Cosplaying While Plus Sized: Character Selection

I will preface this with one thing that I want everyone to be one-hundred percent clear on:

You can cosplay anything and everything that your heart desires, no matter your age, size, gender, skin color, height, etc.

And even with this knowledge, occasionally we all need a little bit of help deciding on our next costumes. That’s perfectly fine, I promise. Not everyone has that full on years long “to cosplay” list stored in their mental file cabinet. I know I sure don’t. More specifically, however, I’ve found that a lot of plus sized cosplayers have been having trouble deciding on something that they think “suits them”

I am here to tell you right up that if you want to wear it: do it. Love LOVE yourself and all that your body can do. You do NOT need to be a statuesque thin model to wear popular or attractive costumes.

However! This feeling isn’t easy, which is why we are here. We are here to get and give advice for those of us (myself included) who have a little bit more cushion to love. This article is how I do things, and may not be for everyone. It’s not meant to be a hard and fast guide for people, just my own experiences.

SO let’s break it down into some super simple steps that have personally helped me in the past.

Step One: Research!!

Think about the type of con you’re going to and the impact you want your costume to make. For example, if you want to me recognized and asked for a lot of pictures at an Anime con, it’s a good idea to look at the shows and manga that are currently popular.

Watch some new shows, read some new books, or rekindle an old favorite and binge watch “retro” anime on Netflix/Hulu/Crunchyroll. This will help you get some ideas for characters that you like and connect with.

Pause the shows when a character you like comes on and look at their costume. Is it something you would feel stellar in? Write it down. Do they have a variation that you absolutely adore? Screenshot it! Do you just love this character and want to showcase that love to the world? Welcome to fandom, you’re among friends.

For me, it was re-playing a game form my PS2 that I loved and adored. Odin Sphere. (Note: I made the costume the year the remake was announced, because I was THAT stoked)

Do you have some ideas now? Good! Moving on!

Step Two: Make your list of potentials and grab reference images.

So you’ve binged all of MHA, re-read all of The Uncanny X-Men, or played through Tales of Berseria to 100%. Awesome. Step one complete.

Now what you want to do is make yourself a list. When I’m trying to get cosplay ideas in order, I usually start by making a simple chart in word. I set it up with the name of the source (show/game/book/etc), character name, reference material for character photos, and a max budget. For the sake of this series, I’ll be following my construction of Gwendolyn’s ballgown from the video game Odin Sphere

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Step Three: Establish your max budget and intensity level.

This one is easy. What is the max amount that you would be willing to spend on props, wigs, materials, contacts, etc. It is super easy to blow past your budget if you don’t think about it too hard. I’ve done that many times before. Look at what your personal circumstances can allow, and stick to it! For my example costume (Gwendolyn) I had a max budget of three-hundred ($300) dollars.

How skilled are you at sewing and crafting? Would you need to commission a piece or purchase premade? (nothing wrong with either of these!! Supporting your local artists is a great thing to do.) It’s important to map out what you think you can do before you set your sights hard on a character.

Step Four: Will you need to modify the design at all?

You’ve done it. You were able to find a character you adore. They have a beautiful design, and you would love more than anything to wear that fabulous outfit all day and really act the role! But there’s this ONE thing that’s making you doubt your choice. Whether it be a strapless conundrum for the busty gals out there or a silhouette insecurity for those of us who need a bit more points into our confidence stats, your concerns are valid and normal. They are not, however, project-ending. You can make your favorite costume into something that you will feel comfortable in based on your personal preferences!

This is something I’ve had to see a lot more of in the plus sized community than anything, so please don’t discount any character based on one or two design elements that can very easily be changed!

One of the best things about cosplaying is that you can take a design and twist it so many different ways while still having it be accurate! Take the ballgown I’m using for this series. I’m super self conscious about my stomach and arms, and i wanted to prevent the dreaded chub rub on my inner thighs, so I had to do a few things differently.

Looking at the design, It was easy to see where I could handle my stomach insecurities. Shapewear under the dress would help a bit, but by modifying the type of top I was able to use a corsetted top to keep the even silhouette that I was comfortable with at the waist. For my arms I didn’t have to do much. The black sleeves did that naturally. A design choice that drew me to this costume to begin with.

For the chub rub, I realized that the length of the dres plus hoop skirt allowed for me to wear yoga pants and sneakers under the costume without anyone even knowing! Super comfy all day.

Once you have all of that figured out, and you’ve selected your character, it’s time to move on to the next phase… Sewing prep!

Come back here in TWO WEEKS to see my post on pattern selection and sewing prep!

Comment below with your favorite characters that you’ve ever cosplayed!

A new post series incoming!

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Hello hello all!

Over the next few months, I’ll be making a series of posts about cosplaying while plus sized. I’ll go through my struggles, my suggestions, and anything I think could help other plus sized cosplayers in expanding their love for this great hobby.

