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10 Tips to Look More Medieval

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Take It to the Next Level

Are you a medieval re-enactor who wants to get beyond basics? Are you ready to test your sewing skills? Are you ready to spend a little cash? Do you want to look like this professional re-enactor at the Tower of London? Here are some things that you can do to look more impressive and wow your fellow re-enactors.

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1. Ditch the eyeglass (sunglasses are right out)

While I wear eyeglasses mundanely, I religiously crack open the old contact lens case every time I put on my medieval clothing. Nothing ruins a perfect outfit like modern eyewear. Sunglasses are even worse; most people do not need sunglasses for medical/sight reasons. To me, they're akin to wearing tennis shoes while in costume.

If the sun bothers you, wear a hat or hood--that's how medieval people kept the sun out of their eyes (of course, spending more time outdoors should also make your eyes less sensitive).

Although, if you manage to find or make yourself a pair of 14th century spectacles, and have your modern prescription put in them, I'd give you bonus points!

Eyeglass Research

  • Antique Spectacles - Rivet Spectacles
    A history of the invention and earliest (medieval) use of eyeglasses.
  • Make Your Own Historic Eyeglasses
    This link is to a downloadable .pdf (I downloaded it without any problems). The style of the glasses that the author makes are 18th century. Medieval eyeglasses, as far as I am aware, were only of a pince nez style, or I seem to recall seeing a la
  • Buy Medieval Replica Eyeglasses
    This website is in Dutch, but they're one of the few places I found making proper medieval eyeglasses (it's their product in the picture above), and at a reasonable price. They have an e-mail address at the bottom; as most everyone in the Netherlands
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2. Make your own clothing from your own patterns

Anyone that makes their own clothing can tell the difference between the people who have made their clothing from commercial patterns, the people that have made clothing from their own patterns, and the people that have bought off-the-rack; medieval seaming is not the same as what they put in modern costume patterns or in many boughten garments.

Also, while places like Revival make clothing with accurate seaming, they're still off-the-rack clothes, and it really shows up in fitted items like gambesons and cotehardies. Cotehardies are just sad when they aren't tailored properly. They look limp and dejected. Not to mention Revival has their own line of linen fabrics, and they're all the same type of linen and the same colors of linen, and I'm now familiar enough with their stuff that I can pick it out by the fabric alone.

If you want to look unique and period-correct, make your own medieval patterns, tailored to your body, and then make your own clothing. You will gain instant respect from the costumers who can tell that you're an original.

(Don't feel bad if you have been doing commercial patterns; I started out with commercial patterns too. In fact, I still have some of those dresses in my wardrobe because I haven't got enough really good clothes to replace them with just yet. It takes time to get enough sewing skills to start making your own, but when you can make that leap, do. It definitely takes your look up to the next level.)

Costuming How-Tos

  • Reconstructing History
    An informative site with costuming information on various times and places. THE source for information on medieval Irish clothing. Kass McGann also has her own line of patterns, but I haven't tried any, so I can't speak to how well they make up. T
  • Cotte Simple
    A website on the construction of cotehardies. I still suggest that you buy "The Medieval Tailor's Assistant" (shown towards the bottom of this article) for clear instructions on creating patterns and a basic cotehardie, but this website helps more wi
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3. Accessorize

Don't forget necklaces, brooches, rings, earrings, belts, pouches, hats and hoods, knives, cloaks, market baskets and all the accoutrements that make you stand out and look more realistic. Men who wear hosen should take the time to make or get themselves a nice set of garters to wear too--either leather with studding or woven/cloth with embroidery.

And speaking of wearing hats in lieu of sunglasses, a cheap, simple straw hat is perfectly acceptable; there are a lot of examples of peasants, especially, wearing straw hats while outdoors, and it's quite likely that even noble men and women wore a straw hat when casual and at home. A felt hat blank (commonly found among 18th century re-enactor goods) also makes a good medieval hat (commonly seen on pilgrims of all ranks and sexes). Such a hat probably would not have been decorated, except for pilgrim badges (see the Medieval Pewter Replicas shop below for very reasonably-priced badges), although it might have had a linen lining and some are shown with a cord hanging down, so the hat could be tied on in windy weather.

