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Cosplay can be a fun addition to your convention experience. However, it can be difficult to do if you’re not an experienced seamstress or sewer, you may be a little unsure of where to begin or Summer, the biggest time of the year for conventions, may have snuck up on you.

Hey, I get it. As an experienced lazy cosplayer, I thought I’d get some tips together to point others who may be scrambling or may be first-time cosplayers in the right direction.

What character are you thinking of?

One thing you should know ahead of time is who you’re planning on dressing as. If you don’t have the time to put together a complicated costume, you will probably have to accept that you may have to pick a more toned-down character.

What do you have in your closet (or easy access to)?

This may help determine who you will cosplay as if you’re having trouble deciding. Even a more complicated cosplay may become easy when you realize that you happen to have the perfect skirt, a shirt that would work if you turned the collar up… And so on. Even just one or two items that could work can cut down costs a lot and make a cosplay worth it/pull together.

Case in point: the lazy cosplay I’m working on right now is Solid Snake–pure PlayStation 1 version. My cousin is an arborist, so I saw Snake’s harness and immediately had an Aha! moment. My cousin has a variety of harnesses for work, of varying sizes. Building outward from there (the most expensive item for this potential cosplay) has been pretty easy, because just about everything else can be broken down into clothing items that are more every day than you’d think.

An important thing to keep in mind is that the clothes you have don’t have to be perfect! That’s the point of lazy cosplay. “Close enough” to suggest the character in the overall outfit is often, well, good enough.

If you’re still not sure what to do, there are some characters that are pretty easy to do. Ness from Earthbound pretty much just dresses like a regular kid. Same for, say, a character from Bob’s Burgers or The Simpsons or Animal Crossing–skip the body paint or animal aspects and just dress as the character dresses. Characters from live-action shows are usually easier to replicate, as well. Why not try an Office group?

Do you have an old cosplay you can tweak?

Sometimes it can be as simple as adding a new detail or two to give an old cosplay new life. For example, after Isabelle was announced for Smash Ultimate, I picked up an old pair of boxing gloves to tie together and hang around my neck when I dressed like her.

Check your craft skills (Or someone else’s!):

You don’t have to be the most talented seamstress to make a convincing costume, but you’ll have to figure out ways to work around a lack of craft. Unless if your cosplay is made up completely of buying items that don’t have to be retooled, basic sewing skills–and I do mean the bare minimum–is usually necessary.

But don’t fret! Some sewing and layering can be accomplished with a handy-dandy glue gun. Trust me–the glue gun is your friend. If you have the right kind of fabric–or even the wrong kind of fabric, that you don’t mind altering permanently–and are comfortable with painting or drawing, you can save yourself sewing time. For heavier materials or those skintight bodysuits, acrylic paint seems to work better than fabric paint. If you want to draw, magic markers and sharpies are your best bet, but they’re a little more challenging to use.

Finally, if you’re lucky, you might have a friend or family member willing to help you out with some details. There’s no shame in asking for help with something you really need! And you might learn how to do whatever it is for the next cosplay.

Getting additional accessories (for cheap):

You already looked in your closet for the basics, but very rarely can you find everything you need just in your closet. So what stores are the best for finding clothes?

Consignment stores like Goodwill are a pretty good bet, although the quality of items will vary with where your store of choice is. However, places like TJ Maxx and Marshall’s are sometimes even better bets. The prices can be comparably cheap, and their stock comes from overstock items or items that don’t sell as expected. So you can find a lot of quirky stuff there that you really won’t find elsewhere.

Stores like Party City and dancers’/gymnasts’ stores are also pretty good bets for unusual items, and of course, Amazon is an option if you don’t mind buying items blindly. Before you buy anything, though, you might want to reach out to friends that cosplay as well. They may have items to lend or additional suggestions for your specific needs.

And, the laziest of all lazy cosplay strategies… 

Oftentimes you can find whole outfits or accessory sets on Amazon, Etsy, Ebay, and elsewhere. The really good cosplays can get expensive and what you get isn’t always assured. However, it does save you the work, or cut down the work enough that all you have to do is maybe take a piece of the outfit to your local tailor rather than monkey around with an entire cosplay. Oftentimes conventions will have several booths of cosplay accessories and outfits open during the con, so you can upgrade or prepare for the next con right on the spot.


So, what cosplays are you planning for your cons this year? Did our guide help you at least narrow your choices down? Let us know in the comments below!

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