Medieval Clothing – Color Says It All

When you think of the clothing of the Middle Ages, you probably envision fancy shirts and colorful dresses, richly ornamented and elaborately crafted.  While this was the case for a small percentage of people, do not be deceived!  Surprisingly, this was only the case for the upper class and for royalty.  The medieval commoner did not strut around in such attire, as dyes and fabrics were costly.  Thus, fabric and color did indeed play a significant role in defining the clothing and people of this famed historical period.

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

In order to understand use of color in medieval clothing, it is of benefit first to understand the fabrics used.  The two main fabrics in prominence during the Middle Ages were wool and linen.  Wool was the more common material, as it was cheap and easy to come by.  British woo was highly prized over other types because of the sheep’s longer grazing and cooler climate, which, in turn, made for finer threads.  The longer and finer the threads, the easier it was to dye fabrics.  As dyes came at a high cost, rich colors were primarily worn by the wealthier classes while lower classes stuck to more natural colors, such as beige and brown.  Being resourceful, lower classes would also sometimes make inexpensive dyes from plants, thus adding green and yellow color to their clothing.

Medieval Tunic, Brown:

Medieval Tunic, Brown

For those who were not satisfied with mere “earthy” colors, a process called “fulling” was developed to offer more variety.  This took place in a fulling mill where fabric underwent a good beating, shrinking, and softening that enabled it to de dyed in vibrant colors, such as blue and red.  On a note of interest, red dye was made from an insect known as a kermes and this color was primarily seen on the clothes of the nobility.

In contrast to the simple clothing style and color of the lower class, the upper class spiced their garb up a bit with patterns and rich dyes. Due to the lighter fibers and finer texture, the fabrics of the upper class could be colored with ease.   The distinguishing colors of the wealthy class were red or scarlet, gold, and black.  In addition to linen and wool, silk was also found among the nobles and was often decorated with gold embroidery, indicating power, influence, and wealth.

Medieval Dress:

Medieval Dress

Each clothing color was not just something to gaze upon, but communicated a message of a person’s character or social status.  For example, pink was viewed as a strong color while blue was seen as a gentle color.  Red represented passion, power and riches while green signified envy, youth, and spring time.  Yellow was looked down on as poor and cowardly.  White symbolized purity while black was only worn for mourning by the nobility.  And the most expensive and exclusive color was purple, which was reserved strictly for the clergy and royalty.

As time passed, trading grew, enabling more people to afford rich fabrics and dyes.  To protect position and status, the ruling class quickly laid down the law, implementing strict laws about who could wear specific fabrics and colors.

To see our collection of medieval clothing, go to:  http://www.historicalclothingrealm.com/

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An Old Fashioned Wedding The Renaissance Way

“Love and marriage” is an age old theme that continues to blossom every day.  One of the most interesting things about this is how it comes to be- the first meeting, evolution of the relationship, and of course, the wedding!  Throughout history, weddings have changed in many ways, but several base aspects have also remained intact.  So, let’s take a brief moment to get an overview of one of these eras…the Renaissance wedding.

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

Renaissance bridal customs emerged from the leading of medieval traditions.  It was standard for marriage ceremonies to take place at the bride’s house while nobility got the royal treatment by having their ceremonies in castles.  As the Catholic Church rose to prominence during this period, there was a shift in location and weddings were held in a chapel or at the church door.  As was the case with many historical periods, Renaissance marriages were often arranged for the benefits of inheritance and property rights, which, in turn, could greatly boost the social status of either the bride or groom.  Also, women marrying older men was the norm of the day.  3/4 of Renaissance women were married before the age of 19 with grooms being 14 years older on average.

Renaissance Wedding Gown & Veil:

Renaissance Wedding Gown & Veil

During the Renaissance era, there were two parts to the wedding.  First, the soon-to-be bride and groom would exchange vows, kisses, and rings before a priest and after that, it was 40 days until the official ceremony transpired.  This waiting period could be prolonged even more depending on the season.  Wedding ceremonies were restricted during certain times such as Christmas and Easter.  Getting married also proved to be costly for the groom, as he was required to put down a deposit at the time of betrothal.  In the event that he did not go through with the wedding, he would pay four times the deposit amount.

