Or just dressing like Sarah Connor.
I don’t cosplay. Well, I’ve been to all of one con, and I suppose you could say I cosplayed the dean of The Sarah Connor Charm School. Which I do pretty much every day, one way or another.
But I can say that my look is influenced by Linda Hamilton’s T2 appearance, although aspects like all black clothing, combat boots and such was there. I preferred cut up band or event T-shirts when younger and, you know, I went to concerts and events, so most of those are worn out or put aside so they don’t wear out completely. I fell in love with BDUs, until I discovered tactical pants with even more pockets (my faves, which will likely replace all the others as they need it, have 14 pockets! pockets!!) And a better fit. And I probably would have discovered those eventually, as my spouse is an EMT. With my tattoos, piercings and Celtic jewelry, I’d say my look is really more my not-completely-historically-accurate idea of an early Irish warrior dropped into our time. But my base is still black or grey jersey type shirts with various sleeve lengths depending on weather, black tactical pants and combat boots. Add in a leather jacket with a tartan scarf and chain mail. You might say I dress more like a mash up of Sarah Connor and Linda’s Lost Girl character Acacia.
As a prepper, this is a matter of both aesthetic and practicality. This also gives me a different perspective on the clothing and gear involved than some might have. And an interest in the possible differences of screen accuracy and actual real life authenticity. These don’t always match, as James Cameron might be a weapons nut, he’s obviously not a prepper and, yeah, somethings don’t work on screen the way they do in real life and vice versa.
Obviously, how accurate anyone wants to be for cosplay is a personal choice. And also based on if you are doing a casual, one time, Halloween costume or a serious professional cosplay or something in between. I’m the sort would would probably go for as screen accurate as possible, even if I were just doing a one time costume…but then I wear most of this stuff. But I think that even if you’re not going for strictly accurate, having a close look at these items can help give an idea of what to go for and work with. One of the reasons I did this, for both T2 and the 2019 movie (which I originally did as a blog post here and both will be updated as more is revealed or I find more details out), is that I have seen some really confused “Sarah Connor cosplay” tutorials when it comes to what she’s wearing is in the real world. I think it’s best to start with what is what, both on screen and real world.
What I’ve done with this is consider if Sarah really would have worn it based on my understanding of the item and I know opinions on that might vary. This becomes mostly an issue with her Terminator 2 boots, actually. I also say if I would or do wear, have or carry and why. And then suggestions for cosplay, which, again, varies with how accurate you want to get.
I’m going to skip The Terminator Sarah at least for now, although I do love Henley shirts during the colder months, but in black. And I didn’t wear women’s jeans in the ’80s, they tended to have a very high rise that with my short waist came up to my ribs. So I would wear men’s, instead. So I have no idea where to start looking for the brand that she was wearing. And, obviously, there are no other movies or TV shows that even exist as far as we’re concerned. ;p
Note: The following links are not anything that The Sarah Connor Charm School is affiliated with and are just to show an option. In most cases, you want to shop around, anyway. Please do consider ethical non-sweatshop sources when possible as well as buying from local shop keepers when you can.
Hospital to desert
Super basic, white U style tank top, light gray sweatpants that tie at the waist. A light blue scrub top is an option. Obviously, for a con you’re not going to go barefoot so add some plain white sneakers like Keds. Another optional is a faded denim jacket with tan corduroy collar and cuff and “Chet’s Auto Parts” on the back, but finding the exact match for the jacket might be tricky as well as matching the patch.
In the desert:
Black tank top: “U” style back.
So, funny thing is that I’m sure her shirt is black, most people I know seem to agree. And to me it always will be black. But two different prop action pages that had had screen worn costumes describe and show gray shirts. Perhaps they were washed a whole lot, I do have a few that are kind of gray myself. Meanwhile, McFarlane, Hot Toys and N.E.C.A. all have made figures with Olive Drab Green. This is something I so am going to ask Linda about if I ever meet her again. And, you know, can manage to remember anything when I do. If someone doesn’t ask first, of course.
Do I think Sarah would wear? Yup and any of those colors is possible.
Me? Yup, but mostly black. Except my gray tie-dye with a wolf pup. I do tend to prefer racer backs for better tattoo reveal. Sadly (because it’s a bad sign of things to come), our tank top season keeps increasing here, but I do wear black T-s of various sleeve length. Or gray.
