LARP

Present-Day Medieval Combat

These days, LARPers and cosplay fans would relish the opportunity to put their medieval armor to use and participate in real-life medieval combat. For many, it seems like an unattainable dream. You might be surprised to learn that this dream isn’t as unattainable as you might think. In fact, there are tournaments around the world that feature authentic medieval battle.

Early in May, the International Medieval Combat Federation gathered in Belmonte, Spain, to compete in the Medieval Combat World Championships. These tournaments are based on rules developed by King Rene of Anjou. According to a book written by King Rene, the tournament must be a melee fought by two sides. The book also featured heraldic ceremonies, costume design for the heralds and judges, specific weapons and armor, and prizes.

If you missed the chance to show off your battle skills in this year’s Medieval Combat World Championships, you can still take part in medieval battle. Beginning on June 12, Togir, Croatia, will host this year’s World Championship Battle of the Nations. This tournament features historical medieval battle competitions between teams from more than 25 countries. These events will not only including battles, but also medieval music, dance, traditional crafts, and a medieval market featuring handmade artisanal goods. To learn more about this event, visit http://botn.info/en/ .

Renaissance Wear in the News

At PearsonsRenaissanceShoppe.com, we try to keep our fans and customers up to date on all things Renaissance wear. Every so often, a truly great news story comes along about the clothes or time period of the Renaissance. Here are some of our favorite recent stories!Rothschild Prayerbook

  • A Renaissance-era prayer book was recently sold for a cool $13.4 million at Christie’s London. This prayer book, commissioned around 1505 by a member of the imperial court of the Netherlands, was acquired by the Rothschild family collection in the 19th century. Beautifully illustrated, it is considered one of the highest achievements of Flemish Renaissance painting. http://bit.ly/1ddSYLa
  • A Renaissance Faire reality show? It seems it is coming soon. According to nerdapproved.com, BBC America is currently looking for Ren Faire enthusiasts to participate in a show described as, “Survivor meets 1890 House, with a touch of Game of Thrones tossed in.” Well, hopefully, people won’t be experiencing a Red Wedding of their own. http://bit.ly/1a7l5Rk
  • This Medieval Joker armor costume made quite a splash online recently. Both incredibly cool and unspeakably terrifying, this costume, inspired by the famous Batman villain, will surely give anyone at a Ren Faire nightmares. http://bit.ly/1aJDmSI
  • As scientists try to figure how to successfully traverse the surface of Mars, one scientist has designed a space suit, inspired by medieval armor. “Mars is totally unforgiving and we must never forget that,” says Dr. Gernot Groomer. Understatement of the year? http://cnn.it/1fhbJQo

Have you heard or read any stories about Renaissance wear? Let us know in the comments!

A History of Chainmail Armor

One of the first medieval items anyone thinks of when imagining the Middle Ages is chainmail armor. The iconic metal rings were designed to protect the knights in the heat of combat, but have since become synonymous with chivalry, knighthood, and the Dark Ages. Pearson’s offers chainmail shirts, coifs, vests and gauntlets. We have blackened chainmail pieces, and mail made from plated brass and riveted aluminum.

Chainmail Armor seems to have been first created by the Celts. Seeing its value after battling with the Celts, the Romans adopted the idea of interlocking iron, steel, or brass rings together to protect the soldier within. Swords and spears did not easily pass through the material and many lives were saved because of it.

Even when plate mail overtook chainmail as a popular source of outerwear for battle, many knights kept their chainmail beneath the plate armor. It provided extra protection to joints and sensitive areas, and was more accessible than the expensive plate armor. Until the widespread use of gunpowder on the battlefield, chainmail was the best protection a soldier could wear.

Pearson’s carries real chain mail: interlocked metal rings. We sell not a cheap imitation, but the real thing! Make your LARP experience more authentic or create the perfect Halloween costume this year using authentic chainmail armor. We’re sure you’ll enjoy wearing the metal mesh because it provides a true experience of warrior life in the Dark Ages.

