What is Cosplay?
Fan Expo is three sleeps away! I’m so excited to see all the amazing and creative cosplay. In honour of Fan Expo, I thought I’d re-post I blog I wrote explaining what cosplay is for those who are not initiated! Enjoy and don’t forget to drop by and say hello to us this weekend!
Cosplay is actually a portmanteau of two words: costume and play. Originally, I think that the word specifically applied to anime culture where people would dress up as their favourite anime characters. As time has gone by, it has expanded to include pretty much any pop culture icon. Some people are purists and get every detail perfect right down to the colour of the thread on the switching. Some people mash up differently cultural elements to create a new version of a character like making a steampunk sailor moon or a little mermaid princess Leia. Lots of people make gender bending version of their favourite characters like a male Harley Quinn or a female Captain America. The options are limitless and the community is super accepting.
If you are still not sure you understand, fear not! I have some examples of awesome Venus & Mars versions of some of our most favourite fictional badass ladies.
Wonder Woman is one of my personal favourite super heroes so naturally we had to include her. It’s so empowering to have a strong, fearless female hero kicking ass and taking names. Who wouldn’t want to dress up like that? For Wonder Woman we combined the iconic Linda Carter look with some of the badassery of the new Gal Gadot look. We put together a gold Venus & Mars bandeau with a red reversible VM waist cincher some blue booty shorts, a black velvet cloak and gold pointe glovettes. Suffering Sappho, I have never seen a cooler Wonder Woman!
If you have ever been to a convention you know that if we had to include anything it was Harley Quinn. There has been so many Harley looks over years and we couldn’t pick just one. We used her original black and red for inspiration but gave the overall outfit more of a roller derby feel. For this outfit, we combined a sleeveless red skinny tee, the reverse side of the reversible red waist cincher, black and red tap shorts and mix and matched a pair of red and black fishnet glovettes. We also added a pair of black goggles as a nod to the original Harley Quinn’s black eye mask. Trust me, puddin’, everyone will love this Harley look.
We love Carrie Fisher. Her real life sassy no bullshit approach to Hollywood is something we can all aspire to. We absolutely had to pay homage to her with a Princess Leia inspired look. I know slave Leia is super popular but we wanted to show off the all white princess outfit instead. We put together a white under blouse, white reversible waist cincher and cream panne cloak. And we used a white pinstripe tube top as the skirt. To really sell the look we put Ivette’s hair into buns. I sense great awesome in this outfit. (PS. I love this picture so much. I think it’s one of my favourites ever.)
So what did you think of my definition of cosplay? did I get it right? Would you explain it differently? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
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How to Steampunk at Any Price Point
In a previous blog I mentioned that I love steampunk costumes because you can do it at any price point. I thought that I’d expand on that a little bit and give you some most excellent examples. Grab your goggles and make sure to wind your pocket watch because it’s time to get steampunked.
Cheap and Easy Steampunk
If you want an absolute bare bones steampunk costume, you can grab a white button up shirt, some plain brown pants and a pair of goggles. To step it up a little bit you add some suspenders and paint up a toy gun from the dollar store in bronze, browns, and copper colours. If you have a bowtie or vest lying around that house those would both add to the steampunkness of the costume. You could also swap out the pants for a skirt just keep in mind that the steampunk aesthetic draws heavily from the Victorian era so longer or high low skirts would probably work better than a modern looking skirt. Assuming that you have some of the pieces for this costume already, you could probably put together the look for less than $60.
Mid range Steampunk
If you want to step your steampunk up and you have a bit of a bigger budget, you can use the cheap and easy steampunk costume as a base but swap out some items and add some more accessories. You could add a waistcoat, top hat, and pocket watch to your base if you want an aristocrat steampunk costume. Add an underbust holster vest and pocket belt if you want a more adventurous steampunk costume. Corsets or waist cinchers are also a welcome addition to a steampunk costume. You can also consider adding some jewelry like a choker or a necklace.
Bonus: What is Steampunk?
Do you want to go all out and you have an unlimited budget? Then the sky’s the limit. Start with some Victorian boots, rail pull skirt, pocket belt, corset, waistcoat, goggles and a pocket watch. If you have the money to spend and a good imagination then you can put together an amazing steampunk costume. Maybe start by crafting your steampunk character? Are you a handsome watch maker? Or are you a sassy resistance fighting former fancy lady? Let your accessories and choice of costume reflect your most excellent character.
No matter what your budget, you can put together a really cool steampunk costume. Whether you’re putting something together from your closet or you have an unlimited budget, steampunk is a great choice for you Halloween costume this year.
