I'm so excited to be hosting my first guest post on this blog. This week I am so pleased to introduce Mickey from Nerdily. She is a lover of geek and nerd cultures, as well as a cosplayer herself. Continue reading below to find out some great tips on thrift shop cosplaying!
Let’s face it: cosplaying can be an expensive activity. There’s cost of materials, accessories, supplies, and the time you put in to create your cosplay. It’s an art form that should be respected, but isn't always affordable. Or is it?
This is the part where dramatic music plays.
The first time I went to a convention, I decided to crossplay as Tintin. I have the most basic of basic sewing skills to utilize, so creating a cosplay from scratch was not an option. Luckily, there was a thrift shop down the street from my dorm building. I found 80% of my cosplay there. Overall, my entire ensemble cost about $25. Sorcery? No, no. Thrift store magic.
If you're strapped for cash, and preparing for a convention, then get ready for some handy tips on how to throw together a thrift store cosplay.
Tip #1: Plan within your means
When planning a cosplay, pick a character that you can easily find pieces for. Han Solo? Perfect thrift shop cosplay example. Lulu from Final Fantasy? Mmmh, not so much. With a little work, you can do a lot with materials from a thrift shop. Just plan wisely, and within your means.
Tip #2: Set a budget
If you don't go overboard, you can get away with a great cosplay for next to nothing. Set a budget early on, and stick to it the best you can.
Tip #3: Visit multiple thrift shops
Each thrift shop will have vastly different items. No two thrift shops will have the exact same pieces, so plan on visiting ones that are close to home. Also, visit them once a week. Places like Goodwill always get a steady supply of donations each week, freshening their stock. The biggest thing is to not give up unless absolutely necessary.
Tip #4: When absolutely necessary, turn to Amazon
When you need something specific and cheap, more often than not, Amazon will have it. They have the most random products out there. And it will more than likely be cheap. Just plan for delivery time if you need the item(s) by a specific time.
Tip #5: Try everything on
I cannot stress this enough: try on every piece you're considering. There’s nothing worse than walking around a convention in an ill-fitting cosplay.
Tip #6: Alter and modify
When you have found all your pieces, you can always alter them to suit your cosplay needs. For example: last year, I cosplayed as a female Two-Face. I decided to bleach half of the suit I picked up from Goodwill. This created an acid wash effect. I then sewed on studs to this side of the suit for an edgier effect. You can modify your pieces with fabric dye, bleach, paint, glue, basic stitching, and other embellishments.
Tip #7: Yes, you can sew
Whether it’s a simple hem or a complete alteration, do not be afraid to sew. Even if you don't know how to work a sewing machine, anyone can do a simple running stitch, back stitch, or Lilo and Stitch. Wait, one of those doesn't sound right. Either way, don't be afraid to sew your thrift shop pieces.
Tip #8: Fabricate your props from thrift store reject
Or craft shop bargains. Either way, you can easily make props for your cosplay using affordable materials you find here and there.
Tip #9: If you like it, buy it
Because thrift shops turn over merchandise so quickly, be cautious when you decide to wait on a piece. If you love it, buy it. Even if you don't use it, you can always save it for another cosplay. And, on the plus side, you may have supported a worthy charity by shopping at that thrift store. Karma points!
And last but not least:
Tip #10: Wash each piece before wearing
It goes without saying that other people’s clothes might not be the most hygienic. Before you wear your thrift shop cosplay for a full day at the convention, throw it in the washer just for some peace of mind.
There you have it! Hopefully these tips and tricks will help you with your next cosplay. Don't forget to share your handy work, and continue to follow Bree and her cosplay adventures!
You can find Mickey on all things social here:
If you're interested in guest posting on my blog, contact me!