File:Alice in Wonderland dress.jpg

One of the most iconic figures to emerge from the children's literature of the 19th century, and the most instantly recognisable from her attire, is Alice in Wonderland.[1] This is mostly due to the original illustrations of the first edition by John Tenniel and their subsequent repetition with minimal alterations in most published editions and film adaptations ever since. In Tenniel's early coloured works (the original itself being illustrated in simple black and white), her dress was blue, her pinafore white and outlined in red, white stockings, and she was blonde.[2] This has become by far the most popular colour in subsequent illustrations.[3]

The Victorian Alice

The basic format of Alice's clothing as laid down by Tenniel is that of a typical middle-class girl of the mid-Victorian era. While unremarkable then, her clothes have tended to remain fixed no matter what the era the work is set in since. She wears a relatively plain pastel coloured or dark dress which may button up the front or rear, contrasting white Peter Pan collar, puffed sleeves, perhaps edged with lace or broderie anglaise and a number of horizontal parallel bands or a tier effect, usually of the same colour, round the circumference of her skirt above the hem. Over the dress she wears a pinafore, fastened at the back with a bow, which is white and edged in a darker colour, usually pink in the coloured versions. The front of the apron below the waist is all edged with a white ruffle of the same material as the apron itself and the border of the plain portion of the apron before the ruffle starts is edged with the same contrasting colour as before. The join between the edge skirts of the apron and non-edged bodice is hidden by the waist sash of the same colour. The front of the apron is embellished by two matching semi-circular pockets, edged across the top with the contrasting ribbon again. Probably the outfit in a live-action film (as opposed to an animation) which most closely adheres to this standard is that worn by Fiona Fullerton in the musical version, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1972 film).[4]

By way of footwear, Alice is typically portrayed as wearing flat black patent strap over shoes of the 'Mary Jane (shoe)' style. These are often combined with striped stockings, as originally envisaged by Tenniel, but these seem to have fallen out of favour, presumably in line with the more recent Disney 'standard', the exception being the Alice in Wonderland (1999 film) starring Tina Majorino, although the overall colour scheme here is yellow, rather than pale blue, and wearing black and white striped stockings.


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