By now you’ve brainstormed some ideas of what you want to cosplay, you’re keeping track of your ideas, and you’ve sorted the costumes so it’ll be easier to pick a costume.
Now the fun part: figuring out which costumes to work on! (i.e. Picking a Cosplay)
Step 1: Determine how far out you want to plan
Pick a period of time that you want to plan for. During this period of time there will be costumes that you are looking to complete and others that you are working on (i.e. longer, multi-year projects).
Since my cosplay events (e.g. cons) are all in the February-April time frame, I usually plan on a yearly basis. I have enough time to put together my costumes, but I’m not planning so far out that I’ll completely change my mind. That said, I always assume that priorities will change and I might add or drop costumes.
Step 2: Figure out what your needs are
Figure out what costumes you would want during that time frame.
This should include costumes you need for particular conventions, photo shoots, group meetups or other events. Don’t forget about costumes that you are working on, but won’t complete!
For example, my yearly needs are:
- 1 Halloween costume for me
- 1 Masquerade/skit costume for me, 1 for my husband
- 1-2 costumes for cosplay games for me, 1-2 for my husband
- At least 1 costume for walking around cons for me, 1 for my husband
- Long term: working on competitive costume for me
Step 3: List any restrictions on the costumes
For each costume, are there any restrictions?
- Does the costume need to fit a theme or be from a particular series?
- Is the costume appropriate for the season of the event? (i.e. a bathing suit costume, rather than full battle armor, at an outdoor summer event)
- Do you have to be able to move around in the costume easily or be packable? (i.e. I would not want to wear a ball gown on public transport)
So for my examples:
- Halloween costume – needs to be work appropriate and somewhat resilient to New England fall weather
- Masquerade/skit costume – usually we come up with the skit premise and then pick characters that work based on that.
- Cosplay Games – My husband and I apply to cosplay events as a pair, so these costumes need to be from the same series and we usually try to fit in with the convention theme. For example, Anime Boston 2013’s theme of “Tales of Youkai”.
- Walking around – These must be comfortable and not too heavy since these costumes are the ones that we change into for walking around a con.
Step 4: Audit what you have
Taking an existing outfit and making some minor changes/repairs can save time, money, and sanity. As much as I would love to make a new costume for each outfit I needed, I don’t have that kind of time and money.
For example: When picking costumes for cosplay games, I tend to cycle through existing cosplays. I just need to make a note if anything needs to be repaired.
Everything else can be new creations!
Step 5: Figure out what you CAN make
Real life can be annoying, but it always takes precedence over cosplay. As much as you might want to make 10 new cosplays, you need to be realistic. Do you have time to do that while working a full time job? Do you have money to make all those outfits if you’re still in school?
Do not put yourself into a position where you do not have money to live your regular life and where you let your enthusiasm for cosplay affect your work or school performance. Only you can determine what your bandwidth is, but be smart about it.
If you find yourself short on time or money, revisit Step 4: Audit. See what you have in your closet that you can fix up or even re-purpose. You might be able to wash and re-use a wig. You might have props that can be repainted to look good as new.
Hopefully this helped you figure out how to wrestle with scheduling from a list of 20+ cosplays.
If you’re still not sure, don’t worry about it! As long as you leave yourself enough time and money to make the outfits, you can delay making a decision until you’re a little closer to the event.