If you are in the market for Renaissance faire clothing, you have a lot of options ahead of you. As you can imagine, there was a lot going on in the Renaissance, and there are costumes for every profession and social position. To help you make up your mind about how to dress for the fair, here are a few things to consider.
The first thing you need to decide is how committed are you going to be to the time period. If you are passionate about Renaissance fairs, you might want to be authentic right down to your undergarments. If you are a more casual participant, you might get away with wearing more comfortable modern shoes, perhaps with covers over them. As with most historical things, there are no undoubtedly correct versions of Renaissance costumes, but you should still do your research to represent the time, region, and class that you want your costume to reflect. If people don’t even have a guess as to what your costume is supposed to be, you might be a bit far afield in terms of historical representation. Of course, the fair will still accept you if you are in “strange modern attire,” but why deny yourself the fun of a costume?
The budget for your costume should not just be decided by how much you can spend, but also by how much the Renaissance person you are emulating would have adorned their outfit. If you are a small village tavern owner, you will not have gold chains and a gilded sword. Much like the people of the Renaissance who lived before credit cards, compare your costume to your budget and desires, not to what other people are able to do. You can create your own, or purchase a stunning replica online, but whatever you choose to do remember that you generally get what you pay for. Cheaper clothes and materials will likely only last you one fair, but a high-quality or professionally made costume can last for many years.
If you are planning to be at the Renaissance fair all or most of the day, you will want something that allows you to move, sit, stand, etc., without too much hassle. Sure, we all think we would like to be in a royal robe, but remember that monarchs had many attendants, a comfort which you might find yourself lacking. First, have comfortable footwear. You are likely going to be doing a lot of walking, not always on flat surfaces, and may even find yourself running or, if you dare, frolicking. All of these things require shoes that will not give you blisters or other problems. Second, anticipate the weather. When considering Renaissance fair costumes, make sure that they can stand up to either the light showers or 105-degree heat to which you’ll be subjecting them. Finally, decide what and how you will carry things. You will likely need money, keys, allergy medication, or a whole host of other things to help get you through the day. If you plan to use pockets in your costume, a satchel, pouch on a belt, etc., make sure that it won’t allow your possessions to fall out and that it fits with your overall plan for authenticity.