I'm going to be painfully honest. I would love to get to the point where I'm making my own cosplay. As ashamed as I am to admit it, I have a sewing table I have barely touched because I always get distracted by other things, or I'm simply too tired when I get off from work. I probably also have too many hobbies to be equally consistent with.
If you're like me in that aspect or you simply prefer to buy your cosplay online, I have used a few good sites that I would recommend; Let's get started!
The main site I use to order cosplay is AliExpress! I have used this website plenty of times and I have been satisfied each time. I have also used eBay and have had little to no problems at all; I actually started buying my cosplay off of eBay first before moving on to AliExpress.
AliExpress vs eBay
I have found that if I want to find more recent cosplays, AliExpress is definitely the way to go. In particular, I tried to cosplay as Nami from One Piece when Whole Cake Island Arc was airing and could not find her cosplay anywhere on eBay. However, that was an experience from roughly 3 years ago and that cosplay is currently on eBay.
As another test, I recently checked AliExpress for any cosplay on Nobara Kugisaki and was able to find it just as I expected. Nobara Kugisaki is a heroine from the popular and great anime series called Jujutsu Kaisen. It is a shonen anime and recently aired earlier this year. Next, I checked eBay and was able to (surprisingly) find it as well - albeit it was a little bit more expensive.
In that case, I was able to find the cosplay on both sites. I would like to add that it may depend on your timing, what convention you go to, and who you're cosplaying as. I usually always go to MomoCon which is close to late May; these are all factors to consider along with cost.
When To Start Ordering Cosplay?
Generally, I try to figure out who I will cosplay as in October. I really try not to change my mind because it can take a while for all of the cosplay items and accessories to arrive. That is why I try to order my cosplay early. Also, if there is an issue with sizing or quality, I have plenty of time to send it back and re-order something else if needed.
I'd say a good rule of thumb to follow is to at least order your cosplay 6 or 8 months before the date of the convention you're going to. Also, what if there's a character that comes with a lot of props and there's some complication with finding them? I like to have extra time to fix any mistakes that could occur, but it's really up to the person.
I also found that ordering my cosplay items bit by bit instead of ordering them all at once is a lot easier on my pockets. For instance, I'd order the costume, the shoes, the wig, and the props all separately over the span of one to three months. It also helps if you're cosplaying as more than one character. Then, I use the remaining time to save money for the con.
Anyway, that's all for now! If you'd like to see more about this or any particular topic, leave a comment or send an email!