A Geeky Gal’s Cosplay Guide: Buying a Cosplay Online

A Geeky Gal’s Cosplay Guide: Buying a Cosplay Online

So you want to buy a cosplay online and have no idea where or how to start? I’ll break it down for you and even discuss my own experience with buying cosplay online. If this is your first cosplay, start here!

Unfortunately, I don’t know how to sew (as may be your case as well). My first ever cosplay was in September of 2015. I agonized over this costume. I wanted to make it myself and had saved tons of tutorials to my computer. I was determined I was going to make my cosplay… Until I realized I didn’t have a sewing machine and literally had no experience with one. That’s okay though. I’ve since bought my cosplay and plan on revisiting it later when I’m more skilled and knowledgeable to handcraft it like I had originally planned (maybe).

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Before you consider buying your cosplay online:

  1. Press Start. Ask your fellow cosplayers! Ask your friends and family! Where do they buy their cosplays? Are there sites or sellers or commissioners they would recommend? Do they have cosplays for sell? Would they mind helping you make your cosplay? Start in your immediate circle before branching out. You’d be surprised that you may not even have to buy your cosplay from a website!
  2. Research. Take this time to Google what you can. Write down site names, look for reviews on these sites (youtube and the reviews on the sites themselves are good places to start), and cross off the poorly reviewed ones. There’s also groups on Facebook that have cosplays and wigs for sale, offer commissions, etc. Check out the blacklist in these groups too; if they don’t seem to have one, message a moderator and ask for the list. Those are the people you shouldn’t do business with. If you choose to go the Facebook route, pay with PayPal using Goods & Services. The seller will pay the fees and if anything goes wrong, you can file to get your money back with PayPal.
  3. Check out commissions. If you know someone, or even someone who knows someone, who has a portfolio to show off their sewing and crafting skills, it wouldn’t hurt to get your cosplay priced out by them. Keep in mind that you’ll most likely be paying for materials and labor, not just materials! You’re paying for high quality work here too. This cosplay should last and last (with the right seamstress).

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When you buy your cosplay online:

  1. Look for your costume specifically. What I mean is: look up the costume by your character’s name and the name of the show. You’ll get better, filtered results this way. No one wants to dig through hundreds of pages for a Sailor Moon costume with things like “crescent moon necklaces” and “lunar eclipse sunglasses” popping up alongside the actual costumes.
  2. Look at the reviews for your costume. Say you’re on AliExpress. The store you’re shopping with has high reviews and lots of favorites! Sounds like it’s pretty reputable. Now, when you get to your costume, look at its reviews. These are separate from the stores reviews and favorites. Sometimes they’ll even have pictures with reviews which I love and count on the most. This helps you know what you’re really getting!
  3. Compare prices. Now it’s time to really utilize those browser tabs! Find your cosplay on several pages and compare the prices! Lower is not always better but it’d good to know the average price for the cosplay itself.
  4. Get out the tape measure. You’ll need to measure yourself for the best fit. Most likely your cosplay will be in standard Chinese sizes which differ from what you’re used to! So get out that fashion tape measure that you bought years ago and take your measurements: neck, chest/bust, waist, hips, arm, inseam. See this link here for how to measure yourself!
  5. Compare your measurements to the provided sizes. Click on the sizing chart. Most cosplays should have a sizing chart available. If not, contact the seller for one. Now most people will be between sizes. My personal rule of thumb is to buy the size that accommodates my largest measurement which is my hips. I can get the rest of the cosplay tailored if needed.  The flipside is to think about how the cosplay should fit you: Should it drape and flow? Should it be tight and form fitting? Using your measurements, choose the best size for you. Another option is to see or ask the seller if they offer custom sizing, then you can give your measurements to the seller. Always add a little wiggle room in your measurements if going with a custom option!
  6. Email the seller any questions. Ask them about sizing, fabrics, shipping, when you would receive it, or anything you need to know before you place your order. This is a great opportunity to feel out the seller and make sure you’re getting what you pay for!
  7. Order the closest size to your measurements. After double checking your measurements and asking the seller all of your questions, it’s time to place your order!

