Cosplay, which is short for the phrase costume play, is becoming more and more popular. It consists of creating costumes, either original ones or costumes based on characters from an anime, a book, a TV show or a movie. These costumes are usually worn to various types of fan conventions. There are entire subcultures to choose a costume from, and the costumes range from intricate to very simple.
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Steampunk is a very popular cosplay style. It is based on the idea of an alternate Victorian universe where technology is run by steam power. These costumes can be put together with a little craftiness. Victorianesque base clothes, such as corsets or tailed jackets are adorned with clockwork jewellery, top hats, flying goggles and odd steam-powered contraptions. A costumier can really let her imagination run wild since Steampunk isn't based on specific characters. Another popular way the Steampunk style is used is to do Steampunk versions of well-known characters such as Iron Man, R2-D2 or Professor X. Characters are reimagined as if they existed in a Steampunk world, and the costumier constructs a costume around this new version of the character. You can make items like flying goggles, guns and jewellery, or add clockwork gears to items.
Medieval and Period Costumes
Intricate and accurate period costumes are also a common sight at fan conventions. These costumes can represent anything from a pirate to a medieval archer. Patterns for these types of costumes can usually be found at local fabric stores. Some outfits, like a pirate costume, can be pieced together from clothes from a thrift shop or the back of a closet, using items like bandannas to add to the look of the costume. These costumes are also good starting points for beginners; there is no character to try to match exactly, just a plan for a costume.
Dressing like a fairy, an elf or a devil is another easy cosplay idea, especially if there is already a medieval costume leftover from Halloween sitting in the closet. Fairies can wear practically anything; it is their make-up and ears that make them fairies, not necessarily the clothes that they wear. Various types of fairy ears and creative make-up designs can be found online and in local stores. Devils, vampires and werewolves also fall into this category, although werewolves are more difficult to do make-up for.
Animal Ears and Wigs
A quick, cute homemade cosplay costume is to wear a costume or distinctive outfit you already have with a brightly coloured Anime style wig and a set of animal ears. Cat ears are the most common set of animal ears used for this type of costume, but raccoon, bunny and bear ears can also be used. Some suggestions for costumes are a maid outfit, a ball gown, a tea dress, a nice suit or even a gothic Lolita outfit. As for a wig, anything brightly coloured with a lot of layers that looks like the hair an Anime character would have is a good choice. Wigs are also optional, so if a costumier doesn't have the money or time to find one, the animal ears are enough.
Specific Anime, Sci-Fi, and Fantasy Costumes
There are many, many costumes to choose from in this broad category. Technically any of them can be made at home, although some (such as Stormtroopers, which require the ability to vacuum-form) are harder to craft than others. Many people turn their cosplaying into an art, picking out the perfect character to play and working for months on the costume. Jedi, Starfleet Officers, Ghostbusters, Disney Princesses and Naruto characters are just a few of the costumes that can be found at conventions. Good starter costumes are simple ones, such as Battlestar Galactica uniforms, or an anime character from Naruto, Sailor Moon or a similar anime. Look at images of the character you'd like to portray, and start by using items you may have in your closet already. If you're portraying a military character from a video game, military surplus stores often have combat boots or military jackets that can make up part of a cosplay costume.
Sometimes you just want a quick costume, whether it is for a Halloween party or a last-minute convention appearance. Shaun from the zombie film "Shaun of the Dead" is a good easy costume for men; it consists of a white dress shirt with a red ink stain on the pocket as well as some blood splatter, black dress trousers, a cricket bat and a tie wrapped around the head. V from "V for Vendetta" is also an idea for a man; all he requires is black clothes with a black tux-like jacket, a V mask and a short black wig. For women, Tifa from Final Fantasy VI is relatively simple as her costume is a white shirt, dark shorts, suspenders and big boots. If someone considers his general appearance and looks around, there is likely a relatively "regular" or "modern" character that would allow him to use regular clothes rather than having to sew something special.
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