There have been many gritty takes on the classic Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll over the years, but one that deserves acknowledgment above the rest is the game series American McGee’s Alice. 

Taking design inspiration from the actual Alice Liddell, on whom Carol based his book, Alice is a young woman also within Victorian London but is haunted by a terrible past of her family perishing in a fire. Throughout the games, Wonderland serves to act as Alice’s headspace. Thus if Alice suffers mentally, so does Wonderland. 

The landscape becomes dark and twisted to represent all of Alice’s fears, desires, knowledge, and core emotions/feelings. This is also represented in Alice’s appearance, which contrasts differently from her disheveled self in reality. In Wonderland, her hair is neat and long, she has a small degree of makeup, and, best of all, she is donned in the lovely blue dress and apron that her character has become synonymous with.

Something special about McGee’s games is that as you travel within each section of Wonderland in the sequel Madness Returns, Alice dons a new dress that fits in with the landscape. This tradition of landscape-specific dresses continues from then on into Alice: Otherlands and shall be in the upcoming Alice: Asylum.

Even McGee’s team recognized just how much these designs mean to the fans and therefore took careful consideration into making sure they were all possible to recreate in cosplay.

There is so much variety to these designs that I have taken it upon myself to rate them from reasons between abilities, aesthetics, and of course, symbolism. Let us begin with my top 10.

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Screenshot by Kat Johnson

10. 20,000 Leagues Under Dress

This one had to be mentioned as it is one of the few dresses showcased in Alice Otherlands, where Alice traverses through the mind of Jules Verne. There are no specific power-ups to this dress, but you’ve got to love a lady in uniform. There is an alchemic symbol for tin on this dress which is representative of Alice’s realization that she doesn’t have to stand alone even though she has been for so long. Also, the moment when Alice pilots the submarine and reflects upon the events of Madness Returns is absolutely badass.

Screenshot by Kat Johnson

9 Royal Suit Dress

There have been so many fanfics where Alice wears this dress as she takes back the reign of Queensland, which I absolutely approve of. Anything with a variety of checkers, red coloring, and card symbols can instantly lead one to associate it with Wonderland. The alchemic symbols on this dress, in particular, get deep into the lore of Queensland as well. Venus symbolizes the Red Queen and the south ascending moon as Alice’s. The difficulty that comes with equipping this dress is why I have it ranked so low, as you only get 4 total roses of health. Definitely a challenge.

Screenshot by Kat Johnson

8 Late But Lucky Dress

The top hat with rabbit ears and the spats with rabbit feet really stand out in this outfit for me. We hardly see Rabbit in the series despite him being Alice’s most loyal friend even when Wonderland turns dark, so why not honor his memory with this dress? This dress is only available with the DLC but is worth it for the perks of health regeneration with the shrinking violets.


7 Circus Dress

I love how different Alice’s appearance is with this dress. Also, the extra face on the back of Alice’s head makes me think of the horror movie Malignant (spoilers?). Here is more of the classic checkered patterns of red and white that can also be seen in the Royal Suit dress. Although this dress has no symbols included with it, the abstract look of the whole ensemble makes me think of some kind of mix of surrealism and pop art. And the stitching to the bodice she wears almost makes it seem as if it was part of a circus tent. A great design for all my clown lovers out there.

Screenshot by Kat Johnson

6 Cheshire Dress

As a cat lover, there is no way this dress could not be added to the list. The bony body of the Cheshire Cat is replicated on this dress, making it look like skeletal padding. We even have a hint of an almost flame-like bloodstain that decorates the edge of the dress. There have been many recreations of this dress, and I love seeing it when cosplayers make slipper-like shoes for the clawed feet. However, if you are someone who wants a more difficult version of the game, enemies will no longer drop roses, which can prevent you from regaining health from battles. I, for one, do not like adding more difficulty to a game, but it is worth it for the style.


5 Armor Confidence/Aggression Dress

This dress was in concept art that was showcased simultaneously for Alice Asylum and Alice Otherlands, where Alice was supposed to traverse through the world of Bram Stoker. The dragon-like armor that is reminiscent of the Jabberwock really makes Alice out to be the warrior that she is, which was the intended design choice. Seeing as how the symbol of the dress is that of mars, it really gives a good representation of how much Alice feels that she needs to protect herself, as in the real world, we very rarely see her let her walls down.

Screenshot by Kat Johnson

4 Siren Dress

The power of this dress is that enemies drop twice as many roses, which is a big buff. I love how Hollow Yves (the sentient skull bow) is seen as an angler fish with a long tail light that floats behind Alice. There is a very distinct theme of a shell and angler fish in this game as Alice just glows with all the multitude of lights. A funny little detail is that the underwater effect from the water environment of Tundraful that Alice finds herself in remains with the dress, so Alice’s hair will continue to sway and float even when above the surface. 

Screenshot by Kat Johnson

3 The OG Dress

Who could deny the perfection of the classic blue dress with the blood-stained apron? And, of course, the famed omega pendant that hangs around her neck is also a part of the Alice merch that has remained for a long time in McGee’s Mysterious shop.  It is a large part of how Alice may feel at her lowest, but she knows her capabilities. It is also a very easy design to cosplay for all lovers of this game. No further comments are necessary.

Screenshot by Kat Johnson

2 Flesh Maiden Dress

The dress that looks as if Alice was wrapped in an eldritch being. It also allows you to use at any time one of the best power-ups, Hysteria mode, which is a secondary dress design to this one. Alice remains with a neutral expression for most of the game, but in Hysteria mode, we see her let out all of the rage that is hiding inside, which in itself feels like a type of beast to Alice. Also, we got all the funky tentacles that are similar to the Queen of Hearts.

Honourable Mentions:


Rabbit Onesie

Since it isn’t a dress per se, I was hesitant about including this one on the list, but I think it still deserved a spot. Omri Koresh’s different takes on the rabbit Onesie DLC outfit have been by far one of the most adorable designs out of the bunch. It is a representation of the toy that Alice loves most. With an extremely comfy looking favorite, I can only hope that if this does appear in Alice Asylum that the ears flop around.

And Here Is The Top Pick…


1. Denial Dress

This is one of the dresses to show up in the new Asylum. I absolutely adore how artist Omri Koresh shines upon the true original color of the dress in the book series, heralding once again that much research has been done to bring honor to the real Alice Liddell. She looks so adorable from the front, and it gives a great peek into what Wonderland had originally looked like for Alice as a child. Yet we are reminded that things are not all as they seem, as the backside is riddled with horrors representing how she “turns her back” on her fears. The details of Alice’s guilt and the symbolism of the skulls being her deceased family members just knock my socks off in awe.

In Conclusion…

And those are all my views on Alice’s dresses! We still have yet to see Alice; Asylum be officially released, but all of the posted hard work McGee and his team have been showing makes it certain that it will be a wonderful experience full of vivid imagery. Especially in the dresses.