Women, especially girls and young, unmarried women, can wear flower garlands in their hair. I've woven garlands from live flowering vines and also from stripped-down honeysuckle, to which I glued silk flowers. You can also buy a vine of silk flowers and weave it into a garland. When I have worn mine, they have seemed very popular (in fact, a bunch of little girls at a wedding asked me to make them some after seeing mine).

Accessories

  • The Pillaged Village
    A store containing many medieval accessories for re-enactment and home. You must be careful, as some things are fantasy, not medieval. Still, I usually have cause to buy a few things from them every year; they have good prices.
  • Extant Medieval Resources
    One of my websites, containing pictures of extant medieval clothing accessories from the British Museum and Museum of London, as well as representations of clothing on the tomb of Katherine and Thomas Beauchamp of Warwick.
  • Medieval Pewter Replicas
    A variety of different pewter accessories, such as mirrorcases, needlecases, pomanders, belt buckles and studs, jewelry and badges, spoons and more. Very reasonably priced. I ordered from this store and was very pleased with the quality and weight of
  • How to Make a Reticulated Headdress
    This lady has done some great experiments with headgear. She also has a very plausible theory on how to keep a henin on your head.
  • Richard the Thread
    A supplier of corset and hat-making supplies (very hard, if not impossible to find in regular fabric stores).
  • Jas. Townsend & Son, Inc.
    This re-enactor's store (they specialize in the 18th century) carries two different kinds of straw hat and a wool felt hat blank--all of which are acceptable for medieval men or women to wear. The linen work cap is also acceptable for men to wear if
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4. Hair

I get so many compliments on my hair, and, hey, it's just hair; everyone has it. I just take the time to braid mine and pin it up in a medieval fashion. Women who do not have long hair should consider the wide assortment of hats and veils popular throughout the middle ages, which will disguise the fact that they don't have long hair. Then they will get a lot of compliments on their hats.

I also know a couple of ladies who have false braids, well-matched to their natural hair color, which they neatly arrange and adorn and they look fabulous: like an Italian Renaissance fashion plate. And, actually, wearing hair pieces and even wigs was medieval; keep the tradition alive!

As for men, it's a sacrifice, but a tonsure if you're a monk or a pudding bowl haircut if you're 15th century really wows people. I saw a man at a big event last year who did have his hair in the pudding bowl cut and I remember just staring at him in awe bordering on reverence. Even if it's not practical to do it all year, doing it at one large, week-long re-enactment works and generates maximum impact.

And, in the case of that particular hairstyle, it can be cut shorter pretty quickly and be back to a modern hairstyle without problems. The tonsure style, however, would need an all-over buzz cut to be corrected.

You can make false braids from wool, flax or horsehair (see links below), or you can buy false braids at accessory stores or hair shops, like Claire's or Sally's.

Hair Links

  • Wig-Making Step-by-Step
    For the really, really ambitious, here's how to make a wig. In the middle ages, the very rich would have had wigs made of real human hair, but many had wigs made of flax (the raw material that becomes linen). Horsehair was also sometimes used, but I
  • Roman Wig
    A neat experiment into making a Roman wig. Medieval hairpieces could be made on the same principal. Note they used wool, which is probably easier to come by than flax, but flax is still preferred because it looks more like real hair (also it is blond
  • Crown Braid How-To
    Braiding such as this was popular during the Italian Renaissance, where the braids, when complete, might be wrapped with ribbons or strings of pearls. The two drawbacks here are that you need to have somewhat long hair, and you can't braid it your
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5. Shoes

Shoes are expensive and not something most people can make for themselves. But if you can afford to splurge on a pair of medieval shoes, do so. Shoes get a surprising amount of attention and, especially for men, are a serious fashion accessory.

