Eliza Thornberry Costume for Cosplay & Halloween

Eliza Thornberry’s Overall Outfit

By the end of the series and the much anticipated movie, Eliza had already worn an assortment of more modern and realistic outfits than the one she wore for most of the show, but the one fans remember best is her red and yellow, turtleneck, t-shirt dress with pockets.

It was never quite clear if it was a yellow, v-neck t-shirt dress on top of a red turtleneck vest, or if the turtleneck was actually part of the dress. Either way, her outfit is as memorable as her adventures.

How to make Eliza Thornberry costume

Eliza Thornberry Costume for Cosplay & Halloween
# Item Description
1 big round glasses Eliza is the old-school, text-book nerd; hence, the unusually large glasses she wears. Click on the link to your left and you’ll find the perfect match for your costume.
2 Red turtleneck vest This young animal whisperer wears a turtleneck as part of her t-shirt dress. Hers might be attached to the dress, but you might want to wear a red turtleneck vest under your v-neck t-shirt dress.
3 Yellow, v-neck, t-shirt dress Sure, Eliza did get to wear more mainstream clothes towards the end of the series, but she wore this yellow, v-neck, t-shirt dress during most of her adventures, which is why fans seem to favor this particular outfit so much.
4 Blue socks A big contrast in the color palette here. Feel free to use any blue socks just above your ankles as long as their not too dark.
5 Brown leather shoes Brown leather, lace-up shoes. A bit too formal for exploring a jungle, but perfect to imitate Eliza’s style. We suggest Oxfords to get a more authentic look, but any flat, brown, lace-up shoes are just as fine.
6 Red fabric patches (dress details) Use two of these red patches to give the finishing touches to your costume. Make sure the patches match the tone of red of your turtleneck.
7 Brown backpack When taking off to her adventures, Eliza would grab her trusty Dawson backpack equipped with all sorts of supplies. Not only a nice touch to your outfit, but also a handy tool for your daily use.

Hair and Makeup

# Item Description
1 Red wig with pigtails Unless you already have natural long, red hair, you should consider a wig. The one suggested comes with braided pigtails just like the ones Eliza wears. This hairstyle of hers is almost as iconic as her ability to speak to animals. Make sure to include it in your costume.
2 Red pony tail holders Decorate those beautifully braided pigtails with red pony tail holders. The thicker the better.
3 Fake braces Complete her nerdy look with braces.

If you want to add even more detail to your costume, you could draw three freckles on both cheeks. You could also dust off those old retainers from your days in middle school and (if they still fit you) put them on for fun, giggles and a spot-on Eliza Thornberry costume.

Tips from Cosplayer

Cheryl Fierstein: The braces are made from real orthodontic brackets and bands placed on jewelry wire with tweezers, and adhered with orthodontic wax and denture adhesive. Most of the costume was thrifted and/or handmade.

About Eliza Thornberry

Eliza Thornberry is the second daughter of Nigel and Marianne Thornberry, two world-famous ecologists who travel around the world filming natural life for a documentary series. Like her parents, Eliza has a passion for animals, but she has a gift that they can only dream of. She can talk to animals and understand everything they say.

As part of a running gag throughout the series, the Thornberrys would fail to find the animal they were trying to film and Eliza would share an adventure with such animal before politely asking it to pose for her parents’ documentary.

Eliza was 10 years old when she rescued an African shaman called Mnyambo from a trap. As a reward, Mnyambo granted her the power of talking to animals. This spell is what allows her to communicate with her best friend, a chimpanzee called Darwin that the Thornberrys adopted in one of their journeys. She must be careful though, because if she reveals her gift to any other human, her powers will be gone forever.


  1. Wikipedia
  2. IMBD

Image Credit: Cheryl Fierstein & DTJAAAM