This Weeks Specials on Historicalclothingrealm.com – 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 www.historicalclothingrealm.com 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.

Gambeson:

Gambeson

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 http://www.historicalclothingrealm.com/.

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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 http://www.historicalclothingrealm.com/.

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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: http://www.historicalclothingrealm.com/women-s-clothing-dresses-and-gowns.html

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 http://www.historicalclothingrealm.com/.

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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 http://www.historicalclothingrealm.com/.

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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 http://www.historicalclothingrealm.com/.

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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 http://www.historicalclothingrealm.com/.

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Fashion 101: Victorian Style

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s that time again!  That’s right, it’s time for fashion 101! And today’s topic is…the Victorian era, so let’s jump in!

One of the distinguishing aspects of Victorian era fashion was the colors used in apparel.  If you were a female, you could most likely be spotted from miles away during this period, as garments were quite bold, flaunting such vivid colors as bright green, deep red, and royal blue.  These shades emerged from analine dyes, which were inadvertently stumbled upon by a British chemist, who was concocting a purple color.  Analine is an organic compound that is poisonous, oily, and clear.  As for colors of men’s garments, they were typically vivid, but dark shades.

Victorian Top Hat – Black:

Victorian Top Hat - Black

In terms of style, Victorian men had it good with clothing being comfortable and loose-fitting.  This was a change from the proper form-fitting looks of past periods.  Men’s fashion was characterized by trousers with marked creases, vests, and coats.  Because it was considered indecent for people to reveal their bare arms in public, coats were a big trend.  Waist coats were often worn, as well as single breasted, small collared day coats called sack coats, which had rounded hemlines.  And of course, the finishing touch…you guessed it…the top hat.  This tall, cylindrical hat took over the powdered wig practice of earlier periods and was a symbol of elegance and refinement.  To add to their appearance, men accessorized their look with pocket watches, canes, gloves, and ties.

As for those of the female species during the Victorian era, their wardrobe didn’t pan out to be quite as loose-fitting as the men.  Like past periods, their dresses were stiff, long, and bulky.  A boned corset with a weighted skirt, due to adornments, supported by metal hoops made up the composition of the garment.  Day dresses possessed wide, loose sleeves with silk or cotton under sleeves while evening dresses had short, puffy sleeves.

Victorian Boot:

Victorian Boot

Other accessories of women’s fashion included bonnets, capes, gloves, and shoes.  Just as men had top hats, the feminine headwear was the bonnet, made of either straw or horse hair, decorated with ribbon or lace.  The equivalent for the men’s coat was the cashmere cape for the women.  They came in various lengths and could be hooded or unhooded, sometimes with a clasp.  Because Victorian society valued softness of hands as a sign of breeding, gloves were essential for all women.  These hand coverings were often fingerless.  And last, but not least, were shoes.  As dresses were long, shoes were not anything special, usually a soft, flat0footed kid boot.

To see our collection of Victorian clothing, top hats, and more, visit http://www.historicalclothingrealm.com/.

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Gladiators: Beyond Media Misconceptions

When it comes to gladiators, popular culture depictions often involve a lot of death, a lot of lower class scum, and are void of women.  While elements of these portrayals are correct, they are not completely spot on.  Curious now?  Well, then, it’s time to go a bit deeper into the gladiator world to straighten out a few things.

Gladiator Armor: http://www.historicalclothingrealm.com/armor-roman-armor.html

To gain an accurate picture of gladiators, let’s first explore who exactly made up this group of fighters.  It is often incorrectly assumed that these fighters were solely comprised of slaves, criminals, and prisoners of war.  While a good number was comprised of these types, there were also some who freely volunteered for the job.  It is crazy to think that anyone would put their life at risk in such a dangerous and potentially life threatening way, but sometimes a little adventurous behavior is exciting.  Indeed, some chose to be gladiators simply for the thrill of it while others saw it as a career.  Like athletes of today, gladiators who proved to be victorious in the arena could rise to great fame and fortune and essentially achieve celebrity status.

