The Renaissance Faire is one of the largest costumed events you can attend outside of Halloween. While they're not exactly the most historically accurate, they still do their best to give you an experience that feels like you're visiting another period in history with a variety of stage shows and events like jousting and highland games. (By the way, the Renaissance was a period that happened from about 1300 to 1600 across Europe, if anyone bugs you about it!) It's still a great excuse to run around in a Halloween costume and get in character for a day. If you're looking for the perfect Renaissance gown, we have quite the variety for girls and ladies of all walks of life from peasants to nobles and mythical creatures.
Renaissance Dresses for Noble Ladies
If you're aiming to be the fairest lady at the Faire, you're probably searching for a queen or princess costume so you can look like a proper noblewoman. To avoid looking like a peasant or a tavern wench, you want a full-length gown. (Proper ladies don't go showing their ankles off to everyone!) Your dress should also have stylish extras like fancy trim, embroidery, lace and sashes. Many costumes will also use velvet-like fabrics and satins because the poorer folk were unable to afford such elegant textiles. You can also be more adventurous with color because women of royal birth were able to purchase dresses in bold purples, reds and greens. (Royal ladies liked their gem tone colors!) The best part about these elegant gowns is the fact that you can use them throughout the year for other costume parties such as a masquerade ball or Halloween.
Costume Dresses for Peasants
While dressing like a royal does have its perks, many women enjoy the freedom of dressing like peasants at their Renaissance Festival. Historical accuracy does often take a bit of a nose dive here, but ultimately you'll probably be more comfortable because you'll be wearing lighter fabrics, and you can show a little more skin. The materials are usually in muted tones as opposed to the bright gem tones of the monarchy. Regular peasant costumes will typically consist of a chemise and a simple overdress. However, many women will opt for the tavern wench costume because you can hike your skirts up and wear low-cut tops and bodices or corsets.
Plus Size Renaissance Gowns
Ladies can also find plus size Renaissance Halloween costumes fit for royals and peasant-folk. Ultimately, you're going to want to get what makes you the most comfortable. Many Ren Fests are held during the summer, so if you're planning on staying for a while and you don't want to feel uncomfortable in the heat, you may be more comfortable with a tavern lady gown. If you're going to be there for a short time and you're merely going to make a splash in your new plus size costume, you can certainly dress to impress as a lady of the royal court!
Renaissance Dresses for Girls
The Renaissance Faire is a great place to take your kids, especially if they love to wear costumes! It's like a big day of playing dress-up and pretend all in one, especially if your child loves to be in character. (Be ready to field a few royal decrees from your little princess throughout the day!) Most little girls like the idea of being a princess, so many of the Renaissance costumes for children will be princess dresses. They will undoubtedly love running around in these bright, colorful dresses, and you can even find some in pink! She might also enjoy being a princess so much that she wants to wear her Renaissance dress for Halloween too. Score!
Battle Dresses for Warrior Women
If you're fond of female historical characters like Joan of Arc and Grace O' Malley that upset gender stereotypes of the day, perhaps you're more interested in dressing like a lady warrior for your Renfest. You can choose from several Renaissance costume ideas such as lady knights, huntresses and even some female Robin Hood outfits. These costumes are great excuses to get a prop sword or bow if you don't mind holding a weapon all day. Sure it's a little something extra to be juggling on Faire day, but you'll be able to take some great pictures! (Don't be surprised if they decide to peace-tie your prop weapon at the door.)
Pirate Dresses for Renaissance Festivals
Piracy rose in the Mediterranean during the 13th century, although what was referred to as the golden age of piracy didn't occur until about 1650. However, there were still some pirates during the Renaissance period, so naturally, you're going to see a lot of pirates at any Renaissance Festival. (You have to love those technicalities!) A pirate gown is another great costume choice if your goal is to be comfortable on a hot day. Like the knights, you can also have a sword prop, although it's best to leave your guns at home as most Renaissance festivals won't even allow toy guns on the grounds. (Some of us might have found that one out the hard way.)
Pop Culture Renaissance Gowns That are Just Plain Fun
While the Renaissance Faire is meant to teach us about life during that period and to keep some of those traditions alive, you will undoubtedly also see a number of people wearing pop culture costumes from high fantasy settings like The Princess Bride or Game of Thrones, along with some Disney princesses and The Lord of the Rings characters. (You're also probably going to see at least half a dozen Links from the Legend of Zelda games, and plenty of steampunk costumes.) If you merely want to have fun and you want to dress like an Elven queen in a white gown or a Disney princess in a big ball gown, go for it!
Fairy and Mermaid Dresses for Renfest
Fans of Renfest know that you're going to see plenty of people dressed like mythical creatures, especially fairies and mermaids! The Renaissance was still a very superstitious time, and older tales of creatures like fairies and mermaids were still well-known. If you are also a fan of fairy tale creatures, you might enjoy wearing a fairy dress or a mermaid gown to the Renaissance Faire. Mythical creatures are also very popular costumes, so no one would bat an eye if you used your costume again for Halloween or any other appropriately themed costume party.
We hope you have more than enough ideas for Renaissance gowns to wear to the Faire. Have you attended a Renfest before? Do you like to wear more traditional Renaissance costumes, or are you one of those people that would wear other less historical costumes? Whatever your preferences might be, if you are a costume nerd you'll want to check out your local Renaissance Festival. You can also easily reuse your costume for other parties and events.