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After your cosplay arrives:

  1. Carefully inspect the cosplay and all the accessories. First insure that you have received the full cosplay you ordered. Check that all pieces are accounted for. Next, check for loose threads, glue, missing buttons, stains or anything that is not right. Take photos of any damage for reference. Unfortunately, things happen, and if your cosplay is damaged or missing pieces, it’s time to email the seller. If everything is right…
  2. It’s time to try it on. Hopefully those measurements were right and your new cosplay fits like a glove… or however it’s supposed to! Take pictures of the front, sides, and back to make sure it all fits right. If it’s uncomfortably loose in some areas, it’s time to take it to the tailor. If it’s too tight, double check the measurements and politely contact the seller.
  3. Test it with your wig, shoes and make up. Once your cosplay is the right fit, it’s time to put it all together before the con. Make last minute adjustments and buy any necessary accessories.
  4. Leave an honest review. Just do it! Now everyone else can find a great cosplay and reliable seller like you.

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Places to buy your cosplay from:

  • Facebook Groups – Before doing a search for your cosplay and size, take a look at all the files and documents for the group. This should include a blacklist. Stay away from anyone on that list! They are a no-go for purchasing your cosplay. Ask for pictures of the cosplay and up close pictures of damage. Always use PayPal’s goods and services when purchasing from individuals. They will get charged a small fee, but PayPal protects you if something goes wrong. If a seller asks you to pay through PayPal’s friends and family, it might be a scam!
  • Etsy – Choose a shop with tons of reviews and read them all: the good and the bad. Take into account the complaint and how the seller handled the situation. Look at their listings and note the quality of their skills. If you’re still unsure, send them a polite message about the cosplay they have listed.
  • Ebay – Be wary if you decide to go the Ebay route. See if anyone has purchased the cosplay before and see if they wrote a review. Read all the rates and feedback on the seller before making a purchase and don’t be afraid to ask for more pictures or precise measurements! Many times stock photos will be used over and over again so check that if the seller is using a stock photo that their own logo is on it.
  • AliExpress – This site should come with a big, fat warning sticker. Be aware that everything ships from China and could takes months to arrive. Research any shops you’re considering buying from. Read all the reviews on the shop then all the reviews on the cosplay. Try to find reviews with pictures. Research the hell out of this one before making a purchase.
  • Other sites: EZCosplay, CosplayMagic, Uwowo, CosplaySky, Hello Cosplay, Amazon, HotTopic

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Some tips:

  • Don’t let anyone make you feel bad for not making your cosplay.
  • Make sure your cosplay is comfortable for sitting, standing, and walking.
  • Do your research on any and every seller and website.
  • When leaving a review, add photos.
  • Iron your costume (if possible) before the con. Shipping adds folds to the garment and a quick ironing will take them out!
  • Now get out there and cosplay!

Got any tips for buying a cosplay online? Share them in the comments!

Link Loves: Harry Potter DIY, Hulk Snacks & Motivation

Link Loves: Harry Potter DIY, Hulk Snacks & Motivation

Welcome to the fourth installment of Link Loves. This post is all about my favorite links of the week! It can include bloggers, articles, news, clothing, accessories, and other cool links I’m enjoying.

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Come to the Nerd Side just put up an awesome DIY for Hogwarts House headbands! Check those out here! Photo courtesy of Come to the Nerd Side.

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Are you participating in the Marvel Movie Marathon with Popcorner Reviews? This Hulk Smash! Snack Mix is right up your alley! Get all the details on how to make this easy snack here! Photo courtesy of Popcorner Reviews.

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Le Geeky Liife is easily one of my favorite bloggers with her podcast RoundTable PodRacers. For #MotivationMonday, she created a post with some of our favorite girl power quotes from Star Wars! Photo courtesy of Le Geeky Liife.

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Ever wanted to make your own video game? Kim at Later Levels gives us a look at her dream development team! So much talent in one post! Photo courtesy of Later Levels.

Saturday Suggestion – Comic: Fables #1-5

Saturday Suggestion – Comic: Fables #1-5

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*Some affiliate links have been used. Check out my about me page to learn more about these links.

