Once Amanda and our friends introduced me to the new world of cosplay I had so many questions, like: “Do I have to buy it?” “How expensive is this hobby?” “Is $25 too much to spend on a wig?” “Do I have to do my makeup too?” “How do I make my DD chest look flat when I’m Iggy?” “Wait….I can do more than one cosplay????”
That last question was so bizarre to me. I had no idea that it would be acceptable to do not one but TWO cosplays! Not only that. I could do both of them at the same convention — and if I was really ambitious, in the same day!
I’ve never perfected my Iggy cosplay, and now that I’ve done so many more and realize that I prefer not to cross-play — something I also didn’t know you could do, I thought only the male characters got any attention. Boy was I wrong! — I probably will not revisit that cosplay but it will always hold a special place in my heart.
When I was first approached by my forever-ago-first-girl-crush about doing the England and America cosplays for the little library con I had no idea how to start. I looked online for ready-to-wear costumes but the cheapest I could find was somewhere in the range of $130-$150 if I’m remembering correctly. I know, today that doesn’t sound like nearly too much money for a cosplay, but please remember at the time I was probably 13/14 and had no job so to me that was an insane amount of money. So when she proposed we take $30 and go to goodwill, I was not only relieved, I was shocked once again!
I was under the impression that you had to buy costumes as a complete set, never did I once think I could buy it piece by piece. I had been in goodwill many times and I could not for the life of me recall ever seeing a full Cosplay in there anywhere. Much to my relief when we went into goodwill I did not see any full costumes so I knew I couldn’t be going crazy. We finally pieced the cosplay together bit by bit. Green pants? Check. Long black socks? Check. White collared shirt? Check. Some type of shoe sort of resembling military-ish boots (or any boots at all really)? Check. In and out with money to spare for lunch! But I wasn’t able to find a green men’s blazer anywhere (this is where the supportive grandpa comes in! You’ll love him!). When we got home I immediately went to my grandpa’s bedroom. Looked around in his closed for the blazer that I knew existed, and a black tie. After locating the blazer I grabbed my sewing kit. Iggy has one breast pocket on either side, this jacked only had one, so obviously I had to give the illusion of two. I found a needle, thread, buttons, and a green (not the same shade of green) iron on patch. I cut it down to be the size of the top of a pocket, ironed it on and had sewn one small button to it to give the illusion that the pocket was closed. Mind you, at the time I had no sewing experience nor had I asked if I could used the jacket first.
We had then gone to the costumer, I had gotten this horrid two tone blonde ish wig, brought it home, and completely oblivious to how wigs worked I cut it as short as a boys hair should be. Imagine my grandfather’s surprise when he came home and his granddaughter is dressed head to toe in this insane, half put together costume. Now imagine that surprise times a million when he realized where I had gotten my jacket and tie. Oh and did I mention Iggy has immensely thick eyebrows so I had drawn on my face with washable BLACK marker to make it look like I had large RECTANGLE SHAPED EYEBROWS. Yikes!
Thankfully he didn’t judge me in the least bit; however, I was never allowed in his closet again after that day. My friend and I had stood there so proud of our accomplishment of turning me into Iggy and her into America.
I can promise you that by today’s standards of cosplaying I’m by no means perfect, however I’m definitely centuries more advanced than where I started.
I guess I’m telling you this to remind you that we all start from somewhere, and regardless of whether you’re just starting your first $30 goodwill cosplay, buying your costumes online for definitely more that the $130 that mine would have started out as, are making these yourself day in and day out trying to be perfect, think of this as just a fun hobby, or do this professionally we’re all doing this for the same reason. Don’t judge someone based off of how their costume looks. Who cares if they bought it online, maybe they can’t sew well or were never taught. Who cares if this is their 100th cosplay and they’re still pulling pieces from good will? And who cares if you don’t look like someone else. Your cosplay looks amazing I promise, and while you may not look like you’re of the same quality of someone else, just be you — er..well your character– and have fun, because in the end that’s what matters.