So you’re trying to decide on your first cosplay. Where do you even start? Right here! We’ve been in your shoes before so we put together a list of simple cosplay ideas for beginners just like you. As a bonus, some of our Headwinkers share their own experiences with their first cosplay!
Let’s get your first cosplay journey started!
Simple Cosplay Ideas for Beginners
Cosplay From Your Own Wardrobe
The goal with cosplay is not always to go for some crazy, intricate costume or to break the bank. Keeping it simple keeps it fun! (In fact, Japanese culture embraces the beauty of simplicity so much they have a word for it: wabi-sabi.) Chances are you have almost everything you need for a great first cosplay in your closet right now. So keep it wabi-sabi.
Have a pair of blue jeans and a loose fitting, long sleeve white t-shirt? Then bam! You have basically all you need to cosplay L from Death Note. Have black hair? Great! Just ruffle it up a bit and you are set. Or you can buy and style a cheap black wig or even dye your hair if you’re going for accuracy. Throw some black eyeliner under your eyes, kick off your shoes and you should have a pretty convincing L cosplay.
You’re bound to already have everything you need to cosplay Luffy from One Piece. A long sleeve red button down with the sleeves ripped, some cut-off jeans, a yellow scarf or piece of fabric, flip flops and an old straw hat is all there is to it.
Other Cosplays You May Already Have in Your Closet
- Haruhi Fujioka from Ouran High Host Club
- The Paperbag Princess (ok, this one may be in your garbage…)
Everyone wants to be the superhero but what about their plain clothed alter ego? Cosplaying a character’s alter ego is clever and ridiculously easy to do. You can almost certainly pull this off with whatever is in your wardrobe. Just add a touch to give others a hint at who you might be cosplaying. Some great alter ego cosplay ideas are:
A pair of thick rimmed black glasses, some business casual attire and you are the shy reporter more powerful than a locomotive and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound! Go buy a cheap Superman t-shirt to wear underneath in case you pass by any phone booths.
All you need to be the Hulk’s puny alter form is some slacks, a dress shirt and a blazer. For an added touch, apply a little green paint to your neck and hands and remind people not to make you angry.
Other Alter Ego Cosplay Ideas
- Bruce Wayne (Batman)
- Tony Stark (Iron Man)
- Peter Parker (Spider Man)
- Kara Danvers (Supergirl)
- Selina Kyle (Catwoman)
- Dr. Harleen Quinzel (before the Joker turns her into Harley Quinn)
Thrift Shops Are Where It’s At
Macklemore knows what’s up, I wonder if he cosplays… Thrift stores are amazing places to find what you need for your beginner cosplay ideas or even just to browse for inspiration.
One thing you can always find at your local thrift store is a cheap 3 piece suit. You can cosplay tons of characters with some decent formal wear. Like:
Sebastian from Black Butler
A black suit, pencil tie and some white gloves pretty much covers a Sebastian cosplay. To really round out your Sebastian all you need is a wig and his iconic watch which you can get here: Sebastian Michealis Wig $29.99 – EZ Cosplay
Sebastian Michealis Accessory Pack $15.99 – EZ Cosplay
Spike Spiegel from Cowboy Bebop
All you need for a Spike cosplay is a blue suit, black pencil tie and a yellow under shirt. A cigarette or lollipop stick adds a nice final touch.
Leotards, Zentai Suits & Morphsuits
Leotards and zentai suits are a great place to start for a cosplay. You can draw on or glue accessories to a plain colored morph suit or add clothing over one. A black morph suit, black trenchcoat and hat are all it takes to cosplay the Invisible Man. Splatter some ink on the face of a white morphsuit, throw on a hat and trenchcoat to cosplay Rorshawk from Watchmen.
A zentai suit by itself can make a great cosplay like this Deadpool Killer Queen zentai from EZ Cosplay:
Cosplay a Simple Anime or Cartoon Character
You’re a human… so cosplaying human cartoon characters is pretty easy! Choose an iconic anime or cartoon with easily identifiable characters to cosplay. Everyone knows Ash, Misty & Brock from Pokemon or someone like Kim Possible (is my millenial showing?).
Misty’s costume is super easy! Yellow crop top, jean shorts, red suspenders, red shoes and a ginger wig.
For Kim Possible all you need is some green cargo pants, black low cut shirt, black shoes and gloves. To go all out, find a utility belt and an orange wig. You can buy a legit Kim Possible wig here: Kim Possible Orange Cosplay Wig $15.99 – EZ Cosplay
Cosplay Beginner Tips
Here are some additional tips to keep in mind when choosing a cosplay character:
Keep It Simple!
We can’t stress this enough. For your first cosplay remember KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid). Unless you are already a wiz with a sewing machine or a Hollywood makeup artist, stick to characters with simple costumes.
Look to others for inspiration
Don’t be afraid to ask other cosplayers for help or just check out their Instagrams for ideas. It’s ok to copy someone else’s cosplay. Cosplay is not exclusive and is actually one of the most welcoming communities you can join.
Don’t worry about perfection
Be careful with your expectations. Your first cosplay probably won’t be perfect and it doesn’t have to be. Cosplayers will appreciate any attempt at a costume and won’t judge you. Remember our first tip, keep your beginner cosplay ideas simple!
#Headwinker @Nerdy_emma says: “My first cosplay was horrible, it was Lisbeth from sao and I didnt have a wig or makeup and I tried to dye my hair pink without bleaching it. It was a mess. But now I redo the cosplay every year and I just redid the cosplay 3 days ago and man I love seeing the progress of my first time cosplaying her to my most recent.”
Use light materials!
Whether you make or buy your costume, for your own sake, use light materials! Though big, bulky, extravagant cosplays look awesome, they are a pain to make and wear. Ensure that you will be comfortable in your first cosplay for maximum enjoyment.
Remember, it’s all about having fun
Don’t put too much concern towards screen accuracy or how much you resemble the character, just be sure you are focused on the fun.
Headwinkers Share Their First Cosplays
@jodibeecosplay – Sailor Mars 2012 bodysuit from a dance store, skirt from yandy.com, gloves and wig from amazon, she added the frill to the bodysuit and red to the gloves and made the waistband, red cape, bows, choker.
@cosmos_cosplay – 2008, Konata from Lucky Star at 8 yrs old
@theshedirewolf – Spider-Woman! Wearing it out in public for the first time to find matching shoes for my first Con was so liberating! I welcomed the stares.; bought it at Spirit Halloween
@urarakiio – My first cosplay was frisk from undertale !! Im proud to say I improved so much since @then! A good 3 years helps :>?
@cosplay.giraffe – Tsukishima Kei from Haikyuu
@Coconutcosplays – mika from owari no seraph! it was the first time i settled a wig and wore colored contacts and did real “cosplay makeup”, but my VERY first was korra (minus a wig or any “cosplay” makeup so i don’t quiiite count it)
@Nelld_it_cosplay – War machine! A friend of mine made it and wanted me to wear it at the first Avengers movie. That’s what got me into cosplay.
@Sqwee.kun – 2015 vs 2017; My first cosplay I wore to a con was Bulma! But I think my first technically speaking cosplay was Itachi Uchiha! ??
We want to see your first cosplays! Tag @head_wink #headwink in your Instagram cosplay photos.
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