Persona: Are you a lady in waiting? A peasant wench? Dress according to how much money you imagine your 'character' would have to spend on clothes. Rich fabrics were only available to nobility, while drab neutral colors belonged to peasants. Here are some ideas.
Historically accurate: There are a couple of attitudes on this one. Some people will say to avoid dressing like a Harry Potter character or a gothic vampire. Children can get away with dressing like fairies and the like, but the real ren-faire buffs will tell you that you should probably go for something more 16th century.
- Absolute no-no's for historical accuracy: No sneakers with skirts, avoid wristwatches, and sunglasses. For ideas, check out this medieval clothing gallery.
Wear a Nice Attitude: If your goal is to buy or create period costumes to achieve total historical accuracy, fine. But let's let everyone else have a good time, too. Follow a 'No Snarking' rule. If someone hasn't asked you if their costume is historically accurate, keep the condescending pointers to yourself. If a fellow patron actually asks you for advice, give them some helpful constructive critisism.
Not Like a Desperate Wench: Remember that bodices and corsets are meant to leave something to the imagination. Cleavage is good fun, but don't hike your corset more than halfway. You're not fooling anyone by doing this...everyone can tell. Skirts should be long with boots or slippers; not high heels. You wouldn't want to walk around the festival grounds in heels, anyway.
Don't Forget the Pirates! Remember, girls can be pirates, too. If you don't like the idea of going wench, wear a pair of cotton pants with a blouse. Loop a long scarf through the pants and wear as a belt.
Examples of Renaissance Festival Costumes
Get inspired at these photo galleries.
- Costumes at the Colorado Renaissance Festival
- Costumes at the Dubuque, Iowa Renaissance Festival
- Costumes at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival
Make it Yourself and Save:
Medieval dresses and gowns can cost you a kings ransom. Avoid the price tag with these simple costume how-to's: