Ed note: In a new regular series dubbed Cosplay on a Budget, newest GuysGirl addition Andrea will be sharing tips and cosplays that can be put together from articles of clothing you already have in your closet.

Costumes are just for Halloween, right?

For most people, costumes are only for Halloween. But for others, dressing up in cosplay is a monthly, sometimes weekly occurrence.

Over the past few years, events such as Comic Con have gained popularity and have been a place where people dress as their favorite characters from movies, television and video games. These elaborate costumes, also known as cosplay, can take several hours, weeks or even months to put together. This time commitment can cause many to avoid participating when they genuinely want to. Which was the case with me until…


Before an event, I would browse various amazing cosplays and developed a wish list of characters I would love to eventually portray. However, lack of funds, lack of time, and/or the elaborateness of the costume would turn me off and I would push it further down my to-do list.

It wasn’t until I joined a crazy group of tap dancers known as Noise Complaint that I was introduced to a cosplayer’s best friend…thrift stores.

Performing at various conventions spanning the southern east coast, Noise Complaint utilizes sets that are primarily anime or video game themed. Recently, we’ve also been branching out to include more from pop culture. More events means more costumes.

But our amazing costume designer, Alexis, puts together at least eight outfits per set, all within a set budget by primarily using thrift store finds.

Sharing the secrets of cosplayers.

There are many tricks of the trade when it comes to cosplaying but the key is to find ways to use pieces in ways they weren’t intended for.

One of my costumes required a shawl which was put together by transforming a skirt and the embellishments from pieces of a robe. Who knew?

In the coming weeks and months, Alexis along with myself will be sharing our best tips for cosplaying on a budget. But until then, do you have any you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments!