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Author Topic: Attending a renfest for the first time: Putting together costumes - Need Advice.  (Read 1388 times)

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Offline Diaval

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Hello All,

Diaval here and I just came strolling into the tavern to pop a few renfest questions over a pint of ale.  I am not sure if this is the correct spot for introductions, but I'll give it a go.

Just a bit of a background in regards to renfests.   While I have heard of them before, I really never delved into it too deeply as to what goes on at one.  I thought that people dressed up and took pictures and listened to medieval music played on period correct instruments.   Later I found out that there are vendor booths to buy wares and garb.  Only recently a group of individuals that I have met over in another hamlet called DeviantART had introduced me to what a renfest is really like.   They had even taken the liberty to provide me with a location of one that is not too far from me:

http://www.renfair.com/NY/

I looked over the site and my jaw dropped as to what is offered here.

Immediately I got the idea that this would be a nice place to gather with the family for a nice weekend out.   I also felt that it would also be a nice opportunity to 'dress the part'.   Having had a recent experience putting together costumes for our holiday of Halloween (another festival we take part in),  I figure this would be a good opportunity to expand to something on a larger scale (and would also be good for the aforementioned Halloween festival which would take place after the renfest).   Prior costume projects were based on medieval characters of fantasy and story based lore.   While I initially thought this would be a great path to follow for a renfest (as that would be easy), I have recently found that this practice is usually frowned upon at a traditional renfest and that more appropriate attire would be something that is more fashionably correct based on historical fact...unless of course the renfest itself is based on a fantasy theme.   Most I found are not  :-\.

That being said, I am curious as to what would be period correct attire. I have been consulting various information across the land of 'www' to get some ideas already.   I represent a family of four consisting of my wife, myself and my twin sons of 8 years.   I would say having seen some period correct attire, I would say that I am leaning towards the middle or 'nobleman' class (but I am obviously unsure).   Hopefully that would be enough information to set me in the right direction.   I would prefer site locations that deal with actual paintings (pictures) of the appropriate garb for ideas on putting together an ensemble for a man, woman and children.   The latter of which I am not going too crazy on as you know how children can be in a faire type of environment.

Given that my costume making skills lack a spinning wheel (sewing machine) and seamstress,  I would opt to purchase from a merchant here in the land of www.  However, I would be looking for some place that is decent, but will not blow a hole in the money pouch considering I have to provide for a family of four.   Some places I have seen up to now are rather expensive.   I will say that I don't need to go 100% accurate, but something that is fairly close and then if I continue to visit the faire in the future, I always can add on and upgrade as I go on.  It is that right now it is the initial investment that I am concerned about.

For starters though, my wife still has her outfit she wore to last years Halloween festival.   Brace yourself, since I am Diaval, you can probably guess who my wife is:

http://ravendiablo.deviantart.com/art/Halloween-2014-Maleficent-Costume-For-My-Wife-480871040
http://ravendiablo.deviantart.com/art/Halloween-2014-Maleficent-Full-H2T-shot-with-staff-492002479

Yes, I married Maleficent after having been in her service for 17 years.  Should a renfest frown upon us fantasy types as I initially have read, my wife has great power and make her horns and pointed ears invisible to human folk and thus she will blend right in with everyone else if need be.

So now I turn the conversation over to you fine folk and perhaps you can lead me on the proper path to decent garb that would enhance a nice outing for my family in which we can enjoy the festivities, music, food, and ale with the rest of the local folk. ...Well, the ale is just for me, as I need not remind you of what could happen when a faerie gets drunk.  Maleficent only had ale once, and a little too much I might add...What a disaster!  I don't want to retell the tale of that day.  Hope she doesn't read this otherwise she would pluck my feathers for sure!

Thank you for any information you fine folk can provide.

Diaval
« Last Edit: May 03, 2015, 12:36:28 PM by Diaval »
Exit Light, Enter Night, Take My Hand, We're Off To Never Never Land.

Offline arbcoind

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I think your wife's garb is fine for just about any renaissance faire.  You are not on cast so dress in what you like and are comfortable in.  I suggest you see what others are wearing before spending a bunch of money.  Check out the garb vendors at faire for ideas too.  That way you can try on what you like. 

