Barbie, The Basics

It’s hard to believe that it has been ten years since Mattel introduced the Black Basics line of dolls. In 2009 I was not too excited about Barbie. I missed the Fashion Fever dolls with all their different face sculpts and great fashions and at that point, I was not too keen on the articulated Fashionistas as they seemed a bit cheap. (Boy do I miss them now) When I saw the Black Basics for the first time I wanted nearly all of them. In Australia, they retailed for $35 each, more than I normally spent for a Barbie but a couple of them I willingly paid that price for. I loved the Denim Basics when they arrived the following year and managed to collect most of the dolls in these two series as well as one or two of the Red Basics which were not sold here.

As you know many of them went on to become favourite play dolls who often appear in fashion shoot posts. Many of them were presents from Naomi for birthdays or Christmas, others she found for me on trips to Adelaide and some I was lucky enough to find at bargain prices locally. One or two of the harder to find ones I bought on eBay.

Why do I like them so much? Well with me it’s always the faces first. I was attracted to the different facial sculpts and the different hairstyles as well. Becky, for example, has the Diva sculpt which has always been a favourite of mine. I like the Steffie face and Teresa is also a favourite. Some of the sculpts were new to me as they had previously been used on Collector Series dolls that I had only seen in photos. Aphrodite and Louboutin are two I had not really seen before, nor had I seen the Lara face on an adult looking doll. I like dolls with short hair, probably because many of my early Barbies were late nineties dolls with long blonde hair and I enjoyed having something different.

I think these dolls look great in all sorts of clothing too. It is a shame that more fashions were not produced specifically for the Model Muse body but they can wear my older Fashion Avenue outfits very well, apart from the shoes which are always a pain in the neck. They can wear some Fashion Fever outfits, especially the dresses, skirts and jeans are often loose at the waist.

I’m not crazy about the arm positions of some of the dolls, those double bent arms are a pain in the neck when you are trying to get a long-sleeved dress or top on but they are worth the aggravation. It would have been nice to have had articulation but I guess it would have pushed the cost of the dolls up too much.

There are a couple of things that I did find a bit disappointing. The accessory sets, if you could get them, were ridiculously expensive here and online. The shoes, as I said, I found it really annoying that they could not wear most of the Fashion Fever era or Fashion Avenue era shoes. I ended up buying shoes to fit them in a couple of different colours.

It would have been nice if there had been more male dolls. The Denim Basics line had three and that was it. They were really nice looking dolls too and apart from Collector series dolls, Mattel has not made any as nice since which is a real shame. Of course, there was not much for them to wear either as they were slimmer and had longer limbs than earlier Kens so it was some time before there was clothing available that would fit them.


I also felt that the quality on the last few Denim Basics dolls was not quite as good. A couple of them have their legs attached differently which does give more movement but not in a really useful way. They were also made of a more lightweight material than the earlier dolls. However, after several years of use by me, they seem to be holding up alright and the Basics lines were not really designed for younger children.

I don’t have a complete collection of all the dolls from each line. Some of them were a bit too hard to get at a good price here and one or two of them I just didn’t like their faces. They are all de-boxed and some as I mentioned are regular characters in photoshoots while others are mainly for display.



  1. It was the Barbie Basics dolls that started me collecting! Mine are all on articulated bodies now but I remember exactly when I first saw them – in Schipol Airport in Amsterdam. My granddaughter was in her Barbie phase and I found myself wanting one for myself. I thought I was crazy and didn’t buy one but before long I wasn’t able to resist and now I’m trying to keep my collection to 200. No more, I keep saying as I buy another doll…

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I did not realize the Basics debuted only 10 years ago, how much has changed! Thanks for the retrospective. I agree they are exquisite dolls for the adult collector because of their sophistication and quality. I don’t even have a handful and have not gotten the articulated brunette. I have greatly enjoyed seeing them in your posts.

    PS something changed on your site which makes it harder to access and comment. I’m viewing and commenting from the email.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s strange. It’s probably a WordPress thing as I’ve experienced some odd things on sites I follow like being expected to log in to comment even though I already was logged in. The only thing I have changed recently is making some custom headers. How long have you had the problem?

      Liked by 1 person

      • I have been experiencing this for a month hence no comments. I usually get your email then go to your site which I bookmarked, tap it to see most recent post. Now i comment on the email which brings me to site or I go to your site and choose home from the menu. Also the star rating is sometimes not visible.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. PS I subscribe to the Barbie site and ordered the two Styled by Chriselle Lim dolls before one of them sold out. The dolls are exciting because they represent women of color and are at an affordable price point. Even though I’m tapering off on my collecting, these were irresistible. I’m also contemplating getting a Creatable World customizable doll though I’m holding off to continue to focus on fashion dolls.

    Liked by 2 people

    • They are beautiful dolls and I remember them being advertised. At the time I was buying up all the old fashion dolls I could find in charity shops, then tidying them up, dressing them and having a stall at the school fete to sell them. I also made extra outfits on cards for children to buy them extra clothing. I always did quite well but not a huge profit as I priced things cheaply for children to buy with their pocket money. I always kept some of the dolls back for my own collection but I’ve never come across any of the basics, I would definitely have kept them. I still have none in my collection (yet)

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      • I don’t think I’ve ever seen one at an Op Shop or market stall. I guess that they are mainly sold on collecting sites and eBay etc rather than being donated.


  4. Me either, would love to do some of the basic black as I wanted to do a studio shot of the addicted to love video. I have a few model muse body dolls like 2 of the Star dolls w/ the eyelashes and one AA who has lashes but I need to identify Any/all of these gorgeous dolls are on my if I win the lottery wish list! But before I even dream of that it’s back to binning and tagging to even know what’s what. I love seeing your Fashion Friday doll collections, You make me want to display the fancy gals more.

    Liked by 2 people

    • They never sold the Star Dolls here but there were a couple of nice ones I considered buying online. What do you do for shoes. I believe they don’t fit regular Barbie shoes either.


  5. I really enjoyed this look back at the Basic Black dolls. Despite those bent arms which certainly do make redressing the dolls a pain in the patootie, this was a wonderful line of dolls. So many different face molds and hairstyles. I don’t have a big collection of them, but love all the ones I was able to get. Thanks for featuring the Basic Black line.

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