Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Simple Renaissance Faire Costumes

Renaissance Clothing for Men and Women

Renaissance Fair season is coming up and it is time to start thinking about that perfect Renaissance Faire costume. Finding a costume can be as complex or simple as you desire. Of course, if you want a historically accurate Renaissance costume, then your search will be more complex as you delve through history to discover the subtleties of Renaissance clothing. On the other hand, if you just want to “look the part” without too much research, expense, or attention to accuracy, then finding a costume will be relatively simple. Putting together a simple costume is as easy as visiting the second hand store, finding an online costume store, or buying and making a pattern from McCalls (for example).

Renaissance Costumes for Men
For a shirt, wear a basic tunic falling to mid-thigh. Tunics slit and/or laced up beneath the throat provide extra style. Sleeves may be puffy, like that pictured, elbow length, or non-existent. Material can be cotton or linen, or another natural looking fabric. Although bright colors were worn during the Renaissance, your simplest choice will be the solid, subdued versions of cream, olive, brown, blue, burgundy, grey, black, or red. Wear a brown or black belt loosely around the hips over the tunic.

Some people are quite pleased to leave their costuming efforts with a tunic and just wear a pair of jeans for pants. This would indeed be simple. If, however, you are looking for a more complete costume, then wear basic, baggy pants made of cotton or linen. The pants can have an elastic (non-existent during the Renaissance period) or drawstring waist. Again, use solid, subdued colors like black or brown.

Wear solid, brown or black colored shoes. Accessorize by attaching a drinking mug or money pouch onto your belt. Though hats were common articles of Renaissance clothing, one is not required for the basic Renaissance costume. Overall, the basic Renaissance costume for men is pretty comfortable.

Renaissance Costumes for Women
A simple costume for women traditionally begins with a white chemise or smock usually mid-thigh or mid-calf length with billowing sleeves to the wrist or elbow. However, given the realities of a hot fair day, some people choose to wear a simple, white tank top. It is optional, although common, to see a chemise with an elastic or drawstring neckline drawn down off the shoulders and resting right above the bicep. Material can be linen, cotton, or another natural looking fabric.

At this point, there is a wide variety of choices concerning skirt and bodice combinations. The simplest is to wear a full-length skirt with attached sleeveless bodice over the chemise. The bodice laces up the front, side, or back through eyelets and is similar to a vest. It can be as low cut as desired. A square neckline is common. Material can be cotton, linen, or any natural looking fabric. Like with men’s clothing the simplest color choices are solid versions of olive, brown, blue, burgundy, black, or red. For additional styling, wear two full-length skirts of different colors with the top skirt tucked up on one side to show the underskirt. Another option is for the full-length skirt to have a slit down the front to show the chemise underneath. In this case, be sure to wear a full-length chemise. The bodice and skirt colors can be different if desired.

Solid colored shoes are good, although with the full-length skirt, they probably will not show much.

So there you have it, two simple Renaissance faire costumes. They are not necessary authentic, but they are close enough for fitting in and looking the part. In addition, they are fairly comfortable and with a creative visit to the second hand store, not too expensive to assemble. Thank you for reading this post about simple Renaissance Faire costumes!

1 comment:

Danny said...

I might be attending a Renaissance dance in the near future and your blog has helped give me a few good ideas. Thanks!