Who Should You Cosplay?


April 6, 2016 by DeLa Doll

Short answer

Whoever the fuck you want, peeps! Seriously. It’s that simple. There are no rules. Cosplay whoever you want, man. Cosplay a character whose design you love. Cosplay a character whose story you love. Cosplay a character you just really fucking love. That’s all there is to it. Like a character for whatever reason? Then cosplay them. That’s it.

Long answer

Alright, assuming you really don’t understand that you have total autonomy when it comes to making your cosplay decisions, or that you’re looking for some helpful advice in trying to narrow it down a bit, here are some things to keep in mind when choosing who to cosplay.

Skill Level – What Can I Do?

  • Consider what you’re comfortable with doing and what you’ve already done. Don’t take on a complex project that requires a lot of new skills for your first cosplay.
  • If you’ve already worked on a few, or even many cosplays, you can use your next cosplay as an opportunity to push yourself farther than you have before by trying something new or revisiting an older cosplay that you’d like to improve
  • Overall, be honest with yourself about your abilities. Are you easily frustrated? Are you a fast learner? Do you enjoy a challenge, or do you prefer to stick to what you’re comfortable with? These are all questions to ask yourself before you end up bored and underwhelmed, or way in over your head, buried in ruined yards of fabric and nursing glue gun burns as your reference photos laugh in your face.

Budget – What Can I Afford to Do?

  • Things add up in cosplay pretty quickly, you may think you’ve got something simple and cheap on your hands, and then realize you forgot to factor in the cost of a new wig, an important prop, or any other key element that can make or break your cosplay. The best thing you can do for yourself is to consider how much you’re willing to spend, and then go from there.
  •  If you’ve narrowed it down to a handful of characters and have limited funds, make a list of the things you’ll need for each cosplay, along with the estimated total cost it would take to purchase or create each one. From there, you can pick the one that is easiest on your wallet.
  • If you’re unsure about what you’ll need or how much it’ll cost, Google is your best friend. Look that shit up! If someone has done the cosplay you want to do and has been awesome enough to detail their creative process, use that as a guideline to figure out what you’ll need, and then look up the prices for the materials on the websites of the stores you plan on purchasing them from.
  • Take inventory of what you already have on hand. It always sucks when you rush you out to buy a fuckton of materials only to come home and realize you already had half of what you needed. By making note of what you currently have, you’ll save yourself some money and the hassle of going back to the store to return 8 bottles of neon green acrylic paint and a steel baseball bat like some sort of fucking weirdo (not that I’ve ever done that >_>)
  • If you can’t afford to do it the way you want, either lower your expectations and just have fun with a simpler version of the cosplay you have in mind, or put it on the shelf until your bank account gives you the ok.

Interests – What Do I Like?

  • This one is self-explanatory, really…but I’ll explain it anyway!
  • Look at the media you like and go from there. It’s that easy. Pick a show, movie, game, etc. that you enjoy and then pick a character. Super simple.
  • If you don’t have a specific series or movie in mind, think of a genre you enjoy and do a little research until you come across some character designs within that genre that you’re really drawn to.
    •  You do not have to be a super fan or expert to cosplay a character; just liking the design is as good a reason as any. I do, however, suggest at least doing research on the character if you aren’t familiar with their series. Personally, I’ve watched and read things specifically to learn more about a character I wanted to cosplay. You don’ have to, but it doesn’t hurt and can usually lead you to some cool fandoms that’ll take over your life 🙂
    • It’s typically more fun to bring a character to life when you feel some sort of connection with them, or are at least enthusiastic about them. While it’s not a requirement for cosplay, it’s something to keep in mind.

Goals – What Do I Want Out of This?

  • Again, honesty is key. Do you simply want to exercise your creative side? Are you looking to gain a lot of recognition? Trying to win a contest? Just wanting to try out something new? Do you just want to be comfortable at the con? Consider these things and be real with yourself when answering. It’s totally fine if part of your motivation is to garner some sort of attention. It’s totally fine if you just wanna look cute. It’s fine if you want to compete in a cosplay contest. Just make sure your cosplay choice lines up with those goals. For instance, you probably shouldn’t pick something overly simple and not particularly “stand out” for a contest, as you likely won’t get the results you’re hoping for. If you’re going for comfort, maybe hold off on the Daedric Armor and huge props. I’m sure you get the idea.

Additional Things To Consider

  • Looks: Your race, height, weight, etc. literally don’t matter. Cosplay whoever you want, but keep these things in mind:
    • Don’t alter your skin color to mimic the features of an actual race; it’s unnecessary, insensitive, and can be really offensive. On the other hand, if it’s for a fantasy race with a non-existant skintone, then go for it! Exmaple:
      • Blackface/Dark Makeup/Etc. for a Michonne cosplay? Not ok.
      • Blue bodypaint for Smurfette cosplay? A-Ok!
    • Don’t starve yourself or engage in other dangerous behaviors in an effort to lose weight for a cosplay.
    • Don’t limit your choices based on insecurities. It’s about fun and art at the end of the day; you don’t have to match your character in every way, and people who believe otherwise need to get a grip because it’s really not that serious.
  • Weather: If you’re going to a summer con, it’s probably not a good idea to wear that full leather bodysuit. If you’re going to a winter con, maybe hold off on that bikini-edition of your favorite character. Cosplay is amazing, but it’s not worth risking dehydration or hypothermia over. Just be smart and take care of yourself!


  • If you’re interested cosplaying a character that has a specific set of physical features, abilities, genre, etc. here are some handy websites in which you can search for and/or browse characters based on specific characteristics
  • Cosplay Groups and Forums
    • You can join one of Facebook’s many cosplay themed groups, or find a group in your area or some other part of the web, and then turn to your group members for suggestions. However, there’s a way to go about doing this:
      • Do: Be as specific and detailed as possible when asking for suggestions. List your interests, your skillset, and other things that would be helpful in allowing people to give you  useful suggestions. The more you give, the more yore get, and the better your results will be.
      • Don’t: Just throw up a selfie and ask “Who should I cosplay?” Not only are you likely to annoy your peers, but you’re also doing yourself a disservice because the results you will get (if any) are going to be all over the place.

That’s…pretty much it! If you can think of anything else, please share your own cosplay-picking advice in the comments below! I’d love to hear them, and I may even add them to the post (with full credit given, of course).

~DeLa Doll


One thought on “Who Should You Cosplay?

  1. Kali Neko says:

    Bookmarking and pinning to every “who should I cosplay????” question I get.

    Liked by 1 person

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