several Chelsea and little friends except that they all seem to be called Chelsea. There was a little boy, he doesn’t seem to have a name, with molded brown hair. Is he Ryan? Do Chelsea’s friends not have names now? I decided to buy a couple of dolls, the boy because there was only one there and a little brunette girl.

Club Chelsea boy and girl
Club Chelsea boy and girl

When I got home I deboxed her and out of interest put her next to one of my Kelly friends. My she has grown!

My how she has grown!

My how she has grown!

Barbie and her little sisters always seem to be jumping about in height. Barbie sometimes appears to be a high school student and at other times a grown woman.  Skipper got taller and older and now she’s younger and shorter again. Now it is happening to Kelly/Shelley/Chelsea too.

I lined up the original Kelly sized doll, new Chelsea, Tutti and my Stacie friend Whitney. Have a look at the differences in height.

Polly Pocket Whitney, Chelsea, Tutti and Irish Kelly
Polly Pocket Whitney, Chelsea, Tutti and Irish Kelly

I wonder what happened to Tutti? Should we even ask? Did she just change her name to Stacie?

When I looked more closely at Chelsea I discovered that she too has a plastic molded on T-shirt and panties. As it is unlikely that any clothes will be made for her I suppose it doesn’t matter but it still annoys me.

I think its a good thing to showcase the little dolls. I think younger children like them and in the past there have been some cute playsets for them.

I just wish that Mattel were a bit more consistent with names, ages and relationships. I realise that with dolls that have been around as long as these they probably think that each new generation won’t worry about what went on previously but as I am as old as the dolls, OK older, it does bother me. I’m just too pedantic I guess.

By the way does anyone ever wonder what happened to Francie? As she was a child of the seventies maybe that is something we should not ask either.

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14 comments

  1. I have a Silkstone Francie that came out a couple of years ago, but other than that, I don’t think she’s around any more. I have an older Kelly doll and a new So-In-Style little sister, who’s also really sweet. I hate the Chelsea plastic tee-shirts. What’s the fun of having a doll if you can’t change their clothes?

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    • Exactly! Mattel entirely miss the point of fashion dolls not to mention the opportunity to sell more stuff. I know there was a repro Francie but I wonder why they never brought her back as a character in the Barbie family.

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  2. Chelsea’s friends do have names, but they are sometimes not listed on the box -Tamika has darker skin and hair, Madison has honey coloured hair (although, rarely, the girl with black hair is called Madison for some bizarre reason), Tommy is obviously the boy, Kira has brown hair and Delia has black hair. On another note, I much prefer the old Kelly’s. They’re so much cuter! I love the clothes and the little faces with such expression!

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  3. Your Kelly in the green dress was special. She was part of a, Europe gift set from the pink label. She came with a blond swiss boy and Blond French girl,advertised in the Barbie Collector magazine. They sold for $19.00. Another set represented Holland ,Spain and Scottland, none of the friends were given names but were part of the”friends of the world” The Scottish boy having red hair and freckles. They almost mirror the Barbies Dolls of the world dolls, offered singly at the same price.

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    • That’s right, my sister bought the set, she wanted the little boy to redress and gave me the other three dolls, my only Kelly’s. I’d love to get her the little red head boy but I’ve not seen him sold loose although I would probably buy the set if I could get it at a good price.

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  4. I used to like the old Kellys, the faces of the new Chelsies look so bland, no expression left, so sad. The dark haired boy looks interesting though – but that painted top of Chelsea is a turn off.
    I used to have a lot of Tuttis as a child, they were so cute and poseable. Since Tutti and Stacie both have a Twin brother going by the same name, I suppose Mattel just renamed her Stacie.
    All this name changing and ommitting of names is annoying to me as well.
    It’s interesting. that you mention the Barbie aisle is becoming a Barbie shelf – same thing happening here. I went to a store that used to have a full aisle of Barbies, now they are down to one small shelf. It’s a top shelf, so no child could really look at the dolls, beware of taking a doll down and take a closer look. So ridiculous.
    Thinking of Francie, I guess she didn’t sell as well as Barbie and her friends, because she needed a wardrobe of her own. The Mum of one of my playmates refused to get her a Francie for that reason. The clothes were pretty expensive at that time.

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    • That could be it. Considering that now diversity in sizes is encouraged it could be time for Francie to make a come back although these days it is not so much about the clothes anyway. I agree with you about Chelsea’s bland expression. It is the same thing that puts me off many playline Barbies. When I started to collect in the late nineties the best place in Adelaide to buy Barbie stuff, I mean the place with the biggest range was Toys’R’Us, they had a whole aisle full of Barbie stuff on both sides and some of the end units as well. All the chain stores and department stores also had at least half an aisle. You could walk into a store you had not visited before, look around and almosts immediately spot the pink aisle. Now I probably spend more time looking for the Barbies than looking at them.

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