Unfortunately, the last costumer I tried to work with -- a professional, mind you -- took my $250 deposit and disappeared. So I'm a little leery of going that route again, at least with somebody I don't know.
The costume has two basic parts, one is a uniform (still working on the design) that could be worn separately. The second part is a lion head/paws/tail arrangement like camstone's fox. The basic idea is that the uniform could go to SF/anime cons with or without the lion depending on my mood, and the whole ensemble could go to furry cons.
The whole schebang would require some props and such; from what I know of costuming, probably looking at a total investment of $500 - $1000, although that wouldn't necessarily need to be paid out all at once.
Kinda makes the $90 for a classic Star Trek shirt look reasonable, when put into that context. ;)
Must ponder. :) Comments from anyone into costuming welcome!