Have you ever looked at someone walking down the street and thought about how they look like they should be a character in a video game?
In a LARP set in the modern day, or just one that uses modern day styled clothing, it can be hard to make a costume that stands out from your everyday wear without breaking the bank. Buying nice clothing for your character can be a good way to costume, but not every gamer has that kind of budget. Luckily for those of us not as rich as our characters, there are easy ways to make a costume from everyday items without taking out a second mortgage.
Dress Differently Than Normal
Wearing clothes you as a player wouldn’t normally wear can go a long way to making an easy costume.
If you play a particularly feminine character, consider wearing a skirt or clothing with a more feminine cut such as a flowing blouse. If you often wear your favorite color blue, consider dressing primarily in other colors for your character. If you primarily wear graphic tees from your favorite rock bands, consider playing a character that would choose to wear clothes that fall into the “business casual” style of dress or a graphic tee that you wouldn’t normally be caught dead wearing. By wearing different clothing than you do in your day-to-day life, you will create a new look for the people that you game with which shows that while you might be in jeans and a graphic tee, you are clearly dressed as a different person. If you choose to costume this way, make sure you are consistent, and try to stick to the same general themes.
Wear Something AWFUL
This sweater is ugly, and that is great for a costume.
Think of the clothes you see at the thrift store that no one ever buys: the bright red corduroy pants, the tacky Christmas vests depicting Santa’s flight, and the poofy, gold sequined 1976 formal wear. All of these seem horrendously ugly and not something you would wear in 2016, right? Hideous clothing like that is exactly what can make a good costume! Hawaiian shirts, brightly patterned sports jackets, plaid kilts with denim jackets; all of these things are visually unique and make your character stand out in a way that still remains comfortable for you as a player. You may have to swallow your pride to be willing to wear the outfit to and from your event, but rest assured that visitors to your games will be talking about “that jerk in the denim overalls and a trilby” on their way back home.
Accessories add finishing touches to an outfit, and can really help differentiate a costume from an everyday outfit.
Accessories come in many forms and can help flexibly flavor your character’s outfit. Jewelry such as piercings, rings, necklaces, earrings, and bracelets can add flair and help portray your character’s personal style or their wealth and status. Trinkets also make common gifts, so a simple ring can represent deep connections or secrets to those paying close enough attention. Doing makeup and styling your hair for the character can be another great way for the character to express themselves and help you really get into their headspace, since your own reflection will be altered. Something as small as wearing eyeliner and lipstick and putting your hair up can drastically change your appearance! You can sometimes find a friend who is skilled enough to put makeup on for you if you lack the know how, and there are tons of tutorials online that help you achieve certain looks, from film noir dame to goth rocker and everywhere in between.
Have Fun and Get Wild
The right mix of clothing, style and accessorization can transform you into your character quite easily. You can go from this:
…in just a matter of minutes! Swapping out your personal look for your character’s style can keep you in character and make your character memorable in a positive way in the minds of other players and characters at the game. You may even discover that some of the things you pick out for your character to wear end up transferring over to your personal wardrobe once the character leaves play, or even discover how good you look in a certain color or style of clothing.
Remember these tips next time you costume and don’t forget to look awesome!
Anna is an avid LARPer, and on weekend when she isn’t being a vampire she treks out to the woods to beat up her friends with assorted plumbing supplies and birdseed. Outside of LARP Anna is a feminist and part of the LGBTQ* community, and is the proud owner of two loving cats, and another that’s kind of mean but loves her anyway (probably). She can be found on Twitter at https://twitter.com/squeenoodles