Looking Glass: Inspired-By

I’ll be headed down to San Diego in less than a week for Comic-Con, and I’m still deciding what to wear. If you’re in the same boat, hopefully this post and the one about graphic tees from earlier this week will help! And since some of these looks will be more subtle when it comes to its geekiness, they’re another way to incorporate your fandom into your day-to-day and travel wardrobe.

Remember when I talked about using a theme to spice up those T-shirt-based looks? This is a similar idea, and it takes a page from the Disneybound* book. But first, what is Disneybounding? It’s using fashion to show your love for Disney characters without actually putting on a costume; the term was created by Leslie Kay.

You build the outfit around a character’s visual motifs – usually their predominant colors but also accessories. This can be applied outside of just Disney characters, of course – leading to what I’ve sometimes seen called “geekbounding.”

I love the inspired by/ -bounding approach to geek outfits because it lets you use clothes you probably already have and/or it’s clothes you can wear normally, even if you bought it specifically for a disney/geek-bound outfit. I’m a huge fan of clothes that are multipurpose, especially if funds are limited.

But I’m going to break down the levels of “inspired by” outfits because you can go from generally inspired by to spot-on Disneybounds to something more like a costume (what I’ve seen referred to as closet or casual cosplay).


This is the most casual level, and if you read the Graphic Tee post, it’s in the same vein as using a theme to plan your outfit. For my Alice in Wonderland-inspired look below, I took a few motifs from the character – the light blue and white colors of her dress, the rabbit imagery, a headband. It recalls the things associated with Alice without actually being her costume.

This Star Wars-inspired outfit is even more subtle. I accessorized with a Rebel Alliance emblem necklace, but the other inspiration I took was from the orange of the X-Wing pilot flight suits – hence, orange blazer, orange lipstick.

Geekbound/ Disneybound

Geek/Disneybound-ing, when you get really into it is like the next step up. Some of the most amazing Disneybounds I’ve seen are the characters they portray but in contemporary clothes. The outfits mostly utilize colorblocking to suggest the character – so the closer the accuracy of the colors, the better. You can take it to the next level with accessories but also by simply paying attention to the texture or style of your clothes. For example, if you’re doing a Rapunzel Disneybound, a flowy dress or lace-tie front or cap sleeves would further recall the character.

Plus, thanks to the rising popularity of geek fashion, you have more and more designers who produce pieces that are ready for geekbounding. Elhoffer Design is one of my favorite designers that does this – below, I’m wearing one of her Padmé Amidala sweaters. It’s based on a dress she wore in Episode II.

Casual/Closet Cosplay

Casual cosplay (or closet cosplay** – referring to the fact your costume is based on what you can pull from your closet) is a term that’s been used interchangeably with -bounding and inspired- by outfits. Personally, I use it to refer to inspired-by outfits that run closer to costume. Maybe more accessories are used or there are some modifications to better approximate a character’s actual costume. Of course, you can still put your own spin on whatever you do. For example, there are so many incredible vintage/dapper Disneybounds where I would say that’s what the character’s costume would look like – if they existed in that time period / world.

For the above, my friends and I colorblocked for the outfit base and then added accessories for our Star Wars Squadron at SDCC last year. I made Rey’s staff and added the wrap over my tan jumpsuit. My sister and friend made Rebel emblem badges for x-wing pilot cadet looks, and Han Yolo brought a Chewie backpack, stunner shades, and DIYed a red Solo cup holster with a belt she already had.

You can also closet cosplay if you already dress a lot like certain characters. Doctor Who, for example, is a fandom of closet-pulled costuming possibility. The Sister saw this picture of Companion Clara Oswald and realized she pretty much already owned that outfit. Again, if you’re on a budget, it can help to let your existing wardrobe dictate who/what you dress as – reverse-inspiration if you will.

Lastly, since Loki seems to be a reliable source of fashion inspiration for me when it comes to SDCC, here are 3 different Loki-inspired looks that are pretty representative of the 3 levels I’ve described in this post – from most every day casual to costume-y.


Remember the key is to simplify first – down to colors, a few specific identifying markers (i.e. an accessory, companions, silhouette), a visual motif/pattern – and then build up as you see fit. And as always, have fun!

Have you Disneybound-ed or casual cosplayed before?

*Disneybound - the official Disneybound site for more inspiration.
**Megan (The Nerdy Girlie) does a fun series of "Everyday Cosplay" posts.

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