The cosplay culture is a hot topic. More and more people are discovering the fun of dressing up in cosplay costumes as their favorite characters. Their fantastic creations can be shown off at conventions and festivals.
First they start with ideas that are gleaned from graphic novels, movies, comics, books and TV shows. Moreover, those who are into cosplay craft costumes range from simple to complex. The actor will often spend hundreds of dollars and even more hours creating just the right look.
What’s the attraction?
The History of Cosplay
People have loved dressing up for centuries. Fancy dress and masquerade balls were once the primary outlets for people who wanted to be someone else for the evening.
In fact, the first known occurred at a masquerade ball. That was when Ohio couple Mr. and Mrs. William Fell dressed up as newspaper comic characters. The trend didn’t take off right away, but it did spark an interest.
In the 1970s, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” brought cosplay to theaters around the country. At showings of the film, moviegoers would arrive dressed up as various characters. Their style would range from fishnet stockings and a cosplay costume corset worn by Dr. Frank N. Furter, to Magenta’s flirty French maid costume. After that the film quickly became a cult classic. Likewise, part of its popularity has its standing in personation culture.
More than four decades later, cosplay continues to attract corseted and be-glittered guests to midnight screenings across the country.
Around the same time in history, steampunk fashion started picking up steam. This Victorian/cyberpunk trend was a blending of history, technology and sci-fi. Because of this, one big costuming extravaganza was created.
Still, it wasn’t until the mid-1980s that the role-playing trend finally got its name. Japanese producer Nobuyuki Takahashi observed sci-fi convention attendees in their array of costumes and coined the term “cosplay”. To clarify, this combined the words “costume” and “play.”
As it turned out, Japanese anime fans had been dressing up as their favorite characters since the ‘70s, too. Now they had a name for the phenomenon. As a result, it exploded in popularity both in Japan and the U.S. and eventually, around the world.
Today, people from all walks of life get into cosplay. The reasons can be as varied as the people involved. Pretending gives us an opportunity to channel creative interests into intricately detailed costumes, to interact with other members of fandoms, and to express ourselves in new ways.
Even better, it’s a hobby anyone can get into, from your next door neighbor to such well-known celebrities as Tom Hiddleston and Matt Smith.
So what are the Top 10 Reasons to Get Involved in Cosplay?
10. Cosplay is inclusive.
Anyone can dress up as anyone they want. When it comes to subterfuge, the limits are your own imagination. Age, ability, size, sex, and other personal characteristics fade into the background as you transform into your character.
9. Cosplay is freeing.
Acting can be a fantastic way to really let your hair down. It can be especially liberating for people who just don’t feel like they fit in. When you mask your appearance, you can to shed all those worries and use your character to connect with people.
8. Playing a role can boost your confidence.
First of all, step into the shoes of someone else for a few moments or days. After that, forget the worries of your day-to-day life. You can tap into the strength of your character and experiment with new ways of looking at things. Consequently, this can translate into real-life confidence.
7. Cosplay is versatile.
Cosplay ideas range from the classic steampunk costume to fanciful anime costumes, to colorful superhero costumes. Because of this, you can be as simple or as sexy as you want. For instance, try dressing up your look with handcrafted details or adding a costume corset for an alluring boost.
6. Dressing up is creative.
Whether you’re planning, creating or purchasing your costume, you’re getting ample opportunities to be creative. Showcase your imagination as you pull together disparate elements to create a whole new version of your favorite characters.
5. Cosplay builds community.
Although you can certainly roleplay on your own, it’s even more fun to do it as a group. You can go with a partner, a friend or a lot of friends using themed costumes, or you can go to your favorite con convention or party alone. Make new friends for future dress-up adventures.
4. Cosplay can be a way of life.
Socializing, expressing yourself and enjoying the process can all be great benefits of masquerade. Some people, however, take it a step further and make cosplay their livelihood. In addition to their own costumes, they create cosplay costumes for others. This is one hobby that can be quite profitable if you have the passion and talent.
3. Costuming is an art form.
The design, detail, and creativity that go into the average costume make it more art than game. However, unlike costume designers, you’re usually working with a limited budget and without a team of professional when you start creating your costume. That’s pretty impressive!
Many costume clothing designers share their ideas online. You can follow step by step instructions on ways to make an incredible costume on Youtube. https://youtu.be/VZ5hnFF6EdE
Moreover, you can buy a book from Amazon to learn how to make your cosplay costume.
2. Role-playing is an escape.
You can be anything you want to be when you role play: cartoon princesses, sexy siren, frightening sci-fi character, video game persona and more. You can be the hero or villain of your own dreams!
1. Cosplay is fun.
Of all the reasons people cosplay, this might just be the biggest. Cosplay gives you an opportunity to relive your favorite childhood comic characters. You can get involved in your fandom in new and exciting ways, creating colorful works of art that you can wear.
