Cosplay ideas for you!
If you’ve read my blog for a while, then you know I’ve made a bunch of articles for cosplay ideas. But I want to make this article THE ultimate guide for cosplay ideas. So by the end of this post, you’ll have at least 10-20 best cosplay ideas that you’ll definitely want to do now and in the near future!
How will we go about this? I will go over 10 categories you should consider when deciding on a character to cosplay.
These things can range from the popularity of a character, how difficult it is to cosplay and how much it costs to make a certain character. For example, there’s no point in cosplaying from Monster Hunter if you can’t afford it! Or cosplaying Marin from My Dress Up Darling if she’s popular but you want to do someone more challenging and fun.
And this isn’t going to be some random quiz generator where you pick a character only based on personality. Not at all!
We are going to pinpoint the best 10 cosplay ideas you should do, based on your preferences, budget and designs.
Let’s get into it!
DISCLAIMER: I have some affiliate links in this article if you’re looking to wear any of these cosplays. Either I myself have bought from those stores, or I truly feel they are great deals for a beginner cosplayer. I’ll only post links if I feel the price and quality are of good quality. If you’re buying from these sites, you’re also supporting me and my hobby so I appreciate it!
I believe this is the best category to start with.
Let’s face it; a lot of you guys are definitely budget-minded. So it’s only natural you want to find a character that you like and enjoy, while also being one that you can afford. Like it would be nice if we could all cosplay a beautiful princess or one with armor. But it would be too expensive for a lot of people. With that said, it doesn’t mean you have to dress like the Paper Bag Princess (unless that’s what you want to do).
In fact, there’s a whole subcategory of closet cosplays that you can do.
What is closet cosplay?
It’s basically taking whatever you have in your closet (e.g. blue jeans, white dress shirt) and using that to cosplay a certain character. And all you really need to buy is the wig and sometimes a couple of extra things.
You’d be surprised how many characters you can actually cosplay with clothing you already have! Not only are these cosplays very budget-friendly (compared to regular and expensive cosplays), but they also look great as well.
How much does a cosplay cost? If you want more detail on how to figure out the cost of a cosplay character, click here to check out my detailed guide about it. But in short:
- Budget cosplays = under $50 up to $100
- Regular cosplays = $100-$300
- Expensive cosplays = over $300
Most of these cosplay ideas in this guide will fall under regular or expensive cosplay pricing. So if you’re looking for budget cosplays, here are some cosplay ideas:
Keqing from Genshin Impact
Everyone’s favorite cat girl from Genshin Impact, Keqing is a popular character from the game. While you might think that Genshin cosplays are complicated to do, Keqing is surprisingly easy to do and probably the most beginner-friendly!
Who is Keqing: Keqing (pronounced Ka-Ching $$$) is one of the members who watches over the Liyue region. Unlike her colleagues, she questions whether the structure is sustainable and thinks humans can run the show on their own. Keqing’s outfit is really nice and one of the easier ones to craft yourself, which is why I think so many have cosplayed her already!
What you’ll need to cosplay Keqing:
- Wig – You may be able to purchase a Keqing wig with the ears pre-styled online. Amazon, Taobao, Aliexpress, Bhiner, and SuperBuy are all good options to take a look at.
- Dress – This dress is actually one of the simpler designs and very good as a beginner project. If you imagine her dress in 3 layers, you can easily construct it. Step 1: Start with a white dress as the base layer. Step 2: Add a light purple layer to the front only. And Step 3: Add a darker purple layer to the back side. For the feather, you can make it by constructing it out of 2mm EVA foam and painted to match. Make the sleeves separately and attach with elastic.
- Tights – black, translucent tights are fine. You can actually draw the design under your tights with a white or cream coloured body paint. Remember to seal it prior to wearing the tights.
Other closet cosplay ideas:
- Jirou from My Hero Academia
- Misty from Pokémon
- Fionna from Adventure Time
- Chloe Price from Life is Strange
- Luffy from One Piece
- Makima from Chainsaw Man
- Junko from Danganronpa
- Android 17 and 18 from Dragon Ball Z
- Kim Possible
II. Popular (and non-popular) cosplay ideas for you
The next category for cosplay ideas is one that resonates with a lot of cosplayers; whoever is popular! There are many reasons why you’d want to cosplay a popular character: you’ll get more attention and likes, it’s easier to socialize with more people that know your character, and usually more fun when people know who you’re dressed up as.
