What Were the Style Elements of Dorothy’s Costume in the Wizard of Oz?

Dorothy Gale is the lead character of both the 1900 children’s novel “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” and the classic 1939 film “The Wizard of OZ.” The character was played by Judy Garland on screen. If you’ve seen the 1939 film, you probably may not have noticed the dress she’s wearing at the beginning as the opening scenes were shot in black and white and eventually colored sepia to highlight the difference between a plain Kansas farm and the sensory overload that awaited in a land of flying monkeys and munchkins. 

It was only when the film transported its audience into the wonderful land of Oz, using the relatively new process of Technicolor, that we were able to see for the first time that Dorothy was wearing a blue dress. Her look was iconic, from her dress to her shoes. If you are thinking of capturing her look for a costume party, cosplay, or other events, we are happy to help you. Read on as we’re going through the style elements of Dorothy’s costume in the Wizard of Oz. 

What is Dorothy’s Costume Composed Of?

Here are the items included in the costume of Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz:

The popular gingham dress is worn by Dorothy.

Dorothy’s dress is a gingham blue and white checkered dress, which has small blocks of color instead of large ones. It is also a pinafore dress, which is a sleeveless piece of clothing often worn as a dress over a blouse. Today, you can find many costume stores that sell Dorothy costumes in different levels of authenticity. Some are near replicas of the movie costume, while others are modern and updated versions. 

A white blouse under the dress. 

In addition to the gingham blue and white checkered dress, Dorothy also wears a white blouse under it. It was a high-necked, buttonless blouse that featured puffed sleeves. If you are looking into recreating it but can’t find the exact match, any short-sleeved blouse will work. 

Dorothy’s ruby slippers.

Dorothy wore a pair of glittery ruby slippers in the film. The shoes also feature sequined bows on top. But if you want to be more authentic, you can refer to the book instead of the movie where Dorothy wore silver slippers instead of the iconic red ones. 

Dorothy wore short ankle socks.

Also, part of Dorothy’s costume is short ankle socks in light blue color, which matched her blue dress. The socks are folded down. If you wish to recreate the look but can’t find the right blue color, then white socks might also work. Just make sure that they are ankle-high.

Dorothy’s Style

Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz

Aside from the pieces of clothing that Dorothy wore, also part of her costume is her style, which includes her hair and other accessories. Here they are:

  • Dorothy’s braids: Dorothy’s two braids are part of her iconic look. Her hair is parted in the middle, from the forehead to the neck. The three-part braids start with the strands at the side of her head, then a simple braid until around her shoulders. The hair at the end of her brads are curled.
  • Blue ribbons: After braiding the hair, blue ribbons are used to tie them in place. It is placed where the braid ends, and the curls begin. The ribbons are tied into small bows. The ends barely extend past the bows. The ribbons are in light blue color and close to the shade of blue in the dress and socks. 
  • Dorothy’s long dark brown hair: Dorothy has long, dark brown hair. However, if you want to recreate her look but don’t have the same hair as hers, wearing a wig might work. But brown hair is not necessary if you have the costume, the shoes, and the braids. 
  • Dorothy’s dog and basket: Dorothy often takes Toto, her dog, with her. Toto was a dark-colored Cairn Terrier. The dog usually sat in a basket that Dorothy carried. It is an open basket that does not have any lid. 

Some Facts About Dorothy’s Costume

Here are some of the facts that you need to know about Dorothy’s costume in the Wizard of Oz:

  • When Dorothy’s costume was auctioned in 2015, there were sweat stains that could still be seen around the neck of her blouse. But three bidders pushed the price of the dress well beyond the pre-sale estimates of around $800,000 and $1.2 million. This proves that the dress is considered a timeless icon of classic Hollywood. 
  • Dorothy’s costume was designed by Gilbert Adrian, simply known as Adrian, the chief designer of MGM. He designed various dresses for Dorothy, but this was the style she wore for the duration of the movie. There was an earlier blue version with polka-dot trim and puffed sleeves. This was also paired shortly with a blonde wig. However, both of these were thrown out in favor of a more natural look. 
  • The pair of ruby slippers that Dorothy wore is more popular than her dress. This was gifted to her by Glinda the Good Witch. The shoes were also designed by Adrian. He dyed a pair of pumps red then covered them in sequins. Today, the shoes are on display at the National Museum of American history. 

These are the different style elements of Dorothy’s costume in the Wizard of Oz. When you take a look at it, it is a very simple costume, but it has become very iconic. In fact, many people are trying to recreate her costume at events and parties. The dress is also making something of a comeback with the popularity of prairie and Victorian dresses. We hope this article helped you learn more about Dorothy’s costume in the Wizard of Oz.