Fancy dress ideas from "Alice in Wonderland"

Updated February 21, 2017

"Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" was written in 1865 by British author and mathematician Charles Lutwidge Dodgson using the pen name Lewis Carroll. The story is about a girl named Alice who chases a white rabbit and falls down a rabbit hole into a fantasy world filled with odd creatures and strange people. The book has been the source for many film renditions, including Disney's 1951 animated "Alice in Wonderland" and Tim Burton's more recent adaptation of the same name. Both the book and movies offer costume inspiration for fancy dress.


The main character of "Alice in Wonderland" is, of course, Alice. To dress as the traditional Alice, wear a blue cotton dress, white apron, white stockings and black patent-leather shoes. Use a blue or black headband to complete the costume. If you do not have long blond hair, use a wig or hair extensions.

The queens

The infamous Queen of Hearts is Alice's main foe. To replicate Disney's animated queen, wear an eye-catching dress that is split into pied-patterned black and red colours, with a gold and black striped underskirt and an overskirt trimmed in white. The queen also has a large, white stand-up collar attached to her dress. Wear a black wig in a bun and gold teardrop earrings. Use make-up sparingly with mascara to emphasise the eyes and optional red lips.

Incorporate gold and blue fabric in your dress pattern to imitate the Red Queen from Tim Burton's version of "Alice in Wonderland." The Burton character is a mash-up of the Red Queen from Carroll's "Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There" and the Queen of Hearts from "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland," so use a heart pattern on the underskirt as well. To complete the ensemble, wear a red wig and white, blue and black make-up.

To accessorise, buy or create a fake gold crown. Wrap black, red and black ribbons around a stick and top with a red heart for your royal sceptre.

The hatter

The Hatter, also referred to as the "Mad Hatter" in movie versions of the novel, is a colourful character in Alice's Wonderland and sports an equally colourful ensemble. Don a polka dot tie, checkered coat and trousers, green overcoat and buttoned spats over boots. Wear an oversized green hat with a large white tag written with "10/6" and stuffed in the hat band. Use a flame orange wig if you are imitating the Mad Hatter in Tim Burton's movie as well as white, red and black make-up. A white wig and eyebrows highlighted with mascara completes the look of the animated Mad Hatter.

Cheshire cat

Wear a pink and purple striped shirt or blouse and a similarly patterned skirt for the animated version of the Cheshire Cat. Wear blue stripes for Tim Burton's adaptation. As a creative alternative, wear a fancy dress patterned with either pink and purple or blue stripes. Create a tail in the same or complementary fabric. Buy or make cat ears that complement the colours used throughout the dress.

Playing cards

Minor characters in the story are the playing cards who paint the roses red and guard the Queen of Hearts. Start with a plain black sweatsuit. Create cards from large poster board. Draw with red and black markers to create the card suit (hearts, diamonds, spades or clubs) with the same pattern on one side of both pieces of poster board. Use real playing cards as references for the costume. Staple two black fabric straps to connect two poster boards like a sandwich and hang this, pattern outward, over your shoulders. Wear a black or red hoodie or balaclava over your head for a helmet.

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About the Author

Anne Cagle has been writing ever since she was a toddler who could scribble with crayons. Her first published article, at age 12, was in a teachers' newsletter. She was published in "Optical Prism" magazine and has worked as a reviewer for the Webby Awards. She holds a degree in English from the University of Oregon.