Top 10 Trends in Womens Costumes at NY Comic Con 2014 (PHOTOS)

Think all the attendees of NY Comic Con look like “Comic Book Guy” from The Simpsons?

Get with the program… this is 2014!

The annual pop-culture convention at the Javits Center attracts plenty of women with a passion for comics, anime and video games– as well as cult films, TV shows and web series. Whether dressed as Japanese lolitas or badass warriors, women cosplayers arguably have the best costumes at NY Comic Con and certainly attract a lion’s share of attention, especially when opting for racy costumes.

I love meeting and interviewing the dedicated cosplayers of NYCC but, at 7-months pregnant, I had to scale back my coverage this year to include only the opening day (Thursday). Notably, I met a number of other pregnant women or recent moms at this family-friendly event! Next year I’ll be sure to come back with a Batman-dressed baby in tow.

Read on for the top 10 women’s costume trends spotted during my foray to the West Side of Manhattan. For more inspiring women’s costumes, check out my best women’s costumes of 2013, 2012 and 2011 posts!

#1. Poison Ivy Rules

NY Comic Con 2014 Poison Ivy 5

Poison Ivy from Batman appears to have overtaken Harley Quinn as the most popular women’s costume at NY Comic Con 2014. While there were plenty of Harleys on the convention floor, it struck me how many women donned a red wig and tight red dress to portray the world’s sexiest eco-terrorist. Most made their own costumes by gluing or sewing individual leaves onto green corsets or dresses, a painstaking process that puts Project Runway contestants to shame.

>>> Tip for visiting photographers: Last year, I made the mistake of wearing a bright green dress and black boots to NYCC. With my red hair, I was actually stopped and asked to be in photos because people thought I was dressed as Poison Ivy! Since I attend NYCC to meet and take pictures of cosplayers, I went with a more muted look this time around.

NY Comic Con 2014 Poison Ivy 6

NY Comic Con 2014 Poison Ivy 4

NY Comic Con 2014 Poison Ivy 3

NY Comic Con 2014 Poison Ivy 1

NY Comic Con 2014 Poison Ivy 2

#2. Bobbleheads

NY Comic Con 2014 Space Cadet Costume

I don’t recall ever seeing this many bubble-headed cosplayers in midtown Manhattan! Signifying a budding trend, several women created their own costumes that involved domed headgear. The woman in the above photo was not emulating a specific character, but was inspired to dress as a “space cadet.”

NY Comic Con 2014 Cancer Baby Artist

This adorable costume has a surprisingly deep meaning. Created and worn by artist Lu Yang, the character is called “Cancer Baby” and is meant to raise awareness and acceptance of cancer patients.

#3. Lolitas

NY Comic Con 2014 Lolita

A popular look for several years now, lolita fashion continues to grow at NY Comic Con. The trend isn’t based on a specific character, but rather started as a Japanese fashion inspired by Victorian clothing. As always, it’s challenging to define what a “women’s” costume is at NY Comic Con due to the gender bending looks (see #8 below). The above cosplayer may have a Y chromosome, but he is rocking this dainty frock!

#4. Anything Can Be Sexy (Even Zombies)

NY Comic Con 2014 Silent Hill

There are three main categories of women’s costumes at the Con: (1) sexy, (2) clever and (3) scary/badass. The sexy category gets the most attention from photographers and male attendees, who often stop short to snap photos of women in spandex and corsets. If you want to feel like a movie star for a day, sexy is the way to go! Fortunately, any character can be made sexy with liberal use of makeup, short skirts and ample cleavage. This woman rocked her Silent Hill nurse costume, confirming monsters can be just as sensual as Batman villainesses.

#5. Clever Can Trump Sexy

NY Comic Con 2014 Sims Character

Proving you don’t have to bare skin or spend hours with a hot glue gun to have an amazing costume, this woman employed poster board and a dowel for her Sims character costume. Her simple, clever look captured smiles and nods as she walked across the convention floor.

#6. Girl Bonding

NY Comic Con 2014 Sabretooth Black Canary Black Cat

Ladies unite! While outsiders might think men drive the worldwide comic con industry, women often visit with other female friends or in groups. When their outfits coordinate, it makes a strong impression. This trio was dressed as animal-inspired super heroes– Sabretooth, Black Canary and Black Cat– albeit from different comic universes.

#7. Badass Women

NY Comic Con 2014 Krieg the Psycho Borderlands

Some of the most impressive weapons wielded at NY Comic Con are in the hands of women cosplayers.  Whether dressed in traditionally male costumes or adopting the look of no-nonsense female characters, these ladies are not to be messed with! Check out our 2014 Badass Weapons article for more photos of ladies packing heat.

#8. Gender-Bending Characters

NY Comic Con 2014 The Crow

NY Comic Con is a safe, accepting place to explore issues of sexuality and gender.  There is no clear gender line here, as women don traditionally male costumes and men dress as female characters– and for many costumes, it is anyone’s guess whether the masked participant has XX or XY chromosomes. The overriding theme is love of cosplay, and there are no rules to follow when paying tribute to a favorite character. Last year, Loki (the villainous brother in Thor) was one of the top women’s costumes at NYCC. The above tribute to 1990s comic and film The Crow made me nostalgic for the grunge era!

#9. Intricate Makeup

NY Comic Con 2014 Living Doll

Not to sound stereotypical, but women do seem to have the best makeup at NY Comic Con. From the blue faces of Homestuck to the ‘living doll’ look above, fangirls know how to bring characters alive with face paint and even drugstore cosmetics. The best makeup often takes hours to complete, but the end result is amazing!

#10. Women Reign

NY Comic Con 2014 Dr Who Queen of Years

There are plenty of women at NY Comic Con dressed as queens, princesses and other traditionally female characters. And more power to them! Not every cosplayer has to weild a huge sword or homemade bazooka. I was struck by the elegance of this costume, Queen of Years from Dr Who.

What’s your favorite women’s costume from NY Comic Con?

Share your opinion by leaving a comment below! For more cosplay photos, check out our library of Best NY Comic Con Costume articles covering the past 4 years of the convention.

About Leslie Koch

I'm a New Yorker with a passion for travel and art. I founded after returning from a year-long backpacking trip around the world. Find me on Twitter at @leslietravel.