I of all people know that conquering a costume for your beloved character can seem like a really daunting task. I’ve been making my own costumes for all occasions as long as I can remember and there are still some characters I aspire to recreate but I shudder in the face of intimidation. Because I’ve sometimes been too afraid to overtake the big ones I’ve learned a whole lot about the subtle nuances of more basic costume choices and let me tell you: it’s all about the details.
The details of a cosplay can truly make or break the entire look. A lot of people overlook the small things and focus on the overall “look” and at times it can cause them to miss the character mark. This month I’ve chosen male and female characters that don’t have costumes or trademark armor, but they can be easily recreated if you focus on the details.
Troy and Abed (Community)
It’s no secret that Community is the underappreciated cult hit that everyone (who matters) loves but apparently didn’t watch on network TV. The most popular characters are arguably Troy and Abed who are con going sci-fi loving geeks themselves. In honor of Community staying alive against all odds and premiering this month on Yahoo! Screen, I’ve decided there’s no better detail oriented look to break down for the guys this month.
First things first, and I hate to even address this, but just to be on the safe side I will. Troy is black and Abed is Pakistani, even if you are neither of those races you can still do this cosplay. But you know what you can’t do? Put on makeup to try and look like you are black or Pakistani. That my friends, will most likely come off as super racist (because it is) and you really just shouldn’t do it. True story, my husband had a friend in college who cosplayed as Turk from Scrubs, but as he was a white guy he felt it was only necessary to put himself in blackface and sport that. People apparently still do those things so for the last time, JUST DON’T DO IT. Disclaimer over.
Moving on, Troy and Abed are you’re not so normal but completely average college students, so once again without costumes your cosplay is reliant on your knowledge of the character and attention to detail. The lucky thing about them is that they have a handful of well-known looks that are easy to recreate and will absolutely scream Troy and Abed. The first look I recommend is Troy and Abed in the Morning.
I’m not sure if you ever noticed, but for every fake episode of Troy and Abed in the Morning they did they wore the same outfits. That’s right, there is your trademark, and all you have to do is go to a thrift store to get what you need and add it to stuff you probably already have. The Troy in your duo will need a purple collared button up shirt, jeans, and a gray blazer. That’s easy enough, right? The Abed will need jeans, a light blue collared button down shirt, a gray bowtie, and a striped (preferably white with blue and gray stripes) cardigan, buttoned up over the shirt. Super easy. There is one key detail that makes this costume what it is, and without it you’re just dudes in duds. You must each have a Troy and Abed in the Morning mug. You can buy these online, or you can make your own. Craft stores have make/paint your own mug kits for like $5, and you can just cut out a picture of each guy’s head and Mod Podge it to the mug. Done and done and AMAZING.
If you want to do something a little different but still iconic you could be Troy and Abed from the first paintball episode, “Modern Warfare”. Once again this is just regular clothes with a few tasty details. For Troy’s look you will need jeans, a blue t-shirt, a blue bandana tied around your head and a pair of science class goggles. For Abed you’ll just need jeans, a brown or green t-shirt, a camouflage jacket or over shirt, and some goggles, preferably circular. *Note: I’ve been told by Steam Punk friends that these can be hard to find. I recommend welder’s goggles or going to a motorcycle shop to find them.
Now for what makes your outfit a costume and not just clothes. Troy is wearing football shoulder pads and an athletic cup. These could be hard to come by without actually going to a sporting goods store and shelling out a good amount of dough. I recommend doing so for the cup, but the shoulder pads would be kind of pricey and they are easy enough to make yourself with foam or even cardboard if you want. The final touch is Troy’s yellow paintball gun. If you want to invest in one you can find those at sporting goods stores as well, but if you’re not an enthusiast of the sport(?) you can pick up a toy gun from a party supply store, a toy store, or online really easily and then just modify it to what you want and make sure you paint it yellow.
Abed has much less armor and a lot more ammo. He has a leg holster for his gun, which once again is easily purchased or made. He has a belt of ammo strapped across his chest, and it is filled with plastic tubes that are filled with paintballs of various colors. I advise making this yourself with either a thick piece of black fabric or a strap of leather and some black elastic. Attach the elastic to the fabric strip or leather so that there are numerous loops that a plastic tube could be pushed into and held in place. This is a really easy one to make with a hot glue gun. For the best look you may want to bite the bullet and actually just by a bunch of paintballs and fill tubes with them. I’m not sure how you could make paintballs, but I suppose you could use marbles if you want to. And finally, Abed’s paintball gun is orange. You can basically just follow the instructions for Troy’s gun on this one.
And there you have it. A couple of low-key but still awesome costumes to try out now that con season is officially upon us. Remember, you don’t have to go above and beyond to look amazing. It is the little specifics of your look that can take you the extra mile. Not every character that deserves tribute has an all identifying look, but everyone has the little things that make them unique. And cosplaying isn’t about being recognized and having your photo taken, it’s about dressing up as someone you love and want to honor. Good luck and costume on my friends!