Setting the Disney Princesses in the Correct Period

Today I stumpled upon a website called The Princess Letters Project. She created a post called Re-imagining the Disney Princesses and shared the descriptions and illustrations of Disney princesses in more period-accurate costuming by Claire Hummel. I think she did a fantastic job! I am reposting this (and adding 2 more princesses) with my comments.


‘I went with the mid 1860′s for Cinderella’s dress, the transitory period where the large crinoline takes on a more elliptical shape and moves toward the back.’

Me: Based on what Lady Tremaine (the evil stepmother) wore, as well as the other ball gowns in the royal ball scene, I would place Cinderella in the mid-late 1800’s. Well, either Lady Tremaine is ahead of her time (more 1900’s) or all the ladies are stuck in the 1860’s.


Snow White’s time period is pretty easy to pinpoint in 16th century Germany. Not that the film is accurate, but the clues are there – I took a wide swathe from 1500-1530 to come up with something that still maintained the spirit of the original design.

Me: We know that because Snow White came out in 1937 that her ‘look’ was to reflect the fashion and hairstyle of the 1930’s. The original Snow White (or Snow Whites, if you’ve read my post on the 2 possible Snow Whites) came from Germany, one of whom happened to live during the 16th Century.


Beauty and the Beast has always hovered in the 18th century (especially in the earlier concept art) so I redid Belle’s gold dress to 1770′s French court fashion.’  Think Marie Antoinette.

Me: I think the Beast/Prince [Adam] is dressed in 18th Century fashion (exact decade, I’m not too sure). Even Belle’s ballroom hairdo is reminiscent of the mid-late 1700’s.


So Prince Phillip does specifically and emphatically say ‘This is the 14th century!’ at some point during the film [Sleeping Beauty], but Phillip’s an idiot (a handsome, handsome idiot) and I, never afraid to ignore source material, ignored him.

Oddly enough, Phillip’s clothing is a better point of reference than Aurora’s (since the hourglass, off-the-shoulder cut of her dress is straight out of the 1950′s) and there are more examples of his get up from the 1460′s onwards than in the 14th century. I went with my gut and ended up with something around 1485 – a little later than one might expect, but it’s such a (beautifully) stylised film, all bets are off.

ME: 2 months ago, I was re-watching Sleeping Beauty, focusing this time on the time period and costumes. Based on what Prince Phillip said, I knew that the time period was supposed to be the 14th Century. …Ironically, old-fashioned backward-thinking King Hubert seems to be fashion-forward because he looks like King Henry VIII from the 16th Century! Sleeping Beauty came out in 1959 so it makes sense that Aurora’s off-the-shoulder dress reflects the 1950’s. I’ve always, however, imagined Aurora to be dressed in the 14th-15th Century fashion.


The Little Mermaid is hard to place from a time period standpoint – Grimsby’s wearing a Georgian get up, Ariel’s pink dress with the slashed sleeves subscribes to several eras from the Renaissance to the 1840′s. Eric is…Eric.

I went with Ariel’s wedding dress as a starting point since those gigantic leg-o-mutton sleeves (so embarrassingly popular in the ’80′s wedding fashion) were a great starting point for an 1890′s evening gown.

Me: Based on her wedding dress with those puffy sleeves, it was such a 1980’s dress. This gown reminds me of one I’d seen the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna wear from the 1890’s.


‘It’s my happy middle ground when drawing a historical version of an inaccurate portrayal of a historical person.’

Me: This reminds me of what the Pocahontas wore in ‘The New World’ film.


Let’s be frank – Aladdin is hardly an exercise in historical accuracy… it took some effort to track down some midriff baring outfits BUT BY GEORGE I DID! Thank-you Persian fashion plates.

ME: I don’t have any comments except to say that’s what I’d imagined. 😛


ME: Definitely Roaring 20’s!


cg gallery

Me: I thought Rapunzel’s costume in Tangled was similar to something from the 14-1500’s

5 thoughts on “Setting the Disney Princesses in the Correct Period

  1. Pingback: Two of my interests: History and Disney princesses :) « From the Pages of History

    • Thank you! I can think of only 2 tiaras in Disney and the kokoshniki (pl) in Anastasia. You should do a post on it! 😉

  2. Pingback: what year does snow white take

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s