For all you lords and ladies in the Greater Pittsburgh Area, Renaissance Faire season is upon us. So if you enjoy 16th centuryish fun, games, and merrymaking, remember that it’s open only during weekends in September and Labor Day. Nevertheless, I did a Renaissance Festival post last year around this time which may not have gotten a lot of views, but since the Greater Pittsburgh Renaissance Festival is near my house, I thought I can do another edition for this year. After all, whenever you go to any of these events, you’re bound to see a lot of people in costumes. Are these historically accurate? Hell, no. But then again, most Renaissance fairs aren’t supposed to be educational, anyway. Besides, if you were in a real Renaissance European town, it would probably not be a very enchanting experience. For one, you’d have a very hard time keeping your clothes clean since the streets would be covered in horse shit. Second, you will not find anyone selling turkey legs because turkeys are North American birds and most of North American colonization would take place in the 17th century (though it’s a different story if we’re talking about the Spanish in the southern US and anywhere below that). Third, sanitation was horrible with people pissing and throwing their shit out windows, animals doing their business in the street, and lack of regular bathing. Fourth, since countries were ruled by authoritarian monarchies and princedoms, you could forget about the upper classes believing in free speech, freedom to worship (save in France within the last decades of the 16th century), or anything relating to social justice because they just didn’t give a shit. If you live in Spain, you might have to deal with the Spanish Inquisition and ruthless Catholic and expansionist monarchs. If you live in Italy, then you might have to worry more about noble families fighting with each other and using the Catholic Church as an avenue for social advancement while not giving a damn about priestly duties (until the Catholic Counter-Reformation started cracking down on this). If you live in Eastern Europe, then you’ll have to deal with either the Ottoman Empire or Russia at the time of Ivan the Terrible. Neither of which are good. And if you live in Northern Europe, then you’re in the middle of the Reformation which means you better conform to what your ruler believes and do what they say or else expect your life to be a living hell. That or be executed. Maybe both. Okay, I could say the same about any country in Renaissance Europe, but this mainly goes for the northern parts since they’re most likely to be exposed to, adopt, and possibly be forced to convert to Protestantism. Sure some rulers may be more tolerant than others but don’t count on it. Also, if your country is mostly Protestant, there’s a strong chance that you’ll be accused, convicted, and later executed for witchcraft even though your crime was simply having someone in your life who really didn’t like you or being a convenient scapegoat. Yes, you might be completely innocent, but no one’s going to help you and expect to see those you know and love join in the hysteria since they don’t want to be next. Fifth, jousting and other tournament activities were dangerous which resulted in serious injuries (as in Henry VIII’s case which screwed him up bad) and possibly death (as with Catherine d’ Medici’s husband Henri II of France). Sixth, modern medicine didn’t exist at a time when contagious deadly diseases were rampant while surgery basically consisted of hacking off limbs. Seventh, aside from tournaments, blood sports, animal fights, and public executions were seen as fun for the whole family. Eighth, thanks to the Reformations as well as power hungry rulers, warfare and violence was rampant and very ugly. And finally, those beautiful outfits you see in Renaissance paintings weren’t very comfortable or great to wear in the summer.
So you might understand why Renaissance festivals might take liberties with history and present the era as the fun time it wasn’t. Nevertheless, you’re bound to find costumes pertaining to a mishmash from everything relating to Middle Ages, Renaissance, and the 17th century to high fairy tale fantasy. And here I give you another treasure trove of Renaissance Faire costumes for your reading pleasure.
- Sometimes a simple peasant dress is all you need.
Sure had she lived in the 16th century, it would be much dirtier and not in such bright colors. But she certainly looks lovely.
2. They may not be wicked enchanters, but their robes certainly are.
Not exactly what you’d see at Hogwarts. But they look so badass in their robes and staffs you don’t even care.
3. This fairy knows how to dress in silver and white.
Yes, I know it’s more fantasy than Renaissance. But you see people dressed like this at such festivals. Besides, a lot of Renaissance outfits are uncomfortable anyway.
4. Thanks to furry legs, this lady satyr doesn’t need a skirt.
Anyone familiar with Greek mythology should know that female satyrs were all male. Female satyrs were inventions by later poets.
