Renaissance Costumes

Welcome Spring with Some New Renaissance Wear!

While I hold Fall close in my heart as my favorite season, that doesn’t diminish my love for Spring in the least! When Fall arrives, it is a much-needed time for winding down after the busy summer. It is a time for long walks on cool nights, savored cups of cocoa, and snuggling up with a good book and a good dog. Spring, on the other hand, is quite the opposite! Following a long winter of scraping the car windows every morning, the sun setting before we’ve left the office, and wrapping ourselves in so many layers we barely know where our clothes end and our bodies begin, Spring is a time to shake off all that slowed us down and get moving! And as good as the break Fall brings feels after a long, hot summer, Spring feels just as fantastically invigorating after a long, cold winter.

One of the first things many of us do when Spring arrives is tackle the closet. It’s the perfect place to start our Spring cleaning, and tucking away heavy sweaters while breaking out much lighter pieces feels almost therapeutic. When we have all our drawers and closets emptied, it’s the perfect time to take stock of what pieces we might be ready to donate, what pieces we definitely want to keep, and what pieces we want to add or replace. If you find that some of your Renaissance costumes are looking a bit worse for wear, think of what you might want to treat yourself to. After all, don’t you deserve something special after all the hard work of cleaning your closet? We think so!

Here’s a few of our favorite Renaissance costumes for warmer weather, for her and for him. Which do you like best? Let us know 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!

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?

Sporrans and Belt Pouches as an Everyday Accessory? We Do Declare!

Sometimes when you spend a lot of time around certain people, in a certain space, or around a certain product lineup, it can be tricky to see things in a new way through fresh eyes. Oftentimes it takes someone on the outside pointing something out for us to snap out of our ‘daily daze’. The perfect example? I never really noticed how messy my desk was until a friend stopped over and was like, “Whoa! How do you get anything done at that desk?!” Suddenly, it was like I truly saw my desk clearly for the first time in months. And… she was exactly right. My desk was shockingly messy! That’s not to say I tidied it up completely, but it was refreshing to have an outside perspective on a space I occupy every day and don’t pay much mind to.

Fast-forward a few weeks and that same friend came by my office for a visit. When she peeked at my computer screen, I had our Renaissance belt pouches page pulled up. And, truth be told, I was a bit surprised when she said, “Those are super cute, maybe I’ll get one,” pointing to our Courtier’s belt pouch. She is appreciative of many of the items on our site, but is not one of my ‘Ren Friends’ as I affectionately call them. In short, she thinks a lot of Renaissance and Medieval garments are attractive, but she doesn’t attend festivals or really ‘get into the Renaissance’ so to speak.

I was a bit perplexed by her interest in the belt pouch, until she explained that it would make a stylish weekend bag that was on trend and fashionably functional. She could run errands, take the dogs for a walk, and do a little shopping while keeping her essentials at her hip and her hands free. Genius! But, of course, I didn’t think of it because I look at those pouches every day the same way. Suddenly it was like a light bulb went off, and I liked having it lit.

While some people have a defined style, I tend to simply buy what I like. If it happens to be considered preppy, sporty, hipster-ish, or hippie-ish, so be it. I like it, and that’s all that matters to me! But truth be told, as much as I love my leather belt pouches, I hadn’t thought to take them beyond the realm of my Ren life. Until now, that is. And as cute as it looks with my outfit, I have to admit it felt a little strange to put a lip gloss and hand cream inside this morning. I don’t think those were very popular during the Renaissance! 😉

If you have a leather belt pouch as well, consider whether it will work with your everyday wardrobe. Multi-tasking accessories make life more fun and affordable!

Women’s Renaissance Costume Essentials: 3 Favorites Under $50!

If you’re like most Renaissance-loving ladies and gents, you could easily spend thousands of dollars if given just a few minutes on a Renaissance costume shopping spree! However, most of us don’t have the unlimited income that would be necessary to fulfill our every Renaissance costume fantasy. The simple fact is, high quality Renaissance costumes can be on the costly side. The upside, of course, is that they look better, feel better, last longer, and have a fine attention to detail. That said, even those of us who work here at Pearson’s Renaissance Shoppe must keep a close eye on our purse strings, investing in costumes we absolutely can’t live without and will wear time and again. Trust me, it’s not easy. There’s temptation at every turn, with every order that arrives!

While I have a few Renaissance dresses and Medieval dresses that I wear frequently to events and gatherings, and plan to for many years, I also like to stock up on Renaissance wear essentials that I can mix and match to keep things creative, fun and fresh. Letting your imagination go wild is a big part of making the most of Faires and Festivals, and there are many pieces that you can incorporate into countless looks by switching up your accessories or the other clothing you pair them with. Here’s a few of my favorites, all under $50, that make it easy to slowly build a collection you’ll be proud of without spending a lot at once…

Renaissance Chemise: This terrific white top pairs perfectly with so many pieces, crafted in a comfortably baggy style that is breathable, flattering and feminine. The elastic neckline lets you decide if you’ll wear it on or off the shoulders, while the black bows on the arms are a charming touch. Available in sizes XS-2X, this top looks great on everyone we’ve seen wearing it!

