What to Wear to Renaissance Faire has changed over the last decade. And the answer is wear what you want! But I think you are asking because you want to be part of the fun…maybe fit in…you want to know what others are wearing. And that is a very good question!
In the past Renaissance Faires were about recreating the Renaissance Era, especially the English Elizabethan Era. Fans came in Renaissance Faire costumes and newbies in civilian clothes. People still got in Renaissance Faire outfits and regular clothes. You don’t have to have a costume or outfit to attend! And there will definitely be others without costumes.
Today however, due to the popularity of fantasy cosplay costumes, things are totally different. And most likely this addition of all-things-fantasy, and even sci-fi, is also a business decision. As a business owner myself, I get that you gotta give people what they want!
Thus, the larger, multi-weekend Renaissance Faires around the US, like Texas, Wisconsin, New York, Georgia, North Carolina, Florida, and California, have lots of theme weekends.
Lots of theme weekends, as well as more traditional Renaissance Faire weekends. The Renaissancy weekends are often the Opening (first) and Closing (last) weekend, as well as one other weekend. In Texas, it’s called the Queen’s Weekend! And you will still see pirates, elves, fairies, and Vikings in the mix on the Renaissancey weekends.
In this post, we’ll cover three topics: Renaissance Faire themes, typical peasant Ren Faire costumes, as well as ideas for other traditional, sophisticated Renaissance Faire costumes.
So what are these themes – of course, you will find the themes listed prominently on the Renaissance Faire website.
Here are the two most popular Renaissance Faire Themes from around the US:
Argh!! Adventure storytelling contests, treasure hunts, and perhaps even a sea-faring skills school.
Sometimes called Time Travel Weekend. Bring your fav cosplay costume be it fantasy, fairy tales, sci-fi, comics, television, or anime for a fun, giant costume party. In Los Angeles, New York and Wisconsin, the fantasy weekend is called RennConTM, a trademarked name of The Original Pleasure Faire.
Other Ren Faire Themes
These themes that vary from Ren Faire to Ren Faire and vary depending on the season the Renaissance Faire near you takes place in. I’ve listed them roughly from most common to most unique.
Viking or Barbarian Weekend
Fairy or Woodland Weekend
Highland (Scottish) Weekend
Celtic (Irish) Weekend / Shamrocks & Shenanigans
Valentine’s or Romance Weekend
Halloween or Spooky Weekend
Christmas or Celtic Christmas Weekend
Middle Eastern Bazaar
The long and short of it is if you have a fav cosplay costume, you can wear it to Ren Faire. And you can find your fav cosplaying buddies by checking out the Renn Faire themes on the website.
Is this your first Ren Faire? Or first Renaissance Festival in a long time?
Are you reading this because you want a Renaissance Faire costume or outfit?
Here are 3 items to start with.
- A loose white shirt known as a poet’s shirt (with big sleeves and a lace-up V neck)
- A pair of tan or brown pants. Any earthy color will work.
- For shoes, select some plain shoes or boots.
These 3 items will give you the basic look.
- A felt hat, or picking up a hat or head covering at your Renaissance Faire, is often a very good idea!
- Other things you might add are a belt, a vest or hooded cloak. Cloaks can look and feel dashing.
- You’ll soon notice folks hang many things off of their Renaissance belts such as tankards, drinking horns, pouches, and sometimes play or fake swords or bows and arrows.
Want to hear more about these 10 Ren Faire costuming items, go to Men’s Rennaisance Faire Costumes.
The first item would be one of the following:
- A blousy, simple cream or white dress known as a chemise,
- OR any boho, Spring-like dress in almost any color
- OR a blouse and longer skirt,
- Note: often times women will wear two skirts
- A contrasting vest, bodice, or a nice tank top (more about that in a minute), on top of the dress or blouse and shirt.
- For footwear, choose a plain shoe or boot.
Contrast between the first layer and the second top layer typifies this popular Renaissance Festival outfit.
And look, if you don’t have plain shoes…don’t worry about it. If you look at our Ren Faire photos, you’ll see things like Doc Marten’s and punk or gothic looking boots. Just make sure any footwear you select is fully broken in and comfortable as you are likely to walk miles at the Ren Faire. I’d also advise putting another pair of shoes in the car if you have concerns about the comfort of the pair you are wearing. Approximating the look is totally fine, and it’s best to stay within your budget and build outfits gradually over time.
- Hats are a great idea, as many Renaissance Festivals take place in Spring or Summer. It also happens that everyone over the age of 13 was required to wear headgear during the Renaissance.
- wide Renaissance belts (wider 1.5-2 inch wide belt and wider),
- some jewelry like a couple of chokers or a waist length necklace.
- hooded cloaks, either to keep the sun off, stay warm in Spring or Fall, or because you love the feel of a flowy, swooshy cloak.
- As I mentioned earlier, hanging things from your belt is popular. Those things might include a pouch or two, tankards, drinking horns, and sometimes play or fake swords or bows and arrows. (The pouch(es) can hold a small refillable plastic water bottle, cash and a credit card, sunscreen and lip balm, and whatever other small things you may need for the day outdoors at the Renaissance Faire.)
Want to hear more and see photos and videos about these 10 Ren Faire costuming items, go to Women’s Renaissance Faire Outfits.
Are you ready to build a more sophisticated Renaissance Faire costume?
First choose a class, occupation and / or nationality:
- A class: peasant, middle class, nobility, or royalty
- An occupation: farmer, priest, metal smith, baker, etc.
- A nationality: English, French, German, Italian, or Spanish (and others)
I got this list of Renaissance Faire costumes from writer Holle Abee who gave me permission to share it. A modified version of her list is below.
Recently, I added info about authentic Renaissance Era accessories such as hats, shoes, belts, swords, daggers, and cloaks. Find that info on Ren Fair Outfit accessories.