If you are reading this article, it means you are either a fan of Renaissance fairs, have attended a few of the events, or are about to attend your first. Whatever the case, this historical fashion is a fun show with many highlights.
If you need to know what to wear or are looking for new and exciting ideas, this guide will help you. For the season, ed seasoned renaissance attendees, you will agree with me that there are three categories of people;
- Those who are historically accurate
- Those who dress with historical accuracy
- Those who don’t dress at all—because they don’t know what to wear
Do’s and Don’ts for Your First Renaissance Faire Costume
Like every other event, attending a Renaissance fair has a set of guidelines. Although unofficial, I suggest you adhere to them so that you don’t look awkward in the crowd.
Do: Carry out brief research of the period that your fashion choice falls into. The Renaissance era is a very long and diverse period, cut across different times and places. A little research will help you narrow down your choice and ensure it is authentic.
Don’t: Avoid being too practical. If you are a perfectionist like me, you would be tempted to get every detail right. However, don’t compromise your comfort for style. Ensure that you can breathe in the cloth and that it is easy to move around. Especially if it is an outdoor fair, you’ll have to spend hours walking around in the sun.
With these tips, you can create a perfect Renaissance fair costume. Here are twenty tips that might help.
- Colonial Costumes
If you’re willing to dress like a colonial American, we all know colonialism is terrible, but it is part of history. So dress up like a colonial American woman. This outfit is beautiful because its fabrics can readily be accessed, and designing it is easy. Alternatively, you can get it from a costume store.
While the fabric and gown are easy to get, you may need help to get some of the accouterments to make it look more historically accurate. As an alternative, I suggest you pair authentic crepe fabric skirts with a peasant blouse. For the empire waist, you can explore any possibility.
- Atomic Black Siren Pirate Costume
Wearing a pirate outfit is another fantastic way to dress for your next renaissance fare. Dress in a unique pirate costume to stand out. You will undoubtedly stand out and get many compliments if you get it right.
You can style your pirate custom to fit the season. During colder weather, add more layers to your outfit, and during the hot days, lesser clothes. You can also add black-haired bonnets to adhere to pirates’ traditional attire. Use pirate movies like Pirates of the Caribbean as a guideline.
- Greek Goddess
This is a beautiful costume; the only problem here is that you may need help getting this costume because it is different from what you may have in your closet.
However, here’s a secret on how to go about it, use clothes with drapes that can make many folds. That is because Greek fashion was dominated by silky materials and was styled with folds.
If you don’t have any of the above, you can try out Chiffon gowns to create the look. Materials like brocades can also be used.
- Elaborate Renaissance Costumes
This is another renaissance fair costume that stands out. The steps for creating this fantastic costume are fun and more reasons why you should do it yourself rather than buying from a costume store.
It would help if you had built-in corsets, layered fabrics, fancy accessories, apparel layers, and a Youtube video to guide you. It will take up to a couple of hours to design this outfit. So next time you go to a renaissance fair, make sure you have fun creating this beautiful piece.
- Ingenue Costumes
Suppose you are looking for a more traditional costume. In that case, I suggest that you become an ingenue—a woman who has noble blood or at least from an aristocratic family, who has not yet made her imprint on the world—historically, the age bracket for ingenue is between fourteen and twenty-five years. So, if you want to be historically accurate, ensure you are within this age bracket or look like it before you rock this fantastic outfit.
- Victorian Costumes
Although very beautiful, you will need to be very detailed to rock a victorian costume accurately. And they also take time to design. If you want to wear this fantastic costume for your next fair but need more patience to pull it off, get it from a costume store. If you already have a gown that looks victorian, then you don’t need much sewing knowledge or fabrics.
- The Black Plague
In most fairs, the black plague costume will always turn heads. Probably because of the historical significance. Although the black plague was just one of the numerous plagues within that period, it significantly impacted human history because of how fast it spread and the number of people it killed. You can get your black plague outfit from any costume store near you or online, from masks to helmets and other accessories.
- Roman Costumes
Almost every fair you attend would have at least two people dressed in Roman costumes because Roman costumes are the most popular. Putting together a Roman outfit requires effort, a significant amount of time, and lots of different elements.
The original fabrics used in Roman times are challenging to come by, but if you manage to get them, you will realize that they are worth the wait.
