How to Cosplay

Cosplaying is hard, but well worth the effort when hanging out in your awesome outfit on the street or at a convention. Most people think cosplaying is just for acting like an anime or manga character at anime conventions, but the truth is, you can pick the perfect anime cosplay!


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    Decide who you want to cosplay. Do you just want a costume to wear around town, for fun, or do you want to wear it to an Anime Convention or other big event? If it's your first time cosplaying you may want to choose a character with a simpler outfit. However, if you do not mind strange stares and/or possible harassment, then feel free to go all out. For the latter, any costume will work, although unique costumes are more likely to stand out.
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    Decide how you want to go about getting your costume. Consider your budget and time allowance. If you're short on time, making your costume from scratch may not be the best idea. Keep in mind that makeup and getting the perfect hairdo (regardless if it's your own hair or a wig) also takes time.
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    If you have decided a character/person to cosplay and choose to make the costume yourself; it's a good start to make a list of what you have to make, how you shall make it and what you need to buy in order to make it. For example, if your character is wearing a jacket and pants; what color are they? Which kind of fabric should you use? Are the clothes baggy or tight?
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    No matter if you buy the costume, you probably have hair, make up and maybe even lenses to buy and fix. Study your character's hair, eye color, and shape of face. Shall you use a wig or not? How should you style your hair? What kind of make up would be fitting and make your face look more like the character? Do you need colored lenses? It would be a good idea to read a little about how to change the shape of your face with make up. Don't forget props.
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    It helps to sketch up your character from different angles. It gives you a good view on how the character really looks. Write up your measurements on the sketch and try to figure out what the costumes measurements should be. If the character has any props, a weapon or just a bag for example, sketch them up too.
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    Decide how much time (and money) you should spend on making the costume. The more difficult and detailed the costume is, the more time you'll need to make it. Give yourself more time than you think you need and be really realistic. Also, give yourself a little extra time to fix any eventual mistakes. It's better to have it done early than to have an unfinished costume. Decide in what order you should make everything you need.
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    Practice on the make up, putting in and taking out the lenses and fixing your hair (or the wig). It will take time to make it good, so be patient and try different methods and products.
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    When everything is done, put everything on and look in the mirror. Do you look like the character/person? If no, try to figure out why and consider making some changes. It's a good idea to ask a friend or someone else you trust if you look like the character and what you could change. Tell them to be honest, that's why you're asking.
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    Be confident cosplaying. If you want, you could practice poses the character does a lot. You could also study the way the character walk and/or move, and try to imitate it. It's completely optional.
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    Make your grand debut! Whether you're walking around town, at a party, or a convention, make sure you're having fun with it!
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    Have fun with it! If you don't have fun, you're not cosplaying the right way!


  • Choose a character/person you actually like. You really don't want to regret your choice in the middle of the costume making.
  • Keep in mind that props usually have to be carried around a long time, so even the lightest of props can be a major burden during the day.
  • When cosplaying a character with an unusual hair style, make sure the wig is secure, so that it doesn't come apart in the middle of a convention.
  • You shouldn't worry if you want to cosplay a character that you don't look exactly like, cosplay doesn't have to be perfect.
  • If a character wears common clothing, such as a suit with an untied red tie, don't try to make a suit and tie(unless you want to), go to Marshall's and get a suit and tie for $30 and it takes no time at all. The less you have to make, the better.
  • If you can't find the fabric, use a substitute! Have fun with it. Just remember, if the costume is made of a cotton-type material, then don't substitute with satin or silk. This makes the costume look awkward to say the least.
  • A commission is when you pay someone to make something custom for you. For example, if you pay Mary x amount of dollars for a cosplay costume, that's a commission. Different commissioners have different ways of having you order from them. Some commissioners will do any costume as long as you provide a reference picture(s) and give them your measurements. Other commissioners can only do certain costumes. There may even be some who can only do one costume, or just one type (school uniform, kimonos, etc.)
  • Do not choose a character you hate.
  • Don't try so hard to look like that particular character.If your costume is not as good and people laugh,don't worry because you know you spent a lot of time, effort, and money on that costume, and you should be proud of it!
  • If you are uncertain where to buy things, consider a thrift shop. Some thrift shops only sell old-fashioned furniture and 40's dresses, but there are also thrift shops in the city that sell modern clothes. Try to find the cheapest ones and go to fabric and crafting-sections. You'll be amazed how much shiny fabric and sequined applications people 'throw' away. Flea markets are also recommended, in case you do mess up with the crafting; it only cost you a dollar and half an hour of effort and you can just start over without panicking over money.
  • Don't be afraid to make an outfit inspired by a character. True fans will recognize what you're supposed to be.
  • If you don't have much money to spend on cosplay, try to order everything way before the con. Most free shipping takes a long time to come, and even if it's just a day late, your cosplay could be ruined.
  • Try researching your character of choice and you may even be able to buy props. Remember, a good cosplayer always has a accent.
  • Remember: don't care what others think! If you are a girl and want to play a boy, go for it! And vice versa!
  • You don't have to buy everything! If you have something in your closet already, work from there!


  • Know your information! The last thing you want is someone coming up to you talking about your character only to find out you know nothing about it.
  • Don't do a cosplay at the last minute or you'll regret it. Conventions are tiring enough already, the last thing you want to do is stay up late the morning of the convention finishing a costume.
  • People will want to have their pictures taken with you, especially small children if you have a 'cute' or animal-like cosplay. This can be very startling for shy people, if your costume has a mask or covers the face this may help the shy cosplayer. Be ready for attention, remember your favorite part of the costume to point out, and always remember you have the right to say no when someone asks for a picture if you feel uncomfortable.
  • If you want to cosplay, realize how much time and money goes into making a costume to be proud of. Many fans will assume a shoddy costume is an attack on the character, so do your homework for accuracy and practice your sewing skills.
  • If you're making or buying a prop for cosplay at a convention, Be sure to carefully review all safety and security codes of the convention you plan to attend and be sure to follow them. For example, most ban props with "live steel", I.E. anything sharp that could jab or cut someone or prop guns with moving parts. When in doubt photograph the object in question and send it to the con for approval and always have things peace-bonded by the security when you arrive at the con.

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Categories: Cosplay