Editor’s Note: Babble is a part of The Walt Disney Company.
Like many, my love for Disney runs deep. My early years were spent in southern California, making frequent trips to “The Happiest Place on Earth” thanks to an uncle who worked at Disneyland. Some of my best childhood memories were spent within those gates — breathing in the smell of warm churros and humming along to “it’s a small world.”
Now that I have kids of my own, I get to share those memories with them (and make new ones). I’ll never forget the first time I took my now 5-year-old daughter to Disneyland. She was 15 months old at the time, and absolutely radiated with joy as she snuggled up to Minnie Mouse and kissed her on the nose. It was clear, in that moment, that her young life had been made.
As a wardrobe stylist, I love to combine two of my favorite things — Disney and styling. Having kids has actually introduced me to the world of “DisneyBounding” — a term coined by Leslie Kay, which refers to when fans dress up as contemporary versions of their favorite characters. (The more creative, the better!) With a trip to Disneyland on our calendar for this year, I figured it’s the perfect time to start planning our looks.
If you love Disney as much as we do, I put together some of my best tips for helping you create Disney-inspired outfits for the whole family.
1. You can’t go wrong with the classics.
The most iconic Disney characters are a great place to start when choosing looks to mimic. Everyone has a strong image of Mickey or Donald Duck ingrained in their mind, so these looks are easier to distinguish. For this Donald and Daisy ensemble, I shopped my kids’ closets for pieces that would work. We had all of the items except for the red bow tie, which was easy enough to pick up. I can’t wait to take photos of them posing with their characters!
2. Focus on a color scheme.
Disney is brilliant in its creation of cohesive color schemes. Each character and movie have a very specific palette that makes them instantly recognizable to fans. Once you have your colors, get creative.
For this Little Mermaid look, I color-blocked the ensembles: purple top to represent Ariel’s seashell and shiny, green mermaid leggings reminiscent of her tail. I did the same for my husband’s Prince Eric outfit. Though it’s comprised of clothes he wears all the time, when color-blocked (and a red belt is added), Eric’s signature look is revealed. Add a baby wearing shades of Sebastian red and you’ve got a perfect Disney trio.
3. Keep it simple.
While coming up with your own Disney ensembles from scratch can be fun, sometimes you’re short on time or life gets in the way. When this happens, keep things simple. You can never go wrong with classic Mouseketeer tees for the whole family. A cute and cohesive look with minimal effort? Done and done!
4. The more the merrier.
It can be enticing to choose a solo character when DisneyBounding, but it’s far more likely that people won’t “get it” — especially if your character of choice is somewhat obscure. This is where the benefit of group DisneyBounding comes into play, and you can see it perfectly in our Peter Pan example. Each character on their own may not be immediately recognizable, but when you put them together, it’s like seeing all the pieces of a puzzle. My son as Smee is easy enough to pick out. And once you see him, you can recognize the theme, spotting me as John Darling, my oldest daughter as Wendy, the baby as a Lost Boy, and the true Disney diehards will recognize my husband moonlighting as Peter Pan’s shadow.
5. There is something to be said for subtlety.
The best Disney-inspired looks are sometimes the most subtle. Clothes that look like the kind you would wear every day (and actually can wear any day!) are perfect. The T-shirt that my husband is wearing and the sweet Mickey bib on my baby are understated, yet the perfect way to display our love of all things Disney.
6. Look for clothing and accessories in unexpected places.
Sometimes when you’re looking for DisneyBounding inspiration, your closet may leave you stumped. But that’s when it’s time to think outside the box. For this Alice in Wonderland look, I didn’t have a bow tie for my son’s Mad Hatter outfit, so I simply borrowed a hair bow from his sister’s stash and did the same with the mustard-colored sweater. Don’t limit yourself to just one closet — take advantage and borrow from each other! Plus, it saves money too. I think we make a pretty good crew: the Queen of Hearts, Mad Hatter, White Rabbit, and Alice.
7. Don’t be afraid to stray from the beaten path.
For the true Disney-lover, drawing on more obscure references can be a fun way to express themselves. Such is the case with these Disney Parks-inspired looks. My oldest daughter is channeling the Enchanted Tiki Room with her tropical attire (all that’s missing is a Dole Whip!), my son is putting out the Frontierland vibes with his western wear, and the baby is evoking the Dumbo the Flying Elephant ride, in style.
Disney-inspired attire is the perfect way to celebrate your favorite characters and a fun way to bond as a family. My kids had such a great time helping me scour their closets to come up with these Disney-inspired looks. And the very best part is that there’s no wrong way to do it. So go forth and make some Disney dress-up magic with your family!
See more of our favorites for the whole family at Disney Store. And participate in the #SoThisIsLove photo challenge, celebrating all things Disney, by including the hashtag and @DisneyStore on Instagram.