There are some disadvantages however to doing popular cosplays.
One is that buying these costumes will be more expensive because the demand is high and the character is likely new. You’ll also find it hard to stand out against the other cosplayers who may dress up as the same character as you. And some might feel that going for only popular cosplays is just simply pure clout-chasing. But hey, you do you. It’s your money, so you decide who you want to dress up as!
Here are some examples of popular characters, at the time of this writing:
Evelynn from K/DA (League of Legends)
Originally meant to just sell skins for League of Legends, K/DA has become a phenomenon that mostly everyone loves.
What is K/DA: Evelynn is one of the members of KD/A, which stands for Kill Deaths/Assists, one of the most common terms in the League of Legends game. Ever since the first K/DA music video Pop Stars was released, the League of Legends world was never the same. Now you see cosplays Ahri, Akali, Evelynn and Kai’Sa all the time! And that’s definitely not going to change in 2022, especially with the newest KD/A videos More and Baddest.
In addition to K/DA, Riot Games continues to release new music videos and skins for other League characters. So not only will this game be relevant into the 2020s, so will the cosplays. And this is great if you’re looking for easy cosplay ideas for girls; K/DA characters like Evelynn are easy to cosplay!
What you’ll need to cosplay Evelynn K/DA from League of Legends:
- Black Trench Coat – If you’re looking for a closet cosplay, Evelynn might be something you and a few friends could put together by combining your wardrobes. The black trench coat is a closet staple, and if you don’t have one, I guarantee your local Goodwill or Value Village will.
- Necklace – This necklace charm is super easy to make. All you need to do is loop a length of ribbon into an old earring. You can also find lots of similar charms at the craft store, corner store, or Ardene’s.
- Earring – Evelynn’s earrings here are just small hoops, which you can find online for about $2 on eBay. These are also in the bargain section at Claire’s or Ardene’s.
- Belt – A common black belt can be purchased at any corner store.
- Wig – Evelynn’s cat ear hair is what gives her the iconic look in this K/DA version. I would recommend buying some strong hair spray and set aside an hour or so to twirl the hair in the same way. You can buy her wig right here (affiliate link).
- Glasses – Glasses are a challenge to craft. The best hack for glasses is to find some similar frames and tint the lenses with see-through acrylic sheets such as soft binders, or photography gels.
- Claws – Honestly, paper is the tried-and-true method for the most comfortable claws. You can also do foam for a longer effect. Paint with silver acrylic or Rub n Buff.
Other popular cosplay ideas:
- Ayaka from Genshin Impact
- Marin from My Dress Up Darling
- Yor from Spy x Family
- Arcane Jinx from League of Legends
- Vi from League of Legends
- Venti from Genshin Impact
- Hawks from My Hero Academia
- Nezuko from Demon Slayer
- Nico from Love Live! (Love Live! will always be popular)
If you want more popular cosplay ideas, click here. I update this list every year!
So if you want to be the complete opposite and do an obscure cosplay, then definitely go for it! The pros and cons are flipped: no one will likely know who you are, but it’ll be exciting when someone does. As for cost, it might be hard to find a store that has the costume you’re looking for. But you can always commission one too.
Some obscure cosplay ideas:
- Geno from Super Mario RPG
- Jessica from Dragon Quest VIII
- Dixie Kong from Donkey Kong Country
- Excel Saga
- Beck Mongolian Chop Squad
- Astro Boy
- Rose of Versailles
- Earthworm Jim
III. Cosplay ideas for characters you genuinely like
Most people agree that you should cosplay character you genuinely like! Whether you’re into Anime, video games, comics, etc. You probably have a favorite character from a series you truly love. Why not cosplay that character? Whether it’s relating to the character’s struggles, or sharing the same similarities with them, cosplaying is expressing your love and passion for a character!
