Easy “Closet” Cosplay

NOTE: I know that last week I promised a full report on the comics festival I was attending in Spain. Well, I truiy underestimated the effects of going-backwards-in-time jet lag, and thus, this article happened instead. But look for a full write up next week.

San Diego Comic-Con has come and gone, but the convention season is far from over. This is apparent with the fast approaching date of SDCC's younger sibling, New York Comic Con, a smaller, more mellow convention that is still just as cool. It's sure to tout some great merchandise, an inevitable pop culture presence, and COSPLAYERS. As with every major convention, people dressed like their favourite characters abound. This year in New York promises to be no exception, especially since NYCC has been merged with the Anime convention… and anime fans tend to be much more hardcore about their cosplay then any other sub culture fans, so expect to see some pretty elaborate costumes.

But perhaps YOU'D like to try cosplay at NYCC this year. Maybe you saw all of the photographs from San Diego Comic-Con of people cleverly portraying both obscure and well known characters; perhaps there has always been a part of you that longed to don Spandex and a cape and run amuck on the convention floor. But if this urge has just hit you, you may be realizing that with only two weeks to go you don't have much time to prepare an elaborate costume.

Do not fear! I'm here with some friendly "Closet Cosplay" suggestions. Closet Cosplay is "easy" cosplay: that is, you could find most of the items at the thrift store or online and don't have to spend much time making armor or sewing. It's a great experience for first timers, and allows them to see if they enjoy dressing up without putting too much money or energy into their costume.

For the ladies:

Poison Ivy

Poison Ivy has had about a billion (warning: not exact number) different costumes over the years, with a common theme: they are generally green and leafy. Get a little creative with a leotard, buy some fake vines from the craft store, and smear some green paint on your limbs and people will recognize you as Poison Ivy.



Misfit may be one of the more irritating characters DC has launched at us in Birds of Prey, and she may also not be that recognizable… yet. However, I'm confused as to why I've never seen a Misfit cosplay, and although I intend to do one myself, I am putting her on here as an idea to increase "holy crap Misfit's initial costume is easy to pull together" awareness. Seriously. If you're a typical girl, you probably have the majority of these items in your wardrobe already.



Mary Jane Watson

I'm apparently biased towards redheads since the first three ladies on my list have been gingers… or maybe comics are just fixated on fire tops. Nevertheless, MJ is an incredibly easy cosplay to pull together. And while I can't promise instant recognition, if you tell people they "just hit the jackpot", you're sure to have some fanboys salivating.


Misa Amane

Misa is the high spirited pop star turned bringer of death character from the popular Japanese manga Death Note. Her costumes are constantly changing, but her hairstyle is what is most recognizable. With two pigtails atop her head with the rest of her blonde hair long, that aspect of her character is unwavering. She generally dresses "gothic lolita" style, so if your outfit involves black, frills, some crosses, lacy gloves, and some Lady Gaga-infused inspiration… you will have yourself a rather convincing Misa.



Zatanna is an insanely iconic character, and she wears an outfit that is surprisingly easy to replicate with garments from your local American Apparel and costume shop. Basically, as long as you're wearing fishnets with a leotard and some sort of blazer or tail coat, people are going to recognize you as Zatanna. Don't forget your top hat!

For the gentlemen:


Captain Hammer

Although you may not necessarily have the bulkiness to do Nathan Fillion justice, Captain Hammer is still a rather easy cosplay to pull off. You can buy his shirt online for 18 dollars or so, and everything else in his ensemble can be pulled from shelves at any typical men's clothing store. Except for the gloves, which are fencing gauntlets that can also be purchased online. Pair it with a snarky attitude and an affinity for corrupting innocent redheads, and you'll do what a man's gotta do.



The Doctor

Though there have been many incarnations of The Doctor over the years, the most recent Doctors have certainly been the most recognizable. Especially Tennant's doctor. So throw on a spiffy suit with converse, let your sideburns go long, and don't comb your hair… and girls will be asking for rides in your TARDIS the entire convention. Just be careful where you point your sonic screwdriver.




Cosplaying Logan may take a little longer to prepare, merely because you need to forget grooming yourself for about two weeks. Grow some sideburns and stubble, let your hair get away from you, and get used to chewing on a cigar. Once you've done that, shimmy into some tight jeans and a flannel shirt that would do a lumberjack proud, and you'll be one step closer to "SNIKT".


Bruce Banner after The Hulk

If you're a fan of being in a state of undress and being cold, cosplaying Bruce Banner after he has been the Hulk is certainly the cosplay for you. Step 1: Buy purple trousers. Step 2: Take scissors to purple trousers. Step 3: Wear to con, guage reactions.


The Joker

I tried to avoid this one, I really did. But it's just so EASY as long as you have a little bit of makeup and slight skill in applying it. Wear some garish patterns of green and purple, spray green into your hair (green hair spray can also be bought at your local costume store), cackle maniacally and generally harass people and you're ace.

