Whether you’re new to the cosplay world or you’ve been cosplaying for a long time, you’re bound to make some mistakes. From forgetting part of your costume, to ordering the wrong size, there are some mistakes that can be easily prevented.
So in this post, I’ll go over 10 cosplay mistakes you NEED to avoid and how you can save yourself a lot of hassle and stress with these tips!
Without further ado, let’s get started!
1. Always try on a cosplay as soon as you get it in the mail.
This is one of the cosplay mistakes I definitely wanted to point out first, because it’s easily avoidable!
I once ordered a Kaeya cosplay from a cosplay website. Even though I ordered the correct size, it still ended up being too small. That’s fine, when you order a bunch of cosplays online, you’re bound to get a few that don’t fit properly (e.g. either too big or too small).
The mistake that I made was that I waited past the refund/exchange period to try it on and find out. By the time I found out the costume was too small, it was too late to get a refund/exchange/discount on a new order.
Had I tried it on right when I received it in the mail, the outcome would have been different. But basically, I lost $200 CAD because I didn’t try on my new costume that I got in the mail right way.
I have my excuses – my life was pretty busy and cosplaying for me personally has been on the back burner since the pandemic started. But in the end, it is my fault for waiting too long. So instead of me being angry about it, I figured I write this personal cosplay tip for you guys so you don’t end up going through the same pain that I did!
So again, make sure you try on and wear your costumes as soon as you get them. That way, if the costume is the wrong size, you can work something out with the costume store during the refund/exchange period.
2. Sizes in Asia are different.
One big issue regarding cosplay websites is the abundance of fake costume photos. As you buy more costumes online, you’ll likely see that the actual costumes looks completely different from the photos you saw online. Either the website stole fake photos, or used lots of Photoshop to make it look prettier than real life. Oh well, it’s part of the experience. But one way to check is to do a reverse image search. That way, you’ll know if the website is using authentic photos or not.
3. Taking “you can cosplay whoever” to an extreme!
There is a saying in the cosplay community that you can cosplay whoever you want.
The truth is that you really cannot cosplay whoever you want. Well you can, but not without potentially offending people. In other words, offensive cosplays are generally not allowed. This includes doing cosplays such as changing your skin color or cosplaying someone that’s disrespectful.
The saying, “You can cosplay whoever you want!” does come from a good place though. It applies more to people that think they cannot cosplay a certain character because of their own physical attributes (e.g. not being the exact same skin color, body type, gender). In that situation, it applies.
But you need to be careful, as some cosplays can be offensive to people. For example, it’s disrespectful to darken your skin for a cosplay, so don’t do that. Also, stay away from characters that perpetuate racial stereotypes. So while generally, the world is your oyster when it comes to cosplay ideas, it’s technically not true when they say you can cosplay ANYONE you want.
4. Not bringing a cosplay emergency kit.
In a perfect world, our cosplays would function flawlessly at a convention. But more than likely, you’ll suffer a cosplay malfunction at some point (for more info on cosplay malfunctions, click here). Fortunately, you can fix most costume problems with a few simple tools such as thread/needle, as well as some super glue!
This is why you want to carry a cosplay emergency kit with you during a convention. That way, you can patch up problems on the spot. So if your armor comes unglued, or a piece of cloth falls off, you can quickly stitch or glue it back on!
5. Not maintaining your cosplay wigs.
I am guilty of this! When you leave your cosplay wigs in your closet or room for a very long time, lots of things happen to them: the styling gel wears off, dust accumulates, the hair strands become tangled, etc. The last thing you want to do is wear that unkept wig to a convention.
To avoid this, you can do the following:
- Style and maintain the wig every few months to maintain the look
- Before a convention takes place, give it a good wash and restyling
- Store the wig in a bag (you can really do this with short or wigs with simple styling)
6. Forgetting to iron your cosplay.
If you’re like me, you’ll probably put away your cosplay in your closet for several months, only taking it out for the next convention or photoshoot. But over time, your cosplay will get wrinkled and messy, especially if it’s made of regular clothing material. And trust me; wearing a wrinkled cosplay looks so bad and tacky!
So before you decide to wear your cosplay again, give it a good ironing the day before. That way, your cosplay looks crisp and clean! Most cosplay materials can be safely ironed without ruining the material. (Click here to see which materials you can and cannot iron for cosplay).
What I also do is hang my cosplays if it’s possible, like you would either regular clothing. That way, it doesn’t get wrinkled at all.
7. Forgetting parts of your cosplay at home.
One of the most heartbreaking things to have happen is forgetting parts of your cosplay at home during a convention. Things like gloves gloves or pieces of armor are easy to forget, yet so vital to the overall look of your cosplay. But it’s one of those cosplay mistakes that can be avoided though.
How do you avoid this? What I like to do is make a checklist of all the items and accessories that come with a cosplay. And for every item that I pack in my bag for the convention, I check it off on the list. I do this the night before the convention. And on the day you’re ready to leave, you can just check the bag and ensure everything is still in there.
I would suggest packing the night before and not on the day of. Because it’s very stressful to pack on the day of, especially if you’re missing items and wasting valuable time looking for them.
So ensure you have a list of items for your cosplay and check them off when you pack them in your bag. By doing this, you’ll know for sure you have everything ready to go for your cosplay!
8. Con Crunching!
When it comes to cosplay mistakes, you may be familiar with this one. 🙂
This one may be a little controversial, since we are all prone to Con Crunch. If you don’t know, Con Crunch is that period where you’re trying to finish a cosplay right before a convention is about to happen. Not only is it stressful, but often you do things that you shouldn’t (e.g. trying to finish the costume in the convention hotel).
We all procrastinate and Con Crunch is something that naturally happens. But if you’re really far behind with your cosplay project, just put it aside and wear something else instead. There’s no point in putting yourself through so much stress; there will be other conventions where you can showcase your new cosplay!
9. Buying cosplay is “cheating.”
If you’re new to cosplay, you might be thinking that you HAVE to sew/craft your own costume, and that buying your own costume is considered cheating.
That is not the case at all! It’s totally okay to buy cosplays, especially if you don’t know how to sew. There are plenty of awesome cosplay websites that sell high-quality costumes (click here to see the best cosplay websites).
Besides, there’s more to cosplaying than creating the costume itself; there is cosplay photography and learning how to pose in photoshoots (more info on that here).
The only time where you cannot buy your cosplay is during a Masquerade (ie cosplay contest). In that situation, your crafting skills are being judged. So either you cannot buy any part of the costume, or only some parts of it.
10. Not hiring a photographer.
Last but definitely not least of the cosplay mistakes; not getting cosplay photographers to take your photos.
While it’s true that you can take some great photos at home and basically take selfies in the mirror.
But nothing will come close to having a real-life cosplay photographer taking your pictures. Not only do they usually how to take the best photos, they also make things easier for you.
To summarize, here are the 10 cosplay mistakes you should avoid:
- Always try on a cosplay as soon as you get it in the mail
- Sizes in Asia are different
- Not bringing a cosplay emergency kit
- Not maintaining your cosplay wigs
- Forgetting to iron your cosplay
- Forgetting parts of your cosplay at home
- Con Crunching
- Buying cosplay is “cheating
- Not hiring a photographer
And there you have it! I hope you found this post helpful. 🙂
If you have any questions or suggestions, leave them in the comments below!
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!