Were You Raised By Wolves, Or Something?

This week’s challenge post comes from a recurring mention on this blog, the incredibly lovely Haley Mortensen!

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San, “Princess Mononoke’ or, ‘The Wolf Girl’ is a character from the animated movie ‘Princess Mononoke by Hayao Miyazaki. Studio Ghibli films are also something I didn’t really grow up with for one reason or another but was introduced to just this year. I loved Howl’s Moving Castle, but Princess Mononoke might be my favorite of the ones I’ve seen, which is why I was sort of jazzed that Haley picked her for my challenge this week.

                San was literally raised by wolves, considers them her family and is near suicidally protective of them. She rejects her own humanity when it comes right down to it and is unafraid to fight for her wolf family and the forest that they live in. The wolves she has been raised by are gods in their own right, so she is considered the Princess of the Wolf gods. And we all know how much I love me a good warrior princess.

I was originally going to use a by now very familiar blue skirt for this, but after considering my character some more, I chose some blue shorts instead. She is animated to be wearing a dress under a tunic, but I took some creative liberties when considering this look. I thought about what I’d want to be wearing while running through the forest, riding a giant wolf like a pony and generally kicking butt….. a skirt or dress was not one of these things.

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So, they’re technically Wonder Woman shorts…. because I have a problem, but the blue works!

I chose a white tee shirt to go with this instead of a tunic or my initial idea to wear a camisole with a cardigan to get the feeling of her fur cape and bare arms. Again, creative liberties. It’s July in Ohio and I’m not trying to melt for the sake of the lewk. This casual cosplay stuff is supposed to be comfortable and fun, so I’m being that. I will totally share my alternative ideas with you just in case you like this idea, but not necessarily how I’m doing it.

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San wears what look like socks on her feet but they must be a boot of some kind with all the running through the woods she does. Or maybe they’re an OG version those Balenciagas that Cardi B is a little obsessed with:

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“I like those Balenciagas/ The ones that look like socks” -Cardi B ‘I Like It’

For the record, I definitely had to look up what Balenciagas even were and I only knew they looked like socks because of the song. But I’m having a good time.

ANYWAY.

I briefly considered a pair of ivory colored ballet flats, but I passed on them because there’s no way I’m running anywhere in those fast, so I picked these kind of beaten up but also off white slip on sneakers

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After this, I tried to emulate San’s earrings, fang necklace and the Crystal dagger pendant because when the outfit itself is so basic, I feel like it really relies a lot on the little touches to really feel like that character instead of just me wearing shorts and a tee shirt while my fiancé follows me around the local creek with a camera.

As always, I really appreciate you taking time to read my post! Check back next week so see how much of an idjit Bobby Singer thinks I am!

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Incredible!

This month’s posts are going to work a little differently.

Usually, my posts are overly sweet, mushy love letters to the characters I’ve chosen to portray. Since the characters this month were chosen for me, no matter how cool they are, I may not always feel the deepest kinship with them. I’ll be able to relate in some way to all of them, but instead of lengthy posts regaling you with stories about how I grew up wanting to be all of these characters, I’m going to focus more on what I enjoyed about putting these casual cosplays together.

I was given The Incredible Hulk by Whiplash O’Reilly of The Jackdaws (You may recognize the art style on their page if you clicked on the links to anything Thistlebury in my last posts!). I’ve known Whiplash for a little over 6 years and from the day I met him, he has always believed in my abilities more than I have. It’s almost like he has believed that there was a scary green rage monster inside of me just waiting to be set free.

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I kept it basic with this one for this week. This is due in part to the fact that the Hulk’s ‘costume’ is pretty much just a pair of pants and the color green. I kept to the traditional green and purple color scheme from the original comics, but I tried to consider the aesthetic of both Bruce Banner and ‘The Other Guy’ when putting this together.

The base of the outfit was where I tried to cover myself in as much green as possible. going for a simple green dress that a lady version of Bruce Banner might wear.