Pattens are also head-turners, and actually are quite easy to make (even without prior wood- and leather-working skills, I made a fully-functional pair based off the picture of this one in the Museum of London).

Of course, more power to you if you can make your own shoes. Even very plain, basic shoes are impressive when you make them yourself.

Shoe Links

  • Footwear of the Middle Ages
    Medieval shoe research and some very basic patterns (no instructions on making them up, just drawings of the individual pieces).
  • Making Medieval Shoes
    This link does contain instructions for making a simple shoe. Once you learn this, you should be able to make up some of the shoe patterns at the previous link.
  • Pattens and Overshoes in Art
    A selection of medieval pictures showing pattens and other forms of overshoes.
  • Revival Clothing and Talbot's Leather Goods
    A few shoe/boot options for purchase.
  • Historic Enterprise
    A few more shoes, boots and pattens to purchase.
  • Revival
    (Not to be confused with Revival Clothing, which is run as a separate business.) The best selection of shoes and boots. I have their sueded medieval shoe, my husband has the late medieval riding boot and the low boot (referred to as 14th century s

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6. Embellishment

Many people buy woven trim, stick it on an outfit and call it a day. But the people that have crowds gathering around them have some other form of embellishment to their outfits; something more time-consuming and laborious.

Buttons are about the easiest and fastest embellishment that you can do. Instead of placing them every inch all the way down the front of a cotehardie or houpplande, put them in groups of twos: one button, one inch space, one button, two inch space, repeat. Or groups of three. Or place them in one pattern above the belt (closer together) and another pattern below the belt (further apart). This was commonly done on men's cotehardies and houpplandes, yet few people think to change it up. This one little thing will get people's attention precisely because not many people do it.

Also, you can have an usually high number of buttons. I have a rather plain gray linen cotehardie, but for one thing: it has 99 pearl buttons on it, between the front and the two sleeves. I get a lot of compliments on it. Massive numbers of buttons on women's cotehardies is also period.

Do hand embroidery on your clothing. Machine embroidery looks like machine embroidery (although it has its uses; more on that in a minute), and hand embroidery looks like hand embroidery. Even if your embroidery is simple and not very good, you will find that more people notice it and comment on it than if it were perfectly rendered machine embroidery.

One case of machine embroidery that did wow me was a cotehardie worn by one of our queens. I asked her where she managed to find this wonderful blue fabric with gold fleur-de-lis embroidered on it, and she said that her husband had gotten the pattern online, and put it in their embroidery machine, and had applied each one. Running a cuff through a sewing machine with a simple embroidery setting: eh. Carefully measuring and marking off a pattern layout and running 7 yards or more of fabric through an embroidery machine: now that's devotion!

Even if you are all thumbs when it comes to embroidery, at least buy trim which looks like embroidery (not the woven/brocade trim) and hand-stitch it onto your clothing. I've done this in a few instances and some people think I did all of it by hand.

Embroidery and Trim Links

  • Hancock Fabrics
    The trim selection at Hancocks (better selection online than I've ever seen at one of their stores). As mentioned above, look for trim which has depth/texture and looks like thread embroidery.
  • Historical Needlework Resources
    VERY good descriptions and pictures of embroidery stitches (this is the first person who has fully explained underside couching to me). Also has definitions of various medieval embroidery techniques that you might run across in research, such as "
  • Textiles Illuminated (Medieval Beads)
    THE website and THE expert on medieval beadwork. Has the largest collection of pictures of extant beadwork anywhere, and Grizel also has her class handouts posted, which show how to do medieval bead embdroidery (it is a form of couching). The pict
  • Couched Metal Threads
    Real, honest-to-God gold embroidery thread. She also has silver and copper (silver was used medievally, but I've never heard of them using copper). At the bottom of the page she has fake gold thread for those with a tighter pocketbook. Mind you, t
  • Ball Buttons
    Instructions on how to make flat and ball buttons from cloth. Can be made with or without an interior form.
  • Basic Instructions for Creating Period Cord with a Lucet
    Make your own laces for dresses, armor attachment, etc.
  • Bezants!
    Instructions for making medieval sequins.
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7. Sleeves

