What is cosplay and what is a cosplayer? Cosplay is “costume play” where cosplayers – people who participate in cosplay – dress to resemble characters in popular culture. Cosplay is a very alluring hobby. Who doesn’t want to step into the shoes of their favorite fictional characters? But at the same time, it can be very intimidating. People invest so much time and money into making the most accurate and creative looks come to life, and it can be hard for a novice to know where to begin.
That’s why we’ve put together this list of the best cosplay ideas for beginners. None of these easy cosplay ideas these involve sewing of any kind (unless you want them to) and you probably won’t need to go out and purchase much for most of them either.
Mickey or Minnie Mouse Disney Cosplay
The only “requirement” for this Disney cosplay is a pair of mouse ears, which you can buy directly from Disney or probably at a local dollar store (or a million other places online). You could also make them out of cardboard and stick them on a headband. And if you want to take it further, you can wear a nice suit for Mickey Mouse or deck yourself out in polka dots and red for Minnie. A red dress can become polka-dotted with white fabric or paper circles pinned on. White gloves can also be a nice touch.
Marvel’s The Defenders Cosplay
Most of these Marvel heroes are more well known for street clothes looks than over-the-top costumes, making them good choices for cosplay beginners.
Jessica Jones and Luke Cage are probably the easiest characters to emulate the fashion of; the former with her jeans and leather jacket with a gray scarf and the latter with jeans, a yellow t-shirt, and silver armbands.
Marvel Disguise Cosplay
For those who would prefer cosplay Marvel characters, look no further than the Marvel Disguise. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has a running gag that sees its superheroes donning baseball caps and sunglasses as a lazy disguise that can be an easy Marvel cosplay costume.
What’s fun about this is that there are a lot of character options, since so many of them have put on this disguise over the years. There’s Captain America and Black Widow in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Ant-Man in Ant-Man and the Wasp, and Captain Marvel in her own self-titled movie. You might need to explain who you are a few times, but fans will appreciate the humor in it.
Harley Quinn Cosplay
Harley Quinn has had so many different looks over the years from casual to clown, so there’s a lot of room to make any Harley Quinn cosplay your own.
Most of Harley’s casual looks can be seen in the movie Birds of Prey, but cosplaying this character can be as simple as wearing red and black clothing with pigtails. Put on some red lipstick and dark eyeliner (and maybe some wash-out hair dye!) and bring the look up a notch.
Catwoman has a pretty iconic look, with her black catsuit, ears, and mask. However, cosplayers can easily forgo the suit if they so choose, and just wear any kind of black clothing they like with the ears and mask.
Doctor Who Cosplay
There have been over a dozen iterations of Doctor Who over several decades, so there’s a lot of choice when it comes to picking a look for this character.
The easiest, though, is probably the Ninth Doctor. A black jacket, dark jeans, a dark top, and black boots should do the trick. You can also carry a rose around as your sidekick (get it?). Making a sonic screwdriver will add to the look, too, and there are instructions for making an actual light-up one online, but you could also wrap tin foil around a pen. Hey, we work with what we’ve got.
Stranger Things Cosplay
Again, there are a lot of options here, and they vary in “difficulty.” There are things like the Scoops Ahoy uniform and Eleven’s iconic jumpsuit from Season 3, but there are also plenty of outfits consisting of “normal” clothes with a bit of 80s flair.
A good tip if your cosplay fits more into the latter realm would be to carry a prop—such as an Eggo box or tape deck with “Running Up That Hill” prominently displayed. After Stranger Things season 4, Eddie Munson cosplay has become one of the most popular Stranger Things cosplays in 2022.
Pokémon Trainer Cosplay
There are two routes you can take here: you can dress as an established character from the Pokémon franchise such as Ash Ketchum or Misty Terrain, or you can dress as yourself as a Pokémon trainer. For the latter, you can base your look on the Pokémon Go! avatars (baseball cap, hoodie, shorts).
Don’t forget your Pokeball or plushie of your favorite Pokémon!
Star Wars Jedi Cosplay
There are plenty of Jedi robes and other Star Wars cosplay for sale, but if you’re on a budget, a brown or cream bathrobe with a belt and a cheap lightsaber will do just fine! And stopping to give a sexy lean in every doorway? That’s one’s free, my friends.
Scooby Doo Cosplay
This is an especially fun idea for a group cosplay and works well because the outfits mostly consist of “regular” clothing one might find in a typical retail store, online, or even a thrift shop. If the specific styles are hard to find (especially Daphne’s 60s look) modernizing the clothing can also be a fun option. Just go with the iconic colors for each character and people will get it.
And if you don’t have a group, one way you can make it more obvious that you’re cosplaying is by getting a plush toy of Scooby Doo (or another brown Great Dane) and carrying it around with you. You can also expose an old man who has been terrifying the town in a ghost costume by ripping off his mask and triumphantly telling everyone how you figured it out—if such a thing is happening, I mean it probably won’t, but…it’d really work for your look.