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Fursuiting Guide

Fay V

Lost to this world
This Thread is no longer current, updates to the guide and questions answered can be found here
http://www.furaffinity.net/view/8789179/


This is not a thread to discuss how to build or how to obtain a suit.


This is a guide for how to act in a fursuit and how to interact with fursuits.


Fursuiting is more than putting on a costume and walking around. If you would like to get into Fursuiting this is a guide for how to act and what precautions to take. These suggestions are general and subject to opinion, as you gain more experience as a suiter you will develop your own habits and styles.

How you behave in suit depends on the situation, so this guide will be broken up between places and will also include basic information for dealing with suiters, and basic rules for being a handler.

Interacting with a Fursuiter
considering fursuiters are only a minority in the fandom, chances are you are not a suiter. Here is a simple guide for interacting with suiters.

*Fursuiters have terrible vision. Many suiters can only see what is directly in front of them and have no peripheral vision. Suiters also have trouble hearing and feeling things due to the padding the suit creates between them and the world. If a suiter does not acknowledge you, chances are they are not snubbing you but simply did not see you.
If you want to approach a suiter
~Approach from the front
~Wave as well as speak to get their attention
~Get the attention of the handler so that they can point you out to their suiter.

*DO NOT: Tackle/Glomp/ Jump on a suiter. As previously mentioned a suiter cannot see well and 99% of the time the suiter will not see this coming. On top of scaring the suiter you may also break parts of the suit. There are countless cases where expensive suits have had parts broken or have been torn due to people playing too rough with the suit.
Suits are expensive, play nice.

*Suiters are not invincible: Suiters may goof around, do prat falls, and look generally like a stuffed animal that can take a hit. THIS IS NOT ALWAYS THE CASE. When you see a suiter roughhousing, generally they are aware of their own limits and are purposefully allowing a bit of hurt. This means that when you interact you still need to be gentle. It doesn't take a lot to get hurt it suit. Bear hugs, rough grabs, tripping, etc. Don't do it. It may look like a suiter can take a hit but in reality you need to be just as gentle with a suiter as someone out of suit.

*If you want to touch, ask first. If you want a hug from a suiter stand in front of the suiter, making sure they see you, and hold your arms open in a universal gesture that means “I want a hug”. This is easy to see and easy to understand. If the suiter does not want a hug don’t push it, just because a suiter is in costume does not mean they do not have a right to personal space. Do not surprise hug a suiter from behind. They can't see it coming, they may not want to be touched, approach from the front and ask
If you do get a hug from a suiter, again, be gentle. Bear hugs hurt, being picked up is terrifying. Be nice.

*If a suiter is in a hurry, do not delay them. If a suiter looks as if they are in a hurry there is usually a reason. Chances are they are going to their room or the headless lounge and may be in desperate need to get some air, water, or something else. It is easy when a suiter wants to play and when they need to GTFO. If a suiter is in a hurry let them go. You’ll have your chance to play later.

*The headless lounge is for suiters and handlers, not fans. Yes the headless lounge may seem mysterious and interesting, but you are not missing anything. The lounge is a place where suiters can get their head off and get some air, water, and do quick repairs. These rooms are small as is and having unnecessary people makes the congestion worse. Let suiters have their space to be a little bit human and wait until they’re ready to play again.

*Pictures! Ask a suiter for a picture. 99% of the time a suiter will say yes, they love pictures. Asking allows the suiter to pose for the picture and helps to avoid any headless suiter issues. Many suiters want to keep their anonymity and take their character seriously for professional or personal reasons. Headless pictures “Ruin the magic” and can mess things up for pros. If you accidently catch a headless suiter and are asked to remove the picture, it is easiest to avoid drama and remove it. Do not take pictures in the headless lounge.

*Elevators, please give suiters priority
. Due to their vision problems as well as their inability to feel things well, stairs become a deathtrap in suit. Long lines can be dangerous as suiters may also quickly become overheated. At conventions it is considered polite to allow suiters priority with elevators. This practice is not to make suiters more elite, but simply to avoid any incidents where a suiter is in a hot suit too long while waiting, or harms themselves while using stairs.

*Suiter's don't lend parts for a reason: If you ask a suiter to look at their head, sometimes they may let you. Sometimes you may get the lucky chance to try on a head. But remember YOU ARE ENTITLED TO NOTHING. A suit is a very personal item. If a suiter doesn't want you touching their stuff, let it go. There is always a reason why a suiter will not share parts. chances are they don't want to be gross. suiters sweat, a lot. If a suiter has just taken off their head and you want to look at it then you'll be getting a face full of BO and ick. So sometimes, when a suiter says no, it's because you caught them before they could clean the head, and they don't want to share a dirty part.

