My close friend @radgeekyrose introduced me to the concept of bounding a few years ago. At a Disney bounding panel at Wonder Con in 2017, she referred to it as closet cosplay.
The idea behind a good bound is to get the image of what a character would look like if they were a) real and b) interacting in a real situation. Bounding is not cosplay or full costume. Bounding is creating an outfit based on a character, their color scheme, and their accessories or elements from their story.
Bounding started a few years ago when Disney fans wanted to enjoy days at the park dressed in tribute to their favorite characters. Disney parks do not allow guests over the age of 14 to dress in costume, with the exception of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. The trend pre-dates the name in this case. The name Disney bounding comes from the blog Disney Bound, as in headed to Disney parks for a vacation or trip, and the fabulous Leslie Kay. She discussed the phenomenon in depth, and when others discussed the same thing, her blog always came up. The blog name became the trend name.
I specialize in a few sub-categories of bounding.
Disney bounding – I choose Disney characters as the basis for my outfits.
Dapper bounding – I deliberately use vintage or vintage-inspired clothing to achieve the character’s look.
Race or runner bounding – I use running or workout gear to achieve a character’s look that I can then use to run a race comfortably. I train for 10K and half marathon distance races.
There are assuredly more categories than this. I have several friends who beach bound (create character outfits that often involve bathing suits and beach attire) or casual bound (create character outfits in the jeans and t-shirt range).
I have also been a part of several group bounds, where you choose a set of characters to create a group look.
Is this bound wrong? Hey, don’t get so judgmental. Bounding is supposed to be fun! Relax, and let them rock their outfit. If you don’t particularly agree with their representation of a character, you don’t need to confront them. You are, however, free to create your own version and enjoy your day.