Sunday, 23 October 2011

Cosplay Tips: Dresscapade Resources

…as some of you may have noticed, Halloween is approaching super fast, and for those of you about to dress up- I salute you!

With that in mind I thought I’d offer some suggestions for my favourite places to acquire pieces/props and ideas for costumes…

Here we go:

Your local costume shop
I suppose this seems like an obvious place to start, but overall I’m not too keen on the ol’ costume shop, generally because they’re so expensive, so I wanted to get it out of the way quickly. What I will say is that if you’re pushed for time a costume shop can give you all the things you need in one place- although you’ll pay a premium for it! The main reason the costume shop is on this list is for their off season sales- you can get full costumes for as little at £10, wigs and accessories for under £5 (if your lucky) so its worth checking for staples occasionally.
Just make sure you avoid shops run by childhood enemies of any close personal friends or guardians like in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode 'Halloween'.

If you're wondering, Willow was dressed as a sexy ghost...
The fashion forward shop selling the uncostly stock is in almost every town in England (and there are pleanty of equivalents around for those of you not in Blighty) and the reason it is so useful is that you can buy all kinds of things there, from sparkly dresses, stripy tops and strapless bras to giant earrings and cheap shoes in all colours. Typically if its not something too outrageous, Primark will have it- there are rows of t-shirts, cardigans and all colours so this is a great place for getting the basics for your costume (also has been known to sell sequened pants, lace leotards, shoes decorated with fruit and silver leggings).

Charity Shop
Not always the best of stock available, but usually so cheap you can feel free to rip it, sew it, throw paint at it in order to make the item perfect.
For simple items like t-shirts they are pretty good, and its all for a good cause!

Cardboard Boxes
Just a simple one this, but you can cut them, paint them and wear them! Easy ways to make a transformer- like some friends at my birthday party, tv, street sign or various other things.
There are also free ones available at your local supermarket!

Soundwave transforms into two human females?!

You’re/A Family member’s/A friends wardrobe
The easiest to access stash of clothing for costumes is that of your own wardrobe- or any one elses that would be willing to let you borrow clothes!
I once borrowed a boyfriends shirt to dress as Karen from X/1999 which saved me buying one of my own (no pictures of that thank god!) I have said before always take into account the kind of pieces you have when choosing a costume for fancy dress and if you already have items the costume is that much simpler- and free! Hoarding Grandparents may also have several items that can be added to a vintage fancy dressing collection (if you’re lucky!).

Dash to the haber-dash-ery! For a limitless supply of fabrics, sequens, ribbons, buttons for altering and customising things you already have. I think most places have one, somewhere, although it may be tucked in the back of an old indoor marked or a department store- try to avoid the latter if possible as they are often more expensive. I recently went to Dainty Supplies at an industrial estate in Sunderland to collect buttons for my bridal bouquet (yes I’m getting married-eep! So expect a few posts on that in the up and coming months, after all it’s the fanciest dress I’ll probably ever wear!) and the buttons were much cheaper than certain other department stores. 

Not such a Dainty Store!

In the UK Boots the Chemist sells everything (almost) you need to complete your costume look and I’m fairly certain all countries have something similar for your pharmaceutical/cosmetic needs. The important thing about Boots is that is has all kinds of make up and hairdyes, for example my white hairdye for Black Cat came from a spray can I bought at Boots (that I was lucky to get!!) they also sell a great range of cheaper makeup that is animal friendly if you’re looking for a good one night only lipstick or eyeshadow. They also sell tights in all colours, cushioned insoles- for killer heels, blister plasters- for chafing costume parts, hair teasing tools and even painkillers for the morning after *wink wink.

Ah… Saved the best until last. My personal favourite for costume shopping is eBay. They stock ready made costumes at reduced prices, cosplay wigs imported from China (see Black Canary soon!) Zentai suits, cosmetics, clothing and all kinds of footwear. I almost feel like its safe to say that if eBay doesn’t sell it, it doesn’t exist! The only downside to eBay is that you have to consider postage time while compiling a costume, which means making decisions and buying early and very occasionally something you buy doesn’t turn out to be quite as expected. I have one disasterous story about a wedding dress that taught me to be more careful about eBay, but ultimately, you are always covered by paypal should something go wrong. The main bonus of eBay is the price- which is usually super cheap, you just need to be a little careful when buying- for any one interested a eBay how to will be following soon-ish.

Type in what you want, and it appears!

Ultimately that’s it! If you think I’ve missed anywhere important let me know!

Another Dresscapade should be approaching you shortly, and then reports on my costume efforts at the London MCM Expo!

Until then Happy Dresscapades!

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