It's absolutely wild to see how big cosplay has gotten since I started back in the mid 2000s. It's no longer an underground hobby for super dedicated fans, who had to engineer props and costumes without the help of worbla or youtube tutorials. There's so many resources for cosplayers now! But despite this, it can be intimidating to start. I feel like a lot of people think they need to learn how to sew with a serger and master EVA foam and cast resin in shapes that don't exist in order to be a mediocre cosplayer.
I didn't know how to sew until I decided I wanted to start cosplaying - I used my birthday money to buy a sewing machine, but that didn't mean I magically knew how to use it or knew how to make patterns. But with a little creativity, you don't even need a sewing machine! Lots of cosplays can be made using everyday clothes with very little alterations, a term I've heard called "closet cosplay". If you're wanting to go to a convention and participate in cosplay, but don't have a sewing machine or don't have time to learn to sew, here are some ideas on how to get started
Animal Crossing Villager
With New Leaf and Smash, Animal Crossing is becoming more popular and more well known. It's a simple game and with that, the human character has simple outfits, usually just a shirt or dress that can be painted or appliqued. It's also easy to obtain any of the iconic props, such as a bug net or watering can! You can even buy a bell bag for extra detail.
Team Rocket Grunt
Super fun and easily recognizable, all you really need to make or buy is the shirt - everything else can be easily bought or found in your closet. Plus, there are always Pokemon cosplayers at every con to interact with. Unless you want to, you don't need a wig!
Casual Sailor Scouts
Admittedly, you will have to make or buy a wig, but Usagi and her friends' iconic hair styles allow you to wear normal clothes and still be recognizable. The best thing about the show is that none of the girls had one "civilian" outfit that they wore all the time and they also weren't limited to their scout color. Here are some blogs with sceenshots of outfits to get you inspired!
Adventure Time/Gravity Falls
I've noticed that a lot of Western media has characters in normal clothing as opposed to Eastern anime, where their outfits are more fantasy and way unrealistic. There are plenty of other American based cartoons (Powerpuff Girls, ect) that go for this as well, but these two have definitely been the most popular lately! When Gravity Falls came out, I noticed a TON of Mabel cosplayers taking over cons - not only because it's a great show, but because her outfits are pretty easy to make! In fact, having sweaters painted and "homemade" looking is even more accurate for her cosplay. There is both a ton of tutorials on how to make Dipper's hat and Finn/Fiona's hat and backpack as well as available on Etsy if you need to buy it instead.
This is one of the best starting out cosplay ideas because it can be as simple or as fancy as you want, and since there isn't an official artwork to 100% replicate, you can be as creative as you want! Gijinka is the style of "humanizing" a non-human character - the most popular examples have been Pokemon (especially the evolutions of Eevee!) and My Little Pony. Many people have gone all out with elegant dresses and warrior armor or even bunny suits, but you can easily make any sort of Gijinka with just regular clothes in the character's color scheme!
Would you cosplay any of my suggestions? Let me know in the comments below!