Sarah Sterling dresses up as Disney characters, but you might be surprised to see what her “costumes” look like.
Sterling, 26, is a DisneyBounder. According to Sterling, “DisneyBounding is a fashion trend where Disney fans create outfits inspired by Disney characters. The intent is not to look exactly like a character. It is to come off inspired by a character.”
That’s an important distinction, because full costumes aren’t allowed at Disneyland, but dressing in an inspired way is. Sterling says this has fueled the trend’s growth.
DisneyBounders emphasize that the trend doesn’t involve elaborate wigs, gowns, and accessories. In fact, Sterling makes most of her looks from regular clothes that anyone might wear, from stores like H&M and Forever 21. When she dresses up as Belle from Beauty and the Beast, she might choose white shorts and a blue top instead of a blue-and-white dress or big ball gown.
And while she may wear everyday clothing, Sterling says her closet has definitely changed since she started DisneyBounding.
“Disney character colors are pretty out there,” she says. “So I would say that my wardrobe has become kind of weird, in that I have colors that people might not choose to wear normally.”
That means she has a lot of bright reds and yellows and some princess pastels. She also says she has sneakers in every color, which helps her when she needs to pull off a last-minute outfit.
While Sterling grew up a Disney fan, she started DisneyBounding only about five years ago. The Southern California native says she’s always gone to nearby Disneyland regularly and that dressing up as her favorite characters was a way to make her weekly visits more interesting.
These days, she often DisneyBounds with her boyfriend, Leo. Dressing as a pair, she says, makes it easier for people to identify the characters they’re dressed as.
When she’s not dressing up in her spare time, Sterling makes Disney-themed YouTube videos for a living. She says she loves Disney because of the emotional connection it inspires in others.
She says she doesn’t think she’ll ever stop DisneyBounding, because it’s easy and she can do it anywhere.
“What need is there to stop?”
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