Which cosplay character to be is one of our most often asked questions about costumes.
This is a hard one to answer as cosplay is a very personal choice, usually based on something you love - a particular character, show or movie. The #1 thing to consider (though even this is changing) is the characters general appearance and gender. If you are female and short, trying to cosplay a tall male character might be too much of a challenge (though gender bending crossplay can be fun!). If you wear glasses, pick a character that can wear them or one that has something that hides them (unless you can wear contacts).
When deciding on a character to cosplay, here are the top factors to consider:
1. What am I comfortable doing? Consider your personality - if you are generally
shy and reserved, you might not want to go for a scantily dressed or
very outgoing character that is always giving out hugs for example. Wearing a costume is fun, but cosplay is about being that character. Can you pull off that characters swagger or characteristics to be convincing? I have seen a LOT of Captain Jack Sparrows, but there are only a handful that can really pull off the character. Those are the ones that are remembered (and photographed!) the most.
2. What is my budget and time frame? If you don't have a lot of time or money right now, keep your cosplay simple. Don't try to make a huge pair of wings or use an expensive brocade fabric just because the character you want to represent has them. Think simple and perhaps choose a different character saving that special one when you have more time. Or find a good Halloween costume you can start with saving time and money. I have seen some very effective cosplays that were little more than jean and a tee-shirt - it's all about embodying the character.
2. Where will I be wearing my cosplay costume? If you are going to an anime convention, you probably want to choose an anime character for instance. Also consider how you will walk and maneuver in the costume - those Transformer cosplay costumes are awesome, but you are going to need others to help you in/out of it and navigate the convention floor - if you can fit thru the doors or hallways!
3. What experience do I have (or have access to) in sewing or building props? While it is great to challenge yourself, I've seen more than a few half finished costumes because someone took on more than they were ready for. Keep within your skill set, especially for the first few times cosplaying. Then learn and grow as you can. If you already are great at sewing but have no idea how to build the props your character always has, go with a different cosplay until you get better at prop building (or meet someone who is!).
4. Are I Cosplaying alone or with a group? It can be a lot of fun to get a group together and cosplay an entire cast or set of characters from the same show - though coordination can be extra difficult. You will often find everyone wants to be Rey or Ren, but no one wants to be Finn. So how do you decide who gets to play the role of their dreams and who has to take on someone else for the sake of the cosplay? A small group of 2-3 is easier to manage but make sure you will all have time to finish your costumes - nothing worse than half a group because someone didn't!
5. How long will I have to wear the costume? Some costumes are just plain uncomfortable and if you are not having a hotel room at the convention or event, plan to wear it all day long. Can you? Can you move in it? See in it? Eat in it? Use the facilities in it? Wear it around your house before tackling the convention center. If your costume calls for high heel stilletto shoes, can you walk in them? Is there a way you can change out your shoes if your feet start to hurt? Nothing is worse than taking all the time to build a killer cosplay costume and then have to sit in a corner because you cannot walk in it for more than 10 minutes!
When it comes down to it, you want to have fun cosplaying - that's what it is all about! So take some time to really think about the above questions when you are planning your next cosplay costume. We cannot wait to see it!!