How to make Cinderella and Prince Charming running costumes

Want to run a Disney race in costume? Put together Cinderella and Prince Charming costumes that are comfortable and easy to run in. Photo: Karla Bruning

NEW YORK, May 4, 2012—Disney’s Expedition Everest Challenge takes off Saturday, May 5 at 9:30 p.m. in Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom theme park in Florida. Runners face a 5K laden with obstacles and clues to a mystery they must solve in order to finish. No doubt, some runners will tackle the race dressed as their favorite Disney characters.

As a veteran of three Disney races—the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon, Tinker Bell Half Marathon, and Disney’s Princess Half Marathon—I know the slide down that particular rabbit hole all too well. After running my first Disney race sans costume and my second Disney race in a store bought Tinker Bell costume, I decided to go all out for my third Disney race. I learned from Team Sparkle running costumer extraordinaire Kelly Lewis that when it comes to pulling off a successful Disney look that’s comfortable and easy to run in, the devil is in the details.

Armed with a few pieces of basic running gear and a creative outlook, my fiancé and I transformed into Cinderella and Prince Charming’s athletic alter egos for Disney’s Princess Half Marathon in February. Here’s how to make your own Cinderella and Prince Charming running costumes. Best of all, the only tools you need are a needle, thread, safety pins and tape.

Cinderella and Prince Charming running costumes can be easy to make and comfortable to run in. (Photo: Karla Bruning)

Cinderella Running Costume

Cinderella’s Dress:

1) Start with a blue running skirt and matching tank. My skirt was from Team Sparkle and the tank was a Mossimo shirt from Target I already had in my closet. Pair it with a sports bra with a similar profile as your shirt.

2) The most recognizable features of Cinderella’s dress are the peplums on her skirt and poufs on her shoulders. I used an old white T-shirt from the bottom of my drawer to make them all.

3) Cut the sleeves off the T-shirt to make the shoulder poufs. You could buy shoulder pads at a craft or sewing store, but I actually used bra inserts. Just tuck the pads into the T-shirt material, gather and sew it all around the straps of your tank top. Mind you—I am no seamstress. The most I have ever sewn before is a button onto a coat. But you just need it to survive one race.

4) For the peplums, I cut square strips off the bottom of the old T-shirt, rounded the edges, and sewed thread through the top so the material gathered just a bit.

5) You’ll want to give the peplums a little bit of shape. I taped bunched up tissue paper to the backs of them. Yes, you read that right—bunched up tissue paper fastened with duct tape. Without the tissue paper, the peplums looked a little too lifeless. Rather than spend money on a stiff fabric, tissue paper was the cheap and easy route. Then simply safety pin or sew the peplums onto the skirt.  

Adding accessories, like bows on running sneakers, gives a costume a finished look. (Photo: Phil Hospod)

Cinderella’s Accessories:

The accessories are what complete the costume and give it that really finished look. I used:

1) White sparkle sleeves from Team Sparkle

2) A blue Hippie Runner 4Head headband that I purchased at the race expo

3) Fake pearl earrings that I already owned

4) White bows on my sneakers

5) A black ribbon pinned onto my neck as a cheap and easy choker

Karla Bruning begins her transformation into Cinderella, complete with gold hairspray. (Photo: Phil Hospod)


Cinderella is a blonde. I am not. Rather than run in a potentially hot, itchy and expensive wig, I opted to use temporary hair coloring. I bought a tube of colored hair gel—Manic Panic DyeHard in Glam Gold—and a can of blonde hair spray—Jerome Russell Bblonde Highlight Spray.

1) First, I pulled my hair into a high ponytail and pinned it into a bun.

2) Then I layered on the hair gel.

3) And finally sprayed it with the blonde spray.

Did I look like a real blonde? Definitely not. You could still see my darker hair peeking through. But in the light, my hair definitely had a gold shimmer.

Karla Bruning and her fiance run Disney’s Princess Half Marathon as Cinderella and Prince Charming in homemade costumes. (Photo: brightroom)

Prince Charming Running Costume

Prince Charming’s Suit:

Prince Charming base pieces are easy to find: solid red running shorts and a solid white technical shirt. I found both on sale at local athletic stores. The shorts are by Asics and the top by Champion.

Making Prince Charming’s bling was a bit trickier. I used:

1) Gold ribbon for the belt and epaulettes

2) Gold fringe for the epaulettes

3) Gold cord for the lanyards around his neck and shoulder

4) Red ribbon for the sash

To make the epaulettes:

1) Cut up a paper shopping bag into a rectangle just the width and length of a man’s shoulder. Round one edge. Make one for each shoulder.

2) Using double-sided tape, stick the gold ribbon to the paper bag strip.

3) Sew fringe around the edge to complete the epaulette.

4) Pin the epaulettes to the shirt shoulders after you have fastened all the other accessories. The epaulettes will cover up the spots where you fasten the lanyards and sash.

Karla Bruning and Phil Hospod, dressed as Cinderella and Prince Charming, celebrate finishing Disney’s Princess Half Marathon on Feb. 26, 2012. (Photo: Karla Bruning)

To make the lanyards:

1) Cut the gold cord into two strips.

2) Pin one piece from shoulder to shoulder, letting it drape in front.

3) Pin the other piece around one shoulder under the arm.

To make the belt:

1) Sew, pin or use double sided tape to fasten the ribbon around the shirt at the waist.

Make a “belt-buckle” with another small piece of paper shopping bag. I cut the size I wanted then painted it with gold craft paint. You could also use gold nail polish in a pinch, cover it with more ribbon, or use a gold gift bag. Pin it to the front of the belt.

To make the sash:

Pin or sew a red ribbon across the shirt at one shoulder and at the opposite waist. This was easiest of all. I simply found a red ribbon left over from a Christmas present.

Finally, finish off the look with red sweatbands for your prince’s wrists, and you’ll be ready to run like royalty.

Karla Bruning is a veteran journalist and running nerd. She has completed four marathons, trains with the New York Harriers and is a member of New York Road Runners. Follow Karla’s “Notes From a Running Nerd” at, Facebook and Twitter@KBruning.

This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

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Karla Bruning

Karla Bruning is the host of On The Run, a TV and web show from New York Road Runners. Her work has appeared in Newsweek, American Athlete Magazine,,, The Philadelphia Inquirer, San Francisco Chronicle, Orlando Sentinel, and two dozen other outlets including ESPN2, Universal Sports and ABC in New York. She and her work have also received mentions from The New York Times, Runner's World, Fox Sports, Canadian Running, The Baltimore Sun, and PBS among others. She also covered the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver for The Washington Times.


A former Newsweek reporter, Karla has won a Fulbright scholarship for American journalists and reporting grants from the Scripps Howard, Carnegie and Knight Foundations. Karla holds degrees from Amherst College and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.


When not pounding the pavement as a reporter, Karla is pounding the pavement as a runner. She has completed seven marathons, four triathlons, trains with the New York Harriers and is a member of New York Road Runners. She is a writer, editor, and on-camera reporter dedicated to covering the sport of running from a runner’s perspective. Find Karla on, Twitter@KBruning, Facebook and Google+.

Contact Karla Bruning


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