LARP Clothing: Know Your Role

Summer LARP season is upon us and it’s time to decide on a character for the year! Are you going to reuse your outfit from last year, or are you excited to switch it up a bit? It’s always good to see what else is out there; perhaps you will find a new favorite guise! Plenty of thought goes into this big decision, so we’ve put together a few tips to consider in figuring out what to re-roll as:

Have passion for your new character: So, being an English Longbowman has grown stale. You love the culture and motif, but you’re willing to try something new. Great! Look up the histories of the many medieval civilizations. Which ones pique your interest first or the most? Who knows, you might be wearing a Monk’s robe this year!

Choose your weapon: Tired of touting your trusty tomahawk? Maybe you’ll prefer the piercing power of a pike! The weapon you carry can make a huge impact on you and your character. Choosing a new weapon can breathe new life into any costume.

Mind the Weather: For years, you’ve been a knight in the rootin’ Teuton army. Your armor is thick and heavy and your favorite faire is in Georgia in June. Not only that, one of your LARPing guilds’ biggest battles is in the beginning of August. Needless to say, dehydration is a huge factor when prepping for these events. Why not mix it up a bit? There is plenty of light and breathable medieval clothing that is much more comfortable in the summer months. Don’t be afraid to take it for a spin!

What tips do you have for those thinking of trying on a new character this spring or summer? Any specific recommendations you’ve tried your own hand at, or been impressed by when you’ve seen others? Please share in the comments!

From the Screen to the Backyard: Get Your Kids Off the Couch with LARPing!

If you are like most modern day parents, you often find yourself in a conundrum over how much time your kids spend playing video games, computer games, and even games on their phones. It’s simple for an outsider to say, ‘Take them away!’, or ‘Limit them to 30 minutes a day!’, but taking them away and placing strict limits are often easier said than done. For one, you might be an avid gamer yourself. Telling your kids not to do something that you do can end in a yelling match for sure! For another, denying our children of something they enjoy isn’t at the top of the list of fun things about being a parent.

Sometimes the hours of ‘screen time’ kids clock can slip to the bottom of our list of worries given all the other important things we have to keep on top of. But, we have a silver lining to the cloud of turning off the games! And it’s as good for you as it is for your children.

Now that most of us will be savoring an extra hour of daylight it is easier than ever to plan outdoor family activities for the evenings. The days will be growing continually longer, and the weather continually milder, and that gives us an awesome opportunity to give electronics a rest while we head outside.

If you don’t have a backyard at home, you can always pack the family up for a trip to the park or even a nearby field. As for what to do once you’re there? Act out your favorite video games, computer games, and phone games, of course! Yes, the family that LARPs together creates some wonderful memories together. Just be sure to keep things safe and fun, and incorporate the interests of all your children. If that means you’ll be holding a Sesame Street LARP once in awhile, or a LARP that reflects characters from their favorite book or story, so be it! When the kiddos are smiling, it’s hard not to smile right along with them.

In addition to getting your kids and yourself away from the glare of the screen for a bit, having fun together as a family can also bring health benefits. You’ll be moving around, laughing, and breathing fresh air. Undistracted by constant messages from other users in a game, you can clear your mind and hit the virtual ‘refresh’ button in your brain. You’ll be making memories together, exercising together, learning more about one another, and reinforcing the importance of relying on one another and enjoying each other’s company.

Without actually saying so, you’ll be teaching your kids that in addition to being a parent – a parent who sometimes has to reprimand them, place limits on them, and give them rules – you are also someone who think they’re pretty cool, and you choose to spend your down time with them. This can help a child’s self-esteem immeasurably, and help foster a closer relationship that will carry through not only their youth and teen years, but also adulthood. And if you need some LARP costumes to make the games extra special, you know we just might have a few! 😉

Renaissance Costumes that Help You Keep in Character and Keep Warm: Part 2!

In our last blog post we discussed the necessity to keep winter weather in mind when choosing the costumes you’ll wear during events and adventures both inside and out. I asked you, dear readers, to share in your tips for having fun and keeping warm even when it’s frosty, and mentioned I’d be sharing a few of my favorite winter Renaissance costume essentials. And… here they are! Please do share yours, as well! 🙂

Stretch Velour Pants: For days, nights, or events when a skirt or dress simply won’t work, I turn to my trusty black velour pants. Well-suited to a pirate costume, these can also be worn beneath almost any dress or skirt for added warmth.

