Cosplay Dossier
My Top Five Cosplay Pet Peeves

Liana Kerzner | 18 Aug 2015 12:00
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Every cosplayer has little things regarding costumes that annoy them. Especially when I'm judging costume competitions, there are certain things that, to me, are the difference between a great cosplay and good costume worn badly. The thing I find so frustrating is that these details are very simple, relatively inexpensive steps some cosplayers skip for reasons I cannot fathom, and they're the difference between a cosplay that even the most uninitiated person can appreciate and a look that will make people keep their distance because you look like you might stink. In no particular order, here are my top five cosplay annoyances.


1. A bad wig or no wig at all.

Wigs add significantly to the reality of the character you're trying to create, so it drives me nuts when people skip it. The Princess Leia Bikini from Return of the Jedi without the long braid looks more appropriate for the bedroom than a public setting. Another common offender for this unfinished look is Sailor Moon costumes. Especially, for some reason, when men wear Sailor Moon costumes. Crossplay isn't supposed to be a freak show, so when I see guys at conventions with the Sailor Scout suit, short dark hair, and five o'clock shadow, that's not cosplay to me. Again, this has nothing to do with gender identity or slut shaming, and everything to do with a lack of effort.

But don't buy a cheap piece of crap that looks like you scalped an oversized Barbie Doll and stuck it on your head. You can get away with that on Halloween, but cosplay is a different thing entirely. Expect to pay $40 to $65 for a decent wig. The nice thing is, wigs at this quality level will last forever if you take care of them, so they're good investments.

If you can see your own hairline while you're wearing a wig, it's not on properly! If your wig keeps creeping up your head during the day, it's probably too small. Wigs do come in different sizes. If the circumference of your head behind your ears from your hairline to the nape of your neck is larger than 22 inches - like mine is -- or if you have a lot of hair you'll have to stuff into a wig, you might have better luck with "large cap" wigs.

2. Lazy Make up

First thing's first: yes, you need makeup. Cosplay is full body dress up, and that includes your face. Even if it's little more than a bit of shadow to define your eyes and some powder to control shine, it makes a huge difference. If you change your hair color, your brow color usually has to change accordingly, especially if your wig is darker than your natural hair.

Male cosplayers? You are not excluded from this. Men in TV and film are wearing makeup, so if you want to replicate the look of those characters, those details matter. Cosplaying a video game character? It matters even more. Video game characters usually have exceptionally specific make up these days, and you don't look badass when you're sweaty.

Don't be afraid of powder, guys. It won't make your testicles fall off. Especially if you're drawing a symbol on your face, you have to set that symbol. You can't just draw it on with eyeliner and expect it not to run or smudge. If you don't want to lose the color saturation of a facial symbol, use a matching eye shadow over your cream, grease, or water based makeup, or use cornstarch instead of make up powder.

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