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17 May 2011 - 13:0956666
Difference between Cosplay and Dressing up?
For the CRP Website I'm doing a FAQ and one of the questions is What is the difference between Cosplay and Dressing up? so i thought I'd put it here and get a few ideas from you guys, plus it'd be nice for cosplay newbies to check out and stuff what the difference is. So yeah, you first ^_^

EDIT: Some people's views might differ to mine but to me a sharp difference is that Dressing Up isn't taken as seriously as Cosplay. Let's say, for example, a costume of say Spider Man got perhaps a stain of orange juice on it. Someone dressing up would probably think "Oh, that'll come out in the wash". A cosplayer would, as i would, be very concerned about the costume's making and whether it would be ok in the wash, how it would affect the fabric etc. I may be biased however it do think Cosplay is taken alot more seriously than simplly dressing up. Another note, I think, is when people go to Hen parties etc dressed as pirates it is referred to as dressing up however if one were to go to a convention as a pirate it might be reffered to as a Pirates Of The Carribean Cosplay, so context plays a part too.


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Last edited by Crap Rocket Red (17 May 2011 - 13:15)
17 May 2011 - 13:3956673
Cosplay is just that, costume play; you aren't just dressing up, to an extent you are playing a part.

Costumes on the other hand... to use ur example. It's the difference between getting drunk dressed as a pirate and wandering around refusing to drink anything but rum and making people call you captain lol



Last edited by Megido Lion (17 May 2011 - 13:39)
17 May 2011 - 13:4256674
I do like that analogy haha The website is www.craprocketpro.webs.com if you wanna see the Q&A. That isn't breaking rules is it? >_<


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17 May 2011 - 15:3356686
Quote Crap Rocket Red:
Another note, I think, is when people go to Hen parties etc dressed as pirates it is referred to as dressing up however if one were to go to a convention as a pirate it might be reffered to as a Pirates Of The Carribean Cosplay, so context plays a part too.


This would be the difference for me:
Wearing an outfit = Wearing a bunch of stuff that goes together to give a 'look'
Wearing an "Outfit" (yes, with bunny ears) = Wearing a bunch for stuff ... *ahem* in the bedroom... for... stuff.
Dressing up = Wearing stuff you don't normally for fun/special occasion, (tutus, a brightly coloured wig)
Fancy Dress = Wearing a generic costume; a pirate, a vampire, even Batman etc.
Cosplay = Wearing a specifc costume for a specific character; Captain Jack POTC, Spike from BTVS, The Christian Bale/Nolanverse Batman, and a million anime characters besides.

However, there are overlaps and there is no hard n' fast rule as things like Storm Troopers often are more cosplay than Fancy dress even though they are generic, and sometimes my cosplays never leave the bedroom....


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Fade away with the thunder
17 May 2011 - 15:5556693
I think that more effort is put into cosplay than simply 'dressing up'. It's the mindset rather than the costume.

I think cosplay is more of a hobby, dressing up is just something that is done. And cosplay requires a hell of a lot more effort (not to mention money!) than dressing up. For Halloween, I'll go into a fancy dress store, pick up whatever looks cool and wear it. For cosplay, I'll 'study' what the character is wearing, spend a lot of time researching different parts of their outfit/materials/accessories, etc. and then spend more time putting the costume together.

I don't think the 'in character' argument really applies. I know non-cosplayers who have been 'in character' when in fancy dress. Just try NOT acting like a pirate (or a zombie ¬¬) when drunk and dressed like one lol.


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Last edited by Quinzel (17 May 2011 - 15:56)
17 May 2011 - 16:0156694
Quote UchihaSasuK8:
However, there are overlaps and there is no hard n' fast rule as things like Storm Troopers often are more cosplay than Fancy dress even though they are generic


I totally agree, there isn't really set line between fancy dress costumes and cosplay, they do overlap quite a bit. But I like to think cosplay is more about 'embodying the character', and getting across their spirit in the costume, than just wearing an outfit. It's really more of how you wear the costume than the costume itself, if that makes any sense.


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17 May 2011 - 16:0556696
Cosplay is aiming to emulate the looks of a certain character.

Dressing up is simply wearing clothes that are out of the ordinary for you, maybe to emulate something specific but relatively generic. Something like dressing up as a doctor or a witch.


There are a few exceptions, I'd call an anime-style generic maid cosplay rather than simply dressing up but I'm pretty sure this is the best way to define them.

Also, if someone doesn't know they're cosplaying, it probably isn't cosplay.



Last edited by ToroSonyCat (17 May 2011 - 16:06)
17 May 2011 - 16:0756697
I think it's to do with complexity too. More often than not a cosplayer is going to work harder at getting it correct than those that are dressing up.

