There’s a saying that goes “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,” and I suppose that is how cosplay was born. There’s something so delightfully unexpected about seeing familiar characters from our favorite games or shows wandering about in a setting totally outside the norm. It’s always a positive experience. We look the outfit over, we fangirl/boy, and our hearts feel a little fuller knowing that someone else loves and appreciates something just as much as we do.
This is no longer an experience totally reserved for conventions alone. For those of us who would end up in the emergency room if left alone too long with a pair of scissors or a sewing machine, there’s another way to cosplay. From the comfort of your computer chair, you can galavant from dungeon to dungeon in designs representative of other non Final Fantasy games you love and adore. The only cost is putting the time and research into finding the pieces that will be right for the job!
To provide just a pinch of inspiration, we’ve put together a few examples from games both myself and some of the staff members have played throughout the last few years.
Tyrande Whisperwind World of Warcraft
With Battle for Azeroth dropping in August, there was bound to be quite a few of us who temporarily jumped off the neverending Eureka NM train and headed back to continue the feud between the Alliance and the Horde. Whether you’re shouting “For the Alliance” as you fly over an Horde-run outpost, or typing out “KEK” knowing that it reads as “LOL” to that gnome you took out in that battle ground- we’re all on the same side when it comes to good glamour. Or in World of Warcraft’s case, “transmog”.
I was always biased towards loving Tyrande. Darnassus was my favorite city to “AFK” in, and she was always the best dressed leader of the Alliance. I knew her more from a time when her robes were simple and elegant, but several expansions later the ol’ girl has upgraded herself with more gem encrusted bling than Liberace. While there were many different options for her cosplay, I chose to make this rendition of Tyrande a marriage of both old and new models of the Night Elven high priestess.
Two tops immediately came to mind for her look: The Eastern Lady’s Togi and the Thavnairian Bustier. To choose between the two, you have a few things to consider. Does the shape of the garment match what we are trying to portray? Do the colors in the piece match fairly well to what we need? The shape of the Togi was quite similar to the more traditional Tyrande look, while the look of the Thavnairian Bustier would be great design-wise for the more updated Tyrande model. The problem with the bustier, for me, was that I could not get over the gold trimmings. Tyrande’s look has always been very cool toned and celestial looking- lots of greens, blues, and silvers. So it was important that I tried to emulate that as much as possible. The silver arm detailings of the Eastern Lady’s Togi, as well as having that higher neckline, was what really set it apart from the bustier.
The other detail I wanted to get just right for her was the headpiece. Since her chest piece catered more to the old school version of her model, I wanted to stay away from the more elaborate headpieces and go with something small and delicate. I fell in love with the design of the Valerian Shaman’s Temple Chain (or for a similar and dyeable option, the Koppranickel Temple Chain). This item features a metal charm that could easily be viewed as a sideways crescent moon. Who wouldn’t want that as a priestess who worships the goddess Elune?
Many people who do in game cosplays try to match their glamour with the actual class they are playing- which made this particular beauty’s glamour a little tricky. Tyrande has been portrayed on many different occasions as both a priestess as well as a hunter… so bards may be drawn to recreating her likeness as well. Do not fret, my Beyonce’s of the Battlefield, most of this glamour is, or can be made, cross-class friendly. You may not be able to wear those temple chains, but the Legacy Warrior Coronet dyed a light grey would be a perfect substitute.
Thrall World of Warcraft
The Horde has often gotten the shaft and cast under the light that they were the more “villainous” faction of the two, which isn’t fair. You know you have one or two… or more bad eggs and it just ruins your entire reputation. However, Thrall always seemed to be the exception. From leading the Horde, to eventually leading every single one of us in the battle against the great dragon Deathwing, and finally bringing Garrosh to justice for his crimes… The orc just commanded your respect. He had been through a lot, and had seen some things- but above all else he made primitive glamours look REALLY good. It can be hard to make mixed clothes and crudely sewn together animal skins look more chic than neanderthal-like, and Thrall does it without flexing a single one of his permanently bulging muscles. Not only that, but the guy boasts enough confidence that he sports an overwhelmingly massive, red gemmed necklace without feeling his masculinity is the least bit threatened. Yes, Thrall! Work it! Nothing in this world should be more intimidating than someone who knows how to accessorize.
The Thrall we have here is a throwback to when he was the central protagonist of the Cataclysm expansion, when he began truly embracing being a shaman. In order to do that, this glamour needed to focus heavily on textures, as well as accessories, in order to take Go’el out of the Barrens and plop him down in Thanalan. The most important thing about this glamour was, by far, the necklace. It’s been the one constant in all modern representations of Thrall, from Cataclysm all the way up to present day Battle for Azeroth. Unfortunately, the jewelry selection in FFXIV is just a smidge on the lackluster side. Almost all the pieces are just recolorings of one another, and there’s very little size adjustments between them all. While we won’t necessarily make Mr. T. jealous with the size of our necklace, we can at least represent Thrall’s statement piece by replicating its color and beaded style by using the Red Coral Necklace. In this moment we can pity the fool who thinks size ultimately matters here.