These are merely some suggestions to get your imagination working. One of the awesome things about cosplay is that it is nearly limitless: if you think you can wear it and make it work, then by all means do so. I've participated in some extremely creative, unconventional cosplay. At one point I wore a white dress and made ears and a dangley for above my head and went as a Moogle (a creature from the video game Final Fantasy). And even just this year at SDCC I participated in a "Classy Lanterns" cosplay with a group of lovely ladies, where we wore cocktail dresses that were the colours of the Lantern Corps spectrum and a pendant of our given insignia around our necks.

I hope so see some kick ass costumes at NYCC… so deliver!


Molly McIsaac keeps pet unicorns in her closet and learns one giant word a day. She spends most of her time daydreaming about becoming a mutant with the ability to eradicate wrinkles from clothes. You can stalk her on twitter.


  1. Dear Molly,

    I know this isn’t the advice panel, but I have a cosplay conundrum. I’m attending a wedding next month which, I just learned, is Steampunk themed. Now, I’m no stranger to ridiculous costumes for the purpose of partying (see profile picture), but this is more of a formal occasion and a genre with which I have only a passing familiarity. Any advice for the nascent cosplayer?


    Pensive in PA

  2. My friend actually dressed up as Zatanna for the Montreal ComicCon. She said the best part was the freedom or not wearing pants or a skirt.

  3. @intergy – Zatanna is a common one. If you drive between Larkin & Polk in San Francisco, you’re bound to run into some ladies/gentlemen dressed up as Zatanna, sans top hat.


    Logan outfit will be hard cause you’ll need to spend two years workingout and consuming a protein rich diet. 

  4. none of that sounds easy to me . . . 

  5. I think Dr. Connors (aka the Lizard) would be pretty easy as well. 

  6. What a great article!  I have just gotten into costumes the last two years, and it’s been surprisingly easy to pull together recognizable outfits and always worth the time and effort that go into it.  I was Veil from Avengers Academy this SDCC, and that was simply a matter of a dance apparel website’s full-length leotard and then a lot of carefully applied fabric paint.

    It occurred to me the other day that, as a redhead, the easiest and laziest thing I could possibly do would be to carry a clipboard around and ask people if they would lend a caring hand. 

  7. No fair.  I mentioned the Banner post-hulk idea to my girlfriend the other day as something I wanted to do because I thought I’d be the only one to think of it.  Dammit.  Back to the drawing board.

  8. I’d like to add the Clark Kent to this. Grab a Superman shirt, a suit with the shirt open, thrown on some glasses and add a split curl. even make a press badge that says Clark Kent.

  9. I’ve gotta say, the recent doctors really aren’t the most recognisable. they dress kinda boring in comparison with the old school. you could walk down the street dressed as Tennant’s doctor and few would know you’re in costume.

  10. Question: does showing up at an event wearing a tattered bathrobe and sporting a scruffy beard with a chicken bone caught in it count? Or is Hitchhiker’s Guide cosplay* too obscure?


    *actually, it’s just an excuse to not shower and dress. 

  11. Surely Thomas Jane is the easiest cosplay of them all?

  12. Very cool. I’m thinking of just wearing my Superboy T-Shirt and my black wrist band and some jeans to NYCC. I’m a big fan of lazy cosplay. I do have a blue suit with thin pinestripes and cons that I haven worn as the Tenth Doctor before, but I’ve also just worn it to it wear it. (Indeed I even have a vest I bought intending to be The Derek Jacobi Master and have since subsumed it into my formal suit!). I’m slowly building an 11th Doctor set, since it works so well for teaching. (And I agree with Godfrey, if you think 10 and 11 are more identifiable costumes check out Tom Baker, Colin Baker and Sylverster McCoy!)

    The only real issue I have is that I don’t want to shave my goatee off for 1 day of "being" Kon-El. Perhaps I shall be Mirror Universe Kon-El? :-p 

  13. What abott going as the iFanboys?!

  14. @Magnus, I would love to see someone effectively cosplay Conor.

  15. Poison Ivy, when done right, is always appealing to see in real life. Boy, Batman has the best villains. I need a villainous like Ivy galavanting in scantly clad clothing.

    Misfit, yeah I can see that. But srsly, what an eyesore. Even her expression is annoying. Did she die already?

    I dunno what it says about me but I did enjoy the Midna cosplay: http://www.cosplay.com/photo/1583238/

  16. @mollymcisaac the keyboardist for the band Galactic does it at every show.

  17. Baggy pants, combat boots, t-shirt = Jack Knight! For extra flair, throw in a pair of $4 welding goggles.

  18. Tony Stark is another one that’s super easy to do. Just get one of those round LED light fixtures that you can mount on walls and wear it under the suit that’s been hanging in your closet for who knows how long without being worn.