Fashion Inspiration: Walt Disney’s Mulan

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Walt Disney's Mulan DVD Cover

Mulan is a courageous woman who disguises herself as a man to take her father’s place in the Chinese war against the Huns, risking her life and her family’s honor to save her fragile father from a horrible fate. Mulan is one of Disney’s most inspiring and beloved characters, as I can tell from the numerous requests from readers’ comments in the previous articles of this series.

Like the previous articles in this series, the purpose of this article is to use a childhood idol as inspiration for outfits that you can actually pull off as a college student. All it takes is a little creativity!

For more Disney-inspired looks, check out our past articles on Walt Disney’s Snow White, Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty, Walt Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Walt Disney’s Cinderella, Walt Disney’s Princess Jasmine, Walt Disney’s Princess Tiana, Walt Disney’s Pocahontas, Belle from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Jane Porter from Disney’s Tarzan, Megara from Disney’s Hercules, and Emeralda from Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

About Mulan

At the beginning of the movie, Mulan meets with a matchmaker to try and find a suitable husband, but things go awry and she feels as though she will never be able to bring honor to her family. That evening, her family learns that her father is being called to serve in the Chinese war against the Huns. Mulan knows that her father is getting old and frail, and knows that if he goes to war, he will not survive it. She simply cannot stand idly and watch this happen, so in the middle of the night, she cuts off her hair, steals her father’s armor, and decides to impersonate a soldier to take his place as a warrior.

When her family realizes what Mulan has done, they are terribly upset and worried, but they can’t stop her – if anyone were to find out that she was truly a woman, she would be punished by death. With no other options, her family prays to their ancestors to watch over her. The ancestors receive these prayers, and send Mushu, a tiny dragon, to be Mulan’s guardian.

Mulan pretends that she is a man named Ping. She ends up being a wonderful warrior, and plays a vital role in the Chinese victory. Without her, the emperor of China would have been killed and the Huns would have taken over. When the emperor finds out she was truly a woman in disguise, rather than being upset, he is thrilled that she was so courageous. He praises her by offering her a position on his council, but she politely declines the offer so that she can return home to her family. The emperor gives her a crest and a sword to show her family that she has indeed brought honor to them.

Meeting the Matchmaker

Disney's Mulan visiting the Matchmaker

At the very beginning of the movie, Mulan has a meeting with a matchmaker in hopes of finding a suitable husband so she can bring honor to her family. Her mother and grandmother help her to get dressed in a beautiful hanfu. To channel this important scene in the film, I made an outfit with a gorgeous hanfu-inspired dress.

Cute outfit inspired by Disney's Mulan at the Matchmaker

Dress- Chaudry, Earrings- Tarina Tarantino, Shoes- Monsoon


Disney's Mulan during the

After things don’t go so well with the matchmaker, Mulan is very upset and unsure about what she is meant to do in her life. She doesn’t feel as though she is going along her intended path, so she sings the song “Reflection“, (which happens to be my 8 year old self’s absolute favorite song).

For the outfit, I used a pink dress that has a similar shape to her hanfu, that doesn’t look over-the-top or costumey. I also included an adorable necklace with flowers similar to the ones that surround her as she sings.

Outfit inspired by Mulan's song reflection

Earrings- Forever 21, Shoes- Modcloth, Dress- Urban Outfitters, Necklace- Plasticland, Stole- Debenham’s, Clutch- Endless

Mulan As Ping- Typical Outfit

Disney's Mulan dressed as Ping holding fish

When Mulan pretends to be a man named Ping in the army, her usual daily outfit is fairly simple, but nothing like modern menswear.

To create a fresh take on this look, I used a beige dress with a similar neckline that has a pattern for added interest. I also added some green accessories to match the trim on Mulan’s top, as well as some boots to give the look a more masculine vibe. The necklace has a similar shape to the crest that the emperor gives to Mulan at the end of the movie.

Everyday outfit inspired by Disney's Moulan

Socks- Top Shop, Boots- Shop Ruche, Dress- Urban Outfitters, Bag-, Necklace- Buckle

Mulan as Ping- Warrior Clothes

Disney's Mulan disguised as the warrior Ping

Mulan’s warrior clothes are very masculine with lots of angular shapes. To create a look inspired by her warrior gear, I decided to create feminine flair by using a simple green dress, long cardigan, and over-the-knee socks. The angular details in the belt and shoes give the outfit a warrior vibe. To complete the look, I used a dragon brooch, which is reminiscent of Mushu, who is always with Mulan as she fights for China.

Outfit inspired by Warrior Mulan from Disney's Mulan

Cardigan- Dorothy Perkins, Shoes- Forever 21, Belt- ASOS, Socks- Urban Outfitters, Brooch- Avalaya, Dress- Urban Outfitters

Mulan Saves China

Disney's Mulan saving China

At the end of the film, Mulan saves all of China while looking super stylish. Since her outfit is mostly comprised of dark colors, I decided to make an outfit inspired by her look that’s perfect for fall. If you love Mulan but aren’t sure if you can pull off a full Chinese-inspired getup, this outfit is for you. The dress slightly mimics the shape of her robe, but includes more soft, feminine details, while the accessories pull from the colors of her outfit above.