Once we had that signature item nailed down it was time to move into trickier territory. The chestpiece that I felt suited our Thrall the best was, by far, the Anemos Pacifist’s Vest. On males it boasts the open shirt look that I was going for and features a brilliant combination of animal skins, furs, and rustic cloths that the old Orc Warchief was known for wearing. However, tying yourself down to a specific class like that does come with consequences. You know what monks didn’t have at the time these glamours were first constructed? The long skirts that I needed. Prior to the release of Patch 4.4, there was a distinct lack of floor length skirts that didn’t require real life money to obtain. And even then, there was only one long skirt that was gender neutral listed on the Mog Station. In a game that made at least 30 different representations of skirts and tights for females, you mean to tell me we couldn’t be bothered to give melee the option of wearing a skirt to a fist and leg fight? Sure, the Spring skirt WAS an option, but tulip hems don’t exactly scream “rugged” to me.
My two favorite options were the cash store bought Far Eastern Nobles’ Petticoat, as seen here, as well as the crafted option- the Rakshasa Hakama of Striking. Both are not only long, but also don’t feel too “clean” and can pass as a tougher looking material. We want a down and dirty Thrall, not a manicured one.
Shuichi Saihara Danganronpa
A murder/mystery style anime video game? Yes, please! This unique video game series functions like a strange crossover between the Deadman Wonderland anime, the Ace Attorney games, with a pinch of Law and Order that I’m not mad about. What I am mad about is now I have the Law and Order theme song stuck in my head.
Imagine, if you will: a homicidal toy bear forcing a group of teenagers into a life or death scenario where the only way to escape is to murder a classmate. Being the protagonist though, you must solve said murder of a classmate. Twists and turns are around every corner, and despite what would be a very tense and stressful series of events- these students are able to handle the pressure all while being, by far, the coolest dressed kids in school.
Shuichi’s wardrobe is a delightful mix of street casual and uniform, that transitions very well from the halls of the Ultimate Academy of Gifted Juveniles to the streets of Eorzea. Overall his look is very simple and classic. It’s also very low maintenance when it comes to getting the coloring right- soot grey all day, everyday. The two most stand out parts of his ensemble are his jacket and his ballcap- two things that FFXIV doesn’t necessarily have a whole lot of. But the options we do have are very workable for recreating his signature look!
Two hats immediately come to mind for our Ultimate Detective- The Flat Cap, as well the Boulevardier’s Hat. These pieces look drastically different, however they share some similar properties with Shuichi’s hat that make them both suitable choices. The Flat Cap is as close to a baseball hat as we have ever come. This particular hat is a touch oversized, but that exaggerated bill is what made this hat a forerunner for me. The only con is that instead of an all black hat, there are two brown leather panels on each side of the cap that, unfortunately, do not dye. It’d be one thing if it would change to white, or at least to grey, in order to mimic the white pinstripes the character is known to have throughout the rest of his look, but we can’t always have everything we want. Or so people tell me, at least.
The alternative that can stay all black is the Boulevardier’s Hat, the male answer to the absolutely adorable, female only Quaintrelle’s Hat. This cap features a smaller, rounder bill, as well as having a side-tilted orientation as it sits upon the head. Ultimately, the stylistic choice is yours to make. Remember, there isn’t just one correct way to cosplay something.
The other focal point to his look is that double breasted jacket. Who doesn’t love a double breasted jacket on a guy? It’s just so classic! The absolute perfect item for this is no doubt the Company Tabard. Dye that sucker jet black, and it’s a sleeker jacket than both the Best Man’s Jacket and the Spotted Spencer combined. I don’t even care how much you love leopard print. What makes this tabard so perfect is those faint stitches do a decent job of giving off a pinstriped effect from a distance.
Enoshima Junko Danganronpa
Hold on to your seats, guys and gals- this erratic beauty’s glamour is cute enough to turn everyone’s heads. From her massive pigtails to her undone school uniform top, and super short mini skirt, she’s bound to become everyone’s dream waifu! Now while they’re few ying/yang styled wardrobe pieces in our closets to use for her signature look of changing personalities, we’ve got a fairly simple color scheme that makes it easy to recreate her school girl look. I feel like a lot of these glamours so far really required a spot on headpiece in order to properly present these looks, and Enoshima will be no exception.
