First up, theres no correct way or one way to start cosplay. But, I know a few people personally who are struggling to get started, so i'm going to give you some of my personal tips!
Picking who to cosplay
I'd recommend going for someone who is recognised by their outfit, because as soon as someone see's you in that outfit.....booom! You look just like that character! I'd also recommend staying away from real people (YouTubers etc) as they don't really have a distinct style you can dress as, however, if you really want to you can attempt their hairstyles or try and contour your face similar to theirs! It's defiantly do-able if it's something you want to do!
Picking the exact character to cosplay is where it gets difficult, who to chose? Do you chose your waifu? One you look closest to? The one with the outfit you love the most? The simplest outfit to replicate? Just try to remember, this may be your first but it is not your last! You may manage to get down to about 5 characters and still can't pick just 1, but remember you can always do the other 4 in the near future.
I'd say not to worry about the complexity of the character though! You can ALWAYS find a way to make it work.
If this is going to be a long project of making the outfit though, I'd suggest choosing a character that excites you that even 6 months down the line, you're still going to get excited over making the outfit.
Actually getting the cosplay together
Okay, theres multiple ways to do this.
1. You can search the characters name + cosplay, into amazon, google, and maybe some other shops and you'll be able to find the majority of the cosplay there! Just pick your size and click buy!
Pros: Its quick and easy, accurate, and usually rather cheap!
Cons: Sometimes the sizes can be wrong/not fitted. Material may be cheap and not up to your standards.
2. You can make it yourself! Whether making templates yourself or using already made templates.
Pros: You can make it to how you want it. You can chose what material its made in. You can do it as cheap and as expensive as you want to.
Cons: It takes ALOT of time and YouTube tutorials. It may require some skill.
3. You can find the clothing pieces separately in normal clothes stores!
Pros: Quality is usually good. You already know your sizes and can see the sizes in person just to double check.
Cons: Sometimes store just wont have that item you're looking for. Whether simple or wild. It requires ALOT of looking around, especially regular trips to charity shops!
Making the cosplay from scratch
Get references of the character in the outfit you want. Loads. Trust me, theres never too many. You might want pictures from all sorts of lighting just in case.
Then you want to analyse what they are wearing. This might be a good time to look at other cosplays of the character. When looking at Shiro cosplays, I realised some cosplayers used a dress method, and some used a skirt + a tshirt method. Both methods looked amazing! In the end, I went with a skirt + shirt method rather than a dress as this seemed easier to make and more comfortable for me to wear.
YouTube tutorials will honestly become your best friend, you can find templates online and sometimes there are tutorials aiming at teaching you how to make templates. There's not only YouTube videos, but sewing blogs and cosplay blogs are super helpful if you prefer written explanations.
Once you know what piece of clothing items you want to make, you're going to have to find out what its called exactly. For example: If you want to make a skirt, Google "types of skirt" and find which one best matches the one you want to make. Then, you can search multiple platforms to find out how to make that skirt. Searching "how to make a skirt" may or may not be useful as theres so many different types of skirts out there.
Once you've made the pieces, there's going to be a few things you might have to buy already made. And thats okay! For my Shiro, some things I just couldn't make or...they just weren't worth my time making. A pair of socks accurate to my cosplay were £1.50 each and the material alone would probably end up costing more than that, so sometimes it's just best to buy parts you can't make.
Buying the pieces seperately
Some cosplays have a more simple design and more "normal" clothes involved in the cosplay so you can find most parts in stores.
First up though, same as above, you're going to need to find some references of the character in that outfit. Try and find some from different scenes, lightings, angles and sometimes even half naked with 1 or so items on at a time. (this can help you figure out if its a skirt or a dress etc).
Once you've got your references, you're going to want to head to the shops. You can do this online! But I feel like it's better to do it in person so you can make sure size, texture and the flow of the outfit is all correct.
The best places to start are probably charity stores, it's far cheaper, and you can find all sorts of random things! (especially good if you're going to be doing abit of DIY on it!). Then next up, head to the branded stores, these trips are usually going to take up your whole day. And if you're going the charity shop route, you might have to pop in every other day because stock in charity stores changes regularly and once its gone, its gone!
I honestly don't have many tips for this area, apart from keep checking your reference while looking for colours and styles of the clothings. and don't be afraid to spice it up a bit!
General Tips / Things to remember:
- Your cosplay is your cosplay! You're allowed to do it your way! It doesn't have to look a certain way or follow certain guidelines. It doesn't matter what your skin tone is, if you have tattoos, your gender, height or weight. You can still cosplay that character!
- Theres no such thing as a bad cosplay! We're all here sharing a hobby together. and theres no such thing as a bad way to do a cosplay.
- Your cosplay is valid!
- If you need help with anything, most people in the cosplay community are more than happy to help! A personal go to choice of mine is a Facebook group for UK cosplayers.
- If you're enjoying it, then you're doing it right! - no matter how the end result looks!
- JUST GO FOR IT! YOU CAN DO IT AND I BELIEVE IN YOU!
I hope this helped a bit for them beans who just aren't too sure. ~ Omo
Have you cosplayed before? Show us your cosplay pictures in the comments!~