How to Look Your Best in a Renaissance Dress

When it comes to finding the perfect dress for your local Renaissance Faire or medieval wedding, it’s important to be historically accurate. This guide to Renaissance dresses from the Historical Clothing Realm will help you look your best.

Renaissance Dress

The Fabrics

It’s important to consider your fabric choices when you’re selecting your costume. The Halloween costumes you find at your local big box store are usually made of cheap, modern fabrics. You’ll want to stay away from these fabrics, especially if you’re going for authenticity. Avoid anything stretchy, bedazzled, metallic, or sequined as well as any modern blends like polyester satin.

The Role

Consider the type of costume you need. Are you going as a peasant girl or a queen? Social stature dictated the kinds of fabrics one could afford during medieval times. Peasants and handmaidens, for example, never wore fine silk or velvet. Deep colors like burgundy red, hunter green, and royal blue were usually reserved for the upper classes. Light, earth tones like brown, beige, and yellow were more common among the middle and lower class.

The Fit

You’ll want to make sure your garb fits properly. Ladies, this means your dress is supposed to be a little snug. Lace up your bodice as tight as you can without being uncomfortable. If there are any gaps in the bodice, go for a size smaller. You shouldn’t be able to see the fabric underneath. Make sure your bust is properly supported and that you can move comfortably. Sitting and standing will take practice but the bodice is actually designed to be very supportive.

The Undergarments

If you’re going for historical accuracy, you might as well go all the way. A proper Renaissance gown just doesn’t look right without the right undergarments. The bodice, for example, relies on the support of the corset to maintain its shape. Otherwise, it’ll sag and you’ll spend all night tugging it up. Petticoats under the skirt are designed to highlight the dress. If you’re going as Catherine the Great, you’re going to need a lot of these. Peasant girls and handmaidens can get away with less but they’re still essential to give the garment a natural flow.

For costume ideas, search online for historically accurate Renaissance dresses and get a better understanding of how garments from that time period looked.

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The Ultimate Guide to Buying Medieval Clothing

Are you searching for the perfect medieval or gothic outfit for an upcoming costume party or period-themed play? The dizzying array of styles, cuts, fabrics, and colors can be confusing, particularly if one has a certain picture in mind. However, a simple guide such as the one below allows shoppers for medieval or Renaissance clothing the ability and peace of mind to choose costumes without the worry of making uninformed decisions. Thanks to these helpful hints, people attempting to purchase medieval clothing will not have to second guess their choices! Rather, they will be able to go straight to an online store and purchase just the right items.

Young girl in medieval attire

  • Men—It can be very difficult to truly understand the clothing of medieval culture when attempting to choose costumes in today’s modern world. For men, the most common articles of clothing seem to have been a wide variety of capes, vests, doublets, boots, tunics, and weaponry. Dark colors were very common, but bright ones were preferable to many. In particular, royalty wore vivid shades to draw attention to themselves and to signify their proper stance and position in society.
  • Women—The dresses and other clothing items worn by women during the Renaissance and medieval periods are the wardrobe pieces most commonly associated with today’s view of this historical time period. Because of this, it is perhaps simpler to delve deeper into this facet of medieval clothing. During Renaissance days, the females of society often wore intricate dresses, heavy makeup, ornate hairstyles, and delicate jewelry pieces. This aspect of women’s wardrobes often depended heavily on their position in society and on the wealth of their family.
  • Children—In the same way that men and women each had a particular clothing style associated with their choice of attire, children followed the trends of their elders to a great extent. In many cases, young boys wore tunics, breeches, robes, hoods, and boots. Many of these articles of clothing were sewn from heavy materials and dark shades. The young girls of the medieval period dressed in a similar manner to their elders: cloaks, petticoats, bodices, and full skirts. Depending on the place of the children in Renaissance culture, bright colors were also coveted. Similar to their mothers and fathers, the clothes worn by the boys and girls of the medieval historical period were largely influenced and dictated by their cultural rank and monetary status. The styles could change depending on the particular area and time period in which a child lived.

Medieval men, women, and children all wore a combination of vivid colors and intricate designs. When finding medieval clothes for sale, the best plan is to confirm that these items look historically accurate. Through research and knowledge of the time period, it is not difficult to find exactly what one is looking for in a medieval clothing store. Although there is a dizzying array of medieval and Renaissance clothing pieces from which to choose, the criteria listed above will allow the shopper the peace of mind knowing they have made the correct decision.

