We’ve all had to practice patience, but Star Wars Celebration Anaheim 2022 is finally around the corner. For some of us who are planning to attend, that means another looming topic is on our minds: Costumes!
Do you want to go as something classic like Princess Leia or Han Solo? Or do you want to properly honor the 20th anniversary of Star Wars: Attack of the Clones with a Count Dooku or Zam Wessell costume? Or maybe casual is more your style and you and two friends want to go as modern versions of Rey, Finn, and Poe? The options are endless!
Undoubtedly, some of the people reading this have been working on their costumes for this Celebration since dates were announced at the last Celebration. For those of you who haven’t, that’s okay! There’s still time to work on the Star Wars costume of your dreams. If you’re newer to the world of cosplay, here are some helpful hints to guide you along your journey.
1. Start now.
No, really. Finish reading this article and then start working on your costume or at least planning it. No matter how experienced of a costumer you may be, putting together a cosplay always takes longer than we think (or rather hope) it will, so try and give yourself more time when making your construction plans. Sure, you could bring some hot glue and a mini sewing kit to Anaheim with you and frantically finish up your costume in the hotel room, but wouldn’t you rather be spending time with your fellow Star Wars fans talking about your favorite Star Wars: The High Republic book or Star Wars: The Bad Batch episode? (Although it’s not a bad idea to bring a small repair kit with you to the convention just in case.)
2. Pick a character or concept you’re excited about.
Cosplay is a lot of hard work! That’s why it’s always best to work on a costume you are genuinely excited about. For some people, this could mean putting together a perfect recreation of their favorite Star Wars character. For others, this could mean doing a fun twist on a character or maybe being part of a big themed costume group with friends. (And for some of us, it could be both!) Don’t be afraid to put together a costume for a more obscure Star Wars character, especially if it’s someone you really love. If there’s one convention where someone is going to recognize a character like Yrica Quell from Star Wars: Alphabet Squadron or Just Lucky from the Star Wars: Doctor Aphra comics, that convention is absolutely Celebration and you’ll undoubtedly make a fellow fan’s (or maybe even a creator’s) day.
Regardless of why you decide to make a costume, being enthusiastic about it will help you get through the tougher times when you can’t get a piece of armor to look right or the fit of a jacket just isn’t working. Your love for that character will also likely come through when you finally get to wear your awesome costume at Celebration!
3. Research! Research! Research!
It’s so important that it warranted being said three times. We live in a golden age when it comes to available resources for costumes. For so many Star Wars costumes, there are likely plenty of reference images available, including full turn-arounds for animated characters, like the one for Saw Gerrera above from a Star Wars: The Bad Batch episode guide. (Hint: If you’re putting together a costume for a character who’s appeared visually in Star Wars before, check out the 501st Legion’s and the Rebel Legion’s reference libraries, which break down many Star Wars character costumes down piece by piece.)
Researching will also help you when it comes to the actual construction of your costume. So many cosplayers have generously shared tutorials online about how they put parts of their own costumes together. There’s so much out there about anything from how different fabrics behave, to the pros and cons of making foam armor versus 3D printing it. Especially if you’re new to costuming, take the extra time to do your research up front, so that hopefully the sewing/construction time will go more smoothly.
4. Consider theming your accessories.
Once upon a time, this would have mostly been referring to some sort of bag, but in the world of 2022, this also includes face masks. If you’re planning to go as an X-wing or TIE pilot, who both have jumpsuits filled with pockets, you are probably going to want at least some sort of bag to help carry your assorted convention-hall purchases and other important things like wallets or water bottles. It can be fun to find a way to make sure your tote bag matches your costume. If you’re a member of the Rebel Alliance, the starbird is always a classic, or if you’re going as a Sith Lord, something sleek and black with a red lightsaber detail could be fun. The same concept applies to face masks. For some characters, a mask may even already be incorporated into their design. (Witches of Dathomir, we see you!) For others, consider either doing something as simple as coordinating the color of your mask to the rest of your costume (i.e., dark red for Doctor Aphra to match her vest) or matching it in design like you might have your bag.
Note: Make sure you keep an eye on the official Celebration website to ensure you are up to date with the latest safety requirements, as they are subject to change.
5. Take your con plans and comfort into consideration.
Conventions are fantastic experiences, but they’re also long days where you’ll be on your feet a lot. Unfortunately, some cosplays can be a little cumbersome to wear and even more do not involve particularly comfortable shoes. When picking and making your costume, keep in mind your preferred con experience. For example, if you like going to a lot of panels, make sure you can easily sit on your costume. If you’re the sort who wants to stay at the con for every minute and your hotel is far away, perhaps full stormtrooper armor might not be for you. You can also consider bringing a change of clothes or even just a change of shoes for later in the day, especially if what you’re wearing has the potential to become uncomfortable.
6. Practice your poses.
This is the one thing that sometimes even experienced cosplayers forget to do before attending a convention in a new costume. You’ve spent so much time and hard work making your costume, and people are going to want to take pictures of you and you’ll want to take pictures with other costumers. The last thing you’ll want to worry about in that moment is how you’ll pose for said photo. Practice in front of a mirror and it’ll be second nature by the time you hit the con floor. If you need inspiration for poses, look at promotional pictures for the movies and TV shows, or even the covers of the comic books.
7. Have fun!
This may be an obvious one but it’s super important. Making a costume is a ton of work, and part of what makes it all worth it is getting to finally wear it at the convention. Your costume will likely bring some joy to others, so don’t forget to have fun and let your costume bring you some joy, too.
Star Wars Celebration Anaheim 2022 will be held May 26-29, 2022, at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California.
Bria LaVorgna is a writer who doesn’t remember a time when she didn’t love Star Wars. She also really loves Alderaan, Doctor Aphra, and Inferno Squad. You can follow her on Twitter @chaosbria.
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