Cosplaying for Beginners Do’s and Don’ts

As any seasoned cosplayer knows, cosplaying isn’t just costuming. It would be nice if it were, especially new entrants to the lifestyle, but it isn’t. Getting ready for Halloween for the non-cosplayer is as simple as going to a costume shop and picking an outfit that looks best. Cosplaying demands a lot of attention, and cosplayers have to be more involved with their outfit than just a visit to the outfit store.
Then there is the question of attending a convention. After all, you didn’t go through all the trouble of putting together the perfect costume just to wear in in the privacy of your home and take a few selfies. The objective is to demonstrate your hard work to other fans and people who would appreciate it.

demonstrate your hard work

It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that cosplayers live for comic conventions.
Both costuming and attending conventions year-round may be novel ideas to the new cosplayer. They are something that you, as a new cosplayer, would be looking forward to but aren’t sure how to approach. There are hundreds of great guides that will take you through every step of the costume planning and designing process in detail.

What we wanted to do here is something different. Reading a guide is great, and it should probably be your literature of choice when planning your cosplay. However, we wanted to put together a list of basic considerations that all new cosplayers should be aware of. They encompass a number of stages of cosplaying from selecting a costume to attending your first convention.


Select your cosplay wisely. You should always cosplay as a character you relate to and that inspires you. You can cosplay as whichever character you want to be, but there’s a catch. Put some thought into which character and costume you want to cosplay with. Think about the practicality of making the costume and wearing it.
Also, we advise new cosplayers to select characters they have history with.

Select your cosplay wisely

If you select a character from a series you started last week, you may not feel the same way about it in a couple of months. And then it’s just a lot of time and energy that you have wasted on a character you no longer wish to represent.


Feel disheartened when you see someone else cosplaying the same character you are. This is a common occurrence at conventions. Some cosplayers might even look more like the character than you do, because of their gender and race, and that’s okay. It doesn’t mean that you chose the wrong character, or you shouldn’t be cosplaying as them. If you feel passionate about a character, you have as much right to represent them as anyone else.


Feel disheartened

Be confident that you look stunning in your cosplay, regardless of your size. As does everyone else. The heart of a memorable cosplay is confidence. If you can manage to wear it with the pride that it deserves, people will acknowledge it and admire it. It is important to remember that there will always be critics, and even bullies.
However, if you have put in effort in putting together your costume, there will be far more people who like your cosplay and appreciate you for it. At the end of the day, the characters you are cosplaying as are fictional. They can be as slim or tall or short as they wish. You don’t have to be their size or their height to represent them as long as you at passionate about your costume and have fun wearing it.


Critique other cosplayers because of their size or height. They have every right to cosplay as the character they are passionate about. Cosplayers are a community, and they stay that way by supporting each other. Just as you can’t help what you look like, other people can’t help what they look like either. Body shaming, either at a convention, or on an online forum, is not okay, and it’s a line you shouldn’t cross.


Start early with the planning stage of your costume. A good cosplay requires time. Therefore, scouring costume shops the night before the event just won’t do. If you do manage to find something on such short notice, there is no way that it will stand out or be as special as you want it to be. Seasoned cosplayers start working on their outfit months before the scheduled event.
Even if you are going for mostly pre-stitched items or not stitching your own outfit, you still need to make sure that your costume and all the accessories that go with it that ready a couple of months before the event. This will give you ample time to try the costume out and make necessary adjustments. You will also be able to assess which accessories work, and which don’t so they can be replaced with items that go well with your outfit.



Give in to last minutes insecurities. Even if you have planned your outfit months in advance, it is normal to become obsessed with details hours before the event. Don’t. Even if there is something more that you could have done, now is not the time to worry about it. Very often cosplayers ruin their outfit trying to fix something that didn’t require fixing in the first place. If you didn’t find anything wrong with your outfit during all those months that you were revisiting every detail, you shouldn’t give in to the urge of making last minute changes.


Favor Quality

Favor quality over price. Everyone likes a good discount, but discounted items are often discounted for a reason. They are either too low-quality or have been lying in the store for too long. Online retailers will sometimes display misleading pictures of a particular item to make you think that you are getting a bargain.

This shows particularly with clothing and accessories such as wigs.
The fabric on cheap costumes is just as cheap as the price. It is void of the luster that you want to make your outfit stand out. Similarly, cheap wigs are like a head that is partially going bald. By spending a few more dollars you can get one that is fuller and looks more attractive. You should also always go with a retailer who has a higher rating and a large number of reviews.


Only search in local stores. This goes for both online an in-store shopping. Browse your neighborhood and nearby areas but also checkout other stores in the city, even if that requires travelling the extra mile. You can get some great deals at stores that are not too busy or are located in a quitter part of town. When shopping online, don’t restrict yourself to stores within your country only. Some of the best costumes are shipped by Chinese manufacturers. You can also get the item you are after at a lower price than if you were to be it from a local store.


Make new friends at the convention. Not only is it a great way to pass the time, you are also building a useful network. Cosplayers belong to a community of likeminded individuals. And most cosplayers are just looking for each other’s support. This way you can collaborate with other cosplayers on costumes and shoots. You can also ask for advice and tips from people who have had more experience with cosplaying than you do.
Making friends with other cosplayers will also help you reach out to a larger audience. As a cosplayer, you want your work to be appreciated by other people. The best wat to do this, apart from conventions, is through social media. Ask other cosplayers for their social media pages so you can follow and support them, and they will be more than happy to do the same with you. You can also promote each other’s work if you really hit it off.

Make new friends


Be a jerk. It is as simple as that. You’ve put in a lot of effort in your outfit, and so has everyone else. Our advice to all new and existing cosplayers is to always be a decent human being. If you like an outfit, approach the cosplayer and compliment them. If you don’t like an outfit, or if the cosplayer doesn’t look good wearing it, don’t say anything at all. Because putting together a cosplay requires so much dedication and hard work, you can really hurt someone’s feelings by criticizing their work.


This list of dos and don’ts isn’t as much an instruction manual as it is an overview of what works and what doesn’t when cosplaying. New users will often get too absorbed with detailed instructions and miss out some of the basic considerations that make or break a cosplay.
We hope that our tips on what to do and what to avoid will help you put together an awesome costume that becomes the envy of the next convention you attend. Even if that doesn’t happen, you will at least have a great time doing what you enjoy, with people who appreciate your art.