Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Cosplaying on a Budget

SLC Comic Con Fan Experience is coming up quick! I'm super excited, because this will be my first convention as part of the Mormon Geeks team. One of my favorite parts of the Comic Cons I've attended has been the costumes. I've been cosplaying for a few years now and it's pretty fun. It can get expensive though, especially as a student, so I wanted to share a few tips that I've learned over the years about how to cosplay without emptying your wallet.

David and I at FanX last year

1.    Thrift stores are your friends: Thrift stores have saved me tons of money with my costumes. Granted, it's somewhat luck of the draw to be able to find what I need for my costume at Savers or at DI, but sometimes I do get lucky. My red shirt for my Mario costume, my tweed jacket and red /striped shirt for my 11th Doctor costume, my boots for my Hook costume, and my hat and shoes for my Russell costume all came from second-hand stores.
2.    Check Amazon for deals: Amazon has some great deals! I found my Mario hat and my 11thDoctor fez relatively cheap online. And especially if you have Amazon Prime, it can really save you some money.
3.    Utilize other inexpensive stores: Ross has been a store that I've used for my costumes as well. My 11th Doctor bow tie was from Ross for only about $11. I also got a black shirt for my Hook costume for only $16 from H&M.
4.    Use what you have: In almost every costume I have, I've used pieces of clothing that I already owned. I used my dress shoes for my Mario costume and my 11th Doctor costume, my vest for my Hook costume, and my yellow shirt for my Russell costume. In addition, when David dressed as the 9th Doctor, he used my leather jacket and a v-neck that he already owned. I was also able to use that same leather jacket (which I've had for years) for my Storybrooke variation of my Hook costume.
5.    Reuse what you have: If you already bought a piece of a costume that you need for a costume you've already done, why waste money on an extra costume? That's why when David dressed up as Carl, we just reused by 11th Doctor tweed jacket.
6.    Ask around for help: Especially in the LDS community, you'll find lots of people willing to lend their help. After asking, I've been able to borrow a scout sash from my Bishop for my Russell costume, I got a couple different people on separate occasions to do my makeup for my Hook costume (and once for my Mario mustache), and I was able to get someone to hem my pants for my Hook costume.
7.    Allow some leeway: Sometimes it does get expensive, despite our best efforts. As hard as I tried, I couldn't find a pair of overalls for my Mario costume that were under $30. And it's kind of hard to find cheap parts for the costume I'll be debuting this Con. That being said, I've still spent less money on them than I would have otherwise, so it's all about prioritizing and having some leeway in my budget.
8.    It doesn't have to be perfect: I am all for perfection and excellence in cosplaying, but excellence doesn't mean you have to look exactly like the character does on the television. For example, Hook wears a lot of leather on Once Upon a Time. A LOT. That would be crazy expensive (and crazy hot) to track down a leather trench coat and leather pants. Instead of having all leather, I got a costume, vinyl trench coat and a pair of black jeans. It's not leather, but my Hook costume still looks great, for a small percentage of the cost.
9.    Have fun: If you're not having fun with your costume, then why bother? That's the whole point. Also, remember who you're dressing up for. If you're dressing up for the crowds, you may be disappointed. If you dress up for you, you'll have fun. Especially with more subtle costumes, like the 9th Doctor or Agent Coulson. You may not be recognized by everyone, but those are awesome costumes! Just enjoy the convention and have fun!

And again at Comic Con last fall

For anyone interested in cosplaying, make sure you check out the various cosplaying panels that will be at FanX. Make sure you check out the full panel schedule.

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