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Frugal Nerd Lesson #1: Cosplay on the cheap

So, today's post is from the gorgeous Alyson - actress, nerd, and blogger. A big part of fandom is obvs having super-cute and accurate outfits to look like your fav characters. And y'alls know that I'm all about the fabulous costumes.

But... other than dressing like Daenerys from the Season 1 finale of Game of Thrones (i.e. naked, with baby dragons), are there are ways to get your nerd cosplay on without spending lots of cash? Turns out, THERE TOTALLY IS. Check it!

One of the best things about being an actor is dressing up and being someone else. The clothes make the man, as they say. There's just something amazing about head-to-toe coordination that makes you look a) amazing and b) totally different from how you normally look. 

This love of playing dress up translates from my theatrical passions to my nerdly passions. I love comic books, movies, TV shows, sci-fi/fantasy genre STUFF of all kinds and history. I have only recently allowed these passions to collide into what is commonly called cosplay -- that's dressing up like a character. You may have done so yourself, whether to a comic book convention or to a midnight premiere of a Harry Potter movie. It can get pricey... but it is easy (and fun) to nab things on the cheap. 

Tip #1: Sewing your own costumes is not necessarily the cheapest option, depending on how much/what kinds of fabric you need, but it does help to be able to sew and/or alter items as you go. As in, "That $4 faux-leather jacket could pass for a police vest if I sew on some official looking patches and tack down the collar." Used clothing stores, Goodwill and eBay are your friends.

Tip #2: Selection of WHAT you will dress up as is key. It's painful to see people squeezing into outfits that are accurate to their inspiration, but unflattering to the real-life person's body. Quality wigs can be pricey, so I like to choose fellow brunette characters, thus eradicating the need for a wig or hair dye. Yes, it's fun to dress up as someone REALLY different, but it's also neat to have someone come up to you and say how real you look. Example: I don't look like any of the companions of the Doctor on BBC's "Doctor Who," but I think I look a little like David Tennant, so I bought a pinstripe suit on eBay for $10 and did my hair up all crazy and spiky. Observe: 

Tip #3: When going historical, say for a renaissance faire or a period drama cosplay, choose your battles wisely. You may have to shell out some dough for a decent corset, for example, but the look will be WELL worth the money, especially if you will use it for another costume or wear it to more than one event. I like to get things on Etsy that are better quality, but definitely shop around before making any decisions. And measure yourself properly before ordering. SERIOUSLY. Otherwise, vintage shopping for items that LOOK historically accurate is a good way to go!

Tip #4: Polyvore and Pinterest are great tools for brainstorming and hunting for available items, but they aren't realisting price wise, so don't hesitate to go out into the world of antique and vintage and resale shops and just hunt. You'll be surprised what you find to fit your ideas.

Alyson Grauer is an actor/writer living in Chicago. She writes for Something Cute and Nerdy, Doctor Fantastique's Show of Wonders and You Know You Love Fashion. She can be found tweeting often @dreamstobecome, and soon you can read or listen to the podcast of her first published short story through the Tales from the Archives. She is currently working/acting at the Bristol Renaissance Faire in Wisconsin.

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