*All of this applies in suit as well: if you are a suiter and want to interact with another suit follow these guidelines. It doesn't matter if you're both suiters you can seriously injure someone, or make them feel uncomfortable, or worse.
This is especially true for elevators and letting people get water. If you see another suiter appears to be in more distress than you, and there's only 1 spot on the elevator let them go first.

Fursuiting for Newbies.

General guidelines- You’ve gotten a suit and are ready to get out there and be a goof. Here are some general guidelines that will help no matter where you are suiting up.

*Always have a Handler. A handler is a suiter’s best friend. A handler will keep an eye on your health, help deal with the crowd, help you navigate and avoid obstacles, keep people from harming you or the suit, speak for you, and generally keep you alive. If you are outside a fandom event you had better have a handler. If you are suiting in a group, it is best to have a 50/50 ratio of suiters and handlers. A suiter may sometimes go solo at a furry con due to the number or people in one area that knows what to do around suiters, but if you are new it is best to always have a handler at first while you learn the limitations of your suit. Seriously there is no way to express how important a handler is.
Ex: Here is a personal example from my time at anthrocon. Anthrocon is very suit friendly, even the shops around the place don't mind. Now while walking in suit, despite the very nice suiting atmosphere. I often found myself lost in crowds and easily turned around. simply having someone to come over and lead me to the next room or point me in the right direction was all I needed. The little things matter and having a handler is important for reading clocks, schedules, or helping if you somehow get stuck at a street light.

* Have signals.
Some suiters do not speak, sometimes it is hard to speak over a crowd. Have signals for your handler “I’m hot” “I can’t see” “This is an emergency!” etc…

* Drink lots of water.
You will be hot, you will sweat. Unless you drink a lot of water to make that up you will be dehydrated and may get heat stroke. Not every liquid will do. Do not drink caffeine when preparing to be in suit or while in suit. Caffeine will make you dehydrate faster. The more you learn about your limits the more you know what you can take. When beginning just drink a lot of water and avoid alcohol and caffeine.


*Do not remove your head in public. There are bathrooms, lounges, lots of private places to get cool for just a moment. In general being headless around children is a bad idea, and there is always the issue of “breaking the magic” from a more cynical standpoint, the fanboys all know what you look like now and can follow you around the con. Obviously if there is an emergency you should ignore this rule. This isn't a solid rule, it's a guideline. if you feel you want to take your head off maybe you can, just be aware of the surrounding reasons of why not to do it.

* Talking in suit.
There are those that take suiting very seriously and will not talk in suit at all, choosing to remain silent and mime what they need to say. There are also some that view voice as part of the character and will freely speak. When considering talking in suit remember that when you speak to kids they will spend time trying to get you to speak again. Above all be consistent.

*Act the part
. There is more to suiting than a suit. You are playing a character. There is nothing more creepy and boring than someone that puts on a suit and just stands there. Practice expressing yourself in front of a mirror, get out, use big gestures, be the character. Even if the character you are playing is essentially you, you need to learn how to express that. Fur will make it hard to see most gestures, you can't get by just doing what you normally do, because you no longer look the same. Take the time to practice looking exactly as you want to look in suit.

*DON’T BE CREEPY! Not everyone likes fursuits. Just because you’re in a suit does not mean everyone wants to play with you. Those that want to interact with you will approach you. If someone looks uncomfortable then back off. Never run up and hug a person you do not know. For the love of god please don’t randomly hump people. Out of suit this is sexual assault, in suit this is sexual assault. If you are outside a fandom event, do not interrupt someone’s event without being invited. NEVER approach kids first, you will look like a pedophile. It is always best to let others approach you first. You will get plenty of attention, you do not need to seek it out. Scaring others ruins the fun for everyone.
If you can't/won't do it with a ski mask and trench coat, don't do it in suit

* Sex toys are for the bedroom
. If you have a fucksuit/yiffsuit, whatever, to each their own, just keep bedroom toys in the bedroom. When you have fucked in a suit you have made it a sex toy, do not go out in public in it. It does not matter if you cleaned it, this is in poor taste. Shorts do not hide anything. You can put a bow on a dildo, but it is still a dildo. If you wear a fucksuit in public you will be blacklisted as a suiter. If you want to have fun in the bedroom, and suit in public, buy another suit.