Get Inventive With Cosplay
For some, play acting is a fun weekend hobby. For others, it’s a way of life. Many spend thousands creating just the right costume, but you can just as easily use items you already have. Much like dressing up for Halloween, cosplaying gives you an outlet for playful creativity.
If you’re ready to jump onto the cosplay train, there’s no better time to get started. Planning and making your own costume is just a fraction of the fun.
Don’t limit your role play to conventions, movies or festivals. Try hosting a steampunk costume party or sci-fi theme night with your friends. In short, wear a cosplay Halloween costume to take the holiday to the next level. There are simply no limits when it comes to cosplay costume play.
We are a society that thrives on merchandise. Every day we are confronted with new things to buy. If you have the extravagant taste of a connoisseur you may ask yourself why some corsets are so expensive? In contrast, if there is a comparable item, what makes one cost more?
Some of the items we buy in life are produced to make our life easier, while some of them are just for show. There are things to make you feel good and others to make you look better, younger, and feel happier.
While most of these things may start out as a new idea that someone has come up with, be it a design for a new purse or a tailgate on a new truck, they all have a beginning. From there the item gets refined, improved upon, copied and enhanced. The price may start out as minimal or exorbitant, depending on how much it initially cost to produce it.
But how do we get to the decision making step in the first place?
It Finally Happened
It finally happened, your favorite shoes have taken their last breath. No more coaxing can revive them. The heels are worn and the leather is tired, therefore no amount of sprucing will improve them. You’ve been dreading this time for decision making. Your old shoes are now considered vintage. You had a bond with them like an old pair of slippers. They have carried you through many good times and you will mourn their passing.
The company no longer produces the style or color you have. Now you will have to choose another pair that you are not familiar with. And most importantly, because you may have the new ones for a long time, you are careful about your decision-making process. You do thorough research and weigh your options.
The models you have been looking at are unsimilar. They are a different
style with a different look, a higher heel and peculiar material. Decisions
galore overwhelm you.
The new shoes can make or break an outfit! It becomes overwhelming you begin
to wonder if you should just look for something else entirely. You really just
want a good looking pair of shoes. A pair of shoes that are comfortable and
don’t leave you wondering if it will match this outfit or that one. You want
shoes that you don’t have to think about first thing in the morning with a
In conclusion, while I am hopefully amusing you with my story of the search for a new pair of shoes, I have made you aware of some of the choices we make on a daily basis.
While not all of these choices are of utmost importance, some are. Some of
them are simple choices that won’t alter your lifestyle. Some of them may send
a significant jolt to your bank account.
Cost Relevance to Quality
Let’s take the example of the new shoes. While researching information about shoes online we can see that there are literally thousands to choose from. They range from very simple to the exclusive. Furthermore, the price range is adjusted accordingly.
Some people believe that the cost of an item is relevant to the quality. Whereas this may not always be the case, the final decision is based on their opinion.
Why Quality is Expensive
Some people just want to pay more. Some want the unique and rare that is
seldom seen. They also may want to have something that others cannot afford. Or
perhaps something that no one else has. Because of this, there is always the
market for the expensive.
The exclusive comes at a high price, however. Be it perfume, shoes, a fine wine, jewelry, or cars, everything has a value attached to it. The value of the exclusive is usually based more on desire than need, because it makes you feel good about yourself.
The Reason for the Decision
How do we come to the final decision? First, you must decide the reason for
wanting the item in the first place.
Sometimes you want to spend the extra money to have something entirely exclusive,
and other times you want to just fill out your wardrobe.
Some days you dress to impress, and other times you stay in and wear
What About Corsets
Now let’s relate this to corsets as this is my specialty. Corsets are an exclusive and unique fashion item. Because they are a fashion item that is not worn every day. They can, however, be an awe-inspiring fashion statement. Perhaps you want an addition to your wardrobe that will make others stand up and notice. Corsets can show off curves that you didn’t think you had, with an instant waist reduction.
A striking corset can instantly stop conversations and have everyone
reaching for their cell phones. Speechless, stunning, and impressive, are the
words on the lips of the onlookers. Cameras are recording and the envy is
Let’s Make a Comparison
In short, I have been asked why corsets are so expensive. “Why should I pay upwards of a thousand dollars for something that I can get for two-hundred dollars somewhere else?” you ask.
Well first you must do your homework. Most importantly, are the two items that are so far apart in price really comparable in quality?
Do you get the same customer service, amenities, and quality when you
purchase Honda as you do a Mercedes? I should say not. That is not to say that
one is completely inferior to the other. They are simply different purchases
for different reasons.