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3 Reasons You Should Buy Renaissance Clothing Online

Although Renaissance clothing may not be the most common commodity on the market today, there is definitely a customer base for it as people involved in plays, movies, costume parties, and even simply Halloween celebrations all flock to find this type of product. Of course, these costumes can be somewhat difficult to find in stores, making shopping online the perfect solution. As listed in this article, there are a number of reasons many people choose to shop online for items such as Renaissance faire clothing.

Medieval King

  • Selection—Just like any other product in a competitive market, the ability to choose from a wide variety of items greatly benefits the customer. Obviously, Renaissance clothing is also slightly more challenging to discover in a mall or shopping center than other wardrobe items. Because of this, the additional selection provided by online shopping makes the entire process of finding Renaissance faire clothing much simpler.
  • Price—Nearly every customer pays a great deal of attention to the price tag when they are making a purchase. Thankfully, the benefits of shopping online are not offset by a hefty additional fee. You’ll often find a significant price reduction in the case of many online Renaissance faire clothing industries. This factor contributes to the overall advantage of shopping online for medieval-themed customers or clothing.
  • Convenience—Last of all, and perhaps most important to many shoppers, the ability to view and select clothes from the comfort of their own home is an enormous incentive toward buying online. As with many other purchases, a number of customers prefer the ability to browse from the comfort of their own homes rather than visiting shopping mall after shopping mall as they search for the perfect item. Renaissance clothing can be rather difficult to find as it is definitely not a common product in typical stores.

A number of benefits can be found in shopping online for Renaissance clothing if needed for anything from a costume party to a medieval-themed play. The selection is much vaster, the prices often cheaper, and the convenience of the entire experience increased when purchasing from a Renaissance clothing store rather than through the typical shopping experience. Also, when one has the comfort and ease of using a smart phone or computer to browse, the entire shopping trip is much more positive and less stressful than the alternative of going into a physical store.

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This Weeks Specials on – April 6th-13th Only

Hey there, we’ve updated the homepage of HCR to make it more dynamic in giving out specials sales and promotions updated weekly. We’ve just installed a powerful new system that let’s us run multiple promotions with the flexibility we’ve always wanted! We’ll be posting here to explain the different promotions every week! Here are the main promotions:

Our Main Promotion: 10% Off ALL Men’s Renaissance and Medieval Clothing

Includes all men’s clothing! Renaissance Doublets, Shirts, Tunics, Pants, Footwear, etc.









5% Off All Women’s Dresses and Gowns

renaissance dresses and gowns

Includes our most popular dresses, Country Maid Skirt w/ Bodice






A great offer on all helmets: 10% Off any helmet!

medieval and roman helmets

Get 10% Off All Viking, Roman, Greek, and Medieval Helmets.

Keep in mind all these promotions are automatically applied when you add an item eligible for the sale into the cart. No coupons necessary! Everyone will get the discount when you add the product to the cart.

We also have secondary promotions on other product lines throughout the site, they are:

1) 10% Off all Greek Armor and Breastplates

2) 5% Off all Medieval Weapons

3) 10% Viking Tunics and other Medieval Shirts and Tunics

Go checkout our homepage at or click the “Shop Now” link at the top navigation. Comment with your suggestions for sales next week!

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A Knight’s Wardrobe – What’s Underneath?

When you think of a knight’s attire of the medieval times, you most likely envision one in shining armor galloping in on a white steed to save the day!  But here’s a shocker…knights actually wore more than just armor.  Crazy, huh!?!  As battle was dangerous and armor could be penetrated, knights required layers underneath for protection.  Generally, a knight’s wardrobe was practical, but on occasion left room for a bit of style.

When it came to clothing, the main concern for the knight was protection.  Because these valiant guys fought in the sun, armor could get quite hot and could burn the knight without padding underneath.  In addition, the feel of fabric was no doubt more comfortable than metal armor rubbing against the skin.  Thus, knights wore linen undershirts and linen underpants called gipouns.  The underpants had laces that tightened the garment securely around the body, preventing armor from touching the flesh.



To ensure extra comfort, knights wore a long quilted coat, stuffed with linen or grass.  This garment could be referred to as a doublet, aketon, arming, gambeson, or heketon.  There was also a cheaper, and sometimes more accessible, garment called a fustian for those of lower wealth.  To shield from the rain, knights were sometimes seen in long cloaks as well.