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After that, I incorporated some purple in the shrug and shoes I picked. I really liked the uneven hemline of the shrug. I felt like it sort of paid homage to Hulk’s tattered purple pants while still looking like something Bruce Banner would wear to the lab. And if I’m being perfectly honest, the shoes were picked pretty much just because they were purple. With the dress, I wanted to wear heels, but I also could have gone with the purple flats from last week. I was just REALLY feeling heels when doing the photos for this one.

This is the first week I didn’t get really focused on small details. I tried a few things, but they didn’t look quite right. With his penchant to smash, I don’t think the Hulk would worry too much about accessorizing, and Bruce Banner has enough to worry about to be concerned with matching his earrings to his necklace. I realized pretty quickly that a lack of accessories was actually pretty accurate to the character aesthetic. I did, however, choose to take out my contacts and wear my glasses for this one since those were the once accessory I felt like Bruce wouldn’t have to think twice about.

As always, thank you so so much for taking the time to read my blog! Check back every Tuesday to see who I try to put together next! If you enjoy my posts, please feel free to subscribe in order to get updates whenever I post a new thing!

See you next week!

 

THEME MONTH 3!

That’s right, friends, it’s the end of the month again and, as such, it’s time for me to announce what the upcoming month is going to look like!

Next month’s theme isn’t really so much a theme as it is an overarching idea for the posts, but it’s something I’m really excited to do!

The month of July is going to be a challenge month!

Since I started posting, I have gotten some really wonderful feedback from my regular readers. These people have also been giving me some really great ideas for new cosplays to try.

I took the first five ideas I was given to fill the five Tuesdays in July, and I have to admit that I was given some really great characters and ideas.

The first Tuesday’s character was posed to me by Whiplash O’Reilly of the Jackdaws, an exceptional group of musicians and I highly recommend you check out on their website here. (I know I post a lot of links to the stuff my friends do, but what can I say? I have awesome, talented friends) Whiplash suggested a character you won’t like when he’s angry:

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Up next, selected by my extremely supportive fiancé, is Bobby Singer from Supernatural and will be portrayed by a super cute guest model (It’s definitely him. We’re gross and cute and I’m not sorry)

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After that, a familiar name has chosen for me to put together San, otherwise known as Princess Mononoke. This was chosen by none other than my friend guest model for Sailor Mercury, Haley Mortensen of illustration fame! (Yeah, another link you should check out)

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The week after that will feature a character selected by my biggest fan: My mama. (Hi mom!) She told me to do a look for Belle from Beauty and the Beast. She did want me to try to make the yellow dress look work, but I haven’t found a good way to do it yet, so I’m doing the easy blue one first

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The last character to make an appearance in July will be the wonderfully grim demon barber of Fleet Street: Sweeny Todd. This one was selected by one of my most amazing and closest friends, Dave

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I’m really excited for this month! I think it has a lot to do with the fact that this blog is interesting enough for people to even want to participate in helping me pick my characters.

See you On Tuesday!

 

Witchy ‘n Wonderful

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Yan Lin: Ah! Lord Cedric.

IrmaLord? They’ve got pretty low standards for knighthood over there.

Yan Lin: Cedric is not always in this form.

Irma: Well, that’s good news for his wife.

W.I.T.C.H was to me what Sailor Moon was to a lot of other girls my age. Back in the good old days when they used to hand out the Scholastic Book catalogs out in my classroom every month, it was common practice for me to not pay any attention in class for the rest of the day while I perused the pages instead. I would circle what I wanted based on what covers looked cool and then go home and give my parents this whole speech about why I needed them and list all the reasons they should write me a check and let me order everything I had circled. Based on my experiences getting them to agree with me, I almost feel like I should have chosen a career path that involved me being a lead negotiator. Granted, I may never know if they agreed because I was convincing or because the idea of me staying home and reading all the time was more attractive than going out and defacing or stealing stuff from our neighbors like the rest of the kids in my neighborhood. I’m not even being dramatic. There weren’t many kids on my street when I was growing up and there was legitimately a period of time where every morning something else in the neighborhood was scrawled on with permanent marker or just outright destroyed.

Anyway.

It was one of these massive orders of books from the catalog that shipped me the very first W.I.T.C.H graphic novel.

