Every little girl loves dress up, and apparently Tonka (they of the toy trucks) realized there was an untapped girl market they could conquer. Their answer? Dress n’ Dazzle!
I owned a piece of Dress n’ Dazzle awesomeness!
Yep, this is another one of those “Allison owned/played with this” articles. But hear me out, I found a commercial for it among a compilation I recently came across, so I couldn’t resist. It just brought back too many memories that I’d been keeping in the back of mind.
So, What Is Dress n’ Dazzle?
Dress n’ Dazzle was a line of dress-up clothing and accessories for young girls.
The line was produced by Tonka in the late 1980s. Sets including faux fur stoles, hats, convertible dresses, jewelry, makeup, wraps, gloves, and even fake Rapunzel-type hair.
It was all very 1980s, very girlie, and very…tacky. I owned a few sets – a clutch, jewelry, hat with a veil, gloves, and a wrap. I loved those sets as a kid – for someone who wasn’t into dress-up type role playing, I loved these accessories.
This was the set I owned, sans lipstick/makeup.
One of my cousins had her communion at the height of this fashion trend, and five-year-old me wore their finest to the communion party. To be fair, I wasn’t even in Kindergarten yet, but it must have been wonderful knowing a five-year-old was running around a celebration of an important Catholic celebration wearing old lady church hats and dress-up clothing made by a toy truck company.
The sad shame was I never owned this set. It would have made a splash at the party!
Remember, I’m the same kid who, a little over six years later (at the age of twelve), got a Casio My Magic Diary for Christmas and asked everyone when their birthdays were. Nice to know I grew up so normal.
Well, normal-esque. Because when you’ve worn blue old lady church hats with veils before you were in Kindergarten, you’re called eccentric. Or eclectic. I’ll accept either at this point.
(Something I’ve said recently in reference to unicorns.)
Tonka produced the ultimate dress-up collection from 1988 until the early 1990s, but not much information exists online about the clothes or accessories, aside from commercial screenshots…and this GIPHY!
That’s right, I said COMMERCIALS! One from my own collection, and a few others the YouTubers of 80s childhood have in their collections.
So…How About Those DAZZLING(!) Commercials?
This one is from my personal collection, featuring the set I owned:
Upload via Allison Venezio / Allison’s Written Words
These girls, teaching a younger peer the art of Dress n’ Dazzle…
Upload via Retro Ty: The Pulse of Nostalgia
The ultimate birthday wish, and the girl who apparently needs it to also be her birthday in order to score some sweet Dress n’ Dazzle…
Upload via Tristan Johns
And last (but not least!), this potential fashion faux pas!
Upload via Namey Namerson
A potential sneak preview of prom night ten years later?
The Lasting Legacy of Dress n’ Dazzle
There isn’t much to be said for Dress n’ Dazzle that hasn’t already been said, mostly because, well, there isn’t much to go on. The sad shame is that this is the part of the toy world most people have seemingly forgotten. Unless you owned a piece of these DAZZLING(!) accessories, this tends to stay in obscurity. As for me, I remember it well, even before the commercial I found made it come careening back to my consciousness.
How about you? Did you ever Dress n’ Dazzle?
And as for where I got the commercial from…that will be the subject of my next article!