The twin-bear hair clips she wears is the actual visual representation of her shifting personalities, so we needed an item that had a similar visual effect, even if it was just through basic symmetry. Item of choice? The Shisui Mengu of Fending! It may not have those two bear faces on them, but the two clips fit the overall color scheme of the glamour completely.
As tempted as I was to use the Scion Adventurer’s Jacket for her top, I couldn’t get myself past the fact she’d be missing the red bow on her lapel. Picky, I know… but you have to admit for a glamour that wants to show a bit a skin, the jacket wouldn’t allow for that either. The alternative I chose required taking part in the most wildly entertaining side quests in the history of this game: Hildibrand. One of the many items you get from following the crazy detective around on his shenanigans is the beautiful Manderville Coatee. What made this top the perfect fit? Besides being slightly more revealing, it also hosts a large rose on the same side that Enoshima’s bow is on. Unlike pizza and pineapple, this top and glamour were made for each other.
Now this gal’s boots were a bit of a chore. While you may think that plain black boots with red accent laces would be an easy find in this game, you’d be mistaken. There have been numerous times while glamming that I have convinced myself that I have found the perfect laced shoe combination in game, then when I go to dye them the laces also change color to something boring and drab. It’s heartbreaking. Like digging into a bowl of jelly beans and taking a bite into what you think is a cherry one, but really it’s cinnamon. Womp womp. But determination is paramount when it comes to being a cosplay-glamouring champion, and if you search hard enough you will almost always be able to reap your rewards. And let me tell you my friends, the Blackbosom boots were my cherry Jelly Belly.
Sophia Monster Hunter
Who’s heart doesn’t flutter at the idea of venturing out into the world, slaying majestic beasts or dragons with a talking cat sidekick at our side? Well let me finish attaching this AED strip to my side and shock myself back into rhythm, because my heart definitely just went tachycardic right there. Those who don’t play this game independently may be familiar with some of it’s characters since several months ago FFXIV and Monster Hunter World collaborated on cross-over content that occupied many of us for weeks. We fought the force that was Rathalos, forgot to use our healing potions, and died numerous times in the attempt to gain the iconic wyvern as a mount. Or to get that adorable pig in pajamas minion… Or you know, for glamour. All the things for the glamour.
When we started the game, how many of us became attached to the proprietors like Mother Miounne in Gridania or Momodi in Ul’dah? I actually was attached to Momodi because of that adorable hairpin, but that’s beside the point. The answer is not many. When cosplay gets involved, most of us want to dress up as pivotal characters to the story like Yda or Thancredwhich is understandable.
But, sometimes those lesser characters are worth a look as well! Though Guildmarm Sophia may not have had a massive part to play in the Monster Hunter story, she was still a character with a lot of interesting quirks if you took the time to notice them. She also had one of the cutest outfits I’ve ever seen. There is not a single part of Sophia’s outfit that doesn’t make me smile- from her brim, to that capelet, to the vest, etc. Don’t mind me while I gush all over this look. There are just so many quirky details and patterns that make for such a unique and killer costume. But, sometimes those details can be a bear to work around, and you have to fudge some things to make the cosplay work with what we’ve been given.
The showstopper piece of her look, without a doubt, is that capelet. That piece is the most important one to hit as close to target as you can in order to make this glamour work. Now, if you 100% wanted to stick true to a cape, there’s really only the Vampire’s Vest. But, if we’ve learned anything by now is that you have to weigh different aspects of a piece against one another to determine whether or not it fits with your cosplay. For me, Vampire’s Vest just wasn’t going to cut it. Instead I opted for the Augmented Scholar’s Gown. This item not only gave me a green jacket, but also a very earthy, yellow undershirt to represent the color of her vest. I would’ve loved to have a brighter green tone to the jacket, but unfortunately dyeing the item would cost us the color of the shirt as well. And that just isn’t a sacrifice I was willing to make. I have limits, guys.
The rest of her look just kind of flowed together naturally: Spring Bottoms for her shorts, and hidden hand slots to allow for easier doodling of all her favorite types of monsters. The helm is the piece that had the most variations of possible choices. Until such a time as we get a “face slot” (Yoshi P., hear our prayers), we will never be able to equip glasses as well as a hat, which is unfortunate. For her look you could always pick a hairstyle with a headband involved and wear a pair of Classic Spectacles. I, on the other hand, was willing to give my girl contacts instead and allow her to keep her delightfully unique hat by using the Housemaid’s Brim!
Poogie Monster Hunter
FFXIV has Moogles; Monster Hunter World has an lovely pig that you could dress up in costumes named Poogie. Were you honestly expecting me not to pay my respects to a porker with fashion sense? Especially one with the name ‘Poogie’? You’re silly. Of course I was going to. After all, I had already created and released a Palico glamour; this was the next logical step! Please enjoy this portly, comedic intermission with our favorite little porker built by creating mock “stripes” with the Adventuring Sweater and the ever popular Valentione Skirt.Well, and the Swine Head… it was pretty obvious the Swine Head was going to be used here.