Outfit inspired by Disney's Mulan when she saves China

Ring- Miss Selfridge, Shoes- Boo Hoo, Headband- Forever 21, Dress- Miss Selfridge, Tights- Modcloth, Bag- Purse Boutique, Necklace- Forever 21

Bonus- Inspired By Mushu

Mushu the dragon from Disney's Mulan

Mushu may be a tiny dragon, but he is definitely a tough guy who doesn’t take crap from anyone. For a Mushu-inspired outfit, I used a sheer orange drapey top, and offset its soft details with a cropped corset to wear underneath, edgy pants, and killer heels.

Outfit inspired by Mushu from Disney's Mulan

Corset Top- Topshop, Shoes- ASOS, Orange Top- Alloy, Pants- Shop Ruche


Are you inspired by Mulan? Which look is your favorite? Which Disney characters would you be interested in seeing posts about in the future? I want to know what you think, so be sure to leave your thoughts in a comment!

61 thoughts on “Fashion Inspiration: Walt Disney’s Mulan”

  1. I love Mulan! She’s one of my favorite Disney heroines!

    I know they’re not Disney but some posts I’d like to see in the future are The Swan Princess and the Warner Brothers live action film The Secret Garden (my absolute favorite movie of all time)…

  2. I just love how you have put together all these Disney inspired outfits. Not only is it fashionable but yet fun and playful. Great job guys!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Wow, so many outfits this time. However, there was one outfit that stood out the most and managed to convey the theme AND use one of the hottest trends for fall. The Mulan as Ping typical outfit is a gorgeous choice of dress with this season’s love for mixing prints. I love that you kept it simple with dark boots and bag (want the bag for myself) and the tights are the perfect colour, nude or black would wash you out/make the outfit to monochromatic. I love the elegance of the necklace, a round shape and silver material always looks so feminine. The outfit could even support something chunkier.

  4. Wow! This is fabulous! I am so impressed. The dresses you featured are perfect for my body type. I am beyond in love. I really love the cherry blossom necklace too.

    Great job!!!

  5. PLEASE try to be culturally accurate! It’s NOT a kimono – that’s Japanese. It’s a hanfu, something the Japanese borrowed and eventually altered when they migrated out of China. Also, those totally aren’t cherry blossoms (which by the way is very Japanese again). They’re called Mulan in Chinese…

  6. You finally did Mulan (emphasis on FINALLY!), a strong woman warrior who fights against stereotypical gender roles, and all of the outfits are dresses? Not to say that the outfits are bad – they’re not – but the choices are a bit ironic.

  7. I guess I was looking forward to you doing Mulan so much that I wasn’t exactly “thrilled” with the outfits you chose. I kinda wished that you did something from Mulan that didn’t include dresses (although to give you credit, Mushu’s outfit wasn’t a dress). But nonetheless, great post, and I guess my favorite would have to be the warrior outfit. 🙂

  8. Oooh, these are great! Everytime I see these I’m so impressed by the outfits you come up with. I’d love to see Anastasia in one of these posts 🙂

  9. Hey guys! Glad you all liked the post!

    For those of you who commented about the kimono/hanfu thing, I’ve updated the kimono references in the post to refer to hanfus instead! Calli emailed me about it last night but she didn’t have the ability to update a post that had already been published, so it couldn’t get fixed until this morning. To those of you who commented – don’t worry, we heard you!

    BTW guys, before you leave a comment with the SAME criticism 40 others have left, just read the comments before yours to make sure the issue hasn’t been addressed – we read every comment, so one comment pointing out the issue is always enough to get the point across. Commenting with “I agree, that should be fixed.” is unnecessary and adds absolutely nothing to the discussion. Thanks for pointing that out, Lalalina!

    While Calli wrote this post, the blame should be on me for the incorrect references – I should have done a better job fact-checking when I edited this – NYFW preparations have made everything crazy this week, although I know that’s not an excuse for factual inaccuracies in a post. I’ll definitely do a better job of researching and fact-checking in the future, and I know Calli will do the same! Thanks for helping us improve the post – I know I definitely appreciate the criticism because I want the stuff we post here to be the best possible quality.

    Anyway, glad you guys enjoyed this post and are liking this series! As always, we appreciate the feedback! xo

  10. i’m gonna have to agree with a few other people on here in that i think there should have been at least one non-dress outfit. i mean, mulan was masquerading as a man for most of the movie. also, like many other people have pointed out, a kimono is a japanese garment and mulan is chinese. also, those aren’t cherry blossoms, those are magnolias. 🙂


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