Sleeves are such an easy thing to play with, and yet they get so much attention. I had an old linen dress where the sleeves had become impossibly tight (thanks to working out with the manure rake). The dress still fit and was wearable, but I couldn't bear the sleeves. So I ripped them out and took the dress to the fabric store and found some fabric in a purple that worked well with the color of the dress. I got a yard and took it home and make up sleeves. I ran them through the embroidery machine with some silver thread, then added pearlized glass beads by hand to the embroidery pattern. Then I hemmed up the armholes on the dress and pinned the new sleeve on at the top. Again, something that was often done in the middle ages, but which is seldom done among re-enactors. I have gotten many compliments on those sleeves, which is funny considering that it's an old dress and I just made the sleeves quickly, out of necessity, not original design!

Long trailing sleeves, bag sleeves, and especially dagged sleeves always draw admirers.

The other great thing about sleeves is, even if you have a small clothes budget, you can look great simply by splurging on fabric for the sleeves. It was not uncommon in the middle ages to have fine silk brocade sleeves, velvet sleeves, or sleeves worked heavily in embroidery and beading, and have the same attached to a somewhat plain dress.

Notice the picture of Mary Magdalene by van der Weyden; on close inspection, her contrasting brocade sleeves are pinned on with a straight pin, but in period some were laced to garments with a matched pair of eyelets (I prefer tying on with eyelets, personally; pins have a tendency to come out).

Sleeve Help

  • The Knitted Scogger
    This sleeve (arm warmer) is from the 1500's. While the author made a common scogger, she does hint that there were some which were very elaborate which were worn by the upper classes as a decorative over-sleeve. Make a pair of these and share t
  • Bag Sleeves
    An article of caution when working with commercial bag sleeve patterns, how they go wrong, and how to make ones that actually work.
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8. Fur and brocade

Yes, it usually requires a goodly outlay of cash, but nothing attracts admirers like a fancy brocade or real fur. If you take your time and really hunt, you can sometimes catch a decent price on brocade (I got some once for $5/yard). Also, if you go to yard sales and flea markets, you can sometimes get old fur coats for cheap, which can be cut up and pieced back together to make sideless surcoat tops or the lining of a short mantle.

Even if you can't afford a lot of brocade or fur, you can get a lot of the value of it by using it selectively. You can get a small piece of rabbit fur from a leather goods shop and put fur trim around sleeves or collar, or line a hood or hat. You can get a one yard remnant of brocade and make detachable sleeves, as I mentioned above, or make undersleeves to a short-sleeved cotehardie. You could even make an underdress with a brocade panel about one yard in length at the bottom, and then wear your overdress pulled up just enough to show it off. This was also done in period (well, at least showing off the nice underdress; theirs were probably all brocade).

Fake fur is better than no fur at all, and is all that will work in some places. While old fur coats are a great source of real fur on the cheap, you're also limited in how large a piece you can remake from them. Fake fur, which is bought by the yard, the same as any fabric, can be had in large quantities, allowing you to use it for large projects, such as cloak linings. However, fake fur is very expensive; the best price I've ever seen was $5 a yard, but most of the time it is $10-$14/yard, making it as expensive or more so than a real fur coat bought at a yard sale.

The benefit of using fake fur instead of real fur, besides being able to get enough to do a large project, is that it is less messy than real fur to cut and make up. Fake fur makes plenty of mess, but even it can't compare to real fur bunnies rolling across the floor and getting up your nose (I highly suggest wearing a dust mask when working with real fur). However, I think that real fur is better at hiding where you have pieced it together because the hairs are denser.

