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Inclusive Sizing in Cosplay

cosplay

Mar 25, 2022

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Lani

Contributor

As a human who was always on the “curvier” side and as a mom who is now rocking an even “CURVIER” physique, my life has been a rollercoaster with the concept of self-love. I’m sure many of you also have your own journeys regarding loving your bodies, no matter your size.

As a regular human shopping for clothes, sizing has always been a pain! As a woman who is about 5’4 and weighs around 188lbs, I now technically fit under the fashion umbrella of “plus size” – and let me tell you, finding flattering clothing has become even harder!

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(Image of myself - regular!)

But I’m not just a regular human, I’m a HUGE geek who loves to cosplay and who is always on the lookout for something shiny and new. So, when it comes to shopping for “plus size” cosplay or just cosplay for an “irregular” size/fit it can get pretty difficult.

Between the differences in global sizing/fit, handcrafted one-of-a-kind pieces, and sometimes even lack of accessibility, the act of shopping for cosplays or cosplay items can be tough for those of us outside of the realm of “small, medium, large, and X-large.”

Let’s talk about some of the possible ways where the cosplay industry and community can find opportunities to grow and help our space become more inclusive regarding sizing - and in general.

Sizing isn’t “One Size Fits All”

Sizing isn’t “one size fits all” as S, M, L, XL mean different things in different places in the world. With this kind of sizing normalized it sometimes feels like the cosplay garments that aren’t S, M, L, XL are simply after thoughts, making those of us who are plus size or even irregular sizes feel like we’re afterthoughts in the community!

It’s also frustrating to know that different sites that sell cosplays globally may go up to 4X, but their 4X equals a L in the U.S. It leaves one feeling left out and not good enough.

Many cosplayers who fall under the plus size umbrella or irregular sizes end up having to hone their skills to either create their garments from scratch out of more flattering fabrics or materials to ensure a great fit. On top of that, the term “plus size” in itself is discriminatory.

One tactic that would make things easier across the board would be to NORMALIZE body measurements (ie: chest, waist, hips, inseam) as the way to buy/sell cosplays and cosplay garments (and even regular clothing). This would help to make “sizing” more universal.

Either way having inclusive sizing in shops and for a multitude of cosplays is a must – no human should be an afterthought!

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Credit: Sarah Satrun

All bodies are beautiful

Body shaming… ourselves! This is a real problem for individuals of all genders, shapes, colors, and walks of life.

In the cosplay community, people shouldn’t be told to “cover-up” or to cosplay only certain characters due to their physique, build, skin tone, gender, etc.

Most of the time it’s our own inner voices attempting to shame us into a negative view of ourselves, but we need to remember that cosplay is quite literally about using COSTUMING to PLAY.

I know we cannot control all of the trolls out there, but if we attempt to spread more love versus judgement to ourselves, we’ll be able to do this more often with others. Now turn to yourself in the mirror, smile, and repeat after me:

All bodies are beautiful and VALID! I am beautiful, valid, and I can cosplay whoever or whatever way I WANT!

If you wish to earn 50 points for your house give a genuine positive compliment to another cosplayer, either in person or on the internet – bonus 10 points if you don’t know them personally!

Inclusivity needs to be photographed

Inclusivity starts within our own community. I’ve unfortunately heard stories about photographers shunning plus size cosplayers or those who don’t fit the “norm” of beauty standards, even if their cosplays are INCREDIBLE, to focus on the “petite-sized” cosplayers or those who fit “traditional” beauty standards.

I myself have experienced this kind of shunning, but these moments can be negated with the support of photographers who really work on capturing ALL BODIES and ALL COSPLAYERS to be as inclusive as possible.

Social sites, groups, blogs, etc. should normalize sharing beautiful cosplay photography of plus-size cosplayers where it’s NOT focused on the “plus-size” part. Instead, the titles of the articles or captions of the cosplayer should read, “ Incredible Princess Serenity Cosplay” -  NOT “Plus size Cosplayer Rocking it as Princess Serenity.”

With photos, images, and content focused on the “petite-sized” cosplayers or those who fit “traditional” beauty standards within the cosplay community this shows companies that sell cosplays/cosplay items that plus-size cosplayers are not as important to market to or have as much “buying power.”

It sounds crazy, but we actually WANT the major companies to see us and admire us – that way they CAN and WILL market to us – creating items for everyone! Inclusivity needs to be photographed and shared, because this is how we incite change and make them realize how much representation matters.

It begins with love

I know we’re on the topic of inclusive sizing for all humans and there’s so much that needs to be addressed, but at the end of the day we’re all looking to create a safer and more inclusive community – and that begins with love and acceptance. Love and acceptance for others and ourselves. I believe in this so much that I founded Cosplay With Pride, a cosplay/cause-play community in Northern CA focused on inclusivity, acceptance, and love.  Let’s take a moment. Look in that mirror. Smile and say, “I am amazing. I am worthy. And I WILL show myself love and acceptance.” Then go ahead and share those cosplay photos of yourself that you felt like you couldn’t share, because trust me – we need and WANT to see you!  

Do you have any suggestions or thoughts regarding inclusive sizing? Email us those ideas. For here at Coscove we’re always looking for ways to improve and uplift our community, especially when it comes to the buying and selling of our beloved cosplays!

Click to learn more about the easiest way to measure yourself for cosplay!

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Lani is a Bay Area cosplayer who cosplays with her husband and young daughter, known as Dynamic Cosplay. She is the founder of an inclusive cause-play community focused on supporting our local communities called, Cosplay with Pride. Lani is always look to spread smiles and rainbows! 🌈 Find her at facebook.com/cosplaywithpride.

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