In contrast to the freedom of today’s marriages, the Council of Westminster drafted marriage laws during the Renaissance period.  Some of these laws included such things as a man could not give away his daughter or female relative without a priestly blessing and making marriage a public event rather than a secret one.  And in the 16th century, the Council of Trent deemed it a requirement for a priest to perform the ceremony.  Separation was permissible, but there was no official divorce.

Anjou Gown:

Anjou Gown

A Renaissance wedding procession was grand, featuring minstrels playing music, knights and pages, and guests dressed in their finest and most colorful attire.  For a wedding of nobility, there were elaborately decorated and brightly colored robes and gowns.  Upper class wedding apparel was typically made of silk, which was forbidden to peasants in some areas.  All clothing was also commonly embroidered with gold or silver trim and lavishly ornamented.  Men usually wore ruffled collared shirts, padded jackets, hosiery, and square toed shoes.  As time went on, bridesmaids and groomsmen started to wear the same clothing as the bride and groom to trick those who desired to wish the wedding couple evil on the special day.

While the customs and laws of a Renaissance wedding and marriage may no longer be practiced, Renaissance wedding styles remain popular today.  To view our selection of Renaissance wedding attire and other period clothing, go to:  http://www.historicalclothingrealm.com/

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Celebrating Pirate Style

Booty, planks, eye patches, and parrots…all the makings of pirate culture!  If you just can’t seem to get enough of everything pirate related, you will be happy to know that there is an outlet to get your fix!  Every year across the United States, pirate festivals are in full swing, celebrating pirates in costume, entertainment, and environment.  So, here are a few of the noteworthy pirate festivals that are within reach.

Pirate Clothing & Weapons: http://www.historicalclothingrealm.com/shop-by-period-pirate.html

Purple Brocade Pirate Coat:

Purple Brocade Pirate Coat

One of the pirate-themed festivals occurs annually in Portland, Oregon, called Plunderathon.  It is presented by a group known as “the informal order of Pirates, Buccaneers, Scallywags, Privateers, and Grocery Store Clerks”.  The festival takes place in several locations around town and consists of a parade, bar crawl, and art display.  Participants dress up as pirates, with costumes ranging from cheap party store garb to high quality authentic and theatrical attire.  They create ships from shopping carts and walk around various areas of the city for as long as 10 hours.  The organizers of this event take it very seriously and set very strict rules, including no children allowed.  It is made clear that this festival is not “cute” or “fun”, but for true pirates.  Plunderathon always receives a great deal of local attention and has also caught the national eye over the years.

Another pirate festival can be found at the beginning of every year in Tampa, Florida and is known as the Gasparilla Pirate Festival.  It is held in honor of the apocryphal legend of Jose Gaspar, a mythical Spanish pirate captain who is believed to have lived in southwestern Florida.  Events of the festival include a Gasparilla parade, children’s parade, film festival, music festival, arts festival, and road race.  And of course, people do come in pirate gear and get in the spirit for the festivities.  This series of events is a huge deal for the whole city and many people get involved.  The average crowd for the main Gasparilla parade is around 300,000 people.  The first festival was held in 1904, though many changes have transpired between then and now.

Pirate Complete Costume:

Pirate Complete Costume

To top it off, the NorCal Pirate Festival, held in the San Francisco Bay area of California is the largest pirate gathering in the United States and features a cast of 500 actors, actresses, and musicians.  This event is comprised equally of Mardi Gras, living history, a state fair, and Pegged-leg eye-wearing-patch fan fest.  Guests will find four stages of continual entertainment, gourmet food, micro-brewed beers, awesome art, and ship to shore cannon battles.  There are also bound to be mermaids, British naval officers, famous pirate captains, and other characters roaming about this family friendly event.  Basically, think Renaissance faire for pirates meaning costumes and accessories are definitely allowed and encouraged.

