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Why did they change cinderella’s dress from silver to blue?

Cinderella is one of the most iconic and beloved fairy tale characters of all time. Her story has been told and retold countless times over the centuries in various books, plays, movies, and television shows. One of the most distinctive parts of the Cinderella story is her magical transformation from a poor servant girl into a beautiful princess with the help of her Fairy Godmother. A key part of this transformation is Cinderella’s iconic ball gown, which is famously known for being a sparkling blue in the popular 1950 Disney animated film.

The History of Cinderella’s Dress Color

In the earliest known written versions of the Cinderella story, the color of Cinderella’s ball gown was not specified. The oldest known version was first published by Charles Perrault in 1697 in his book Histoires ou contes du temps passé (Stories or Tales of Past Times). In Perrault’s telling, there are no details given about the color of Cinderella’s gown. It is simply described as a magnificent and splendid dress covered in precious stones.

Later versions of the story gradually added more details about Cinderella’s attire. In the 19th century, the Brothers Grimm published their collected tales, which included the story of Aschenputtel (the German name for Cinderella). The Grimm version describes Aschenputtel wearing a dress that was “as radiant as the sun.” Other translated versions sometimes referred to Cinderella’s dress as “golden” or “silver.”

The image of Cinderella wearing a silver dress comes from the influential French version published in 1697 by Charles Robinson, titled Cendrillon. In this tale, Cinderella’s gown is described as “silver and glittering.” For many years, this became the predominant color used when depicting Cinderella’s ball gown in books and illustrations.

The Transition from Silver to Blue in Disney’s Animated Film

When it came time for Disney to produce their animated adaptation of the fairytale in 1950, they took some liberties with the details of the original story – including the color of Cinderella’s dress. According to some accounts, Disney artists had initially drawn Cinderella in a silver ball gown matching the dress described in the French Cendrillon version.

However, Walt Disney himself reportedly made the call to change the dress to blue instead. The switch to blue was made fairly late in the film’s production. Some of the early promotional materials and merchandise for the film still depicted Cinderella in a silver gown.

There are a few possible reasons behind Disney’s decision to shift from silver to blue:

  • The filmmakers thought blue would stand out and pop more vividly against the background colors used in the ballroom scene.
  • Blue gowns were becoming more trendy and fashionable at the time.
  • Disney wanted to differentiate their Cinderella from the silver-gown versions that already existed.
  • The cool tone of the blue contrasted nicely with Cinderella’s warm blonde hair and skin tone.

The blue dress also emphasized Cinderella’s role as an outsider, setting her apart from all the other ladies at the ball who wore fancy pastel gowns. Ultimately, the filmmakers felt blue was a better choice visually and thematically for their updated postwar version of the classic tale.

The Cultural Impact of Cinderella’s Blue Dress

After Walt Disney released his animated adaptation in 1950, Cinderella’s blue ball gown became cemented as an iconic part of the character’s story. Disney’s version went on to become the most well-known and widely influential retelling of the fairytale. As a result, the image of Cinderella’s sparkling blue dress and glass slippers became fixed in popular culture.

For many generations since, whenever people visualize or depict Cinderella, whether in books, merchandise, marketing, or costumes – she is nearly always shown wearing a blue ball gown. The ubiquity of Disney’s animated film has made blue the default color associated with Cinderella. Most remakes and adaptations of the story in recent decades have continued featuring the blue dress, rather than reverting to the original silver.

Over the years, Cinderella’s blue ball gown has taken on deeper cultural symbolism as well. It represents Cinderella’s magical transformation into her true princess self. Her sparkling blue dress has become an iconic symbol of magic, romance, and happy endings.

The prevalence of this iconic costume has left a lasting impact on merchandise, marketing, fashion design, and even wedding gown trends. Brides today still dream of having their own “Cinderella moment” wearing a blue ballgown resembling their favorite Disney Princess.

Cinderella has gone on to become one of Disney’s most popular and profitable Princesses. By changing the color from silver to blue, Walt Disney created an unforgettable image that continues to resonate with audiences after over 70 years. The ubiquitous silhouette of Cinderella’s blue ball gown will no doubt continue inspiring new generations to come.

Other Versions that Use Different Colors

Although the Disney blue version remains the most popular, some other adaptations have continued to experiment with different colors for Cinderella’s magical dress:

  • In the 1997 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical starring Brandy as Cinderella, her ball gown was white.
  • The 2004 film “A Cinderella Story” with Hilary Duff used a silver dress closer to the original French tale.
  • In the 2015 live-action Disney remake, Lily James wore a lavish gown that was blush pink.
  • The 1997 TV movie “Cinderella” with Whitney Houston used an iridescent purple-blue color.

However, most retellings stick with Disney’s iconic blue or opt for a very close variation on it. The ball gown’s distinctive blue shade has become a key visual shorthand for identifying Cinderella across various mediums.


In the end, Walt Disney’s choice to shift Cinderella’s dress from silver to blue had an enormous impact on her lasting popularity and iconography. The ball gown’s distinctive blue color is now forever linked to Disney’s animated classic and Cinderella herself. It was a shrewd decision that gave the film a beautiful unique visual style and created an unforgettable symbol of magic and dreams coming true. After over seven decades, Cinderella’s blue dress remains one of the most iconic costumes in cinema history.