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It wasn’t very long and I was honestly initially disappointed with how thin it was until I gave it a chance. Bright colors and pretty animation aside, the story was actually really compelling and as soon as I finished it, I started combing book stores to see if the series continued. This was before we had the Internet in my house so this was not as easy then as it would be now. I combed every bookstore my parents grudgingly let me drag them into until I finally found out that more books DID exist. Rather than full graphic novels, the series I managed to find were a mix of graphic novel and regular novel. The books would begin with about five pages of glossy comic panel pages, the meat of the story would be straight up text and then the book would end with more pages of comic panels. I was OBSESSED. I wanted so much to transform into a gorgeous winged warrior, decked from head to toe in purple and turquoise with the ability to control one of the four elements; to protect Meridian and its inhabitants… all while also having to worry about finding a prom dress and not be late for homeroom!

Of the five Guardians of the Veil, I didn’t really relate to one in particular since they all had qualities I could easily relate to. For this week, it’s more about paying homage to the group as a whole rather than trying to recreate the look of one particular Guardian.

Since wearing teal and purple striped tights tiptoes more into the actual ‘cosplay’ category rather than a subtle, casual look, I kept the homage away from my legs and started with a pair of basic boot cut jeans, but did slip on a pair of comfortable purple flats since those can go with almost anything

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The teal and purple that make up the entirety of the girls’ transformation outfits made its appearance in a teal blue tee shirt and incredibly comfortable purple cardigan

It should come as no surprise at this point that this is my favorite part.

In order to get the look of the Heart of Candracar (The amulet that releases the girls’ magical alter-egos) I actually already had something that kind of vaguely resembled it and I got really excited when I saw the similarity

Since the neckline of the shirt doesn’t look quite right without a shorter necklace to compliment it, I also added this simple, goldish pendant that reminded me of the symbols that represent the powers of the girls

Thank you for reading this week’s post! Always feel free to share your own looks with me as well as inbox me with any questions, comments, suggestions or feedback you may have! Check back this Saturday for the special announcement regarding the month of July!

 

 

In The Name of Mars, I Will Chastise You!

Following in the Sailor Guardian trend from last week, this week is all about Sailor Mars….. and her trip to Colossalcon with Sailor Mercury.

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“Nothing good comes out of mimicking other people! What important is being yourself! All girls have the power to make their dreams come true. What’s important is wanting to do it!”

As I may have mentioned before, I didn’t get into the Sailor Moon anime until very recently. One of the things that impressed me the most is how well the show aged. I didn’t watch a single episode until I was 25 years old and I was still able to binge it like crazy without being annoyed or bored; and this was without the aid of any nostalgia making it mean more to me.

It’s not that I didn’t know who or what Sailor Moon or her fellow guardians were with regards to pop culture, I just didn’t watch the right tv stations at the right time before the era of streaming services. Now that I have access to it, I watch it quite a bit. It’s been just over a year since I first started it and I’m just now barely halfway through the second season. It’s one of those shows that I can jump back into easily if some new release or series catches my interest and distracts me for a little while.

She doesn’t get introduced right away, so obviously I liked the show for more than just Rei (Sailor Mars), but when her character was introduced, I related to her right away. Usagi can be a little bit of a pain sometimes what with the crying and the whining and kind of selfish behavior (Sorry Usagi fans) and Rei had no patience for it from the very start. In many fandoms, there aren’t always a great many characters who will disagree with the primary hero or call them out on their BS. Rei is one of those characters, and I admire that so much about her. She’s sarcastic, blunt and practical, but also extraordinarily dedicated to her family and the things that matter to them, like her grandfather and the Hikawa shrine. Sometimes, the hero needs a good kick in the pants to bring them back to reality and Rei is more than happy to deliver. In heels.

Some people may see her as a mean character or as a bully without taking more of her personality into account. Rei is the last girl to sit around and whine when she isn’t getting her way or cry when she’s too scared, and she has little tolerance for that sort of behavior in anyone else. I think that’s why she can come off a bit harsh on Usagi. In her way, she’s trying to help Usagi be her best self and to be brave; only, Usagi doesn’t respond to pressure or stress in the same way that Rei does, which I feel causes most of that friction. In her heart, though, Rei deeply cares for her friends and fellow Sailor Guardians and wouldn’t hesitate to put herself in harm’s way if it meant saving them.