Atop their armor, knights wore long robes called surcoats.  These garments were fastened at the waist and were accompanied by long bands on the sleeves.  To give the knight some breathing room, this attire was open at the bottom.  Surcoats played a huge role in knights’ armor, as they showcased the coat of arms, identifying the knight on the battlefield.  The coat of arms was also seen on a matching shield.

Knights Templar Costume:

Knights Templar Costume

Because the Middle Ages were not like the days of ancient Rome, knights definitely did not wear sandals.  Instead they wore flat closed toed shoes, usually made from tanned leather or tawed skin.  They also wore woolen stockings to insulate their legs and feet.  Other attire of note was hats (which distinguished rank), belts, and pouches.

So, the next time you see a knight, be it on film, in a photograph, or live, remember that there is more than just armor to these guys.  To see our collection of knightly garb, go to

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A Step Inside Scottish Wardrobe

When it comes to the fun fashions of Scottish Highlands, it is hard to imagine that there could be other pieces, aside from the kilt.  While the kilt is indeed a dominant staple of Scottish style, there are other garments to go into the Highland wardrobe.

So, let’s start at the beginning.  While the kilt is the most associated piece of clothing with the Scottish Highlands, the garment that paved the way for it was the liene.  The liene was a long shirt that reached to the ground for women and to the knee for men.  The look was topped off with a plaid blanket or cloak type piece draped over the shoulders or pinned at the chest.

Highlands Shirt:

HIghlands Shirt

Skipping ahead to the late 16th century, kilts splashed on to the scene.  They began being sported only by Highlanders, but their popularity spread quickly and these garments eventually earned the reputation of being the national dress of Scotland.  The kilt was patterned and layered, using several yards of fabric.  As the kilt is traditionally male apparel, female attire consists of pleated skirts with the same materials and pattern as the kilt.  In the 19th century, the kilt got a status bump to formal wear, thanks to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.  The style then incorporated the kilt accompanied by a jacket and sportan.

In addition to formal attire, the kilt also served other purposes.  For example, the Scots were involved in the Jacobite Rebellion in Britain during the 18th century where the kilt was viewed as a strong cultural element by the English government, who actually prohibited it for a period of time.  The kilt has also become a geographical indicator which is worn by various British and Scottish military regiments.  In sports, Scottish players and fans tend to wear kilts or at least the tartan pattern to proclaim their loyalty and heritage to their country.

Scottish Man’s Kilt:

Scottish Man's Kilt

Other noteworthy Highland dress components include the ghillie brogues, thick soled, tongueless shoes that are wrapped and tied around the ankle.  Both men and women wear these shoes, but the female version has thinner soles for dancing and indoor activities.  Women also are known to wear patterned dresses and accessorize their look with tartan shawls or sashes.

In all Scottish styles, the one thing that remains is the tartan pattern.  Though the fashions may change to keep up with current times, this distinctive will not go away.  To view our collection of Scottish attire, go to

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Medieval Times – A Bite Of History

So it’s a Friday night and you are looking for that perfect place to take that special someone.  However, you find yourself in a dilemma as McDonalds just doesn’t do the trick and you’ve been to the Olive Garden twice in the last week.  You look at the events calendar in the paper, but the dinner theater is dark tonight.  In that case, what do you do?  Well, there is a winning option you may not be aware of…Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament.  With locations in several major U.S. cities, this interactive dining delight offers a unique experience taking you back to the adventurous era of the Middle Ages.  Featuring fantastic food and a cast of talented actors and live animals, attendees are welcomed into an 11th century castle for a gallant good time.  Authentic medieval games, such as jousts and swordfights, thrill while you enjoy a mighty fine meal!

Long Medieval Tunic:

Long Medieval Tunic

While Medieval Times hasn’t been around a long time, it wasn’t born yesterday.  In fact, the first restaurant attraction was birthed in Spain in 1973 and made its way to the United States ten years later when the first North American Medieval Times opened in Florida to a warm reception.  As its popularity rose, this attraction emerged into a chain and spread to other parts of the U.S., making the exhilaration of knights and castles accessible to many and proving that interest in the Middle Ages is still very much alive and thriving!

In addition to being entertaining, Medieval Times has also been deemed an authentic experience by history buffs and enthusiasts alike. Those who have visited the attraction validate historical accuracy in every aspect – from the costumes to the architecture to the armor and weapons to the games.  A large part of this comes from the six to eight week training intensive that every cast member must undergo to be a performer.  The training process mirrors that of the real medieval period in which one would start as a squire and advance up the ranks and focuses on physical fitness, combat, and horsemanship.  In short, being a Medieval Times knight is no easy feat.

