I encounter folks all the time who think cosplay or costuming is really difficult. I love that there are cosplayers out there making a pop culture impact and bringing costumes/conventions to the mainstream. However, it also makes noobs feel a ton of pressure for perfection; so much pressure that people give up on cosplay before they ever start. As a casual cosplayer, here’s the secret I’ve learned: screen accuracy is a myth. Nobody (even a celebrity) has an actual “perfect” costume. Everything is an interpretation. Once you let perfection go, you can actually enjoy costuming!
There are many schools of thought for beginning a costume, but here’s the easiest/simplest/my favorite method. Be inspired by what’s around you. Start with something you already own or look for inspiration at a thrift store. You don’t have to start from scratch, in fact that’s the fastest way to feel like a failure. You can make a cosplay look more authentic based on your accessories and makeup ----- not by the material your shirt/dress/pantaloons are made from.
My other cosplay tip is: use what your mama gave you. Your height, weight, facial features, hair, or even an irregularity can all add to your costume. Stop obsessing about all the traits you don’t have and start focusing on all the great things you actually are. My short friends pull off amazing hobbit moments without much effort. My tall friends make menacing super villains without special effects. My curves turn just about every cosplay into a pinup. WORK WITH WHAT YOU HAVE TO OFFER. I’ve seen birthmarks as zombie wounds, bald spots as alien features, and don’t get me started on how amazing steampunk wheelchairs are. Cosplay is about fun and fandoms. Don’t ever be afraid to try.