Essential Tools for the Female Crossplayer

So you’re ready to try crossplaying? This field of cosplay carries its own unique challenges, but here are some simple tips to get you started.

Binding and Compression Shirts

One of the first questions that always comes up is the obvious one: where do I put all these boobs?

If you’ve been blessed in this scenario with tiny assets, you likely won’t have much trouble here, but if you’re more -ahem- ample, then this can be pretty difficult. There are many tutorials out there for binding, but here’s my experience(being fairly average in the chest area):

Do not EVER use duct tape. I see people joke about this sometimes, but it’s not funny when your skin gets literally ripped off. There are much safer and better ways to do this. If you’re fairly small you can use a sports bra and/or ace bandages as a starting point for flattening out, but these will only go so far.

compressionshirt

Mine looks something like this.

If you’re going to be crossplaying with any sort of regularity I highly recommend purchasing a compression shirt. I got mine from underworks for less than $30 and it has been well worth the investment. It’s simply a binding shirt that you struggle into to make your boobs instantly disappear. I personally find it much more comfortable than other methods, and it’s safer than ace bandages, etc.

Either way, you shouldn’t be binding for more than 8 hours in a day, and your compression method should never make it difficult for you to breathe. You can cause serious damage to your ribs and health with unsafe practices, so please take care of yourself.

Makeup

Crossplay makeup is very different from female cosplay makeup. There are some great tutorials out there, some of which will more closely fit your needs or face, so do a little digging and see which ones are best for you.

Tutorial Examples:

Mannerisms

Not everyone will want to take it this far, but if you’re interested in legitimately passing as a dude, there are some ways that you can act more like a guy. Even just knowing how to sit and stand in a more masculine way will also help you take better photos while crossplaying. Some of these things are going to feel weird and unnatural at first, but with practice they’ll become much more comfortable.

  • Stand with your feet at the width of your shoulders
  • Stand with your weight evenly distributed between your feet, rather than leaning on one hip
  • Sit with your legs further apart than you usually would
  • Generally, just take up more space when sitting or standing
  • Relax your shoulders, bringing them back and down
  • Lean back slightly when walking, as if you’re being pulled forward by your hips
  • Reduce the natural sway of your hips as you walk
  • Pay attention to how your male friends sit, stand, and speak. This is the best way to pick up on natural mannerisms
  • Remember not to cross your legs when sitting down
Ronan, cosplayed by Elendriel

Ronan cosplayed by Elendriel; Photo by Dru Phillips

Loki, cosplayed by Elendriel

Loki cosplayed by Elendriel

Here we have Ronan the Accuser and Loki, as cosplayed by Elendriel, one of my very favorite crossplayers. Observe her wide stances, and how she’s not afraid to take up lots of space. This is very important to posing effectively while crossplaying.

Your Voice

Unfortunately, there is only so much you can do if you’ve been graced with a feminine voice. My biggest advice is to NOT try to push your pitch down as low as you can. This sounds unnatural and won’t fool anyone. Instead, try to speak from your chest, rather than your nose or your head. This is trickier than it sounds, and to help myself with focusing on where my voice is coming from, I’ll place my hand flat on my chest and focus on moving my voice down to there. If you’re speaking from your chest, you’ll feel your palm vibrate accordingly. One tip to quickly make your voice sound more masculine is to sigh right before talking.

The Details

As with other aspects of crossplay, it’s entirely up to you how far you want to take it. There’s nothing wrong with not going all out, but if you want to really go for the complete image, the small details can help get you there. Depending on what other cosplay you’re wearing soon, I’d  recommend trimming your nails short if you normally wear them longer. I also use a specific cologne when I crossplay, and I’d recommend a body spray that’s more masculine. You’d be surprised how much your scent can influence your overall presentation.

My cologne of choice.

My cologne of choice.

For many of these topics, there are quite a few sources available for individuals who crossdress, are genderfluid, or are transitioning that provide a lot of useful information. You’re pretty much trying to achieve the same thing, just theoretically on a more temporary basis, so make use of these resources.

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