Chess Queen Bodice: Remember those layers I mentioned in Part 1 of this post series? This lovely piece is among my most popular choices! Fashioned from faux suede with a soft satin lining, it pairs well with many tops and dresses. It also looks pretty fierce with the velour pants above, and if the Renaissance was anything, it was fierce!

Milorada Wook Cloak: Crafted from supremely soft and warm wool, I feel powerful, pretty and poised in this cloak. It’s as though it is imbued with confidence and charisma! Plus, it helps me stay toasty. And, it’s available in many colors to complement your costume of choice, or where you’ll be wearing it. I personally love the white cloak, but it can be a bit impractical if your character is likely to get dirty. For those lady LARPers I recommend the green, red, blue, black or grey. (But seriously, the white is gorgeous!)

Queen Isabella Renaissance Boots: The versatility of these boots knows no bounds. And – you get to customize them! They are definitely an investment piece, with a heavy leather upper and screw-on buttons that you can switch up as you wish, but you’ll understand their price the first time you see them in person. They are warm, comfortable, and built to last, with a Vibram welted sole and heel. Their quality is unlike any we’ve seen, and as they can be re-soled, we expect you’ll enjoy them for many years. I personally love the brown boot with blue trim, but have yet to see a customer order a color combo that didn’t turn out awesome!

Renaissance Costumes that Help You Keep in Character and Keep Warm!

While the calendar tells us that spring is in fact somewhat within reach, there’s no denying that in these parts, winter is still very much having her day in the spotlight. It’s just too bad her spotlight doesn’t give off any warmth!

Let me start by saying that I am very pro-winter. I don’t mind the cold nearly as much as many people, and try to save most of my weather complaints for those stifling summer days that make me feel melty. That said, winter is not to be taken lightly; she is to be taken with warm fabrics, sturdy boots, and lots of layers. And taking her that way while LARPing or attending Renaissance events makes them all the more enjoyable!

While I do spend more time indoors during the winter months, avoiding prolonged exposure to the elements more often than not, I’m also steadfast in not becoming a hermit just because the temps are below 50. If friends are heading sledding, or have a little snowy Saturday LARPing on the agenda, I’m not about to miss out just so I don’t get chilly. That said, I’m also not about to invite discomfort by wearing a lightweight gown or gauzy cotton skirt. When you dress with the weather in mind, you find you don’t mind the weather!

I’m putting together a list of a few of my favorite winter Renaissance costume essentials, and will be posting it here in a few days. In the meantime, I was hoping some of you might share your own faves. What do you look for in a winter Renaissance costume? What tips do you have to help others have fun without getting frostbite?

Keep Your Mind Fresh and Life Fun with LARPing!

To say I have a soft spot for LARPing is a bit of an understatement. Sure, on the surface it can simply look like a group of people with similar, perhaps slightly nerdy interests, playing a grown-up game of make believe. And – it is partly that! But what hurts my heart is when people see that as a bad thing, as though taking time away from the routine stresses of life to spend time doing something you enjoy with others is somehow immature or stupid. In my humble opinion, I think it’s quite the opposite.

A simple fact that’s tricky to argue is that humans are by nature social creatures. I enjoy a solo movie night or shopping trip alone from time to time as much as the next gal, but as an everyday way of life, no thanks! Interacting with others gives us new perspectives, new ideas, a way to decompress, and a way to elevate our spirits. It helps us forge bonds that can never be broken, experiencing life together in a very meaningful way, no matter how small the events. It’s necessary, and good, and right. But no matter how amazing our lives may be – and I hope all of yours are amazing! – there will always be room for improvement, and there will always be times we just need to get away from it all. That’s where LARPing can slip in quite nicely.

