How to dress up like Merida from Brave
Merida is fearless, feisty and destined to be a legendary figure. Not to mention that fabulous hair! So it's absolutely no wonder that she is and will be a popular character to dress up as.
Multiple cosplay costumes have already shown up at cons and I'm sure we'll see a bunch in the lines when the movie releases.
Whether you want to dress as Merida for cosplay or for Halloween, there are a few options out there right now that might work for you to buy. Or you can make your own! I've pulled together everything I could find to help you create the best Merida costume ever.
From Disney Store and others
There aren't any costumes out yet designed specifically to be Merida. (At least for adults. Check this out if you're looking for kids costumes for Merida.) But I'll have them when they are!
There was a little "meet and greet" at Epcot with Merida recently. Well, the actresses playing Merida for the Disney Parks, that is. But, it gives us a chance to see how Disney is interpreting Merida's outfit for a live, grown woman.
They have her in what they're calling her "adventure" dress, which is the green every-day outfit. Only, they've made it much more like the costume version, which means more princess-y. The fabric is more elegant and there's a border around the bottom with embroidery. Instead of a quiver on her waist, she has on a brown belt with a swatch of tartan under the buckle (matching the tartan Fergus is wearing the movie), and the buckle has what she calls her clan's symbol - three bears. I wonder if she wears a similar belt around the castle when she doesn't have on her quiver.
Oh - and isn't that hair fabulous? In the first video, you can see a small braid in it, which I've never noticed in any of the movie stills. Interesting.
We've seen her in two outfits so far, both single piece dresses - one dark green, one aqua blue-ish. The green one is her every day outfit, so likely to be the one we see most often when people think about dressing up as Merida.
Green Dress Outfit
Worn as her every day outfit. Pair it with the cape and bow set for out in the woods or by itself for in the castle.
Dark green, bordering on teal in some images. Probably because of the sunlight.
In pictures like the one here, it looks almost like velvet, but that seems silly for a dress to run around in the forest in. I've seen several costumes done in sturdier (and cheaper) fabrics and they look lovely. Mostly, just something without a ton of texture to it.
The dress has some gold trim around the boat neckline. Then in the sleeves, a cream/gold undershirt pokes out through two sections - at the armpit (armpit, not shoulder) and at the elbow. If you've ever done archery, you understand why they're there. (And if you haven't, see what happens to Merida's dress at the archery competition.)
At least outside the castle, she's wearing a long grey cape with a hood and a brown belt with a quiver of arrows on it. The cape looks like it's of some felty material.
Blue Dress Outfit
The blue one she wears during the archery competition with a white snood. Depending on which time you want to show, pair with the snood, her cape or bow and arrows.
The blue here is a soft color, more of a blue/gray/turquoise. How's that for precise? I just haven't been able to make up my mind as to exactly the color. The kids costumes I've seen are definitely on the bright turquoise side of things.
This is a dressy outfit, so the fabric is something with a sheen to it. Again, very flat with little texture.
The dress has fitted sleeves, a square neck with gold trim and a border panel of gold around the bottom that looks very embroidered/patterned/textured. There's also a wide
gold belt worn low with a big buckle and a tail that hangs down almost as long as the dress itself.
When we first see Merida in this dress, she's wearing it with a white headdress (probably because her mother couldn't tame her hair sufficiently) and a gold headband with a blue stone over it. Later at the competition, she's removed that and put her cape on to hide her identity.
I've looked all over trying to find costumes that would work for either of Merida's looks. The colors are the hardest part to match up, it seems. But here are some options that get you kind of close.
$159.99 at Costume Center
This one is the right style, just not the right shade of blue
Maid Marian Adult Costume
$64.99 at Costume Express
Princess Paradise Forest Princess Adult Costume
$60.99 at Costume Express
Definitely meant to play on Merida, although not an official costume
Could it be? Or is it just a marketing ploy/snafu?
I had seen pictures of this doll from Mattel and couldn't figure out why Merida was dressed in purple. Still don't know, actually. It's a two doll set with Merida and Queen Elinor. The description says they're wearing dresses from the movie, but if Merida has a purple dress, it's not in any of the promotional materials. Guessing it's possible she wears it during the happy ending we all expect. Hmmm.
Given how not accurate Mattel was on Merida's green dress, I'm not entirely sure how closely I'd want to follow this doll in designing a Merida costume. That said, they did a really good job with the blue dress and Elinor's dress on this doll is really close. Maybe they just don't do every day clothes well. Ha! Still, if you wore this to the movie premier and she really does have one like it, you will look really smart.
The belt on the doll is similar to the ones we see Merida wearing in the videos from Epcot. However, that tartan is totally not the one the family wears in the movie. Looks like it was designed to match Elinor more than be accurate.
If you're handy with the sewing
Even if Merida costumes come out in time for the movie, we all know they aren't going to be exactly right. Or maybe you just find off-the-shelf costumes to not fit well or in fabric you want to wear. So making a dress for Merida might be the best option for you.
I've already seen one great Merida costume made from this pattern. View A is pretty much exactly what you need. You'll need to alter the sleeves to get the two sections of underdress that show through, but that is just a matter of sectioning the sleeve.
Butterick Patterns B4827 Misses' Medieval Dress and Belt
View C looks like a great option once you leave off the bell part of the sleeve. You'll have to alter the sleeve of any costume pattern you use to get the puffy parts, so just one more alteration. This pattern would also work well for Merida's blue dress.
You don't really need a pattern for Merida's cape exactly. But View C on this pattern is there if you do.
Closest thing I've been able to find to a snood/headdress that matches Merida's is Option 5 in this pattern. It's not closefitting, but you could take it down a size or two. Possibly might work.
Great way to get inspiration
This is a no brainer, really. It's got to be her bow and arrow, right? It's the signature item we've seen her with in the clips and part of what defines her character. Hard to imagine her without it.
There are several scenes in which we see Merida with a sword. In one, she's practicing with Fergus. In the other, she's defending her mother (as a bear) from the DunBroch warriors. She's wearing her green dress (no cape or arrows in sight). The sword in the first scene is slim and small, looks appropriate for her. The second scene, it looks like she might have her father's broadsword - big, almost as long as her, heavy handle.
Bow and Arrow Set
$7.99 at Costume Express
Brave Merida Archery Set
$19.50 at Disney Store
Granted, there's only so much you can do about physically looking like Merida. I'm never going to be as slim and athletic as she is, but there are aspects I can copy.
Merida's most prominent physical feature is definitely that mop of hair. In scenes of bright sunlight like the one shown here, it is a real dark carrot color. But in others, it looks more dark auburn. So I say go with the color in the range that suits you best.
And of course, the wilder and curlier the hair is, the better. No wig is going to flow around you like Merida's hair does in the movie, but it does need to be fairly long to mimic hers.
There's no makeup to worry about, per se. You might want to color your eyebrows to match the hair. Add a smattering of pale freckles as well if you don't have any of your own.
Ask for it in Ginger 27C
From bright red to auburn
None of these is as perfect as the wig I found on eBay, but they might fit your budget better.
It looks simple enough but ...
Just how difficult is it to get a Merida costume just right? Her dress seems simple enough.
Merida Brave Scottish Girl Princess Adult lacey Costume Wig
Wigs & Facial Hair