Whether it be going to a sci-fi, geek, or anime convention, there will be cosplayers. Even going to the Mall of America on an afternoon you will so a cosplayer. Many costumes are definitely better than others, and I am sure it’s easily assumed they have spent lots of money on it. Not necessarily.
Some cosplays can cost hundreds of dollars after you factor in every little part of the costume, but others can be finished easily. Cosplaying should be fun, so there’s really no real rules to this if you just wanna have a good time and dress up as your favorite character. But if you are going there to look the part, there are some general tips to follow. So whether you end up spending a lot, or a little…or purchase your costume online, or make it yourself, here are some things to consider.
1) Choose a Character That Resembles You :
To start, try choosing a character that fits your body type the best. If you are short, try not to cosplay a really tall character and vice versa. And this also goes with a skinny person cosplaying a strong muscular character, or vice versa.
Your hair doesn’t matter because there are wigs and hair dye for that. And make-up can always fix a few things. But the best cosplays come from if the basic structure of that character is there. You by no means have to be perfect twin to look awesome, but if you are that character’s exact opposite, think of being a different character.
Again – there is no real rule to cosplaying. If you want to cosplay a certain character despite not looking anything like them size, height, facial features wise, then no one says you can’t. I’m just giving a basis for people who cosplay to a different extreme.
I have only cosplayed curvy characters because that’s what my body type is. Of course, I COULD decide to do Rikku from Final Fantasy X or X-2 in a bikini outfit, but I know that with my body type I would just look pretty terrible. So instead I chose Lulu from Final Fantasy X and Beatrix from IX.
2) What is the Best Way to Acquire Your Costume :
Take a look at the costume. Is it something that you can do on your own? Or will you need to hire a costume commissioner for this? There are websites that sell pretty decent costumes, but they will have their flaws and be quite expensive. Some of their colors and sizes will be off. So be careful on who you choose to go through. You may end up spending a lot, and then end up fixing your costume anyway.
3) Your Hair Is Just as Important as the Costume Itself :
It may seem minor, but if your hair is off, your costume is off. Often times in anime, the characters have very different and distinct hair styles and colors to help distinguish between the multiple characters. So people may be able to know who you’re trying to be, but the costume won’t look complete.
Wigs sometimes can do the trick, and there are websites that sell wigs that are meant for particular characters. This works for some people, and they often take weeks to be shipped and can be expensive. (so be warned). But I have had a miserable time getting wigs to work for me since I have a lot of hair I don’t want to chop. I ended up just using my own hair. Since I am a natural brunette I kept my cosplays to brunette characters or ones with black hair because it’s easier for me to go darker than lighter. I haven’t ventured into blond characters yet.
4) Shoes :
I know it doesn’t seem like something one would forget, but it is important to mention this. It would be pretty bad to be at the convention in your hotel, and realize you never factored the shoe part of your costume. Character shoes range in sandals, bare-feet, heels, boots, nylons, etc.
5) Underwear :
Yes, this may be silly. :giggle: But, underwear matters to your costume. You don’t want your boxers hanging out of the costume you spent fifty hours sewing and crafting. (Yes, guys sew here, don’t be ashamed!) Or have some flowery bikini brief showing through your white dress. Girls may need to wear a strapless bra for some costumes. Factor in your underwear too!
6) Makeup :
I hear some men refuse to wear make up, because they think they’re too manly for it. Well, that’s fine…but if you’re going to cosplay certain characters you will need it. Not all, characters will require make-up. Some will require more than others.
Take a look at L from Death Note. It’s a simple white long shirt, pants, and black hair. But without the proper hair care and…make-up the costume won’t have it’s finishing touch. L from Death Note has dark black around his eyes.
It never hurts to use a little makeup to cover some blemishes and mascara to help your eyes pop.
7) Accessories :
Don’t forget to check if the character is wearing necklaces, carrying pouches, or has a sword etc. This will make your costume stand out over the others that have the same costume. And believe me, no matter how unique you think your character is and how no one will ever think to be the same character as you, you may find someone else with your character choice. I found that Lulu from Final Fantasy X had more accessories than I realized when deciding to cosplay as her. She wears 3 distinguishable necklaces. She has four hair sticks that are all unique. She carries either a Moogle, Cactuar, Onion Knight etc as her weapon. (I choose Cactuar)
Some characters have tattoos or marks on them. Think of certain versions of Starbuck from the new Battlestar Galactica where she has a tattoo on her arm, Lust from Full Metal Alchemist, or the whiskers on Naruto.
8) Extreme Details:
This isn’t really required even if you are going to go on stage with your costume or want awesome photos of your costume, but if you want to go all the way here are some other things to factor.
Nails – do they have long nails, short, or painted nails?
Eye color – do they have red eyes perhaps? Contacts are a choice, but not necessary and only if you are extreme. Some are expensive.
9) Get Your Pose Ready:
Every character is different from the next. If people are impressed with your costume, they will ask for a picture. Be ready to pose! Find poses that match your character’s personality. Or perhaps there’s a pose they do all the time in the show or game that you can use. Have fun with it! It will make your pictures all the more impressive.
When attending a convention don’t forget to pack :
Costumes do fall apart, and break when you’re walking around etc. Don’t forget to bring items with you such as: Stain cleaners, duct tape, sewing kits (needle, thread, scissors), glue, extra pairs of nylons, and whatever else you can think of that would help your costume in case of an emergency.
I know a lot of this seems really hardcore, but to many…cosplaying IS! They take great pride and spend hundreds of hours and dollars on their costumes. So if you want to do all that, don’t forget the little details I mentioned about. Have fun! Cosplaying can be a great time!