When I was little, I still probably would have related to Rei if Sailor Moon had come into my life sooner. I was always the girl dreaming about being a warrior princess (I partially blame Xena) and being the first one to charge into battle, defeating enemies left and right. Of the first three Sailor Guardians to be introduced in the series, Sailor Mars in particular was that girl. Sailor Moon and Sailor Mercury were brave and powerful, don’t get me wrong here, but Sailor Mars had this fire inside of her that just made her different than the other two.

I actually based the look for this week on a piece of art I found in a Google image search, I think the signature on it says ‘JojoStory 2016’, but my eyes aren’t what they used to be. At any rate, it’s awesome, but I claim no ownership or participation. I got this cool, edgy-yet-fashionable vibe from it and I went from there.

I was definitely hopped up on energy drinks and candy for most of these pictures, so I don’t think I’m being especially serious in any of them.

The clothing, much like Sailor Mercury from last week, started with the core components of a white top and a red skirt.

Normally, Sailor Mars wears red pumps because she’s amazing and can fight in heels, but for a convention where I knew I was going to be doing a lot of walking, I made the executive decision to wear red sneakers instead.

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They still made the look work, but my feet didn’t hate me at the end of the day. If heels are your cup of tea for lost of walking though, by all means BE THAT.

In addition to the usual jewelry for small touches this week, I also added a purse (that mostly held afore mentioned energy drinks and candy) for the convention as well as a flannel shirt to break the top and bottom parts up since it looked a little plain.

Both are red to go with the Mars theme. I know her bows are purple, but adding too much purple made it look like I was trying to go for another character.

And now for my favorite part: SMALL TOUCHES. I think I love it so much because it’s almost like being in a secret club. If you get it you get it, if not, they just look like pretty pieces of jewelry…. with the exception of the diadem. It was a convention. I had some fun!

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The super Mars-specific pieces this week were the two pairs of earrings I wore.

Since they came in a multi-pack, I also wore some of the earrings that Haley got at Hot Topic:

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I actually ordered these awhile back because I wanted to do an actual Sailor Mars cosplay someday, but they’re also good for everyday wear. I am in love with my Sailor Mars star earrings!

Like Haley last week, I also chose to forego the large bow in favor of something a little more subtle. I elected to try a statement necklace and immediately went on the hunt. Shoutout to the very nice lady at Charming Charlie who saw me holding four purple statement necklaces with a very stressed look on my face and took pity on me. She helped me pick out the following piece and I’m SUPER happy with how it pulled the look together.

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I also impulse-added a few accessories as we were gearing up to leave for the convention in order to make this more of a lewk. 

Drawing from the look in the art I posted up above, I added a long necklace (that is definitely not a Braavosi coin from Game of Thrones, stop looking at me like that) as well as some layer bracelets (Tiger’s eye is a stone associated with fire and that made me feel like I knew exactly what I was doing) and for the sake of practicality on a sunny day, I added some cool shades to compliment the rest of the outfit.

Thank you for reading this week’s post! Always feel free to share your own looks with me as well as inbox me with any questions, comments, suggestions or feedback you may have! Check back next Tuesday to see which bad ass female superhero is featured!

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I did warn you that things got silly. My Sailor Guardian pose would probably get me kicked out

 

Mercury Power, Make Up!

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“Be pure, be honest, be beautiful!”

This week’s post features a fantastic guest model as Sailor Mercury, Haley Mortensen, creator of the town of Thistlebury, which is seriously incredible if you want to check her and it out!

Haley is actually the reason I started watching the Sailor Moon anime in the first place. While I was late to the game and immediately related to Rei/Sailor Mars, Haley has been watching this show for a very long time and related more to Ami Mizuno/ Sailor Mercury.

Sailor Mercury is the brains of the Sailor Scouts, and even though she is incredibly and intensely intelligent, she remains hardworking and very humble about it. It also doesn’t rule her entire personality. She still takes time to enjoy pop culture and be active. She loves swimming, which really makes sense as she is the Sailor Guardian representing the element of water.

