A Wonderland Fashion Primer (Part One)

How to dress in the fashion of Wonderland using street clothes you already own.

Alice

Alice is the protagonist of the series, a curious and imaginative girl who becomes lost in a dream world and must find her way home.

Color

Alice at Epcot; Photo: Anika Dane

Thanks to Disney, Alice’s most recognizable color palette is blue and white. However, illustrator John Tenniel gave her a yellow dress. The nexus is bright, solid colors.

Silhouette

In the original literature, Alice is a little girl growing up in Victorian England. The illustrated, Disney, and ‘Gothic Lolita’ versions of Alice bear this out, but a pinafore is not required.

The thick headband is so married to Alice in Wonderland it is named “an Alice band” and along with Mary Jane shoes, the “girl” archetype is achieved even without a poufy dress. You can hint at Victorian styles with a pleated blouse, a peplum, or eyelet lace.

Symbolism

The author as Alice; Photo by Aeris Milik

Alice and Wonderland are equated with:

  • Rabbits
  • Keys
  • Playing cards
  • Chess pieces
  • Mushrooms
  • Potion bottles
  • Tea sets
  • Garden flowers
  • Flamingoes

Any and all of which can be found or created as accessories.

Queen

The Queen of Hearts is a formidable antagonist but in the example above I chose to create a more youthful and modern type of look fashioned after the “Queen Bee” archetype.

Color

The Queen’s colors, taken from the typical playing card, are Red, Yellow, Black and White.

But they do not have to mimic the card or any popular version of the character — for example I chose a black crown instead of gold, and a hair bow or headband can get the same effect across.

Silhouette

The Queen takes up more space than Alice or the other Wonderland creatures. She is large and in charge. You may achieve this with voluminous fabrics and cuts that emphasize your curves.

Symbolism

  • It would be silly to dress as the Queen of Hearts without including some kind of heart imagery. Any I ♥ {whathaveyou} t-shirt would work in a pinch.
  • Red and White rose earrings; one color in each ear to reference painted roses.
  • One could wear an actual Queen of Hearts playing card in a hat brim or punched and attached to a ribbon or chain as a necklace.
  • Top it off with a scepter or crown — available in party stores or fun to make out of a paper towel roll, ruler, or baton.

Hatter

The Mad Hatter was the most fun to put together. I looked at pictures from the book and the animated and live action films to get an idea of color and silhouette but I also played a lot.

For example, the Charlie Chaplin leggings have nothing whatsoever to do with Alice in Wonderland or the Mad Hatter — but they are perfectly Mad and thus make perfect nonsense sense in my mind. The coat I chose for its vaguely Victorian look and the tea charms to reference the Mad Tea Party. But the only element that is absolutely essential to the Mad Hatter is a hat, preferably wide-rimmed.

Color

The key to the Hatter’s color palette is to be as colorful as possible. Make bright, bold choices, mix and match, play with patterns and add at least one more color than feels comfortable.

Silhouette

The Hatter wears a waistcoat and all his clothes are oversized. A too large bow tie is the easiest way to reference this, and/or you can wear baggy pants or large boxy shoes.

Again, the hat is the most important component to this look. If you wear a miniature hat, it makes your standard sized clothing look larger in relation!

Symbolism

  • The Hatter is best known for his tea party. Accessorize with cup and saucer, tea pot, pastry.
  • You might also reference his companions, the Dormouse and March Hare.
  • Finally, allusions to his trade: tape measure, ribbons, needle and thread, buttons, chalk, and the sizing card often seen in the rim of his hat.

Summary

Wonderland is wild, colorful, bright but also dark, jumbled, a little old-fashioned — mad! Follow the principles above, but make it your own. Be creative and play!

Next time: the Cheshire Cat, White Rabbit, and Caterpillar.

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