I'm currently doing exactly this kind of research on my upcoming project, which I'll debut at Desucon Frostbite in February, the character being Misato Katsuragi from Neon Genesis Evangelion.
I've wanted to cosplay from NGE for quite some time, and now it is time. At first I thought Misato would be an easy cosplay to make, her outfit looks fairly simple, but DEAR GOD there is so many details all over it. Plus the general construction of the jacket is sort of wonky. But I'm starting to figure things out now, luckily. Hopefully this won't turn into a nightmare project haha.
This is what I usually do to get friendly with a design, I attempt to redraw it and notice all the details.
I gathered some materials already;
Hopefully I'll get working on this costume soon enough, but as of now this is how far I've gotten. I'll keep you updated on the process, and hopefully I'll have an awesome costume for Frostbite! Until next time, take care~