My third fancy dress costume is one of my favourites, but also one of the ones I was most nervous about. I dressed as Ramona Flowers from the Scott Pilgrim series and sweet Jesus, it was difficult.
Ramona Flowers is a character who a lot of people have already cosplayed as, so the bar was set pretty high. My student budget meant that getting an exact replica of one of her outfits was way beyond my reach, so I had to put together something ‘Ramona-esque’ while spending as little money as possible. I decided to imitate one of her looks from the 2010 film, but based my choice on how much new stuff I had to buy rather than choosing one of my favourites.
The outfit wasn’t that difficult to put together. After re-watching the film a few times – all in the name of ‘research’ – I had a pretty good idea of the way she dresses. Ramona’s outfits all focus around layers, usually aren’t very girly, and have a lot of bright colours teemed with darker, edgier stuff like leather jackets and studded belts. This was pretty much perfect for me, and in the end I wore my Captain America T-shirt, a purple hoodie, a black leather jacket, denim shorts, black tights, a studded belt and some gothy boots that you can’t see in the photo. I had to buy the belt, hoodie and the shoes but everything else I already had.
Unfortunately, I did have to do some more arts and crafts for this outfit. I bought a pair of steampunk goggles as part of the outfit. They looked perfect, but when I tried them on they made my hair bulge out in odd ways, and seeing how important Ramona’s hair is in conveying the character, I really didn’t want that. So I improvised, bought a cheap hairband from the local supermarket and literally taped it to the goggles. I had to pin it all in place to make it stay on when I moved my head, but all in all I’d class that as a success.
That just left the hair. Ramona is famous for her brightly coloured hair, and recreating it was going to be a challenge. I didn’t want to go the whole hog and dye my hair permanently, as bleaching my hair and then dyeing it would be incredibly expensive and I didn’t want to make that permanent a change, even if it was for charity. I’ve experimented in the past with spray in hair dye and the results had been pretty good, so I bought a couple of cans from a fancy dress shop and just sprayed them in on the first day of my fancy dress week, when I’d originally been planning to wear this costume.
TEST THE HAIR DYE BEFORE YOU COVER YOUR HEAD IN IT.
The dye looked awful. Thankfully there’re no pictures of that fiasco, but I can assure you all that the ‘forest green’ hair dye I’d bought was both the colour of pond sludge and the colour of radioactive waste at the same time. To top it all off, the dye made my hair look really slick and greasy, and the end result just looked like the Incredible Hulk had sneezed on my head. I washed it all out and wore another costume that day, and then ordered an emergency wig from Amazon, which I had to alter before I could wear it. I only just got it done in time, so I’d definitely recommend a little more planning if you’re thinking of wearing a Ramona costume yourself.
Once the costume was all put together I was very happy with it. It was pretty clear who I was supposed to be, and while it wasn’t quite what I had in mind at first, it was definitely the best I could put together with my budget and time constraints. The one major problem I had apart from the hair was my headgear. I had to wear a skullcap to keep my real hair out of sight, and after wearing both the wig and my steampunk hairband on top of it for a day, I had a colossal headache.
I think this holds up as a beginner’s cosplay, but perhaps not in more experienced circles. I’m certainly proud of the way I put this costume together despite my limitations, but if I was going to wear it again I’d spend more time on the hair so I could really get it right. Apart from the wig, everything I bought can be worn again, so overall I’m pretty happy with this.
Next time I’ll be looking at my Sherlock Holmes costume. If you’d like to follow my progress – or better yet, to donate to my cause – you can do so here: https://www.myraising.com/jo-harwood/incatrek2013
Total so far: £960
Projected final total: £2850
Amount left to raise: £1890