Conquering Cosplay: Buffy Summers

I of all people know that conquering a costume for your beloved character can seem like a really daunting task. I’ve been making my own costumes for all occasions as long as I can remember and there are still some characters I aspire to recreate but I shudder in the face of intimidation. Because I’ve sometimes been too afraid to overtake the big ones I’ve learned a whole lot about the subtle nuances of more basic costume choices and let me tell you: it’s all about the details.

The details of a cosplay can truly make or break the entire look. A lot of people overlook the small things and focus on the overall “look” and at times it can cause them to miss the character mark. This month I’ve chosen male and female characters that don’t have costumes or trademark armor, but they can be easily recreated if you focus on the details.

Buffy Summers (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

It was only a matter of time until I brought this one out. Buffy is my hero and I’ve looked up to her since the tender age of twelve. I figured who better to focus on than one of the most bad ass women EVER in honor of Women’s History Month?!

Buffy Season 4 Promo Head Shot

First thing’s first, Buffy does not have a costume she puts on to fight vampires. She has no cape, no mask, and no “trademark”. Unless you count stakes, which I actually do, so go ahead and make a note of that now. The best place to start with a Buffy Summers cosplay is to decide which version or season you’d like to portray.

If you don’t want to do something so specific and you’d like to be general Buffy, the costume is made by the details. The first step is again to choose your look. Google pictures or re-watch your favorite episode and choose an outfit that’s easy to emulate and really focus on it. Buffy was uber stylish, at least for the late 90’s early 2000’s so really any “stylish” or “trendy” thing would work. In high school she wore a lot of short skirts, in college she wore more knee length ones. She always had blonde hair, although the length varied, and she almost always wore high heeled boots as Sarah Michelle Gellar is a tiny one, at only 5’4”.

Once you’ve chosen your retro stylish duds you can focus on what makes your costume what it is with the details. Buffy frequently wore a silver cross around her neck, this is a must have. If you’re going for a look from the Angel years get yourself a cheap Claddaugh ring to wear. You’ll want to tote a bag around with you for your weapons. I recommend making these yourself since it is easy enough and adds a nice genuine touch. You can get wood, sandpaper, and wood glue at a craft store to make a cross, you can get viles or jars there as well to fill with “holy” water, and if you’re up to the task you can even whittle your own stakes.

Buffy does have some more characteristic looks, for example you could be her from season 3 episode 1 when she ran away from home and was working at a diner and calling herself “Anne”. This would be a nice homage to the series because it is kind of obscure but anyone who watched the show would recognize you immediately.

Buffy in "Anne"

This is also an easy one to recreate. All you would really need is a short sleeved white button down shirt and a knee length white skirt, a red waist length apron or a piece of red material to make an apron, and some red and white checkered fabric to create cuffs and a collar. The costume can be put together easily enough by pairing the shirt with the skirt (obviously) and using the red and white checked fabric in strips and adhering it to the cuffs of the shirt and to the collar. Just tie a red apron around your waist, or easily fashion one from a piece of red fabric and ribbon and you’re just about done. Now the focus is on the lovely little details.

There are two things that make this costume what it is. First, Buffy is known for her blonde hair and when she dons the diner waitress outfit she wears her hair in two braids. For me, this is a must have. If you don’t like wigs (I don’t) and don’t want to color your hair you at least HAVE to sport the two braids. The final detail is the nametag. You have to wear a nametag that says “Anne”. It is Buffy’s middle name, the identity she then gives to Lily, and the title of the episode. It is a must. Without the braids and nametag you’re just a waitress, but with them you’re Buffy Anne Summers.