Renaissance clothing is the attire worn typically by nobility in the 14th through 16th centuries. The clothing was elaborate, intricate and elegant. The level of details and embellishment, today would be associated with costumes, however in that era that attire was very appropriate. Costumes for students can be simply and inexpensively created by utilizing old pieces of clothing and building the pieces up using fabric and embellishments.
Female students should gather old dresses, skirts, aprons, blouses and stockings. Renaissance women always wore dresses, typically with long, ankle-length skirts. If you only have a long skirt this can be used as well by tucking a long sleeved blouse into the waist.
The shirt should have long, flowing sleeves and be as high-collared if possible. To create flowing sleeves, cut a strip into the bottom of each sleeve and sew a piece of fabric between the two sides to give the sleeves a draping effect.
If possible wear tulle or a ballerina's tutu underneath the dress's skirt to give it volume. Tie an apron or wrap a scarf or long, frilly piece of fabric around the waist over the skirt for embellishment. Ideally, the fabric would be lace or with ruffles.
Clip a broach, or large pin, to the center of the blouse portion of the dress for added extravagance. Corsets were extremely popular in this era. If desired, cut small holes and wind ribbon through. Tie the ribbon tightly to give the impression of a corset.
Ensure the cut of the neckline and the length of the hem are modest in accordance with the student's age as well as with the appropriateness of the times of the Renaissance.
Men of the time period typically wore long flowing shirts, with form fitting, dark colored slacks. Use a white dress shirt. Since modern men's shirt are not typically flowing, a woman's shirt can be substituted. Often, the ends of the sleeve's of a Renaissance man's shirt were ruffled. Wear a white shirt and add white hair scrunchies on each wrist to recreate this look.
Over the long sleeved shirt, add a dark colored vest. Add buttons down the front or paint existing buttons gold or a bright color to add embellishment.
Dark colored slacks tucked into boots would be appropriate. For a more lavish look, wear gauchos and tall boots and tuck the bottoms of the gauchos into the boots. Fishing boots would work best for this costume.
Men of the era often wore hats. Top off the look with a soft-brimmed hat.
Michelle Barry graduated from Salve Regina University with a Bachelor of Arts in English. Since then, she has worked as a reporter for the Wilbraham-Hampden Times, an editor for Month9Books and Evolved Publishing, editor and has spent the past seven years in marketing and graphic design. She also has an extensive background in dance.