* Stay Clean. When you get out of suit, take a light shower and spray your suit. Wash your suit occasionally (see suit maintenance threads). You will get sweaty in suit, you will smell after getting out of suit. Do your best to stay clean so you do not get sick, get others sick, ruin your suit, smell like a trash barge while attending con.

* Don't Treat the Headless Lounge Like a Social Scene. The Headless lounge exists as a place to rehydrate, get out of suit for a restroom break, and cool down. It is not a place to horse-play around. It is not a super social scene. Every lounge has its limits before the facility becomes overburdened. Get your water, cool off, refresh move on. There are always going to be plenty of other places to go to socialize and have fun. (added in by Trpdwarf.)
Ex: If you are out of suit and asking the person at the door to let you in because you're totally a suiter, you're using the headless lounge wrong.

Fursuiting around children
Children require some added attention due to their protective parents as well as the way they react to things. Here are some important rules to remember when dealing with kids in suit.

*DO NOT PICK UP A KID EVER.
It is not worth it, ever. You cannot feel, see, or react well and kids squirm. Mall Santas and easter bunnies have loads of insurance to protect them, you don’t. If a parent wants you to pick the kid up, say no. If they insist, walk away.

*Watch your hands.
People are quick to assume and an accident may easily be taken for something worse. Make sure your hands are always visible. Make sure you let the child initiate hugs. High fives are always great and kids like them. A little awareness of what things looks like saves a lot of embarrassing photos down the road.


*Kneel to be at the kid’s level. You’ll be far less scary, it allows for better pictures and you won’t accidently step on them

*Look down often
. Kids are tiny things that like to crowd and move around. They also do not enjoy being stepped on.

*Make yourself smaller. If a kid is freaking out, curl up and look scared. Act like the kid scares you. Allow the kid to approach you again when they are comfortable. If you have a group of kids then play with the others and let the one scared one get comfortable. Do not try to hug and make them feel better, this will make it worse.

Outside the Fandom
Fursuiting outside the fandom is not as easy but can be rewarding as long as you put the work in. Here are some general guidelines for that.

*If you can't do it in a ski mask and trench coat, don't try it in suit!: Do not ever just walk into a mall, hospital, or bank in suit. This is a terrible idea. You may be banned from the place for life or removed from the place by police.Never go on private property (this includes stores) Without prior permission!

*Have a handler! I know I said it before, but handlers are incredibly important, especially outside the fandom.

*Do some research. Take a look at where you will be going. Know where you can go to rest and take your head off and get water. A way out in case there is trouble, and the general obstacles in the way. It also helps to be aware of your location and it's state laws that apply. Some places have no-mask laws, and as such you will want to pursue the applicable work around.

*Contact beforehand. If you are going to a mall or store it is polite to warn the people ahead of time. A random person in a full suit is a nightmare to security. Check that a visit is okay with a manager, check with security to be sure they know you are coming. If you can, go in person (out of suit) to explain everything. If the store, mall, private building does not want you to be there, don’t push it.

* If you want to volunteer. Go to an organization, have pictures of your suit and explain what you can do. References from other charities don’t hurt. Daycares, hospitals, and other things of this nature have huge checklists and background checks, if you are new to charity work, start with something smaller.

* Don’t do anything lewd, rude, or generally disgusting
. It’s a public place. If you’re not going to hump the shit out of a person without a mask on, don’t do it when you’re wearing a suit. Yes we shouldn’t be ashamed of sex and so on, but pick what you do in what place.

* Avoid animals. Some animals are pretty chill, others really don’t like a giant multicolor thing. Don’t think it’s adorable to go up to the doggy and play, then get your face bitten off.

* Police- This should be common sense. Don't approach cops or anyone else that is working! By this I mean please do not run up and hug them. If the police want to interact they will come to you, but generally they are working and don't want to deal with a person in a costume.
If the cops are approaching you and look happy, it's probably okay to keep your head on and play a bit.
If the cops are approaching and look pissed, it will be best not to goof around. Take your head off! For all that is said about breaking the magic, this is not a time to be anonymous.
In general if the police look pissed. Be polite, and work with them, even if you think they are wrong.

*Advice: wear a jersey. You’re less likely to get crap on the fur and can just wash the jersey.

Handlers
A general Do and Don’t list for anyone considering being a handler



Do: Know the limits of your suiter or suiters. If you have a chance beforehand, try on the fursuit head so you have an idea of what your suiter can see and hear. If you can fit in the suit, wearing it and moving for a few minutes to get a sense of how they feel is invaluable. The more you know about your suiter's limits, the more help you can be.

Do: Have signs worked out ahead of time. Common signals for distress are waving a hand in a circle motion above the head, or crossing arms over chest. Whatever you choose be sure the action is quick, simple enough that pawed hands can do it, and known to both of you ahead of time. If your suiter needs water you can lead them to water, if they're being attacked, you can hurry in, if they're about to collapse then you'll know. Communication is important, and hand signals are your best friend.

Do: watch for signs of dehydration: Fursuits are hot, very hot. Suiters can get carried away with the fun. Make sure your suiter isn't swaying, acting sluggish, or showing other signs. You can look up common signs on the internet.

Do: Be ready to intervene: When someone is ready to mess with your suiter you are their defense. your suiter can't see, hear, feel, or defend themselves well. You can be big and intimidating. this is normally enough for kids and teens. Be attentive and ready to deal with punks.

Do: Know the escape routes: Hey look, you're still the eyes and ears of your suiter! Which means that you'll be the one that knows the escape routes. Know the area you and your suiter will be in and know where to go if worse comes to worse.

Dont: Take on too much: It's generally a good idea to only have one suiter per handler so you can be attentive to what they need and can swoop in if hell breaks loose.

Dont: Allow your suiter to push too far: If your suiter seems ill, too hot, ect...be firm, get them to take a rest. the more you work together the more you know what you can handle.

Dont: Go into crowded places in the dark: Seriously...doesn't this just scream bad idea?

Dont: Say offensive or insulting things: because suiters do not tend to speak, chances are you'll be speaking for them. You're not dressed up as an adorable furball, so be careful with your tone, language, ect...don't scare the children.

Inside the Suit
Some basic advice for things inside the suit.


Do Not Go Naked! This may seem like a great idea at first. you're covered, it's hot, why add more layers? This is a bad idea for several reasons.
1. It is uncomfortable. You're sweating directly into material that normally isn't backed with the most comfy material. You're making the suit more funky, and you will not have anything to absorb the sweat at all.
2. You'll have to take breaks. Generally one can remove their head and take unzip the suit to get air. If you just remove the head it helps, but you aren't getting a lot of air to the chest area, which goes a long way to cooling off. If you're naked under there, you have to sit, in your sweaty suit. ew.
3. In case of emergencies. If the worst happens (heat stroke, stuck outside room, something with cops) and you aren't able to go change well...have fun being overly hot and gross for a long time. God forbid something happens that forces you out of suit.

Underarmor is a great product for under fursuits. DO NOT WEAR LONG JOHNS. they look similiar, but like not wearing a balaclava meant for skiing, you don't want this on you in a hot suit.
For you head, wear a cloth balaclava. It keeps sweat off and so the suit will degrade much much slower.
If you don't have underarmor, a very very light cotton shirt and shorts can help. it's not as great, but it's not worthless.
Wear deodorant: It helps. don't be "that guy"

Make sure the head has ventilation: It is important that you can breathe. This is especially important for anyone with a closed mouth head. Don't encase your head is solid foam. If you feel you are hyperventilating just by walking, you probably don't have enough oxygen.

Fans can help with ventilation.

 
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Fay V

Lost to this world
I know these have been done. I wanted a simple clear post without comments like 'just don't do it" mixed in. So could a mod maybe sticky this?
 
I agree, this should be stickied. I was thinking of editting the thread that I made a while back, but this one is much cleaner.
 

Stargazer Bleu

2b forgot is worse than death
I agree this is a good thread to sticky.

One thing I would like to add tho it optional.

Is get under armor. Or other similar product.
This will absorb sweat and help it from getting into your suit.

Some will still get through but helps stop some.

Also those with large tails and/or wings should be careful.
It is easy to hit people and things.
Could knock things over and break them if not careful.
 
One thing I would like to add tho it optional.

Is get under armor. Or other similar product.
This will absorb sweat and help it from getting into your suit.

Some will still get through but helps stop some.

This part of your post is something best placed in a fursuit construction thread. This one is about how to act while in suit, around suiters, and while being a handler.
 

Fay V

Lost to this world
This part of your post is something best placed in a fursuit construction thread. This one is about how to act while in suit, around suiters, and while being a handler.

No that's solid advice for when you are wearing a suit and doesn't really have to do with construction.
 
