Buying a suitable Renaissance costume can be expensive, so it is usually much cheaper to make it to save wisely. In addition, when making the suit, you can unleash your creativity, and design something uniquely yours. Saving for a suit can be a lot more fun than buying it assembled and complete.
Part 1 of 3: Making an Inexpensive Women's Suit
Step 1. Find a blouse
First, go to the nearest thrift store. The basic feminine dress of the Renaissance was that of maidservants, as the upper part consisted of a blouse and a bodice. For the blouse, you should look for a plain garment with long sleeves. To get the best look, look for light-colored garments (preferably white or off-white).
- When it comes to fabrics, try to look for materials that are completely natural or mixed with small amounts of polyester for a more authentic look. Common fabrics used in Renaissance fashion include wool, cotton, leather, and linen. Fabrics such as silk, satin, and velvet were reserved for the upper classes.
- Women can also wear poet shirts instead of blouses. Poet shirts are baggy and have large long sleeves. You should follow the same fabric and color guidelines as the blouse.
Step 2. Find a vest that you can turn into a bodice
To make the bodice, you should look for a sleeveless button-down top or vest. The bodice has greater flexibility with respect to color. Stick to muted earth tones and avoid bright colors (especially purple, as it was reserved for royalty).
Step 3. Find a skirt or fabric that you can turn into a skirt
Renaissance women wore long skirts that reached to the ankles. Look for one in a subdued earth color (for example, brown, olive green, or off-white).
- It is better to use two skirts than one. If you manage to get two, you will add more texture and shape to the suit. Make sure the colors don't clash.
- Another alternative may be to look for a dress, rather than a skirt and blouse. Just make sure the dress is ankle length or floor level, and is not a strong color or modern fabric.
Step 4. Wash all the clothes
You must wash all the inexpensive garments that you have chosen for your suit. Let them wrinkle a bit to make them look more worn.
Step 5. Optionally modify the top
You can wear the blouse and vest as is, or you can modify them to make them look more Renaissance. You can use some of the following ideas:
- If you have a white blouse and you want it to look less shiny, you can dip it in a pot of boiling water with some tea bags. Let it sit for five minutes. Then put it in the dryer.
- Renaissance women used low necklines, so you can cut your blouse to size if it is too high. Spread it out and then mark with a pencil where you want the new neckline to be. You should carefully cut and then sew the new neckline with a thread that matches the color of the shirt (such as olive green or brown).
- You can do the same with the vest or sleeveless top. The top top should have a small lower neckline so that the top of the top is visible.
Step 6. Add some basic leather sandals or flats
When it comes to shoes, these should be smooth and leather. Low shoes or sandals can work, as long as they are as simple as you can get.
Part 2 of 3: Making an Inexpensive Men's Suit
Step 1. Find a shirt
Lower-class males in the Renaissance often wore what is known as a poet's shirt. This is a loose fitting shirt with large long sleeves, almost always white or off-white. You should consider a classic pirate shirt. Look for one made from a natural fabric, like cotton or linen.
- You can choose a different color if you wish. Brown and olive green work well.
- Instead of a poet's shirt, you can opt for a tunic if you wish. These are long-sleeved shirts that sit lower than normal shirts. Look for a garment of a natural color and material.
Step 2. Find some pants
You probably already have some cotton pants that work for the suit. If not, you should look for ones in a dark, dark brown, or black color. They should be long enough to be worn with boots. The fabric is the most important factor at this point. At that time, no jeans were worn, and plain khaki would not look good either. Look for a lightweight fabric, preferably cotton or linen (or that looks like cotton or linen).
Another alternative could be to look for pants that reach a little below the knee. If you can sew elastic into the openings to give them the look of baggy pants, even better
Step 3. Find a vest
This garment will complement a basic masculine suit, as well as shoes and accessories. The vest should be a dark color (like pants) and solid.
A leather vest would be ideal, but you have a lot of freedom with fabrics at this point, so just look for something you like
Step 4. Get some boots
Boots will complete your outfit, as pants need to be tucked into them. Use the most nondescript basic black or brown leather boots you can get. Something like cowboy-style boots can loosen up.
If you have chosen to wear pants that reach the knee, you can combine them with leather sandals
Part 3 of 3: Finishing the costume
Step 1. Buy inexpensive accessories
Accessories can add a lot to your outfit. You can add some of the following ideas to your outfit.
- Belts are essential for boys. Simple brown belts can work well. If you have chosen a tunic for the top, you can place the belt on top.
- Large leather belts or sashes tied around the waist can add a lot to a feminine outfit.
- Drinking containers and backpacks are convenient and age appropriate. You should look for leather or faux fur.
- Bandanas go well with peasant costumes. The same fabric and color guidelines apply as the rest of the suit.
Step 2. Include bottom layers
Renaissance costume for men and women can optionally include layers of period appropriate undergarments. Typically, this includes an undershirt under vests or coats for men, and shirts, petticoats, or undergarments (under bodices) and skirts for women.
However, the lack of underlays won't hurt the look of the suit, so don't worry if you can't find any cheap
Step 3. Find a headdress
It was considered inappropriate to appear in public without a hat or headdress during the Renaissance era, so be sure to include these elements when making your costume. Headdresses vary a lot, so you can unleash your creativity in this area. You can stick to a simple bandana, or include a hat on top, or in its place.
Examples of proper use of the headdress during the Renaissance include: muffin caps, biggins, flat caps, felt hats, and straw hats
- Only royalty can use the color purple.
- Bright colors that are only made with synthetic dyes are not from the period.
- Avoid using prints, as they were not yet invented.
- Stick to natural fabrics for the best outfit. Linen and cotton are the favorite fabrics of the time.
- Many Renaissance fairs and festivals that are open to the public prohibit the use of weapons or require that they be holstered and tied or covered with blade guards, even if they are part of the costume. You should find out if you can carry weapons before including them in your costume.
- Avoid over-tight bodices and corsets. These garments are designed to shape, not to strangle.