Recently read something that caught my interest. There was an article where a comment was made about how "lazy" a certain cosplayer's gijinka design was. The author's solution? They suggested "just make a catsuit"...
Now I don't think a catsuit would make a "bad" cosplay (I don't think there's such a thing as a "bad" cosplay, in general). A catsuit could be great, amazing and creative! That's not the problem. To compare that idea, in such a negative way, to one who simply looked at it a different way was a little... ignorant. Part of the fun in designing a gijinka cosplay is how creative you can be! There's so many different aspects to take into account that can go a lot farther than just the physical shapes and colors. There's no limit to what one can do because it's your very own design!
If you aren't sure what I'm talking about and looking to add even more into your gijinka design or if there isn't too much there for you to go off of to start with, then this post may be what you need!
What Are You Cosplaying?
So lets start! Since it's probably some of the most common characters that have a gijinka designed for them, we'll be using Pokemon for this example!
Okay, so we've decide what we're going to cosplay and it's a Pokemon! More specifically, let's say it's Vaporeon (at least for these next few examples). I know, this was a very basic step. Not much more to say, just needed this covered to move on.
What Does The Character Look Like?
Let's take a look at Vaporeon. It's yellow, white and two shades of blue in color. There's three "ears" on it's head, a collar around it's neck, it has a mermaid-like tail and scale/fin-like detail that go all the way down the back. It's skin/texture also appears smooth.
So what can we do with this information?
Well, just by looking at it we can already decide on what our color choices should be for the materials (whether it be paint or fabric); blues, yellow and white. We can also decide on the texture (if you're not going for an armored version--that usually changes things up a bit, but we'll touch more on this later); smooth. We also know we should probably include some key details like the ears and collar piece. The webbed shaping of the fins, collar, and ears is pretty significant too. We can make this will be a reoccurring shape throughout the outfit.
Where Do They Live?
This is very important! The area in which they live can definitely help you figure out what kind of design/style to go for. If they live in a hot, sunny dry area, you'd typically want to design something meant for that climate. If they live in a cold, snowy area you'd probably be looking towards designing something warm maybe with a lot of fur or layers. What about a desert? Or specific region of the world? Is there any sort of traditional clothing or style common to that area in real life? What about the time period? What would people where in those days? These are all things to consider!
Vaporeon lives in the water, so going for something with a water vibe--whether it be mermaid themed or pool party themed-- is a pretty fitting idea. The Pokedex entry also mentions it prefers beautiful shores. That can make the idea of designing something with a little bit more elegance and very detailed pop into our head!
What Are Some Key Aspects?
What stands out about the character--more than just appearance? For Pokemon we can instantly jump to their typing, the moves/abilities they have, and other information easily found in the Pokedex in games (or Wikipedia pages).
So for Vaporeon, we know it's a water-type, it learns a majority of water-type moves, and it evolves from Eevee. The Pokedex entry also mentions that it's molecules are similar to water (it can even melt into it) and that it's tail is often mistaken for that of a mermaid's.
So from this we can decide to lean towards a water-fitting design. Maybe something mermaid inspired or maybe some sort of bathing suit--made with water friendly materials. The fact that it's molecules are similar to water can bring about the idea to use fabric that moves and even sort of looks like water. You could also go about this a completely different way. You could decide to play more into the fact there's multiple Eeveelutions and make one uniformed design with slight tweaks for each individual characters. This could completely change your choice of fabric and if they environment/typing is important to consider or not.
What About Personality?
Personality is an important aspect! How does the character behave? Are they a bad-ass and edgy? Shy? Super serious? Young and playful? Seductive? Depressed and sad? Happy and motherly? If a character is childish and playful then it's probably a good idea to go with something youthful and easy to move in. If they're edgy and dark then maybe it's fitting to stay away from too many bright colors, throw in some spikes and a biker jacket? If they're motherly, think about what a mom would wear--maybe a classic 50's portrayal of one?