If you’ve played The Wolf Among Us, you may not have realized it’s actually a prequel to the long-running Fables comic series that was completed in 2015 with several spin-offs. (To read Fables and all of its spin-offs in order, follow this link.) I had been wanting to get my hands on the first issue of Fables for awhile to continue with the characters I’d gotten attached to during The Wolf Among Us, and a trip to the comic book store for some D&D dice gave me the opportunity to snatch it up.

At Christmas, I was given two of the first compilations so look out for those reviews soon!

Brief intro: As a lover of fairy tales and all things Disney, I was excited to dive into this nitty-gritty version of my favorite stories. These characters call themselves “Fables” and live in a New York community known as “Fabletown.” They created this community centuries ago after their homelands were taken over by a villain known simply as The Adversary.

The first story arc is called Legends in Exile and expands from the first issue to the fifth issue. We meet our first two main characters: Bigby Wolf, the sheriff of Fabletown, and Snow White, the assistant to the Mayor of Fabletown. Bigby begins the investigation of Snow White’s sister’s, Rose Red, apparent murder in a grungy, who-done-it, murder mystery.

Review: Before I even get to the writing, I have to tell y’all about the artwork. It is exquisite! Beautifully done, gritty, different, and it really goes along with the themes that make Fables the comic that it is. Several artists have contributed to the comic over it’s long run but this particular issue has me sold. The colors, the line work, how the text is incorporated into each panel, are simply works of art in themselves.

The writing is just as phenomenal as the artwork that compliments it. Mystery and intrigue with dashes of romance will make this fantasy-drama comic pull you right in and leave you wanting more. Its adult themes and mature writing style set this comic up for a not-so-Disney kind of story. It’s not rated 17+ for nothing!

After playing The Wolf Among Us and getting to know Bigby and Snow by just a fraction, I was eager to know more about them. Legends of Exile give us another peek at Snow White’s life and back story as Bigby shows off his detective skills and shows Snow White (again) why he was made Sheriff of Fabletown. You know you want to root for our favorite reformed villain, and this story arc gives you all the opportunity to do just that.

I literally gobbled up this story in one sitting and wanted to run back to the comic book store for the second book. Fables belongs on your shelf for just the fantastic story, but you’re actually buying it to cure that craving of good, mature, character development and mystery. You will rejoice for these fairy tales that are more aligned with the Grimm Tales that Disney ever was and set in modern day.

Bottom Line: If you wanted Disney to be more up front about the real Grimm Tales’ characters, it’s time to pick up Fables and dive into the grungy world of Fabletown and its inhabitants.

Official Rating: 17+

Genre(s): Romance, Drama, Fantasy, Mature

Geeky Gal’s Score: 5 out of 5 stars!

Link Loves

Link Loves

Welcome to the third installment of Link Loves. This post is all about my favorite links of the week! It can include bloggers, articles, news, clothing, accessories, and other cool links I’m enjoying. *Some affiliate links have been used. Check out my about me page to learn more about these links.

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Quibbles & Scribbles gives us her first look at Marvel’s Runaways Vol. 1-3. I had no idea there was also a TV show out featuring the same characters but Quibbles & Scribbles gives us a great look at some of the similarities and differences between the two. Photo courtesy of Quibbles & Scribbles.

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When games meet movies, how high (or low) are your expectations? Which movies have flopped and which have held their own? Check out Ambi Gaming Corner’s post on Game Movies then read through the comments. Voice your own thoughts on game movies!

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John from It’s More Than Just Gaming unboxes Gloomhaven! Check out the video and pictures of this detailed and beautiful game! Photo courtesy of It’s More Than Just Gaming.

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Nothing says Captain America like apple pie. Just ask Monica at Popcorner Reviews. Check out her easy mini apple pie recipe and enjoy with your favorite avenger movie. Photo courtesy of Popcorner Reviews.

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Are you seeing THIS?! Pokemon terrariums?! Take all of my money! No plants so no watering actually required is a bonus for me! Photos courtesy of PalletCraftsByXev.