I’ve loved Batgirl for a long time, but I am not confident enough in my figure to rock a catsuit these days. So when DC started sharing the below image of Babs Tarr’s redesigned Batgirl of Burnside who looked comfy in her leather jacket and leggings (leggings are basically my out of vintage uniform), this went straight to my cosplay list. This image, circulated in 2014.
My next tip for cosplaying on a budget, relates directly to the fact I started working on it in 2014 and am only just now debuting her in 2017: work out a cosplay list and start collecting and building pieces bit-by-bit.
Babs started when my cousin gave me her yellow Doc Martens, then from there, everything else just slowly fell into place over the next three years. I spaced it out for so long that while it was frustrating not to be able to debut at con after con after con, it ended up not feeling like this costume had broken the budget at all.
The wig comes with another small budgeting tip: get involved in cosplay groups on Facebook. Why? Because often in groups, someone will post that they’re doing an order from overseas companies which is especially helpful for those of us in Australia. If you have the cash to pay immediately, sharing an order is a great way of distributing extra costs like postage, which is usually divided by however many people order. So while I had to cover the exchange rate, the wig ended up not costing quite as much as it would have if I’d just ordered it by myself.
Because I had the list to work from, I was able to keep an eye out when I was shopping or when online stores were having sales. So I picked up the gloves from Bunnings and the pants from Kmart, both on lucky, unexpected whims, and both for under $10 and both a few months in between.
I shopped my own wardrobe for the jacket (which was originally my first Black Widow jacket!), and Liane from the Brush & Pen Studio hand-painted the Bat Signal for me (by far my favourite part of this costume).
When I’m piecing together a cosplay bit-by-bit, I try and store all the individual items together and keep a track of what I have and what I need using my bullet journal. This time around, I was short the yellow belt and thigh bag, but I decided that the costume worked without and wore it anyway.
While working this way takes a long time (no quick debuts this way), it definitely helps you put together a good costume, on budget. While I’m taking a break from new costumes very soon, if I decide to go back to it, this will definitely be the approach I take in the future.