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Cosplaying the Old West? 4 Easy Ways to Improve Your Costume

Old west costume
For cosplayers, improving their costumes is one of the best parts of this fun hobby. If you're looking to make your Western cosplay efforts a little more on point, here are a few ideas that any cosplayer can put into practice no matter what their skill level or budget.

1. Boost Your Hat Game

Without a doubt, the most defining part of any Western style is the hat you choose. As a cosplayer, you want to get this detail as correct as possible to achieve your look. Start by learning more about different Western hat styles and who wore them.

Can you tell the difference, for instance, between historical cowboy hats - like the original Stetson "Boss of the Plains" hat - and movie or TV versions? Which style fits into your cosplay goals better? What hats were worn in your character's time period? Which type of crown shape would your character wear - teardrop, center dent, or diamond? Hat shape can say a lot about a character, so getting it right will automatically help your costume.

2. Try a Variation

Rather than donning a generic "cowboy" or "Wild West" costume, try personalizing your cosplay by exploring beyond the obvious. The Wild West has many options for costuming - all of which can bring fun new ideas for your costume.

Why not add steampunk elements for a more fantastical theme? Add steampunk paraphernalia - including gears, feathers, goggles on the brim, wide leather bands, or interesting metal bits - to your hat and coat. You could also customize your cowboy or cowgirl outfit to honor your cultural heritage, such as by adding a vaquero hat and clothing styles that reflect the original "cowboys" that really roamed the West.

Want to glam it up? A gambler or dandy costume gives you a chance to be elegant and playful. Gambler hats have a more refined look than traditional cowboy hats, and this change alone transforms your character and gives you new inspiration. 

3. Add a Prop

Details are important for costumers, and they can make or break any costume. Props are one of the easiest ways to make your cosplay better without any extra work. Even something as simple as a Ranger or Pinkerton Agent badge gives the outfit a new direction.

Try changing out your single gun holster for a double holster. Or add a custom-designed holster in place of your generic version. Add an accessory to your cowboy hat, such as a small feather that gives it some color or a pin. Wearing a gambler hat? Tuck some playing cards into the brim.

4. Find Some Friends

Cosplay is a group activity, so you can have even more fun if you're part of a group of costumers. Create a themed or matching costume with your spouse or kids, and you will automatically get more attention at any cosplay events. You'll also have a buddy for your own costuming hobby.

Don't have family members who like to dress up? Many cities and regions have costuming groups - either generic costumers or specifically-themed groups - you can join. Fans and costume groups generally welcome cosplayers of all varieties and all skill levels, so feel free to jump in and make new friends. Experienced costumers can also help you improve your own work by giving tips and recommendations of their own.

No matter what type of Western costuming you do, there are always ways to have more fun with it. Find inspiration today by checking out the Western gear inventory at Paris Hatters. We have hats, boots, and accessories to help you bring life to any character you desire. Visit today.

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