Fashion & Merchandising

How to Dress Like a Video Game Character without Cosplaying: Final Fantasy XIII Edition

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I’m not a very fashionable person. My greatest claim to being a fashionista is that the cardigan I wear when I’ve given up on life is apparently trendy. But I cosplay. And I’ve worked so much retail that beautiful window displays are falling out of my butt. So I’m here to give you tips and tricks to dressing like your favorite characters without looking like you’ve gone to your college lecture in cosplay. And because I’m a poor college student and assume everyone else in the world is, too, I’ve tried to keep most items under $50 and versatile enough that you can actually wear these things with other outfits.

Polyvore - Lightning

Blinded by the Light via Polyvore


Lightning’s design is centered on army hues with a couple of color pops. A simple sleeveless white blouse can be paired with an olive skirt and a cute belt. Throw on some motorcycle boots and a red satchel and you’re good to go! Jewelry includes black and blue chunky bracelets, a studded gold ring, and a silver necklace. And if you really feel like going the extra mile, give yourself a few pink highlights with hair chalk.

(Note: I actually own the boots and have worn them with my Lightning costume a couple times. They’re comfy, affordable, and make a clack-clack on the ground like you mean business.)

Memories of Happier Days via Polyvore

Memories of Happier Days via Polyvore

Vanille makes for a change of pace. Lightning is full of muted tones paired with bold colors while Vanille is a lot of soft, summery hues – lots of pinks and corals. A soft orange flouncy skirt and a pink crop top will make up the brunt of the outfit. Add a neutral purse (maybe something with fur?) and some fuzzy-cuffed ankle boots to complete the outfit. Jewelry with neutral tones, corals, and pops of mint and sky blue double for Vanille’s unending supply of beads.

Now Way to Live via Polyvore

No Way to Live via Polyvore

Snow’s outfit gives off the air of a homeless dude with nothing to lose nomad badass. The colors stick to greys and blues with some rough-and-tumble black accessories. Start with a nice khaki trench and add some slate leggings. Do you need a shirt? Of course not, you’re a bad ass. (Please wear a shirt. A plain, ribbed white tank will do the trick.) Do you need actual pants? Hell no. Bad asses can pull off leggings, even if leggings aren’t pants. Throw on a sweet plaid scarf, preferably a blue one with unfinished edges. Add fingerless motorcycle gloves (like these ones with the cute little studs) and some black combat boots and you’ll look like a wandering hero of awesomeness.

Can't Catch a Break via Polyvore

Can’t Catch a Break via Polyvore

Sazh takes Lightning’s military vibe and goes all out. Start with a nice green army-style jacket – big buttons, epaulets, strong tailoring. Layer an oversized and floppy white deep v over a black tank top and pair them with tan jeggings. Add black motorcycle boots (what is it with this game and bad ass boots?) and some chevron-themed jewelry to round out the military theme. Tiny chocobo chick not included.

This is Your Home via Polyvore

This is Your Home via Polyvore

Hope has the wardrobe of a moody teen down. Army green cargo pants with cream-colored combat boots scream “I’m fifteen and angry at the world!” Add a black tank top and an orange motorcycle jacket (because Hope’s jacket does not actually exist in the real world, the fashion gods wouldn’t allow it) with a teal bandana for style. Woven bracelets in yellow and black because you’re a rebel and can wear whatever you want.

Dust to Dust via Polyvore

Dust to Dust via Polyvore

Let’s move on to someone who isn’t wearing boots. Fang! Fang doesn’t need sturdy boots that protect her toesies from getting stepped on. She’s a goddamn Sentinel (the tanky kind, not the Marvel kind) and she can totally handle a stubbed toe. Fang’s outfit is a lot of blues and browns. A simple flowy blue sundress with a black crop top underneath will replace her flowing blue wrap. Gladiator-style sandals and a fringe bag add some more natural elements to the bold blue of the dress. Add some mixed metal jewelry and aviators to say “I’m a bad ass.  I’m the baddest magical lesbian you’ll ever meet, mate.”

The Promise via Polyvore

The Promise via Polyvore

Last but not least, there’s Serah. Serah is a magical princess schoolgirl so her outfit is based in pinks and silvers and whatever Frederick’s of Hollywood has in the Halloween clearance bin (j/k Serah, ilu girl).  A pink plaid skirt, black knee-highs, and a lacy sleeveless blouse create whimsy. The cream Converse hi-tops add to the schoolgirl chic. With sparkly bracelets, a dangly necklace, and adorable silver studs Serah is complete! And full of cute yet sexy schoolgirl delight.

So there you have it, tips and tricks on how to style yourself in the vein of your favorite Final Fantasy XIII character without having to go all out and cosplay. (Though, a few of these could work as Halloween costumes in a pinch…)

Always remember the 3 Cs: Cosplay, Curation, and Corpses!


  1. Rachel

    December 6, 2013 at 12:09 PM

    Apparently I already dress like Snow.

    • Kelly

      December 6, 2013 at 12:11 PM

      I am one step away from Sazh and Hope.

      I don’t know how I feel about this.

    • Victoria

      December 6, 2013 at 12:20 PM

      Throw my “I’ve given up” cardigan on that Lightning, and it’s basically what I already wear.

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