Cosplay costumes

I am a total n00b in the world of cosplay. I had to wiki the word to even know what it meant. But my teenage son is fired up about it, so I must learn.

So here is my first, specific, question, soon to be followed by many others. I’m hoping there is a doper cosplay community to help me along?

Do cosplayers sell their (used) retired costumes? My boy wants to wear a certain character, and it appears that those who wear are also those who create. Alas, we are not yet creators.

I joined deviantart and attempted to discuss the sale of costumes with some artists, only to be rebuffed.

I think for most cosplayers, creating the costume is at least half the fun, and in many cases, the primary reason they’re wearing the costume is to show off their creation. Anyone can just buy a costume at a costume shop, but what’s the fun in that?

That said, most costumes are pretty easy to put together. Most of a costume, you’ll usually be able to put together from pieces and accessories from the attic or a thrift shop, with maybe one or two small items custom-made. You don’t necessarily have to do any sewing yourself.

Welcome to the wild and wacky world of dressing up like random anime characters!

You’ll know you’ve become part of our world when you can discuss your son “crossplaying” without raising an eyebrow, and you have matter-of-fact discussions about which costumes make it easier to fake various parts of anatomy that regular (non-animated) humans don’t come with.
So, for your first question. Do cosplayers sell their used costumes? Nope. Most cosplayers are rabid creators, and are very proud of their costumes, which they intend to keep on wearing to cons until the sun burns out. They would also rather die than have anyone see that those lovely-on-the-outside costumes are often held together with duct tape, spit, baling wire, and a few well-placed prayers to specific deities.

You don’t want a cosplayer. Instead, you want a COSTUMER.

You are going to have your best luck finding a costumer at an actual convention. (Call them cons) If you’re in the SouthEast USA, Anime Weekend Atlanta is a really family-friendly, kid-friendly place to start. It was the first con I took my own little brother to, and he had a blast. There are others, both small and large. I would suggest a small one for his first time, especially if there’s a local cosplay group or anime club that hosts one nearby.

If you go to a con, I highly suggest picking an anime to dress up from that involves an easy costume. Look for something where the characters wear modern clothes, or easy-to-fake historical outfits, or a series set in space where they wear coveralls. Look through the anime that he likes, and pick a character or two that he somewhat resembles, and print out a color picture of each. Bonus points if you can find a picture of their BACK as well. Remember to include any props that they have (sword, weird gun (look at nerf toys) or tools/accessories). Then, just go poking around looking at clothes and things everywhere. I would suggest thrift stores, hardware stores, and “clearance stores” like Ross or TJMaxx.

Look for wigs and accessories at all the upcoming Halloween supply stores that are popping up like fungus now, but try not to buy your major clothing bits there - it will be too expensive and bad quality. Look at thrift stores and clearance stores. Remember that regardless of what the actual costume includes, wearing comfortable shoes is a requirement.

Then, go to the con, have him wear his first cosplay ever, and take a camera with you.

When you see a cosplayer wearing a lovely costume, you want to do two things. First, compliment their work. (Always assume that they made it themselves.) Then ask if they take jobs for people. If they hand you a business card or phone number or web-address, you’re in business. Sadly, most cosplayers don’t have the time, funding, or equipment to make entire costumes for other people (they’re usually kept too busy making costumes for themselves - see above references to baling wire and spit.)

What you’ll most often find are people who do specific things - some people work with wigs, others make accessories (belts or harness things or shoe-disguises) and others will make articles of clothing, but not an entire costume.

You’ll also find vendors and salespeople who sell clothing and costume pieces, usually iconic and hard-to-make items. It’s very rare that you’ll find someone selling “costumes in a bag” like you find at Halloween stores, where everything from shoes to accessories to outfit to wig are all together. It’s also rare that you’ll find anyone at all willing to undertake that sort of job for you.

It’s partly because of the limitations people have on their time, and partly because the cosplaying scene has a really strong DIY vibe. It’s considered bad form or not quite cosplaying if you buy a costume entirely “off the rack.” Besides, you feel more proud of things if you put the effort into either hunting down bits and pieces to assemble into a costume (which lots of people do - not every cosplayer is a good seamstress/tailor) or make it from scratch from expensive fabric.

If you have more questions, please ask! It’s really a very fun hobby to get into, and you may soon find yourself buying your son a sewing machine! :smiley:

I’ve only cosplayed a few times, but I would like to give Lasciel a thumbs-up for an excellent, informative post.

There’s more options to cosplay than just Anime. Other movie, TV, book, comic, and video game characters are just as popular to dress as.

It’s apparently a good way for him to meet women.

For example, I often dress up as the characters in The Office (the British version), even to the extent of role-playing as an actual office worker for several hours a day - in an actual office. Mind you, I vary my costume, e.g. sometimes I wear a red tie, sometimes a sweater, sometimes loose slacks. There’s a fair amount of strategy involved. Do I clip my ID badge to my belt, or my shirt pocket? If I wear a sweater, what if it gets hot? That kind of thing.