Gladiator Tunic:

Gladiator Tunic

Another falsity in who joined the gladiatorial ranks is in the area of gender.  Because gladiators in media are usually depicted as men, the idea of women taking part in arena matches seems unlikely.  However historical evidence, including ancient writings supports the little known fact that female gladiators did exist.  Obviously, arena bouts with women were not the norm, but were considered more of a novelty act.  It can also be inferred that women took a lot of flack for their participation since the arena was deemed a male domain.  Thus, it would have been considered a disgrace for females to perform in it.

As for the fights themselves, some light needs to be shed on them as well.  It is a common interpretation that gladiator matches were fights to the death.  Once again, media has reinforced this idea, which is not quite true.  While deaths did transpire, not every gladiator bout ended an opponent’s life.  A Roman scholar’s study of gladiator games in the 1st century reports that out of 200 arena battles, only 19 deaths ensued.  Considering the money and training time gladiator owners had put in to their fighters, they were a valued presence.  In fact, gladiator owners were usually compensated if one of their combatants died in the arena.  More often than not, gladiators were spared, even in an instance of a severe wound or when they were at the hand of their opponent, especially those that fought boldly and bravely.

Gladiator Armor Complete Set:

Gladiator Armor Complete Set

So, to recap, gladiators were valued commodities.  They were of both genders and made up of both captive and free people.  They put up a good fight in the arena and survived their matches most of the time.  And thus, the air his cleared on some of the most common gladiator misconceptions.

To see our gladiator collection of costumes, armor, and accessories, visit http://www.historicalclothingrealm.com/.

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The Inside Scoop: Medieval Fabric Linings

Medieval times brought about a stylish array of fashions for women.  As is the case in historical periods, attire reflected social status and said a lot about a person.  While the outer appearance changed over time, the inner garment linings remained fairly consistent.  And the higher a woman was on the social ladder, the more options she had to select from when it came to the feel of the fabric on the skin.  Let’s take a look.

Beginning in the early Middle Ages and carrying on straight through the late Midle Ages, homespun linen was the way to go.  It provided a cost effective way for women to line their garments and create undergarments.  This was done by gathering flax and turning it into long fiber strands, which were spun into thread, and then the thread was used to weave fabric.  Thus, this fabric served as the basis for underdresses and chemises.

Another form of linen brought about in the early Middle Ages was fine linen.  This material was delicate and smooth, in contrast to coarse homespun linen.  By the late Middle Ages, fine linen was being produced widely in sewing shops.  Fine linen was quite intricate with 200 threads per inch and ranged from dark and thick to thin and see through.  This cloth was featured in dress, sleeve, and bodice linings, as well as undergarments, and was seen as a wealthy commodity, although it was fairly affordable for all women.

Medieval Chemise (Linen):

Medieval Chemise (Linen)

For the elite and nobility, there was yet another option besides homespun and fine linen.  This was a linen and silk blend, which combined both fibers together to make a luxuriously soft material.  This fabric was light and sheer and made its way into linings for upper class dresses and undergarments as well.  In some areas, linen and silk blend was legally banned from anyone except for those of high social status.

Going one step higher and one fabric richer was pure silk, reserved exclusively for nobility and royalty.  Because this fiber was imported from the Far East, it came at a steep price.  As it was not easily washable, it was used mainly for sleeve and bodice linings and to accent color or embroidery on dresses.  It took on several variations from thick and sturdy to thin and delicate.  Silk was indeed a lavish fabric that was desired by all.  Unfortunately, not everyone could get their hands on it.

Detachable Sleeves Linen Blouse:

Detachable Sleeves Linen Blouse

One last fabric that is worth mentioning is cotton.  While it seems like everything is made of cotton today, this was not the case in the Middle Ages.  In fact, cotton was extremely rare back in the day and imported from the Middle East to Europe.  Over time, cotton started to spread and was used for garment linings.

To see our collection of medieval women’s clothing including bodices, chemises, and linen and silk linings, visit http://www.historicalclothingrealm.com/.

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