No, this isn’t one of those blogs. I’m not here to tell anyone they CAN’T cosplay a specific character because of their age, sex, body shape, skin color, etc. At the end of the day, you can cosplay whoever you want to as long as you have fun! Instead, this post is about how I determine if I have the means to cosplay a character. That’s right, I said means. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of characters I want to cosplay as. But, between time, money, and skill, I can only make so many cosplays each year. So, here’s the thought process I go through to determine if I should cosplay a character because choosing a cosplay can be pretty darn hard.
How much do I like the character?
This one is obvious. The first thing I consider when choosing a cosplay is how much do I love the character? I’ve had plenty of instances where I’ve wanted to cosplay a character but only because someone said I should. Other times, someone has badgered me into making cosplay for a cosplay group. So, in the end, I only did so because I wanted to feel included. Don’t get me wrong, I liked the characters I cosplayed at these times. But, I didn’t love them. Now that I’m older and need to budget my money, I can’t really make a cosplay on a whim. Nowadays, the characters that I do decide to cosplay are those that I feel a special connection with. They’re usually role models; they are the sort of people I want to be; they empower me. You need to decide for yourself who you should cosplay; but I recommend cosplaying only those characters you feel a strong connection with. You’re more likely to put more effort into it anyways.
Do I have to wear a wig?
I HATE WIGS. IF I HAVE TO WEAR ONE OF THOSE SHITTY THINGS, I AIN’T GONNA DO IT. NO WAY. I’ve worn a wig once… Never. Again.
There are also a bunch of other routes to go if you feel you do need to wear a wig but can’t.
How complex are we talkin’?
Complexity is an important factor when choosing a cosplay. If your skills aren’t up to par, you may become disheartened when trying to tackle a complex costume. It’s important to have fun while making a costume so, if the costume-making process is stressing you out, it probably isn’t worth it. A complex costume can also be a hindrance to your wallet. This can mean needing to buy more foam (for armor) or more fabric than what you’re used to (if you aren’t a beginner). There’s been plenty of times when I’ve tackled a complex costume and have needed to wait multiple paychecks to finish it.
What type of armor is it?
Let’s be honest, if I’m making a cosplay there’s armor needing to be made. So, when it comes to armor, you need to consider what type of armor you’re trying to emulate and what materials you will need. Certain types of armor are easier to create with EVA foam. Others, not so much. Leather and armor that lack geometric patterns are a breeze to do with foam. But, when it’s easier to use more expensive materials, such as Worbla, I back off. It just isn’t worth it to me to spend a lot of money on more expensive materials when I’m only creating costumes for fun.
Choosing a cosplay may also depend on your body type. I don’t really think about this one too much. Most of the people I’ve cosplayed come in one flavor: Masculine, tall, and muscular. If you learn one thing about me, know that I satisfy none of those categories. I just tend to like these characters. Sue me.
If you don’t think your body type is correct, there are plenty of ways to alter your body shape. For example, if the character you’re trying to portray is more muscular or broader than you are, and is wearing armor, it’s easy to make yourself larger by padding the armor. Hence why I don’t really pay attention to my body shape when considering cosplays (‘cause 90% of my cosplays deal with armor).
But, as a precautionary tale, you may want to consider your body shape more than I do. I’ve had many a friend who hand-made a tight and/or revealing costume for it to end up in the back of their closets once they were finished. Despite all the hard work they put into their costume, they couldn’t wear it because of their own insecurities with their bodies. Now, everyone has insecurities. I get it. But, it’s so sad that they put so much hard work into making something for it to never see the light of day. So, if you are considering cosplaying a character whose body shape doesn’t quite match your own, please be aware of your timidities before you put so much work and money into something you may never wear.
Not to sound like a broken record, but, ultimately, who you do or do not cosplay is up to you. Having fun is the most important part of cosplay. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. Good luck!