Starting in the 1960s, the Renaissance festival encourages the attendees to wear elaborate, innovative, and detailed costumes.
To look at the part, it’s vital that you choose the right costume. Is this the first time you are attending a Renaissance fair? Here are tips to help you find the right costume:
Do your research
Although anything goes in Ren Fairs, it’s good to dress the part. Thankfully, there are plenty of costumes you can go with. From pirates to gypsies and knights, there are plenty of options to choose from.
For you to settle on the right outfit, you need to consider several factors that include:
- Whom you want to portray: Which character or person would you like to dress as? Popular characters you can emulate are: pirates, wenches, peasants, and royal nobility.
- Period: Most Ren Fairs will have a period theme, and the last thing you want is to show up looking out of place. To avoid this, visit the Renaissance fair website so that you can bring yourself to par with the event’s theme.
- Social class: You have to choose among the different social classes that include: nobility, royalty, middle class, and peasants or lower class.
- Nationality: You can choose to be Italian, French, Spanish, or any other nationality.
- Profession: There are plenty of professions to choose from. From cleric to blacksmith to baker, you are only limited by your imagination.
- Activity: What would you or the character you portray be doing at the fair? You could be riding a horse, dancing, or working in a trade. You should choose an activity that fits your character.
Don’t buy from a Halloween store.
Those attending rein fairs for the first time often don’t know where to buy the costumes, so you often find them buying in Halloween stores. This is wrong.
This is because Halloween costumes are usually sewn all-in-one. This means that breaches are sewn to the shirt and vest, all in one layer, which makes the outfit boring.
The fabrics used in making the outfits also tend to be low quality, so you look cheap, and often out of place.
For good quality, well-made Renaissance fair clothing and accessories, buy them from a dedicated and reputable renaissance store.
If you don’t have a renaissance store in your area, try your luck in thrift and secondhand stores. It also doesn’t hurt seeing what is available in garage sales and vintage shops for used costume and specialty items.
If everything fails, buy the outfit at the Renaissance faire.
Don’t go bareheaded
To look the part, you should cover your head. For women, wear a headdress, bonnet, or wreath. For men, wear a cap which can be a felt hat, lat cap, muffin cap, or straw hat.
Dress for comfort
You want to be as comfortable as possible, so you need to dress for comfort. From the outfit to the shoes, ensure that you are comfortable and can easily move around.
Remember that you most likely will be walking on dirt paths and grass, so you need to ensure that the shoes you wear don’t dig into the ground.
They also should be strong enough to withstand the rough surface abuse. The last thing you want are shoes whose sole comes off as you walk.
Before you go out, check the weather forecast. If it will be warm, avoid putting on too many layers, as they will be too uncomfortable, which might prevent you from enjoying the event.
Wear a cloak
If you will be attending the event in early spring, fall, or staying into the night, wear a cloak to keep you warm.
Of course, when choosing the cloak, ensure that it matches your style and compliments your outfit.
Choose simple fabrics
When going for authenticity, go for fabrics that would have been available in the 14-17th century. This calls for you to go for fabrics made from natural fibers or materials, as synthetic fabrics weren’t invented.
Some of the excellent fabrics to go for are: linen, woven cotton, wool, leather, and cotton.
If wearing a high-class or royalty costume, go for brocades, satins, or velvets.
Besides the outfit, you need to wear the right accessories that might have been available during the Renaissance. Thankfully, there are plenty of accessories you can go with.
The most common is wearing a simple leather belt and attaching one or more pouches made from leather or natural fiber. You can store your phone, wallet, or car keys here.
You also should wear sturdy leather boots, or any other practical footwear made from natural material.
As you are choosing the accessories, note that many Renaissance fair venues don’t allow real weapons unless you are a performer. This means you can’t come in with a real sword or firearm.
One of the most popular renaissance costumes is the peasant costume.
If you want to lock this outfit, you will need to wear a simple vest, white or off-white poet’s shirt, simple boots and belt, breeches, and a muffin top or any other type of cap. You can also add a drinking horn to complete the look.
If you are a lady and want the peasant look, wear a white or off-white blouse or poet’s shirt, a bodice or vest, a long skirt, a low neckline, and simple flat leather shoes or sandals.
If you have the skills, make the Renaissance costume by yourself to give it a unique, custom look, but if you have never done it before, buy the costume pre-made.
While you are at the fair, don’t make fun of people for their costumes. Some costumes might be weird and show plenty of skin, but remember, the owners might have spent a fortune on them, so be cool.
It’s alright to complement the costumes and pieces you like. It’s also OK to take pictures, but always ask for permission. This is not only common courtesy, but the person wearing the costume might have to stick a pose to bring out the costume’s full effect. Seriously.