No you’re not. You want more than that? OK, lets break it down. It’s entirely possible that you might not be suited to a specific character – a tall slim woman might want to reconsider cosplaying Thorin Oakenshield, in the same way that a short fat man might not want to dress up as Yoko Littner – but there is no body-type or shape that is completed unsuited to every cosplay. First up, if someone is rude about you, or your costume, whether that’s at events or online, they probably aren’t a very nice person. Or they are succumbing to peer-pressure. Either way you can safely ignore their comments. The only type of criticism you want to listen to is constructive criticism about the costume itself.
Height is an easy one to deal with. In general there is nothing stopping you being a tall hobbit, or a short Na’vi. If you are exceptionally tall or short, and your character is the opposite, you may want to reconsider if you are going to be part of a group. But you don’t have to. If you have the confidence, you can just deal with it, but you can also use trickery to disguise your height. High heels and platform shoes make you look taller. Stooping, or wearing a wider costume can make you look smaller. And if you are being photographed you can use perspective to your advantage.
- If you stand slightly forward or back from a line of people you will appear taller or shorter than you are.
- If you sit, kneel, or even lay down in front of a group, your height won’t be so obvious
- Being photographed from above makes you look smaller
- Being photographed from below makes you look taller.
Weight and build is a little trickier. Being particularly over or under weight can affect your confidence, and confidence is a key part of appearing in public dressed outlandishly! But unless your costume exposes part of your body your are embarrassed by, there’s nothing to stop you cosplaying as anyone you choose. By BMI standards, I’m morbidly obese, but that didn’t stop me being Hetalia’s Belarus or Queen Chrysalis. You can also use artistic license and make changes to the costume to compliment your body – lengthen or shorten hemlines, adjust the waistband and top to add/remove a bare midriff, replace a minskirt with shorts, use padding to change the shape and proportion of your body, and so on. Adjusting your height with the techniques above will also affect perceptions of your build, and tilting your head back or forward will change the shape of your face subtly. To my fellow plus-sized cosplayers I also recommend corsetry and shapewear. Elasticated and fitted underwear will not only smooth out any lumps and bumps, but it will boost your confidence too, and that will also affect people’s perceptions of you!
Age is a slightly easier one to overcome. If you are still a child, or are so wrinkled you look like a pug, you might want to factor that into your costume. But there is no age limit to cosplay. I’ve seen babies dressed up to match their parent’s costumes, and at 30-something I’m not the oldest cosplayer I know (although older cosplayers are somewhat rare, its still a fairly modern hobby in the UK). If you are cosplaying as a character significantly older or younger than you, you can alter your appearance with a good wig and makeup, but you don’t have to. As long as you are old enough to get around, you can cosplay.
I’ve often joked that I’ll cosplay as Kiyuro Takazawa if I get too old to get out of bed
As long as you are physically able to wear a costume, there’s no condition that can stop you cosplaying. Even disabilities can be worked around! I’ve seen wheelchair-bound cosplayers dressed as Professor X, The Little Mermaid, and even a Hells Angel by a woman that added a false motorbike wheel and forks to her wheelchair. And I know active cosplayers with less visible impairments that with a little planning and forethought, still cosplay at a competative level! Ignore the haters and cosplay as who you want. Keep your head up, have fun, and be an inspiration to others!