Ladies Character Costume Ideas
Props n Frocks Fancy Dress has been established since 1998 and has a large fancy dress shop in Essex and also an online store. Props n Frocks has a fantastic reputation (which we aim to keep) and road tests all items that are shown on the e-commerce site. We stock thousands of fancy dress costumes & accessories for all the family. We see these items being tried on every day and can offer professional advice to whether we think the item is suitable, or not. Props n Frocks also offers pages, such as this one, with some great costume ideas for every fancy dress theme you could think of. Need help? Check out Props n Frocks - THE place for all your fancy dress needs...
There are two types of fancy dress costumes, generic ones and specific named characters. The first are usually associated with general types of themes, such as Moulin Rouge, the various twentieth century decades such as Gangsters & Hippies etc., where the emphasis is on individuals turning up in similar costumes to add atmosphere to an event. Character Costumes on the other hand are designed so that they should be immediately recognisable, whether it’s a film character such as Catwoman or cartoon personality such as Marge Simpson.
When it comes to what is a popular costume, the top ten can vary from one week to the next. Anniversaries of icons, media celebrations of programmes of yesteryear or some pop star ‘channelling’ the look and/or style of an icon can all be influential. Anything can capture the public imagination and half the challenge is being able to obtain the costume when you want it.
Licensed Character Costumes
Many character costumes are subject to copyright & licensing laws (although not all of them are). This means that only one official costume may be available for a given character (although there may be a few variations of style). Some companies may choose to 'enhance' the official costume, perhaps providing additional accessories to give added value to the core product. Licenses can take some time to obtain, and often, Licensed costumes are often not around in time for the release of a new film (usually for reasons to do with copyright) and therefore can literally 'miss the boat' as some costumes only have a limited shelf life.
The licensing of these costumes does limit what you will find legally available to purchase, and causes fancy dress suppliers numerous problems, quality, sizing and price being the key ones. Companies that sell, or advertise 'fakes' are liable to be prosecuted in the courts.
It is very difficult to advise a customer that a particular character costume is available only in a ladies UK dress size 12/14 if they need a different size. This is why you will find 'copies' or a costume that is similar on the market, purely to allow people to have a choice of a wider sizing range.
The companies who 'own' the costume license pay a substantial price for the privilege to produce a particular character costume for general sale. This initial cost is recouped by these companies charging more money for these 'licensed' products. A Licensed character costume will generally cost more than a generic costume,
Although, this is now improving, there is sometimes a feeling that whilst these costumes do cost far more than a generic costume, the quality does not always reflect the additional cost. An example would be the use of Velcro (often glued, not sown) instead of buttons or zips.
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So, let's take a look at our popular ladies character costumes...
It's forty years since Abba hit the mainstream and when it comes to remembering the names of the females in the 1970s supergroup Abba, some people can find it challenging. Agnetha was the blonde straight haired one with the fringe, whilst Anni-Frid (who was also known as Frida) had a variety of hair colours and styles ranging from brown to red. The Abba flared jumpsuit or mini-dress are the two most iconic images, although they did get through a whole range of outfits.
One of the characters that work for Heroes and Villains or Goodies and Baddies parties. There are a number of Catwoman costumes available, from the original 1960s Lee Merriwether/Eartha Kitt image from the Batman TV series, through to Michelle Pfeiffer PVC outfit in the 1992 Batman film and Anne Hathaway's 'cat-burglar' version from the recent 'The Dark Knight Rises'. There’s also Halle Berry’s crop-top street fighter version, although this has nothing to do with the Batman series.
The classic Queen of Egypt, who was famous for her liaisons with both Julius Caesar and Mark Anthony in her attempts to save her country. The iconic image is that of Elizabeth Taylor in the 1963 Cleopatra film, which went horrendously over budget but won four Oscars for Best Art Direction & Set Decoration; Best Cinematography; Best Costume Design and Best Effects. There are a wide variation of Cleopatra dresses/robes on the market, from traditional long to short and skimpy (useful for 'Carry On Cleo') but the black wig and accessories are usually essential items, and it’s also a good excuse to go heavy with the exotic eye make-up.
Cruella de Vil
An immediately recognisable character, Cruella de Vil was originally created by Dodie Smith in the book 101 Dalmatians. First brought to the movie screen by Disney in the 1960s, as a cartoon she has also been portrayed by Glenn Close and has enduring appeal as a popular villainess with a distinctive look – it’s good to be wicked for once.
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For the British, the legend that is Robin Hood lives on, and with it, his ‘significant other’, Maid Marian. Her image has varied over the years, with Maid Marian wearing an assortment of Medieval or ‘Renaissance’-style costumes, some more authentic than others. As this character is often coupled with Robin Hood, any medieval dress and headdress will work, although traditionally the colours have been green and blue.
The legendary movie star Marilyn Monroe may have worn a variety of outfits, the gold dress in Bus Stop and the pink dress in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, but her enduring image is that of her white pleated halter-neck dress in the film the Seven Year Itch. Teamed with red stiletto shoes and a blonde wig, plus appropriate eye make-up, red lips and beauty spot, this can be a relatively easy image to recreate.
From the Stars Wars films IV to VI, Princess Leia's outfit did not change much. The long white hooded robe, belt, weapon and brown ‘danish pastry’ wig immediately captures the image of this futuristic character. In The Empire Strikes Back, there were appearances by Leia as Jabba the Hutt's Slave Girl. This was an interesting variation on the look, although as the gold-metal bikini outfit was rather minimalist in nature, you have to be quite brave to carry it off. The forthcoming sequels from the Disney studios may see some additional looks for this newest 'Disney Princess'.
One of the classic fairy tale characters whose popularity is legendary. Famed for having a wicked stepmother who wanted to kill her and seeking sanctuary with persons of small stature. Although Disney did not create the character, they did create the widely recognised look involving a yellow skirt, blue bodice with red sleeve inserts and black bobbed hair with a red ribbon, so this is technically copyright, although several ‘lookalike’ outfits can be found on the market. 2012 saw two new differing interpretations of Snow White in 'Mirror Mirror' and 'Snow White and the Huntsman'. Although there are no official outfits, the films offer the opportunity for novel interpretation.
Wherever Fred Flintstone goes, then Wilma, his long-suffering wife, is not far behind. The costume is fairly simple and hence easy to wear, being especially suitable for those hot summer days/nights. With some 'official. outfits you get a two-dimensional 'wig' hairpiece. Some might find they would prefer to wear a more conventional ginger beehive wig.
Along with Supergirl, Wonder Woman is of the few 'original' superhero costumes for females, and her popularity was enhanced by the TV series of the 70s featuring Linda Carter. There has been regular talk of a new Wonder Woman movie presence in recent years, the latest being in connection with the forthcoming Batman/Superman film. Despite this, several versions of the classic outfit are offered, along with a graphic T-shirt-based design.
Leading character from the book 'The Wizard of Oz', played in the subsequent film by Judy Garland.. Costume is a blue check pinafore dress with white blouse underneath. Brown plaited hair and red shoes (although they are silver in the book). There are official costumes for this character, but it is also a costume that you should be able to put together quite easily.
Another possible superhero costume for women. Batgirl has undergone a few incarnations from the 60s to modern day. The licensed costume (see image at the start of this hub) comprises a black PVC style short dress, belt, cape, glovelets, mask and boot tops. Batgirl & Batman make a great couple costume idea.
Woody's sidekick in Toy Story, so ideal for another couples costume idea. Jessie wears black and white chaps, red hat, white shirt and has red yarn like hair (this will be difficult to achieve, so you may need to wear a red wig instead). Official costumes are available, although many people will use a standard cowgirl costume for this character.
2nd wife of Henry VIII who famously lost her head in the executioner's block.. Wear a Tudor style costume and if you need a costume to complete a couple, the obvious choice is Henry VIII (although you could also have the afore-mentioned executioner!). There are no official costumes for this character,so you can use your own imagination.
Wife of Barney, from The Flintstones. Ideal for a couple of a group of four (with Fred & Wilma Flintstone). Betty has black 50s flick-out-style hair and wears a short blue dress. Official costume is available, but is another costume that you may be able to put together at home.
A sidekick (and cousin) to Superman who first appeared in 1959, a great choice for a Superhero couple. There are various licensed costumes available from very sexy versions to more conservative options. Supergirl has blonde hair.
Lead character from Beauty & the Beast. The Disney version (1991), based on a French fairytale is the most recognisable. Most popular costume choice is based on the gold ballgown. Official costumes are available, although any yellow/gold Victorian style gown will suffice. Belle has long, brown wavy hair.
