Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Masquerade: to enter or not to enter

I wish to start a discussion with you my faithful readers and with any costumers interested by what I am about to ask. It has to do with Masquerades at conventions and the costumes people make to compete in them. You see, I have been reading many of the comments on The latest edition of Otakuthon, and one I have seen come back often concerning the masquerade was the level and quality of costumes people presented. Some said that it was disappointing.

It had never occurred to me to consider whether or not my costume is “good enough” for the masquerade. Such events are often my main reason for going to a convention, because costuming is my passion. I know I work very hard on my costumes; I put a lot of time, energy and, let’s face it, money to make them. Contrary to others (not all, but many), I finish my pieces as if they were store bought garments, with overlocked seams, lining and proper hems. Of course, if you are in the audience, you can’t really tell.

Gwenyver & Daughter as Rosalina & Toadette, photo by Tanja Dorosh

Because of comments I have read on the poor quality of costumes presented at Otakuthon’s Masquerade, I have begun questioning myself: was my Rosalina good enough? Was it too plain? Of course, most people have no idea I asked for my worked to be judged as Journeyman even if, being accompanied by my daughter, I walked on stage in the Junior category. In fact, since I didn’t win anything official (my Costume-Con 32 membership is awesome, but it is not an official masquerade prize – as proof, my entry is not mentioned on any of the winner’s lists), I have wondered if it was because the judges did not realize I was supposed to be judged (my form said both Junior and Journeyman – it can be confusing), or because as wonderful as my work was, there were better entries (I am not a sore looser – there were really amazing creations presented), or because my costume was fine for hall costuming but was not up to Masquerade standards. I wish I could receive a report card of sorts at the end that would answer all my questions and help me ameliorate myself and my creations. It is like going for an exam in school, not get the top grade, but never know how you did. This is me, I just need to know!

I know, I am incredibly self confident and nothing touches me (not!).

Which brings me to ask the question, what are Masquerade standards? What is considered “Good enough” and what is nice but too plain to compete? I am curious to hear your input on this.

Here are some other entries in this year’s Otakuthon Masquerade:

The Queen of hearts from Alice in Wonderland, Cosplayer unknown, photo by SailorSaturnStef

Princess Zelda, Malon, Vaati and Link from The Legend of Zelda, Cosplayers unknown, photo by Rinukon

Guilmon from Digimon, Cosplayer unknown, photo by SailorSaturnStef

SailorSaturnStef as Odile from Swan Lake, photo by shnoogums5060

Mytis as Rozalin from Disgaea 2, photo by SailorSaturnStef

MamaLexxy as Beatrice from Umineko no Naku Koro ni, photo by SailorSaturnStef

Cosplayer and Cosplay unknown

Cosplayer and Cosplay unknown

All official photos can be found here (the album is not complete on the date I post this, but I hope it will be soon).

Now it is your turn: what is your opinion on the matter? I really want to hear everyone’s opinion as I am sure there are differences. Speak up costumers!


  1. I do spend energy and money too on my costume.I prefer to buy an expensive fabric which seem perfect to me in place of a cheap one.I guess some of the criterion for the masquerade might be how close your costume looks like to the original and how complex it is.Of course it have to looks good .I think the major point in any kind of competition is who's going to judge you?Even if I would like to win a prize , smaller it is, I'm not a fan of competition.It's probably because I always feel dissapointed to see someone who spend less time and energy on is costume then I did.

  2. Enter, definitely. Your costume may not have been "flashy" but it was well constructed and true to the character you were portraying.

  3. I don't know anything about convention masquerades, but I came across your photo looking for Rosalina costume examples for my five-year-old daughter, who has asked to be Rosalina for Halloween. I, too, adore costuming of all kinds, and take it perhaps more seriously than most rational people. ;) Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that I adore your costume, and your little Toadette's too. You both look fantastic. We are on our third all-Mario-character Halloween this year. So I have less than a month to do a Rosalina (relatively straightforward) for my daughter and a Bowser (pain in the butt) for my son. Wish me luck!

    1. Thank you! And good luck finishing in tie for Halloween. I too am in a time crunch, but my son will be 2 weeks old tomorrow, so I don't know how I will be able to manage it all.