How to Choose Your Cosplay
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How to Choose Your Cosplay

Aug. 14, 2020, 3:05 p.m.

how to choose your cosplay

So you've decided to take the plunge and create your first cosplay. Maybe you've attended some fan conventions and were jealous of the brave souls who dressed up as their favorite princess or superhero. Now you want to join them.

But how do you choose your cosplay? If you're having trouble narrowing down your costume options, then read on.

Getting Started

There are endless possibilities when choosing a cosplay, which is both exciting and a bit overwhelming. How do you even begin to pick a cosplay?

Don't worry about choosing a taller, shorter, younger character, a different body type, or not human. Now is your chance to literally be anyone or anything you want! If you like them, you can cosplay them.

Note: don't be the guy in blackface. It's wrong. End of sentence.

On a Tight Budget?

A lack of funds doesn't have to limit your cosplay. Look through your closet. See what items you have that can be used as-is or modified slightly.

Some easy ways to modify items:

  • Add embellishments like lace, jewels, ribbons
  • Dye the items. You can pick up a wide variety of clothing dyes online or at your local craft store (Michael's, Joanne's). They even make spray paint for cloth!
  • Add accessories

DIY cosplay corset
Plain blue corset + white and yellow ribbon

Lookalike?

Is there a celebrity that people are always telling you that you look like? Now is the perfect time to take advantage or your doppelganger status.

Head over to IMDB and pick your favorite character they played.

Opposites

If you don't have a doppelganger, not to worry.

Take the chance to be the opposite of how you are in your everyday life.

Work in a stuffy corporate office Monday through Friday? Use cosplay as a chance to let your wild side out!

Can you tell what one of my hubby's hobbies is?
Can you tell what one of my hubby's hobbies is?

Are You Looking to Live Out a Childhood Fantasy?

Were you obsessed with a particular animated movie or video game as a kid? Now is your chance to literally be your childhood hero.

Want to stand out?

If standing out from the crowd is your thing, you'll want to put some thought into your character.

Ideas to stand out:

  • An obscure movie, anime, video game
  • An older movie that hasn't attained cult-like status
  • Sidekicks

Things to avoid:

  • Main characters from big franchises (Harry Potter, anything Disney, Marvel Universe)
  • Characters from the latest blockbuster

One of my favorite tricks is to choose a lesser-known character from a popular movie. Sidekicks are always a great choice because everybody typically wants to be the hero.

Dory from Finding Nemo cosplay
I was the only Dory!

Want a Bunch of Twins?

The more popular your costume, the more likely it is that there will be other people in the same outfit. If this doesn't bother you, then proceed on with your choice!

If this would bother you, I would recommend choosing a different character or choosing the time travel or mash-up option to stand out.

Time Travel

Is there a trendy character that you want to cosplay, but you don't want to be one of 5,000 Wonder Women at an event? A simple trick I've learned is to take the character and just put them in a different time period.

This can be something simple like the 1950's:

1950's Cinderella cosplay
1950's Cinderella

or very complicated like Elizabethan England.

Obsessed with pop culture?

You don't have to choose a character from something animated or a superhero. Some of the most clever cosplays I've seen have been from popular movies outside of the sci-fi or fantasy genres.

Can’t Pick Just One?

Another option to cosplay a popular character and still stand out is the mash-up option.

Mash-up: take two (or more) different characters or styles and combine them into something totally different.

The mash-up option is something my friends and I like to use for our group costumes. It's especially fun when someone recognizes both elements of your costume.

Some things we've made in the past:

  • Disney hipster princes and princesses: Princess + hipster
  • Ravengers: the Avengers + rave-style costuming
  • Hogwalts: magical Disney characters + Hogwarts houses

Hipster Disney Princess costumes
Princess + hipster

Shine On

If sparkles and all-around fanciness are your thing, then go ahead and be a princess! You can add as much bling, sparkles and ruffles as you want without anyone batting an eye.

Be Punny

If you regularly tell Dad jokes or puns in your real life, then I have the perfect cosplay idea for you: create a real-life pun in cosplay form.

Some examples:

  • Taco Belle
  • Jon Snow White
  • Black Pink Panther
  • Amazon Prime (instead of Optimus Prime)
  • Halo Kitty

This type of cosplay will involve some thinking on your part, but I have faith in you!

Animal Instincts

Remember not to limit yourself to human characters when thinking about costume options: literally, anything goes in the cosplay world. There are tons of animal characters that would make a fantastic cosplay.

Don't feel like your cosplay has to be an exact replica of your animated animal character, instead use that as the inspiration behind your costume.

A great example is my cosplay of Fawkes from the Harry Potter series. Since I didn't want to literally have wings or glue a million feathers, I took the idea of the phoenix and made it my own fabulous sparkly own.

Need More Inspiration?

If you still can't decide what cosplay to make, then check out our costume showcase for ideas.

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