Colonial Shoe: If I said I hadn’t worn these to work once or twice I’d be lying! These versatile shoes really take on the look of whatever you wear them with, be ye a pilgrim or a wench. Finding the ideal footwear for every costume isn’t always an option, so I like to have a few pairs of shoes that work with almost anything. I’ve turned to these more than once, and they’ve saved the day and the costume every time.

Drawstring Renaissance Skirt: These are absolutely amazing for those scorching summer events that always seem to fall on the most hot and humid days of the year. Currently available in 14 colors of seriously soft, lightweight cotton, these one-size-fits-all workhorses are ready for whatever the day brings! They also layer beautifully for added loft or warmth.

Bring the Renaissance Faire Home in the New Year

There is so much promise and expectation when moving into a New Year that it can be overwhelming. It is a time when many of us call on ourselves to start doing nearly everything better, and the result can bring the opposite of the intended effect. When it all seems too much, sometimes we just think “well, nevermind!” and end up doing nothing at all. I’m going to work hard to ensure that doesn’t happen to me, and I hope you will, too!

Part of safeguarding myself against feeling overwhelmed is in creating resolutions that focus on a positive rather than a negative in their approach and language. The words we say to ourselves have a power well beyond imagination, and my first resolution is to start being a lot more respectful when talking to me! That should help me carry out my other resolutions quite nicely. As for those other resolutions? One I’m really excited about it my resolve to bring the Renaissance Faire home…

As much as many of my friends and I love Renaissance Faires and Festivals, none of us are able to attend them as frequently as we would like to. Whether it’s conflicting schedules, or there simply isn’t one nearby when the Renaissance itch fires up, there are inevitably times we would love to don our favorite Renaissance costumes and get together for endless fun times, but can’t. Or can we? I think I have a solution – I’m bringing it home, baby!

We have all invested a lot of time and money into creating Renaissance costume collections that are nothing short of magnificent. It’s truly a shame to only break those pieces out of the closet a few times a year when they’re so magically fun to wear. Additionally, beyond all the clothes, shoes and jewelry, what makes the Renaissance Faire so special is being surrounded by others with a common interest who are also excited and ready for fun. The worries of the real world get to slip away for the day at a Ren Faire, and that is a rare and beautiful thing! We all get to be who we want to be – who we really are beneath all the bills, commutes, and everyday obligations. And, importantly, we get to be our relaxed Renaissance selves with friends and family. What could be better?

This year, I will still attend my favorite Faires and Festivals. I will still keep an eye open for new events that spark my interest, and attend them whenever I can. But I will also take time to set up a Renaissance-themed get-together or two in my home. I love entertaining, and it would be so much fun to see my friends arrive in their grandest garb for turkey legs at my table! And hey – if things don’t go exactly as planned, that’s OK. I’m sure we’ll have a wonderful time in any scenario, as long as I can keep the pirates from trying to set sail in the neighbor’s swimming pool!

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!

Renaissance Dresses Help You Literally Dress the Part!

Whether you enjoy spending time at Renaissance faires or fan cons, or just need a costume for a party, there’s something terrifically transformative about slipping on a Renaissance dress! The rich fabrics and feminine shapes take you out of your workaday world and let you travel to another time and place. Renaissance dresses make it easy to take on a deliciously evil persona if you choose. With the Bellatrix Lestrange Dress or Empire Woman’s Steampunk Gown, you can show the Renaissance gentlemen around you that you’re no one to be trifled with!

If deliciously evil isn’t your idea of a good time, there are plenty of Renaissance dresses to express your sweet, virtuous side as well. It’s hard to feel anything but lovely in the Bella Abita Renaissance gown. With soft layers and an embroidered bodice, you’re primed to portray that Renaissance country lass with a heart of gold. Pair it with a silk veil and you can be anything from a princess to the local smith’s daughter.

For an even sweeter persona, there’s the Medieval Lace Dress. It doesn’t get much more softly feminine than flowing white lace and a fitted bodice. Dress it up with jewels and a crown or let it be your medieval wedding gown. Just be sure to hurry – this one is on clearance!

Whichever character you wish to create, or aspect of your personality you wish to highlight, there are Renaissance dresses to help you melt away from the everyday…

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.

Renaissance Dresses: For Noble Lady Airs and Wear

Renaissance Dress

The summer Renaissance faire season is behind, but there are still plenty of ways to find the opportunity to wear Renaissance dresses and act the part of a noble lady. Creating a realistic character, though, involves putting on the right outfit and the right airs. Whether you are mingling with other Medieval minded friends or whether you are acting before a crowd of school children, be sure that you are in character before they see you.

You can practice ahead of any formal event so that your accent is fresh and your Renaissance dresses ready. You can make sure there aren’t problems with your garb. Check to be sure there isn’t any insect infestation. While you may not have the outfits stored for winter because of pending engagements, you can still do your best to keep critters at bay by keeping dryer sheets in the storage area. Check out hair styles, crowns, trinkets and wigs in advance. If you are learning a part, run through it with a friend or family member. If you must simply be prepared to act noble, spend plenty of time preparing. At your events, make sure that you concentrate on the accent you are going to use.