How to Pick an Anime Character to Cosplay

So you're going to an anime convention for the first time, or again, and you can't pick the perfect costume. Here's what you need to do.

If you want to cosplay an anime character you've watched some! People usually pick cosplays on one or more of five things: They want to act like that character, they already do act like that character and are therefore similar in personality, they like the costume/look of the character, or they already look like the character. There are other reasons of course, but these are the main ones. Have a good soul-search and see if you come up with initial ideas.

If you're nervous about cosplaying for the first time and are planning on going to a particular convention or event, I suggest that maybe you hit the forums and see what groups will be there. That way if you want to cosplay someone that people will recognize or that can be part of a group with other people (so you're not on your own) then you can slide into a group or meet. (It'll also be good to meet the other cosplayers anyway for advice and counsel.)

Once you've got some ideas, discuss them with friends or fellow cosplayers- they will always be willing to lend you a hand! Choosing a character with a costume and look that would be flattering to you is a good idea since we don't all have stick thin waists and boobs overflowing our underwear! Think about how you would feel wearing the costumes and narrow your list. If any of the costumes might make you feel uncomfortable then it's pointless to go through the hassle of making it. You want to be comfortable come convention time!

Assuming you have maybe three ideas left, look at the realistic possibilities of you making the costume. Things to consider are your skill level (everyone has to start somewhere, so if you've only just learnt how to use a sewing machine then choose something you will be able to get a pattern for. But if you're a seasoned pro you can probably make your own patterns from scratch.), and budget. If you're on a tight budget you can source cheap fabrics on the internet or at local fabric stores but beware that thin or cheap looking fabrics will show up on cameras and to other more experienced cosplayers. If you don't mind saying happily "Oh no, I just did this cheaply" then that's fine! If you don't want to enter competitions and you have the money then you can also get your chosen costume custom made for you. Price up how much your costume will cost to buy or make and pick the one that fits your budget and skills best.

When budgeting, make sure you take into account all the bits and pieces including fabrics, wastes and mishaps, accessories, hard materials like polymer clay and board for props, makeup, wigs and hair products, and shoes. If you think you can handle it all with both timescale and budget then I'd say you've got your costume choice.

Now you're ready to actually make your costume (hopefully a month or two in advance of the event!), take some time to make sure you nail every detail. Other cosplayers will definitely appreciate your fine eye! If you can't manage all the details or can't manage to buy clothing store-bought and alter it, you can always take your own design choices. Ask other cosplaying communities for their support and advice.

Once you're confident you have the right character choice you can have some fun whilst making the costume! Try acting in character, and try posing in front of the mirror as you would do for photographs in character. If your character is serious and pensive then a big daft grin won't display your character very well! Also take in mind the props and limitations of the costume so you don't come up with grand poses which you can't actually do. If you intend on taking part in a masquerade, take steps to ensure you can walk in your costume! (Some characters have costumes that like to defy gravity and would fall off any normal person and we can't have your costume falling apart around you!)


  • Do your best and don't half-ass it. In all situations, people will appreciate accurate, elaborate, and meticulously-detailed costumes.
  • Before cosplaying pick a character from an anime you actually are familiar of so that you can be much more comfortable with your costume because you are used to the character and you actually know how he/she acts. People will be much more fond of the idea of you cosplaying your particular costume
  • Don't worry if your body type doesn't match the character you wish to cosplay. If you are a bit chubby, then perhaps you should skip the very revealing costumes. However, just because you have a few extra pounds doesn't mean you should miss out on cosplaying. Pick a costume or character you love and have fun with it.
  • If you're going for a cross-play, girls may wish to bind the chest so your body is more guy like. For this, some wide bandages are ideal, wrapped several times around the upper torso and pinned at the back. Warning- this can become quite uncomfortable. You can also try going as a female version of the male character- it can make you stand out among a crowd of the same character!
  • Find some good quality fabric at a good price. Or find some regular clothes for the costume to spend less time making it.
  • Don't be scared if it's your first time. When you get to the convention a lot of people will be in costume.
  • Shop online or at an anime store for accessories.
  • Don't wait until the last minute to begin.
  • If you're dressing for a convention be sure to check their dress code. Many have limits on accessory size and decency stipulations.
  • Think long and hard about your choice. Is it practical? Will the costume be too hot/too cold/itchy (cosplays are long and if held indoors hot). Maybe ask a likeminded friend to help and maybe come with you for some support if it is you first time.


  • People don't always choose costumes that will look the best on them. It would be best to assume that they choose their costumes because they love the character or the costume itself.
  • Try not to go for the main characters! See if you can be a passing character that no one really thinks about. Then not only will you skip being the sixteenth main character at that convention, but you'll get compliments on choosing a character many have forgotten.

Things that you'll need

  • Ofcozz..Money
  • Fabric/Fabric Paint
  • Anime accessories
  • Sewing skills
  • Wig
  • Colored contacts (optional)


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