As for examples, it’s hard to think of favorite characters, because everyone has their own preferences. But here are some favorites that I’ve seen:
Ganyu from Genshin Impact
The Cocogoat Waifu. Ganyu is also a half adepti, meaning she has superpowers…including being able to do several tasks at the same time. This makes her the perfect secretary for the Liyue Qixing. Ganyu’s outfit is awesome and she’s one of the most liked characters in the game, making her an awesome choice for Genshin Impact cosplay.
What you’ll need to cosplay Ganyu:
- Blue wig – Bonus if you can get the ombre tips.
- Black bodysuit – You’re in luck because there are a myriad of styles to choose from online and in thrift stores due to the whole bodysuit boom. Once you have the base piece, you can snip off the back to make it more accurate.
- Black tights – Any pair will do but I recommend getting something with 300d or more for the opacity. Cut the details out of 5mm craft foam and paint to match your reference.
- Horns – If you weren’t able to grab a pair during Halloween, you can easily DIY your own from tin foil and clay or cardboard. Mount it to a headband for easy placement and wear.
- Sleeves and dress – Here’s where things get a little tricky. Grab a curtain (or another fabric that is a little thicker to prevent wrinkles) and some blue fabric paint. Cut out the correct amount you will need and paint on the details. Use a stencil to ensure your edges are sharp.
- Cowbell – The dollar store is your best bet here. If you can’t find a bell you can try to make one out of craft foam. It won’t ring, but it will be much lighter around your neck.
- Shoes – Any shoe store will have the nude pumps that you’re looking for.
- Black Gloves – Chances are you or a friend might already have these lying around! If not, check the winter and gardening section at your local dollar store.
- Roy Mustang from Fullmetal Alchemist
- Ryuko from Kill La Kill
- Princess Peach from Super Mario
- Usagi from Sailor Moon
- Pikachu from Pokémon
- Todoroki from My Hero Academia
- Hinata from Naruto
- Yuna from Final Fantasy X
- Xiao from Genshin Impact
Some more ideas for favorite characters:
IV. Character design
Another reason why you’d have some cosplay ideas is because of the character design. Maybe you don’t know much about the character themselves. But you’ve seen some photos and you absolutely love the design or the outfit that the character is wearing. That’s totally fine. Whether you want to cosplay a character because they’re wearing a beautiful dress, or they carry a badass weapon, you should definitely go for it!
A lot of cosplayers I know have done these characters, simply because their design was so awesome:
Amber from Genshin Impact
What you’ll need to cosplay Amber from Genshin Impact:
- Red coat, headband, details – you can thrift a cotton or polyester hoodie and alter to fit your body. Cut the shape to be similar to Amber’s M-shaped bangs to get the best effect.
- Brown wig – One of my favourite wig stores is Wig Supplier and you can find an Amber wig or just a generic brown wig.
- Belt and gloves – Dollar store gardening section all the way.
- Shirt – get a brown shirt and a white hurt and hack them together to make a brown and white shirt! Fabric paint the details.
- Gold embroidery – You can get puffy paint from your local craft store to achieve a raised effect and use craft foam for the base.
- Brown shorts – Thrift store is your best bet to find some class brown shorts. Look in the pants section too and you might be able to find a steal.
- Thigh-high boots – You need a cheap heel and some thigh-high socks. Cut a hole in the heel of a white thigh high sock and slip the heel though and you’ve got some DIY thigh-high boots.
- Goggles – Amazon has some dank aviator goggles!
More cool character designs:
- Elsa from Frozen
- Madoka from Madoka Magica
- Shinobu from Demon Slayer
- Princess Tutu
- Sailor Moon
- Mona from Genshin Impact
- Sukuna from Jujitsu Kaisen
- Aerith from Final Fantasy VII
- Ann from Persona 5
V. Cosplay accuracy
Next category is cosplay accuracy. So this can mean two things.
The first is that you want to cosplay a character that looks similar to you. Not only does it make your cosplay look more “realistic,” you also tend to get good reactions and a LOT of cosplay photo requests when you do these types of cosplays!
On one hand, it’s totally okay if you want to cosplay someone who looks like you. It’s fine; don’t be ashamed about it! On the other hand, you don’t need to pigeon-hole yourself into cosplaying characters that ONLY look similar to you.
