Renaissance Faire Costumes
Renaissance faire costumes are popular for everything from costume parties to spending time at a renaissance faire as a guest or cast member.
About Renaissance Faire Costumes
Most renaissance faires are set during the Elizabethan time period because this is the time most associated with the English renaissance. Knights in chain mail are a popular sight at renaissance faires.
Costumes Not Required
While most try to strive for historical accuracy, costuming is not required for visitors to renaissance faires. Guests who dress up in heavy gowns and armor should be aware of the weather at their locale to avoid heat stroke.
The most common renaissance faire outfit includes a very loose shirt. For example, each of those photographed here is wearing a similar version of a loose shirt that gathers at the wrist cuffs. Tucked in, it is still loose enough to allow for freedom of movement and flare.
Renaissance costuming is a great deal about the flare. For men, the shirt can be tucked into loose fitting breeches while women may prefer long skirts.
The lace up bodice is a choice that was popular during the reigns of King Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I. The bodice is made of stiff, colorful fabric or lined with a tougher material to make it stiff. It is then worn over a shirt and laced up securely to give lift to the breast.
The bodice fits much like a corset, only worn outside the clothing. Many renaissance faires sell bodices in a wide variety of styles. A loose top with a flowing skirt and bodice and you will look the part of renaissance woman.
You can create a renaissance outfit from common clothes in your closet. For women, skirts of varying length can be layered over each other if they are of similar fabric. A loose top or poet's shirt with a bodice or vest adds that touch of whimsy.
Men need leggings or breeches made of soft cloth or broadcloth rather than denim or hard cotton. Footwear includes soft suede boots, sandals and more.
Keep It Simple
Not sure you want to spend a lot of time putting together a costume, add a scarf with spangles or a shawl with beads over a plain skirt. Accents like a bandanna, a hat or a wreath of flowers can add a bit of historical flavor.
Buy a Costume
One of the perks of visiting a renaissance faire without a costume is that you can find plenty of shops selling period clothing and outfits.
You can find matching outfits to wear with a spouse, a friend or a relative. Most of these shops offer clothing that is hand sewn or prepared individually and are priced accordingly.
Add Some Face Paint
At a renaissance faire, face paint isn't just for children. Because fantasy characters are equally welcome at renaissance festivals, face painting can add spice and sweetness. You can add a simple streak to the side of your face or something fancier like a character, glitter, flowers and more.
The look of the jester is easily identifiable. A set of breeches with a matching vest and plain muslin undershirt only needs a wild and crazy hat to take the costume to the next level. Tricks are optional.
Most renaissance festivals are set in an English village, but during the renaissance, it was not uncommon for visitors to come from far and wide. You can choose from the Spanish, the French and the Italian renaissance for ideas.
The Whimsy of the Renaissance
Discover your inner whimsy when dressing for a renaissance faire, party or other event. You can dress as a doomed queen ala Anne Bolyn, a knight in armor, a court jester or a whimsical fairy. The magic of the renaissance costume is that you can literally become whatever you can imagine.
Learn more about period costumes with: