When looking to create your own cosplay suit (assuming that is you don’t intend to just buy a complete one online), it helps to learn the very important rule of thinking outside the box. As unusual and specific as most characters costume components are, sometimes the most difficult piece can be easily found in the least likely of places. For starters, let’s begin with where to find fabrics. Stores like Joann Fabrics or local fashion stores like Vogue or any nearby material store can help you find the fabrics and materials you need from sewing needles, patterns, threads, and all sorts of important components. When it comes to patterns, be sure to keep an open mind and look at other kinds of outfits that may appear close or seem like they carry a good likeness to the character you are trying to create. Halloween patterns for costumes like pirates, Jedi knights, or ball gown dresses may be used and modified when using the pattern to create different (or all) sections of your costume. It’s important to make sure you can sew or know someone who can sew WELL if you’re trying to build your costume.
When it comes to other parts like gloves, boots, headbands, holsters, or odd things like wings and weapons, it helps to literally look everywhere. Sometimes your character’s gloves can be found in the garden section at Home Depot, or if your character has purple or different colored hands, latex gloves from a hospital or nearby Walgreens may have the very same colored gloves you need for your hands. Everything from scuba goggles to plastic skeleton bones or cardboard can be cut, shaped, resized, and modified to fit your costume’s various needs. Of course, local costume shops or Halloween stores will be more than able to help you out with make-up, eye contact lenses, wigs, masks, prosthetic teeth or limbs, so I recommend trying to find a costume store that is open all year around and not just during the Halloween season. Now all of these things like wigs and fabrics can be extremely expensive, it depends on how far you are willing to pay, drive or go for to get the parts you want.
Of all the places I can recommend to go searching for cosplay parts, the best in terms of variety and being easy on your wallet is you’re local Good Will store or thrift shops or even garage sales. Any store that takes in goods and resells them like clothes and toys would be an ideal spot for cosplay parts. Why you may ask? Because people donate and give away all kinds of things from golf clubs, chairs, toys to sweaters and vests etc. Good Will and thrift stores can carry virtually any kind of piece of clothing you could need from shirts, vests, ties, hats, shoes, I’ve found many perfectly identical costume parts for my cosplays in Good Will stores more times than I have in any costume or Halloween shop. It may take some rummaging and searching and sometimes you may not always find just what you want and may have to modify it to suit your needs better, but more often than not, you would be truly surprised at how many perfect cosplay parts you can find at thrift stores or stores that take donated clothes and toys and such. As they say, one man’s trash is another man’s gold, or in this case, one man’s donation is another man’s cosplay part.