How to Dress Like a Modern Princess

Earlier this week, high fashion designer Paolo Sebastian unveiled a Disney Princess-inspired dress collection. In addition to being strikingly gorgeous, these gowns convey a modern style that does not look like cosplay or the outdated old-time princess fashions of corsets and crinoline cages. The collection shows us that it is possible to dress like a princess without looking like you're going to a fan convention or a Renaissance Faire. However, these particular types of gowns are exorbitantly expensive and impractical to wear during everyday life. Is it possible, then, to dress like a modern princess on a modern millennial budget without attracting too much unwanted attention? I say it is.


Let's begin by examining the details of my favorite dress from Paolo's collection. Unlike a costume or DisneyBound outfit, it is not suggestive of any specific princess, yet it contains elements that are common to all fairy tale princesses. The two things that stand out the most are the pop-out flowers and birds that appear to be flying right out of the dress. Princesses are very in tune with nature and spend a lot of time in gardens admiring fresh flowers and singing to the birds. Snow White was doing just that when she entranced Huntsman with her innocence, saving her own life in the process. Floral prints are perfect for subtly conveying the idea of a princess without wearing a big picture of their faces. Dresses or tops depicting images of birds, butterflies, or other woodland creatures have a similar effect. Ever since I was a kid, I have always loved floral prints and accessories because they give off such a strong vibe of feminity. It easy to find affordable clothes with natural patterns at any department store. Wearing a simple flower clip in your hair like the ones they sell at Claire's can also be a subtle nod to fairy tale princesses.

The next thing that stands out to me about this dress is the sheer fabric overlay. Since crinoline skirts are no longer in fashion, the closest thing we can get by today's standards is layered fabrics to create the idea of a puffy skirt without the weight. Many skirts have built-in slips with sheer overlays containing pretty floral patterns. Skirts like these allow you to feel like a princess while still being able to walk and sit comfortably. Since princesses love to dance and twirl, a gathered "boho" style skirt is a perfect contemporary match. The extra fabric gathered around the waistline moves with you when you walk and spins and twirls with your movements just like a ballgown. Some stores sell peasant tops with bell-shaped sleeves and sheer accents during colder seasons. For princesses who prefer pants, a flowing sheer top over a solid camisole can create the look of a modern princess just as effectively as a long flowing skirt.

Finally, many of the dresses from Paolo's collection contain beautifully scripted words embroidered onto the fabric. Since princesses originate from transcribed tales, phrases like "once upon a time" and "happily ever after" are common in their stories. There are also many memorable lyrics from the songs they love to sing that people would recognize if they saw them in writing. For the more casual princess, a graphic t-shirt containing phrases or lyrics from their favorite fairy tale movie is the perfect way to subtly tell the world that you are a modern-day princess. You can even wear an old pair of jeans and still convey the same message. Wearing clever phrases also shows off your intellectual side that loves to read, like Belle. An image or symbol from the movie can be just as effective. For instance, cosplayer Traci Hines sells shirts with images of seashells reminiscent of Ariel along with icons of other Disney characters in her Adorkable Apparel shop.

Most of my favorite clothes in my closet from Hot Topic. They have some of the best modern twists on princess fashion, such as corset tops that zip up in the back and dresses, tops, and accessories that depict Disney characters, quotes, and symbols. Hot Topic releases a special clothing collection every time a new princess movie comes out featuring outfits that are reminiscent of the costumes from the movie in a contemporary style would not look out of place on a public street. Their clothes have subtle details in the patterns from the princess's story without a tacky display of logos or faces that might look more like an advertisement than a fashion choice. I got a beautiful peasant dress from Hot Topic when Disney's live-action Cinderella came out in 2015 and an elegant white overcoat earlier this year that they released to promote their new Beauty and the Beast.


Another style of princess street fashion that's very popular in Japan is Lolita. Lolita fashion is inspired by adult women who miss the ribbons, bows, and frill accents that they wore as little girls. Many Lolita dresses are incredibly detailed and can be rather pricey. They are usually worn with big bow hair accessories and special Mary Jane style shoes along with patterned socks or tights. They often contain very girly patterns of things such as castles, unicorns, candy, hearts, sparkles, or even Disney Princess silhouettes. While it is rare to find people wearing Lolita fashion in public places in America, many women collect them for fun and meet with other Lolitas to trade or show off their newest accessories. I have two Lolita dresses, one of which I actually purchased in Japan.


Last but not least, it's also a good idea to wear pastel colors such as pink, sky blue, lavender, or sea green when dressing like a princess. Darker tones are more suggestive of an evil queen. Following these simple suggestions will show the world that you are a princess without getting any embarrassing stares. Even if you don't follow any of these tips, remember that you don't need a fancy dress or a tiara. As long as you treat people with kindness and live every day to the fullest, you will always have the heart of a true princess.

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