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Unread 04-09-2013, 09:55 AM   #1
a.k.a. Boreotheria
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Modifying a costume for practicality/modesty

I've seen a couple of threads with specific questions about this but I want to know what people think in general. (I tried posting this in a different forum but it wasn't approved there, and now I realize I was putting it in the wrong place.)

Would you make a costume and modify the appearance, so that it didn't exactly match the canonical version but made it easier to wear in some way? Or would you just go all out to make it look picture-perfect even if it meant it would be hard to wear? Let's face it, the physics of the human body are not accurately represented in anime and video games, especially when it comes to the floppy bits of women.

If you've made a costume with this kind of mod before, I'd love to see pics.

I guess I'd also like opinions from masquerade judges. Is recognizability or matching with a picture of the character really important, or would you give that less weight if the modification meant the costume could be constructed and worn better?

For myself, I would totally do the modification for a hall costume. The thing I have in mind would still be recognizable even with the mod I'm thinking of.


Effectively, what I want to do is turn her little loincloth thing into Roman-style centurion leg armor, with lappets over a skirty thing. The lappets might just be in the front and back or I could make them go all the way around. But the object is to get a little extra coverage in the upper thigh and groin area, because I think the little bikini bottom would run afoul of "no costume is no costume" rules.
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Unread 04-09-2013, 01:44 PM   #2
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I'm all for modifying cosplays so that the actual wearer is more comfortable. As to whether that's a handicap for a competition, I don't know. I have 2-3 cosplay ideas I'm toying with and all of them will be modified from the original designs. My comfort is more important than 100% accuracy.
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Unread 04-09-2013, 02:36 PM   #3
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What ever you want that makes you feel happy. I once had knee long shorts for Rin Kagamine.
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Unread 04-09-2013, 02:48 PM   #4
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I would modify it for comfort. I once did a naga cosplay and I left holes on the bottom so I can walk but they could be zipped up for pictures but had to stand on my tip toes so there wouldn't be a bulge. Eventually so many people kept asking for pictures I found it was a hassle to have to zip up every few steps so I just took pictures with my feet out. So, I recommend making it comfortable. Otherwise, you might not have as much fun wearing it.
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Unread 04-09-2013, 03:08 PM   #5
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I don't see what's wrong with it. A lot of anime characters have clothes that are just meant to look good in animation, but it does not translate well into real life.

Let's be honest, a lot of female characters were impossibly short skirts/small tops/things that pretty much cover just enough so that the anime won't be considered hentai. It'll 100% cause problems in real life, especially if you plan to wear it to a con where you're constantly moving. Bigger chances for a "wardrobe malfunction" haha.
Private photoshoots, sure, it's possible since it's in a controlled environment, but cons, feel more than free to modify the outfit to your comfort. No one will nitpick at it and even if they do, who cares? You being comfortable in the cosplay is much better than pleasing those stuck-up fans.
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Unread 04-09-2013, 03:11 PM   #6
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Just wear nude dancer tights. You will look the same as the original but full covered.
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Unread 04-09-2013, 04:01 PM   #7
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RydiaValentine's idea would work, but as long as it still fits the character, I don't see a problem with modifying a costume so you're more comfortable with wearing it. As far as I can tell, what you're thinking of doing would look great and still recognizable, personally even better than the original. (I mean, full armored top, shoulder, arms, greaves, and...a loincloth. Yeeah.) I'm slightly modifying the Gaara costume I'm working on. He doesn't wear a leg pouch, but am I making one anyway? Heck yeah. Hauling around a heavy, large gourd all day is going to be inconvenient enough without not having a place to stash extra makeup, phone, wallet, etc. It's only a small change, true, but it still matches. If modifying it makes you feel better about wearing it, I say go for it.
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Unread 04-09-2013, 04:06 PM   #8
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Hehe. The more I think about it, the more I think I do want to modify it to make it look like what it should have been, along the lines of those awesome illustrations that someone did of superheroines wearing clothes that are more practical for fighting than lingerie.

Now I've started thinking about the construction -- the simplest change would be, rather than making the whole upper body one piece, to make the middle section a corset/cincher. Then the "shirt" can actually be the top of a tunic or dress that would be mid-thigh-length. The loincloth wouldn't need modification, except that it would make more sense for the lappets to go all the way around rather than just hang in the front and back.

Thanks everyone, this is awesome and probably doable.
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Unread 04-09-2013, 04:10 PM   #9
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I can't say anything about masquerade judges, but for just walking around in the halls, make sure that you are comfortable with what you are wearing. Period.