You can, however, improvise with similar materials. If you can, weave metal roman themed coins into your outfit, or use green threads and bobby pins to design different sorts of brooches from old bread bags.
- Long Sleeved Gown with Atomic Red Chest Strap
I love this renaissance costume because it is super comfortable; the Strapped Long Sleeved Gowns are breezy and light. The cloth gives this silky sensation and looks fashionable—especially for people with lighter skin—this should certainly be at the top of your list when attending your next renaissance fair. It also doubles as a Halloween costume.
- Cowgirl Renaissance Costume
Who doesn’t love a sexy cowgirl? Cowgirl fashion is at the top thanks to appearances in fashion shows, music, and movies like Clint Eastwood’s American Westerns from the 1970s and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. If you are looking for a costume to wear for a renaissance festival, why not dress like a cowgirl?
- Viking Costumes
This is another trendy costume among renaissance fair attendees. It is more prevalent in fairs hosted in the Northern parts of the United States. Vikings’ history is very significant in human history, so why not share in this rich culture when attending your next fair? To get the costume, buy this fantastic costume on eBay or Etsy. Or get a similar full-length garment and wear a white trimming over it.
- Violet Chachki Renaissance Gown
You can look like Violet Chachki, a drag queen known for wearing Greco-Roman and Renaissance attire. He usually makes videos for social media where he unravels the costumes he develops. You can borrow one of the numerous ideas that he has shared.
- Princess Dress from Frozen
If you’ve watched frozen, you would agree that Princess Anna is adorable, and her gown is stunning. Her dress is cute and can be used as a cosplay for children. Adults, too, can rock this beautiful costume. Getting the exact cosplay is difficult, so check for online stores that sell.
- Women’s Peasant Costume
Years ago, wearing peasant costumes wasn’t a thing of pride. However, you will look stunning if you rock it perfectly for your next event. Getting this costume is simple; you can build it from scratch; all you need is a piece of clothing and basic sewing knowledge. They come in different ranges and styles so that you can pick any design.
- Tavern Wench
This is a perfect customer if you want to appear seductive and sweet. What makes this stunning costume stand out is that it is straightforward to make this costume from scratch in a matter of hours with minimal stitching. This should be at the top of your list if you want to be attractive and approachable on that day.
What comes to mind when you hear the word witchcraft? Something sinister, I bet. Since witchcraft was prevalent during the renaissance period, this costume qualifies as cosplay for renaissance fairs. There are a lot of sorceress styles, so pick the one that matches your taste. This outfit should be your first pick if you have a thing for spooky ghosts.
- Fortune Teller
The art of fortune-telling is an ancient tradition and has survived even to this day. The more you learn about it, the deeper you get into the culture. For your next fair, you can dress as a fortune teller and get lots of attention. Search for online platforms that sell
- Juliet Costume
If you have ever attended a well casted “Romeo and Juliet play, Then you will have an idea of what a Juliet costume would look like. It consists of a red leather collar, black leather bra straps, and a leather skirt—an excellent choice for an ominous Renaissance fair.
This outfit seems like only a man would wear to a renaissance fair, but who says men can’t slay too? This is a famous outfit at Renaissance fairs. You can customize your ranger gear to fit your personal preference. However, they generally consist of a cloak, jerkin, belt, sturdy boots, and a belt pouch.
Just like I stated earlier, you can style/customize this outfit. For instance, if you replace a hooded cloak and jerkin with a simple hood, it will turn out to be a medieval peasant/huntsman costume. Also, if you pair some armor pieces with a linen surcoat, it would be a knight costume.
- Renaissance Children
You can also pull off a costume representing a Renaissance child, noble, peasant, or merchant. This costume is straightforward; get a simple shirt and pants made from light fabrics like cotton or linen. Make sure the material has a solid color.
You can also make the costume more authentic by braiding your hair or wearing a hood hood-like.
How Can I get a Renaissance Outfit?
If you like any of the Renaissance outfits listed above, there are several ways for you to get one for your next fair. You can either rent or buy from a costume shop near you or online from platforms like eBay.
If you attend more than one event within a short period, I’ll advise you to buy your outfit rather than rent it. This way, you’ll know that it is yours, and you won’t have to worry about renting it multiple times for each event.