If you are purchasing a pecocky corset to wear to a costume party, then you may not want to fork over a lot of money. However, if you desire a corset that you will wear many times, you will want one that fits correctly and is well made.
First, let’s understand the word ‘custom’. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, custom, is defined as “something made or performed according to personal order”.
A custom corset is a corset made to your measurements and design specifications. This involves a process that will require you to have some involvement. The design can be as outlandish and inspiring as your imagination.
Many hours are required to produce a custom corset before the final model is finished. But as with any custom item, the cost is equal to the amount of customization you desire.
In this article we are going to outline the basic process of making a custom corset. Hopefully then you will understand why corsets are so expensive.
Steps of a Custom Corset
To begin a custom corset there are four basic steps:
1 . You provide your measurements to the corset maker using the outline and charts they provide. This is usually a simple and straightforward process but takes a little time, and requires the assistance of a friend.
2. Together with the designer, you will come to a conclusion about what design you would like. The type of fit you want to have is usually based on the reason for your purchase. Is it for a special occasion, for whittling down your waistline, or just to have a one-of-a-kind outfit? The helps to determine a cost estimate for you. This process can be done by email or by phone.
3. A mockup is constructed for your fitting once the measurements have been determined. This is not as complicated as it sounds. The mockup can then can be mailed out, with photos sent back to the designer. Or you may be able to have an in-person fitting. Some corsetieres charge for this while some do not.
4. The actual construction of the corset begins when the correct fit has been achieved. Most corset makers pay particular attention to the branding of their company name and incorporate labeling into the construction of their corsets. This is their reputation at stake after all.
Now that you have started the process of the corset with the measurements and fit required, the construction process begins.
First of all, a corset is unlike most garments as the fully lined corset is like putting together a down jacket but with a precise fit. Each garment has two layers identical to each other that are sewn together back to back. That is where the similarities between the corset and the down jacket ends however. With the down jacket, each section is then stuffed with the soft down material and the finishing touches are completed. With a corset however, there are many steps to be completed before the final project is done.
Because a corset is a garment that requires a considerable amount of time to
construct a good corset maker takes his or her time. To rush the process could
mean skipping a necessary step completely. To do so could mean wasting the
entire project to start over again.
The fabric needs to be prepared by finishing the edges or pressing the
material in advance. All materials are usually gathered in advance to make sure
the proper items are on hand.
The items used in the construction of a corset are not common items that can be found in a local sewing store. The correct size of busk needs to be purchased, as well as specific grommets and often special lacing. These specialty items can only be purchased through a place that supplies corset items. Stiffener and interfacing are specific items that make a well made corset stand out from the others.
There is a variety of terminology used when referring to a corset today. Many people mistakenly refer to a corset-top as a corset when the two are worlds apart. For a garment to be correctly known as a corset it must encompass a busk in the front and also have lacing at the back.
The busk consists of the metal pieces in the front that close the finished
corset. It has hooks shaped like loops on one side and small buttons or pins on
It takes time and precise measuring to get the busk installed correctly as
it is sewn inside the center front sections. Once it is installed it cannot be
moved or changed without damaging the garment.
The interfacing and inner layers are added to the corset next. Sometimes
multiple layers of stiffening and structure are added to make a fully bespoke
Depending on the corset being constructed, the interfacing may be attached
or sewn onto the lining or outside layers of fabric at this point as well.
As with everything else in a corset, so many different types of interfacing can be used. Heavy interfacing made with goat hair, which is used in men’s suits, can be found inside the quality made corsets.
Fusible interfacing may be used on outside fabrics that may need extra structure. Another time extensive item is the hand stitching that may be needed to hold the various layers in place correctly.
Before the boning is added many seamstresses add a cloth tape or ribbon at the waistline. This is sewn onto the inside at the waistline for additional support. This is done to keep the corset from pulling apart when the tight lacing is done for waist restriction. Because of this, your corset will last longer.
Sometimes the waistline tape is added later, depending on the preference of
the seamstress or designer.
The boning channels are stitched in next or boning tape is added. Every piece of boning requires its own space to sit correctly because e ach seam needs to be precise to have a beautiful finish. It will be quite obvious the more precise and exacting the seamstress is.
With corsets that have a bra cup design at the bust there may be a special
underwire for the bust section. This requires not only a separate boning
channel for the underwire but often there is additional padding under the bust
section as well.
Once the outside and inside sections are sewn together and the boning
channels are sewn in, the boning needs to be inserted. Each and every
individual piece of boning needs to be cut to the exact size for the corset to
The ends of the boning need to be finished or protected so that they do not
cut the corset fabric during wear. This is done with a variety of methods,
dependent on the type of boning used. Sometimes this is done with special
stitching that is sewn on the outside by hand to hold the boning in place.
Many modern corset makers use a variety of boning types in one individual
corset. This requires different techniques in finishing each piece of boning.
