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Unread 07-10-2013, 12:35 PM   #1
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How long does a costume last you?

I was wondering how long does your guy's costumes usually last you. Whether they break down from costume malfunction, normal wear and tear, or a refusal to wear them again, I would like to know! Also, what do you do to make sure your costume lasts a long time or is that not an issue for you?

I'm in the process of remaking one of my first costumes I made when i was getting into cosplay, this time focusing on making it extremely long lasting and trying to avoid the problems of the last one. I wore it for a good 3 years straight of constant events and conventions before the vinyl was irreparably wrinkled and the accessories were falling apart.

All my other costumes are too new to be able to know when they might possibly be too far gone to wear again.
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Unread 07-10-2013, 01:08 PM   #2
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My first costumes were made ~5 years ago and were worn once each. They fell apart too quickly (and looked terrible to begin with), except for one that's mostly a closet cosplay. It became too big for me two years ago and I haven't gotten together the nerve to make it smaller.
My newer costumes, as you said, are too new to be able to tell.

So basically idk bro.

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Unread 07-10-2013, 01:20 PM   #3
The Boss
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That's a good question. I always wondered why lots of my friends were sad because costumes broke at a con etc.
My costumes usually hold forever o.O
My oldest costume is 7 years old and nothing on it broke so far o.o

I guess it depends on the costume though. Tight leather/vinyl/Latexsuits are more likely to break I think than some normal pants or a Shirt.
I always make sure to add enough space, so the costume isn't too tight (except it NEEDS to be)
The only costume that broke so far was one where I had to sew leatherpants for the first time and I didn't knew back then that I had to add an extra -leather-part between the crotch/legs.
Needless to say it ripped right in the crotch at the con when I moved around to much (crawling, kneeling etc) but the funny part is....it was not the seam that broke..nope.. it was the pleather that gave up so I couldn't even fix it right at the con (I tried, though)
Lesson learned: get information about materials and how to sew them/add parts for better ability to move/durability.
And it never hurts to add an inch more so the costume isn't too tight.
also, thinking about how to add things/details to a costume. a glued on button won't hold as much as a good sewn on one. or adding a nice actual brooch pin you can close instead of security pins.
think beforehand how to add pieces/get things together. Sometimes pieces need a different method in the different places. While snaps/magnets may be good for arms/leg-parts they could get de-snapped easily in the hip/bum/knee area.
So think beforehand what to use in which area and make tests-runs what'll hold better.
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Unread 07-10-2013, 01:24 PM   #4
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Well, considering I weather the hell out of most of my costumes, they last me pretty long. Usually the only things to succumb to the wear and tear are pants. For my Terminator Resistance costume, I went through 2 pairs of pants in about 6 years. That's pretty good considering. The only other thing I had just get trashed by wear and tear is my Colonial Marine armor. The ABS shoulder pauldrons cracked just from wearing them, as they were required to bend. I bought the armor in 2003 and it started falling apart around 2006. Now it's just in shambles. A monstrosity of duct tape. I had to get a new set. Usually, though, I a costume will last me until I'm sick of it. Like the Jedi stuff. I still have it, but will more than likely never wear it again. I've been fortunate to either buy of make pretty sturdy stuff.

Also, I will say this: the Jerkin for my Aragorn, made in 2003, is still in great shape after 10 years. (I just realized I've been dressing as Aragorn for ten years.)
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Last edited by dagmarus : 07-10-2013 at 01:31 PM.
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Unread 07-10-2013, 01:33 PM   #5
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My gurren cosplay I bought online started coming apart on day 2 of Otakon and my viewtiful joe cosplay has lasted 2 and counting probably do to the material being a unitard mostly. I recently bought a good quality link cosplay which I hope can last atleast 2-3 yrs
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Unread 07-10-2013, 01:40 PM   #6
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I don't know but my old one that my mother made me which I am in the process of retiring lasted 5 years and still is in good shape.
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Unread 07-10-2013, 08:24 PM   #7
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I can still wear my Jedi outfit if I really want to.

It was made in 1999.

Everything I make, whether personal or professional, is made to last. Good construction goes a long way. My costumes will probably all last longer than every pair of jeans and t-shirt that I own, given that I don't wear them every single day but also take good care of them. I want to be able to break out any costume I made at any point even if ten years go by, should I feel nostalgic or get a good opportunity.
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Unread 07-10-2013, 08:37 PM   #8
Prince With No Crown
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Most all of my costumes will last me damn near forever. It's just a case of no longer wanting to wear them that results in me not using them again.
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Unread 07-10-2013, 09:28 PM   #9
Kahl the Jew
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My Naruto cosplay lasted one day. The leg holster velcro was rubbing against the pants.. most people cant tell, but the inside of the orange pants are started to wear.. >>
And the Jacket got a few irreversable stains on it, apparently the jacket bleeds and I should have washed it before attaching the orange fabric.. If I try washing it, who knows what might happen.. (I am thinking of just remaking it all together.. This time giving it a good wash before attaching the orangE)
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Unread 07-10-2013, 11:04 PM   #10
Make All The Things!
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I think most of my cosplays suffer from I-don't-want-to-cosplay-this-again syndrome. My Minako cosplay I've worn at 4 cons which is the most I've worn any cosplay. I just have the bad habit of making something and just not having the motivation to wear it again.
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Unread 07-10-2013, 11:17 PM   #11
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My Kurapika cosplay has lasted me nine years. It's my first cosplay ever, from 2004, and it's been to three US cons and five or six cosplay gatherings in Taiwan. Some things have changed (I bought a new wig for it and replaced the plain white pants/undershirt), but the handmade part is still strong. I can't ever imagining abandoning it.
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Unread 07-10-2013, 11:38 PM   #12
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Its mostly repair work for me if I were to re-wear my older costumes. And there's my Pacman which died when it rained, and basically any others that I have salvaged for another costume. And there's my Pang Tong costume which got dyed pink in the wash. That hurt me most of all. le sigh.
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Unread 07-10-2013, 11:50 PM   #13
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I think my costumes will last me a very long time. My Sweeney costume lasted me 3 years going to conventions as Sweeney for all days of the conventions and my costume held up pretty well. My Captain Jack Sparrow costume is holding up pretty well too, and I use that costume nearly every week. It is showing more signs of wear and tear and I have had to replace some parts for it (and in the process of upgrading pieces for it), but that is expected since I use it so often.

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Unread 07-11-2013, 12:06 AM   #14
Devil of Details
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A lifetime.

I have a Victorian/Edwardian "costume" where the majority of the pieces were produced 1890-1910. It looks great, is in great shape, and is taken great care of. Basically, it was already 100 years old when I got it or nearly so and it will last 100 more.

So, several lifetimes, to be fair. Unless when I die someone throws it away or something.

I do have a 1920s tuxedo that is in a bit worse shape and that's thanks to a previous owner's storage of it. Storing things in sunlight is a pretty bad idea, just sayin'. Also, with historical and even items today it can be an issue with the components - for example using tea to dye will destroy the fabric at a faster rate than a dye meant to well... not do that. That's one reason why very old garments can be in very fragile condition - the combination of wear, age, and fragility imparted due to the techniques of the time.

I feel the same way about the costumes I make - they're as durable or more so than "real" clothing today is.

Will I get "bored" of them ? Yeah, probably. It's happened before. But it has to do with losing interest in a fandom or activity, not the costume in particular. I used to do the Rocky Horror Picture Show a lot but not so much any more so I haven't worn any of those costumes in ages.

Good quality means things can be re-purposed, too. For instance, if I don't finish my embroidery in time I'm going to re-use my generic 1600-1800 shirt for my Loras costume. That shirt was worn extensively in pretty "bad" conditions for a garment (dirt, sweat - things that aren't going to help it not wear out or degrade) but it still looks great. I can use it with any number of costumes so the amount of time it took to "finish" the garment is more than paid back.

It's harder to make things like body-suits "time proof", but there are still things that can be done ! Unfortunately, the pre-made ones usually don't go through such lengths. It's like the idea of re-soling shoes - you have to make a garment so it's possible to replace the parts that will wear out no matter what and reinforce areas of stress (such as the crotch on a body-suit) - for body-suits having it well-fit to your individual body also helps reduce stress on the fabric instead of making the fabric stretch, sometimes greatly, at all times to fit you.
Disclaimer : This post written by a Grumpy Old Man

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Unread 07-11-2013, 12:37 AM   #15
I Am Not Sephiroth
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Only cosplay that failed me was day one wearing Genesis's pleather pants. But other then that my cosplays are more of 'don't want to wear it again.' Which happens sometime after one wear, others after a few years. There isn't a set deadline.
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