information on this page was taken from the original
1993 LHC handouts to people wishing to work at RPFN/S. If you're
interested only in making a costume to suit yourself, then feel
free to ignore some of the more draconian requirements and make a
costume which makes you happy!
Suggested references: Patterns of Fashion:
c1560-1620 by Janet Arnold. Elizabethan Costuming
by Janet Winter. Authentic Everyday Dress
of the Renaissance by Christopher Weiditz. Vecellio's Renaissance
Costume Book by Cesare, Vecellio. Medieval Costume in
England and France : The 13th, 14th and 15th Centuries by
Mary G. Houston. Out-of-print English Costuming in the
Age of Elizabeth by Iris Brooke. Out-of-print Elizabethan Costuming
by Janet Winter. Out-of-print Rural Costume: Western
Europe by Alma Oaks.
- Use earthtones, browns, greens, golds, rusts, and
variations there-of. Do not use flourescents, bright reds,
blacks, pastels, or bright or modern looking colors. Purple is
reserved for the Queen herself and pure white is an upperclass
color. Purple was extracted from crushed snails and crimson
from crushed beetles. (In reality, shades of purple can be
extracted from many sorts of berries. The interdiction on
purple was a theatrical choice by RPFI.)
- Use 100% natural fabrics or blends with a small amount of
polyester. Best looks are from: wool, woven cottons, raw silk,
textured natural fabrics, leather, and linen. Different
textured fabrics will give you the look of functional clothing
and not a costume. Don't even think about using prints, velour,
sheers, gingham, seersucker, etc. Velvets, satins, and brocades
are not appropriate for peasants. Corduroy did exist but it was
coarse and expensive (it would start as velvet and have the
lines individually cut).
Shirts, Jerkins, and Doublets Shirts should be long
sleeved and full bodied. Drawstrings, high collars, drop
collars, and no collared shirts are appropriate. A jerkin is
a loose fitting vest, generally sleeveless. A doublet is a
tight fitting vest, sometimes with detachable sleeves.
Breeches Pants should be full with lots of volume,
not form fitting. Length can be thigh-high, above the knee,
or below the knee. Ankle length pants are inappropriate. No
zippers or pockets. Wear hose or woolen socks if your legs
aren't covered. Only scotts and irish show bare legs!
Accessories Make your character more visually
interesting by adding some indication of what you do for a
living. You should at least have a belt and a purse/pouch.
Woe be unto thee shouldst the keg burst and thou be without
Chemise/Shift A chemise is essentially a nightshirt,
cut much like a man's shirt at the top. Use a long shirt in a
pinch. Never wear your shift off the shoulders. (Unless
you're a doxy.)
Bodice A bodice is a fitted vest-like garment
(which later evolved into the corset). For the
home-seamstress this will be the most challenging item.
Skirts Skirts must be full and worn just below the
ankle. Wear two skirts and tuck up the overskirt for the
proper silhouette. Skirts should be monochrome: no prints,
ruffles, tiers, parti-color.
- Until about age three children wore a biggin's hat and a
shift. Children older than three dressed just like adults.
Hats and Hair
- Everyone wears hats except the Irish and the Scots. Proper
hats include the muffin cap, biggins, flat caps, felt, and
straw hats. Women wore hair pinned up or braided under their
hats. (This is another theatrical choice. It conceals modern
haircuts and presents more attractive vistas.)
Shoes and Hose
- Bare feet and legs are inappropriate (again excluding the
Irish and Scots). Most earth tone shoes will work: wallabies,
minetonka mocassins, closed-toe birkenstocks. In a pinch, use
thigh-highs and black kung fu slippers.
- Don't wear obvious makeup. Lose the watch. Keep jewelry to
a minimum and keep it simple. No sunglasses. Use natural pipes
should you smoke.