Cosplayers? This is easy to find, obviously. It’s up to you if you want to go with black, gray or OD green. I really can’t say definitively at this point what the right color is. I may have to ask Linda Hamilton if I ever get to see her again.
BDU (Battle Dress Uniform) pants: Mil-Spec/Defense Standards design, except hers apparently had stirrups which are not standard (but see the boot issue below). Can be found in any army surplus store in your neighborhood or online, but without the.
Sarah? Certainly, but I don’t actually see her bothering to sew stirrups on them, she’d probably just wear taller boots.
Me? Yup, I have a few, gone through many. Got me to love a lot of pockets, but I tend to prefer tactical pants, now, they tend to have more pockets.
Cosplayers? I’d go for the actual BDUs for a true cosplay. You can find them at your nearest Army Surplus store or online. Get taller boots, skip the stirrups unless you really want to sew them on.
Commando Covered Watchband: They don’t show the olive drab green which is what Sarah wore, but one of the problems with matching is that hers had black Velcro and now they make them with OD green Velcro to match.
Sarah? Sure, it’s a practical way to keep your watch from being damaged and from throwing light.
Me? I bought a black one one day, while buying BDUs, seeing them on the counter and they were cheap and it seemed amusing to me. I soon realized that with the watch completely wrapped in this I don’t kill them within months or even weeks like I always did. It’s a lot cheaper to buy one of these bands every few years than a new watch every few months. I don’t remember when I last bought a watch. I actually buy batteries for them and have them work (before I’d think that was the problem but it never was). So I continue to wear a black one.
Cosplay? You could go with the ODG on ODG as they are now but you might want to doctor an OD green one up with black Velcro to get more of a match. As they are relatively inexpensive, you could even buy a black one to swap the Velcro out if you can sew webbing.
Three-Prong Pistol Belt with metal buckle: Like with the tank top, the color of the belt is debated. Is it black or a dark OD green? Either way it is odd that it has brass-toned hardware as both colors usually come with black. Again, no shine that way.
Me? No, as I carried concealed I don’t need a load belt that doesn’t also hold up my pants.
Cosplayers? You’ll need to decide which color you think it is, but you can find them in both OD green and black. You will probably want to get some gold/brass paint to paint the metal for screen accuracy.
Combat Boots?: To be honest, even then I remember thinking that her boots looked more like round toed paddock boots than like combat boots. The height of them, the shaping of the upper, the thin sole, the kind of speed lacing and all just looks more like a paddock boot. And, yes, some are steel-toed and have that overlay. I may be wrong, of course. But looking at up-close photos, they really look like paddock boots. See my notes about the BDU pants having stirrup, in order for them to stay tucked.
Sarah? Certainly she would have found higher boots with better soles rather than add stirrups to her pants. Probably gone for Jungle or Desert boots (both are leather and cloth with venting differentiated by color, so probably black Jungle, but maybe the more old-school OD green and black Jungle) given that it was probably hot in the desert.
Me? I like Panama-soled speed-lace combat boots, except in winter when go with winter Infantry boots when I don’t just go with some butt ugly warmer boots. I have both all leather and Jungle styles, speed-lacers. I am considering trying athletic sole tactical boots at some point. But do like soles that doesn’t hold stuff….we have horses after all.
Cosplayers? If I were cosplaying I’d go for my favored Jungle boots rather than screen accurate. In part for comfort (I mean, I wear them horseback riding because if I end up waking for some reason, well, riding books suck to walk in), but also because I’m really perplexed by the screen choice in this one. And I don’t think anyone looks that closely at the boots, to be honest. I know of no one else who has mentioned these, all the figures have combat boot styles. So, seriously, go for comfort and, likely, something you’ll wear otherwise because, boots….but I recommend some type of actual black combat boot.
Sarah? Of course, they’re great all around eye protection. They were around $2,000 but given her armory, it seems she had some access to stuff so she might have gotten her hands on them.