5. When it comes to costume jewelry, sometimes there are no limits.
I think this woman is supposed to be a gypsy from what I could tell by her outfit. But I could be wrong. At least she has one of those metal perfumers around her waist even if it’s just for show.
6. Sometimes in a woman’s dressed, layered skirts are necessary.
Yes, women did wear multiple skirts in those days, particularly the wealthy. Still, while the skirts are nice, I’m not sure about the sleeves.
7. Anyone familiar with Renaissance history should be able to recognize good ol’ Henry VIII.
You know the English Tudor king who was married 6 times, beheaded 2 wives and a lot of his friends, broke with the Catholic Church, and later got very fat towards the end of his life. Yes, that’s the ruthless and colorful Henry VIII.
8. Not sure what these two or going for with the Venice Carnival masks.
Yes, they kind of look creepy. But apparently, these people think the masks are cool. So they go with them.
9. A medieval dress should always come with a matching cape of the same color.
Often it wouldn’t in the Middle Ages, because even the nobles had a very limited wardrobe. Seriously, clothes were expensive at that time.
10. Now that seems like a strange looking wench.
Yes, one of these guys is in a dress and most likely because he has a strange sense of humor. But please don’t judge him.
11. A woman should always be able to enjoy a good brew in all her finery.
And I bet this woman’s costume didn’t come cheap either. Knowing how it’s rich with ornate detail.
12. When it comes to Renaissance costume, rich ladies always wore the big skirts.
But at the Renaissance Festival these can be worn by almost anyone and can be adjusted for comfort. Real rich Renaissance ladies didn’t have such luxuries.
13. Simple medieval dresses in pink and blue are always fine for young girls.
Because Renaissance dresses can be very expensive if ornate enough. Yet, these little girls are so cute.
14. Seems like these two Disney princesses are enjoying themselves.
Seems like they’re dressed like Princess Aurora and Snow White. And in costumes somewhat suitable to the period, according to storybooks.
15. Never thought I’d catch sight of a peacock fairy.
Love how she has her green and blue costume coordinate with the peacock feathers she uses as wings. Very ingenious of her.
16. A bishop always has the right of way at this festival.
I’m sure he’s not a clergyman of any kind in real life. But he does have a cool hat and lavish robes to make a presence.
17. In this outfit the skirt just had to match the parasol.
Now that’s a dress you can see from a mile away. Very bright if you ask me. Like the hat, too.
18. A belly dancer always can be pointed out by her jangles and midriff.
Yes, they have belly dancers at Renaissance Festivals. Would you see them in Renaissance Europe? No, because they’re from India.
19. When it comes to couple costumes, leather body armor always looks cool.
Doesn’t hurt if they use the same colors either. Yet, only the guy is wearing the mask as well as a shirt under his.
20. At Renaissance Festivals, don’t be surprised to see at least multiple men in tights.
And I know one of these guys isn’t wearing pants. Or are tights pants in Renaissance costumes? You can’t be sure.
21. This chimera has a tendency to take breaks for light reading.
Sure his costume might be intimidating to many. But you have to love his big feet and horns.
22. This nature fairy is always more drawn to trees.
She even has a green dress and is holding a leaf that seems to be changing color. Guess fall must be around the corner.
23. A blue Renaissance dress could make any girl look like a princess.
Doesn’t hurt that it has matching yellow ribbons. Probably not cheap to make though.
24. A pirate couple always has to have matching pirate hats.
Yet, the lass could wear a short skirt if she wants to. Because these events aren’t meant to conform to historical accuracy anyway. And his outfit more or less belongs in the late 17th century. Possibly 18th.
25. A shiny blue outfit with pantaloons and tights looks great on any Renaissance man.
Because such outfits in the 16th century were a man’s way of showing how rich they were. Like the cape and hat.
26. A green and black dress is always stunning.
I guess she’s supposed to dress like a pirate from what I can tell. Then again, at least everything seems to match.
27. For this barbarian man, leather bracelets, boots, and skirt are all he needs.
You’d almost think this guy was Conan the Barbarian. Yet, at least he’s sporting a six pack.
28. This little bard dons his own princely shirt and tights.
Yes, he may only be in diapers. But he’s just so adorable in his rich costume that you don’t care.
29. Guess these travelers are out for the hunt.
Note that their guns are flintlock muskets which are single shot, take long to reload, and aren’t very great in speed and accuracy. On the other hand, they guys are wearing nice pants.