Originally Posted by Indefatigable View Post
But the object is to get a little extra coverage in the upper thigh and groin area, because I think the little bikini bottom would run afoul of "no costume is no costume" rules.
Are you wanting to change the costume because of your own personal comfort level, or because you are afraid it will go against con rules? If the latter, which is how it sounds from this quote, but sure to look at the costume rules for each of the cons you are planning on bringing this to. Very few cons have rules against bikini-style bottoms, as long as everything is properly covered and not too much butt is showing. From the picture you posted, it looks fine for almost any con dress code that I've seen, but different cons have different rules, so you should always double-check with the con itself if you are worried about it. I've worn bikini-style bottoms many times at cons with no issues at all, but I do know that certain cons are stricter and have "shorts-only" policies when it comes to bottoms coverage.

If you have concerns about your personal comfort level, then go with what you are comfortable with. If you have concerns about con acceptability, then look in the rules to see if it is acceptable.

Personal comfort trumps accuracy any day, though.

Edit because I was ninja'd:
It makes sense to modify for accuracy to the real world, as well. Some outfits are horribly impractical for the scenarios they are meant to be worn in, so if you want to modify it for those reasons, I'd say to go for it. I actually like seeing things that look good and are practical in real life over things that are 100% screen accurate but don't translate to reality at all.

Last edited by fabrickind : 04-09-2013 at 04:13 PM.
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Unread 04-09-2013, 04:39 PM   #10
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I was a little bit worried about con rules, but mostly my own comfort. I don't wear anything that skimpy even at the beach. If I did, then I'd worry about whether or not I wanted to wear it at a con. Plus, I'm realizing how much I want to redesign the outfit for contextual practicality, to have some form of protection other than a bikini on the bottom half.
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Unread 04-09-2013, 04:50 PM   #11
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If I ever do Oktoberfest Leela (Futurama), I will do that with skirt. It's plenty long but the slits on each side go so high up that it's practically a loin cloth rather than a skirt. I would still have slits but not nearly as high.
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Unread 04-09-2013, 07:36 PM   #12
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Speaking from a masquerade judge's standpoint, we are aware that people sometimes feel more comfortable with modifications, or have to for a logistical purpose. It happens. We KNOW this. We just need to hear it from you when you're being judged. When showing a replica costume, where the point was to attempt to be as true to the source material as possible, any changes just need to be documented with a reason. The only time it may come back to bite you is if the reason really doesn't make any sense, and/or the change makes for a horrible visual aesthetic in the completed costume. Lengthening a skirt a bit so as not to show off butt cleavage is a far cry from deciding to completely alter the shape, drape, and tailoring of the skirt and ending up completely failing in the execution to the point where it not only makes the design look bad, it makes you look bad in it. It's an extreme example, precisely because it happens so rarely that it's not something to really worry about, but I would be remiss if I didn't admit that it COULD happen.

However, what it does NOT do is violate the "no costume is no costume" rule. That was specifically put into place because cons in the 1960's were a bit too lax and did allow actual naked people on stage sometimes. You would have to be quite literally naked with no documentable reason for it to violate that rule.

Aside from that, modifications are an eye-of-the-beholder thing. Each individual person has their own opinion on it, and the only opinion that matters is your own. I personally wouldn't bother because I'm the kind of person who prefers that my own costumes have a stepped-off-the-screen look to them when finished. But then, I rarely (if ever) choose to do costumes where the question of modesty would ever come up. Practicality, on the other hand, merely forces me to choose whether the costume is appropriate for the halls or is too impractical to be worn anywhere but on the stage.
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Unread 04-09-2013, 09:32 PM   #13
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Thanks, glad to hear from a judge.

I've never been in a masquerade before and have done very little costuming at cons at all. Whether I enter a masquerade or just wear the thing around all day is likely to depend on how I feel that morning.

Here's my concept sketch.

Last edited by Indefatigable : 04-09-2013 at 09:35 PM.
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Unread 04-09-2013, 09:44 PM   #14
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I feel like if you wanted to modify that, the best approach would be to make the "panties" into shorts of the same colour - like bike shorts. I feel like a full skirt would change the silhouette a lot more.

Just my opinion and another idea.

I haven't really changed a costume for modesty myself, if I'm not comfortable with a costume as-is, I will pick a different one. But I also don't get bothered by a lot, so I can understand someone might have a much smaller comfort zone.
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Unread 04-09-2013, 09:46 PM   #15
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I thought about bike shorts, definitely a possibility. I'd just want to make them out of a material that was plausible with the rest of the outfit, rather than just getting some jersey shorts.
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