best pokemon costume ideas

Best Pokemon Costume Ideas for New and Experienced Cosplayers

Pokémon is a beautifully diverse and wild animated card game series that’s filled with many, many, many characters we all know and love. There are rarely hated characters or Pokémon because there is so much to love! At some point, we have always wanted to join the classic world and hop into an adventure. 

Well, why can’t you? So boot up Pokémon Go and put on your new costume!

Bottom Line Up Front

Here are my personal favorite costume ideas for the world of Pokémon. The bottom line is everyone will want something different, so I added a costume for everyone in here. I think you’ll find a character or Pokémon you’ll instantly feel inspired to make a costume for…or at least admire and put it on the costume to-do list. 

Selection Criteria

  • Accessibility: I wanted to show character cosplays varying in skill level. Most of these character cosplays can be made on an extreme budget with a great look.
  • A+ Characters: All of these characters are loved and known, but some of them don’t have a ton of cosplays so that you can be unique but also recognizable.
  • Inclusive: I think it is essential to highlight inclusive cosplay. There are tons of gender-inclusive, body-positive, POC characters in Pokémon, and I’ve made sure to include them.
  • Ease: None of these costumes will break your bank or make you want to give up while making it. Well, maybe the last one.

Take a look!

Marnie (Sword and Shield)

This cosplayer is wearing a sleeveless crop top, shorts, armbands, a Poke Ball glove, and a Poke Ball. – Image from Pinterest

Cosplay cost: $30-60

Cosplay difficulty: 4/10

Marnie was one of the best additions to Sword and Shield. Her character design was gripping and different from everyone else. It’s also straightforward to accomplish as a costume since everything is pedestrian and can be found in a store. However, some adjustments are required to make the buckle shapes, and you’re game accurate. 

What you’ll need:

  • A ponytail wig or normal hair (spray hair color would make it easy). With regular hair spray, her hair shape can be obtained fairly easily 
  • A leather jacket
  • Something pink underneath 
  • Combat boots and high socks are optional, but a plus

Mew

This cosplayer is posed wearing a pink dress with glittery stars, off-the-shoulder puffy sleeves, blue tights, choker, pink wig, and little ears. – Image from Instagram

Cosplay cost: $40-100

Cosplay difficulty: 7/10

Mew is the beloved nearly god-like Pokémon. They’re fun and chaotic in some ways, and pink! This costume is more about color matching since Mew themselves is a complex character to make a game-accurate costume for. Mew is also a perfect character to express yourself in, much like the photo below.

You can make it feminine, masculine, non-binary, sparkly, matte, velvet, etc.! In my research, everyone did Mew differently, and it was all essentially Mew.

What you’ll need:

Pink…lots of pinks. I can’t guide you much throughout the process of Mew because it’s a different costume for everybody. To me, the most important thing about making a costume for Mew is making something Mew would love. Sparkles, flounce, etc.—anything the cute little god Pokémon would say “mew” to.

Piers

This cosplayer is posed wearing a huge black and white wig, white and pink jacket, microphone with stand and accessories, black tank top, and a choker. – Image from Twitter

Cosplay cost: $50-120

Cosplay difficulty: 9/10

Piers isn’t one of the most loved characters in this fandom, but I think he’s one of the most visually interesting. His color scheme is pink, black, and white, which may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but he’s pretty metal, and for all my fellow emos, old and new, he’s a fantastic character to cosplay.

The most complex design about him is the hair; otherwise, this is an easily found cosplay that can be thrifted, bought, or handmade. Hence the steeper price point, as the wig itself would probably cost $50 minimum and lots of time and effort.

What you’ll need:

  • Black and white clothing (doesn’t matter exactly what you use as long as it fits his color story) 
  • Black and white hair (black and white wigs are easily found on Amazon)
  • Some good makeup skills

Note: If you want to create a wig like the cosplayer pictured, you’ll need to learn about stiff wigs/hard wigs. These aren’t made from hair, but paper, cardboard, plastic, etc., which is what they’re wearing. It creates a cartoon effect that fits the style very well.

Ash

Cosplayer is sitting down in the grass holding a plushie Pikachu. They are wearing a red hat, black shirt, and jacket. They’re wearing green gloves and smiling. – Image from Deviant Art

Cosplay cost: $15-40

Cosplay difficulty: 2/10

Ash is a classic character, and probably the most well-known, next to Pikachu himself. The wonderful thing about cosplaying Ash is that he has so many iterations that you can really choose which outfit from which version of Ash fits you the most.

There are many outfits with vests, jackets, or hoodies, with or without a hat, etc. All of them are recognizable in their own ways. I prefer the newer versions of Ash’s outfits because they tend to fit his character more, but every version is perfect for whoever chooses it for themselves.

What you’ll need:

  • A baseball hat
  • Blue jacket or vest
  • Sneakers
  • Some poke balls 
  • Bonus if you can get a Pikachu

Nessa

This cosplayer is wearing a sleeveless crop top, shorts, arm bands, a poke ball glove, and a poke ball. – Image from Food And Cosplay

Cosplay cost: $40-100

Cosplay difficulty: 6/10

Nessa is hands down my favorite character from Sword and Shield (my first Pokémon game!) Her charisma, really cool outfit and awesome hair make her seriously stand out, and I’m not alone on that. Nessa is a beloved black character for us POC to cosplay, so of course, I had to add her to this list.

The costume itself is extremely accessible to buy, but not hard to make, either. The only “hard” part about this costume is the wig. Her hair is so unique that it would take some customizing, but it’s nothing a little hairspray can’t do. 

What you’ll need:

The most recognizable part of this character is their hair, so designing the right wig would be the best start. I suggest starting off with a lace front base, and getting a cheaper wig to use the hair to make the original lace front wig better, and combine colors. 

Tip: Look up drag queens styling wigs, because they often do it more sturdily and more often than cosplayers!

Poke ball

This cosplayer has a poke ball mask on, a hat, a red button shirt, khaki shorts, and sneakers. – Image from Pinterest

Cosplay cost: $20-50

Cosplay difficulty: 1/10

This is an easy costume to create, and stupid in the best way. All you have to make is a fake head that’s a happy Pokeball, a hat, and clothing with a Jake from State Farm-like look. Instantly recognizable!

What you’ll need

  • A papier-mâché ball (or cardboard)
  • Red shirt or dress
  • Khaki shorts
  • Hat
  • Plus extra poke balls on your hips to give away to adoring fans 

Tip: Wear comfortable sneakers! Overall, this is a fantastic costume for comfort.

Sylveon

This cosplayer is wearing a pink skirt with blue frills on the bottom, white button up top with puffy sleeves, pink sweater, a Sylveon plushie, bowtie, scarf, pink wig, and hair accessories. – Image from Tumblr

Cosplay cost: $40-100

Cosplay difficulty: 5/10

One of the most loved aesthetically, Sylveon is a beautiful Pokémon, perfect for expressing gender and identity since they’re pink and frilly, and usually male. The LGBTQIA+ community loves this Pokémon, so why not become them?! The essential parts of this costume are getting the essential roots, pink and blue hints, and frilly, pretty looks.

What you’ll need:

  • Pink and blue fabric
  • Bows (premade ones can easily be found at craft stores)
  • Ears are the most important, but…
  • Frills are basically required

Note: This is a costume more about personal preference, so whatever your inner heart desires, take it! 

Nurse Joy and Officer Jenny

The cosplayer is wearing a pink nurse’s uniform, flats, a hat, and pink wig. On the right, the cosplayer is wearing a blue and red uniform, flats, hat, and green wig. – Image from Deviant Art

Cosplay cost: $20-90 each

Cosplay difficulty: 6/10

This is a costume that’s not done enough, in my opinion. Nurse Joy and Officer Jenny are two recurring characters in the Pokémon franchise and some of the most loved women in Pokémon history.