30. A little princess always has to carry a large scepter.
It also has to match her outfit as well. And as far as this girl’s concern, princess is only a stepping stone to becoming queen.
31. This forest ranger always has the proper tunic and cape.
Doesn’t hurt that this outfit helps him with the ladies and makes him look like a badass. He even has a sword, too.
32. Here we come across Queen Elizabeth I dressed in all her finery.
Yes, Queen Lizzy loved her pearl jewelry and ruffles. Because she had a lot of portraits depicting her like this. And yes, she used white makeup, which probably contained lead.
33. Is that the Joker and Harley Quinn? Wonder what they’re doing here.
Yes, it’s them. And they’re dressed in period costume to show. Though they’re still easy to pick out of a crowd since they’re Batman villains.
34. How about a pint with this jester?
Jesters often entertained with their songs, music, storytelling, acrobatics, juggling, magic, and comedy. However, while they were popular in the Renaissance, the tradition later declined in the 17th century.
35. This young faun likes to put autumn leaves in his antlers or horns.
Sure he looks like a faun or satyr. But the guy is wearing antlers. So it may be hard to say at any length.
36. Guess sometimes a Renaissance Festival can have a devilish element to it.
Or just have people dressed up as demons in their own incarnation. This one is mostly dressed in red with fur trimming on his outfit.
37. For a second, I thought this man came all the way from Sherwood Forest.
Yes, he does seem to be a member of the Merry Men with his ragged archer costume and a longbow. But unlike what you see in the Robin Hood stories, medieval outlaws mostly stole for themselves. And they could be quite violent, too.
38. Vikings always look fierce and ready to fight.
Yet, unlike this couple, real Viking warriors didn’t wear horned helmets into battle or on their ships. Also, Viking women wore long skirts.
39. A long dress always has a special grace on a lady faire.
It’s also a stain magnet and something a lot of women wouldn’t wear during the Renaissance. But this is very lovely.
40. For men, the puffy shirt always has to match the pantaloons.
Only in the 16th and 17th century could a man get away with lace, puffy pants, puffy sleeves, and tights and look like a badass. Because being fancy was a mark of wealth and prestige.
41. A fair lord must always be prepared to draw out his sword.
And he’s not wearing puffy pants either. But the shirt and hat are classy.
42. This lady must be the queen of her court.
Guess this is the court of Queen Elizabeth I. And probably before the Armada as well. Or she’s wearing a scaled down outfit.
43. When it comes to Renaissance clothing, the hat must always match the dress.
You’ve probably seen a dress in a painting of one of Henry VIII’s wives. Wonder if this woman is playing Katherine of Aragon.
44. For these pirates, colorful costumes sure make them stand out.
Yes, they may wear flashy outfits and make Golden Age piracy look cool. But in reality, living on a pirate ship was anything but a picnic.
45. Wonder what this demonic Krampus like creature is.
Lucky for this guy, his Renaissance Festival outfit could double as a Halloween costume. Wonder what trick or treaters would think about him.
46. This demonic guy has wicked armor and bat wings.
I guess even dressing up as a demonic figure isn’t uncommon. After all, he does seem to make it look cool.
47. These traveling women seem fully prepared for their journeys.
Seems like one of them has a lot of stuff on her belt. Note that purses and pockets didn’t exist in the 16th century. At least for women.
48. How about a photo op with the blue devils?
And no, I don’t mean the ones from Duke University either. I mean these who who’d make cooler mascots than the one they already have.
49. A gentlemen can always look dashing in black.
Well, he seems to be a strapping man with a rapier and boots. Like his hat.
50. This little peasant always has to help with the washing.
Actually it’s likely little girls wore outfits like that. But at any rate, she’s so cute.
51. Is that Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn in matching outfits?
Seems like it. If it is, they should enjoy the honeymoon while it last. Because this relationship is not going end well. Really not going to end well.
52. Furs and pearls are always marks of high standing.
As far as this woman is concerned, such costume would denote how rich she was. At the Renaissance Faire, it just looks cool.
53. Sometimes the sleeves don’t always come attached to the dress.
As in this picture which. Guess this woman made her skirt from old curtains. Wouldn’t be the first.
