There is really no denying it at this point. Cosplay is becoming more and more popular. Opinions vary on if this is a good or bad thing. My personal thoughts? It doesn't matter! If you want to dress up; do it! Luckily for all you cosplay fanatics out there who are itching to get into the game there are tons of ways to go about it. And I mean tons.
The internet is a plethora of information for creating, finding, buying and making costumes based on the characters you love (or love to hate even). Many veteran costumers have shared their knowledge and personal trials in cosplay creation.
Now, I know that it can be a very intimidating thing to create something from scratch. Fortunately you don't have to! I am a firm believer that anyone can don a costume, because to me, cosplay is about fun and personal satisfaction. You'll never please yourself if you are running around trying to please everyone else.
What Am I Even Trying To Say?
The cosplay community has been on my mind in a few ways recently. Just as much as I love making my costumes I want to give back and help other cosplayers too. I've hosted panels for beginner cosplayers before at cons and have also posted different reviews and tutorials around the internet. This time I want to share how I would cosplay if I was not going to sew anything myself.
Buying pre-made costumes from online stores is a great way to start out.
One thing I believe is important in cosplay is picking a character you have some type of connection to. Otherwise, I don't particularly see the point in spending the time and money (and I mean $$$$) on creating something you don't really care about. The connection could be anything! Maybe you identify with that character or maybe you wish you had some of their qualities. Maybe, you like their story and just appreciate them for that.
I have had a long appreciation for Harley Quinn despite the many many iterations of her that show up all over the place. Classic Harley is a dream. I also have a love of the Arkham games and while I like Harley and her design in Asylum, I really love it in City.
Let's Get To It
Costume Supercenter is one of many online stores that you can buy costumes from. They have a range of costumes from those Sexy -insert anything- Halloween costumes (gotta love 'em) to more screen accurate higher priced items. As mentioned above I wanted to try the Harley Arkham City costume on for size to give it a good ole test in the cosplayer realm. You can do a lot if you have a good base costume or base materials.
The Costume As A Whole
It is important that you be familiar with your sizing. Not all sizing is Small, Medium or Large. If you need help knowing your measurements there are several tutorials on how to get them out there for you. Here is a simple one incase you don't like to Google things.
Advertised Product VS Actual Product
Compared to a screenshot of the game (and for the price) this is a pretty damn accurate version of this costume in my opinion. It is IMPORTANT to read all information associated with something you are buying. There is a disclaimer with this costume that the pants color does not match the top color. If I was not aware of this beforehand I would have been disappointed about the color difference. I chose this costume knowing the difference existed and was still happy with everything as a whole.
There is indeed a noticeable color different between the pants fabric and the top fabric. It's not ideal but it's possible to workaround it. If you are fine with the color difference, great! If you want to be a little more adventurous and try dying it darker that is also an option.
Overall the costume fits as expected and pretty well to my measurements. I chose a Small based on my top measurements (chest rather than hips). I was more concerned about the top fitting since it was half vinyl and the stretch of it was more of a mystery to me than the pants. The Top fits as expected as do the pants. The belt and choker necklace also fit as expected. I have a fairly small neck so I will need to adjust the chocker to fit me tighter. The provided belt fits well and just like the necklace closes as the back with Velcro.
The biggest issue I have with this costume is the gloves. The part the covers your arm is perfect and has no fitting issues. The finger holes for the gloves on the other hand (hur hur) are to small for even my stupid tiny fingers.
I am very happy with the costume as a base to improve upon. The number of hours it would take to plus materials it would cost to make this worth it in my opinion.
I give this costume 4 out of 5 stars
Accessorizing Will Really Make This Costume Shine
There are several very easy things you can do to make this costume even better.
- Gloves.Buy some fingerless gloves and remove the attached gloves from the arm sleeves. You can simply cut off the gloves and either hand sew the newly cut edges down (so they won't fray) or glue them if you are uncomfortable with sewing.
- Belt.Buy an actual belt that closes all the way around instead of it velcroing at the back. This is useful if the sizing is off for you your you want a more screen accurate belt.
- Shoes! This may be a little more for the adventurous beginner but buying and modifying shoes as a necessary part of cosplay. This version of Harley has very specific boots and if you really want to wow it's a good idea to look into making boot covers. This can involved sewing but for Harley's boots I think you can get away with some clever gluing and assembly. You can also buy boot covers for this version of harley from other places like Ebay and Etsy.
- Makeup and Wig. Both will really finish off the look all together. I have several go to wig sellers that offer pigtail wigs. There are a couple of options for harley. You can either get a short bob wig and two ponytail clips. Or a full pigtail wig that actual has a part down the back. I won't go in depth to wigs here as there is a lot to be said on them. For Makeup I am going to try their "Modern Vampire Character Makeup Kit" and see how it works out. It is very important to know your skin allergies when trying something new. And to test anything you haven't used before on a small patch of skin to see if you have any sort of adverse reaction.
This costume is perfect for a beginner cosplayer who wants to cosplay the Arkham City version of Harley. Especially if you're willing to do the easy extra steps to round out the whole costume.