Dinky Guild Wars 2
Guild Wars was a sort of unique entity in the vast world of the MMORPG universe- it was one of the only games that was responsive to a character’s personal choices and actions. Because of that, players got to choose NPC allies to grow and follow along with their journeys as they progressed through the game. In my brief tenure playing this game- my favorite NPCs were always Caithe and Dinky.
Caithe was a Sylvari- a plant like race who, on occasion, would seem like more flower than foe. Dinky on the other hand was a Charr- a very large feline race that made even our fiercest Miqo’tes look like kittens chasing around a laser pointer. It’s one thing to cosplay from one elf to another. It’s a different ball game to try to recreate a look that relies so heavily on the body that wears it- especially when one is a race we don’t even come close to having. Needless to say, I met my match it these two looks. But it’s nothing a little bit of liquid confidence and a couple hours of swearing wouldn’t help push me through.
I found it physically impossible not to pick Dinky when I leveled my Charrs. He’s the classic underdog story- runt of his litter, and not the brightest. But Dinky acknowledges his shortcomings and fights even harder to prove how much of an asset he really is. That alone earned him all the respect Aretha Franklin and I have to give.
For both of these glamours, I focused heavily on their overall shape and design of their typical outfits. Dinky’s gear, for example, was very armour heavy on one side of the body, and quite minimal on the other. The chestpiece I liked the most that catered to that design was the Anemos Brutal Lorica. When dyed a light shale brown, the cloth piece on the shoulder becomes lighter- true to Dinky’s actual design.
A pleasant surprise for this glamour was actually how well the Shire Custodian’s Gauntlets work. I’ll admit I’ve always found the Shire sets to be a little lackluster, but I hoarded them because people say I have a “huge glamour problem.” Pftwell, case in point! These gloves, that I probably haven’t touched since my tank left level 60, had a similar spike detailing that I was looking for to recreate this glamour. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, naysayers!
The most difficult bit for his glamour was, by far, the boots. It’s quite common with more bestial looking races to have their feet and claws come through naturally. Take shoes on a Miqo’te in this game and instead of claws we’ll find ten little piggies ready to get on their way to market. Not quite as cool looking, to say the least. Fortunately many of the PVP designs that have been brought to us over the years have been very animal inspired. The one I found most suitable, especially when dyed, was the Feet of Undying Twilight. Take a look at those claws! Way more intimidating than a couple of tiny snausages…
Caithe Guild Wars 2
Have you ever been so enamoured with how a character looks in a game that it overrides all your senses of wanting to know who they are or what they’re about You just stand there looking at them in awe hoping to the deities that you someday can acquire whatever gear they’re wearing? That was my reaction with Caithe. The “armour” for the Sylvari looked very much like it was just grown out of their skin and just embraced them… I just couldn’t get over it. When I started down the road for this article, I knew I wanted to recreate her. I wanted the challenge. And my god did she test me.
As I did with Dinky, I looked first for a chest piece that would share a similar shape with her leaves that form around her. I wanted that high neckline. I wanted those leaflike protrusions. I wanted that second glass of wine- this is tough work and I think I deserved it! Those type of details are hard to find in any game, but I found it in the Chimerical Felt Tabard of Scouting. I celebrated with a third glass of wine. The wide scarf around the neck gave the perfect amount of height to mimic the leaves at her shoulder, and the sharply scalloped leather panels that spread out from her waist fed into the illusion that leaves were wrapping around her. It was perfect.
Her arms were a unique feature as well. Branches and leaves wrapped around them and faded down towards her fingers. While not necessarily the same shape, I used the Augmented Torrent Armguards of Scouting because of its winding trim, that had the similar effect as the branches, as well as a flowy sleeve that belled like a flower. The boots in this glamour were really what brought this whole look together. As if it wasn’t hard enough finding a plant-looking shirt, I now was going to have to find boots that wound up the leg like husks. At this moment the shape of the boot didn’t matter as much to me as the pattern of it would. Patterned pieces in this game are amazing for providing illusions when it comes to cosplaying unconventional things. A pair of boots with any sort of filigree work or curved lines was going to be more than enough to serve my purposes. The Iga Kyahan have wonderful detailing that flows out and up along the legs making it a terrific choice for this cosplay.
There we have it friends! Just a scratch on the surface of all the cosplay possibilities this game has to offer. Will you dare to delve deeper and create some cosplays of your own? Don’t forget to stop by our discord and share all the amazing cosplay glamours you build!