With so much pirate love these days, pirate festivals extend far beyond the ones mentioned here.  They are indeed a popular spectacle and they will not be going away any time soon.  To get your hands on your own pirate gear, whether for festival or mere play, take a look at our collection of pirate clothing and accessories at:  http://www.historicalclothingrealm.com/

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The Kilt: Types And Trivia

When it comes to Scotland, there is no doubt that one of the primary staples of the land is the kilt.  This piece of clothing, which arguably looks like a skirt, has had a lasting impact on the world.  As a further exploration, take a look at the different styles and fun trivia about this plaid patterned apparel.

Checkout our kilt selection here: http://www.historicalclothingrealm.com/men-s-clothing-pants–tights–and-kilts.html

Basic Kilt styles:

  •  Traditional – Usually expensive and worn for formal occasions often.  This style uses “setting” as a pleating technique, meaning the folds in the garment allow a continuation of pattern all around.  These kilts also use a lot of material and come up a few inches above the hips.
  • Casual – Best for informal occasions.  This style is a slimmed down version of the traditional kilt, meaning less fabric, less pleating, less warmth, and a shorter length beginning right at the waist.  On the plus side, these kilts provide good mobility.
  • Fashion – Deviating from the traditional fabrics and plaid tartan patterns, these kilts are designed to look trendy and high profile.  Patterns, materials, and styles vary by designer
  • Utility – A kilt for the working man, sometimes with pockets.  Comfort and functionality are key here.
  • The Great Kilt – Called “Feileadh Mor”, this is worn primarily for historical reenactments and not intended for daily wear.  It is longer than the traditional kilt and complicated to put on.

Scottish Man’s Kilt:

Scottish Man's Kilt

And here are some random and interesting facts about kilts:

  •  Though the kilt is most commonly connected with Scotland, as well as sometimes Ireland and Wales, it is not exclusive to those places.  Other countries have also created their own version of this beloved garment, including Denmark, Japan, and Canada.
  • The kilt is more than just a funny looking garment.  It is also found among religious groups to celebrate their relationship with Scotland.
  • The kilt is used in marketing by some companies including whiskey brands Johnny Walker and Glemorangle, as well as American Express and Microsoft.  These companies have designed their own tartan pattern and use the “feel good” kilt association in their marketing.
  • Kilts have military status.  They are sometimes used as part of uniforms.  The “Black Watch”, which is still around today, was the first official regimental tartan.  The British Army and Commonwealth countries continue to wear kilts as part of their daily uniform.  However, kilts have been absent from being worn in combat since 1940.
  • The “MacBean”, worn by Alan Bean, is the only tartan to ever be worn on the moon.  This appeared on the Apollo 12 in November 1969.
  • The average kilt consists of around 8 yards of material, weighs about 4.5-5 pounds, and takes about 15 hours of unstoppable work to make.

Union Kilt:

Union Kilt

To see our full kilt collection and other Scottish garb, check out:  http://www.historicalclothingrealm.com/

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Renaissance Clothing: What’s In A Color?

In the world of fashion, apparel comes in many colors with varying shades.  It is easy to assume that a color is merely something pleasant for the eye to gaze upon, but in truth, colors are very revealing of different cultural aspects and can be quite significant. Such was the case of the colors of clothing worn during the Renaissance era.  Each garment color was important and had meaning and in some cases, was even governed by law.  By taking further examination into Renaissance clothing colors, one can gain interesting insights into this period’s way of life.

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

Let’s start at the beginning, a very good place to start.  When looking at the order of the rainbow colors, the first one is red.  Have no doubt that if you were a member of high social status or royalty in the Renaissance period, red is the color you would be wearing.  Among these elite were members of English Parliament, French magistrates, and high profile, Italian government officials.  Red also bore religious symbols and was worn by church authorities to signify the blood of Christ, the fire of Pentecost, the martyrdom of Christ, and hellfire.

