Disney creates fictional worlds for their princesses to live in, drawing on historical and mythical inspiration to create beautiful fairy tales. We wondered what the princesses would’ve looked like if they’d existed in the real world, so we used context clues from the films to determine, as specifically as possible, the time and location of each Disney princess’s story.
Jasmine — c. 300s Arabian Peninsula
Islam became a religion during the seventh century A.D., so Aladdin takes place in a pre-Islamic Arabian society. Women of the region dressed modestly even before Islam took hold; but a woman of Jasmine’s elite social status would’ve worn more elaborate, high-quality clothing and fabrics than lower-class women. Thick black eye kohl was commonly worn by women of the era.
Aurora — c. 1300s England
Aurora would’ve had a lot to adjust to once she discovered she was a princess, as noblewomen led far more restricted lives than peasants. Aristocratic women also had a different style of dress than peasant women: surcotes were worn atop the fitted dress; these were secondary, loose dresses, almost like robes. Brooches decorated the fitted bodices. Women with wide foreheads and blonde hair were considered especially beautiful during 14th century England. Women wore their hair in vertical braids by their ears, sometimes supported by hair pieces, veils, or crowns.
Snow White — c. mid- to late 1500s Germany
Though still part of the Holy Roman Empire during the 16th century, Protestant reformations had sprung up around Germany and the culture was austere and religious. German women during this time period wore rich, heavy, dark-colored fabrics, with exaggerated, puffed up shoulders and hips. Their dresses reached the floor, emphasized the waist, and had a high neckline. Women wore their hair pulled back, often covering it with a headpiece.
Pocahontas — c. early 1600s Virginia
The daughter of the Powhatan chief, she would’ve worn a deerskin wrap around her waist with only strands of white shell beads around her neck. In the winter, she may have worn a leather cloak around her shoulders to keep warm. When unmarried, Powhatan women wore their hair in one long braid; women would cut their hair short after marriage. High-status Powhatan women like Pocahontas tattooed their faces and bodies with abstract patterns, sometimes of plants and animals. The ink was made of mashed roots, berries, and oils. Pocahontas most likely had face tattoos!
Belle — c. 1700s France
Once Belle married the Beast and became part of the aristocracy, she would have worn the styles found in the royal court. Like the styles worn by Marie Antoinette, who lived during this period, women wore extravagant dresses with tight-fitting corsets and exaggerated hips. Women in 18th-century France wore their hair in huge, elaborate hairdos. Often these hairdos were wigs, but whether natural or fake, the hairstyle was powdered white. Women also powdered their faces down to their shoulders. The cheeks were heavily rouged, and women wore black silk beauty patches of varying sizes on their faces.
Tiana — c. 1920s New Orleans
Women in that era wore straight, curveless dresses with dropped waists. Hair was worn in a short bob, and small hats and headpieces emphasized the haircut. Makeup was inspired by Hollywood: penciled-in arched eyebrows, eyeliner, mascara, rouged cheeks, and dark red lipstick.