For example, I’ve cosplayed Sylvain from Fire Emblem: Three Houses and I look absolutely nothing like him. But I didn’t care; I like Sylvain a lot so I wanted to cosplay him! So this would fit in the “love for character” category. So this shows that cosplaying characters that do and don’t look like you…they don’t have to be mutually exclusive. You can do both!
The other aspect of cosplay accuracy is simply creating a character to be as accurately detailed as possible. I’ll talk about this more in the “Difficulty” category.
Anyways, here are some examples of some characters you can cosplay that are physically similar and “accurate” to you (e.g. tall, short, small, plus size). Again, you don’t HAVE to be physically similar at all to do any character. It’s just a preference.
Lisa from Genshin Impact
Lisa is like the perfect Waifu in this game with her charming looks and sultry voice. 🙂 While Lisa can be super flirty towards the main character, she is also pretty smart and uses her epic skills to cast magic spells in battle. Lisa is pretty damn popular! Just search her up on YouTube and see what kind of video results you get. She’s the perfect Genshin Impact sexy cosplay idea you’re looking for. 😉
What you’ll need to cosplay Lisa:
- Wig – You can specifically purchase a Lisa wig or you can restyle any blonde wig to suit her style.
- Hat – Making a large witch hat is a challenge in and of itself because it can get very heavy very quickly. One technique is to make the entire hat out of foam or cardboard, and then to cover it with fabric, lace, and sculpted details. Another technique is to repurpose witch hat brims by sacrificing two dollar store witch hats brims to create a larger witch hat. This method makes the hat more lightweight but is also more tricky.
- Dress – Lisa’s dress is very complicated in design but can be broken down into three main parts. The first part is the bust – this is just white fabric with a fancy gold trim. You can repurpose a tube top or dress for that. The second part is the torso. I would draft a solid purple sloper or corset as the base, and then add the appliques on top with HeatnBond or fabric glue. The third section is the dress portion. Lisa’s flowy dress has a few different sections. The front section is a glorified rectangle, and the back section is like a flowy half- circle skirt.
- Shoes – Any black heel would suffice, but I recommend something with a thicker block heel as it’s more comfortable to walk around on. You can always make the angle strap yourself.
- Accessories – Lisa’s gloves and socks are not as important as her main outfit but you want to find something lacy to match the level of detail on her outfit. Make sure that the lace is stretchy so it conforms to your body better.
More cosplay ideas based on body type, height, etc that’s similar to you:
- Qiyana from League of Legends
- Krillen from Dragon Ball Z
- Waluigi from Super Mario
- Sailor Jupiter from Sailor Moon
- Nozomi from Love Live!
- Alphonse from Fullmetal Alchemist
- Deku from My Hero Academia
- Xiao from Genshin Impact
- Rukia from Bleach
- Eli from Love Live!
- Male Plus size cosplay ideas
- (Mostly) Female Plus size cosplay ideas
- Cosplay ideas (Short characters)
- Cosplay ideas (tall characters)
Now this is an interesting category! I know a lot of you prefer to cosplay a character of a certain gender.
These days, it’s socially acceptable and welcomed to cosplay any gender, regardless of your own gender. While of course you can cosplay characters the same gender as you, you can also do crossplay or genderbend cosplays.
While crossplay and Genderbend cosplay may sound similar, they are not the same thing. Crossplay involves you changing your own gender in order to accurately cosplay the character you’re doing. Genderbend involves changing the character’s gender and making it your own version.
So in short: Crossplay – changing your own gender. Genderbend – changing the character’s gender.
Here are some popular characters that many cosplayers either genderbend of crossplay as:
Kaeya from Genshin Impact
Man, Kaeya looks so much like Chrom from Fire Emblem! But anyways…Kaeya is the Cavalry Captain in the Knights of Favonius. Much like Lisa, Kaeya is a charming dude who uses his wits to trick people. Sadly, as good-looking as he may be, Kaeya is pretty underpowered in the game itself. Oh well, at least you can keep him in your party and still simp for him. Kaeya is also a Genshin Impact sexy cosplay. 🙂
What you’ll need to cosplay Kaeya:
- Wig – Use a hair tie and tie the wig into a ponytail and some smaller clear hair ties to create the ahoge (the hair strands at the top of the head). Trim the bangs to the desired length and then blast with hairspray so it keeps the shape. If you need more volume for the flippy bits, tease with a comb.
