Closet Cosplay and You
When I first started cosplaying, most of my cosplays were pieces that I could easily wear as normal clothes. I had a ton of hand-me-downs (from growing up extremely poor) and would have to work with what I had. I also didn't have a job until after I turned 18, and so money was tight. I would take my lunch money and buy the cosplay pieces I needed, in secret, because my parents didn't approve of me expressing myself how I feel most comfortable. Don't do what I did. It was extremely difficult on my body, and because I didn't usually eat breakfast either, I would only eat once a day, which is so hard on one's body. Eating is more important than cosplay. Believe me. Anyway, we're talking about those of us that currently closet cosplay or still do, and even those that are just starting or maybe you wanna take it easy on yourself and find the piece instead of spend hours trying to make the item you're wanting.
First off, Closet Cosplay is still cosplay. It's valid and if someone tells you that it isn't, tell them that they're a douche and they need to change their attitude. Many wonderful cosplays can come from thrifting or your closet, and no one should tear you down just for your preferences/abilities. Not everyone can be a foam smith or a master seamstress. And that's perfectly okay. You are amazing in your own ways and don't compare yourself to others. Build each other up. My roommate mostly thrifts for stuff because he doesn't have the time to create full garments, and his pieces still come out great.
Credit: @RedhoodieCosplay on Insta (Character: Casual Reaper)
If you are just starting out cosplay and aren't sure where to start, honestly, closet cosplay is going to be your cheapest, and probably least irritating avenue. There are hundreds of thrift stores in the Saint Louis area alone, and especially if you live near any of the large cities or hubs (New York, Chicago, Houston, Seattle, etc) you're going to find plenty. It's also great if you have a wonderful partner like Tolia, who can spend an entire day in a Goodwill and not get bored. He'll find what I need, almost every time. If you get friends that are hella thrifty, you will never have to worry about not finding that perfect base piece that only needs little editing for your next closet cosplay.
Cosplayer Credit: @HeyyKristique (Black Cat) Photo Credit: @Photokat
With thrifting, you're spending about $30 per outfit rather than $100+ for the fabric/etc. This is handy when you want to cosplay, but can't afford to shell out too much. My first closet cosplay was actually Sasuke Uchiha in his first outfit, where I only had to spend $10 on the headband (before they made high quality ones) and cut up old socks, and my grandmother spent maybe $5 on materials to modify the shirt, and make the arm sleeves. She worked so hard on that, and I'm so proud of her. I hope she's proud of the progress I've made. The other advice I can offer to those of us that do mostly closet cosplay is thrifting wigs from Cosplay for Sale groups on Facebook, or even buying new, maybe higher quality wigs. I go through hundreds of posts per day of people getting rid of 20+ wigs. Some of these wigs can cost as low as $5 when they retail for $30 or more. I only suggest splurging on wigs because that quality wig can make your cosplay look all the more legit.
Also @HeyyKristique (Casual D.Va and the second photo is Midnight) Photog credit for Midnight: Steve Gates Photography
It's also great to do a closet cosplay, since 9/10 they are suuuuuuper comfortable and you're tired from the con, but still want to cosplay, you always have your closet outfit. Luckily, there are hundreds of designs to choose from for your next closet cosplay. I believe in you and hope for the very best in your endeavors creating your next amazing look! I may try to make a Casual Marceline outfit, since I have such big builds this year! Lol
Credit: @BodyDoubleCosplays (I love them so much) Characters: Neagan, Rogue from X-Men, and Salvador from Borderlands 2
Cosplayer: @Hachinelson <3