Me? They’re attractive glasses, but if I had the money for the real thing should I find them, as even 25th anniversary limited release 2089H (which came in both the gold/brown and in silver) now appear to be sold out, I’d probably spend that sort of money on something else. I may get the Magnoli Clothiers cosplayer knockoff, someday, just to have. Probably wouldn’t wear them too much. I do have some small, round aviators that bear more than enough resemblance that I often don’t wear them too much, even though there is no side-shield. Which also limits their usefulness so I prefer wrap around sports and shooting sunglasses, anyway. Same side protection, better field of view.
Cosplayers? the price of the real thing has been rather rich for most, so many have made due with the sort of round aviators I have, or various “steampunk” ones with side-shields which work good for more casual cosplay. But now there are the Magnoli Clothiers version at about $150, for those who want screen accurate.
Me? Yeah, sometimes. I wear a lot of different black caps, anyway, so I have a couple. I do tend to wear baseball style more often around the homestead as I usually am too lazy to braid my hair so it’s usually in a pony tail a bit high for this cap, but fits through the hole in the baseball caps.
Cosplayers? These are easy to find online or at Army surplus and even other stores (I’m sometimes surprised by them in unlikely clothing stores).
ALICE (All-Purpose Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment) vest: It pretty much is what it is. But note that hers was not a solid vest as I’ve seen some cosplayers use.
Me? Well, I have pants with 14 pockets, so it’s not something I need so much. But I might pick one up someday.
Cosplayers? This is the closest I can find to the actual vest that Sarah wore. But it, and the few others that I found that are similar, are all sold out in black. Woodland camo ones, you can pretty much trip over, though. I have zero clue as to how easy to dye they might be, they are mostly nylon. But it shows what you are looking for, including the laced on back You may also need to get another pistol belt, non pronged and with a quick release buckle as she doesn’t hook it to the one she was already wearing.
Trench coat: This actually appears to be identical to Reese’s coat and may be the same one Michael Biehn wore on screen in the dream sequence. Which was an Army quarpel coat.
Sarah? There is the question of how she got this, was it something she had and took from the compound? Or was it Dyson’s? She needed something to enter the building in that hid her paramilitary clothing and weapons and such a coat is a good choice, just as Kyle found it useful for hiding his sawed off shotgun. Aside from practicality, did she already have it because it reminded her of Reese? Or grab it from the Dyson’s for that reason, even if preoccupied so maybe subconsciously? The coats are not hard to come by, so either is an option.
Me? Yeah, I realized that I have one of these now, although I only wore in once or twice. It was among the belongings of my Dad that I decided to keep and wear. So it is also over-sized.
Cosplayers? This is a great option if you are in cosplaying when tank tops might be a bit chilly, like many areas at Halloween. Some, like mine, have zip in lining, too. And they aren’t really that hard to find, either online or at Army surplus stores. Sometimes you find them in your closet already. Remember it should be over-sized. And lose the hat and the ponytail. Seriously, I don’t think I’ve seen anyone use one, although plenty of Kyle Reese cosplayers have.
If you’re doing conventions, you may not want any weapons remotely realistic looking, let alone screen accurate, depending on what con you are at their restrictions vary a lot (even more so as of 2017). For a photo shoot you might want to go more realistic, if you’re a shooter doing a photo shoot, you may want the real thing, of course.
Given my feelings about realistic, or even non-realistic, fake weapons, I want to ask anyone carrying prop weapons at a con who never handle the real thing (or have only casually and figure fake ones you don’t need to bother with safety rules…I know most who are experienced just handle them the same out of, or to keep, habit), please learn safe weapon handling: finger on frame, muzzle never pointed at anyone. Not only does this put you more “in character” but it’s less likely to freak out people experienced with real weapons. No, really, it can freak people out to suddenly see one pointed at them if they are more use to real ones.
The Internet Movie Firearms Database lists all the Terminator 2 firearms here, I’m listing the ones Sarah used, but you can see photos at the database. If you want screen accurate, you may have to do custom work on prop guns, but I’ll let you do the searching.
Colt Series 70/Detonics 1911 hybrid: From Pescadero to the compound.
Sarah? Well, the T800 had from the biker and she grabbed it from it’s waistband and later seems to ditch it, but see below.
Me? Not 1911 fan.
Cosplayers? When she has this gun she’s in her hospital clothing and then the stolen Chet’s Auto Parts jacket and then switches to….
