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What To Wear To a Renaissance Fair

What To Wear To a Renaissance Fair

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Growing up in the Baltimore area, I was fortunate enough to be close to the epic Maryland Renaissance Festival, which I have been attending annually for years.

One of the greatest things about the Ren Fest is that it offers a chance for people to temporarily escape the tedious blandness of everyday life, embrace their creativity and express themselves through the art of the Renaissance costume.

Let's make one thing clear off the jump: There is no requirement to dress up in a costume when attending a Renaissance faire.

You can wear your regular, comfortable street clothes and still enjoy the festival with little to no ridicule from the people who took the time to design a costume.

All are welcome.

But if you want to get into character and fully embrace the Renaissance Festival, dressing up and playing a role for the day is the ultimate way to experience it.

While the possibilities are endless, and creativity is encouraged when crafting and piecing your costume together, there are some things to consider.

 

Weapons: Real or Costume

Renaissance Weapons

 

One very important thing to mention before getting into the meat of this article is that the Maryland Renaissance Festival (and possibly others), as of time of writing, does not permit weapons of any sort to be brought into Revel Grove.

This includes fake swords, daggers, knives, bows and arrows, maces, lances etc.

Real or fake, weapons are not allowed in.

Before putting in hours making fake weapons, please check the guidelines of the faire you are planning to attend to fully understand their policies concerning weapons, costume or real.

We just don't want to see you putting in that kind of effort to be told at the gates that you're not allowed to bring the weapons (real or costume) in.

It can be an embarrassing feeling to be denied entrance. Avoid it. Please check.

Now onward to the fun stuff.

 

Medieval Costumes at The Renaissance Fair

 

In the days of King Henry VIII, there were many eccentric characters.

From peasants and commoners to barbaric warriors and worthy knights to brutal monarchs and the aristocracy, the period offered many attire styles to choose from.

You can dress like any of these.

Some people choose to be authentic in their dress and craft a costume that resembles what was actually worn during the Medieval or Renaissance period.

Others choose to mesh authentic garb with Medieval fantasy, creating their own strange amalgamation of Renaissance festival awesomeness.

The choice is yours and the possibilities are endless.

Last year at the MD Ren Fest I saw a big, muscular bald dude wearing war paint, a bearskin fur cloak and raggedy leather boots. The barbarian costume was done very well.

The costume was crafted so well, in fact, that I was more convinced he was a time traveler from a bygone age rather than just some dude dressing up at the Ren Fest.

That's what makes the Renaissance Festival special. When people put in so much beautiful work that you forget, even for a moment, that you're in the 21st Century.

He put in the work on his costume. Don't be afraid to put in the work on yours!

Online stores like Dark Knight Armory have complete costumes listed to give you ideas, and HolyClothing has Medieval, Wiccan, Boho, Celtic, Viking and Renaissance cloaks, tunics, belts, dresses, skirts, outfits and more.

 

If you can't dress up, you should at least wear something funny like this T-Shirt!

Renaissance Faire Costume Shirt

 

Fantasy Costumes at the Renaissance Fair

 

High fantasy offers many different mythical and magical creatures and characters.

One of the most popular dress-up choices for women (or whoever wants to wear them) is the fairy costume.

The fairy costumes are cute, sexy and fun, and you'll see plenty of them at the Renaissance faire.

How you fashion and design the fairy costume is totally up to you. Be creative and express yourself.

Beyond fairies, people embracing gothic or the high fantasy genre can choose from any character in their favorite stories or create their own unique persona based on any of these.

If you're a fan of Tolkien (which you probably are if you're reading a blog about a Renaissance fair) think about the different characters in his books, and use that as inspiration.

Again, the possibilities are endless. Just think about who you want to be for the day and create a costume and a character that allows you to express yourself and have fun.

Remember, if you don't want to wear a costume, you can always wear a funny shirt like this!

Wenches Diggeth Me Renaissance Fair Shirt

Pirates and Other Villains at The Renaissance Fair

Pirates and Other Villains at the Ren Fest

Every year at the Maryland Renaissance Festival, they have special events on certain weekends. One of the most popular is their Pirate Adventure Weekend with pirate music and mayhem!

Their pirate-themed weekend encourages guests to dress like pirates and use accents and mannerisms like pirates to embrace the role.

It's really fun.

If you're a good guy in real life, sometimes it's fun to play the bad guy. 

Beyond pirates, you can choose any type of villain you wish to be for the day and build your costume and character around that.

The Renaissance Festival is an enmeshment of good and evil characters creating a rich tapestry of storytelling and theater, taking guests on a journey to another time and place.

Leave "Bill the Good Guy" home for a day, and embrace being an evil character for a little while! 

 

A List of Renaissance Festival Costume Ideas

 

  • Gandalf
  • Galadriel
  • Knight
  • Medieval Merchant
  • Fairy
  • Goblin
  • Wench
  • Medieval Harlot
  • Executioner
  • Plague Doctor
  • Elf
  • Sprite
  • Archer
  • Jouster
  • Fair Lady
  • Old Maid
  • Pirate
  • Dwarf (Tolkien)
  • King
  • Queen
  • Jester
  • Town Drunk
  • Medieval Villager
  • Medieval Peasant
  • Medieval Commoner
  • Musketeer
  • Nobleman
  • Noblewoman
  • Sorcerer
  • Necromancer
  • Holy Man/Priest
  • Friar
  • Monk
  • Gypsy
  • Traveler
  • Steampunk
  • Medieval Warrior
  • Gimli
  • Legolas
  • Robin Hood
  • Witch
  • Warlock
  • Fortune Teller
  • Mage
  • Magician
  • Goddess
  • Mythological Gods
  • Doomsayer
  • Vampire Hunter
  • Prince
  • Princess
  • Witch Doctor
  • Barbarian
  • Viking
  • Orc
  • Wizard

 

The Bottom Line

 

Whether you're dressing up as Medieval English royalty, an elven warrior, a barbaric dwarf, a hideous goblin monster or a magical beautiful fairy, the Renaissance Fair is a place for you to express yourself, have fun and contribute to the intricate and wonderful storytelling that is happening in real-time all around you.

So come out, watch some knights joust, eat a turkey leg, drench the wench, and be wisp away to the Renaissance age.

Huzzah!

Huzzah Shirt

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