Cosplay comes from the portmanteau ‘costume play’, meaning to dress as specific characters. It often consists of clothing, accessories, wigs, makeup, etc that are put together to resemble the character whether it accurately replicates the original costume depends on the cosplayer.
There are several types of cosplays you can find both online and in person:
Either bought or handmade, this type of cosplay tends to be as accurate to the character as possible.
The mix of two characters blended.
Cosplaying the character while wearing more everyday clothes the character would wear.
When everyday clothing is used to cosplay a character, usually using their real hair instead of a wig.
There are a few types of Kigurumi cosplay however the main ones are onesies and masks.
The character’s gender has been swapped, usually the cosplayer’s design.
Cosplayers’ gender is not the same as the character.
Giving the character a ‘glow-up’, they’re often a lot more glamorous/sexy than the original design, often rocking long nails, sparkles, sequins, long lashes, dramatic makeup, etc.
Taking aspects from a non-human character to create their design of the character as if they were human.
Fursuits are inspired by characters that can be human or non-human, the human ones are often turned into animals. These are often very expensive to make/commission.
Own Character (oc) cosplay
The cosplayer is cosplaying a character they created them self, often DnD characters.
Own design cosplay
This type of cosplay is when the cosplayer creates their own design with a character in mind, these often end up being designs for written characters.
This type of cosplay uses already established styles of fashion, usually a type of Japanese fashion like fairy Kei or Gyaru, as a twist on the standard cosplay.
So where do you start?
I get how daunting it can be, I remember around 2013 I was invited to go to a convention with some friends and wasn’t even sure what cosplay was at the time, I ended up deciding to cosplay a young Erza Scarlet from Fairy Tail, as I was a big fan at the time, my mum made her dress, I created her sword and shield out or cardboard, duct tape with paint and then bought her wig and eyepatch online.
To start there are a few things to think about; are there any characters that you love or something that you are into recently? For example, an anime series, Warhammer, a video game, etc. What type of cosplay would you like to do? Do you have the skills/resources to achieve this? How simple is the design? Can you afford this? Would you need to wear contact lenses? Are there any existing tutorials for cosplaying the character? Would you feel comfortable cosplaying this character? Can you practice styling wigs?
If the cosplay is going to be expensive or difficult to make/buy a good way to start is to buy the wig and any significant accessories and then use clothes from your closet or buy from a charity shop that the character would wear.
If you’re going to a convention it’s always good to try on the full cosplay to see how you feel wearing it, practicing the makeup before is a good idea too! Especially if you’re a beginner, see what kind of eyeliner works with the shape of your eyes, practice putting on lashes, and what style of makeup would you like for your cosplay.
I know how scary it can seem to start but once you get into cosplaying it is super fun and such a great community to get to know!