Renaissance Faires have been a fascination with me for a long time, exactly how long I cannot remember. Ever since my early childhood, I have been enamored with historical eras and with the clothing that the people wore. This historical time captivates my attention more than any other era. As a faire enthusiast, I have the ultimate opportunity to experience wearing costumes from the renaissance era. It brings it all to life because everyone at these events is dressed up in style to match the character they have chosen.
These events are better than watching theater because at a faire, you live as a cast member of the play. You become the theater and the faire grounds are the stage. The entire event is an historical reenactment. Everywhere you look, people are dressed in fantastic costumes.
Aside from the clothing, renaissance costumes are part of the show. Knowing your history plays an important part if you plan to attend a renaissance faire or festival. I study old books and visit museums to get a better feel for the time period. This helps to prepare me for my role. You can learn a lot in the same way.
The hardest decision for me to make is to decide which character I want to play for the next faire. If you have ever attended a renaissance faire then you understand what I’m saying. It is not easy to choose between the roles whether you are a male or female. I go through this process mentally debating with myself.
Do I want to be a noble woman, or a peasant, or an aristocrat? What occupation will I choose? Which part will allow me to wear the costume that will best fit my mood?
I look for versatility in the role so that I will have many garments in my wardrobe. That way, I can change my costume to suit my mood for that day. When you make your plans you have no idea how you will feel at the actual event. I’ve learned from this and adapted my method to allow diversity in my character’s costumes.
If I choose to be a noble woman, there are certain customs that are part of my character. From my gowns to the pins in my hair, my station in nobility is apparent because it is in the costume signature. If I am single, I have certain colors. Perhaps I am a member of a particular guild, so I wear a special pin or have my nobility title embroidered on my garments.
Role playing in this way really brings out the diverse aspects of my personality. You may not consider yourself an actor, but at the faire it is easy to become absorbed into a role. The very nature of these events is inspiring.
As a peasant, I sew all my own clothing. You might find me spinning thread, weaving, or sheering a sheep to spin my own yarn. (in this case, I’m not talking about telling a story) My colors will define my financial station. I will wear my hair in the acceptable manner. My speech will require a bit of study so that I will use the proper words. Faire actors are required to know how to speak to nobles, to aristocrats and to commoners.
Hairstyles, posture, home life, make up and jewelry is all important aspects of any role. For me, this requires an ongoing education.
Renaissance Faires are year round events, but fair weather brings people outdoors. The season opens up to full swing at the first hint of spring. I know I’m ready to travel the southern states right now.
Are you wondering which event might be next on my calendar? Since I’m heading for Texas, I’ll probably attend the Four Winds Faire. It opened the beginning of March and will be presenting for eight weekends until the end of April. I can’t wait to take photos of this one. I better decide how I will dress since I’m showing up as a reporter. I wonder if there is a customary title for that.
So tell me, what will you be wearing at your next faire?