Formal Attire Inspiration Guide

Cosplayers are quite welcome at the ball! However we ask you please remember that it is a formal dance event first and foremost, and the dress code must still be adhered to.

Think to yourself, "What would this character wear to a formal event?"

Cosplay for men and women should resemble formal wear of the non-costume variety (long gowns, formal military attire, etc.) School uniforms, armor, chains, and excessive belts are all considered informal.

Large props, wings, weapons, or anything that impairs your field of vision will not be allowed in the event as they are an impediment on the dance floor and may be broken or harm others. Anime Boston reserves the right to ask for the removal of costume portions or props that are problematic.

Below you will find both examples of cosplay that is already perfectly formal as well as one that can be made formal with a little creativity.

Examples of Formal Cosplay Conversion

Informal Formal Conversion
Organization XIII from Kingdom Hearts Out of heavy cotton or suiting fabric create knee length (better for dancing) or full length black coat with mandarin collar, open front and without zipper. Pair with black button down shirt, slacks and dress shoes. Add jewelry similar to the chains worn around their necks, copy Org XIII symbol on the back of the coat. Also consider making a miniature version of your characters weapon as a pin to wear on your lapel.
Maka Albern from Soul Eater Swap out mini skirt for smart knee length suit skirt or A-Line skirt. Pair with dressy shoes.
Tsubaki from Soul Eater Alter dress so slits stop near knees. Swap out leggings for black tights and dress shoes. Swap out belt for formal satin sash and swap out arm bands for opera gloves.
Simon from Gurren Lagann Tighten up sash to resemble formal cummerbund, take navy blazer and add designs to resemble his over shirt. Finally add tie in color similar to his necklace, pair with slacks and dress shoes.
Edward Elric from Full Metal Alchemist Replace the red coat with a red blazer, the shirt with a black button down, and add a tie with the alchemist symbol printed on it.
Asuka's yellow sundress from Neon Genesis Evangelion Make the dress out of satin or another formal fabric (not cotton). Pair with dress shoes and matching jewelry.
Sakura Haruno from Naruto Convert her red dress into a floor length china doll dress without black leggings. Replace the Naruto head band with a formal satin head band. Pair with appropriate accessories.

Video Games
Video games can be a wonderful source of formal costumes. Also keep in mind that if you're favorite character's everyday wear isn't quite up to snuff, many characters have alternative outfits in art books or final cut scenes.

Western Ideas
The land of the rising son isn't the only source for great formal outfits; you may want to consider a favorite character from your childhood or the comic book shelf.

Japanese Clothing
Whether traditional or trendy many Japanese clothing options would be good choices for the ball. For modern clothes a good rule of thumb is: if the item is an interpretation of traditional formal wear east or west, its likely a good option for the ball.

Military Minus the Boots
Formal military outfits can be quite dapper. As explained in the FAQ since this is a dancing event boots are not allowed but for many, many military outfits plain dress shoes can easily be substituted for boots. When contemplating an outfit that normally contains tall knee high boots consider lengthening the pants or wearing tights underneath to achieve a similar silhouette.

Asian Inspired Clothing
You will often find clothes that are inspired by formal eastern attire that would look lovely at the ball.

Suits are smart!
There are a wide range of suit related cosplay options, if you're looking for affordable suit jackets please remember your local Good Will!

Gorgeous Gowns
A gown is always a great option, please remember if you don't like high-heels, dressy flats are a good alternative.

Great Formal Cosplay of the Past
We've had a huge range of formal cosplay and formal cosplay conversions over the years, here are just a few examples. If you have good examples from past years feel free to email us!