Medieval Princess Dress:

Medieval Princess Dress

What one can expect from their visit to Medieval Times is as follows.  Guests enter, first, into an outer arena where they are welcomed by knights, the princess, and other jovial characters.  They are also crowned with various colors and garb.  Next comes the meal in the inner arena with traditional medieval nourishment like chicken, bread, and dessert, served by wenches.  Then it is game time!  Guests are then treated to exciting acts including jousts in which knights ride in on horses and try to knock each other off, as well as sword fights and perhaps a few surprises.  Brace yourself for rowdy crowds!  And for further appreciation, you should know that the horses used in the show also go through rigorous training following the training knights of old would give their animals.  After the games, guests are ushered out by friendly actors, bidding adieu.

Dresses and Gowns:

And there you have it…your answer to a memorable Friday night date that is sure to impress and enlighten!  And one more thing, it is not uncommon for guests to come to Medieval Times in period costumes to get into the spirit!  That being said, take a look at our medieval clothing collection at

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Renaissance Faire Costume Ideas

Now that summer is in full force, there is no shortage of activities to choose from!  You could go to the beach, grill on the good old barbecue, embark on a hike or bike ride, or enjoy the cool air conditioning of a dark movie theater.  While these are all excellent options, there are also a few events that offer more of a unique experience, one of them being a Renaissance faire.  Remaining at the top of the list of popular attractions, these faires invite attendees to revisit the streets of Renaissance villages with food, festivities, and you guessed it…fashion!  Dressing in character and romping about in period style is one of the most beloved aspects of this event, as it is not every day you got to flaunt such stylish garb!

Fashion…that word tends to evoke either fear or excitement!  For those who live at the mall, there is nothing better than spending hours selecting the perfect outfit!  But for the rest of us, figuring out the right style can cause a freak out!  As you look in your wardrobe, nothing seems to be working like you hoped it would!  The good news, though, is that dressing for a Renaissance faire is very pressure free.  One has the option to go in a historically authentic period garment, but one also has the freedom to mix and match period items with other apparel to create a unique look.  One’s costume could even delve into the fantasy realm bringing to life a fictional character from period literature.  Other ideas include portraying a historical figure, a gypsy, pirate, peasant, or nobility member.  Basically, a character can be whatever you want it to be (within reason) and your attire can be catered and complimented accordingly.

Early Renaissance Shirt:

Early Renaissance Shirt

To play it safe, a common character at a Renaissance faire is a peasant, which falls in line with historical accuracy where peasants made up 90% of the population of the Renaissance period.  So naturally, the next question to ask is “what do peasants wear?”  Well, their clothing was pretty simple and easy to conjure.  Men wore basic shirts and pants while women wore bodices, chemises, blouses, and skirts.  And kids wore miniature versions of the adult styles.  All peasants also wore leather shoes and bag-like hats called “biggins”.  If a peasant is what you are going as, wool and linen would be the authentic fabrics of the day with natural colors and a rugged appearance would be normal, as these people were hard laborers.

If you plan to dress as a member of a higher class, you could always appear as middle class or upper class.  Middle class people of the Renaissance desired to mirror upper class fashion, but had certain clothing restrictions placed upon them.  For men, doublets, ballooned pantaloons, and tights (yes, they were manly!) comprised their wardrobe while women wore corsets or doublets, farthingales (stiffened hoop underskirts), padded hips, and hairnets called cauls.  In dressing as a member of the middle or upper class, stick with rich materials like silk or velvet and deep colors such as red, black, and purple.  Accessories like belts and jewelry are not a bad idea either.

Peasant Blouse:

Peasant Blouse

In addition to the above mentioned ideas, other costume possibilities include a lady in waiting, country aid, wench, lord, merchant, sailor, and so on!  And when it comes to fantasy characters, imagination is the key over authenticity.  Bottom line is that while it can seem challenging to know what to wear to a Renaissance faire, it is not.  All it takes is a little bit of research and a whole lot of creativity, layered with massive amounts of fun!

And to help in growing your Renaissance wardrobe, see our collection at

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Tudor Fashion: Dressing Within Limits

The Tudor period was a very dynamic time in history.  Ruled by a series of monarchs, one of the most popular being Henry VIII, who brought about a great deal of drama with his many wives.  But there’s always a sunny side to every situation.  And for the Tudor era, that manifested its self in fashionable clothing.