Also, you don't really make fancy dress and/or dressing up stuff (ok, maybe a ghost for halloween). More cosplayers are making their costumes - mainly cause you get dicks that bitch about people who don't - and even those that don't make typically spend a bit more on them. Aside from the odd few (IE L cosplays, make a good cheap first cosplay)

It's hard to say that cosplay is being a specific character and acting like them - I do not act like the characters that I cosplay, certainly not all the time anyway. And I wouldn't drink rum is that's all the character did - it tastes like ick.

Also, you get Captain Jack Sparrow's who act like him but are not necessarily cosplaying. Plenty of people dress as him for fancy dress parties cause he's a very popular and fun character. And then there's pantomines! Just cause they're dressed as Robin Hood and acting like him doesn't make them a cosplayer.

I think that, yes, cosplay is more about playing the character too, but it also comes down to knowledge about it. It's only cosplay if they themselves say it is.


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Ayacon Plans
18 May 2011 - 13:5756803
Personally I don't differentiate between the two. But then I take "dressing up" quite seriously, and cosplay less so

I'd say the difference is: cosplay is dressing up as someone in particular (even if its an original character of your own creation or a un-named Organisation XIII member), rather than a generic "pirate" or "ninja" or "robot".

Wearing cat ears and regular clothes is not cosplaying, but wearing the same cat ears and regular clothes to dress up as your Gaia avatar, or fanfic self-insert, is.

(By this definition the guy at a fancy dress party being Superman is cosplaying, even if he doesn't know it)


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18 May 2011 - 14:1556804
For me dressing up is for fun, either for a party or a casual meet etc

Cosplay for me is a craft, like any art of fashion piece I take pride in my work whether it's a complicated piece or a simple piece I try and put my best into everything. I don't see it as making a costume to dress up in, I see it as bringing something to life. So okay yes it may not be my own creation but having to concider what fabrics would work, what techniques would work and any embellishments that would bring it into the real world, that is my creation.


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18 May 2011 - 14:2556805
Cosplay is doing a certain character or a defined thing like a State Alchemist or something.
Dressing up is just doing anything generic. Like all the people you see at cons who do random maids and catgirls.
Although the defining line is really fuzzy at times. XD


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18 May 2011 - 15:2756810
Quote street-angel:
For me dressing up is for fun, either for a party or a casual meet etc

Cosplay for me is a craft, like any art of fashion piece I take pride in my work whether it's a complicated piece or a simple piece I try and put my best into everything. I don't see it as making a costume to dress up in, I see it as bringing something to life. So okay yes it may not be my own creation but having to concider what fabrics would work, what techniques would work and any embellishments that would bring it into the real world, that is my creation.


I couldn't have said it any better!

Cosplay is a craft as Street-angel rightly says. It's a craft of creation wiether it be making your Cosplay from scratch or helping bring out the character you're Cosplaying as into real life!

Personally when me family tries to say what I do is "dressing up" I get kind of insulted (and generally snap at em before they can even finish the sentance of me playing dress up!).
Cause to me dressing up would mean going about a half arse attempt at a costume or renting one of those plastic fabric rip offs (they're okay for chopping up for other bits and pieces for me but that's about as far as they go in my view) you find in places like claires accessories or clintons around halloween time that's just going to get trashed by then end of the night due to poor quality. no spank you very much

I wanna make something with my own hands and to me that's the difference between dressing up and cosplay. If you dress up then you don't really care too much about the costume your wearing or the work that goes into it. Cosplayers however have an unrivaled passion and creative flare for their work no matter how they come about the assembly process of their Cosplay. Weither it's commissioned, a gathering of day to day clothes or painstakingly worked on for months on end out of your own pocket. What you end up with may not be the best or an exact replica of the character your cosplaying as (i speak from experience on this one, ugh some of my cosplays have suuucked) but it just shows how much you enjoy Cosplay!

~Phew rant over I feel so much better now


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18 May 2011 - 15:4256813
i know what you mean i compleatly agree
it takes a long time to make a cosplay well ,you have to design your creation
shop for material and work hard; i feel automatically like iv acomplished something -so i like wearing my cosplay coz iv known how much effort has gone into it
where as shop brought for me is not nearly as good
i like the fact the costumes unique and no one will have exactly the same costume -hugs



Last edited by rosieroo (18 May 2011 - 15:43)
19 May 2011 - 11:5756915
Here's the page which all opinions thus far are put http://craprocketpro.webs.com/cosplayersopinions.htm
Also advertised CosplayIsland. And i agree with Goldie Neko


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