Cosplay tips for crossplay!

These days in the cosplay community, dressing up in crossplay is pretty normal now. There are so many cosplayers dressing up as the opposite gender. And why not; there are some amazing female and male characters worth cosplaying as.

But how do you go about it? What things should you do to ensure you look as good as possible doing crossplay? Well, that’s what this post will be about!

In this article, I’ll go through 9 cosplay tips for crossplay that will help you look great as the opposite gender. Most of these tips are very simple things that can make a HUGE difference in how you look. So read below and find out!

As a friendly reminder, it doesn’t matter what gender you are. Anyone can do these cosplays!

Also, this post isn’t meant to enforce gender stereotypes. We’re just using examples to make it easier to crossplay and make it more apparent, based on the beliefs of current societal norms.

(PS If you’re looking for Genderbend cosplay ideas, click here to check it out.)

But before we begin…

What’s the difference between Genderbend and Crossplay?

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. It’s that simple.

Without further ado, let’s get started!

1. Clothing and character choice

Love Live! cosplay
Cosplayer: Breathelifeindeeply.

Of all the things to make you look like you’re more crossplaying, I feel like the character you choose is very important. In particular, what the character is wearing is important.

For example, if you’re a female trying to crossplay as a male, it’s going to be a little harder if your character wears a skirt, as skirt-wearing is considered a female thing. Likewise, if you’re trying to cosplay a female character, wearing a muscle tank top shirt won’t help. Not saying it’s impossible, but it’ll be more likely people will confuse which gender you’re trying to crossplay.

So my first piece of cosplay tips for crossplay is to pick a character who dresses more masculine or feminine, depending on which gender you’re trying to portray. Again, this isn’t to reinforce stereotypes, but we’re basing this on societal norms at the moment to make things easier for you.

So what is more masculine or feminine? Let’s take a look:

Masculine ClothingFeminine Clothing
Suit and tieSkirts
Muscle tank topsBra/tank tops
Dress shirtCleavage
Baseball capHeels
Generally darker colorsGenerally brighter colors
Dress shoesStockings/Pantyhose

These are just a few examples to make yourself more apparent that you’re crossplaying a female (and vice versa). Sailor Moon is a great example because all of the Sailor Scouts dress very feminine. So if you’re a guy wanting to cosplay a female character, Sailor Moon is a great choice.

Likewise, if you’re a female, you’ll find it easier to cosplay Luffy from One Piece because of his shirt and shorts.

2. Length of hair

Senpai Joker
Joker from Persona 5.

This is also related to character choice, but the length of hair can also help you portray your crossplay better. Aka if your character has longer hair, then it’s easy to identify as a female crossplayer. Shorter hair = male.

Now you could argue that some female characters have short hair and some male characters have pretty long hair. That is true! But I’d say it’s more common to have the societal norm. Most of the time, shorter hair is associated with androgynous gender. So keep that in mind if you’re trying to crossplay a female or male!

3. Makeup

Girl with makeup

Makeup can greatly influence how well you pull off your crossplay, and definitely a cosplay tips for crossplay worth discussing. Put simply, the type of makeup you use can make you look more masculine or feminine.

Now you might be wondering, “Do I really need to wear makeup for a guy? They don’t even wear makeup!” Yes that can be true and you can certainly forego makeup. But as a female, you’ll find it easier to look more masculine with certain makeup and techniques.

Let’s take a look:

Masculine MakeupFeminine Makeup
No makeup at all!Mascara
Thick eyebrowsLipstick
Fake facial hairFake eyelashes
Makeup that accentuates your jawline (i.e. bigger jawline = more masculine)Makeup that makes your jawline look smaller (i.e. smaller jawline = more feminine)

P.S. If you want more tips on cosplay makeup, check out my complete guide here.

4. Your poses

Cosplayer: luckyeliee.

Yes, the way you pose on camera can definitely influence the way you look more masculine or feminine! In general, if you want to look more like a female, then you want to look smaller on camera and accentuate your curves.

  • Putting your hands on your hips
  • Turning your away from the camera, so the photo highlights your curves (e.g. chest, hips, legs) oh this is sounding so provocative!
  • Showing more of your legs
  • Looking more cute or beautiful

As for looking more masculine, you just simply do the opposite of what a female crossplayer would do! In other words, you want to take up more space and look bigger. So let’s go through it:

  • Putting your hands/arms away from your body. By doing this, you’re taking up more space in the photo, therefore making you look bigger
  • Turn tour body towards the camera and emphasize your chest and muscles, making you look bigger
  • Looking fierce and strong!

5. Camera angles

Cosplayer: luckyeliee.

This is more for the photographers, but you can also remind yourself of these things as well and ensure the photographers get these kinds of photos.

The camera angles can influence the impact of your crossplay. Put simply, some angles will make you look female, and vice versa.

For feminine camera angles, you want to take photos from above. Remember all those cute poses when the camera is above the cosplayer/subject? That’s to make the cosplayer look small and adorable, which is generally associated with femininity.

As for masculine camera angles, you want to take photos from below. Shots below the cosplayer makes them look more strong and dominant. Think of all those villain cosplays where they look so intimidating. Most of the shots having the cosplayer looking down to look scary and dominant!

6. Facial expressions

Cosplayer: luckyeliee.

Yes, even facial expressions can have an impact on your crossplay and make you look more of a certain gender. Females generally look cuter while males look more fierce and dominant!

7. Hair on your body

One does not simply dislike Gandalf. Image by Franck Barske from Pixabay.

Again, not trying to stereotype. But in general, the more masculine you’re trying to portray, the more hair you’ll have (in terms of Cosplaying, not in real life). This is a gender norm that’s prevalent in society; females have less body hair than men. So if you’re a guy who’s trying to crossplay a female character, then it’s time to shave! But if you’re a female trying to crossplay a male character, then you can try adding some fake facial hair like a mustache and beard to make you look manlier!

8. Acting

Among Us (crossplay)
Cosplayer: why_astrid.

Like I mentioned in my cosplay vs. costume post, acting or roleplaying isn’t a requirement to cosplay these days. But in the case of crossplaying, you may want to do a bit of acting to engage yourself as that different gender! So if your character is a cute kawaii girl, try acting like one while dressed up as her! Likewise, if you’re cosplaying a strong male villain, then definitely play the part. It’ll help you with your vibe and even body language if you do a bit of acting.

9. Fake body parts!

measurements (crossplay)
Image by StockSnap from Pixabay.

Last but not least, you can do a better crossplay by having body parts that are more accurate to the gender you’re trying to portray. So if you’re crossplaying as a female, you can add some artificial breasts to your look. Or if you’re trying to cosplay a male, you can add a fake bulge to make you look manlier!


To summarize, here are the 9 cosplay tips for crossplay we recommended:

  1. Clothing and character choice
  2. Length of hair
  3. Makeup
  4. Your poses
  5. Camera angles
  6. Facial expressions
  7. Hair on your body
  8. Acting
  9. Fake body parts!

And you there you have it; cosplay tips for crossplay!

I hope you found this post useful! If you have any questions or suggestions, leave them in the comments below.

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