First thing to know about the Tudors is that fashion mattered to them!  Be it rich or poor, male or female, these people prided themselves in looking hip with the times!  However, this was not necessarily the easiest of tasks to accomplish, unless you were of royal blood.  As is typically the case in historical periods and today, clothing said something about who you were.  It indicated social and economic status and made clear class distinctions.  To ensure that there was no confusion about this, good old King Henry VIII came up with the brilliant idea of implementing Sumptuary Laws, or Laws of Apparel, which dictated the types of clothing and colors that Tudor people could wear.  Thus, there would be no mistake about who was boss.  For those who decided to push the envelope and pull a fast one, dire penalties were in play, even as severe as death.  Bottom line…these clothing confines were no joke!

Courtly Ruffle Collar Shirt:

Courtly Ruffle Collar Shirt

For the lower Tudor class, their options were limited.  Their garments were made primarily of wool, linen, and sheepskin, as these were the cheapest and easiest materials to produce and because that was all the Sumptuary laws would permit.  They were, however, able to have trimmings of silk, velvet, and taffeta along with buttons and facing of caps, cloaks, and coats.  The colors of these garments were of a natural hue and were limited to brown, beige, orange, yellow, green, blue and grey.  And these shades were subdued rather than bright and bold.

Moving up the totem pole was the wealthy class who had a bit more wiggle room in their wardrobe.  Their attire was quite elegant and commonly made from silk, satin, velvet, and fur.  Because these fabrics were not the norm, they were more costly than the lower class materials.  And naturally, only those with a full pocketbook could afford them.  In addition to the colors permitted for the lower classes, upper class people could also flaunt gold, silver, black, and crimson.  The most esteemed color of all was purple, reserved exclusively for royalty.  Needless to say, this was a nearly untouchable hue for most!

As for pieces worn, there was a decent range and each fashionable look had many layers.  Tudor men commonly were seen in doublets or shirts with breeches and stockings, as well as codpieces, cloaks, and hats.  Tudor women had a variety of styles of dresses and gowns to draw from and other garments consisted of chemises, bodices, stockings, kirtles, farmingales, and petticoats for underclothes.  Like the men, women also roamed about in cloaks and hats.

Tudor French Hood:

Tudor French Hood

While the Tudor period had its style setbacks, the people were good sports about it all and made the most of it, leaving us with many pleasantries of apparel that paved the way for future trends.  To see our collection of Tudor clothing and other selections, go to

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Ancient Roman Weddings: Lasting Impressions

Weddings of today didn’t get to where they are on their own.  Much inspiration through the ages has aided in shaping the attire and customs of the modern day ceremony.  Among these influences is that of ancient Rome, which has given us many customs that have stuck through the generations.

In examining the attire worn at ancient Roman weddings, the first piece that comes to mind is obviously the wedding dress.  Similar to modern times, the bride’s dress was set apart and was only a one-time wear.  Also, like wedding wardrobe of today, the dress was pure white and comprised of a flannel or muslin tunic held together with a belt of wool.  It was tradition for the bride to put on the dress and attentively wait for her man to come take her away.  When the bridegroom came, he swept the bride away from her parents’ arms.

Mi’Lady Tunic:

Mi'lady Tunic

And what would a wedding dress be without a veil?  And the one of ancient Rome was of rectangular shape and called a flammeum, which left the bride’s face uncovered.  Interestingly enough, speculation surrounds the color of this veil, as the Latin word for flammeum is “flamma”, meaning flame.  Due to this fact, some believe the veil to be red.  But then other Roman literary sources point to the veil being a deep yellow dye, as likened to a candle flame.  Either way, it is safe to say that the flammeum was not the pure white color of the wedding dress.

As for the groom’s apparel, there really isn’t a lot of information on what exactly he wore.  So, let’s move on to the wedding ceremony.  The big event was typically held at the father of the bride’s place.  A priest and witnesses (at least ten) were required to certify the marriage as legal.  Resembling weddings of today, the two love birds held hands and stood in front of the priest.  The bride and groom would consent to their union by reciting a chant and then an offering was lifted up to the god, Jupiter.  This offering was typically a cake which the newlyweds ate, after it had been offered up.  Then, a grand dinner with guests followed.

Roman Tunic:

Roman Tunic

The wedding attendees, no doubt, were also dressed to impress.  For the men of ancient Rome, the formal garment was the toga and most likely, a pure white one, as was the custom for special events.  For women, the fancy choice was probably the tunic.  Both men and women were also known to wear cloaks over their primary garment for celebrations.

To see our collection of Roman attire fitting for special occasions, visit

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