Are you the kind of person who has always wanted to try cosplay, but you aren’t sure where to start? Or are you a seasoned costume maker who’s looking for a simpler outfit to wear during evenings and travel days at conventions? You should try making a closest cosplay—a type of costume you can make out of pre-existing clothes with only a few alterations or additions needed on your part. To inspire you on your way, here are five closet cosplays you can make right now; they’re based on timeless characters who will never go out of style so you can wear these outfits for years to come. Let’s get crafting!
1. Shoutarou Kaneda from Akira
To add a bit of retro-futuristic punk aesthetic to your next cosplay, try dressing as biker gang leader and unwitting freedom fighter Shoutarou Kaneda from the ‘80s anime film Akira. Pair a loose yellow shirt with light red pants (optionally with patches sewn over the knees), red boots and gloves, and some motorcycle goggles. You can buy a premade replica of his signature jacket online, or you can recreate it by adding iron-on letters and custom patches (made with fabric scraps attached to Heat n Bond) to a red bomber jacket. If you’re good at making props, you can also add Kaneda’s laser rifle that he uses to fight against the rampaging Tetsuo. And if someone you know has a motorcycle that they’d let you pose with for a photoshoot, your authenticity levels will shoot through the roof!
2. Mion Sonozaki from Higurashi no Naku Koro ni (Higurashi: When They Cry)
Boisterous club president Mion Sonozaki is one of our favorite characters from the Higurashi franchise and, luckily, she’s the easiest to cosplay as well. Both her school and casual outfits can be assembled from off-the-rack separates (just make sure to either leave the gun out of her casual ensemble or use an obviously fake toy version), so all you need after that is a big green ponytail wig and you’re all set! Shion is also relatively simple to cosplay, so grab a friend and re-enact scenes like the doll exchange from Meakashi-hen or the fetal position pose from the first opening theme for photoshoots. And don’t forget to call yourself “oji-san”!
3. Jonathan Joestar from JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken (JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure)
Most JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure characters wear high-fashion outfits that are far too complex for anyone without serious sewing experience to attempt, but Jonathan Joestar is a notable exception. His many Victorian ensembles can be approximated with clever combinations of pieces from the men’s formal section at any department store, while recreating his look for the final battle is as straightforward as pairing a cropped blue shirt and jeans with a few leather accessories: boots, a belt, fingerless opera/gauntlet gloves (sites for steampunk and medieval clothes are good places to look), and that adorable little backpack. For an easy introduction to craft foam armor creation, try making Jonathan’s shoulder pads from the anime version of this costume as well!
4. Kaori Miyazono from Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso (Your Lie in April)
This ethereal violin prodigy from Your Lie in April is easy to recreate, and she’s an especially entertaining character to play if you’re also a musician yourself. Add an iron-on patch or heat-set vinyl to a gray jacket for her school uniform, layer white and pink babydoll dresses to make her park outfit (and pick up a melodica to go with it), or find a cute white dress with a chiffon skirt for her concert attire. If you’re confident in your violin ability and the venue allows it, why not play a few tunes in the convention center hallway to entertain guests?
5. Reigen Arataka from Mob Psycho 100
Self-styled “Greatest Psychic of the 21st Century” Reigen Arataka may seem like a boring character to cosplay, since his costume is essentially just a gray suit and an orange wig, but the real fun comes in the details. Pass out flyers for the Spirits and Such Consultation Office, pose with salt shakers for photos, practice massage techniques on your friends, or print off some business cards and set up a “spirit consultation” station with a disgruntled looking Mob cosplayer at your side (yes, we’ve seen people do that before)! You could even carry around a body pillow of yourself and it wouldn’t be out of character...
Some other timeless closet cosplays include L from Death Note, Misty from Pokémon, Spike Spiegel or Faye Valentine from Cowboy Bebop, Winry Rockbell from Fullmetal Alchemist, Kurisu Makise from Steins;Gate, and Yato from Noragami. But are there any others that you can think of? Leave them in the comments below, and thanks so much for reading!