It’s autumn in the northeast United States and my con season is winding down, but not my cosplay season. For almost a decade now I’ve been practicing “stealth,” “closet,” or “everyday” cosplay more and more regularly. That same decade or so also saw the rise of Disneybounding, geek fashion shows and lines, and the extended Halloween season. It’s fun to dress up, to show off characters we love, and to participate in a movement.
Everyday cosplay is less work than a full-on costume but no less fun. These looks use your normal wardrobe of clothes and accessories you can buy in an average department store rather than those you need to get at a specialty shop, convention, or Etsy—or make yourself. You don’t need a wig or the exact shoes. Accuracy isn’t the point, it’s all about the idea of the character and our collective imagination. #Costober is a month-long event dedicated to the concept.
Last year, my daughter and I challenged ourselves to dress up every day in October. And it was a blast! By the end of the month, people were coming to my office just to see what I was wearing, and they were sad when it became November. So this year we’re doing it again. But you can do it for a week or a day, however and whenever you like. Here are some simple tips to get you started.
Questions to ask when putting together everyday cosplay:
- What is the character’s color palette and how do the designers use it? What do the colors say about the character? For example, Iron Man’s red and gold is a reflection of Tony Stark’s flashy personality.
- How do the character’s clothes fit and hang? How can you build or reference the silhouette? For example, Tolkien-Jackson elves wear flowing garments.
- What items and images is the character associated with? For example, Alice in Wonderland is related to rabbits, keys, doors, mirrors, potions, cards, chess pieces, roses, and tea.
- Does the character have any defining characteristics? For example, Harry Potter’s scar.
- Why does this character attract you? What do you like about them, how do they make you feel, what traits do you want to highlight? Why do they inspire you? Dress the why!
Most importantly: have fun. Play around, make up variations of the same character, bend gender and genre, rope in your family, do photoshoots. There’s no wrong way to do everyday cosplay.