Step one of what, erm? Step one of becoming a Disney Princess, obviously.
A long time ago while we were featuring guest posts a lot we said we would start writing posts specifically about princess appreciation, and so far we’ve not really kept that promise. But here’s a start!
So today I could talk about how recent princesses are supporting other women and changing them from monsters (literal monsters, sometimes!) into who they truly were way back from before some (horrible) (or just egotistic) guy and/or ice powers of mysterious origins showed up, or I could talk about how princesses fare against being exploited for their labour or magical healing powers, or how despite the fact that I really want a Disney princess version of Kuzco (Merida doesn’t quite count), I still do love that they’re such decent people and that they stay decent people in the face of some pretty awful circumstances – but instead I’m going to talk about their non-princess outfits – some of which are straight work rags, while others are just everyday wear.
Here’s Snow White, running for her life. One day, perhaps I’ll get over the hilariously botched meet-cute that is Snow White meeting her Prince, but it is not this day.
The narration even says that her evil stepmother Queen lady forces her to wear rags but they don’t hide her beauty. But come on, if she’s doing menial labour she needs sensible clothing. Anyway, that dress looks nice, I think. I want one.
I want whatever Cinderella is wearing below, too. This time the movie doesn’t bother to directly tell us that she’s too good-looking to be ruined by casual clothing, but it does sort of imply it – especially in this scene where Tremaine’s “two awkward daughters” might be dressed nice (they’re not, let’s be real) but they can’t even hope to aspire to Cinderella’s grace while doing something as mundane as scrubbing a floor.
On a different day I could get mad on the stepsisters’ behalf – because any feminist reading worth its salt of this story will tell you that each and every one of these women are caught in a patriarchal society in which marrying well is the only way to secure a future that isn’t ruin and therefore a little bit of sympathy thrown the Tremaine girls’ way would certainly not be misplaced, but it’s princess appreciation so whatever. She knows she looks good and she can take a minute to herself.
These of Aurora’s are not rags.
This is the outfit I want most of all. Look at that high neckline – it’s definitely Scar-being-extremely-sinister to die for. And that headband! I want that headband.
More merch of Aurora should feature her Briar Rose look because I think we can all firmly agree that it’s better than that magic dress she gets later.
Belle’s peasant dress isn’t quite as nice as Aurora’s but the farm animals all seem to vaguely approve. OK, the chickens look alarmed, but chickens always look alarmed. So whatever.
(but Belle, don’t put that on your head, that’s unhygienic)
By the way, all of these ladies’ flats are great. Flats are the best. Snow White’s clogs are pretty cool too but flats really are where it’s at, comfort-wise, until we get a princess who’s allowed to wear running shoes.
Would you believe while I was writing this post that I almost forgot to include this, actually the best example of the princess-in-rags phenomenon that has ever existed?
Bless Scuttle, who doesn’t get enough credit I think. He says, “You look sensational!” and he’s right! Sebastian is too judgmental.
No joke if I could pull off red hair I would go as Ariel in this outfit for Halloween, it’s amazing.
Also bless Carlotta and her steadfast attempts at tact.
Now moving out of the realm of the established Princess line: Elizabeth isn’t a Disney Princess. In fact, I think she was written specifically as a bit of an answer to them, which is both fair and also, kind of, not. Especially these days, what with Moana, and even if you want to talk strictly defined princesses, Tiana, Rapunzel, Elsa, and Anna are all perfectly fine without the lesson Elizabeth teaches.
(OK Anna could have used it a bit I guess)
I include her because I can’t not. She’s THE PAPER BAG princess! A post about princesses in rags would be incomplete without her.
The story is very simple, for the uninitiated. Elizabeth is a princess with a lot of nice clothes and plans on marrying Ronald, the prince-next-door, until a dragon shows up, burns all her things, and kidnaps Ronald for a midnight snack. So she puts on a paper bag and goes to rescue him.
The best part is when she’s done it, she’s outsmarted the dragon, and then Ronald’s like, “Ew, you’re wearing garbage, go home and change and then you can rescue me!”
She calls him a bum.
Here is the slightly horrifying animated version:
I make no apologies for this.
Anyway, Elizabeth really ties this together because she teaches us that if your prince is a jerk, yell at him and dump him, and also it doesn’t matter what you wear. This is a thing our older Disney ladies already know, but the fact that they enjoy dressing up for the formalest of occasions doesn’t take away from their awesomeness.
More on that much more substantial point later, I promise.