54. Even these fair ladies have to obey the crossing guard in order to cross the street.
Kind of find this image pretty funny. Of course, these women have it easy compared to real Renaissance women. Because they’d have to cross dirt roads with shit all over them.
55. These knights are ready for a joust in their shining armor.
Unlike what Renaissance Festivals show, tournaments were very dangerous. I mean people actually died in them.
56. Guess even galactic fighters need a break now and then.
Or these people are on their way to a Star Wars convention afterwards. Is that Stormtrooper dressed like a Scottish guy from Braveheart?
57. Somehow blue seems like a suitable color for pantaloons.
Like how that guy is posing at the well. Seems to be very proud in his outfit, doesn’t he?
58. These mongers all want you to buy their stuff.
I’m sure they would since they really need the money. Like the colorful dresses though.
59. With these 4 it’s all for one and one for all.
Sure they’re dressed like you’d see in The Three Musketeers. But still, we all know that book should be called Four Guys with Swords.
60. Wonder if these singing nuns could really carry a tune.
Well, they really seem like they’re singing. And they’re wearing simple outfits. Not sure if they’d be comfortable.
61. Guess everyone here is all clad in leather.
And it seems like dark leather, too. I’m guessing they’re supposed to be pirates.
62. This maid always prefers her knight in shining armor be covered in mail.
Yes, medieval knights wore mail. But it was a tedious process to make with all the metal rings. And I’m sure it didn’t come cheap.
63. Sometimes all you need is a big sword and a big hat.
Yes, another lady pirate who’s dressed like this to look cool. Even though real female pirates didn’t dress like that at all for good reasons.
64. This Scottish lass wears her plaid with pride.
Well, it’s technically tartan for those in Scotland. But contrary to what you see in Braveheart, plaid as we know it didn’t exist in Scotland until the 16th century.
65. This fiery fairy sports a rather fiery red and orange dress.
Then again, she may be an autumn fairy since she’s in a fall color scheme. Not sure if I like her wings though.
66. Guess even the royal pooch has to be dressed in an official regalia.
Yes, I know what you’re thinking. Yes, I know such outfits are ridiculous on animals. But some people might find it adorable.
67. Sometimes a Renaissance dress can be sewn together.
I suppose this one is since it looks fairly plain and simple. Yet, it’s quite lovely just the same.
68. Mind where you have your horns facing.
Well, the armor seems okay. But I don’t think having a helmet like that is a very good idea. Might cause injury.
69. Sometimes you’ll find the occasional enchantress who likes to go all out.
Her headdress seems to remind me of something you’d see on a Vegas showgirl. Or Cher at the Oscars.
70. These Viking warriors enjoy a great day of fighting and great ale.
Well, at least these guys look like plausible Vikings. Because their helmets don’t have horns. Not so sure about the guy in the tam.
71. For armor designed for legions of Hell, you can’t go wrong with horns.
Doesn’t hurt if they have fur capes on them to add effect. Even the red armor makes them seem intimidating.
72. In the 16th century, I guess men could wear long tunics and nobody would care.
Guess this is for a high ranking servant or herald. Either way, he looks splendid and rich.
73. Is it just me or is that a blue fairy?
That’s a blue fairy. Yes, you may see that at a Renaissance Festival. You’re not imagining it.
74. “So should I go as a belly dancer or pirate?”
And it seems like she couldn’t decide so she chose both. Not sure if it works.
75. Well, that seems like a strange looking bodice.
You don’t usually see a bodice like that a lot. Yet, I do like her red and black dress though.
76. Seems like we got ourselves a Barbarian who doesn’t have much on him.
I don’t see why Barbarian costumes seem so skimpy. I mean wouldn’t they wear more since they came from colder areas? Just a thought.
77. Guess you have to have a different color dress to join these girls in their singing group.
Still, I like how they’re wearing the same kind of dress as well as garlands on their heads. Really seems to bring out a good effect here.
78. Even in the Middle Ages, black was a slimming color.
Even if the dress comes with puffy black and white sleeves. But at least it’s not as elaborate as the 16th century styles.
79. Sometimes a simple dress would do when there’s a light snow outside.
Not sure if it’s weather accommodating. But there’s nothing I can complain about the aesthetics.
80. A wreath of grapes can be a great finishing touch to a burgundy dress.
Sure the grapes and foliage are fake. But it goes well with the burgundy dress and ribbons. Lovely.