Just like bum bags were essential items of the 80s, so was having something to go inside them. After all, little kids didn't tend to have wallets or mobile phones (although they do these days!), so instead they filled them to the brim with life's other necessities. For boys this was Mighty Max figures. For girls, that most ingenious of creations, Polly Pocket.
It's somewhat strange then, that Polly Pocket was the brainchild of a man - Chris Wiggins, who developed Polly's first pocket-sized, plastic world in 1983 for his daughter Kate's doll, out of a pocket compact no less. But it wasn't until 1989 that Bluebird Toys officially launched to toy in the UK, while Mattel did the same across the Atlantic.
Each one-inch-high Polly Pocket looked like a cross between your typical Lego lady and a Charmkin, with bendable legs and simple hair and facial features that made them instantly loveable. They lived inside a case, which when unfolded revealed an intricate play scene. There were all kinds of themed Polly Pocket cases, which added of course to their collectable nature, but better still, it was possible to join the playscenes together by means of plastic clips on the cases to create a huge (well, still very tiny actually) world of Polly Pocket. Carnival and zoo-themed carry cases were the craziest, if I remember rightly.
For fans of the toy, there was a burgeoning range of extras on offer, from friends for her (Dana, Billy, Stephanie and others) to hair things. And by 1999, it wasn't just Polly's head that had swelled because of her increasing popularity, she'd grown all round and had been given more life-like features. Maybe they thought kids had become more advanced, who knows. A new range of Fashion Polly dolls measuring just over 3 inches included the characters Polly, Shea, Lea and Lila, and Mattel even took the radical step of producing a Barbie in Polly Pocket proportions. The newer Polly Pockets now come with stretchy rubber clothing that can be taken off and swapped over.
While bum bags are no longer the thing to be wearing, kids will still find a way of transporting their Polly Pockets around. After all, where there's a will, there's a way.