Introduction to Renaissance Clothing and Costumes
When I think of renaissance festivals I think of all those people running around in renaissance clothing and the different renaissance costumes. After watching the patrons run around and having fun I started to wonder, how hard it would be to make out my own persona at a fair? Would I ever be able to get all that neat looking clothing and accessories?
My first fair was the Louisiana Renaissance Festival in 2010. When I arrived at the fair I was in shorts and a tee shirt, when I left I was in a pirate shirt and breeches which ended up being scrubs and a mass produced shirt for about $120. Cost me about 600$ to outfit me and my family. Every since that day I was wondering if there would be a cheaper way to have my own garb.
Flash forward a few years and another Renaissance Festival, which I am now on the cast of. I have learned a few things such as how to make my own garb. Also I have learned how to get things a lot cheaper. For instance, I will have a shirt, doublet, pants and hat all hand made for about $120. This leads me to the point of this website. I am hoping to help people get involved in participating in the festivals events such as conventions
If you are really big into historical accuracy you can also use the Sumptuary Laws. These laws set down what a person would be allowed to wear without being fined.
Sumptuary Laws for Women
What Cloth For Your Renaissance Clothing
First, I should talk about fabric. Personally I think that this is a really important choice; because if you chose the wrong fabric you will either be freezing on sweating. A lot of people think of using wool, polyester, cotton, or some other fabric to make some renaissance clothing. While at first using those fabrics might be a good choice. These fabrics do have their merits and some would even be seen in that time period such as wool. There is one fabric I feel that stands far above the others and that is Linen. Linen breathes well and will not make you sweat as much or freeze too much as wool. My first outfit had a woolen shirt and during the Louisiana heat you could feel it. When I got my linen shirt it was if I was not wearing anything. I was not hot and clingy like I was in wool
A great source for linen is at the Fabrics-store.com. For your outer costume you should use IL20 and for your inner clothing you should use IL19
What Color is Your Cloak
Colors also played an important part, the colors you wore showed where you were at in the social order. More or less. Some people such as yeoman, craftsman, and commoners could not afford certain colors and usually wore blues, reds, browns, and greens Colors such as purple were reserved for royalty. Also colors like black and white were very hard to dye or very hard to keep clean and where reserved for the nobility.
Renaissance Hats, Headgear, and Brain Buckets
Back in the early times everyone wore some form of hat. Depending on your station it might just be a simple stray hat all the way to a flat caps made of exotic cloth. If you are a lady you would have your hair pulled up once you are married. The only people with their hair down were children. It was very rare to see anyone without some form of headgear on.
This is one of the most fun parts of outfitting your renaissance costume. You can really personalize your outfit. You can carry a sword, dagger, or matchlock pistol. Other items you can carry are mugs to drink out of and your eating utensils. Your accessories are used to tell people what you do for a living. For instance, if you are a tailor you would have some scissors, a measuring device, possibly a book and pencil; whereas if you are a trapper you might have a bow, quiver with arrows, and some furs. If you carry any weapons you should always check with the local renaissance festival you are attending to see what rules they have regarding weapons.
Adding Your Own Touches
So are you ready to create your own renaissance clothing? I know I am always looking forward to creating new costumes. I am hoping this teaser article has got you looking forward to reading my next set of articles as I go further in depth on how to create your costumes for going to renaissance festivals and also they can be used for Halloween and also when you go to conventions. The look you will end up with will be a mix of realism and a touch of creative inspiration. I have seen people come out in pure steampunk to Harry Potter, and also we have the 501st who will show up as storm troopers wearing kilts (but that is for another post)