Ok well this is Ireland, unlike Japan or Tokyo you can't just walk into a costume shop and ask for a Final Fantasy cosplay of your choice. I recall ages ago on a forum, a girl who was new to cosplay asked where in Dublin can you get cosplay outfits, the answer to this question is simply, no you can't, unless you went to Ann Summers which sell doctor, nurse uniforms. Just beause there is no way in Ireland you can buy a cosplay outfit doesn't mean you can't cosplay.
They are many ways a person can cosplay very successfully without having to go into a shop and buy a costume. You can always order pre-made cosplay online from ebay or cosplay magic and on many sites. If you decide to buy your cosplay online you would really want to be very careful as many sites either charge alot of money for a really good cosplay or charge reasonable or cheap amounts and the quality isn't really good. If you look around you might get somewhere in between. Many people who start out in cosplay, make their outfits with the help of friends or of the expereinced. You don't need to go way out and make the most flambyant, extravagant cosplay to impress people. You could go for an easy cosplay other words "closet cosplay" where you wear basic clothes or an outfit which was not that hard to put together and still really impress people at a convention.
Here are examples of very impressive "simple cosplays" which could be done very well.
L from Death Note, a very popular cosplay in the Irish con scene. All you need for him is a top and trousuars, do your make up good and you got an L.
Misa Amane from Death Note. A very impressive cosplay if you get the hair right and wear goth clothes, not a hard one at all. :)
Asuka Langley from Neon Genesis Evangelion, if you have her hair and eyes you could look really impressive. The uniform is not too expensive to buy but if you rather make it yourself you could easily buy a dress pattern resembling the dress and sew together or get the help from expereinced people. If you really want to get into making your own cosplay this is a good cosplay to start on.
Also there is Asuka's yellow dress. You could easily go into any boutique and buy a yellow dress that looks like Asukas and buy red shoes in Dunnes, Pennys what not.
It also the same with Reika from RahXephon.
Also Lara Croft from Tomb Raider seems like an easy cosplay to put together.
Finally our last example is from Bleach. I am not a fan of Bleach so I am unsure who this character is but I know she is one of the main characters. This cosplay can be done easily. Just buy a shirt in Pennys or Dunnes, get the school skirt easily enough in Arnots espcially near school season.
Best places I would recemmend to buy fabric for cosplays would be Wollen Mills at the Hypenny Bridge or Hickeys. Wollen Mills tends to be cheaper and they do student discounts. I also find Pennys is good for alternating cosplays and boutiques. My Rin Tohsaka cosplay from Fate Stay Night, I bought the top on sale in one of the clothes shops in the Ilac shopping centre in Dublin. Look around shops that sell skirts that may resemble your character, I bought my Rin skirt in a clothes shop in Henry St on sale too. So just look around, you would be suprised. ^^
The big key to a very successful cosplay is to resemble the character as in height, looks and build. I am quite tall so I couldn't pull of Chise from Saikano.
Also I couldn't do Yoko from Gurann langann as I don't have her build.
Thanks to make up we can achieve ways to make our eyes look like the character and make them really big. I will put up good make up tutorials later on. So yeah the key to a good cosplay is have the look of that character, you want people to think you are the real deal. Also wanted to mention not everyone takes cosplay very seriously, alot of people just do it for fun so in that case don't worry too much or stress over it, you want to enjoy it in the end.
What I find really helpful when I want to perfect a cosplay is research the character as in mannerism and look at other cosplay pictures of that character. Even save their pictures onto your computer so you can look at every detail on how to perfect your own cosplay. I have been cosplaying alot as Rei Ayanami from Neon Genesis Evangelion. Back in 2007 when I first cosplayed as Rei I just bought a blue wig in a wig shop in town. I thought it was good at the time but noticed I didn't come out the best in photos. I came across another very good Rei cosplayer from cosplay.com who had her make up perfect and had a very realistic baby blue doll wig. I noticed she was quite popular so I saved her photos on my computer so I can look at how I can better my own Rei cosplay. I really saw the diference in our wigs.
Finally I will talk about wigs and quality. I will not deny cosplay can be very a expensive hobby, it can be like being really into a sport or being really into photography. Then you got your good quality make up coming into it. Over time as a cosplayer you will expereince with many different make up types, wigs and outfits and you will know which best suits you.
I find these following sites are great for copslay wigs because the hair doesn't look as fake and looks great in photos;
Cosplaywig - Highly recemmend it
Fun Place by the Giety Theatre tends to sell high quality wigs.
Also shop around Ebay.
I hope all that helps.