Now that the front busk is in, the interfacing added, sections are sewn
together, and the boning is inserted, it is time to complete the back.
The back will typically have many grommets attached to each side for the
lacing to go through. As with the front, precise measuring must be done to
ensure correct placement of the grommets.
A machine is used to attach the grommets securely in place. If they are not attached correctly, the grommets will come out during wear or the lacing or unlacing of the corset.
After the grommets have been placed, lacing is added to the back for proper closure. Similarly, a variety of lacing types can be used from satin ribbon to nylon cord. Some corsetieres use various ways that they lace the corset together at the back. Moreover, this is done for uniqueness and design.
At this point the top and bottom edges are finished with an edging fabric.
If there is fabric that goes up to or wraps around the neck, this needs to be
added before the finishing edges now.
Now we are close to the final completion.
If there is a modesty panel in back this will be added at this point or
sooner if the designer deems it necessary.
Any additional embellishments are added at this point for the final look.
Any necessary hand stitching may be done for support or design. Hand beadwork is applied as desired. The most noteworthy labels can be sewn on by hand or by sewing machine during the process.
In conclusion, many labor-intensive hours and attention to detail have gone into the corset. It is an exclusive garment that cannot be changed, and the size cannot be altered.
Price of over-bust corset with no embellishment $275
1 yd fashion fabric $15
1.5 yd twill $11
.5 yd binding fabric $4
10 yd Boning $15
Boning tips $2
Busk (regular) $15
8 yd Ribbon laces $10
12 yd Twill tape $5
3 yd fusible webbing $6
1 roll fusible webbing $2
2 spool heavy duty thread $5
Drafting paper $1
Basic materials $96
1 yd cotton duck $7
Basic materials $12
Total materials Costs: Approx $108
Labor for each corset:
pattern draft 5 hours
sourcing materials 5 hours
making mockup 5 hours
altering pattern 2 hours
make corset 40 hours+
email correspondence 5 hours+
Post office 1 hour
hours on each corset 63+ hours
$275 Corset price
-$108 Materials Costs
$167 for labor
Divide $167 by 63 hours of labor = $2.65 hour for skilled labor
Now let’s say you didn’t count the time spent responding to client email, sourcing materials, trips to the post office, etc. That’s about 50 hours spent on each corset., which comes to $3.34 an hour. That’s half the minimum wage in America.
sewing machine attachments
pattern drafting tools
steel bone cutting tools
industrial grommet setter
iron/ ironing board
washing machine/ dryer
Two years of FIDM fashion design major ($60,000)
15 years corset making
18 years sewing
Web site fees
Web hosting fees
Shipping for materials
Custom Corsets Made by Corsetieres
Whereas some of the items that were used in the making of their corsets are a different quality from other corset makers, the basic cost is comparable. Because each corset is somewhat or sometimes completely different, the cost of time and materials vary considerably.
Most corset makers use certain items in each and every corset they make. As a result, they have reliable quality in their products. Outer materials vary considerably, while interfacing, lining materials, boning, and finishing touches are consistent.
Some corsetieres send their designs off to a manufacturer to be produced on
an assembly line. Other custom corset makers do each and every item by hand
Cost of a Well Made Corset
Hopefully, this has given you a peek into the process of a well-made corset. The next time you ask “why corsets are so expensive”, perhaps you will have a better understanding.
As with that pair of shoes that you are hoping to buy, you get what you pay
for. Quality does not come cheap. Much more goes into the production of a well
Finally, it is up to you to decide if you want the item that is better made, more exclusive, yet more costly. Only you can decide if that Yeti cooler is worth the money or the Rolex watch is within your budget.
The Realized Dream
The news reporter Robin Abcarian writes in her article on actor Billy Porter and ‘His fashion statement’, “Just like the fashion runways of the world, the Oscars red carpet is a fashion fantasy land. For the fantasy to work, everyone must buy in”.
Billy Porter is best known for his performance as Lola in the musical production of “Kinky Boots”. In addition, his attention-grabbing works from television to the theater have taken him to the red carpet many times.
For Billy Porter it was a realized dream of wearing a voluminous ball gown on the red carpet at the Oscars. “I’ve always wanted to wear a ball gown” he says, “I just didn’t know when“.
Share the Elation
In the article written by Robin Abcarian he continues, expressing his elation at having the gown custom made for him by designer Christian Siriano. The first time he tried it on he says “I felt alive. I felt free. And open, and radiant. And Beautiful! Which has not always been the case for me. I haven’t always felt so good about myself. It really is astonishing how much of an effect clothes can have on your spirit.” In conclusion, he finished with the emotions he felt on Oscar night by relating, “I felt like I can float on air. I can conquer the world.”
We all have that opportunity. So what’s in your closet?