Florentine Gown:

Florentine Gown

Moving down the spectrum are the colors of orange and yellow.  Those who wore orange were most likely middle class peasants, who wanted to emulate the dress of the royals and upper class.  To achieve this effect, they dyed their attire orange, as well as other colors.  As for the color yellow, this was not necessarily a flattering color to be seen in.  In Italy, an edict required all prostitutes and harlots to wear this color and in the town of Venice, all Jews were commanded to sport a yellow circle on their clothing to distinguish them.

Completing the rainbow colors is green, blue, and purple, which also had representation.  Green was typically worn by young people, as it stood for youth, chastity, love, and joy.  Blue was reserved for English servants and unmarried, available women.  An indigo shade meant chastity while a turquoise shade represented jealousy.  Purple would sometimes be worn to symbolize royalty, as in ancient times.  However, the trend of purple as a high class color faded as time went on.

Campbell Renaissance Shirt:

Campbell Renaissance Shirt

In addition to the rainbow pallet, let’s not forget the colors of brown, black, and white.  For those of a religious nature, it was no question that brown would be their prime color, as it stood for modesty.  Beige symbolized poverty and dull brown was worn by the poor in England.  As is the custom today, the color, black, was worn to show one’s self in mourning, in a serious state, or as a sign of refinement for the wealthy.  And nothing has changed since Renaissance times in the signifying of white for purity.

After this color enlightenment, one can see that a color is more than just a color.  It was a reflection of societal views during the Renaissance era and remains so in modern times.  Though clothing color meanings may have changed, they are still something to consider when selecting a wardrobe.

For a full selection of our Renaissance clothing, go to:  http://www.historicalclothingrealm.com/

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Myth Buster: The Real Life of a Medieval Princess

To capture an accurate view of medieval princesses, forget all those fairy tales you read growing up.  Clear your mind of all the romantic ideas of castles, damsels in distress, and women who just sat around brushing their hair and trying to decide what to wear!  Not to burst the fantasy bubble here, but just keeping it real, medieval princesses were far from inactive and stress free.  As a matter of fact, there was a great deal of pressure thrust upon them as they were immersed in the world of politics and public scrutiny.  On the plus side, though, they did strut around in awesome dresses!

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

Medieval princesses lived in a time where men had the voice while women were to remain in the background.  Thus, princesses were treated more so as property rather than royalty.  They were used by men as bait to attain power and make alliances.  These girls were promised to kings and subjected to arranged marriages, often before they were even to their teen years.  As a result, these girls were pulled away from their homes and given to their suitors throughout Europe.  When they left their homes, they usually never returned.

Medieval Princess Dress:

Medieval Princess Dress

As is the policy of many retail stores today where “all purchases are final”, marriages of the Middle Ages were also final.  Translation: divorce wasn’t an option.  This was because marriages were the ultimate political alliances and children of these unions reaped the benefit of being heirs to two kingdoms.  Therefore, it is no surprise that the primary purpose of a princess was to bear children, specifically males, to inherit the throne.  Female children were completely a lost cause though.  They were welcomed as booty to bargain for more power in future alliances.

So, where there any benefits of being a medieval princess?  To be honest, there were very few, but they did bask in materially privileged lives in court.  Their living conditions, food, and fashion were not so bad and any commoner would covet these things.  On the flip side, princesses were constantly staring at the face of adversity.  For example, the loyalty of those royal females who arrived from foreign kingdoms was often questioned.  Courts feared betrayal from these women, which made it difficult for them to maintain power or earn respect.  As if this wasn’t frustrating enough, princesses also had to deal with their husbands taking mistresses.  Infidelity was quite normal in medieval times, but only men were allowed to engage in this practice.  Due to this behavior, princesses were left to the task of being faithful to an unfaithful husband, while the public lost respect for the reigning couple because of it.

Princess of Pearl Dress:

Princess Of Pearl Dress

Well, now that the facts are laid out, all you girls out there can rest assured that you didn’t miss out on a glamorous life because you weren’t born a medieval princess.  The only thing you may have missed out on is the opportunity to wear elaborate dresses and other rich garments.  Fortunately, these apparel items are still accessible today without the other things attached to being a medieval princess.