So keep an eye out, starting next Friday! I’ll have a post every other friday about this!

My Otakon 2017 Lineup

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Hey all!! Who all am I going to see at Otakon this year in DC? If you want to find me, I’ll be in the pictured costumes!

Otakon 2017 CosPlans

Friday: Raven (DC Comics)
Saturday: Yennefer Alt Look (The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt)
Sunday: Christine Daae Point of No Return (The Phantom of the Opera)

30 Days of Cosplay: Days 7-9

7. The character you have cosplayed that is most similar to you (if none that you have cosplayed, then one that you will cosplay)

Oh wow. This one for me would be a tie between Raven and Sheena. Both are dedicated to their friends, strong willed, and more intelligent than people give them credit for.

8. Your cosplay plans for the rest of the year (if you have no more for this year, then do next year!)

Oooh, I’m glad you asked!

So we’re gearing up for Otakon 2017, which moved to DC instead of my hometown of Baltimore. So to commemorate such a big move, I’m doing a big build.

This year, I’m tackling the daunting task that is Camilla from Fire Emblem.

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I mean look at that! Badass boots, gorgeous hair, HIP CLAWS! I already have the wig for it, too.

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9. The dream cosplay that might just happen

One of these days I’ll actually cosplay Wonder Woman in a legitimate sense. It’s bound to happen.

30 Days of Cosplay: Days 3-6

My weekend was beyond hectic. I host karaoke monthly, so that was my Friday night. And then house things, pathfinder, getting ready for my mini vacation. And then BAM! Four days passed. Whoops!

Soooooo this is going to be a bit of a meme dump today. I’ll flesh it out as best I can.

  1. Your most recent cosplay.

Oooooh, okay. So most recently, I did Yennefer from the Witcher 3. I worked on her alternate look, since I liked it a bit better than her standard traveling outfit. A lot cooler in the hot summer months too. I still need to get some good photographs of that one. My boots were absolutely fabulous.

  1. Your cosplay communities, where do you go to talk about cosplay?

Mainly just on skype with my friends. I’m not that active in the community as a whole because I don’t know how to be? Everyone is already friends with each other, so it sometimes feels like I wouldn’t fit in. Especially since I’m heavy-set, and therefor fall into a different category than others.

  1. Blatant self plug! Link us to your cosplay page, be it DA, ACP, Coscom, whatever!

Well, there’s here. Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

  1. Your favourite cosplay (that you have done)

Hands down, Gwendolyn. I’m so proud of that ballgown, even though it didn’t place.

30 Days of Cosplay: Day 2

Day 2: How many costumes have you made?

Oh boy… Well this one can be a bit subjective if you really think about it. If you consider all of the ones I’ve made for other people, it’s close to thirty. But if you’re talking about ones that I’ve only done for me? Nineteen. And even deeper in that, I’ve done a few costumes several times over (re-made, not re-worn). So if we count the re-dos as one lump item…probably around nine or ten, then.

I know my MOST WORN cosplay is Gwendolyn from Odin Sphere.

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I’ve done her ballgown three times, and her armour an additional two.

Second on that list would be Raven, having made that one three times as well. Each time, I get a little better.

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Short post is short, but I’ll be able to do more in depth in later questions.

30 Days of Cosplay: Day 1

Day 1: Your First Costume

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Right there in the middle is me in my sophomore year of high school. Local library had set up a Halloween anime club party where they encouraged this crazy new thing (to me) called Cosplay. Almost immediately, I was intrigued. I already had some minor sewing knowledge from fixing my clothes, so some of it seemed like it would be easy, right?

My first official costume that I set out to (sort of) make myself was for my favorite character at the time. Sheena Fujibayashi from Tales of Symphonia. Okay, so she’s STILL in my top five. Guilty!

Tales of Symphonia was first introduced to me that year by my best friend Jeff. We used to have to both babysit our younger siblings, so our parents let us all gather at one house where all five of us would chill while Jeff and I made sure nobody broke a limb or started house-fires. So what would we do? Put the three younger kids in the living room in front of the television after we made pizza rolls or something, set up the small spare tv off to the side, and play the game cube while they did their own thing right next to us.

We went through the story together, and we latched onto our favorite characters like glue. Those after-school nights solidified my love of RPGs and of the Tales of franchise. Since then, I’ve played and owned as many of the Tales games as I possibly could.

But back to the costume!

I tried so very hard, and for a first go? It’s not the worst. I didn’t make anything completely from scratch, this time because I had no knowledge of how to modify patterns yet. The top and arm bands were from a repurposed athletic top from Walmart. I capped the sleeves, used the lower arm bits for the fake gloves, and HOT GLUED EVERYTHING. It was…something.

I loved every second of it, and my new favorite hobby was born.