- Shirt – You can dip dye a plain white dress shirt to achieve the desired effect and then button only a few buttons at the bottom and leave the chest area open. Crop it to achieve the correct length.
- Pants – Black or navy blue dress pants would do the trick here. If you can find extra suiting material, you can even create a little corset top in the matching fabric and attach it to the shirt.
- Cape – Kaeya’s cape is what brings out his entire character and has two main portions. The top portion looks fluffy and you can recreate this look with a faux fur material – the longer the better. The back of the cape is just plain white fabric. You can use a bedsheet with interfacing (to thicken the fabric) to quickly fasten something that looks similar.
- Belt – Grab a plain brown belt and add sculpted accessories with foam clay to achieve the desired effect. Foam clay is easy to sculpt, lightweight and takes paint well. You can make any other accessories from foam clay as well, such as the earrings.
- Accessories – For Kaeya’s gloves, use foam clay to sculpt the spiky details and then attach it to a black foam base covered in faux leather. You can purchase an eyepatch for about $2 during Halloween or make your own with a small scrap of black fabric and some black elastic – look for the kind that’s used for mask making. Double up the fabric to make it a little thicker.
Other cosplay ideas gender-related:
- Usagi from Sailor Moon
- Deku from My Hero Academia
- Kaeya from Genshin Impact
- Misty from Pokémon
- Naruto Uzumaki
- Saiyans from Dragon Ball
- Edward Elric from Fullmetal Alchemist
- Dva from Overwatch
VII. Difficulty (easy and super challenging)
In this category, we have polar opposites! Most of the time, either you want a cosplay that’s easy to make or buy.
Or you really want to challenge yourself with a difficult cosplay to make it as accurate as possible. Some of you want that sense of accomplishment and fulfillment of creating a masterpiece that’s accurate and beautiful. While others want to wear something simple that’s easy and fun to do.
Whatever your preference may be, here are some examples that are easy or difficult:
Beidou from Genshin Impact
Captain of the Crux fleet. Beidou is your girl if you want to cosplay someone strong and fearless! She is one of the most popular cosplay choices because of her awesome design. Bonus points if you have a big sword to accompany her outfit.
What you’ll need to cosplay Beidou:
- Wig -A faux part can be created on your wig just by parting the wig fibres towards the direction you want. You can use a flat iron to style her side-swept bangs.
- Bodysuit – Image Beidou’s outfit in two layers. The inner layer consists of a black bodysuit, which you can find at any fashion retailer. The outer layer consists of the red skirt. You can create the skirt in 3 different sections and sew it to the bodysuit so it is easier to put on. Sew a matching Chinese collar.
- Socks – You can get plain black over-the-knee socks and add a removable sock topper to give the illusion of longer socks.
- Shoes – Look for a gold heel with an ankle strap. You can also paint a shoe the correct colour.
- Cape – Beidou’s cape is a red circle cape attached to a fluffy white trim at the top. You can create a faux fur trim. It’s a little hard to tell how this cape attaches to her clothes, but you can either add an invisible strap or add hooks on your main bodysuit.
- Gloves – These gloves look quite thick at the ends. You can achieve this effect by covering a sheet of craft foam with faux leather and adding a decorative trim.
- Accessories – Beidou’s main accessories are her hairpin and matching earrings. You can make these out of 2mm craft foam painted or out of foam clay. Both options will result in a paintable lightweight prop. Please remember to use a foam primer if you’re using craft foam. Create a dip-dyed tassel using embroidery thread.
More cosplay ideas that are very easy or very challenging:
- Zelda from The Legend of Zelda
- Sakura from Naruto
- Kiki from Kiki’s Delivery Service
- Sebastian from Black Butler
- Keqing from Genshin Impact
- Master Chief from Halo
- Monster Hunter
- Cloud from Final Fantasy VII
- Bloom from Winx Club
VIII. Social cosplaying
I made this category because I feel it’s one that many people don’t consider. Hear me out; there are times when you want to pick a cosplay ideas based on your social situation. Whether that’s having a girlfriend, boyfriend or partner. Or cosplaying at a convention with friends and/or family. There are many cosplay ideas you can do when you have someone else cosplaying with you.