Halloween Costume Ideas for People Who Don’t Dress Up
Halloween is my favorite time of year. I love pumpkins, candy and most of all dressing up! There’s nothing better than putting together a costume and wearing crazy makeup and wigs. But I know that not everyone feels this way. Halloween can be a stressful time of year for people who aren’t into costume. Don’t worry. I’m here to help if you have a costume party to go and you hate dressing up.
Keep it Simple
Listen, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to come up with a costume. In fact, you probably have something in your wardrobe that you can at least use as a base for your costume. Do you have a jeans and a plaid shirt? Then you have the base of a lumberjack or hipster costume. Add some suspenders and a toy axe, voila you’re a lumberjack. Swap the axe for glasses without lenses and you’re a hipster. Got a black dress? You’ve got the base for a witch costume. Add a black witch hat and maybe some striped socks, voila witch.
Be a Time Traveler
Time Traveler is my favorite easy costume. Can you borrow items from your parents or grandparents? Great! You’ve got the base for your time traveler costume. The best part about being a time traveler is that you don’t really need a cohesive costume. You can wear your everyday jeans with an 80s shirt and some 70s glasses and it works because you’re a time traveler. In fact, the more disjointed your items are the better it works! If you really want to sell if you can add a bunch of watches. If you want to be a little more creative take a steampunk angle by adding goggles and a pocket belt.
Bonus: More Steampunk Ideas
When in Doubt, Get a Cloak
Okay, so you have nothing in your wardrobe and you hate the idea of being a time traveler. Don’t worry, I have a solution for you. Just get a cloak. I’m serious. A cloak is the easiest way to look like you’re in costume without having to dress up. You’ll be able to get into any party. You’ll be the requirement of dressing up for your office.
I hope this helps you warm up to the idea of dressing up for Halloween and takes the pressure of coming up with a costume. At the end of the day, it’s about having fun. Give costumes a try, you never know, you might like it.
How to Plan the Perfect Costume
Okay, hands up, who has been planning their Halloween costume since November 1 of last year? I love Halloween. Is there anything better than spooky things, candy and dressing up? It’s the best time of year! But it can still be stressful. Maybe you have a budget to work with, maybe you have too many ideas, maybe your ideas are too extra to pull together in a month and a half. Don’t worry, I’m here for to help you plan your perfect costume.
Pick Something you can wear comfortably for a long time
Listen, I get that you want to have the best costume in the history of the world but the thing is if you can only wear it for 15 minutes at a time then the epicness just won’t translate. If you’re only planning on wearing it for an instagram photoshoot then by all means go to town in some 6 inch stilettos and a tight laced corset for your sexy Captain America costume. I support you and I will double tap and comment with emojis. If you’re going out dancing or trick or treating or to a party may I suggest swapping heels for combat boots and loosening your corset a little bit. It’ll still be obvious that you are sexy Captain America but you’ll be able to breath and walk around comfortably. Plus, I’ve also found that it’s easier to be confident in what I’m wearing when I don’t feel like I’m dying.
Pick items you can wear again
Halloween can get pricey. Let’s say you wanted to dress up like a steampunk adventurer. You could go to a pop up Halloween shop and spend $60-$100 on a bagged costume that will likely fall apart after a couple of times wearing it or you could invest in a couple of pieces that you could mix into your existing wardrobe that you could reuse in future outfits. If you wear steampunk bondage pants with an under blouse, waist cincher, vest and goggles it will probably scream steampunk. If you took the same pants and wore them with a t-shirt they would just look like cool pants. Excluding the goggles, all the pieces in that ‘costume’ would work with a bunch of different outfit. And even the goggles could be used for future events or festivals. It might be more money upfront but it’s more economical in the long run.
Bonus: Who What Wear? Steampunk Fantasy Adventure
Accessories make or break a good costume
Accessories can make or break your costume. If you don’t have the cash to get a full outfit you can usually achieve the look with good accessories. You could totally put together the steampunk adventurer look with stuff from your closet. Start with brown or black pants, add a white button up shirt and a vest if you have one. That will be the base of your costume. Add a hat, some goggles, compass and a map and voila! Don’t have the cash for the accessories, get crafty with cardboard. A friend of mine made an Ash vs. the Evil Dead chainsaw arm out of cardboard, glue, and coloured sharpies. At the end of the day, you can be wearing the most gorgeous garment in the world but the accessories are going to be what gives your character a personality.
Get out your notebook and make a list of costumes you want to try this Halloween. Go through your closet and see what you have already. Make a sketch. Write a list of what you need and start gathering the pieces to make this the best Halloween ever!