This post is inspired by a wonderful article I read recently: Adults should be imaginative, too: Try LARPing as a hobby. The author, Channing Kaiser, echoes many of the same sentiments I have about this underappreciated pastime. Kaiser sums it up nicely with, “I think the world needs more LARPing because I’m tired of living in a world where you have to grow out of make-believe.”

As a LARP enthusiast, I use LARPing in part as a way to escape. However, unlike harmful methods of escape, such as drug or alcohol abuse, LARPing actually enhances my ‘real’ life. I meet new people, go new places, turn away from technology and reconnect with nature, and come back from it all with some awesome new friends and a soaring spirit. It might be unconventional, but it’s really not nearly as ‘weird’ as outsiders might think it to be. It’s fun and oftentimes silly, and it lets you explore aspects of yourself that might not fit into your everyday life quite so easily. You can stretch your creative side, wear some super cool clothes, and just let yourself go to have a good time. That’s right – a good time! What’s so wrong with that?

I understand that most if not all of the people reading this are of a similar opinion about LARPing as I am, so I don’t expect this post to change the world. But if you do have negative notions about LARPing, I hope you’ll take a minute to think about where they come from. The world is full of enough negativity and name-calling, there’s no need to fuel that fire. We are all beautifully unique creatures, and the things we enjoy are beautifully unique as well. Some might love waking up to heavy metal – for me, it’s Lady Gaga! Neither of us is wrong or right, as there is no wrong or right. We know what works for us, and we do what it takes to make the most of every day.

Similarly, I know LARPing helps make all that mundane stuff seem not-so-bad. I still have to pay my bills, and get my oil changed, and make sure I shovel the walkways after a snowstorm. I’m not trying to run away from any of that. It’s necessary. But all of that is made easier because I let other sides of ‘me’ have their day in the sun, too. Don’t be afraid to be your best you. 🙂

Renaissance Boots for Every Terrain, Temperature, Event and Location!

Renaissance boots are perfect for the faire grounds, but there are plenty of other fun uses for them outside of the Renaissance life. Thick, rugged boots like the Caribbean Buckle Boot and the King Richard Boot are perfect for outdoor LARPing, SCA gatherings and anything that requires rugged footwear with a Renaissance flair. For rough outdoor terrain, choose a tall, thick boot with a non-slip sole such as the Airship Captain Boot. For variable terrain and temperatures, the Porthos Boot can be worn as either a thigh-high or knee-high boot to allow you to adapt your costume to your environment!

Softer boots like the Medieval High Boot and the Men’s Renaissance Boot are perfect for indoor RPGs, theatrical productions and filking. These softer Renaissance boots are also comfortable for cons and even for everyday wear. A pair of simple boots such as the Captain Boot can be used for formal occasions as well as a day at the faire, and they adapt well to many types of costumes.

In hot weather, Renaissance garb doesn’t have to feel like a burden. Choose boots that will give you some air circulation such as the Ghillie Boot or short boots like the Viking Boot, and you’ll be ready to travel any road!

Add Style and Warmth with Hooded Capes and Cloaks

If you’re looking for that special something extra to make your Renaissance outfit complete, think about how a hooded cloak would look on top of your period garb. Hooded capes and cloaks add a striking visual effect to any period outfit you wear.

If your mind keeps conjuring up Jedi robes when you imagine hooded capes, know that there are far more styles available to Renaissance cosplayers than there are to the Jedi! And, capes allow you to LARP or enjoy the faire no matter the weather. Let’s take a closer look at a few favorite options…

  • For a stunning look that will immediately draw every eye, there is the Taffeta Lace Cloak for women or men! The deep burgundy color and shimmery texture work as well for a wicked queen as they do for a fair maiden…or a confident, charming man of romance.
  • For a valiant look that adds drama to a costume, consider a Reversible Cloak. Use the black side when you want to add mystery or slip by unseen, and reverse it to purple for a dash of bright, eye-catching, royal color!
  • Mystery and intrigue abound when your costume is dark and alluring. Add that intrigue to your costume with the Magic Mist Cloak. The sheer, flowing fabric is perfect for a mage, witch, elf, or anyone who wishes to cast a glorious spell on all who see them.