Costumes and clothing are the tools you will use to create your Renaissance character. Renaissance clothing really does make the man or woman, so pick your character and find your Renaissance costume essentials here.
How To Get Started
First off… “Renaissance Faire Folk” don’t call them costumes. To them these are more like real clothes. They call it garb. You if you ask someone about what hey are wearing, ask them about their garb.
Now, you need to decide who you are and that will tell you what kind of costume to make. Or decide what kind of costume you want to make and that will tell you something about your Elizabethan self.
Cost: This is what may be your most limiting area, so this is where we will begin. A simple costume, especially peasant, can be very inexpensive to make. (Borrowing, of course, is cheaper still, but it’s not quite the same as having your own costume or as the Ren Folke say, garb.) Unless you make some incredible finds at garage sales or find an Elizabethan sale rack at Mervyn’s, you can expect to spend at least $30 (we’re talking basic peasant here).
Generally speaking, the higher up you go in station (Elizabethan for status) the more you will spend.
Fabric: Desirable fabrics would be natural fabrics,. Natural fibers such as wool, linen, cotton, silk are preferred, both for comfort and authenticity. Equally acceptable are blends of these, proving they look like they belong in Elizabethan England.
Now…(this may be obvious, but you’d be surprised) NO polyester double knit (here’s a clue: if it looks like you could make a leisure suit out of it, go ahead, just don’t wear it to FAIRE).
Colors: Earth colors and muted tones are best, just ask if you’re not sure. These would have been obtained throughnatural dyeing. The darker or deeper the color would most likely show that you were from higher up the social ladder and bright colors would have been difficult to create and to maintain. White would not have been for long.
Black is reserved for nobility and purple is reserved for the Queen.
Colors to avoid (or not even think about): hot colors: pink, chartreuse, orange, or any day-glo color. No prints, please…they weren’t invented yet.
Resources: Search on the internet and/or visit your local library. Sites and books on history, art or costuming are good places to start
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