MeowAbout Cosplay
Costumes by TR Rose and Concolor
  Home Costumes Guides & Tutorials Convention Photos Future Plans  


Who should I cosplay?

One perspective on the popular question

The one question that everyone asks is "who should I cosplay?" There are thousands upon thousands of characters to choose from - anime, manga, video game, movie, and book characters, not to mention original designs. But what character is right for you to cosplay? This is a guide that works for me - your mileage may vary.

Well, what do you like? Favorite movies, TV shows, animes, video games, it's up to you. Keep this list in the back of your mind while you read over my suggestions.

The first thing I look at are Deal Breakers - things I just won't wear.

Your deal breakers might include things like "won't wear wigs" or "won't crossplay" or "no dresses shorter than knee-length". For those of you still living at home, this list might have a lot to do with what your parents allow you to wear. Once you figure out your deal breakers, you should be able to rule out some characters that won't work for you.

It's also a good idea to determine honestly whether or not the costume will suit you. Not everyone can wear the same outfits and look good. If the finished product will make you look ridiculous (such as a 40-year-old trying to portray a 5-year-old child, or a large, bearded man dressing as a Sailor Scout), it's not a good idea - unless you're going for a joke cosplay.

After the Deal Breakers are sorted out, I look at a few primary factors to decide if I want to make the costume.

Primary factors:

  1. I like the character
  2. I like the series/source material
  3. I like the outfit

If all 3 of these apply, I'll definitely add the costume to my list of future ideas.
If none of these factors apply, the cosplay isn't a good idea. Why would you want to spend time, effort, and money making a costume of someone you don't even like?
If one or two of these apply, I'll look at some secondary factors before making a final decision.

Secondary factors:

  1. The costume goes with a group or couple
  2. I can make it fast
  3. I can make it cheap
  4. I found the perfect fabrics, wig, etc.
  5. The costume uses techniques that I would like to learn
  6. The costume "breaks the mold" from what I usually make
  7. The character/series is popular right now
  8. I physically resemble the character (hair color & length, body type, etc)

If I don't have all 3 of the primary factors, things from the secondary list might nudge me into making the cosplay anyway. However, I also consider some negative factors that might be a detriment to making the costume at all.

Negative factors:

  1. The character is so obscure that nobody will know who I am
  2. The costume is very similar to cosplays I already have
  3. I have already cosplayed a version of this character
  4. The costume will take a long time to make
  5. The costume will be expensive
  6. The design is too advanced for my abilities
  7. The costume is not eye-catching (looks like normal clothes, for example)
  8. The character is so popular that everyone's done it already - I won't stand out

You need to weigh the good against the bad to decide whether you want to make the costume. Even if you don't have the skills to make the outfit now, you should make a note of the costume somewhere so you can come back to it later.

If you decide to make lots of costumes, your "future plans" list will definitely be a good thing to have! Over time, as you experience new shows and games, your list will evolve along with your tastes. As you fall in and out of fandoms, you'll probably decide to drop some of your original ideas for new things that you didn't know about before. I like to keep a folder of ideas on my computer where I collect reference artwork for possible costumes. There are many more ideas on there than I will ever make, but there have been times when I had an idea, changed my mind and shelved the idea, and then came back to it years later. I was glad to have saved my reference art!

Remember that ultimately, the question of "who should I cosplay" can only be answered by you. It's up to you to decide who you'd like to become for a while!

Best of luck, and happy costuming!


Home | Costumes | Guides & Tutorials | Convention Photos | Future Plans | Photo Credits

Costumes, Guides, and Content ©2005-2011 Mandy Nader and Lee Nader. Photos are copyrighted to their original photographers. Please do not use without permission.