Now Pokemon may be a little tricky. But if you watch the show or check the Pokedex entry you can sometimes find some information about their personalities. If they don't mention that then go with what you feel. I've personally always felt like I could do something glamorous and elegant mermaid-wise or something fun and playful for Vaporeon.
What Do They Do?
What does your character do? Do they have a job? What about hobbies? If they like to cook, how about adding some sort of apron to the design or chef inspired outfit? Do they play sports? What kind? Maybe you can do some sort of sports attire fitting to them?
I know for Pokemon this can seem a bit irrelevant. For most gijinka designs this can be difficult to think about. After all, gijinka designs aren't inspired by humans... or at the very least, they don't always have human-like traits (such as jobs and hobbies). So instead think about it in a different way. If they were human what would they do? What do you think their job would be? Would they have any hobbies? Do you see them playing any sports? Their owners/trainers, what are they like? What do they do? Does the Pokemon get along with their trainer? Are they similar? If so, you can probably bet they'd be doing the same things as their trainer if they were human. Is their trainer more like a mother to them? Like how Misty is to Togepi! We could easily make a Togepi design inspired by children wear or something youthful. You can get fairly creative here!
For Vaporeon, mostly because of the water aspect, I can see it being a swimmer. Maybe a mermaid--I know not fully human but close. Maybe some sort of royalty?!
For a Pokemon like Chansey we could probably go with something motherly! Chansey is usually in the Pokemon Center in the cartoon, so if Chansey was a person we could only assume it'd be a nurse, doctor or some sort of caretaker. Something that comes off as warm, caring and welcoming, probably modest and mature, seems fitting. Obviously a nurse or doctor inspired outfit would be great!
Putting It All Together
At this point, you collect all the research you've done, taken into consideration many different aspects and now it's time to piece it all together.
So for Vaporeon we know we want something water-friendly or water-themed. We probably want to use smooth or flowy fabric (most likely bathing suit material), maybe a mix of both. We also want to keep significant details, like the ears and collar. At this point we could come up with a few designs. There's the option of doing something mermaid-y. Add many elaborate details, use light-weight fabrics that could be airy and flowy in water, and give it a mermaid gown shape to it (if not a full on tail). Or we could do a bathing suit. Something fun and cutesy with extra shapes added on and hems cut to match the shapes of the fins. Now it's just up to you to decide and give it your own personal touch! I think the design above (by hokoricupcake on DeviantArt) is a great mix of both!
I want to use two examples for this. I've touched on Vaporeon but now I want to do an overall look at another Pokemon. So let's use Litten. Looking at Litten we know it's a cat-inspired Pokemon. It already looks a bit sassy just by design (also cats are typically full of sass, lets be real here). The colors we'll be sticking to are red and black and there's a significant marking on it's forehead. The cheeks/whiskers, tufts of hair on it's head, tail end and stripes on it's legs can also be taken into consideration. From looking at the colors, I instantly go to something edgy, punk-ish and rocker. Red and black are a common combo seen in punk/rock outfits and styles. I feel for a cat this is also fairly fitting. We could also take into consideration other cat-themed characters, such as Catwoman. It's common to see cat-themed characters portrayed as sexy and a villain, so creating this sexy, bad-ass design is another path we can take. It's also a fire type! With fire I usually go with something, well, fire-y (spicy, edgy, sexy, etc--can all be fitting options). I feel Jessica Nigri and Danielle Beaulieu did fairly decent takes on this! But don't worry. If that's not you're style you can definitely go with something else! It is a starter Pokemon, so another option could be something spunky, young and playful. Or even a catsuit can work! Throw in the colors you need, add little touches and bam!
Armor and Other Themed-Designs
Okay so this is where things really change up! If you're doing an armored design, or something glamour inspired (like a red-carpet gown), pool party themed or even PJ themed, it'll be a lot different. You don't have to consider as much. When you have a bigger theme to stick to then all you really have to take into consideration is the colors and signature markings or details.