Detonics Custom 1911 with Pachmayr grips: Acquired at Enrique’s compound.
Me? Still not a 1911 fan.
Cosplayers? Probably not that hard to find a replica, may need to do some custom work on the grips
Colt Commando CAR-15 Model 629 (actually mocked up Colt Sporters): The carbine we see her cleaning and that she uses to shoot at Dyson. Also in the SWAT van, although that would be another one found there.
Sarah? Sure, probably an actual Commando though.
Me? Probably not my first choice, either Commando or Sporter, but wouldn’t kick it out of my arsenal.
Cosplayers? Probably pretty easy to get this replicated.
Remington 870 Police Combat with folding stock and high capacity magazine tube and shell holder on stock:
Sarah? She grabbed this from the SWAT van, so hard to say what her actual choice would be, but she does go for the Remington 870 Shorty in the new film. You all remember the one-armed pump so what more is there to say?
Me? Not first choice, I like Mossbergs a bit more.
Cosplayers? I think this should be easy to find a replica of, or might need some custom work. Consider losing the hat and messy loose hair if you add this, as that’s where she was at by then.
Sarah? Yeah, this is a great knife. Actual question is, why did she just ditch it?
Me? Okay, of all her weapons, this is the one I truly covet. Seriously my gun tastes run a bit different, but I love SOG knives, own several both fixed and folding, and the original Bowie that started the company is just …ah, well, a dream. For the real thing you’re looking at collector prices. For their current Bowies it’s around $240-$300. So chances are, while I really would like to, I probably won’t have one anytime soon.
Cosplayers? You can go to the trouble of finding or making a replica if you’re going for her “compound” look, but as she (again, mindbogglingly) leaves it in the picnic table, if you do the full vest and cap version, it would be more screen accurate to just wear an empty black knife sheath. That would likely be more con-friendly, too.
This is, of course, just the beginning and is copied from my blog post here. This list will be updated in both places as things are revealed.
The first is those pants: They turned out to be rather easy to find and I think I did so on first day and this is the one thing I am one I am surest about (aside from the shotgun and the belt buckle, although not the belt) right down to the exact product. The good news is that if you want them either for cosplay or just because you love them, you can get these exact pants (barring any customizing done by wardrobe). These are motorcycle jeans by uglyBros USA , the women’s Olive Motorpool-G. The bad news is that they run about $330. While there are other moto jeans out there that have the stretch panel over the knee and are similar, I am quite positive on this for an exact match especially with the cargo pocket. Just not sure about the split hem over over her boots, as all other photos I’ve found of them have them tucked in.
Sarah? Honestly, these are great looking pants, but I totally question Sarah wearing them over a pair of tactical pants with, say, 14 pockets. Hoping she at least rides in on a motorcycle. But if this ends up as a Future War movie rather than a stop the war movie, then maybe. I have learned from watching The 100 that moto skinny jeans are the most important post-apocalyptic wardrobe item a woman can have.
Me? No. I don’t have that sort of money for pants, I like a more relaxed fit and also just not enough pockets.
Cosplayers? You can sometimes find “deals” for them online, but some of those sites seem pretty suspicious. Sizes are pretty narrow (take the pun there or not), as well, and you’ll want to read their instructions on measuring as they’re, uh, different. The men’s version run slightly bigger but not a lot (men’s also come in a K for Kevlar version, cargo pocket is different, though). You might find some close but not exact searching for “moto jeans,” finding them in olive drab green with cargo pockets might be difficult. It depends, of course, on how accurate you are wanting to go and what your modification skills might be.
Sarah? Sure, why not? Although I admit I do kind of wish she was in a tank again.
Me? I do already at times. When possible, and it is getting harder all the time, I like sweatshop free options which is why I linked this brand.
Cosplayers? I don’t think this is a problem.
AustriAlpin Cobra belt buckle in polished (sometimes labeled “silver,” “aluminum” or “chrome” by other sellers) finish on olive drab green web belt: This is a sure thing as far as the description goes, I am familiar with this coveted buckle brand. The only ready made belt I have found with this combination polished on OD green is Crosstac women’s Lightening Tactical. but I don’t know if that’s what they got or if they made one. Obviously, the wardrobe department could sew the buckle onto webbing themselves. The Lightening Tactical belt is pricey, but well made tactical and rigger belts with these Cobra buckles tend to be and it does have useful hidden pockets, with or without a knife to put in the knife one.