To peruse our collection of medieval princess attire and other great medieval attire, go to:  http://www.historicalclothingrealm.com/

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Queen Victoria: What the History Books Leave Out About the Monarch of the Victorian Era

Her reputation greatly precedes her as the longest reigning female monarch in history, an esteemed leader of England, and the driving force behind the Victorian era, a period of style, sophistication, and innovation.  Hence is the legacy of Queen Victoria, who still remains a steady subject of interest today.  In addition to what you read in history books, here are some fun and lesser known facts about this captivating queen to enhance your enrichment of who exactly she was.

Victorian boots: http://www.historicalclothingrealm.com/women-s-clothing-women-s-footwear.html

 

  •  Victoria wasn’t her first name – As was the case with royalty of the day, they had several names.  In fact, the queen’s name was originally going to be Georgiana Charlotte Augusta Alexandrina Victoria (Imagine trying to fit all that on a bank card or check!).  However, her uncle decided to save her some writing and got rid of her fist three names and she was baptized simply as Alexandrina Victoria.  In her early years, she went by the name, Drina, but later shifted to simply Victoria by her own choosing.
  • She was not always serious and quite amused at many things – The common depiction of Queen Victoria in paintings and images is off a somber woman dressed in black.  In these pictures, she comes across as serious and void of cheer.  However, these depictions are from her later years, when she was depressed and grieving the death of her husband, Albert, who died of typhoid.  Despite this stage, she did suck the vigor out of life and was known to live it up!  She enjoyed dancing, drinking, playing the piano, playing charades, and was a huge patron of the arts, often summon troupes to her court to put on shows.  She was also known to crack jokes and have a keen sense of humor.

Victorian Buckle Strap Calf Boot:

Victorian Buckle Strap Calf Boot

  • She was a collector of nude art – Being a skilled artist and taking drawing lessons, Victoria had a passion for fine art.  In particular, she had a fondness for nude art and often gave it to her husband as gifts in celebration of special events.  Her husband, Albert, would also return the sentiment by adding to her collection of nude art as presents.  She commissioned different artists at various times to paint nude figures in locations in her home or places around town and also had nude statues built.
  • She survived multiple assassination attempts - Security has grown in lengths and bounds since the nineteenth century.  Had it been better in Victoria’s time, she may have been able to avoid her seven assassination attempts, most of these occurring while riding in open carriages.  With this in mind, it would be fair to deem Victoria as a true survivor.  Let’s disregard the fact that some of these attempts were fail proof including an attacker coming at her with an unloaded gun and another attacker who had a gun filled with mostly tobacco.  There were also more sever attacks involving gun shots being fired at her and being attacked by a brass-tipped walking stick on the head, causing a bruised face and a black eye.  All things considered, Victoria was extremely lucky!
  • She learned Hindustani – Victoria was a woman of many languages including German, French, and English.  In the 1870s when she acquired Indian servants, she picked up the Indian language of Hindustani to communicate with them.  She became quite accomplished in both the spoken and written language and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Victorian Boot:

Victorian Boot

As we examine these pieces of trivia about Queen Victoria, we are reminded that, even the greatest of royals, are merely humans at heart with fascinating and interesting attributes.  But rest assured that she still looked royal, sporting queenly garb and leading the fashions of the Victorian era, for which she is named.  To see our collection of Victorian era clothing and royal attire, go to:  http://www.historicalclothingrealm.com/

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King Arthur: Real or Mere Fantasy?

In the Hall of Fame of legendary figures, none compare to the great King Arthur.  This renowned character who pulled the sword, Excalibur, from the stone and became king, leading the Britains against the Saxon invaders in the 6th century, has stood the test of time and still remains a popular subject of interest.  Even though King Arthur and his knights are rooted in folklore and romantic tales, there has been much debate by ancient and modern historians alike, as to whether their existence was real.

