My First Crossplay Experience (5/29/2024)

I bet you didn't think I'd be talking about something like this! Neither did I, truthfully. A few months ago, in a what I can only describe as a fit of gender madness, I ordered this cosplay. It's the female protagonist of Pokemon Legends Arceus, a game I'm very fond of! To me, Akari and Rei are the best looking player characters we've ever had, but I love things like scarves, robes, and bandannas, so of course I would think that! So, what was it like doing all this cosplay stuff for the first time? If you've ever wanted to wear a cosplay, maybe my little story will help motivate you!

Sizing Up

First thing, I had to order the right size. I'm only adding this detail for anyone in the same boat, but I didn't know anything about clothes sizing or how to do it! Thankfully, this was fairly simple to figure out, and you can do this yourself without visiting a tailor or something. You can buy measuring tape (sometimes called tailor's tape) at places like Walmart for like, a dollar. As for where to measure, there are tons of graphics and pictures online, like this one I used. Yeah, it turns out your hips are all the way down there. Who'd have thought?

I was rather paranoid about this part of the process. After all, it would all be for nothing if my costume were to arrive too small! It could probably be made larger, but at a cost. I spent about three nights measuring myself repeatedly just to make sure I had it right. You probably don't need to do that exactly. I also doubled checked with my dear friend Lyra, who knew more about this kind of stuff. She informed me that usually your bust size and your waist size aren't too different. Valuable information!

Once I felt confident enough that my measurements were correct, I ordered the costume and accompanying wig. After double checking with friends, none of us really knew too much about styling them or wearing wigs, but we all decided we could figure it out! There were cosplay shoes available as well, but I decided to skip on those this time. I wore my costume to the local card shop where I play Pokemon, but if you're going to be walking around all day at a convention, I imagine wearing your regular sneakers would be very important!

Anyway, all that happened in February. I didn't get to wear everything until mid May, so what's up with that?

Patience and Ordering Stuff

I wouldn't totally recommend the website I used for this, EZcosplay. I figured based on their estimates that my cosplay might arrive, say, in mid April, if everything took 30 days and accounting for a fair overseas shipping period. What exactly took so long? Well, from what I was able to gather, sometimes it just takes a while. Regardless of the online store you order from, they'll place your order to the actual costume shop to put it all together. Basically, whatever happens between your order and then can kind of be between you and god. It's not terribly clear to me what EZcosplay is responsible for, but things can vary, and you should probably keep it in mind. What I can say for sure is that their customer service is a mixed bag. In my case, the "Chat/Support" feature on their site literally doesn't work. When I sent a proper email, though, I got responses back fairly quickly about what was going on with my order. Supposedly, the wig was the hold up.

Once April rolled around, I was fairly relaxed about the situation. I figured it would show up eventually. Lucky for me, I didn't really need the cosplay at any particular time. It's not unlikely that you may be planning to cosplay for a convention, if that's the case, I would spend more time vetting and researching stores. You'll probably still want to order way ahead just to be safe, if you can. I did browse some other places besides EZcosplay, but I liked their price. Don't worry, everything worked out for me!

With all this waiting though, I had plenty of time to think about if I wanted to feminize myself further. Getting a wig was a nice start, but I did I want to do anything like makeup? This is a personal belief, but false eyelashes can make you look really different! I also had a face blemish or two that I wouldn't mind covering up with some foundation or concealer, something I happen to have a little memory of from a theater class. As you can see, this whole project landed somewhere between a gender exploration of sorts and a fun way to spice up my weekly Pokemon Card gaming.

In the end, I decided this was still a relatively casual affair, and I would pass on extra feminine details. Perhaps another time!

Friends & Dress Rehearsal!

The costume and wig eventually showed up at my doorstep, completely unannounced. I never saw a shipping notice, but whatever! I was thrilled, though I was also scared to death of tearing something up, so I didn't inspect the costume until the following weekend. My local friends were excited for me, and totally on board with helping me put everything on. I'm glad that almost everyone knows more about clothes than me!

The friends were very impressed with the wig. I couldn't tell a good one from a bad one, but we put that on last. The robe was very nice, in my opinion. It was easy to wear, and my god, it fit my upper body perfectly! Thank goodness! As a result of the larger size I ordered, the leggings were really long. I think there was a way to specify the length to be shorter, but I just went with whatever. Thankfully, they fit nice enough on the leg, and I managed to get them snug on my feet. This extra material was easy to cover up with the little white leg pieces. I have no idea what those would be called, but I love them and they totally complete the outfit!

The belt was interesting and definitely the lowest quality piece. It was simply a bright yellow strip with velcro that goes over the sash. Still, it looked fine enough for the price of the costume, and the pouch could fit my phone. I was going to miss my pockets later, so I'm glad that worked out.

Lastly, we donned the bandanna and scarf. The scarf was also a thin piece of red fabric, not as long as it should be. Again, it was good enough for me! My friend and I couldn't quite figure out how to wear the bandanna over the wig, so we ended up using hair pins. I imagine there was some reasonable way to get it on and keep it on, but the hair pin solution was nice. Thank you, friend!

So, how did it all feel? Well, my friend said I looked really cute, which was a huge boost. We took some pictures (you're not seeing them for privacy reasons!) and reviewed them. I think I wore it well! I'm my own worst critic, so I felt like my face wasn't cute enough and things like that. I'm not entirely sure I felt a sense of gender euphoria though. Perhaps it was the stress of trying it all on, but I did have fun in this little rehearsal! Overall, I was excited to wear it out in my usual place. I was confident no one would be mean or weird about it.

I Won The Pre-Release

The first comment I got at the store was "Is that the...girl from...Shining Arceus?"
Hehe, close enough. A lot of Pokemon games came out in rapid succession at that time. One of my best card buddies offered "Nice outfit!". I was surprised that not a whole lot of other people said anything at all!

I caught a few extra glances from one or two people. Nobody seemed judgmental or rude though. I like to imagine it's cause I was cute! And it seems like the people at the front of the shop were happy to see me! After we settled down and more Pokemon TCG folks came in, we decided to play the Twilight Masquerade pre-release format. I won all my games, because this Fezandipiti is totally bonkers in a limited format! So even though it's not even close to competitively serious, I smiled that I won and got some packs.

Was I a bit disappointed that I didn't receive much attention? It may seem vain to put it that way, but I feel it's simply accurate to a part of my desire. Yes, I was a little let down. I didn't think anyone was gonna fall in love with me on the spot or ask a bunch of questions, but hello!

Was it still fun for me though? Hell yes, it was fun! I'm delighted to be able to say that I cosplayed one of my favorite characters. I played one of my favorite games with buddies at the same time. That's something to celebrate! All the excitement of getting ready and dressed up, I felt like a little model, in a way. That was certainly a good feeling. What I've taken away from that experience is that I would probably enjoy putting together more outfits and putting more care in what clothes I wear every day. Am I going to act on that takeaway? I'd like to try when it's in the budget.

I still have the cosplay of course, to wear to future events when it strikes my fancy!!

If you've ever thought about cosplaying, and it's within your budget, I highly recommend it! Do whatever you want, maid outfits, Lum bikinis, wear anything at all! Be your OCs and stuff! Don't go in totally blind with no friends, though! Hopefully, my recount of my experience can give you some confidence. By the way, everything cost me 126 dollars total. That includes a 30 dollar shipping price, so that may vary for you depending on where and how you order stuff. I imagine for a lot of people, that's going to be a lot, so I hope something works out for you! Be strong!

See you next time~!

- James