Take this Venusaur design (by bulletproofturtleman on DeviantArt). You can see the Venusaur in it and at the same time it still may be something different then what you were originally thinking was fitting for Venusaur. It has all of the colors, the designer changed the signature flower on the back to a weapon/shield so it's still included in the design, and they also threw in other flower aspects--keeping true to it's design as well as considering the fact that it's a grass-type. While it may not be a soft or hard of a design as you'd think when thinking of Venusaur, it still represents the Pokemon well.
It's taking classic armor pieces and modding them to fit a Pokemon. There's many people who take inspiration from various World of Warcraft sets, for example. They use those sets as a sort of starting point and then change and recolor pieces as needed--adding on details and removing others, changing shapes of the edges, etc--to make it better represent a different character.
My point is, you don't always have to take into consideration every last details. You can pay more attention to some details than others. It's all about what you feel would fit your design the best. The only thing that may be really important to keep are some signature aspects the character is know for (for animal-like character it's typically the ears, tail and/or the texture of it's fur/skin and maybe the pattern of it). And even then you don't absolutely have to if you don't want to. There's many ways to incorporate these different aspects.
I feel the various things mention will help anyone who's stuck or doesn't know where to begin. If you just can't get a good idea start looking more into the character, research different aspects of their environment or personality or pick an outside theme (like armor or glamour) and design towards that.
Ultimately it's up to the you to decide what you feel is fitting and it shouldn't really matter what anyone else thinks--cosplay is for fun and as long as you're having fun, that's all that matters! So just enjoy yourself, design a billion different designs before picking one, explore your talents and tastes--just have fun and love what you're doing. And to anyone who doesn't like it... well, then you can make it yourself, the way you want it done and just leave the other cosplayer be--because obviously they're happy with their design and there's no reason they shouldn't be.
~Positive Outcomes Only~
ZooShoo Haul & Review
*I received this product for free or at a discounted cost in exchange for my honest and unbiased feedback. These shoes are from ZooShoo on Amazon.*
I found these shoes to be true to size. I ordered them in my usual size (5.5) and they fit perfectly! They're not to narrow and not too wide--I feel they're the usual width most shoes are (they are a stiffer material though so unlike something like tennis shoes, there's not too much give if you do need them wider). The stiffness of them, due to the leather-like material (if not real leather), helps them keep their shape really well though! I find this helpful when storing. And don't worry, it's not so stiff it's difficult to get on. I found them really easy to get in and out of.
These shoes are really tall! Which isn't a bad thing--for me at least. I love tall shoes so these are great. I will admit they are taking some getting used to though--while I wear platforms often, I don't really wear heels too often. I definitely don't think these are an ALL day kind of shoe. These are great for going out and spending a few hours in though!
I got them in the color "Wine" and found the color to be true to what the image on the listing shows. I absolutely love them in this color as well! They give a pop of color to a dark outfit and have this edgy/grungy vibe--which is fitting for my style. I also really like the look the texture/material of the shoes give.
The soles have a little bit of padding but not by much. This doesn't make them uncomfortable but I would invest in some sole inserts if you plan to wear them fairly often (I do this with most of my heels anyways). The thickness of the heels keeps them more stable when walking (I find I can be a bit wobbly at first with thinner heeled shoes--but these ones help me wobble much less because of the thick heels). The shoes are also light weight, surprisingly! They don't feel heavy and your feet don't feel weighed down by them.
So overall, after a bit of getting used to (if you're not used to heels) I find them fairly easy to walk in and wear. I absolutely love the color and love the style of them! The shoes are really nice quality and are well made. These are definitely one of my new favorite pairs of shoes.
I plan to wear these shoes with more of my darker outfits. I have a lot of outfits that are mostly just black or monochrome. I feel these shoes will add a subtle pop of color with a lot of my outfits that only contain shades of grey, black and/or white. I don't plan to wear these daily but am definitely going to wear these for any short events or when going out for a short time and a nice occasion.
