Dance belt ... who knew that was a thing? (well, dancers?)
Ok, something to think about, though I haven't done costumes that might require it.
"Some day I'll do a column on the different types of cosplay naked."
Err ... dunno, I've always thought 'no costume is no costume'.
As a person who has never cosplayed before, but has seen a lot of it, I have one big pet peeve that I always bring up: Don't have an impeccable, unworn, 100% clean costume.
Almost all clothes you wear regularly have wear and tear; stretches, fraying, dirt patches, discoloration and abrasion - often on a small level you don't even notice. Game and movies characters shouldn't be any different, especially if they are a character who regularly gets into rough scrapes and combat. And yet at conventions, Altair or Lara Croft cosplayers's look like they never have never worn their outfit before (because they probably haven't). It sticks out like a sore thumb. No one wants their expensive ensemble damaged, but if you want to make it look authentic, you're going to have to screw it up, kick it around on the floor, wear it and roll in the dirt, and scrub it in water/washing machine a few times. It'll look way better. Interesting factoid: spies do the exact same thing whenever they had to wear disguises - nothing looks more out of place than an unworn uniform.
Have to say as someone who is considering getting into cosplay (been to my first two conventions ever this year!) I'm finding these articles both excellent and informative. Trying to get myself informed and going on this kind of thing is difficult because in a lot of cases its hard to know where to start.
My current problem, for example, is trying to work out firstly where I can get proper coloured contacts and secondly to work out if I could put up with said contacts. >_>
Anyway, you write really good articles. Thank you. :)
i've never done cosplay, so maybe this isn't for me to say, but i think there is a place for "bad" cosplay (like the Sailor Moon with a 5 o'clock shadow). to me, it's like a cover of a song... sure, you can cover the song and try to sound EXACTLY like the original artist, or you can take your appreciation of the original piece and turn it into something entirely your own.
it can't just be lazy bad though, it would have to be DELIBERATELY bad. as I said (and you said, OP) the 5 o'clock shadow i think would be a funny "bad" cosplay. as well as clothes that obviously don't fit that great, and tighty whities obviously visible, peeking above the skirt's waistline.
it seems needlessly exclusionary to say that people couldn't do that just because it's not what YOU see as cosplay. if i had the money or the clout or the time i would set up a con specifically for Good "bad" cosplay.
My biggest pet peeve would be people who don't even remotely have the shape to be the character they try to represent.
My personal Top 1 is: work with your body.
I understand that not everyone is a perfect fit for the character they wish to portray, but if you can't compensate for the difference, just don't.
It is perhaps a sad reality that this obviously usually affects overweight people(as there is no equivalent of filling their costume with some foam for them), but it's equally irritating to see a Robotnik that was too lazy to pad his costume a bit.
Above dose not necessarily apply to alternate interpretations of characters, like human-versions or cosplaying children(in either direction), though that's grounds for discussion on a case by case basis.
One of my pet-peeves, as a cosplayer, is people who haven't made a costume in their lives, talking about costumes. The only people allowed to talk about costumes and quality are people who make them and have knowledge and understanding of the time, material, skill and money going into the hobby. Doesn 't matter how many cosplays you've seen, touched etc. - if you haven't made it, you are not allowed to talk about it. I don 't walk around talking this and that about, say, IT specialists or any other profession and what they should do if I am not in the same profession or have never DONE it myself.
Apart from that, this article pretty much sums it up for me - http://aliasis.hubpages.com/hub/Top-Cosplay-Pet-Peeves