Knights Clothing: http://www.historicalclothingrealm.com/shop-by-period-medieval.html

Though some poems and stories of Wales recounting King Arthur are documented at an earlier date, the work that put King Arthur on the map was Geoffrey of Monmouth’s “The History of the Kings of Britain” in 1136.  Monmouth lived a mere twenty miles from Caerleon, the place where Arthur set up court, in his work.  According to legend, Caerleon was actually Camelot.  So, Camelot may have existed, but what about King Arthur?  A few historical works, “History of the Britons” and “The Welsh Annals”, do indeed record Arthur as a historical figure in the late 5th century to the early 6th century who led the Britains against the invasion of the Anglo Saxons.  Other potential supporting evidence of Arthur’s existence is the 9th century work “HistoriaBritonum” which includes 12 battles the king fought.

King Arthur Costume:

King Arthur Costume

As time went on, more confirmation that Arthur could be real, surfaced.  There was the 10th century Annales Cambriae tying Arthur to the historic Battle of Mount Badon, as well as the Battle of Camlan, where Arthur was killed.  This account is often used to support the accuracy of the “HistoriaBritonum” and goes to support Arthur’s participation at the Battle of Badon.  Also, as the Arthurian legends continued to develop, elements of them appeared in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s work, that connected with history.

In addition to writings, sites associated with King Arthur have been excavated as possible proof of his existence.  These spots include South Cadbury Castle, Glastonbury Abbey (believed to be the site of the Isle of Avalon), and Tintagel Castle (Arthur’s birthplace).  Within the locations found, there are some parallel historical events that match the Arthurian legends.  However, while some pieces fit together, no concrete proof can be tracked.

King Arthur Helmet:

King Arthur Helmet

While there is some documentation that King Arthur could have been real, another line of historians argue that he is merely a character of legend and myth and did not exist.  As findings are sparse, it is a debate that will continue to go on forever and there is a good chance we will never know if there was a real King Arthur.  But regardless, his impact has given us many exciting stories of imagination and adventure!

To view our King Arthur attire, as well as other knightly offerings, go to:  http://www.historicalclothingrealm.com/

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A Few Star Wars Surprises

Star Wars…you have seen the movies hundreds of times and know the characters like your best friends.  You’ve collected all the toys, read all the books, and are pretty sure you know everything there is to know about these famed films.  Now here is the true test for all you die-hard fans…take a perusal at these interesting Star Wars facts and either pat yourself on the back for being an expert or allow yourself to be enlightened and educated on things you didn’t know.

Star Wars: http://www.historicalclothingrealm.com/official-replicas-star-wars.html

 

  •  In 1973, George Lucas, an unknown director, proposed the idea of a Star Wars film to Universal Studios and was rejected.  I bet Universal wishes they could rethink that decision!
  • While developing Star Wars, George Lucas drew on a great deal of inspiration from the works of Akira Kirasawa, most notably the films Hidden Fortress and Seven Samurai.  The characters of Han Solo and Yoda especially mirror characters in these films.
  • In addition to actress, Carrie Fisher, actresses, Sissy Spacek and Cindy Williams also auditioned for the role of Princess Leia.
  • Among the many technological innovations developed specifically for Star Wars was the widely used motion control camera, which matched motion of object to camera.  Other technological advances include stop motion capture and rotoscoping.

Luke Skywalker Full Jedi Ensemble with Boots:

Luke Skywalker Full Jedi Ensemble with Boots

  • In addition to the studio’s lack of confidence in Star Wars, the cast also had doubts due to the weird concepts and dialogue.  As a result, tension and awkwardness occurred frequently during filming.
  • In early drafts of the script, Luke Skywalker’s character was called Luke Starkiller.
  • While David Prowse, a weightlifter from Bristol, portrayed Darth Vader on screen, James Earl Jones voiced the character.  Jones was sure that the film would fail miserably and thus, did not allow his name to appear in the original credits.
  • The idea for Chewbacca came to George Lucas one morning while watching his wife drive off in her car with their dog, Indiana.  He was amused by the way the shaggy dog looked in the passenger seat and decided to create a character that was a mix of Indiana, a bear, and a monkey.

