Cosplay Survival Guide: How to Pick a Cosplay

Picking your cosplay is — perhaps — one of the most exciting parts of the entire cosplay process. This decision is a very important one for many reasons. For starters, some cosplays may take many weeks to build; so, your decision could be a huge commitment. Also, in a way, you are choosing who you will get to be at your next con. We find this process of picking your cosplay to be so much fun. However, we believe you should consider more than just what character you want to be. Here’s some of our advice on how to pick a cosplay for your next con. 

1. Circumstance

Circumstance might be the most crucial thing to consider when choosing a cosplay. However, it is unfortunately one of the most overlooked. For example, you should think about the weather when picking a cosplay. If you are going to Florida SuperCon, it will obviously be quite warm, so maybe dressing as Jon Snow and wearing a massive fur cape is not the best idea. You should also contemplate how long you will be wearing your cosplay. If you have elements made out of heavy materials (such as wood or metal) on your cosplay, they will likely grow to be quite annoying cumbersome. 

Another circumstance, aside from weather and time, that we think you should consider is what activities you will be partaking in. Many conventions have some interesting panel discussions that you can sit and listen to. Although, sitting for an hour with lots of armor will likely get uncomfortable. At the end of the day, this is the name of the game: comfort. Recognize the circumstances of your next con to choose a cosplay that you will be comfortable in. 

astrid and cosplayer at convention 

2. Skill Level

Along with circumstance, you should also take stock in your own skill level when choosing a cosplay. If you are not the best builder in the world, maybe you should simply alter clothes and glue fabrics? This may sound limiting, but there are actually tons of great choices that will still have you looking great at your next con. If you believe you are savvy builder, then go ahead and try to use some more advanced materials in the build. We also believe that you should be honest with yourself about what your strengths and weaknesses are as a builder. Every cosplayer is different; do what you do best when picking your next cosplay!

3. Cost

Another important — albeit obvious — point to remember when choosing a cosplay is cost. Clearly, not all building materials cost the same. A thermoplastic armor build would put a dent in your pocket a bit more than a cardboard build, for example. There are still many great ways, however, to make a fantastic cosplay on a budget.

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The Chinese word for “crisis” is composed of two characters that can actually be translated to “dangerous” and “opportunity”. We recommended a similar attitude when considering the financial aspects of cosplay building. Get creative and do not view your budget as an obstacle, view it as a dangerous opportunity!

4. Time Frame

When deciding on your next cosplay, you should also be quite mindful of the time frame that you have to work in. Some cosplays simply take far more time to build than others. We hope that you wouldn’t start a three-week build the night before your next con, but you never know! Simply put, just be smart with your time when picking what cosplay you would like to make for your next con.

5. Convention Guidelines 

Most conventions have a certain set of guidelines. Typically, these are explicitly stated on their website and are created to ensure that everyone has a safe, fun time. It’s obviously a bad idea to bring a functional weapon as a prop, or any other prop that may risk the safety of others. You are also expected to behave a certain way at a con, as you are in public. 

But aside from safety and behavior rules, you may also need to consider other guidelines. For example, be aware of the con you are attending and if it is a genre-specific one. You certainly do not want to wear your Spider-Man cosplay to a Harry Potter Convention. 

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As you can see, there are many things that should go through your mind when picking a cosplay, other than just what characters you like. In this post, we discussed some points that we believe to be important; however, there are many more. If you are going with friends, for example, it could be fun to coordinate your cosplays. Or, consider choosing a cosplay that is relevant to a film or show coming out. 

We think that if you take our advice, you will have a great time at your next con!