Their costumes can be easily bought if you would rather not make them, since they are so well known; premade costumes can cost you about $50-100. If you choose to make instead of buy, since it’s so easy and uses classic items for both, you can thrift or buy most of the pieces and make adjustments.

This costume pairing would work for any occasion, such as Halloween, conventions, Thanksgiving…

What you’ll need:

  • A skirt or dress (I’d recommend fabric dye, as you probably can’t get the exact color for Officer Jenny)
  • A wig in the matching color
  • Character-appropriate hat
  • Comfy flats
  • Your creativity

Note: The trick is to get the makeup and hair right, as while their costumes are recognizable, hair in Pokémon stands out as unique, so the more accurate, the better.

Pikachu

Two cosplayers leaning against each other with yellow and black Pikachu ears, one wearing a jumper, one wearing overalls. – Image from Blogspot

Cosplay cost: $30-100

Cosplay difficulty: 4/10

Pikachu costumes have been around since the beginning of time (or at least it feels like it). Let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to be our lovable yellow friend? Cosplays of Pikachu vary from person to person; I couldn’t find two that looked the same.

Many people give more of a furry vibe, using all fake fur to create their look, while some people do the essence of Pikachu. Whatever you decide, you gotta have the cute red cheeks

What you’ll need:

  • Yellow, white, and black clothing
  • Yellow and black ears
  • A tail (I recommend getting a moving tail for effect) 

Note: This costume can be as cheap or expensive as you want, so making a massive costume, or thrifting yellow clothing and painting black on, are both valid ways of making this costume.

Mimikyu

This cosplayer is standing in a full-body costume that takes up a LOT of space! Be aware of your surroundings when you go big like this. – Image from Deviant Art

Cosplay cost: $10-100

Cosplay difficulty: 10/10

Mimikyu is a crazy Pokémon that we all love. Not too many people have posted costumes of their version, but the cosplayer here did the most accurate job I’ve seen. With this costume, you have free will to make any type of costume you really want, since they do mimic. 

Why is the base cost so low? Well, if you use coffee bean bags, knapsacks, etc., to make this costume, that’ll be close to zero dollars spent. 

What you’ll need:

  • Brown fabric (I suggest burlap)
  • Buttons
  • Some good sewing skills
  • Creativity

Note: I’d personally create a quilt of different burlap fabric with labels and all, and sew a massive dress. But working with fabric like that takes time, patience, and energy. If you’re new to sewing, maybe choose a normal non-stretch brown fabric, instead, to save yourself a massive headache.

Lillie

Cosplayer is sitting down in a white and blue dress with a large collar, she’s wearing a large brimmed sunhat, blonde braided wig, and poke ball bag. – Image from Tumblr

Cosplay cost: $30-60

Cosplay difficulty: 4/10

Now I’m a bit biased; Lillie is my favorite character because we share a name. But she’s gorgeous with a simple look. This costume can be extremely easy or done with more detail. The essence of Lillie’s look is a white dress, white hat, and bag.

Do with that as you will. Since it’s so basic, it won’t cost much at all. In fact, it could cost less than my estimate if you use a less massive hat and wig, which comprise the majority of the cost.

What you’ll need:

  • A white dress
  • A big hat (you’ll probably not find one exactly like hers, so you may have to combine the brim of two hats to create it. Just use a hat that’s stitched together and unravel it; you’ll need to sew or glue it back up, using the material from both hats to create one big one)
  • A Poke ball bag

Charizard

Shirahime Twitter
Image from Twitter @shirahimejust

Cosplay cost: $30-100

Cosplay difficulty: 8/10

A unique way to shoe a dragon! Armor makes so much sense when used as scales. Armor is HARD if you choose to go that way, but armor provides some of the best-looking effects in costumes. Remember EVA foam is your friend; get a heat gun, and weathering paint jobs will be your very best friend. If you choose not to go with armor, you probably love yourself and your sanity.

The significant details you won’t want to skip are the color palette and wings, which are easily the most recognizable part of this character. Some people wear dresses, jumpers, etc. With cosplaying Pokémon themselves, there is tons of creative freedom, so use it!

What you’ll need:

  • Orange materials (depending on how you make your costume, this could include orange paint, fabric, and EVA foam, or other items to build wings and armor from) 
  • There are also many Charizard costumes that are suits, dresses, casual swimsuits, or onesies 

My favorite: Milo

This Milo cosplayer is standing in green shorts with poke balls attached to them, a white and green shirt, scarf, pink wig, and wide-brimmed hat. – Image from Reddit

Cosplay cost: $15-40

Cosplay difficulty: 2/10

Milo is another character from Sword and Shield that took our hearts. He’s a big huggable guy who’s extremely nice and caring. His costume is a simple white shirt and green shorts.

What lies ahead here is detail. You can easily print and iron on the details on his clothing, making this one of the cheapest looks on this list and my personal favorite. Many versions of his outfit are sold for between $40-100, so if you don’t like ironing and have the spare money, buying this costume is an easy option, as well.

What you’ll need:

  • A pink pussycat wig
  • Large brimmed hat (I’d recommend doing the same technique with the hat for Lillie: taking two hats with brims and combining them to supersize it)
  • Poke balls
  • A green and white shirt

Most Frequent Items in These Cosplays

Hats: Many of our characters are seen with hats. A local dollar store would be the cheapest place to get them if you’re on a budget.

Poke balls: Poke balls can be found in bulk on many online websites, or handcrafted. You’ll probably need four or more to show off in your costume

Pokémon: Many Pokémon cosplayers, especially if they’re trainers, add a plushie of their known favorite Pokémon; it’s a nice touch to add one to your costume. You can even make it function, adding a voice box to make specific sounds, making them into a purse or backpack, etc., so you aren’t just holding a prop all day. Add some flair! 

Sneakers: Look, when cosplayers come to shoes, they pick the most accurate…but the least comfortable. Don’t be like us: wear more comfortable shoes, or at least bring an extra (comfy) pair so you’re not hobbling around in pain.

FAQs

Question: How do I make a costume?

Answer: However you can! If you don’t sew, fabric glue and hot glue are your best friends. There are people who have won competitions with hot glued garments, so never let that stop you! And if you’re on a budget or simply can’t afford the extremely expensive cosplay materials, get crafty! Use cardboard, fabric scraps, thrifted items, etc.

Question: Can I buy costumes?

Answer: Yes! Bought costumes are valid forms of cosplay, or costuming in general! They can cost more overall than making it yourself, but it’s easy, and generally made to wear. I always tweak my bought costumes to look less out of the box, though. If you have no standard measurements, you’ll almost always have to tailor a premade costume, if it’s not from a cosplayer or costumer.

Question: I don’t look like the character, can I still wear their costume?

Answer: Yes! Costuming, wearing costumes, and cosplay aren’t ever exclusionary, as long as you don’t take from another person’s culture. Cosplay and costumes are for everyone to express themselves and wear what they want. Never be afraid to go big. Everyone has had one fear while in costume, that they’re not enough, etc., but you will feel more confident wearing something you love…and people will love it.

Question: Are the budgets accurate? Do I really have to pay _ amount for that character?

Answer: The estimated budget is a guideline from what I see on purchasable costumes, or if you’re making it, the materials. The amazing thing about costuming is that there are always sales and hidden gems. You could probably make everything for under $10 if you got extremely creative with what you have. It’s simply a price range for items online if not on sale, and what I personally think would be needed. You might spend more or less.

Conclusion

Pokémon costumes are some of the most fun and simple costumes you can make. Everyone can recognize you, everyone will love you, and you will absolutely revel in the joy that is the Pokémon fandom. I’ve never seen such a kind group of people at conventions than Pokemon fans (or Nintendo fans, in general).

The fact is, Pokémon costumes allow a lot of freedom in creativity, and can really be able to express the love you have for Pokémon in a visual form. I know after this list, I’ve planned my next cosplay, and I hope you have too.

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