1,000 Incredible Costume and Cosplay Ideas Review

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I’ve been making my own cosplays since my first MCM Expo, five years ago this May. That first convention I went to on a whim with some friends, making the decision to go around three days beforehand. I made my first costume in a single day on a shoestring budget, rushing around charity shops. I bought a blue top and beige trousers, both of which I promptly started cutting up to shape the top correctly and turn the trousers into shorts. I glued an Uchiha symbol onto my back, bandaged my arms and legs up with cheap bandages from Asda and used a marker pen to draw a curse seal across my arms, chest and face. It was rough, but I made a Sasuke cosplay for under £5 the day before a convention and to this day it is one of my favourite cosplays I’ve ever made.

The problem is, somewhere during the last five years, I somewhat lost the magic and wonder that the first year had for me. I’m sure many of you that cosplay have run into that same thing. While we strive for better costumes, me and many of my friends have at various points along the way lost sight of why cosplay is fun. We forgot the excitement of making something rushed and imperfect, but making it work because we love the idea of cosplay.

Why am I bringing this up in a book review? Because going through 1,000 Incredible Costume and Cosplay Ideas really helped me to rekindle that love for costume making and I’m already planning to get a couple of my friends to take a look at it too (the friends I know are currently struggling to remember why they loved cosplay to begin with). This book is a great coffee table piece to show your friends and family that don’t really ‘get’ cosplay, a springboard for ideas of costumes to try, and a reminder that even if you don’t “have the right body type” for a costume, you can still pull off a wonderful representation of the character and have a huge amount of fun doing so (even in some of the less traditionally perfect costumes, there is not a single picture in the book of someone who doesn’t look like they’re having the time of their life and that’s what this is all ultimately about, right?).

Split up into several sections, the book starts with the largest sections, Anime and Manga, followed by Video Games, before continuing onto several slightly smaller sections on Television, Movies and Books, Comic Books, Props and lastly Original Characters. Interestingly, Original Characters is where I spent the bulk of my time. I’ve not really done many OC cosplays before, but I was amazed at how well realised these costumes were. People were clearly aware of their own costume making strengths when designing their OC’s, and worked that to their advantage, creating characters that could easily fit into established lore of various series’ while having their own unique charm and not coming off as someone “just too lazy to get a real costume right” (hearing this complaint of OC cosplays has for a long time put me off the idea of doing them myself).


On my first pass on the book I found myself writing down a list of costumes as I went that I’d not thought of doing before but would love to take on. The second time through I went looking for costumes that had managed things I had failed at and tried to work out how the cosplayer had done those things or got around them in their own costumes. I then realised that there was contact information and email addresses for many of the featured cosplayers in the back of the book. I went through looking for ways to get in touch with the people who might be able to help me understand how they made various aspects of their costume. That’s the wonderful thing about the cosplay community, so many people are happy to proudly help explain to others how they made their costume, to help others to progress. Cosplay is a largely inclusive hobby and those involved are usually more than happy to help. As a great resource for anyone looking to get help with that costume that they’re stuck on, there’s bound to be someone in the book you can find online to seek advice from. That directory alone is well worth the £16.99 asking price in my opinion. I’ve already used it to successfully get advice on a costume I was stuck on.

There are a few complaints I have, which doesn’t ruin it in my opinion but need to be kept in mind. Firstly, the book is weighted heavily toward female cosplayers. I couldn’t decide while reading if this was a deliberate move on the part of the creators to make something that men would want to look at or not, but after looking through the book’s list of photographers, it’s clear that many of the photos were contributed by the same smaller set of people. While it was fantastic for inspiring me, I’m not sure if it would have the same effect on male readers.

This selection of contributing photographers also explains the weighting toward those first two chapters and the fact several series’ like Final Fantasy and Dr Who get large chunks of their respective sections devoted to them, while other franchises are completely skipped over. If you’re featuring costume photos submitted by other photographers, you’re going to find that the same cosplays and types of cosplayers come up time and time again.

Also, I would have liked to see the book stop every now and then to take a closer look at some of these costumes and the people behind them. As it stands, it’s fairly easy to look up a cosplayer in the directory and find out more about them, their costumes and ask them about how the costume was made, but it would have been nice to have some of that information easily available in the book.

All in all 1,000 Incredible Costume and Cosplay Ideas comes highly recommended from me. It’s a brilliant conversation piece to bring the topic up with your non-cosplaying friends, a wonderful resource for progressing with costumes you’re stuck with and most importantly a great source of inspiration on those days where you’re struggling to think of a costume idea that fills you with that sense of wonder you had when you first started the hobby. It’s full of high quality photos, great cosplays and some wonderful creations from hobbyists and pros alike.

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