Great post. I will be using some of this for a big event I've got this week where I'm managing 4 people who have never suited before... and 4 new handlers as well. Love it.
 

Trpdwarf

Lurking in Castle Moats
Alright. I've gone through and read through the thing. As people have suggestions either OP or myself will add the in.
 

Fay V

Lost to this world
added an "Under the suit" section. post suggestions if you have any.
 

Trpdwarf

Lurking in Castle Moats
Are there usually more handlers than fursuiters?
Not normally. Sometimes though in special situations you might want to have two people per person in suit.
 

Penumbra Noct

New Member
So there are usually enough people that actually want to be a handler for how many fursuiters there are in attendance?
 

Fay V

Lost to this world
So there are usually enough people that actually want to be a handler for how many fursuiters there are in attendance?
It depends on the group size. 2-3 people you can normally find a handler per person. At cons that doesn't happen. I've seen large groups of VERY experienced suiter go with 7 suiters and 4 or 5 handlers.
 

Penumbra Noct

New Member
How many people percentage wise do you think walk around without handlers at all? Groups or individually, if any?
 

Fay V

Lost to this world
I honestly couldn't say.
In cons it would be a larger percentage. At cons suiters are able to go around without a handler because there is a high percentage of people there that know the limitations of suiters and understand what can go wrong.

Outside the fandom, I have no numbers for that. All the suiters I know have a handler, at least one when they go out. It is dangerous and silly to go without one.
I did it once for a halloween dance and suffered a lot of dehydration.
 

Penumbra Noct

New Member
Thanks for answering all of my obviously noobish questions. I didn't know 'handlers' existed until today.
 

Fay V

Lost to this world
Thanks for answering all of my obviously noobish questions. I didn't know 'handlers' existed until today.
Usually people don't see them because they stand to the side and are just normal people not in suit, all the attention goes to the suiter. In videos usually the handler is the film person, but you can see people out of suit in the group too, depending on the group.

The important thing is if you are brand new to suiting, use a handler. When I first got into suit I learned important things like how at a certain angle light would glare on the suit eyes and I'd be blind for a second. I learned this while walking down a road. thankfully I had my handler with me.
 

Coyotez

Member
*Act the part. There is more to suiting than a suit. You are playing a character. There is nothing more creepy and boring than someone that puts on a suit and just stands there. Practice expressing yourself in front of a mirror, get out, use big gestures, be the character. [/SIZE]
[/SIZE]​


Okay, uh... What if my character is ME in animal form, and I am me and nobody else ever?

And who are you to say I'm boring? :neutral:​
 

Fay V

Lost to this world
Okay, uh... What if my character is ME in animal form, and I am me and nobody else ever?

And who are you to say I'm boring? :neutral:

A suit is not a direct link to your body. Right now you have body language, facial expressions, clothing choices, and all sorts of things to express yourself. In a suit you do not have that.

If you want to be yourself that is fine. I don't have a specific complex character that I use when I go suiting. You don't need to sit down and think "well my character like strawberries, and hates muffins. She has a fear of spiders and..." You can be yourself in suit and that is fine. HOWEVER You still have to practice before you go out or you will be boring.

You need to practice your gestures so that you know where your hands are, and what it looks to the outside person. You do not have the luxury of natural facial expressions and need to practice moving the head to manipulate the expression you give with the suit.
People that go out without any practice do not realize that body language does not directly translate because you don't have great spatial awareness of yourself in suit yet. that's natural for your organic body, not your suit. people like this can't give the appropriate gestures or manipulate the right expressions out of their suit.

If this is what you are doing then you are essentially covered in fabric, in a mask. This is boring. I am an outside observer saying that because you never took a little bit of time to work on it, your expressions are essentially non-existent, and you are boring in suit.

TL:DR
Personality does not directly transfer from organic body to suit. It's fine to be yourself in suit, but if you do not practice how to express yourself you will be boring.
 

Coyotez

Member
Alright, as long as I can be myself :v

I don't have a suit though. Wish I did. If I had the money, and not my parents, I guess I would buy one ASAP.
 

Deo

The hatred of FAF personified
What is it with Coyote furries and thinking of themselves as their fursonas? Is this just another facet of the raping of native aerican spirituality that they are well known for?
 

Fay V

Lost to this world
poignant question, but can we not do this here? I don't want this thread to become a shitstorm.
 

wolfzuit

New Member
Wow...AWESOME!
Yea, a very good tutorial for newbies... Though I don't have a suit, I know what to do ,too.
You did a very good job, thanks a lot!
 
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