A Guide To Women's Clothing And Accessories For A Renaissance Festival

If you've been to a renaissance festival before, but not in costume and always wanted to, here is a good primer. You have lots of variation in dress. You can go as a refined, austere Queen, a maiden, or a sexy tavern girl.

Below is a description of some of the more popular clothing items you might see at a renaissance festival.

Bodice

This is a vest-like garment that is worn over a blouse and above the waist. You can get them made in cloth or leather. They will have a hook-and-eye front closure. Typically, if you were to dress as a maiden, you would wear a long flowing dress with a bodice over it, or else a skirt and chemise with the bodice over the outfit.

Corset

The corset is a similar to the bodice, but is more restrictive and severe. They can have front hook-and-eye closure, or rear lace up closures.

These garments tend to be worn by ladies who want to dress as tavern girls or wenches. The corsets come in two styles. The first is called an overbust. This can be worn over a chemise and skirt. Alternatively, the woman can wear just the corset as a top.

The second type of corset is called an underbust. These are corsets that start just under the breasts and continue down to the hips. They are worn over a blouse. They can create a beautiful contrast of colors if you choose a dark corset and pair it with a lighter colored blouse or dress.

Chemise

You will want a medieval era chemise to wear, instead of a modern blouse. These were loose fitting garments that somewhat resemble nightgowns. You can find them at many specialty stores that do period recreation. The bodice (or corset) and skirt are worn over the chemise. You can mimic the look by finding a long, white nightgown that doesn't have frills or ruffles.

Skirt

You will want a skirt in a solid color, not patterns or designs. Also, the skirt needs to be full, not form fitting. Lastly, it has to be long. The skirt should end above the ankles.

Chain Maille Jewelry

While many people associate chain maille with knights in armor, it is also very common to see women in chain maille at renaissance festivals. Women who portray Queens or other members of the court will often wear chain maille necklaces or headgear. It's also appropriate for maidens to have small chain maille necklaces or intricate waist chains to wear over their bodice. Talk to a company like Bead Me a Story to learn more.

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