Ahh, Frozen. Following its DVD release, it was absolutely everywhere. It seemed like the whole world couldn’t just… let it go. (*ducks amid the boos and tossing of rotten tomatoes*)
Okay, okay. Well at any rate, Frozen was a success, and while I wouldn’t call it my favorite Disney movie by any stretch of the imagination, I do love the character of Elsa. She’s different, and by that I mean she’s not always happy with her eyes on her happily ever after. Some people have made the case that Elsa struggles with depression. She is a very realistic type of Princess in a way that we don’t usually see. Plus she runs up stairs made of ice in heels and a dress. That is the DEFINITION of a badass.
I wanted to make an Elsa who would be recognizable but not looking out of the bag and in a way that it would not make my bank account go belly up. This meant that I really had to find her essence and not just her pattern. I sifted through different dresses on ebay for hours. Scratch that, for days. For the better part of a week (so if you think that making a costume out of preexisting pieces is super easy, think again; it’s just a different type of time consumption). I found an almost perfect dress: a two piece light blue number that was almost exactly like Elsa’s except for one problem:
There was no sparkle.
This was where I was given pause. I could have a dress that was almost exactly like Elsa’s in pattern, but I would not have the budget to get sequined material to put over the top, and the bottom would also need some touching up in order to match the top. In order to decide what to do, I thought about the transformation scene, in which Elsa makes her dull coronation gown become the gown of ice that I was trying to emulate.
Let’s be honest, the first thing you think of in this scene (and definitely the only thing that I caught when I first watched it) is GLITTER. That girl is sparkling. Elsa has been secluded for so long that when she finally debuts her real self without being held back, she pulls out all the stops and goes ultra sparkle mode. Can you blame her? Not really. It’s epic. It represents her not hiding her true personality anymore (even if it means staying in the mountains forever). So the essence of Elsa’s look is not the cut of her dress, but the sparkle and sheen of it. The dress I had found would simply not do.
Double use for a costume piece.
Back onto the hunt! Thankfully I was able to find a halter top dress that was sequined from top to bottom and already came with a slit on the correct side, to boot. That was the one. In order to prevent hacking the structure of the dress (since Elsa’s is a sweetheart off the shoulder cut) I folded the top straps into the front of the dress and simply safety pinned them down. Good thing too, because I ended up wearing the dress to spring formal later on.
To get the long sleeved look, I went onto ebay and typed in “light blue mesh shirt”. YES, ebay does have those. Crazy, but true story. So I ordered one and all that was required was to put that on first, then the dress on over, and safety pin everything into place. Using some sequins I already owned, I spruced that baby up.
For the train there were quite a few different methods that I tried. I practiced with some white tulling, but that was too bulky. Then I ordered a cheap bridal veil but that was too thin at the top. Elsa’s train goes all the way around her back and comes out of the dress from under her arms. So I just went to Joanne’s Fabric to see what they had for me, and OH MY GOODNESS. The most perfect light blue tulle intertwined with silver threading was there waiting for me. I wouldn’t even have to alter it to make it look like it had been spun by a snow queen. YAY!
As for the wig and the snowflake pins, those are available almost anywhere. I’m almost positive I got them off of etsy, but my account is not showing them and neither is my ebay account so unfortunately I can only estimate the costs because I forgot to write them down. But you can find that wig literally anywhere- Elsa costumes are still popular. And yes, you WILL need the clips because the front of the wig is “unstyled” and therefore it’s long and will flop over your face.
For the final step, just add white shoes (thankfully I already owned those) and then one of the most important pieces: A BOTTLE OF GLITTER SPRAY. You will need it for your arms, your neck, your wig, your dress, your legs…. everything. I wasn’t exaggerating when I said that sparkle is the essence of Elsa. Glitz it up, baby. It adds so much to everything.
Makeup is easily recognizable from the movie, all you need to do is pause the film and look at her face. Elsa wears a pinkish/purple eyeshadow that is outlined in the creases with a darker pink color, and a splash of light blush high across her cheeks. Of course you also need fake eyelashes and bright red lipstick. That might seem like a surprisingly warm palette for the ice queen, but if you go with light blues and whites it will wash out your face in comparison with the outfit. On a side note, this was the first time anyone asked if I’d gone to get my makeup professionally done for a cosplay. SCORE.
I got a lot of compliments on this outfit, and one random guy in the elevator even asked if he could PLEASE snapchat me because he was shocked to be in an elevator with Elsa. Plus some of my friends didn’t recognize me. Plus some other people I barely knew were shrieking on campus and following me around because the costume looked so real to them. I was told “Sorry, I don’t want to freak you out, but it’s like Elsa is REALLY HERE, right in front of me!” (that didn’t freak me out, but the random touching and poking of my leg to see what my costume was made of without asking permission beforehand did, tbh). The next day I was sitting at the breakfast table with some girls and they asked if I had dressed up the night before. I told them yes, and that I was Elsa. Their jaws fell open and they said, “That was YOU? Oh my gosh! Your costume was my favorite of the night! You bought that, right? It was already a costume?”
Felt so good to tell them that I’d put it together myself. =)
Dress – Ebay (user melveg) – $28.00
Mesh Shirt – Ebay (user damariclothing) – $9.00
Sparkle Paints/Jewels – Meijers – $8.00
Train Material – JoAnne’s Fabrics – abt. $30.00
Wig – abt. $20.00
Snowflake Clips – abt. $10.00
FINAL COST: $105.00