As someone who loves both fantasy and fashion, I'm constantly drawing inspiration for my daily style from the fantastic fantasy dresses from movies. I have always been someone who enjoys visual stimulation whenever I'm watching a film — not in the form of explosions or crazy stunts, though, but with elaborate and dramatic costumes (and even more specifically, dresses). I'm often completely enchanted by the interesting shapes and exaggerated silhouettes, the stunning hues and patterns, and the impressive imagination that so obviously went into the thought and design of any given piece.
Fashion tells its own story through these gowns: The kinds of dresses that make you wish it was appropriate to walk around in a bedazzled, magical outfit at all times circa 2016. Alas, unless it's Halloween (or you're on your way to the Renaissance Fair) wearing dresses inspired by fantasy films just isn't the norm. Not to mention that they can be extremely impractical.
Rather than wearing exact versions of the gowns themselves, what we can do is take inspiration from them and apply it to our contemporary, everyday style. That said, let's take a look at 11 fantastic fantasy dresses along with modern styles inspired by the looks.
1. Cinderella's Blue Ball Gown
While watching the 2015 adaptation of Cinderella, I literally gasped aloud when her tattered dress magically turned into this absolutely breathtaking blue, glittering ballgown. With layers upon layers of shimmering, glittering fabric, it appeared to be constructed of actual stardust.
Although you may not be able to wear a dress as full and grand as Cinderella's every day, you can definitely find alternatives inspired by her enchanting gown.
A maxi is a surefire way to look like a modern princess.
You'll look simply divine in this shorter interpretation of Cinderella's gown.
2. Maria Merryweather's Moonacre Gown
The Secret Of Moonacre is the story of an young orphan girl named Maria Moonacre who moves in with her eccentric uncle only to find her way to a magical destiny. But the best part of this film has to be all the rich, elegant gowns Maria gets to wear as she spends her days exploring. I especially fell in love the peachy-pink floral gown. This would've been by childhood self's absolute dream dress for sporting on a beautiful day.
Floral High Low Dress, $32, Nelly
Try a floral dress perfect for any adventure through an old, grand home.
Classiest Place On Earth Dress, $120, ModCloth
You'll be set for a walk through some mysterious woods.
3. Glinda The Good Witch's Magical Pink Gown
One of my first experiences with fantasy fashion, and the dress that began my gown obsession, was when Glinda The Good Witch showed up in that magical pink gown in The Wizard of Oz (1939). I don't think I paid attention to whatever else was going on in that scene. I was way too transfixed on Glinda's dress.
Embellished Flutter Sleeve Maxi Dress, $145, ASOS
If you're looking to inspire a little Good Witch magic in your wardrobe, you may want to try this seemingly enchanted number.
Chi Chi London Plus Embroidered Halter Maxi Dress, $67, ASOS
That embroidered detailing is Good Witch incarnate.
4. Princess Leia's Rebel White Dress
Although Princess Leia's white dress from Star Wars: A New Hope (1977) was fairly simple, it became (and remains) incredibly iconic, and one of the most famous fantasy dresses of pop culture today.
Clashin Dress, $78, Free People
With so much love for Star Wars prevalent in our media right now, you might want to incorporate your own Princess Leia flare into your everyday wardrobe with this simple statement-maker.
Miley Cape Dress, $128, Monifc
This cape detailing will put a trendy spin on your Princess Leia look.
5. Maleficent's Evil Fairy Gown
Maleficent has always been my favorite villain. She's commanding, powerful, striking, and totally fierce. In the 2014 film, we were presented with a gorgeous adaption of the Disney cartoon version of the villain. I've long loved the dark, dramatic grandness of Maleficent's raven black, cloak-like gown, finding it the perfect dress for the most fabulously evil fairy.
We all have our darker days during which we want to strut down the street looking powerful and slaying it. This dress is for those days.
Studio Jersey Capelet Gown, $160, Eloquii
Take a little inspiration from your favorite dark fairy and go nuts.
6. Sarah's Masquerade Gown
Ah, Labyrinth: One of my fantasy favorites. This movie is still so swoon-worthy, and not just because of David Bowie (the Goblin King of my heart), but because of the absolutely gorgeous gown Sarah wore in the masquerade ball scene. In a magic-induced dream, Sarah found herself in a lavish, elegant ballroom, surrounded my masked figures dancing and swirling around her as she searched for her love. There couldn't have been a better dress for the occasion.