Homegirl says her favorite food is sandwiches because she can eat them and read at the same time, which I can relate to on a very deep level.

The biggest similarities I see between Ami and Haley are their sweet, loving natures, their gentleness toward every living creature and their loyalty and love for their friends and family.

Ami is the solider of water, intelligence, wisdom justice and gadgets. Whoever said that the nerd can never be the hero was dead wrong! She also gets to look good doing it!

Haley and I went to Colossalcon this past weekend as Casual Mars and Mercury and Haley has graciously agreed to allow me to make her my model for this week and use her photos for this post!

 

We did two kind of different looks for our Sailor Guardians. Basically, the biggest difference was with and without the diadems. We both opted to wear the diadems because its Con and we wanted to have some cosplay fun too.

For Mercury, Haley held her diadem up with a classic ponytail, which Mercury would definitely sport should she grow her hair out. We found her diadem at Hot Topic and the stone was originally a shimmery red, but thanks to some ingenuity and a blue sharpie, it came out looking a little like this:

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Image borrowed from Hot Topic’s website and edited for use as an example by me.

We also went with a professional/scholarly feel to give credit to Ami’s intelligence. We found a pair of blue rimmed glasses also at Hot Topic:

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Photo from Hot Topic’s website

Haley donned earrings bearing the symbol of Sailor Mercury, also from, you guessed it, Hot Topic! We found a multi-pack of them so you will very likely see something similar in my upcoming Sailor Mars post!

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Photo Credit to the Hot Topic website

Rather than the massive bows that are part of the Sailor Guardians’ traditional uniforms, Haley opted for an enamel bow necklace modeled on the traditional bow from Mercury’s uniform.

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I’m actually not sure who to credit this photo to; I found it in a Google Image search

Rather than tall, heeled, blue boots, Haley opted for a pair of navy knee socks and a pair of flats that still gave the same sort of look, but gave more of that scholarly feel she was going for.

Since the Sailor uniforms all seem to consist of a white top and a skirt with that Guardian’s respective color, it was all about aesthetic with the shirt and skirt combination.

She chose a very classy chiffon blouse with lace and fluttery petal sleeves and a modest blue skirt that might look a little familiar to regular readers:

Mercury Shirt Edit

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This is the same skirt that helped transform me into Wonder Woman last week!

For the sake of being true to the idea of this blog and cosplaying without it being too ‘costume-y’, I also snapped a shot of the lovely Haley without the diadem.

We still get the Mercury vibe without the diadem, but this is still something that could totally be worn in any public setting.

But hey, if the diadem brings you joy, as I have always said and always will say, BE THAT.

Thank you for reading this week’s post! Always feel free to share your own looks with me as well as inbox me with any questions, comments, suggestions or feedback you may have! Check back next Tuesday to see which bad ass female superhero is featured!

Thanks for the read, see you next week!!

The Most Wonderful Of Women

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“I will fight for those who cannot fight for themselves”

I won’t lie to you. I have been waiting since the day I came up with the idea for this blog to do a Wonder Woman post. Wonder Woman may very well be my all-time favorite fictional character. I have wanted to be Wonder Woman my whole life. In the same way that Princess Leia resonated with me as a kid, Wonder Woman has been a lifelong idol, role model and source of joy. Wonder Woman is and has been such a big part of pop culture since her origination in the comic book world in 1941 that I honestly don’t remember the exact date she came into my life, but I do remember what sparked the current level of infatuation that I’m at. The level where I’m twice as likely to buy something if it has her logo or face on it. (There’s a place that has a Wonder Woman crock pot and I was so close to buying it even though, between my fiance and I, I think there are already three in my house. And it’s not just me keeping Wonder Woman economically relevant, it’s also my friends and family. I may be the easiest person to shop for because if it has to do with a certain Amazonian princess, I am all about that. )

I was a junior in college the first time I saw the Justice League cartoon series on Netflix. My junior year was really hard for me. I struggled so hard with my depression the first semester that I almost failed out of school. There were days I didn’t want to get out of bed. On one of the rare days that I did, I still couldn’t face the idea of going to class, so I flipped through Netflix on my roomie’s Xbox. I didn’t feel like anything heavy or complicated so I found the Justice League under the kid’s category and settled in to see what it was all about. I was still there when my roomie came home 6 hours later. I hadn’t done anything else productive that day, but I also hadn’t taken a depression nap either. Believe it or not, we both counted that as progress.