These shoes I also received for free or at a discounted price (in exchange for an honest, unbiased review) from ZooShoo on Amazon.
I really love these shoes! They fit perfectly/are true to size. They're made from this rubber-y, silicone-like material which is actually pretty comfortable and not very slipper (which I was semi-expecting). The soles aren't too padded unfortunately, but I think the material it's made from makes it softer and comfortable to wear. The straps are adjustable and I was able to easily adjust them so they felt secure and my feet didn't risk slipping around. There is a bit of a rubber-y smell at first, but I found that goes away fairly quickly.
I got it in the "Nude" color and found it to be just slightly lighter than the photo listed (which some color difference is to be expected due to various things--such as monitor differences, lighting, etc). I still love the color though! It's not drastically off or anything, just a shade or two lighter and is still great for summer and spring. By the way, these are great for summer and spring (like I just mentioned), no matter what color you get them in!
The shoes are fairly light, for being so large platform wise. They're easy to walk in without your feet feeling weighed down in any way. I've been able to wear them all day and have had no problems. Keep in mind, I've worn nothing but platform shoes for a few years now so I'm very used to shoes like this--I know it can usually take some getting used to.
The shoes do appear to be a bit on the more narrow side. I don't have wide feet so that wasn't a problem for me, but I feel that is something for people to be aware of.
The shipping was fast! I selected just the basic shipping method and they arrive in around a week.
Overall, I'm incredibly happy with these shoes. I think they're super cute, they fit my style (especially for around the summer and spring season--which is what I wanted these for) and they're easy to wear throughout the day. I love the color and I love the texture/material.
I plan to wear these shoes mostly in the spring and summer. During those seasons I tend to wear more light neutral colors (such as various shades of whites and nudes), as well as pastels. My style very much leans more towards a boho or festival style, so I figured these shoes could compliment that. I'll probably mostly wear them when I want a pop of color in an all white (or mostly white) outfit or with some of my more pastel/holographic styled outfits. The nude-pink color definitely gives me a variety of style options. I even find myself throwing them on when I just need to make a quick store run or something!
~Positive Outcomes Only~
I received a Yang cosplay from Miccostumes. This is her Season 2/Alternate outfit--and personally my favorite outfit of hers! If you don't know Yang is a character from Roosterteeth's animated series, RWBY.
Overall, I'm very a happy with this cosplay. I ordered it in a size medium, following the sizing chart located on their website. I only had very minor issues with the fit, mostly with the two dress pieces around the waist area. While I believe it's meant to be more loose fitting around the waist design wise, I'd personally prefer it to be a little more snug. this was an easy fix though! It's easy to tailor or simply pin. Both dresses are lines so it makes it easy to hide any safety pins that may be needed. It's also a bit long for someone as short as me (I'm 5 foot), but after some adjusting I was able to make it sit how I wanted.
Quick note: please forgive the lighting/color in the close up/individual photos of the product. The lighting in the professional full cosplay photos (where I am wearing the cosplay) is true to color.
This is the top dress layer. It has a button that attached to one side, underneath of the top flap, and then zips up on the underside. The material is good quality, a perfect color and sturdy. The sturdiness/stiffness of the fabric gives it a good shape and helps hold the correct shape (especially around the collar). The bottom of the dress is cut at a slant, so it's true to Yang's design.
The fit for this dress was slightly off, as I mentioned early. While I think it's intended to be slightly loose, I would have preferred it to be more snug around the waist. But it was an easy fix. The only other problem that occurred is due to the fact I have a very short distance between my chest and my shoulders, so the neck area is slightly long but was fixed by pulling it a little more snug near the bottom of the arm hole.
The black dress also had some slight fit issues. Once again it was mostly around the waist and slightly around the bust. And again, this was easily fixed and nothing too drastic. Most of it is hidden under the top dress anyways, so it's easy to adjust as needed and not worry about anything (like pins) being seen.
