Renaissance Costumes

Written by Sarah Provost
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Renaissance costumes are an elegant choice for costume balls and Halloween parties as well as the increasingly popular Renaissance fairs. Long, flowing dresses are flattering for ladies of all sizes, while men can choose from knights, monks, churls and noblemen. And don't forget such typically Renaissance figures as the jester, the sorcerer and the kitchen wench.

A Wide Variety of Renaissance Costumes

Since there were highly differentiated classes in Renaissance times, and each trade or occupation had its own distinctive garb, there are many authentically Renaissance costumes to choose from. You can be a noble lord or lady, a varlet or a barmaid. You might be a shiny knight or a gruesome executioner.

A peasant costume is relatively easy to put together. For women, a long skirt and readily available peasant blouse create the foundation. Add a long white apron and a kerchief, and you're ready to serve the ale. Peasant men generally just look grimy and wear boots, unless they glower under a black hood and carry an axe.

Being a member of the nobility, of course, costs a little more. Lords and ladies of the Renaissance wore elaborate clothing of rich materials with lots of slashed sleeves and other detailing. Knights, too, require a purchased costume if you want to go the full armor route. But you can be a knight with just a tunic and a sword. And I have worn Renaissance costumes that had other incarnations as a bathrobe and a bridesmaid's dress. Add a paper cone hat with a scarf floating off it, and wait for your champion to ask for your favor.

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