5 Small Things That Will Greatly Improve Your Cosplay

No big introduction this time! Let’s get into it right away! (I wish I could say the same thing about my own projects…)

 

1. IRON, IRON, IRON!

When I was a kid, I didn’t see the point of ironing. It seemed like a waste of time because in the end, you’re just going to toss your clothes back into the washing machine so why bother? I was so, so wrong.

Ironing makes all the difference in the world when it comes to clothes, especially cosplays. Fictional characters are always wearing flawless clothing without wrinkles all over the fabric, and this is what you want. Nobody wants to look like they rolled out of bed in their cosplay or having it seem like they only just took it out of the packaging.

Source: http://shannonsews.blogspot.com.au/2011/11/de-wrinkle-clothes-in-pinch.html
However, this method will not work all the time! Nothing beats the good ol’ iron, so put some elbow grease into it!
Although the difference seems subtle, a lot of people will still notice
Source: http://thethriftyissue.com.au/?p=3789

Be careful not to burn your fabric! Synthetics have the least heat resistance, natural fibers like cotton and wool have the highest, but blends depend. Start low and go higher if your fabric isn’t smoothing out. Spraying a little bit of water also helps a lot! Use a spray bottle even if you can fill your iron up with water as it will help your iron last longer.

When you are making your own cosplay, be sure you iron every seam as you finish sewing them. This is often the difference between your garment looking amateurish or professional.

 

2. MIND YOUR POSTURE

Especially with how rapidly technology is advancing, many people nowadays spend their time slouching at a desk and slumping as they walk. This can make for unattractive photos so make sure you straighten your back and slightly tuck in your chin! It seems like a minor thing, but characters are usually drawn with good posture, so people often do take notice. Even if it’s only when someone asks you for a photo, remind yourself to take note of your posture, or get a friend to remind you.

Admittedly, this is one I sometimes struggle with but I’m getting there!

Unless your character is known to slouch, of course

The first and second examples on both pictures show bad posture, and the last one is good posture
Doing a lot of sports is known to be good for your posture!
Pictured: Haikyuu!!, Yowamushi Pedal, Kuroko no Basuke
Also very important if your character wears a formal uniform – doubly so if they’re in the military, like the ones from Seraph of the End

Also, it is worth paying attention to how your character would stand and walk. Typically, males will not sway their hips when walking, or stick their hip out when standing. Likewise, females usually walk with their knees slightly brushing against each other and will not stand with their legs far apart. Of course, there are exceptions so observe your character, or the people around you!

Different people have different stances and gaits, as you can tell from
the cast of Tiger & Bunny

 

3. MAKE SURE YOUR COSPLAY FITS WELL

Being able to simply put the cosplay on is different from it fitting well! Sure, you can put on your dad’s suit, but it doesn’t mean you will look good.

But if you’re going for that zoot suit look then suit yourself!
However, usually we’d want to look like the guy on the right, not the left. A trained eye will be able to spot the differences right away

Just like posture, this is especially important if your character wears a uniform, but I think this should apply to everyone. Different types of garments will have different signs of ill fit, so be sure to research them first. Clothing should not be very loose around you – it should leave you enough room to comfortably move, and it should not be so tight that it begins to wrinkle at the seams or buttons. Of course, there are garments with an intended loose fit, so this does not apply to everything.

An excellent guide on shirts which can be found here: http://www.realmenrealstyle.com/proper-dress-shirt-fit/

Sometimes, from the artwork, characters do look like their clothes would be technically ill-fitting, but you should still strive to make your cosplay well-fitted as 2D does not always translate well to 3D.

All the bunching up and wrinkling would mean an ill fit in real life. It only looks good because it’s 2D
Pictured: Yu-Gi-Oh! GX

 

4. WEAR A WIG AND MAKEUP

I’ve seen many a beginner ask about which hair dyes wash out easily, and if hair chalk would be easier, only for a barrage of cosplayers to urge them to use a wig. Ask pretty much anyone and they will agree a wig is the way to go – they hold styles much better and for longer, they come in a bunch of lengths and colours, they save you when you’re having a bad hair day, and they help boost your accuracy.

Of course, there are times where you can use your own hair (such as when the hairline shows or if the hairstyle is extremely short), but wigs are still the best 99% of the time. It is also a lot more cost effective than if you dyed your hair, and they can be reused over and over again!

Imagine having to style the hair on your head to look like this!
Source: http://malindachan.deviantart.com/art/Animefest-2011-Yusei-Fudo-259099771

Characters often rely on their hair to look unique and like themselves, so wearing a good wig will be worth it!

Also, be sure to cut and style your wig. Beginners will find this daunting but don’t be afraid! There are tons of tutorials out there to help you, and you can practise on a cheaper wig if need be. Just a few small snips can make the wig look a lot better and not obstruct your vision as much.

I recently had to cut my first wig –  all I had to do was trim the fringe a bit, but I was really afraid of stuffing it up. I went slowly and at the end I thought, “Hey, that wasn’t so bad! I’m done and my wig is still in one piece!”

For characters whose hair sticks up a lot, spruce your wig up with a bit of strong hairspray or wax. Fan favourites include the Got2B Glued hairspray, and Gatsby hair wax. Not all wax will work on wigs so do some research first!

Compare the pair!
Source: http://charastars.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=202

Makeup is also something beginners often find daunting. I started using wigs straight away but I wasn’t fond of makeup so I always skipped it. I’ve never used it in my entire life so even putting on eyeliner was hard for me, and what the heck was foundation? You just sort of smush it on your face, right? Well, that’s what I did at first and results weren’t great as you can imagine, so I started scouring the net far and wide for tutorials, then practised at home in my spare time. I’m not very good at it yet but I’m learning!

Foundation evens out your skintone and photographs better, eyeliner and fake lashes brighten your eyes and make them bigger, and contouring can slightly change the shape of your face – makeup is really amazing! Even with just a little foundation and eyeliner, you will be able to see the difference it makes.

Yes, it can be very expensive – foundations can run up to $80 or over! – but there are many cheap alternatives out there, like elfcosmetics. Take a trip down to your local makeup retailer and ask them to help you pick suitable products – most of the time they will offer you samples to take home, too!

“You! Put on some makeup! Like me!”
Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i4ZIf63V7X0

For your viewing pleasure, here is a video of some amazing makeup transformations (skip to 3:20):

Cosplay is all about trying new things and pushing your limits, so give it a go!

 

5. CHOOSE THE RIGHT FABRICS AND MATERIALS

Because, of course, they are the heart of all cosplays! Different fabrics have different properties, which make them suitable or unsuitable for whatever you’re making, so be sure to know what to pick.

Source: http://an0riel.deviantart.com/art/White-Raven-Azarath-Metrion-Zinthos-405061447
Although these (from Atelier Boz) and the photo above are both capes, their functions are very different. This one would be made out of a woven fabric like wool, while the one above would be made of a knit fabric for that flowy look

I’ve made a cape or two with woven materials and while they look fine, they just don’t flow as nicely as a knit is cape-able of.

Most of the time it would be fine to choose something based on aesthetics, but for people less experienced with fabric this will not always work out. Some might think broadcloth cotton will do just fine for a coat, but you’re better off picking twill or a polycotton mix. This is a little hard to explain just over an article since you need to feel the fabrics for yourselves, so next time if you need help be sure to ask whoever’s working at the fabric store. Or, if you like the work of a certain cosplayer, ask what they used!

Also, most cosplayers will agree to never pick cheap, shiny fabric. If you do want a bit of shine, it will be worth it to save up and shell out a bit more for more high quality satins – they will look and photograph much better!

A typical cheap, low quality Sailor Moon costume. So shiny a crow would probably start attacking you. This is also a good example of why you should always iron your cosplays
This is much better – the sheen is noticeable but smooth and muted.
Source: http://windofthestars.com/blog/costumes/sailor-moon-eternal-sailor-moon/

Keep thin fabrics (like the aforementioned broadcloth) to linings and learn the properties of knits and wovens. Wovens keep their structure and do not stretch much (if at all), so they are more suitable for coats and uniforms. Knits can stretch and flow very well, so they are often used for bodysuits and capes. If you use a knit for a coat, it will look wobbly and weak. If you use a woven for a bodysuit, it will be uncomfortable and wrinkle a lot.

If you are using thermoplastics like worbla for armour, be sure to do some research on how to use them first. Generally you will have to reinforce it with some craft foam instead of using it by itself. Look up the different types of foam – craft foam, expanding foam, and styrofoam are all types of foam but they are extremely different to work with. This applies to wood too. Pine may be harder and stronger than balsa, but balsa is softer, lighter, and easier to work with – not to mention it is sometimes the only type of wood cons will allow.

 

Well, I hope you learnt a lot from this article! Best of luck on your cosplay endeavours, and let us know in the comments what else we should all look out for!

 

-Pinni

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My Basic Cosplay Wardrobe Essentials

Also known as clothes I find myself using over and over again.

Having these readily available in your wardrobe will make your life a lot easier as you wouldn’t have to keep going out to buy or make them again. This list will vary for everyone depending on what kind of characters you tend to like to cosplay, but here’s mine!

 

1. WHITE DRESS SHIRTS

Long- and short-sleeved ones are equally essential!

A typical mens’ dress shirt

 

A typical women’s dress shirt. Notice how it has added seams for a more fitted look. In View C, you can see small seams at the bust – these are called darts. Mens’ shirts don’t have these or the extra seams so make sure you wear the right shirt for your character!
If you’re wearing long sleeves over the shirt, most of the time you can get away with a short-sleeved shirt, but sometimes the cuffs peek out like this so pay attention!

 

2. TROUSERS – BLACK, BROWN, WHITE

Something like 10 of my cosplays need black pants haha. Brown is also standard (but less popular), and I’ve been seeing more and more characters wear white so it is definitely worth picking some up. Incorporate them into your daily outfits and it’s a win-win!

Straight and tapered are the ones I wear most often
Source: http://www.thechicfashionista.com/womens-fashion-pants.html
Oh trousers, how I love thee

 

3. A NICE, WELL-FITTED BLAZER

Black is the most versatile in my opinion. They’re also great for when you just want to do a casual photoshoot and you can just chuck it on for a suit variant of your character.

Who can blame suits for being so good-looking?
Pictured: Psycho Pass

Like dress shirts, suits are also made for different figures so be sure to wear the right one!

 

The three main lapel types – peak, notch, and shawl. Notch lapels are the most common in anime/manga/games/etc
Source: http://suitup-instyle.weebly.com/get-the-tips.html

The fit of the blazer can really make or break a cosplay so be sure to familiarise yourself with how it should look on your body before you make a purchase, or have one custom made to your measurements.

 

4. NECK TIES

You can really tell I’m a big fan of formalwear, haha. Black, again, is the most common, but with how cheaply you can buy them why not get a couple more colours like dark blue or red? Go wild and make your own rainbow tie rack!

Must… stop… buying… ties…!

 

This knot is the easiest
No character (to my knowledge) wears the trinity knot but it looks really cool and is actually really easy to tie!

 

5. LEATHER BELTS

Of course, this list would not be complete without the mention of a belt. And yes, you guessed it – black is again, the most common! I currently have a black, white, and brown belt. If you have small hips or a thin waist, you might have trouble finding a belt that will fit you so invest in a leather hole puncher (this is something I am constantly forgetting to buy…)

Beats trying to push a nail through your belt by hand

 

Thanks for always keeping my pants up, belt

 

6. LOAFERS

Brown and black are the only ones you really need, and sorry black but I think brown beats you on this one! I love loafers because they’re perfect for casual wear and they’ve very comfortable, plus there’s no need to tie any of those pesky shoelaces. They’re also very common so you should be able to easily find a pair at your local mall, shoe shop, or thrift store. I actually found my favourite pair at a secondhand shop for $8!

No loafing around! Go to school!

Make sure you keep them nice and shiny by polishing them.

I’ve been through a lot… :(

 

7. WHITE GLOVES

Ah yes, the favourites of mechanics, posh people, and characters from ambiguously dated time periods.

How many pairs do you reckon Sebastian has?

 

Get some simple matte ones (like cotton), not the shiny party stuff

Wearing gloves can make it hard to use touchscreens, but you can follow this tutorial to sew some conductive thread into the fingertips or use a stylus.

Sorry, but your Nintendo DS stylus won’t work

 

8. SOCKS

This one is pretty obvious but I thought I’d mention it anyway. I use both black and white (not at the same time) but until halfway through my time as a cosplayer, I never had black socks! That was weird.

White socks go with everything but sometimes you need black socks to fill that space between your shoes and trousers, where white would stand out too much.

Pinni, I thought you loved black!

If you’re like me and tend to cosplay male characters 99% of the time, you only really need socks that go a bit past your ankle. However, if you cosplay a lot of female characters, you might want to get socks that go up to your knee and maybe even thigh highs.

Did you know that there are stockings that only look like thigh highs? Mankind really has come far, huh…

 

9. CHEST BINDER

Last but not least, you’ll probably need a chest binder! Please, please invest in a good one and not those $12 ebay ones, and definitely do not use tape to bind your chest! They are uncomfortable and can be very bad for your body. I’ve worn really cheap binders before and it restricted my breathing and hurt my back even though it was the right size.

Many people swear by GC2b binders and while they can be a bit pricey, it really is worth investing in a good binder. This is something you will be wearing again and again over a very sensitive part of your body so you’d want a product of good quality!

If you can’t get a binder, try wearing a sports bra and wearing one or two regular bras over it, but backwards – the clasps will help flatten your chest. Remember not to do physically intense activity while binding, and only bind for a maximum of 8 hours a day.

 

That concludes my list! What other things do you find yourself wearing over and over again? Let us know in the comments!

 

-Pinni

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Can’t Get Enough of Cosplay? Do It Every Day!

Now you’re probably thinking, “Pinni, if I go to my local supermarket as Goku I’d probably be asked to leave.”

Yeah, I getcha. Besides, that wig would most likelu take someone’s eye out, and you wouldn’t want that.

Unlike other hobbies out there, cosplay is very much seasonal – cons are only held every now and then, and especially in countries like Australia, they’re only on a couple of times a year.

Sure, you can also organise your own photoshoots, but they only last a couple of hours – not to mention they don’t leave much time for you to do anything else other than pose.

With all that posing, cosplayers are basically characters from “JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure”

Waiting for the next con to roll around can get pretty boring, so why not take advantage of every other day? I’ll be showing you a small selection of series where some of the characters’ outfits (or parts of it) can be worn comfortably at the mall or the park!

 

KATEKYO HITMAN REBORN! – underachiever Sawada Tsunayoshi is forced to become heir to the infamous Vongola Family due to a very distant familial relationship. The current head sends a hitman, Reborn, to get Tsuna into shape and transform him into an individual fit to become a mafia boss.

 

SAILOR MOON – the clumsy Tsukino Usagi befriends a talking cat who gives her the ability to transform into the beautiful “Sailor Moon”. Together, they seek out other “Sailor Soldiers” to combine their powers against evil.

These outfits remain stylish despite their age. Retro fashion is also making a comeback!
“Sailor Moon” has a very wide variety of styles to fit the cast’s diverse personalities

 

BROTHERS CONFLICT – Asahina Ema’s father remarries, and as a result she has 13 new family members – brothers who fall in love with her one after another. Oh, and she has a talking pet squirrel.

Yeah, this series is a bit… yeah.
At least the outfits are decent. I especially like Louis’ blue polka dot hoodie

LOVE LIVE!  A group of girls decide to become idols to save their school, which is forced to shut down due to the dwindling amount of enrollments. Later, they are launched into the “Love Live” idol competition which brings the best units from Japan together for a musical showdown.

This series also features a wide variety of outfits
Well, with nine lead characters, how can you not?
Being a younger series than “Sailor Moon”, the fashion styles are more modern and cater more to the tastes of young people today

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What to Bring to a Anime Convention

Anime Conventions are a busy time for everyone, especially for cosplayers who are scrounging for whatever bit of time they can get their hands on, rushing to finish their costume for the big day. Picture this – after snipping off the last thread, you bundle yourself into your car or try to fit onto public transport, then you arrive at the convention with a big smile… which is quickly dashed after realising you forgot to pack properly!

I’ve been in the same situation before which is why I meticulously check my to-bring list often before I leave. This article is here to help you stay organised and keep your worries from spreading further than your cosplay!

Here is a list I wrote for myself a while ago (customise it to suit your own needs!):

  • phone + charger
  • camera + charger + SD card (empty it out before the con or bring extras)
  • console (3DS, PS Vita, etc) + charger + games
  • money/wallet
  • con ticket/pass
  • things you may want con guests to sign
  • pencil case
  • transport ticket/pass
  • keys
  • food (lunch or snacks like muesli bars)
  • bottle of water
  • first aid kit (bandaids at the very least)
  • umbrella/raincoat
  • sanitary products
  • deodorant
  • spare socks
  • medication/painkillers

 

  • thread that matches your cosplay + needle
  • binder
  • makeup + remover
  • hot glue gun +sticks
  • superglue
  • lint roller
  • safety pins
  • wig caps
  • bobby pins/hair clips
  • insoles
  • hairspray/styling products
  • contacts + case + solution
  • scissors
  • wig styling scissors (if you’re cutting it really close! Haha!)
  • sewing kit
  • iron (there are mini ones you can purchase)

I prefer to write down repeats (like the chargers) instead of lumping them into one group as it’s easier to tick off.

If I’m bringing my cosplay and changing at the con, I find it helpful to write down every single component of it while looking at an official picture of the character (NOT doing it according to memory!)

Takakura Shouma meeting Penguin #2 in “Mawaru Penguindrum”

For example: wig, wig cap, shirt, tie, vest, blazer, trousers, belt, shoes, Penguin #2 plush, shoes (though normally I wear the shoes there so I usually won’t write it down)

The protagonist of “Persona 3”, known as Arisato Minato in the manga and Yuuki Makoto in the movies

For example: wig, wig cap, shirt, bow, blazer, binder, mp3, headphones, armband, belt, trousers, holster, holster belt, Evoker (the gun prop), tarot card

Ayanami Rei from “Neon Genesis Evangelion”

For example: wig, wig cap, contacts, shirt, bow, dress, black socks, white shoes, bag (when I cosplayed her, I made the dress in two parts so I also wrote down straps, skirt, safety pins)

 

Being extremely specific is the key!

 

Here is a great picture that cosplay-on-a-budget.tumblr.com put together:

Source: http://cosplaying-on-a-budget.tumblr.com/post/72589477533/making-a-con-survival-kit

Here’s another one from Crazy 4 Comic Con:

Visit their page for the full size: https://crazy4comiccon.wordpress.com/2012/07/06/comic-con-check-list/

Let us know in the comments what else you would put on the list!

-Pinni

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Cosplay Ideas- Phantom Thieves! (and their companions)

I’ve loved phantom thieves since I was a kid. Their fantastical flair and ability to steal anything from under anyone’s nose fascinate me to this day, even if their wild stunts do sometimes defy the laws of physics. Their fondness for theatrics are shown through the costumes they wear, which make them very fun characters to cosplay!

Without further ado, let’s begin!

1. KAITOU KID

Starting off with a classic and one of my favourites! Magic-obsessed teenager Kuroba Kaito by day, elusive-yet-showy thief by night, Kaitou Kid’s deft sleights of hand, outrageous tactics, and daring escapes (including driving a car out of a skyscraper window) have dazzled fans since 1987. Although it seems like he steals for the fun of it, Kid is actually trying to find and destroy a gem that grants immortality before the organisation that killed his father can get to it.

You can find him in the Magic Kaito manga, the 2014 adaptation Magic Kaito 1412, or the Detective Conan series (which is known as Case Closed in the US), where he often appears as a rival of the main character, Edogawa Conan.

Many of the side characters have fairly simple designs as well, so this is a great group cosplay idea for beginners!


Kuroba Kaito and his alter ego, Kaitou Kid


Kaito’s childhood sweetheart, the energetic Nakamori Aoko


One of the few who are a match for Kaitou Kid, the genius detective Hakuba Saguru

2. PHANTOM R

Another teenager in disguise, Phantom R is a thief slightly unlike his more traditional associates – he returns the artworks he steals! He only pursues treasures that may hold a clue to his missing father, and has no need to keep them if they do not prove to be useful. When he isn’t busy sneaking around in museums, the swift Phantom R spends the remainder of his nights jumping over the rooftops and theatre balconies of Paris with his pet dog Fondue as he evades the police force. The rollerblading police force. When he isn’t up to his usual hijinks as a thief, he prefers to flip pancakes and toss treats to Fondue to the beat of the music in this funky (and, sadly, obscure) rhythm game from Sega.


Plain (for video game standards, anyway) student Raphael is actually the notorious Phantom R


The skilful violinist Marie crosses paths with Phantom R one fateful night


The son of the police inspector who pursues Phantom R, Charlie Vergier is one of Phantom R’s rivals

3. KAITOU JEANNE

The 1998 manga Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne (which saw an anime adaptation a year later) reveals the secret life of high school gymnast Kusakabe Maron. A modern day reincarnation of the French heroine Jeanne D’Arc, Kaitou Jeanne is Maron in her transformed phantom thief/magical girl state. Though, technically, she does not steal anything – she is on a sacred mission to save God which involves defeating demons that just happen to reside in artworks. After the demons are defeated, the artwork disappears so it seems like they were stolen. Thus, the public begins to call her a phantom thief.


Jeanne’s rival, Kaitou Sinbad. Unbeknownst to her, Sinbad knows of her real identity although she does not know his.


Jeanne and Sinbad’s companion angels, Fin Fish and Access Time.

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