The dress has a slight tendency to slip down but came with small tags where bra straps could easily be attached. I personally used safety pints and pinned it to my bra underneath. The dress is lined, so like the above dress, it's really easy to hide pins. The dress is made from silk-like materials, which I find fitting and appropriate for the design.
The dress has a invisible zipper on the side. The only thing odd about the zipper is is doesn't go all the way up (with how it's sewn in/placed)--it only opens at the waist, not the bust. Instead of pulling it up and over my hips, I had to maneuver it over my head--which was a bit tricky at first.
The jacket fit perfectly! I had no issues with the fit for the jacket. The jacket is cropped to the perfect length and true to character. I'm also incredible happy with the fabric choices! The color is great and the fabric is sturdy. They even made the collar thicker and stiffer so it stayed up, wasn't floppy and held it's shape when worn. The shoulders also have small shoulder pads inside them to keep it's military styled shape/design. I'm so incredibly happy with those little details. They really make a huge difference in costume quality!
The strap across the chest is attached by a strip of Velcro and holds well. I had no problems with it coming open no matter how I moved or posed. The sleeves are also a good length and end around my elbows just like in the character design. The jacket is lined as well!
This is the belt, pouch and fabric piece for her costume. It was made from a thick material that has a fake-leathery look to it. The belt is very adjustable and could easily fit various sizes!
The pouch is lined and latches by a strip of Velcro. It easily held my phone and a small wallet without feeling weighed down or causing the belt to slide or shift. I was very happy with that! It makes the cosplay very convention friendly--it's always nice to have a cosplay that has some sort of purse or pockets at a convention!
I was also very happy with the fabric piece that hangs from her belt! I loved the fabric choice and color. I thought it was perfect for the cosplay!
The lace piece sewn along the bottom is great, as well. It's thicker than the purple fabric and helps hold a nice shape. Instead of it possibly bunching up into an unrecognizable blob, the thick lace helps keeps it from doing that. It's also sewn looped around the belt so it's adjustable and you have the choice to bunch it tighter or looser, as well as preposition it to where you prefer.
The decal on the stockings is a separate sewn on piece. I'm so happy with that. If it wear painted on it would risk scratching, flaking or simply wearing off over time. But the fact that it's another piece of fabric, I don't have to worry about that. The studs on the stockings seem secure and are placed perfectly. Even the shape/cut along the top of the stockings is true to character!
The stockings had a bit of a fit issue. Because of my short height, they were fairly long and the gather straps/elastic bands were a bit loose in the front. Since she wears boots, my fit was to just scrunch the socks down a bit, to keep them from going up too high on my legs and have a bit of leg showing between the dress and the stockings. Doing this also got the elastic bands to fit tighter.
I found the elastic bands/garter straps to be a lot better than other's I've encountered in the past. I was able to move, pose and sit comfortable without having to adjust anything or worrying that they would break, rip or snap off.
The gloves are made from the same fabric as the stockings which I appreciate. I love consistency throughout costumes. They're also a great length and cut correctly so the design is true to character!
The cosplay came with fabric versions of her gauntlets (when not "activated"). I found these just adorable and actually pretty great. The fabric used created a plastic-y, metal look which I feel is fitting for the weapon design. It's also double layers so it keeps it's shape fairly easy and doesn't flop around. If you want the "activated" gauntlets, they do sell them on their site!
Miccostumes is a really great company to work with and order from. Their prices are extremely reasonable, even pretty cheap, for the high quality costumes you'd be receiving! They also offer bundle deals which allow you to get more for a lower cost than you would buying all the pieces individually. They sell the costumes, props and wigs for a majority of their cosplays! Their shipping takes about the time you'd expect a costume to take and even gives you an option to put in a preferred arrival date.
Thanks again to Miccostumes for sponsoring this cosplay! If you're looking for a costume I definitely recommend checking out their site!
~Positive Outcomes Only~
Cosplay Tutorials. Hauls & Reviews. Photography. Rambles and Advice.
Use the code: "arlenafae" for 10% off purchases at: