If you are a guy planning on crossplaying, one of the hurdles you will have to get over is that you probably have no boobs! It’s not an issue if you are dressing as a youngster like Carcaptor Sakura, or a flat-chested tomboy (like Lina Inverse), but for everyone else you need some assistance.
Unless you are wearing an incredibly structured costume, or one with chest-padding already built in, the first thing to look at is a bra. If you are lucky, you might be able to snag an offcast from a friend, partner or relative, but otherwise you are stuck with buying. Don’t despair though, charity shops, supermarkets, eBay and discount superstores can all help you out with cheap and/or anonymous ways to buy. But what of the arcane sizing codes? What do 32C, 44DD, and 28A mean?
Sizing is actually easier for a guy. Simply measure your chest under where the boobs will go. The length in inches is your band size. That’s the number part of the 32C or whatever. Bras are only made in even sizings, and as extenders can be bought, its generally better to round down here. A woman would have to do more sizing to work out the cup size (the letter), but you can choose yours based on the character. A-cups are quite small. If your character wears loose or baggy tops, you might not even need to worry about faking bosoms! The B, C and D cup are the averages from small-ish to big-ish. C will probably do for your average anime character. After D comes DD for some reason. And then we get the very large ranges from E all the way up to L in some stores! For anime cosplay these are ideal for hentai or comedy characters. (For real women these are the realms of chronic back pain, and serious difficulty buying pretty and affordable bras!) Once you’ve selected its time to start shopping!
There’s lots more I could go into here about shapes and styles, but all you really need to do is make sure the bra isn’t visible through the material of your costume (colour match for safety!), and doesn’t show at the edges of the neck/cleavage line. Unless you are cosplaying as a hentai or flirty character of course 😉
Now you have your bra, it’s time to fill it! There’s a few options here ranging from free to second mortgage. And which you go for also depends on what you want from your falsies.
At the cheapest and easiest end there simply stuffing your cups with woolly socks or a fleecey scarf. Lots of volume, and very little weight. They won’t move about like real boobs (or feel like them!) but that shouldn’t be a problem if you are just posing for pics, or you don’t worry about looking feminine. I used this method initially and its fine for beginners. Technicaly you can also use cotton wool or tissues but thats not very convenient or comfortable.
If you have some upholstery foam and a good foam-cutter, you can actually sculpt your own. There are also drag suppliers that sell nicely sculpted foam boobs, although you might be looking at over £20 a pair. Either method will make more secure and better fitting boobs than stuffing. Still no movement, but they’ll feel better. I’ve not used either, but I have friends that swear by the pre-sculpted foam inserts.
Rice or Millet
Don’t laugh! This is the method I currently use. It was suggested to me by a friend who was undergoing transitioning. You simply take a pair of stockings or tights, and fill the feet with rice or birdseed – use the cups of your bra as a guide here. Tie off the excess (and remember to cut them apart if using tights!) The downside of this method is the realistic weight, and needing a well-fitting bra so they don’t fall out if you bend over. But they mould themselves to the shape of the bra-cups, and they jiggle convincingly if you want to give some fan service. I said don’t laugh Luna!
If you have money to burn, or simply want the professional option, drag suppliers can also outfit you with silicon boobs. Realistically coloured, complete with nipples, and often with adhesive backs so you might not need a bra, these are what you want if any part of the boob is to be visible through your costume. But they are really expensive. Prices start over £100, and can range into the thousands if you want hyper-realistic cleavage.
Those are the basics, but other things to consider are “chicken fillets” (silicon padding to enhance what you already have), masectomy bras (which come with “pockets” you can slip padding into), and “Two Sizes Larger” bras that have gel pads that can turn a flat chest into a B-cup, or any of the above into a jaw-dropping rack! If your saw my Queen Chrysalis at the London October Expo 2012 you would have seen the effect this had on my rice C-cups!
The implausible boobs you can make with padding and some rice!