Sarah? Hell, yeah!
Me? Hell, yeah! These are great buckles and I wear tactical belts already and really would love one. Black on black, or wolf gray on black, of course. But I’m looking at that no time soon due to costs, yeah even on Esty which has the best prices on belts, some of them appear really well made. Seriously, these are awesome buckles and is the one thing, other than basic black Ts, that I consider a practical thing that I’m happy to copy from this movie so far.
Cosplayers? If you are putting it on $350 jeans you are probably okay getting an $85-$100 belt. If you were to buy the Lightening Tactical, check their sizing information carefully, they’re strict and no refunds if you mess up. Again, Esty might be an option and you might be able to find one with this combo or get one custom made by someone there. It’s cheaper if you get a single density belt, rather than an actual tactical or rigger double thick and that is probably find for cosplay especially if you’re not holstering a real Shorty from it. A OD green web belt with a different buckle, pained silver (not likely to find that) might work. Or just hide it, which should be easy enough if you do the vest. But it’s a great buckle, so if it’s something you might want to wear enough for the bucks get a good one.
Nixon Regulus Watch in sand. Or so it appears. Really, it seems to be the only thing close. But I also can’t believe I identified it and did so within minutes of looking at watches. Photos of the the watch face she wears are not high rez enough to be completely sure, but the combination of a sand band with square holes and a black buckle of that particular shape, which is what is clear in the promotional photo, with a square faced watch this seems to be the only thing.
Sarah? Sure, I guess, it’s supposed to be a good watch.
Me? No way. That’s an expensive watch to kill, so I’d have to wear it in a covered band and I can wear any watch in the covered band so why spend that?
Cosplay? I guess it also depends on how much you want to spend and maybe if you want a new watch. I though military/sport watches in this color would be more common than they are but no luck. That covered watch band (even if OD green with black Velcro is impossible to find as the Velcro matches now) was real handy to hide your watch or not even have one.
Accessories I haven’t identified
Boots: These again don’t seem to be combat boots, but look more like engineer boots …as they look a lot like these Fryes. But maybe Skynet wants me to think so as these popped up as an ad on FB and I was struck by the similarity.
Sarah? Really, I’d like to see black eyelets blending with the boot. I could probably see her in a different sole, but might be just projecting my preferences.
Me? I’ll stick to my Panama sole combat boots or try athletic sole tactical boots.
Cosplayers? Again, if you’re cosplaying at a con, I recommend wearing what ever style black boot you are comfortable in and fit your budget. Your pant legs would be covering them, anyway. Fryes are a nice boot if you’re looking to spend the money, find them comfortable and intend to wear them a lot given the price. Then again, Frye may be funding Skynet or something. I’m really a bit suspicious.
Aviator sunglasses: I can’t believe I have identified the watch but not the exact sunglasses. Unlike the very unique Matsuda 2089 of T2, these are much more basic aviators. But not quite so basic that I have seen any and thought “that’s it!”
Oddly, I think I found her own personal sunglasses that we often see her wearing in fan photos off the set, which are somewhat different and have lighter lenses than the on-set ones.
Sarah? Sure, why not.
Me? Sure, why not. I do have some little round ones, and, yes, because they reminded me of the Matsuda pair without being exact copies (which Magnoli Clothiers weren’t making yet). I do prefer wraparound sport glasses for regular wear.
Cosplayers? Well, some might want the exact match so hopefully that will be identified. but aviators can also be considered “so basic you can find something that works” anywhere from $8 to thousands of dollars.
