July 26, 2013

Cool Tees 4 Hot Days!

By Chris Varaste

Tee shirts are as all-American as Barbie®! Created for the U.S. Navy in 1913, tee shirts gained popularity during the 1950s, and by the 1960s, earned a place as a trendy fashion statement. From Memorial Day to July 4th, and on to Labor Day, the tee shirt has come to represent American summer style!

Recently, I came across a picture of my sister when she was a toddler, dressed in shorts and a Barbie® tee. I tried to figure out when the photo was taken. The illustration on my sister’s shirt gave the year away—a Barbie® doll with the iconic swirl ponytail from 1964!

I bet there have been as many Barbie® tees as there are Barbie® dolls. Wouldn’t you love to see Barbie tees dating back to 1959, the year of the doll’s introduction? Think of all the different styles, graphics and colors!

If you're a Barbie® fan, you'll appreciate this year’s breezy new tees—just in time for summer. My personal fave is the Hair Dryer Tee, featuring a blow dryer in Barbie’s signature hot pink with the familiar Barbie® logo in gold—bright and fun as a sunny day at the beach!

I love the Mod fashion illustration on the Vintage Summer Tee. The original vintage graphic shows Barbie®, her cousin Francie® and zany pal Casey in summery fashions from 1967. Barbie® is smashing in Bloom Bursts, a demure Francie® wears Summer Frost, and far-out Casey rocks In-Print! The image looks brilliant against the tee’s muted grey cotton—a retro-modern combo!

I also get a kick (pun intended!) out of the Bling Stiletto Tee.Paying homage to the classic Barbie® look, sparkling rhinestones in the shape of Barbie’s first pair of heels dazzle against a midnight-black cotton backdrop. Bold and elegant, all that ice will look ultra-cool on a hot summer night!

Now I'm inspired to start a tee shirt collection dating back to my childhood!

Do you have a collection of Barbie® tees or a tee shirt you can’t live without? Write back and tell us about it!


Chris Varaste started out at ABC-TV, producing segments for the Emmys, Tonys & Grammys. A fascination with fashion and pop culture led to his first published book, Barbie: Face of the American Dream – and an appreciation for all things Barbie! His insights on collectibles/brand success have been published in the New York Times, The Economist, and Spotlight Cinema Networks.

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