The Fashion Trend for Disney Lovers

Have you ever wanted to dress up like your favorite Disney character, but something stopped you? Maybe the idea of dressing in costume seemed a little excessive to you; Halloween only happens once a year, after all. Or maybe you can’t afford some of the more expensive Disney-inspired clothing you’ve seen online. If walking into work in full-on Cinderella-at-the-ball isn’t exactly what you had in mind, then maybe it’s time to consider Disneybounding!

Cinderella walking

A relatively recent trend, Disneybounding, at its most basic, is dressing up as a Disney character using modern, stylish attire; it is being inspired by the clothes and accessories you already own to add a subtle element of your favorite character into your everyday outfits. Think purple tank top, green fish-scale leggings, and voila, Ariel from The Little Mermaid! Not to be confused with cosplay, this trend grew in popularity partly as a result of Disney park’s strict No-Cosplay rules.

Disneybound Outfits

Once Upon a Time…

The word ‘Disneybounding’ isn’t one of those neologisms that tells you what it is just by looking at it. This term, in fact, started out as something completely different than what it has come to mean. Several years ago, a Disney superfan, Leslie Kay, was planning a trip to Disney World. Highly enthusiastic about her first trip back to Disney since she was a child, she started a blog on Tumblr to share her thoughts, plans, and excitement. The name of the blog? DisneyBound (since Kay was bound for Disney World). What began as a travel blog slowly morphed into fashion ideas for her upcoming trip. Using Polyvore, she created and shared her outfits inspired by Disney characters on her Tumblr. The rest, as they say, is history.

Her follower counts skyrocketed and Disneybounding surged in popularity. Kay didn’t invent the idea. Fans were already incorporating subtle references into their outfits, but no one had put a name to it, yet. Thus, Disneybounding was born. At first the term meant strictly the idea of Disney-inspired outfits, but has now expanded to also encompass the excitement about going to a Disney park (a strange way for a term to circle back and wind up meaning just what it sounds like, but there you go). And outfits are not limited to Disney characters, either. Sometimes the inspiration is based on the theme of a film or a Disney park attraction (I want to see a Space Mountain ‘bound, y’all).

The key to a successful ‘bound is subtlety. A good way to think about it is: what would this character wear if they were a real person in the modern world? The idea is to dress in order to personify a character, to give the impression that you are a real world iteration of the character, without dressing exactly like they appear in their films.

Put it together and what have you got? Bippity Boppity Boo!

So how can you create your own Disneybound? You might already have everything you need on hand, and if not, you don’t have to break the bank to get the look you’re going for.

1 – Decide on your character or theme

First you have to decide who you want to dress up as. Then decide how subtle you want your ‘bound to be: how obvious do you want it to be to fellow ‘bounders, Disney fans, or non-Disney fans? Let’s say you’ve decided on Snow White.

2 – Check your closet

You likely already have most of what you need in your closet already! Since you’re probably picking a character that strongly resonates with you, you likely already have incorporated elements of that character into your style without realizing it! If you’re going to ‘bound as Snow White, look for key color blocks (blue tops, yellow bottoms, red accents) or thematic elements that say “Snow White” to you.

3 – Accessorize!

Now look through your accessories. One of Snow White’s iconic pieces is her red hair ribbon and bow. Maybe you already have a red headband or a red bow you can put in your hair. Or you can go more subtle and sport your necklace with an apple pendant. Whatever look you’re going for, it’s the accessories that really put the whole outfit together.

4 – Go shopping or get crafty!

If you find that you have a particular vision and your current wardrobe just isn’t going to be able to actualize it, then consider going shopping. Perhaps you just can’t imagine this ‘bound being right without a pair of red shoes. Or perhaps you have a headband but it’s in the wrong color. The other option is to get a little crafty. DIY that thing! You can wrap some red ribbon around it and add a bow, and all you need is a safety pin or some hot glue.

5 – Plan your photos

You’ve got your tickets, you’ve got your outfit, you’re good to go! Once you get to the park, check the schedule to see if your Disney character or any of their sidekicks are doing a meet and greet. This would be a great opportunity to get a selfie! You can also plan on taking solo selfies in strategic locations that would make sense for the character you’re ‘bounding as.

6 – Optional, but very fun: coordinate with other ‘bounders!

Sometimes you’re going to a Disney park with a group of people. Make it even more fun by doing a group Disneybound! Snow White’s seven dwarfs, or maybe Ariel, Sebastian, Flounder, and Scuttle, or even Mrs. Potts, Chip, Lumiere, and Cogsworth. The only limit is your imagination!

Snow White and the Seven Dwarves Disneybounding

What Kay started on a lark has turned into a phenomenon! Dubbed the fashion trend for those of us who don’t want to grow up, Disneybounding isn’t just fun because dressing up is fun–it’s fun because it feels like a secret club. Those outside of the Disney community likely wouldn’t even notice your subtle Snow White Disneybound. By incorporating elements of style inspired by your favorite Disney character into your outfits, you can bring the magic of that character home.

We would love to see your Disneybounds in the comments below. Tell us all about your favorite Disney character and why ‘bounding them resonates with you!

Need some inspiration? Check out Leslie Kay’s Tumblr, where it all started, or her Instagram. Some other great Disneybounders we love are DisneyGirlBeauty, HappilyEverTees, and StyledByMagic.