The bulletproof vest: This isn’t a real thing or it’s seriously obscure. I have searched, I have talked to vets, tactical magazine photographers and others and no one has seen anything like this, some of them have been asking others with gear knowledge. This somewhat resembles a plate carrier with PALS (Pouch Attachment Ladder System) webbing, but without bulk producing plates, of course.. However, while it has standard PALS webbing on the top, the cummerbund, which where you’d hang most of you gear with a MOLLE (MOdular Lightweight Load-bearing Equipment) or similar system, is not PALS. PALS is uniform, 1 inch wide webbing, 1 inch apart, sewn at 1.5 inch intervals; like on the top part which is a PALS panel. Rather than having holsters and pouches hooked to PALS like plate carriers tend to have, this webbing is made to fit the grenades and revolver she’s carrying. I have yet to see a system like that. Also, most vests stop rather high on the waist and if they add more below it’s detachable and goes all the way down to protect the groin and upper thighs.
Costume designer Ngila Dickson does have a good bit of experience in fantasy body armor designs, given some of her past work. I’m not sure why they went with a non-standard design like this, other than perhaps aesthetics. And it is more attractive than plate carriers tend to look. Face it, they’re bulky even before plates are added, let along gear pouches. This is actually a disappointment to me, I’d like to see a more realistic looking vest, even if it was still highly modified for aesthetics.
Of course, I and my sources may we proven way wrong and this thing exists in real life. Please let me know if so!
Sarah? I think she’d be more likely to actually wear an actual plate carrier and to use the PALS as it’s meant to be used. But it’s not going to be very useful against a Terminator that can more precisely get a head shot than a human. Ballistic vests work on the realization that aiming for center mass first is the most effective way to stop a person.
Me? Obviously, not this one. I’ll never say never for an actual ballistics vest, world is looking pretty grim these days.
Cosplayers? You’ll need to make or have made from scratch, or shot for the real thing and then redo it, or go for a more authentic real-life version over an authentic movie version, I guess. Who knows, Magnoli Clothiers might do one up someday.
Thermobaric Grenades: You can see that one has “obaric” written on it and therefore the rest of the word is likely wrapped around each of them. I can’t think of any other grenade related word that matches and if you’re fighting Terminators, I suppose this is a good option.
Would Sarah? Yeah, it makes sense. Not sure it would destroy a Terminator completely, but it’ll mess it up, burn off the skin (of the T800s and the like) to destroy any cover…I see it.
Me? Yeah, right.
Cosplayers may find replicas that can be easily doctored or probably rig something up. Of course any and all fake weapons for cons are subject to particular con rules.
Chiappa Rhino Revolver: not sure what model, will have to wait to see it drawn. but it’s the black anodized finish.
Sarah? Yeah, I guess. They’re good guns, she somehow obviously has resources. Not sure I’d see it as her first choice.
Me? Not enough of a fan for the price. Wouldn’t be my first choice, but if I had the money, it might be added to the collection I would have if I had the money.
Cosplayers? It’s actually easy to find air pistols (which some cons allow) and replicas of Rhinos, although wait to see which model.
Would Sarah? Sure. This baby is expensive, but a nice gun if you need an up close shotty. If she’s in an urban environment, it’s a shotgun she might choose. We know it takes a lot of rounds to affect a Terminator at all and it’s always best to keep some distance, but she might have other concerns than just Terminators.
Me? I’ll stick to my full length Mossberg. Although if I were suddenly flush I might do the Mossberg version, up close works for home defense even in the sticks. Yeah, honestly, I can’t even tell you why I am loyal to Mossbergs except my shotgun was the first gun I ever bought.
Cosplayers, well, good luck finding a ready made replica of gun or holster. If you can make the vest you might be able to replicate the holster. You might be able to doctor up the gun from some replica sawed off.
Anti-Tank Grenade launcher: Not sure on specifics, but maybe someone else has that info?
Sarah? Yeah, probably, it should slow down a Terminator.
Me? Never even thought about it, until now. Obviously if I were in the market I might recognize the specifics of this one. That’s about the real thing though, otherwise see below….
Cosplayers? Actually I think this the best weapon for cons, ever. At least if you are also there to get autographs. Get an OD green document tube or paint one, doctor it up with some bits and stencil some lettering (waiting for more specifics for that) and you have something that probably won’t be banned from any con, it’s just a document tube, and a place to safely carry your photos. Try not to clobber anyone in the crowd, though. So this is one I might do, even if I wouldn’t be in full costume…. if Linda Hamilton,and hopefully also Natalia Reyes and Mackenzie Davis, ever does a con I can get to again, as I have made a poster of that first photo and would love to get it autographed by all three.