Before you dive into creating the costume of your dreams, take a moment for some reflection and ask yourself these seven simple questions. The answers will help you come up with a plan and could save you a lot of time, money, and stress.
1. What costume do I want?
Are you cosplaying a character or creating something original? Are you recreating a costume or giving it a new twist? What do you want it to look like? Having a vision in mind will help you get started and keep you motivated when you hit snags.
2. Where will I wear it?
Is it for a convention or party? How many hours at a time will you be wearing it? Will you have to stand or walk a lot? Is it for a competition? Will you have to navigate stairs, doorways, or crowds? Conditions like time, mobility, and temperature are major considerations when putting your costume together.
3. How much time do I have?
Is this for a specific event? How much time can you devote to building your costume between starting and when you need it? Are there pieces you will need to order or techniques you will need to test? Some costumes can be finished in a few hours, others can take months or even years. Know your time frame and plan accordingly. Sometimes that means cutting out complicated or hard to find pieces.
4. How much money do I expect to spend?
What supplies do you need? What do you already have that you can use or re-use? What will be the most expensive part of the costume? Where can you cut corners? Having a budget will help you stay on track and keep from getting carried away with a lot of stuff you don’t need.
5. How much money am I WILLING to spend?
What is a reasonable amount for you to spend on a costume? What is too much? Not every costume goes over budget, but you should always be prepared in case it does. Give yourself a spending cap and know what pieces you can leave out, if you have to.
6. Do I have friends who can help?
Do you know any cosplayers? Anyone with sewing or crafting skills? Friends of friends who make stuff or have access to special tools? Your personal creative network can be a tremendous resource, especially when it comes to building props, tech, and anything you’re not sure how to do. Whether someone makes something for you or gives you the benefit of their expertise, remember to express appreciation through thanks or compensation.
7. Will I be comfortable in this costume?
Is anything poking you? Are there any parts that will chafe? Will you be able to walk and move around comfortably? Are you okay with the amount of skin showing? Will the weight bother you? What can you adjust to make it more comfortable? Most costumes are a little bit uncomfortable, especially after wearing them all day at a convention, but that doesn’t mean you can minimize your suffering. It’s important to make sure you’ll be as comfortable as possible, physically and mentally, so that you can enjoy your cosplay experience, even if that means choosing slightly lower heels or a less gravity-defying bust line.