Chi Chi London Premium Metallic Lace Midi Prom Dress With Bardot Neck, $114, ASOS
Take some inspiration from Sarah's magical masquerade dress and catch your own Goblin King.
Chi Chi London Plus Lace Bardot Prom Dress, $119, ASOS
Anyone could find love (including self-love, of course) in this delicate number.
7. Buttercup's Red Dress
I must have watched The Princess Bride at least once a week when growing up. I couldn't get enough of the fairytale story, romantic plot, charming wit, and, of course, the costumes. I especially loved the red dress Buttercup wore when she was captured and then later rescued by her believed-to-be deceased love Wesley.
Temperley London Helm Embroidered Silk-Satin Maxi Dress, $598, The Outnet
Striking yet comfortable, this one's perfect for being rescued, rolling down hills, and successfully making it through the Fire Swamp.
Maxi Dress With Tie Front, $94, ASOS
Incorporate Buttercup's red gown into your own everyday with a dress that can be easily dressed up or down.
8. Katrina Van Tassel's Black And White Striped Dress
In Sleepy Hollow, Katrina Van Tassel sported a number of beautifully elaborate 19th century-inspired gowns, but the most striking one had to be the gothic black and white striped piece at the end of the film. Nothing screams louder than that dress, and it screamed fabulous.
Retro Style Boat Neck Sleeveless Striped Ball Gown Dress, $24, Rose Gal
If you're looking to add a little gothic drama to your own closet, consider trying this one.
Choise A-Line Striped Dress, $116, Navabi
Gothic, chic, and comfortable, you just can't go wrong with this piece.
9. Danielle's "Just Breathe" Dress
Who didn't swoon when Danielle appeared in her winged gown at the ball, comforting herself with the popular phrase "just breathe" in Ever After? Not only is this movie a favorite for most young women I know, but so is her dress. Beautifully beaded and embellished, it would make anyone feel like a princess.
Star Is Born Luxe Embellished Mesh Insert Mini Dress With Cape Sleeve, $314, ASOS
To get a little happily-ever-after in your own life, opt for something beautifully embellished and sliver hued.
Frock & Frill Margot Sequin Dress, $157, Simplybe
If you wanted to dress this down, you could pair it with your favorite Dr. Martens.
10. Edith's Fantasy Nightdress
When the trailer for Crimson Peak came out, I watched it over and over again, greedy for glimpses of the dramatically grand 19th century-inspired gowns. When I finally saw the film, the one thing that didn't disappoint was the fashion. One of my favorite pieces was Edith's nightdress. This one is easily the most theatrical nightdress I've ever seen.
Boho Bella Dress, $310, Free People
Edith spends a lot of time in this dress, cautiously and curiously roaming the halls of her new husband and his sinister sister's gothic, bleeding mansion. You can recreate the look in this show-stopper.
If you're inspired by the grand, gothic nightdress, this will be the perfect sinister addition to your 'drobe.
11. Hermione's Yule Ball Gown
In Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire, Hermione made heads turn with her entrance to the Yule Ball, for which she sported a gorgeous, magical gown in pink, purple, and mauve tones that fluttered and flowed. Hermione wasn't ever one for frills and style, but when it came to this event, she was hands down the belle of the ball.
Advocate of Extravagance Dress, $300, ModCloth
If you're inspired by Hermione's Yule Ball gown, this will bring a little magic into your life.
Layered Chiffon Keyhole Dress, $99, City Chic Online
Here you have a vampier take on Hermione's gorgeous ensemble.
Most of us love to live in a world of fantasy at times, where our imaginations can run wild and free. Although it's not always possible to live in dreamy dresses IRL, it is possible to take inspiration from them. With a little creative magic, you can channel your favorite fantastical characters with your own contemporary twist.
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Images: Walt Disney Pictures (1); Warner Bros. Pictures (2); Loew's Inc. (1); 20th Century FOX (3); Walt Disney Studios (1); TriStar Pictures (1); Paramount Pictures (1); Universal Pictures (1); Courtesy Brands