Here are a few to get your brain going:
- Ayaka and Ayato from Genshin Impact
- Tanjiro and Kanao from Demon Slayer
- Android 18 and Krillen from Dragon Ball Z
- The Eeveelutions from Pokémon
- Mario and Luigi
- Love Live!
- Link and Zelda
- Harley Quinn and Joker
- Aether and Lumine from Genshin Impact
More great cosplay ideas based on social setting:
IX. Hair color
I was surprised by this category myself; I didn’t know how much hair color was influential in terms of deciding on cosplay ideas. It really does make a difference!
When it comes to cosplay ideas by hair color, there are a couple of things to this.
Some of you guys want to cosplay characters with a specific hair color: whether that would be blonde, brunette, black, orange, blue, etc. You want to do someone with a different hair color than yours. E.g. if you’re naturally a brunette, you want to be a blonde character!
The other thing is finding a character with the same hair color as you. Why? So you don’t have to wear a wig! Some cosplayers find it tedious to wear a wig, and while there are many benefits, it’s completely okay to cosplay without one. Yes, if you can find a character with the same hair color as you, you don’t need to have a wig. If you want to know more about cosplaying without a wig, click here to check out my article about it.
So if you’re looking for characters with specific hair colors, here are some ideas:
Tifa from Final Fantasy VII
FF7 has been the most popular Final Fantasy game of all time. When the first part of the remake was released, there was renewed interest in cosplaying the most well-known characters like Tifa and Aeris.
And now with the 2nd part of the remake being scheduled for release in 2022, there will be even more FF7 cosplays to see. I’m hoping there will be newer design of characters like they gave Tifa!
What you’ll need to cosplay Tifa:
- Tank top – A white tank top can be easily purchased almost anywhere – just trim it to your desired length. For a battle damaged version, make sexy cuts.
- Harness – Customize a pair of suspenders with craft foam pieces to imitate Tifa’s style. Depending on the version, some reference photos of her have more fancy suspenders than others.
- Skirt – If you can’t find a skirt at the correct length, crop a full length skirt to your liking. Sometimes, cosplayers choose to alter costumes in a way that makes them more comfortable. You don’t need to have the exact length of skirt to cosplay Tifa, but if you want to, all the more power to you!
- Black wig – A black wig is a staple in any cosplayer’s wardrobe. You can grab one from Amazon, or a quality wig from Arda.
- Arm guards – Matching the colour of the gloves and the arm guards will be difficult with paint, so I suggest finding red pleather and making everything from scratch. You can find a simple glove pattern online. Then add the gauntlet bits with 5mm craft foam and cover with your red pleather.
More cosplay ideas based on hair color:
- Futaba from Persona 5
- Beidou from Genshin Impact
- Lola Bunny
- Ash Ketchum from Pokémon
- Winry Rockbell from Fullmetal Alchemist
- Tracer from Overwatch
- Mercedes from Fire Emblem: Three Houses
- Sailor Mercury
- Ichigo from Bleach
Some more ideas based on hair color:
X. Whoever you want!
If none of these categories satisfy you, then cosplay whoever the heck you want! Unless it’s a controversial character (which I do not recommend), then the world is your oyster in terms of who you want to cosplay as!
To summarize, here are the 10 categories of cosplay ideas to help you choose a character:
- Popular (and non-popular) cosplay ideas
- Cosplay ideas for characters you genuinely like
- Character design
- Cosplay accuracy
- Difficulty (easy and super challenging)
- Social cosplaying
- Hair color
- Whoever you want!
And there you have it; the ultimate guide to cosplay ideas!
I hope now you have a folder of cosplans ready to go! Don’t spend all your money at once though; take your time. Cosplay will be here to stay.
Which cosplay ideas are you planning to do? Let me know in the comments!
My name is Roger Senpai. I’m a cosplayer that’s been in the community for well over a decade now. I’ve traveled all over the world to Anime and Comic conventions and hosted my own cosplay events. Now I’m writing articles for new and experienced cosplayers like you to help inspire, save you money and improve your cosplays!