Fursuits are costumes that make a person look like an alter-ego that is partly or entirely animalistic. These costumes are associated with what is known as furry fandom, zoo- or anthropomorphism. Some of these costumes are professionally made and others are amazing amateur creations. At conventions there are often competitions for the best fursuit including a parade (see below).
Zentai are body suits that cover the entire body quite closely, including the hands, feet and face. These can be use as an inexpensive and convenient base for a fursuit. You can get a very simple complete catsuit with ears and tail for less than $50.
However a fully pulled together look normally requires the addition of custom head-pieces, painted texture, and hand or foot pieces. People who use this kind of costume are sometimes called "spandex furs".
A mainstream example of this type of costume would be the musical "Cats".
Examples of zentai and similar body fitting fursuits:
*A note on rubber furs: Rubber fursuits (something of a contradiction in terms) are a kind of cross-over between the rubber fetish and the fursuit. Some are more like fetishwear and others more like traditional fursuits that just happen to be made out of rubber.
Semi-Fitted and Padded
Many fursuits are not skin tight by loose and incorporate padding to change the contours of the body.
The is also the option of a looser fitting suit more like a sports mascot costume. These can be brought pre-made but are far more attractive when scratch-made or extensively customized--as mascot costumes are not really designed to look good close up. Looser designed are often sculpted and padded to create a more animal-like body shape.
Adam Riggs has written for people just starting out making mascot-stye suits, however mast fabricators learn as they go. there is very little available in terms of full patterns or the range of relevant techniques related to padding, painting, trimming etc. a good beginner's guide
Another option is to have a partial costume that you wear with normal clothes. This might include a full-head mask, mittens and tail--or other parts as required by species and parts of the body not covered by clothing.
Lauren, a habitual partial fursuit wearer, was featured on a 2011 episode of the reality show My Strange Addiction.
- Gray Wolf (2011)
Quadsuits are the least human-looking options, often involving arm-stilts and other props to create quadrupedal stance and gait.
Quadsuits can even be made strong enough to serve as mounts.
The preeminent maker of quadsuits is Lilleah West.
Kigurumi are suits that represent cartoon characters, many of which are animals. These include full fur suits with cartoon styling, or a pajama-style costume with an open face which is worn as street fashion.