Sometimes people want to cosplay characters that don’t look like them. If you think about it, this is pretty common if you consider the fact that many comic and anime characters are purposefully drawn with proportions that are not realistic at all. But if your height or weight is drastically different from the character you want to portray, it can feel a little daunting.
Height and weight do not matter when cosplaying. Cosplay is about your love for the character, not about physical appearance. As long as you feel comfortable in your costume, these are not factors that should hold you back from cosplaying even if you have a completely different body type.
In general, accuracy is overrated in cosplay. You’re never going to be able to exactly mimic a costume that’s animated or drawn anyway. Everyone makes creative decisions to adjust costumes to make them fit and bring the character to life. There is no reason to limit your creativity just because your body type is different from your favorite characters.
Does height matter when cosplaying?
Nobody cares if you’re not the right height for the character you’re cosplaying. It’s so common to have adults cosplaying child characters (like the Digi-destined) and for people of all heights to cosplay Titans, giants, hobbits, elves, and just plain tall characters. No one will even bat an eye if you’re too short or too tall for the character you’re portraying.
The only time height is really noticeable is when you are participating in a group cosplay. At this point, you’ll be able to see the relative height of everyone in the group so people might see that the height difference is not accurate if there is a drastic difference. However, most people still won’t care and there’s no reason to avoid a tall or short cosplay just because you don’t match their height.
If it’s something that concerns you, there are ways of using photography to appear taller or shorter using stairs, perspective, heels platforms, or even stilts. But, if you don’t want to, there is no pressure to adjust your height just for the sake of accuracy.
Does weight matter when cosplaying?
Cosplay is about expressing your creativity and love for your favorite characters, shows, games, comics, or movies. There are always going to be a-holes out there who will judge people based on their weight, but overall the cosplay community is welcoming to people of all sizes. You can cosplay whoever you want to cosplay, no matter your weight. The only thing holding you back is your own comfort levels.
The reality is, there are many more thin characters than overweight characters, and it’s completely disproportionate to the population (in the US). If only thin people were allowed to cosplay, that would immediately bar 60% of people from cosplaying. That kind of gatekeeping is no fun and has no place in cosplay.
There is, of course, your own level of comfort to take into account. Many characters are drawn in highly revealing clothing. You are obviously welcome to recreate their costumes accurately if you want to, but also don’t be afraid to make alterations if that will help you feel more comfortable. Pandyc from Just Cosplay recommends making alterations such as:
- Lengthening the hemline
- Adding or removing a bare midriff
- Changing a miniskirt into shorts
- Using padding to change body proportions
- Using shapewear underneath your costume
Be respectful towards other people
As someone who is skinny and has always been skinny, I want to take a moment to talk to my thinner readers. In general, you should avoid wearing a fat suit (maybe exceptions for characters like Bayax who are literal balloons). All too often fat suits have been a way to make obesity the butt of a joke. It’s near impossible to wear one without appearing to make fun of larger folks even if you have good intentions and just want to cosplay a character accurately.
If you want to cosplay as a larger character, that’s completely fine, but create the costume for your body. For example, the character Rose Quartz from Steven Universe is a well-loved character who also has a larger character design. It’s perfectly fine to love the character and want to cosplay her, but you should design your gown for your own body and not use a fat suit.