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8 Do’s and Don’ts of Cosplay

The cosplay community has grown immensely just in the past year. For those cosplayers who are just starting out, here are some tips and tricks that could help you make the most out of your cosplay experience.

8 Do’s of Cosplay

Do it for yourself

Often the impetus to start cosplaying is due to peer pressure. Your friends are doing it and they’re inviting you to tag along. Just remember that there’s no need to rush it. Take your time and take the plunge when you’re comfortable with it. Do it when the time is right for you.

Do what you’re comfortable with

Don’t go for the most intricate costume you can find on the first go. Start conservatively and work your way up from there. Remember that elaborate wigs, heavy make-up and bulky costumes can be extremely uncomfortable especially when you have them on for an extended period of time.

Do your research

Often people forget that the costume is only half of the equation of Cosplay. Try to get a sense of the character that you are cosplaying. You do not have to watch every single episode or method act as the character, but studying iconic poses and expressions can go a long way to making your cosplay feel more authentic.

Do plan ahead and be prepared

One of the worst situations a cosplayer can go through is a costume malfunction at an inopportune moment. Plan ahead and know what to do when this happens.

It’s a good idea to bring along safety pins and tools for on-the-spot repairs. Know where to go and what to do in case of emergencies and always have a friend nearby who can assist you if something goes awry.

Do your budgeting

Remember that the cost of your costume is not your only concern. Transportation, entrance fees (if any), food and money for merch should be part of the equation.

You don’t want to run out of funds and not have enough left to go home. It’s always wise to also have emergency money in a location other than your wallet or purse just in case the unimaginable happens.

Do take criticism

Whenever you put your photo out there, people are likely to speak their minds one way or another. Don’t be discouraged by unflattering comments, but instead use them as an opportunity to grow and improve your cosplay in the future.

Do enjoy yourself

This is probably the most important part of cosplay. Do what you enjoy. If it’s competing on stage, do that. If it’s just hanging around with your friends for photos, do that. As long as your enjoyment doesn’t hinder other people from enjoying it as well, go for it. Do what’s fun for you.

Do make friends

Cosplay is a great opportunity to find people who appreciate the same things you do. Love an anime series? Find a cosplayer wearing a costume from that series and you might just find a kindred soul. If you’re introverted, find an extrovert friend to go with you to break the ice. You’ll be glad you did.

Now, for some don’ts…

Don’t cram

Most cosplayers, at some point in time, are guilty of this: procrastinating until the last moment before finishing off their costume at the nick of time. Unfortunately, this often leaves them exhausted during the event and with a sub-par costume. Give yourself enough leeway to finish your costume and be well-rested. You’ll appreciate it when the time comes.

Don’t take it too seriously

Don’t obsess over every detail and remember that you can always improve your cosplay in the future. In fact, referencing your old cosplay and comparing it to your more recent ones is a great gauge of how much you’ve improved.

Don’t get too affected

The internet is harsh and sometimes those unflattering comments can be disheartening, but always remember that you’re doing it for yourself and not for them. Listen to constructive criticism, but ignore hurtful ones.

Avoid allowing other people to compare you with other cosplayers. They’re them and you’re you. It’s not a competition and don’t let them make it out to be one.

Don’t be too hard on yourself

If anything can go wrong, it will. Wigs fall off, costume pieces and props break, make-up runs and electronics fail. Don’t keep replaying it in your head. Chalk it up to experience and move on. It’s just an opportunity to do better next time.

Don’t depend on handouts

It’s great to have a sponsor or a friend who will shell out funds for your costume, but don’t depend on it. As much as possible, you want that sense of accomplishment that funding the costume on your own will bring.

If you have to create a costume part or prop because you can’t afford to just buy it, take up the challenge. There are tons of tutorials out there on how you can do it yourself and you’ll learn useful skills in the process.

Don’t be afraid to skip events

If your costume won’t make it for an event, don’t be afraid to skip it. There will always be more events in the future to debut your costume. In fact, find an event that will best fit your cosplay and go with that. You’ll be glad you did.

Don’t be afraid to grow

At a certain point, you will find that you’ve hit the limits of your comfort zone when it comes to cosplay. You’ll find yourself cosplaying the same kinds of characters over and over.

Don’t be afraid to switch it up and challenge yourself. Be creative. Be imaginative. Try new things. Keeping the experience fresh and new will guarantee its longevity.

Don’t forget what matters

Always remember that it’s not all about you. Be considerate of others. Before making a comment, think about how you would feel if someone else said the same thing about you. When you’re doing something at an event, think about how observers might perceive what you’re doing.

It’s important to have fun, but make sure you’re not taking the fun away from other people. Being respectful, kind and considerate not only makes you a better person but also reflects positively on the character that you’re cosplaying.

Do you agree with this list? Is there something missing that you feel we should have included? Tell us in the comments below.