Caboodles: How Ladies Keep it All Together

As all ladies who came of age in the ’80s and ’90s know, it takes a lot of products to look this good—whether you are trying the achieve the “bird-of-paradise” look of a Cyndi Lauper or the subtle, understated polish of a Cindy Crawford.

 It takes an entire “eyeshadow quad” to achieve this “sunset” look, OK? And this hair doesn’t stay this big on its own. We need lots of makeup. We need lots of hair products. And we need a way to keep it all organized and in one place. What’s a girl to do?


Caboodles were everything an ’80s/’90s product should be: portable, for the girl on the go; big and roomy, for the girl who had everything; colorful, preferably featuring a pink, purple, teal, and seafoam green palette. Not only were Caboodles a double-decker method of keeping your products organized, but they also made for great birthday presents for other girls. Who wouldn’t want to give either the large version shown here, or one of the really small ones that had a “secret compartment” behind the mirror?

The rather sad thing about my Caboodle is that, like most items I possessed as a wee Midwestern lassie, it was a hand-me-down. I inherited Big Sis’s Caboodle after she had used it for years. By the time I got to it, Caboodles were kind of “out,” but I loved it anyway. Also sadly, I didn’t really have a ton of make-up growing up, so the products I did have kind of rolled and rattled around in my Caboodle, making it obvious to other girls that I wasn’t as advanced in the cosmetics arena as they were.  (Don’t cry for me, Argentina. The truth is, I later more than made up for it at Sephora.)

What did I have in there?
What was in your Caboodle?


About missblissindc

Miss Bliss lives, works, and reminisces about the golden age of her youth in the Midwest from the DC area. She’s a Scorpio, but only in the good senses of that term. To share your 1980s/1990s mem’ries, e-mail
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17 Responses to Caboodles: How Ladies Keep it All Together

  1. Kristin says:

    Make a point without saying a word! I sure loved my Exclamation perfume. I had that as well as the Lipsmackers and some lovely blue, green and purple eyeshadow that did absolutely nothing with my coloring but that’s OK. I was more focused on the Clearasil.

  2. Big Sis says:

    Wet n’ Wild nail polishes! Also, hand me down lipsticks from Mom’s Estee Lauder bonuses…and still today I have plenty of those from her.

    I just bought some clear Big Lash mascara the other day! My ‘everyday’ look does not include black goopy junk on the ol’ lashes. I save that for special occasions.

  3. Oh man, I kinda miss my Caboodles! And I totes still use Maybelline Big Lash. 😉

  4. I had the smaller version of that caboodle. I loved Wet N Wild and my cody musk was in there as well.

  5. This post opens old wounds. Sadly, all I kept in my Caboodle was puffy paint and the errant rhinestone (too young for make-up according to mom).

    I spent the early 90s coveting my friend Kristin’s well-stocked Caboodle, thanks to her older sister. Kristin’s big sis dazzled us with her pleated cheerleading skirt and Vidal Sassoon giant-sized curls – every girl’s role model.

  6. Aww memories of getting ready for middle school dances!

    I still miss my classic pink and purple Caboodle which also contained the requisite lip smackers and Exclamation — which my parents would not let me spray in the house because the smell was apparently that bad!

  7. LA says:

    You know I had some CK One and CK Be in my Caboodles along with Bonne Bell everything! I think I even had some slap bracelets in there…

  8. sb says:

    Same here re: stuff rattling around in Caboodle. In fact, the sensation I associate with Caboodles is that sound and how loudly things rattled in there.

    Mine was a gift – I don’t even remember what I had in there. I think maybe once they gave us “the talk” in 5th grade I put my samples from there in the bottom part.

  9. Sarah (1979sunshine) says:

    Love this! I’m still addicted to Dr Pepper Lip Smackers. 🙂 I have about 15 of them stashed around the house. And Caboodles work great for my 5 year old’s tiny toys to keep them away from her baby sis. 😉 My my, how times have changed! LOL

  10. happyhooligans says:

    Too funny! I’ve never even heard of caboodles, (I don’t think any of my friends had them either), but not knowing what it was, I picked one up at a thrift shop recently. I filled it with empty and washed up makeup containers. hairsprays, barrettes and makeup brushes for my daycare kids to play “spa” with!

  11. Charity Gant says:

    A big thank you for your blog article.Really looking forward to read more. Keep writing.

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  13. What *was* in there? Hell, it’s still the centerpiece of my vanity! My Caboodle is over 20 years old and every hinge works, the clasp works, still has a handle and the mirror isn’t cracked. I’ve beaten the thing down over the years and overstuffed it more often than I care to remember. It went to college with me and has moved across a bunch of states. The thing is full of voodoo magic and win! 😀

  14. Diane Dryja says:

    I think I bought my first Caboodle in the early eighties, and since I never bought a “real ” jewelry box, all my favorite stuff is in there. my sons’ birth certificates and anything I hold dear are in there. they are still in good shape. I picked up another at a rummage sale not too long ago. When my son brought home a girl friend a couple of weeks ago, she just went gaga that I had “Caboodles” Ha Ha what a way to bond with the new GF!

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