Sims Medieval Edition has been released, and the local renaissance faires are going on all around you.
With all this excitement in mind, I thought I would take a moment and give you some insight on the
costuming used at the different renaissance fairs (ren faires) to hopefully help you by giving you ideas
for creating your own renaissance period costume, accessories, and character.
Most of these pictures were taken at a renaissance faire that celebrates the Elizabethan era therefore the
costumes you will see will be Elizabethan costumes for peasants, middle class,
military, gentry and nobility.
Disclaimer: I am not an expert. I am just on observer with keen interest in the costuming of historical periods. If you work at a faire then you need to check with your own costume director to find out what is appropriate for your show role. What I write here is only my observations based on what I have seen or learned from the different actors at these events. Many of the costumes from these faires do not match SCA guidelines, and you would have to check with them to find out their rules on costuming for their events. For a more historically accurate view, I always recommend that you do your own search through the historical archives at your local library or online. I also recommend going to the Lacis website to visit their costume museum to see actual antique accessories, and tools at their online store and museum. They also carry hard to find costuming materials including different types of boning, books, and more.
Now look at the picture below, you probably can not guess the station in life that each actor below portrays through their renaissance costumes (and if you can....cool....you are ahead of the game).
Peasants are usually dressed in simple natural fabrics with natural colors. Pay attention to the simple lines in the costume below.
participants how to accessorize their costumes in appropriate gear for their station in life.
|Male Peasant Costume|
|Female Peasant Costume|
see how the drawings from the poster can be translated into actual costumes.
|Peasant baby (minus the tippy cup)|
natural fiber materials (such as cotton). That would hold up well over the years.
Again, how does this translate?
Below is an example of two different female peasant outfits. The one to the right would be in a higher station in life than the one on the left (based on accessories). Why? The one to the right is wearing a straw hat with a hat pin, a leather belt with matching bag, and several other valuable accessories....that would indicate that she had the financial means to afford such luxuries.
Below is an example of two lower class male peasants (ignore the knit cap). Peasants would carry their belongings on them to protect against theft. The socks (if they could afford them or had a wife/mother to knit them) would protect them from bushes, bugs and other potentially alarming nuisances.
The Middle Class
The Middle Class is much more complicated than the peasant class costume. Members of this class were merchants and such.
They wanted to be noticed by the gentry, so they would dress much fancier than the peasants. They could such luxuries as a piece of ribbon. Below is
Below are some examples of the merchant class.
|Middle Class to Upper Class Female. The male is not "Middle Class"|
The first two ladies in the picture above are middle class. The ladies in the fancier outfits are gentry. This pictures shows you a side by side comparison in the difference in their accessories and costume.
Military and Gentry Examples
An example of military and gentry class costumes.
|Middle Class costume are made from wool and cotton fibers.|
Below is a great example of Nobility.
Note the jewelry, the fibers, and ornate design of the costumes. Brenda Stewart (who made the costumes featured below) is an amazing costume designer who makes period costumes for different venues. The female is a countess and the gentleman is a knight.
Nobility couple a side view.
Nobility couple a back view.
A close up of the meticulous detail that goes onto the back of these costumes. The designer of this piece put a lot of thought & effort into this. This is a beautiful work of art.
The costumes of the gentry and nobility, would be trimmed with special details in accordance to their wealth.
blackwork on the front of the shirt and the sleeves. In case you are not familiar with blackwork, it is form of embroidery that uses black thread. It is similar to counted cross stitch but with different details. It was traditionally done in silk.
Ladies of the court.
More examples of nobility costumes of the period, the detail work on these costumes are beautiful to see in person. Even the hems have special details that you can not see in these pictures.
Below is an example of one of the many French Gentry costumes.
The use of ribbons and trims would be in accordance to the wealth of the character. The difficulty is that modern materials while affordable are not always accurately used in costuming. If you look at the poster below, it is a good example of trim mistakes that can be avoided by sticking to the "approvable" side of the poster.
There really is not a classification for puritans as they could be members of different stations in life. Note the differences in each costume in the picture below.
As for feathers......use them sparingly and wisely. Some may look pretty and fluffy but at the end of the day when you are picking out tree crude from them....well you may wish you had chosen something less attractive to dust balls, dirt, and other items that can get caught in them. Also, you may want to keep in mind that certain feathers were only worn by the gentry and could look out of place on the wrong costume.
Finally, now that you have seen a variety of examples, can you pick out the different stations in life the females in the picture below are depicting through their choice of costumes?