There's cosplaying—and then there's Disneybounding.
The increasingly popular activity, which some deem "closet cosplay," is when Disney fans dress up as their favorite characters using contemporary fashion.
With the live-action version of Beauty and the Beast hitting theaters this weekend, we decided to take a closer look at Disney's subculture of fashion.
So...how did Disneybounding even start?
The fashion trend began with blogger Leslie Kay (pictured above).
She came up with the term as she was getting ready for a trip to Walt Disney World.
The idea's to emulate a Disney character, while wearing everyday clothes, through color blocking and accessorizing.
"It's meant to be inspiration for you to pull together your own outfits which work for your body and wallet whether from your closet or local mall," according to Kay's Tumblr, Disneybound.co.
When did it become popular?
Kay's Tumblr blog—in which she puts together outfits—got pretty big around 2012 - 2013. It was around then that Disney community members started posting their own outfits on Instagram, helping the trend surge in popularity.
Why's it such a phenomenon?
Image: sarah sterling
"It's easy for everyone to do," explained YouTuber Sarah Sterling, who's also a former Disneyland cast member. "You don't have to have a lot of money or be skilled at a craft, you just have to love Disney and have clothes. Simple! It's the easiest way to incorporate Disney magic into your everyday life through your wardrobe and every person's Disneybounds are different based on what their personal style is."
How big is the Disneybounding community?
It's hard to say. However, the Disneybounders Unite Facebook group—which you have to request to join—has over 10,000 members.
What are some tips on how to successfully Disneybound?
"While you can easily put together Disneybounds using items you already have in your closet, my favorite tip is to visit stores like Ross or Forever 21 that are relatively inexpensive and also organize their clothing by color," Sterling said. "You are able to easily find the colors you need for your outfit and then enhance it with fun accessories. I love using necklaces, bags, and shoes to really make my Disneybounds stand out. The best thing you can do is just have fun with it! There is no right or wrong way to Disneybound. As long as you're having fun and expressing your sense of style and love for Disney, you're on the right track."
Are there official park rules that Disneybounders need to abide by?
Yep. Disney Parks have a strict no-costumes rule—that means no wigs, and no props. If a kid confuses you for a real Disney character, you may get in trouble, as Disney doesn't want people unofficially passing themselves off as Disney characters, whether intentional or not.