 

Obi-Wan Kenobi Jedi Cloak:

Obi-Wan Kenobi Jedi Cloak

  • The actors who played R2-D2 and C-3PO both had issues with their costumes.  Even though these outfits were blowing in cool air, the actors frequently passed out in them due to heat stroke.
  • Because of budget restraints, the American cast and crew (including George Lucas) agreed to fly coach rather than first class to England.
  • The “sith” was originally called the “damned”, but due to the emergence of a British punk rock band in 1977 with the same name, George Lucas was forced to dub the word “damned” over with ”sith” in post-production.  As a result, Lucas despises punk rock music to this day!

To view our stellar stock of Star Wars movie replicas and costumes, stop on by:  http://www.historicalclothingrealm.com/

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What You Should Know To Achieve A Steampunk Look

So, you’ve heard of steampunk, a style combining Victorian fashion with modern science fiction elements.  And now you want to get in on this hip trend.  Being a seemingly bizarre idea, it can be hard to know exactly where to start, but it is actually rather simple to achieve this one-of-a-kind look.

Steampunk clothing: http://www.historicalclothingrealm.com/men-s-clothing.html

The first step in dressing steampunk is deciding what type of character you want to be.  There are a few basic archetypes and some of the most popular steampunk characters include an aviator, pirate, explorer, aristocrat, and mechanic.  Once you have chosen a look to shoot for, think logically about what pieces would be needed to make the appearance work.  True, steampunk does offer a fair amount of freedom, but let’s not get carried away.  For example, if a pirate is your aim, a Victorian dress or a skirt may not be the most logical choice.

To aid in your selection, here’s a brief overview of the primary archetypes with their typical attire, though this is not a comprehensive list.  As steampunk is often experimental and unique, these archetypes are often combined for an original look that is sure to stand out among the crowd.  Steampunk archetypes are as follows:

  • Aviator – flight helmet, leather gloves, shoulder boards, belt with side arm, military jacket, boots, insignia (be creative!), and goggles
  • Explorer – pith helmet, khaki colored clothing, backpacking gear, compass, and goggles
  • Aristocrat – high class style, rich colors and materials, elaborate decorations, fashionable hats, gloves, and parasols (for the women)
  • Dandy (male) – Stylish and tailored formal wear such as a tux with tails, complimenting accessories (i.e. cane), hat, gloves
  • Femme Fatale (female) – form fitting clothing (somewhat revealing), rich colors (often red or burgundy), rich materials (lace, silk, or velvet), feathers, granny boots
  • Hunter/Fighter – Many options available here as long as you are equipped for the occasion.  For example, a western hunter would have a rifle or a monster hunter would have arcane weapons.  It is all about the weapons here.

Crypto Brown Tweed Steampunk Platform Boots:

Crypto Brown Tweed Steampunk Platform Boots

  • Mechanic/Scientist – dirty and every day work clothing, tool belt with tools, work gloves, goggles, and inventions (for the scientists)
  • Adventurer- utilitarian clothing, khaki colors, shirt with rolled up sleeves, suspenders, rugged boots, belt, side arm, and compass
  • Military – Distinct uniform (many choices), cap or helmet, tall boots, gloves, and medals
  • Aviator/Sky Pirate – Options range from military look to more casual and individualized, goggles are a must!!

Once you have settled on your particular look, it is time to add the “punk” to steampunk!  Though steampunk does have roots in history, don’t forget that it is also based in a science fiction genre.  As fiction meets history, there is much freedom in creating a look, as historical accuracy is not necessary.  In fact, the best steampunk style is anachronistic, meaning it mixes modern fashion with period elements.  Some ways to do this is to use modern fabric for period clothing, shortening hemlines and necklines on historical garments to make them more revealing, and wearing tiny versions of period hats (a popular fad!).

Steampunk Flying Pilot Goggles:

Steampunk Flying Pilot Goggles

Accessories also play a huge part in a steampunk look.  One of the most popular accessories worn is goggles.  They may look ridiculous, but these eye coverings help to create an innovative appearance.  Weapons and gadgets are also common and it works well to carry a modern weapon with a period look or vice versa.  Accessories are indeed the perfect finishing touch!

To see our steampunk collection, visit:  http://www.historicalclothingrealm.com/

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