Searching for a cosplay that will look awesome, be recognisable, and won’t attract weird looks at the train station? Welcome to stealth cosplay. While cosplay is a great tool for us to live out our favourite fantasy worlds, it can often be awkward to put together, travel with, and wear a cosplay that’s uncomfortable or impractical. The good news is that there are plenty of creative worlds that are closely based on contemporary times, meaning the character’s designs are often easy (and cheap) to emulate for a tired cosplayer. Here are a few examples of fun and popular cosplay worlds that will go under the radar of “normal” people.
The Last of Us
A classic example of how easy dystopian storylines can make cosplay, pull out those tattered clothes you’d forgotten about or buy some cheap second hand bits–the more beaten up you find them, the better! Naughty Dog’s beautiful game captured our hearts in 2013 with a host of well written characters trapped in a dangerously heart breaking storyline following a zombie apocalypse. In my opinion, every character met throughout the game is more than worthy of homage in the form of cosplay, giving you a diverse range of badass survivors to choose from.
Character’s, like Joel and Ellie, have been immensely popular ever since the game’s release. They’re easy cosplays to put together, which look normal enough to pass for everyday dress, but they’re characters that every geek will recognise and love.
If you want to slowly step up your stealth cosplay with some fun additions, a little bit of fake blood or weaponry will never go amiss. If you’re even considering adding fake blood to any cosplay now is the time to stock up. With Halloween just around the corner, it’s in your best interest to keep a close eye on pound stores who will always have cheap stock of fake blood around this time. It’s just as good as the expensive stuff, but only easier to find around this time, so buy lots now!
A timeless, recognisable, and again fashionably diverse show. The long history of Doctor Who gives you over fifty years worth of characters to choose from, and while styles of costumes will obviously have changed over the course of the series, there are still plenty of options to choose from for an everyday cosplay look.
Even if you’re only looking at the most recent revivals of the show, you still have four quirky doctors to cosplay (Matt Smith and David Tenant are always pretty prevalent at cons) and at least ten popular assistants with very different looks and personalities, so there’s bound to be one you’ll love!
And of course with almost every episode comes a different outfit for each assistant. While some will be more recognisable than others, it still gives you even more of a choice for which version of your favourite character you choose! Make sure you check out websites like WornOnTV.net for helpful breakdowns of what characters have worn and where to find the closest matches!
With all of the Pokémon Go hype still fresh in the air. Any cosplay from this nostalgic series of shows, movies, and games is bound to be recognised. You can pick some of the most popular characters to bring to life–I challenge you to find a con without an Ash or a Misty cosplay–or take the style of any of the Pokémon trainers you battle throughout the games. Since these are minor characters to the overall Pokémon franchise, there is a chance your hard work will go unnoticed, but you can always combat this by pulling out a Poké ball and challenging any other Pokémon cosplayer you find to a battle!
If you’re willing to put the effort into an act like this, it will always pay off with great photos and appreciation for a different cosplay that interacts with everyone else. Remember how popular that gif of Mario Kart Luigi throwing shells at cosplayers was? That could be you next con.
Admittedly, a cosplay that is basically a school uniform may not be what you’re after when you think stealth cosplay. However, the guise of a Hogwarts student still has an appeal for many cosplayers for an easy, comfortable, and still creative costume! All you really need is a cheap school uniform and a Hogwarts tie of your preferred house and, if you want a good excuse to buy one, your very own wand. Of course you can pour over the films/books and match your cosplay specifically to one of the many characters that everyone will know and love, but many cosplayers also choose to create their own back story for a totally new (but still recognisable) twist to the tale. After all, who didn’t want to be a Hogwarts student at one point? Creating your own student persona is a great recompense for all of the missed years of magic and makes for a fun and laidback cosplay.
And the really great thing about all of these iconic stories? If you’re not quite brave/energised/well-funded enough to go for a full on cosplay from any of the worlds, they all still have even smaller ways for you to show your appreciation in public. The Last of Us has the iconic firefly pendant. Harry Potter has the Deathly Hallows symbol. And for Pokémon, you can just carry a Pokéball around with you. And if you really want to freak a Doctor Who fan out? Draw a few tallies on your arms and pretend you don’t remember doing it–stealth cosplay at its finest.