Jun 06

Top 5 Fabrics to Avoid When Cosplaying

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Chances are at some point down the line in the course of your geek-life, you’re going to encounter the need for a costume. You’re going to go to conventions, renaissance, medieval, or fantasy fairs, LARPs and Halloween parties. So it’s good to be prepared. Here are some simple tips for when choosing your costume fabric.

Karma’s Top Five Fabrics To Avoid:

TLDR: Stay away from Lamé, Crushed Velvet, Shiny Satins, PVC and Sequins to keep your costume from looking cheap.

Leggings by American Apparel

1. Lamé
Note how this word is spelled. That’s right. One diacritical mark from being the word ‘lame’. This overly shiny, strangely stretchy metallic fabric seems to pop up more than it really should.

Originally seen in strip clubs and in the heart of New Jersey, lamé has crept further into our lives by being shelled out by stores like American Apparel and
showcased by misguided cosplayers. In some cases it may be unavoidable—
I’ve yet to see a Pheonix costume that didn’t use it (Which may fuel
my irritation for Jean Grey) but as a general rule, treat it like the plague.



Forever 21 touted this as a winter alternative to the Little Black Dress in 2010.

2. Crushed Velvet
Imagine a beautiful blanket of velvet. Perfect, soft, sturdy… Then
imagine Alvin Peats (Dreamfall) and a Brood Mother (Dragon Age) had
slimy, sweaty, unthinkably disgusting sex and passed out on it. That’s crushed velvet. It looks like it always needs to be ironed, possess an unknown sheen and the texture is somewhat akin to when a short-haired dog experiences hair loss. Despite the fact that it’s usually
stretchy, it’s still a heavier fabric and thus never really conforms
to a body but rather sags off it in a less than attractive manner. No
matter how much work you put into your costume, it makes it look



Princess Peach Costume for sale on Milanoo

3. Shiny Satin

I was hesitant to put this on the list because I do actually love satin, it’s just often misused. It’s one of those fabrics that if you aren’t careful about picking the right type for the right project, you end up spending a lot on something that inevitably looks like a cheap polyester costume. So avoid anything that looks really shiny under the light.

Shiny fabric is harder to photograph if you can’t control your light source AND if there is even the tiniest wrinkle, it will show rather glaringly. (See photo)

Try a nice and simple casa satin as an alternative. It’s not too spendy or shiny and can easily be found at any fabric store.



Cupcake Layered Ruffle Skirt by Artifice Clothing

4. PVC (Standard)
This is another fabric that I’m putting on this list for a very specific reason: it’s often misused. Now, I’ve got my kinks as much as anyone (Well, maybe not as much as Peanut), I appreciate PVC but it drives me crazy when I see how it’s typically  substituted for leather in a costume. It’s not leather. It doesn’t look like leather. It looks like wet plastic.
Hot? Yes. But if you are cosplaying as a Dalish Elf, your leather armor, boots, and quiver should not look like you’re about to whip your bitches because they didn’t properly lick your shoe collection clean.

If you need/want to use PVC as a substitute for leather, please be sure you use the matte kind.



Sequin Fabric from AJ Textiles

5. Sequins
Maybe I’m just an advocate against wearing super shiny/reflective fabric but again it’s an issue of this fabric tending to always look cheap and tacky. Outside of Vegas, sequins just seem inappropriate. If you’re not a queen, you are not fabulous enough to pull off this fabric, you’re just a reflector strip on a traffic cone.



With these 5 simple cautions, you’re well on your way to a kickass
costume. Unless you’re cosplaying the Sailor Moon Musical.

Then you can literally ignore everything I just said.





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