Not counting the preparation I have to do in advance, with shaving and polishing shoes and so forth. I’ve kept this up for several years.

Otakon 2012 in Baltimore was just a couple of weekends ago. It is the largest anime convention on the east coast. We had 32,000 this year, most wearing something unusual. For further cosplay study, you can check out a thread at their forum in which attendees have posted links to their albums of photos:

My daughter has been cosplaying since she was seven,and I have cosplayed also for a couple of years. I’m not very good at sewing, but I once made her a pair of Naruto-style ninja sandals for Anime Expo '08, which looked nice but fell apart before the end of the day, so she had to wear the backup pair I brought with me. Mostly we tend to put our costumes together from various parts bought at thrift stores, except for our Hetalia costumes and the couple of times she wore sailor suits made by my grandmother, who is a retired seamstress. The costume in which she got the most photos taken was Chibi-Usa, but she’s outgrown it now. Also, her current favorite cosplay is Canada from Hetalia - not the military uniform the character usually wears, but a red sweatshirt the character wears as casual clothing in the manga/webcomic. She wore a Canada flag T-shirt underneath. Everyone at the gatherings we attended thought she was the cutest thing ever. The important part of the costume was the wig, which I bought on Ebay. It actually lasted all through the last con we attended and is sitting on a plastic doll head in her room for the next time she needs it.

As I said, I’ve also cosplayed, mostly as the main character of Read Or Die. Since she is a secret agent who goes undercover as a substitute teacher, she favors vests and skirts, both of which I found in a thrift store and paired with black flats that are comfortable as well as suited to the character. No wig needed, just a flat iron for my hair. My last cosplay was as the female version of Austria from Hetalia, which mostly consists of semi-Victorian looking purple clothes as far as I’ve seen.
I’m planning my next cosplay to be Grell Sutcliffe from Black Butler, which will be my first crossplay. This leads to a common problem among female cosplayers who crossplay: how to bind my breasts so as not to have them show under the shirt. Oh well, I have a couple of months to figure that out,since I hope to have the costume ready for Halloween. Now, to find a men’s vest and pants that fit me well enough and have them altered for my not-so-manly frame…

One more thing: I was a little ashamed to admit that I enjoy cosplaying at my age, but it’s something that my daughter and I enjoy together. Besides, I’ve seen cosplayers of all ages, ethnicities, shapes and sizes wearing their costumes and armor with as much confidence as if they were sporting Dior gowns or Armani suits. One that stands out in my mind is an 80-year-old woman I saw at Anime Expo dressed as Sophie from “Howl’s Moving Castle,” a girl who is magically turned into an older woman for most of the story. If she was confident enough to dress up in a costume, why shouldn’t I, at half her age?:cool:

Crossplay boob reduction suggestions:

Start with a very tight sports bra. Depending on the weight/thickness/cut of the top you wear, (and how big you are) that may actually be enough. Look into shoulder pads and foam blocking at the shoulders, upper back, and collarbone - making the shoulders/back look bigger/more masculine will help make your chest look less feminine, and the flattened shape will look like chest muscles in comparison to the smaller waist.

If that doesn’t work, then I’ve found that ace/sporting bandages work best for me, but the girls are usually pretty sore the next day. I still start with a sports bra, to compress as much as possible, and then wrap the bandages over that. Look at how people wrap up for broken ribs, and remember to go over your shoulders a few times for support. After the first couple of winds, very carefully decide where you want the fabric folds to go, and make sure no skin is caught in there. At that point, I also dust some talcum powder into those spots, and into skin-on-skin places.

You also want to look at your hips/rear, especially if you’re very girl-shaped. While I’ve got small boobs, I have huge hips, so I have to really work to get my waist/hip shape to look manly.

as much as it would pain people to hear… 4chan has a very active board for cosplay (the rest of the sites scary if your not familiar with it. You can glean alot of information IF your willing to take harsh critisism. ive seen everything from sentai helmets to using moldable craft foam and epoxy to make fake weapons come out of there. Also, if you do go to a con like AWA many of the cosplayers like to brag on their ingenuity and they sometimes have panels and workshops as well.

It does take some ingenuity, doesn’t it? Sometimes, the costumes don’t survive the weekend, but you may be able to rebuild them with what you have left over.

Guanolad’s right about picking more than just anime characters. Alex and Teagan went as Finn and Fionna from Adventure Time at Animefest last year (that’s them standing in front of Princess Bubblegum), and I was able to put their costumes together in 45 minutes from about $15 worth of stuff at WalMart.

thread too long, didn’t bother reading

You want an inexpensive way to start dabbling in cosplay go to this site, where they produce mass produced cosplay costumes. It will get you started. It will run you $150-$250, which can literally be the cost of materials for custom created costuming.

I have no advive to add but I wanted to share this picture of a cosplayer from one of the links.

Best Finn the Human EVAR!!!!/photo.php?fbid=10151015671719234&set=a.10151015661769234.429019.740139233&type=3&l=eb98fb48bc&theater

Or men. The OP should be prepared for all possibilities.