Tutorial: Casual / Closet cosplays

With MCM London Comic Con, arguably the most anticipated convention of the summer over, the fun doesn’t have to stop there! In this article, I’m talking about not only easy ways to prepare for October but everyday options too. There’s a couple of ways to go about casual / closet cosplays and its all about what works for you.

Closet Cosplays:

To me, closet cosplay is building an almost accurate costume with things you already have in your wardrobe. Of course, this is all down to interpretation. I have done a few closet cosplays myself because of time, money or situations.

My first ever cosplay was a closet cosplay because I didn’t know I was attending the convention until 8 am the morning of. Luckily I had a shirt, shorts and a top hat and thus Zatanna happened! That was 5 years ago. People still knew who I was trying to be, I made friends and connections and it was exactly what I needed for me to want to cosplay more. I think it’s a great way to dip your toes into the pool of cosplay and seeing if you like it.

Even after cosplaying for many years it’s still great to do a closet cosplay because sometimes it just works better! Take my Nightman from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia as an example. The show uses a black karate outfit as the costume but as someone who hasn’t done karate in years and didn’t want to buy a whole suit, my wardrobe had the answer.

Nightman consisted of my yoga trousers, a wrap style top, and my trainers. To this day, it’s been one of my most fun cosplays and that’s what it’s all about! Garth from Wayne’s World was another closet cosplay apart from the specific Aerosmith t-shirt which was cheap and easy to source.

Cosplays don’t have to be big, showy and expensive to be “worth it” or deemed as the best. Did you have fun? That’s what matters. I have spoken before about attitudes in cosplay and cant stress it enough.

Casual Cosplays:

There are so many different ways to do casual cosplays from everyday versions of characters, Disney bounding or basically whatever you can think of. This is something that I love seeing either at cons or after because people use interpretation. The creativity and originality of ideas is something to be celebrated and these are great chances too!

I only have a few experiences with casual cosplays but it’s something I’m looking to do more of! My few experiences consist of Tourist Joker and Harley Quinn for a shoot in London and a mild attempt at Disney bounding. I say mild as I didn’t really change from the reference. I could have made it more “human and realistic.”By realistic, I could reference current fashion styles and use that to design a garment. These are not criticisms but ideas to note for myself next time I do it.

Needing inspiration?

My first suggestion as always is base it on something you love. You are proven to be more motivated when you are passionate, let that guide you. There are also loads of resources online to get inspiration as well as plan an outfit. Tumblr blog Cosplay All The Things has pages of everyday, casual outfits based on characters. If Tumblr isn’t your thing, Pinterest has loads too!

As for planning, I used to use a site called Polyvore. I have found out that it has been shut down in the last few years but there are recommendations for others that do similar. If none of the sites work for you there are apps like PicCollage. The use of these is to draft the items and get a feel for what your outfit will look like and what your shopping for. Then you can get making or buying with the guide you’ve put together!

And there we have it, casual and closet cosplays and why they are great! If you are working on any or have tips, comment! There’s a whole community here who will celebrate your ideas!

Other Tutorials

About Rachel

Rachel is 24, has been cosplaying for 5 years and is one half of That Cosplay Couple in which she is accompanied by her boyfriend, Dan and is the seamstress for the two of them. Rachel also has her own seamstress business called Seamingly Normal where she makes cosplay, clothing and underwear via commissions.