Cosplay On A Dime

So now that you've been introduced to the world of cosplay, you want to cosplay yourself. You've got your character in mind, you've found your reference pictures, and you've looked around on the internet at the various cosplay sites. But, oh! These cosplay sites ask too much for the costume you need! Sadly, your meager budget will only allow for one item from the costume you desire. Never fear, my fellow cosplayer! There are ways to do this cosplay, go to that convention, AND have money left for merchandise!

The expensive nature of cosplaying often discourages fans from participating. As I've said, however, there are ways around the expensive costume. That's what this week's feature is all about! Read on and learn these secrets...

  • Look through your closet. While your character may have a wild and outlandish style, you may be able to find a piece of your normal, everyday clothes that could serve your purpose. If you don't have to buy something, don't buy it!
  • Go to your local thrift store or pawn shop. Like your own closet, these may offer up articles of clothing to serve your purpose. You could also check at your local Wal-Mart, Fred's, Target, or K-Mart.
  • Make your costume. Even if you yourself are not an expert sewer, you may have a relative, friend, or neighbor who could open their own clothing business if they wanted. Go to this person and cut a deal with them. Offer to buy the fabric needed, the pattern, and any accessories (such as zippers or buttons) needed to make the costume or costume piece. You can often find patterns for less than $1 at Wal-Mart and Hobby Lobby, as well as the nearest fabrics store.
  • The pattern does not have to be an exact match. If you choose to have your costume custom-made, chances are you will not find the exact pattern you need. Find a pattern that is as close as possible and make any necessary adjustments. If you're having someone else do the sewing, tell them what you want modified on the pattern.
  • Wigs are not always necessary. If your hair is close to that of your character, don't buy a wig. Style your hair as needed. If your hair is the right length but not the right color, buy some temporary hair dye. Or, if you really want, buy a more permanent hair dye. If you choose the permanent route, make sure it's okay with your parents or guardians, if they may have a problem with it. If your hair is the right color but is too long, you can cut it, if you wish. Again, make sure this is okay with your parents or guardians.
  • If your hair is too short, or you don't want to cut/color it, then you can go on a search for a wig. However, when you're searching, don't use the character's name! Character-specific wigs are often expensive. Instead, search for the color of the hair. For example, if you're planning to cosplay as Sephiroth, search for a long, silver wig. If you're planning to cosplay as Sora, search for a shaggy, brown wig. Remember, wigs can be styled just like real hair.
  • Shoes are also something to consider. As with your clothing, look in your closet first, then hit the thrift stores and pawn shops. You can also search on eBay and Amazon, if need be. As with the wigs, do not search for character-specific shoes! This will yield expensive results.
  • If your character has jewelry, weapons, or wears a mask, consider making it instead of buying it. These items are often simple to make and tutorials can be found in a myriad of places.

Cosplaying doesn't have to be expensive! While it will take more effort to do a cheaper cosplay, you will save money in the end. I realize I may not have answered everyone's questions, so if you have them, feel free to send me a Private Message! I'm always willing to help in any way I can. And remember to take pictures of your cosplay! Document the experience. Learn from what you did. If something worked for you, share it! Or if it didn't work for you, find out why it didn't work and fix the problem. If you would like, I'll also be willing to feature your cosplay on this world. Just send me a couple of pictures (or links to them) and a description of the cosplay.

Well, stay classy, Otakuites, and happy playing!