It may sound like a really weird thing, but it got me out of bed the next day too. When I turned it off for the night, I had just seen the first half of a two part episode that was heavy on the Diana plot. This was before I got my first smart phone and my tv in the bedroom was one of those old portable ones that had a VCR built in, so if I wanted to find out what happened, I was going to at the very least have to drag myself into the living room to turn on the tv. This would be the start of a very slow healing process in which I managed to pull myself far enough out of the pit to not fail out of school.

I’m not trying to say that the Justice League cured my depression; I still struggle with it even now. What I AM saying, is that getting out of bed to watch it was me stepping onto the first rung of the ladder out of the hole where I was standing at the rock bottom. Many many other steps came after that, but reminding myself as often as possible to be like Wonder Woman gave me the courage to keep climbing. By adopting Wonder Woman as my spirit animal, as the kids say, I was able to inspire myself to be better, to be brave and to persevere.

I immersed myself in that mentality. I made myself become an Amazon and when I told myself often enough that I was, I think I really started to believe it.

Wonder Woman was the first character I regularly started to emulate with my clothing, particularly when facing down an obstacle. Job interviews, stage performances, tough days at work or uncomfortable social situations all saw me either wearing a red top with blue bottoms or my WW emblem earrings or even my WW socks. Becoming an Amazon was my armor. For whatever reason, it just gave me that extra boost of courage to look into the eyes of whatever metaphorical monster stood in my way and be ready to do battle.

When I saw Gal Gadot’s performance in the film released last year, my lifelong hero was suddenly a living, breathing person made of flesh and blood. Or clay, if you want to go with the mythology of the comic heroine. I was mesmerized. My fiance (boyfriend at the time) found a showing of the film at 7pm the night before it was supposed to come out and he bought tickets to it right away. I don’t even remember if he actually asked me first. That’s how public I am about my love for this character; I’m pretty sure I would have jumped at the chance even if he hadn’t asked me first.

I’m only slightly embarrassed to admit that I shed a tear or two during the movie when her big moment comes and her full costume is revealed for the first time. I’m trying not to be too specific for the sake of not spoiling it for anyone who still hasn’t seen it (but they should make it a priority because it’s SO GOOD).

It is that very costume I chose to emulate for this week’s post rather than any of its other incarnations, even though Lynda Carter’s unitard will forever be iconic. 

 

From day one, Wonder Woman has pretty much always had something red on her torso and something blue on her legs and more red on her feet. This look has hundreds of ways to be accomplished, but for this post, I chose to try my hand at emulating her movie armor to the best of my ability and to the best of the limits of still keeping it an outfit rather than an out and out cosplay.

For the red top, I picked a simple cotton tee shirt:

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The blue bottom is a simple a-line stretchy skirt:

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And the red shoes were these surprisingly comfortable red heels I actually initially purchased for a ‘my best effort’ Sailor Mars cosplay, but really work for the aesthetic of today’s look:

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After that, I chose a few select pieces from my kind of vast collection of WW jewelry and accessories because just in case no one realized it, I’M WONDER WOMAN IN THIS OUTFIT:

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Trying my best to show off as many accessories as possible while still posing.

And because it’s me, and this is my favorite character EVER, I decided to have a little fun during this week’s photo shoot with two other very important accessories and some fun filters I try to avoid with the rest of the looks.

The diadem and the Godkiller sword (A birthday gift from my fiance because he gets me) really add a level of badass to this look.

I’m going to be real here. This is not the last time I’m going to casually cosplay Wonder Woman. I have too many additional outfits that I can put together to NOT be my favorite character again. I can, promise, though, that they will all be different, amazing and very much worth your time to take a second look at the same character.

Thank you for reading this week’s post, which is essentially a giant love letter to Wonder Woman. Always feel free to share your own looks with me as well as inbox me with any questions, comments, suggestions or feedback you may have! Check back next Tuesday to see which badass female superhero is featured!

Thanks for the read!