Gold Choice Award Winner
Overall 9
Play Value 10
Cost Value 10
Design 7
Quality 10
Parent Appeal 9

2016 Barbie® Fashionistas™ Line

Mattel, Inc.
In Stores
Age:3+
MSRP:$24.99 ca
$19.99 us
Editor's Review

Our testers loved having some variety in the body shapes and sizes of the dolls that inhabit Barbie's world, because its just so much more like real life. The petite sized dolls were the favourite for some very practical reasons - they fit better in the small places in Barbie homes, plus its easier to change their outfits. And while the kids made no overt observations about the body types, some comented that they liked the full figured doll 'more' because she looked 'nice'. All parents noted (potential) wardrobe concerns, although this seemed largely an adult concern. One mom noted that in fact, it never occured to her daughters to try changing the outfits. But if your child does like dressing play, we recommend the 'Doll & Fashions' sets ($25 CAD), which include two extra outfits, rather than buying just the doll ($13 CAD). Mattel assure us they've added some stretchiness so outfits can fit more than one body type, but there were still limits. In general, shoes and outfits...

Tester Reviews

KIDS:

I like the small Barbie (petite) better because she fits in smaller places in the house and there is more room in the elevator. Clothes fit better, too, like dresses. I like the small Barbie's dress because it looks like two pieces but it is one piece. Her bracelet and shoes are super cool and golden. And she has curly hair and I like curly hair on Barbies. The tall Barbie has so many dots on her clothes and I like her earrings. That is fun and the clothes are stretchy and so easy to take off. She has nice shoes too. They both look like sisters for my other Barbies. The small one looks like a little sister and the tall one is like a bigger sister. They need more clothes to go in the box with them. Because they are special they might need to change. Siobhan (F5)

I like all the different Barbie sizes and hair colours. I can pretend they are my friends and make a good story. I like that the dolls look like real people I know. I got one that looks like me, so I can pretend that Zahra lives in Barbie land. It's really fun that she is smaller than regular Barbie. I like the different hair and faces. I have Barbies that all look the same just wearing different clothes. These dolls are all very different. They have cute clothes, but I don't like that all are wearing dresses. Why don't they wear shorts or pants?  There are so many different ones to collect! Zahra (F8)

Other barbies are regular but these barbies are fashion. I like the clothes they have on, the jewellery and the fashion. They have really cool designs on their dress and their skirt and shirt. I like the high heels because now fashionista 30 is taller.and I like fashionista 21 because of her beautiful hair. One doll is taller than other Barbies but the other one is the same as other Barbies. Maja (F7)

I like the dresses and shoes and their tiny feet. Samantha (F5)

Barbie is tall. I like Barbie's hair and clothes - her dress is pretty and her belt is bright pink. It's fun to change her clothes. But I don't like that she doesn't talk or move and she is too big for my doll house. Raina F4

ADULTS:

It's nice to mix up the princesses and sea of blond in the toy box with some diversity and change in the shapes of the dolls. As a shorter woman it is nice to see a bit of representation in the Barbie line, but if I didn't see them with other Barbies I wouldn't necessarily know that they are different shapes than the original Barbies. My daughter (5) tested three of these Barbies - a petite (Doll 24 Crazy For Coral), a tall (Doll 13 Dolled Up in Dots) and an original. My daughter is a massive Barbie fan and plays with them every day usually for an hour or two. She really enjoys these Barbies and loved looking at all the different Barbies in the line because they all look so different. Their skin, hair, body shape and even their clothes vary quite a bit between dolls. My daughter loved the curly hair on the petite Barbie she was testing. So many of her other Barbies even the princess Barbies have blond straight hair so she enjoyed having a Barbie with brown curly hair. For the tall Barbie, she loved her earrings.Because they are different sizes than her usual Barbies, the new Barbies became 'sisters' and are now an important part of her Barbie family. She is enjoying both the tall and the petite equally and doesn't seem to notice or care about the difference in height. Her main preference has always been towards the Barbies with the colourful hair - blue being her favourite. It seems like clothing would be an issue for the taller Barbie especially. And the shoes didn't cross over between them. I could see how that might get frustrating when the fashion items are all mixed up. Also, the little hair tags are hard to remove and I always think I am going to cut off a huge chunk of hair. I like that Barbie is mixing things up and the dolls are starting to reflect the people in my daughter's class and school. Although, she has been wanting blue or pink hair since she was 2 years old. For that I blame Barbie 100%. Really cool unique looking set of dolls with a fresh fun look that goes beyond the standard Barbie look. Susan Chaves

Happy to see them come out with Barbie dolls with different body shapes and skin tones. F3, F5, and F7 liked playing with the new Barbies but did not treat them any differently than any other Barbie doll.  We tested the tall one and a curvy hip one, but F7 was the only one who noticed the difference - but only the taller doll, she did not comment that the curvier one was any different. Other than that, the dolls still have the tiny Barbie feet and heels. 5F and 7F love playing with Barbies and are not more interested in these than any other Barbies. I wondered about extra clothes for these dolls, but while we do have lots of other Barbies. it did not occur to the girls to try switching outfits on these dolls - so maybe not a concern. 7F noted that the clothes were more fashionable.  One doll has a necklace while the other doll has a belt - my girls enjoy the accessories and being able to change their clothes. If I was going to buy a Barbie doll, I would consider buying one from this Fashionistas line, as long as it was different than the regular Barbies, just for variety. Sandra Wong

Zahra (F8) liked that the dolls looked like some of her friends. She played more with these dolls than the blonde regular Barbie version. Play has dwindled somewhat as other toys capture her interest but I think because the doll that personifies herself will endure. The details on each doll and the number and variety of dolls is impressive, I would like Barbie to put some of these dolls in pants or something other than mini-skirts- on the back of the box it shows the whole collection and they are all wearing short Skirts. Shoes stayed on the dolls, no accessories made it easier to keep track of the toy. I am impressed that the Barbie brand is getting away from the stereotypical solitary standard for beauty - all shapes and sizes like real life is an important message for our young girls to feel good about themselves. Great job Barbie - better late than never. Lisa Gohm

My daughter loved looking at all the Barbies on the box and seeing who we all looked like. She thought it was cool that there were Barbies with blue hair. I don't think the different Barbies change the way she will play with it, but it does allow her to see all the differences in humans (hair, skin colour, height, weight) and that even with these differences we can still be and do the same things. One of the Barbies we tested had very curly hair. I wonder how the hair will withstand constant play. I did not like that the elbows and knees do not bend. My daughter found it hard to put clothes on, but I believe it is her age and not the toy. I also don't like that the Barbies cannot wear any shoe. Though, I did like that the Barbie clothes that we have for other Barbies still fit the petite Barbie and tall and curvy Barbie. Alana Fenwick

My daughter, 4.5 yrs, doesn't typically seem to play make believe very much while playing with Barbies. She only really likes to change Barbie's clothes and play with her hair. We tested a fuller figured Barbie and an original. The clothes were interchangeable between these two, but the shoes were not. We have 1 other Barbie and her dress fit on the full figured Barbie, but again the shoes did not fit - the full figured Barbie can only wear flats. So if those flats are lost it would be difficult to interchange with other Barbie items. My nieces, 8 & 10 played with the Barbie dolls, along with my kids, F4.5 & M2.5. They all enjoyed playing together. I love the unique features of each doll, although I think Barbie could go further to make the dolls more unique and perhaps change some of the outfits to include pants. While I easily recognize the difference in the curvier doll, when I asked my nieces, 8 & 10, and my daught