Cosplay is great, but sometimes it’s intimidating. Where will I wear it? How will I make it? Can I afford it, for just one con/just for one Halloween? Will the character suit me? Will people be nasty jerks about my choices? And so on! It’s hard to be a fan.
There are ways to cut through these anxieties, though, and Lin and Bria of WhiteHotRoom are sartorial sorcerers well practiced at several. I’ve wanted to share WHR’s What Are You Wearing? feature with our readers here (that’s you) for a while–street-level cosplay right out of the wardrobe. Interpreting a character through fashion, rather than recreating a pre-designed superhero costume. Taking matters of ~authenticity definitively out of the equation in favour of creativity, remixing and personal style. How can you get the character to talk through your styling choices? For me this is some of the purest fun I can have with the clothes-comics overlap, and from their successes I reckon Lin and Bria like it pretty well too.
Don’t miss their original commentaries on these; check those name links — we’ve selected some of their best outfits: Dani Moonstar, Miss America, Monet St Croix, Jubilee, Uncanny X-Force Psylocke and Misty Knight.
Some further favourites of mine (some fuller cosplay than others) are Monet again, Colleen and Misty again, Asuka Langley, Psylocke and this amazing Spiral, Namor, Leia Organa, and Tendo Choi. I’m also dead tempted by their Hawkeye shirt design.
I asked Bria to explain just what it is that makes this feature such a staple of their blog. Over to her.
Our general goal when it comes to pulling together What Are You Wearing? outfits is always to provide some sort of interpretation of the character. Usually, we try to use colour schemes that mirror a character’s costume for the easy visual recognition. We also usually take into account the personality of the character in question. For example, a Jubilee outfit will definitely be more casual LA street style than one for Monet. Really though, it’s all about getting the vibe of that character and your own personal style to mesh together into an outfit that’s stylish and cool.
When I’m pulling together character outfits, I tend to have two different approaches. Either I go on an expedition into my closet or I’m out shopping and a piece will just shout ‘THIS IS PERFECT FOR X” at me. For my latest outfit based on Monet St. Croix, it was the latter situation. Not only was the dress the right colours but it also had very similar colour blocking to her current costume in X-Factor. With the dress in mind, it was a matter of accessorizing and for M that totally means a pair of big designer sunglasses and some 4+ inch heels. Monet is a character whose style and aesthetics very easily mesh with my own and so it’s fun getting to wear outfits inspired by her around town.
Misty Knight was a different case (even if I did use the same shoes). When Lin and I first decided to do outfits to celebrate the release of Fearless Defenders, I immediately grabbed for my tight red jeans because if that doesn’t scream Misty, I don’t know what does. The top took a little bit more thought as did an outfit for Misty in general. Going all red would be too literal of a translation so I instead opted for an asymmetrical black top with gold accents. The asymmetry was the best way I could think of to make a nod towards her bionic arm.
Psylocke was a completely different case. To date, this dress is the only WAYW outfit that’s been done for White Hot Room that was designed and created completely from scratch. The dress is absolutely my way of paying tribute to Sam Humphries’ awesome Uncanny X-Force and also Kris Anka’s fabulous design. The goal was to create a dress that was obviously based upon the design but to also create a dress that was totally wearable in “real life” situations. I’m still pretty happy with the results especially once I accessorized with some butterfly earrings. It might not be something that Betsy would actually wear but it’s definitely good for street style in our world.
Don’t you wanna get dressed up? Don’t you wanna wear Agent 355 to the boardroom, Frenzy to your barista gig, Vixen to go jogging? Surge on a date, Nico Minoru to buy vinyl. DC characters if that’s your bag. Have a think. Look at your closet. Be the book! Live the character. Dress the part.
WhiteHotRoom have created a couple of posts to support our Race, Gender and Comics series–you’ll want to follow our twitter and theirs so as not to miss out. Want to bring Storm into your wardrobe? Want a few more tips on how to accessorise, comics style? Be there!