Gina

Offline Diaval

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I think your wife's garb is fine for just about any renaissance faire.  You are not on cast so dress in what you like and are comfortable in.  I suggest you see what others are wearing before spending a bunch of money.  Check out the garb vendors at faire for ideas too.  That way you can try on what you like. 

Gina

Thank you.  I figured my wife's dress would be fine as I did get that from a renaissance type store.  It is very nice and open on the top, so it would be good for a warm day, but the disadvantage is that it is black.  Not a good color on a hot day.  Luckily though, she is on the thin side and if there is enough shade at the fair, she should be fine.

So you are suggesting for a first time to not get dressed up then?  Just check out what they have at the fair?

Thank You,

Diaval
Exit Light, Enter Night, Take My Hand, We're Off To Never Never Land.

Offline arbcoind

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I'm suggesting you dress up in what you already have.  Faire is always so much more fun in garb, no matter what it is!

Gina

Offline Diaval

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I'm suggesting you dress up in what you already have.  Faire is always so much more fun in garb, no matter what it is!

Gina

Well, I had thought of my wife going in that outfit...albeit in 'human' form.   It would depend on when we go.  I am shooting for later in the season as that outfit is black and if it is a warm day out, it might be too warm, even though the top chest area and arms are exposed.

For the kids and myself, I would have to come up with something.  But I agree, I would like to go dressed up in something...even if it is a basic outfit.  I did want something 'nicer', but I found that costs add up very quickly.

Thank you for the info.

Diaval

Exit Light, Enter Night, Take My Hand, We're Off To Never Never Land.

Offline arbcoind

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You are welcome.  I've read your thread in the garbing section.  Some very good ideas there also.  Good luck in your search and enjoy the experience.

Gina

Offline Diaval

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You are welcome.  I've read your thread in the garbing section.  Some very good ideas there also.  Good luck in your search and enjoy the experience.

Gina

I am sure you will see me pop up all over the place as I know I will have more questions about renfests.  But for now I was concerned about dressing the part and I figured that there would be the best place to start.

Thank you again.

Diaval
Exit Light, Enter Night, Take My Hand, We're Off To Never Never Land.

Offline Jay Byrd

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Take a look at the picture thread.  That will show you a sampling of what people are wearing at Faire.

Offline NicoleBridget

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Diaval, I just wanted to say hello to a fellow member of the Halloween Forum.  I remember your posts over there after you created your wife's Maleficent costume.  I'm "Hexme" there.  Anyway, I'm not surprised that you are interested in attending Ren Faire.  I think loving Halloween and dressing up is in the same vein as dressing up for faire, they both appeal to a child like spirit. 

Like others have said, just look at pics of different festivals to get an idea of what "traditional" ren faire garb looks like.  But costumes of any sort seem to be welcome at faire, especially when they're as well done as your wife's Maleficent.  The NY faire, in particular, has fantasy characters in their cast so I think Maleficent would certainly be welcome.  Garb knowledge isn't gained overnight so have fun with your research and don't stress.  In my experience MOST ren faire playtrons are very welcoming, no matter what you're wearing, they really, truly are.  Just go get your feet wet and have a great time!  Your taste in ren faire clothes with evolve over time as your knowledge increases, and as your tastes change.

Offline Diaval

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Diaval, I just wanted to say hello to a fellow member of the Halloween Forum.  I remember your posts over there after you created your wife's Maleficent costume.  I'm "Hexme" there.  Anyway, I'm not surprised that you are interested in attending Ren Faire.  I think loving Halloween and dressing up is in the same vein as dressing up for faire, they both appeal to a child like spirit.

Ahhh a fellow haunter from Halloween forum!  The name Hexme is vaguely familiar (sorry).  Yeah, I did make a big spiel of it over there.  This past Halloween was one of the more unique ones and also the most fun.   One for my wife's Maleficent costume, and the other was The Creep Machine.  However, a good many people still preferred my Magic Mirror, so sadly, The Creep Machine was a one off.   I don't think I am going to do it again.    This year it pretty much is just going to be costumes for Halloween, so I figured I would kill two birds with one stone.  I could make up costumes for the Renfest and then use them again for Halloween.

What I wasn't expecting was the initial sticker shock on some of the clothing items.  Granted the 'garb' is the real stuff and not cheap costume stuff.   As it was my wife's Maleficent costume I put together was also 'real' clothing.  Her costume did set me back about $250.   I have to be more budget minded this year since I am making costumes for the whole family.  BUT since I do not have a huge yard display planned for this year, I can put more of the Halloween budget into the costumes.

Quote
Like others have said, just look at pics of different festivals to get an idea of what "traditional" ren faire garb looks like.  But costumes of any sort seem to be welcome at faire, especially when they're as well done as your wife's Maleficent.  The NY faire, in particular, has fantasy characters in their cast so I think Maleficent would certainly be welcome.

Yes, I had noticed that the NYRF has a 'fairy tale walk' area, so I figured that they do welcome fantasy type costumes.

I did ask my wife if she wanted to reprise her role as Maleficent, but given that we might be an easy 8 to 10 hours at the renfest...outside...in warmer weather.   She said, "No".   I guess I can understand that as I do remember that after 5 hours of wearing the horns on Halloween night, she couldn't wait to get them off.   

I have not fully decided if I should go period correct or fantasy.  I had thought of making my wife and I as a pair of elves.   She already has the ears and since I bought the kit already the only thing I have to do is get a set of ears for myself.

Quote
   Garb knowledge isn't gained overnight so have fun with your research and don't stress.  In my experience MOST ren faire playtrons are very welcoming, no matter what you're wearing, they really, truly are.  Just go get your feet wet and have a great time!  Your taste in ren faire clothes with evolve over time as your knowledge increases, and as your tastes change.

Well, I have put up a post in the 'garb' section of this forum if you would like to check that out.  It is already up to 5 pages long.  I do have a pretty good idea of what to put together now and the wonderful ladies over at that thread even pointed out several moderately priced garb vendors that even do plus sizes.

So I might just very well do my wife and I as a pair of elves, but in somewhat period correct clothing.  My wife I might go a bit fancier on her dress.

We will see.  I do plan to go around late September, so hopefully the weather will not be as hot.   Sure I have been tipped off on Renfests in October, but we all know how the weather can be in October.   I know all too well of the struggles of dealing with bad weather on Halloween.  Not that I would go THAT late to a Renfest.

I think I like the idea of only doing costumes this year for Halloween, because in the case of bad weather, we just have to 'move ourselves' to a dryer area and I don't have to scramble with my stuff.   I think it will be a nice 'break' or 'diversion' for one year.

Well, nice meeting you again over here.   Go over to the garbing section to see my other post.

Hopefully we will talk again soon!

Diaval
Exit Light, Enter Night, Take My Hand, We're Off To Never Never Land.

Offline elthefairy

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Honestly, wear whatever you want. The whole purpose of faire is to just have fun, and whether you want to dress period or fantasy doesn't matter. The only people who are frowned upon are those who inhibit others from enjoying themselves, it's a big friendly community. NYRF is my home faire, and it's a really magical place.

Offline Diaval

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  • I love my wife, she's Maleficent
Honestly, wear whatever you want. The whole purpose of faire is to just have fun, and whether you want to dress period or fantasy doesn't matter. The only people who are frowned upon are those who inhibit others from enjoying themselves, it's a big friendly community. NYRF is my home faire, and it's a really magical place.

Hello!

I have made a post in the garb section as well and garnered some good information there.  It seems that the most important thing is to dress comfortably.  Even though I intend to go late in the season, if I get hit with a humid day, I will be in trouble.   I am a rather large guy and I don't do humid days too well. 

When I first posted here I was thinking about something that was more HA but now I am thinking to perhaps even stretching things a bit and even go fantasy.   Perhaps the wife and I could go as elves.   The main reason being is that the costumes I put together for the renfest I would also like to use for Halloween.   I certainly would like my wife's outfit to have bell sleeves as I like the way they look on her, the trouble is finding something like that in a good material.   Most are made from poiyester and rayon and I know that is a major no no for a renfest.  So even though I have not homed in a single particular look as of now, I do have a general idea of what to look for.

Yeah, I picked NYRF because not only it is the closest renfest, it is also the most elaborate.  Sure the admission cost more than most renfests I have looked at up to now.  I feel it is justified.  There is just more to do at NYRF than any of the others.

It would be cool to keep in touch as it would be cool if we ended up crossing paths at NYRF.

Thank you and have a good day!
Exit Light, Enter Night, Take My Hand, We're Off To Never Never Land.

 

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