The word, once I heard it, tickled my brain.
Low key dressing up as your favorite Disney characters with color blocking and accessories doesn’t seem radical. But the tickle in my memory was still there. If you’ve been sleeping since finals, DisneyBounding has been getting some serious attention with Refinery29 doing a piece on it, Buzzfeed’s Ladylike trying it, and the ever beloved Safiya Nygaard doing a video attempting it flawlessly (she did a Fresh Prince-themed Jafar and Iago with her fiance, and it slayed).
Safiya Nygaard @safiyany
Also, if you don’t follow Bree Kish, a plus-size model (you may have seen most notably for Target, Wet n Wild, and Torrid), you should. Because not only does she serve up some gorgeous selfies, she DisneyBounds regularly.
Bree Kish @breekish
So I started researching. Where did it start? Why am I attempting to do this?
So there’s this rule when you go to Disney parks that adults cannot dress up as characters. It probably has something to do with not wanting kids running up to strangers dressed as their favorite character, as well as an element of making a profit money off of character photos. Which low key makes your inner child want to cry, but that’s where DisneyBounding comes in. You dress as your favorite character in your regular clothes. The nagging feeling in my memory continued.
These ideas were nothing new, but it was when I found the Tumblr created by Leslie Kay, DisneyBound, that I realised where I had seen this before: Polyvore. Yeah, you know, the site that you could curate your closet or design your ideal apartment aesthetic with that shut down last year after Ssense bought the company out. That one. I had regularly followed her sets loving the use of accessories to identify a character rather than relying on a costume. Thankfully her Tumblr is an archive of all of her sets, which I used to help me on my mission.
Leslie Kay @lesliekay
DisneyBounding can be any person, animal, place, item, or food related to Disney (think of Haunted Mansion or a Dole Whip DisneyBounding outfit). Some people even genderbend characters for it. It can be a more modern style, or period style, with Dapper Day being a popular event among DisneyBounders. It can be as literal or as subtle as you like, but the important thing is to have fun with it. You can do it by yourself, with a sibling or child, with friends, or a significant other. It can be classic Disney like Steamboat Willie, or more recent characters like from Avengers or Star Wars. As long as it’s Disney, you’re DisneyBounding!
Dapper Day Haunted Mansion by @kirstieleroux
The Brief: DisneyBound for 5 Days in 5 Ways
I’m going to be visiting Disneyland at some point this year, and I want to be able to DisneyBound when I go, so this will challenge me to think outside of the box and help me think of creative ways to be a character.
My goal was also to spend as little money as possible in creating these outfits, only budgeting for accessories and relying entirely upon what was already in my closet. I spent only $20 on accessories at Forever21 getting jewelry on clearance, headbands on sale, and my new favorite pair of sunglasses.
Using Leslie Kay’s Tumblr of Polyvore sets, I scrolled through looking at different characters thinking about the items I had in my own closet: a shirt here, pants there, the odd accessory. Ultimately, I decided on a motley crew of villains with some classic Disney thrown in.
- Day 1) Casual – Smee from Peter Pan
Smee was my choice for my casual outfit, partly because I’m in love with my Universal Thread striped crop top I picked up last year on clearance at Target, and because it meant wearing my Birkenstocks. The jeans are from Torrid, the headband and earrings are from Forever21, and my Casio watch is from Amazon (I’ve had it for years, and it’s fantastic). I also have some mirrored sunglasses that I had forgotten that will really pull the outfit together. I could comfortably wear this on any given day, and people wouldn’t know I was dressed up as Smee, but it’s also a good contender for wearing to Disney as well.
- Day 2) Dressed Up – Mother Gothel from Rapunzel
Sometimes, you just want to feel fancy. Or you just like wearing dresses. I got this burgundy velvet dress and snakeskin textured flatforms from Lovesick (now closed) years ago. The only thing I really needed to pull it together wereas some necklaces and earrings to incorporate the gold accents of Mother Gothel, and I was set. I also used a special edition Colourpop lippie stix in Fab Five, which has the perfect soft matte texture that doesn’t dry out my lips. I could easily wear this to a nice dinner, family event, or party, and no one would know I was DisneyBounding.
- Day 3) Athletic – Lucifer the Cat from Cinderella
So this one was a little more difficult. I really liked that the DisneyBound sets fulfilled a variety of clothing purposes and thought athletic/athleisure wear would be an excellent option to try. I wasn’t entirely satisfied with how it turned out, but as athleisure, I could have probably worn some jewelry to tie it together more (perhaps some cat shaped earring studs). The shirt is from Lane Bryant, and the leggings are C9 from Target, with a towel from YouFit. Overall, this look wasn’t terrible; I just felt like there was some room for improvement on it.
- Day 4) Beachwear – Minnie Mouse
It is summer, and whether it’s for a pool party or beach day, I thought DisneyBounding in a swimsuit coverup would be perfect. The most innocent and classic of all of my outfits I chose Minnie because of the chambray romper I had just gotten at Torrid. It was perfect, and all I needed was a touch of pink from a Forever21 headband in place of a bow. Again this outfit wasn’t perfect, but it was simple, and I felt it fit the brief pretty well. Maybe some pink polish on my toes and white on my fingers to really pull it together.
- Day 5) Swimwear – Ursula from The Little Mermaid
My final DisneyBound look. The pièce de résistance: Ursula. Although I didn’t use any purple to completely colorblock the look, it is by far my favorite DisneyBounding outfit (Smee and Mother Gothel are closely tied for second). Perhaps you have a DisneyBounding themed pool party this summer, but I got to wear a bikini I can’t usually wear around my family. There’s a lot of boob going on which felt pretty perfect for Ursula’s curvy figure. And the fishnet filling in the spaces felt like something she would ultimately choose to wear if she were human. I got it from Forever21 a few years ago, and I only break it out for parties. With Essence All You Need Is Red lipstick, a white headband from one of the massive street markets in South Korea, and some pleated gold earrings that give off some shell vibes I feel like this was the best outfit overall. I definitely reach for my shellphone to take some selfies in this thirst trap of a look.
Although the overall experience took some time and creativity, it was relatively easy to put outfits together, especially because it was clothes I already wear regularly. What I like about DisneyBounding is that it is easy to do in daily life, or you can amp it up to really get into the character for going to the parks or parties. Anyone can do it with clothes they already have, or you can easily shop and find items to make a DisneyBounding outfit. It is accessible to all income levels, ages, genders, and ethnicities. I’ll definitely DisneyBound when I go to the parks, and maybe even do a DisneyBounding themed party. Although all of my outfits weren’t perfect, it got me to be creative and think outside of the box. There’s always room for improvement, which I plan to do for a few of my DisneyBounding outfits.