or “How not to look like an overstuffed sausage in your costume”

Here is a tutorial on how to properly wear a stretchy costume. This will go in a sort of chronological order from the first things you should do to what to do while wearing the costume.

1. Have a realistic body image and be comfortable with your body.
While I’m the last person on earth to tell someone that they can’t wear something, take a good look at yourself and make sure that YOU think you should be wearing spandex. If you are uncomfortable with your body, it will show in your posture and you will look worse. Be positive and your confidence will make everything look better.

2. Get thee to a nunnery gym
Skinny guys and girls, this especially applies to you, because thin does not imply fit. The emphasis here is not on losing weight, but on toning muscles to keep your lines smooth. Whether you have 4 months before you plan to wear your costume or 1 week, a little goes a long way, and who doesn’t want to be healthy.

3. Don’t buy or make a too small costume
This is where most people fail. If you don’t want to look like an overstuffed sausage, then make sure you aren’t stuffing yourself into too small a casing. Yes, spandex/lycra should stretch, but it can only hold so much. If the fabric is stretching so much that you can see whatever is underneath, the costume is too small. If the costume is so tight that it is uncomfortable, the costume is too small. If the costume forces flesh to bulge out where the fabric ends, the costume is too small. Conversely, make sure the costume isn’t too loose. A little bit of sagging or wrinkles on a properly fitted costume while sitting or resting is unavoidable, but if you find any truly baggy areas while posing, then it’s time to alter the costume.

4. Foundation Garments: Not Your Granny’s Panties
Wear One! Aside from the body support they provide, their long lines with help prevent the dreaded “panty line”.

When people hear “foundation garments”, they tend to think of those ugly, uncomfortable girdles women used to wear. Modern girls (and guys) have a much wider range of foundation garments to choose from that provide varying degrees of support.

You want to choose a garment with long lines (preferably from the underbust to knee) and no thick cuffs or thick elastic. If there is a bump or line in your garment, the spandex will happily show it to the world. Many types have panels for the tummy and extra support in the thigh area. (My favorite affordable brand is “Assets” available from Target, I wear the “sensational shaper”)

And while we’re on the subject of undergarments, those stick on bras are great for support without visible lines. Otherwise look for a t-shirt (no-show or smooth bra) or even sew bra cups into your suit.

As for you, my wienie wielding friends, WEAR A DANCE BELT. They will keep your junk in place and help hide the fact you found another cosplayer attractive. You know what I mean. A thong one will minimize any lines.

5. Listen to your mother: Proper Posture
Proper posture is essential to looking your best. Keep that tummy tucked in by tightening the muscles (but don’t suck it in), pull your shoulders back, and keep your head up. It will make a world of difference. If you slouch, everything relaxes and you will look lumpy even if you really aren’t.

6. The other ‘P’: Posing
When possible, pose while standing. You can stretch out this way, which will prevent you and your costume from sagging. Lying streched out on your side is also an option. If you must pose while sitting or crouching, try to keep your back straight to prevent your tummy from looking like a paunch.

Try to pose at a three quarter angle. If you are a lady type, put your weight on your back leg and stretch that sexy front leg out. Also, try to do something dynamic with your hand, like pointing at something, making a fist, or some other action that will draw attention to your limbs. Don’t put your hands on your hips unless you want to emphasize your waist.

When all else fails, try to do a more dynamic pose. If you are in a convention hallway, this probably won’t be an option, but if you’re in a lobby or outside, try to do something different like posing with or on an object.

Unusual angles can also help disguise any parts you may not be fond of. Shooting from underneath can make a body look longer.

7. Don’t forget to eat
On the day of the convention, don’t starve yourself. If you bloat up with gas because your stomach is empty and churning, it’s not going to help you. Instead, eat several small meals (about one every three hours) and drink plenty of fluid to prevent bloating or swelling. Avoid foods known to give people gas, like: broccoli, dairy products, beans, fried foods or foods that are high in sodium.

8. Be confident
Yes, I did say this already, but it’s quite important.
If you are happy and confident, people will react better to you and pictures of you. Humans like smiles and good posture. If you are slouching and looking like a deer in headlights, you will look bad no matter how gorgeous you really are.

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