Tinker Bell - can be spelt as Tinkerbell, or Tink
Fairy character based on JM Barrie's play (1904) & novel (1911). The character's costume is based on the Disney film which was released in 1953. Tinker Bell wears a short, green dress, with fairy wings and has blonde hair. Official costumes are available, although there are plenty of green fairy costumes that could be used for this character. An ideal costume to pair with Peter Pan or include Captain Hook, pirates, mermaids if you need group costume ideas. A new live-action film about Peter Pan ('Pan', due 2015) is in the offing, so a new or different incarnation may be forthcoming..
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Alice in Wonderland
You have a couple of options for this iconic character (based on Lewis Carroll's 1865 novel). The traditional Alice costume is based on the Disney 1951 film. Alice wears a light blue dress with full white apron, she has blonde hair tied up with a black ribbon.
The film released in 2010 takes the 'Alice' story further, with 19 year old Alice re-visiting the world she thinks she has dreamt. The costume for this older Alice, is a light blue Victorian style dress that is calf length and has a fitted bodice. Official costumes are available, although shorter Victorian dresses in blue could also be used.
Queen of Hearts
The wicked, ill tempered Queen from Alice in Wonderland. You could wear any long, royal style gown and cover it with hearts to get this costume effect. Queen of Hearts playing cards are also available if you want to 'think outside of the box'.This character is often confused with The Red Queen in the Alice sequel (Through the Looking Glass) and a hybrid character, mixing elements of the two Queens features in the 2010 Alice in Wonderland film and is pictured in the photo featured earlier in this hub.
American pop singer, famous for her weird costumes. Whether this is a character that will stand the test of time, is debatable, but for the time being, Lady Gaga does give those of us who love fancy dress the chance to dress up in a selection of her costumes. A selection of licensed costumes are available, but you might find you can improvise other outfits. Wigs and other accessories are also available to help you create the required look.
Another celeb costume character that may be here today and gone tomorrow. Cheryl Cole is a singer / pop star made famous by appearing on a reality television series and being chosen to be part of the Girl's Aloud group. She has gone on to star as a judge on the X Factor in the UK and also judged the American version of the show until her accent caused problems. Cheryl has worn some iconic costumes for performing her solo act, notably the red military-style outfit seen in 'Fight For This Love'.
Member of the Scooby Doo gang. Scooby Doo originated in 1969 as a cartoon television series which continues to the present day. A film was released in 2002. A great choice as either an individual, couple of group costume. Daphne wears a pink/purple dress with a green neck scarf and has pink boots. Her hair is red/orange and has a headband. Licensed costume is available (see image right) but only in 1 standard ladies size.
Wife/girlfriend of Mickey Mouse, an iconic Disney character, she was first drawn in 1928. Minnie is normally shown wearing a red dress with white polka dots with a headband. She wears black leggings (originally stockings) and large shoes.Licensed costume is available, but mouse ears can be purchased which added to a red polka dot dress and white gloves will give you the basic look.
Character from the 2004 computer animated film, produced by Pixar and distributed by Walt Disney Pictures. Mrs Incredible licensed costume is available and is probably a costume that you couldn't really put together at home (unless you have the odd red jumpsuit lying around!). Mrs. Incredible has a short brown bob and a black eye mask that completes her costume. Pair with Mr. Incredible for a recognisable couple costume.
This is a ladies character costume that is suitable for the braver, more extrovert souls.
As you can see from the image on this page (The black/yellow outfit near the top if you missed it), Silk Spectre is quite a sexy looking licensed costume comprising of a long sleeved hot pants (technically a romper suit) and boot tops attached by suspenders. A long straight brunette wig is also used. Silk Spectre is a Watchman costume seen in DC Comics for a limited edition between 1986/87.
American singer, who first rose to fame in the early 1980s, her first album was released in 1983. She wore many various costumes for videos of her songs, including a Marilyn Monroe-style evening dress (as seen in 'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes) for 'Material Girl'. She is also famed for her gold, pointy boob Gaultier basque costume, although her 80's looks are quite easy to copy and there are many Madonna-style costumes on the market.
Female racing driver from the American Deep South featured in the popular cartoon series 'Wacky Races'. In her Pink Compact racing car (with matching driving outfit, as seen below) she won many fans (and a few races) and get her own spin-off cartoon series The Perils of Penelope in which she was protected from her wicked uncle by fellow racers the midget Ant-Hill Mob.
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