Fake fur generally comes in two types: really fake-looking and reasonable facsimile. And, actually, both types have their uses. Use cheesy-looking fake fur to line garments and hats. It is typically cheaper than the higher-end stuff, not to mention that people will be able to see that you have a fur-lined garment or hat, but won't be able to tell that it's really cheesy fur. It's also warm for winter. In short, you get all the benefits of appearing to wear fur without anyone knowing it's crappy fur. Use the high-quality stuff for sideless surcoats, trim, collars and anywhere else you are showing off the fur.

You can also get fake fur coats from yard sales and thrift stores and cut them up, but you do run into the problem of having only a couple of yards worth of material to work with. Still, if it's excellent-quality fake fur, you can probably get it for cheaper as an old coat than if you bought it at a fabric store.

The picture of Mary Magdalene by van der Weyden (yes, he painted several of her) shows both a fur-lined houpplande and a brocade underdress. Women in houpplandes were often painted holding their dresses up so that you can see their underdress (women in cotehardies sometimes tucked their dress up into their belt), which makes me suspect that it was something done in real life too--not the least of which was to keep the long houpplande up off the muddy ground.

Fabric Links

  • Modern Imitations of Medieval Brocades
    A good article on medieval brocades and what sort of modern fabrics replicate it. Remember, just because it's brocade doesn't mean that it looks anywhere near medieval. This guide will help give you an idea of what to shop for.
  • Brocade Fabric from Gypsy Caravan
    Good-looking synthetic brocades. These are light-weight brocades, made to simulate silk and are VERY hard to find in stores. Pricing is reasonable. The gold brocade they have is not dissimilar to the underdress of Mary Magdalene above.
  • I Luv Fabrix
    Has heavier-weight brocades (sometimes referred to as tapestries; more for use as light-use upholestry than the garment brocades at Gypsy Caravan--still, as this type of brocade is more easily acquired, it is frequently used by re-enactors).
  • Dharma Trading Company
    An excellent resource for light-weight silks; perfect for banners, veils and garment linings. They also sell silk paint and dye for the really creative. Good prices, super fast shipping.
  • Fashion Fabrics Club
    My favorite online fabric store. They often have linen and wool for very good prices. I even got 50/50 silk/linen fabric there once for a song (it was an ugly color of green, but I dyed it a better color, no problem).

9. Lining

I was not aware of the importance of lining garments until I went to a re-enactors' market in England in March. Being from Tennessee, our clothes are more or less divided into cold and oh-my-God-it's-miserably-hot-out-here! Needless to say, no one lines their hot-weather clothing (heck, most people try to wear as little clothing as possible in August). But when I looked at the re-enactors in England, everyone was wearing lined clothing. It really makes a big difference (at least to a costumer, like me) on how the clothing fits and looks. It's hard to describe the difference, really, but one aspect is that the clothing lies smoother when it's lined.

I have found that lining silk is a requirement. I have made clothing from fine silk shirting, and after a few wears, the fabric is starting to pull apart in the seams. I also have a sideless surcoat which is made from a heavy duponi, but which twists and rides up and just does not want to stay still. I think a lining would help weight it down so it moves less, not to mention a cotton or linen lining is much less slippery than silk, so it should "stick" to my chemise, rather than slide around on it.

In the case of silk, it is best to take a firm broadcloth (cheap muslin will do if you have cost concerns) and baste your silk pattern pieces to your broadcloth pieces and treat them as one piece when you sew them up. This adds weight to your garment and, more importantly, provides reinforcement to the seams so that they will not tear out. You can then treat the seams as you would normally--flat-fell them, overlock them with a serger (yes, I cheat on the inside of my clothing most of the time!), or make a separate lining and insert it by hand. But, whatever you do, take it from me: reinforce all of your silk material (no matter how heavy and durable it appears to be) with a cotton or linen broadcloth before sewing it up.

If your climate will allow, make the effort to line your clothing. Even if you can't afford a linen or silk lining, at least line with muslin; it will help. Also, never go without an undergarment. Men and women both should wear at least one undershirt/chemise. This too helps the garment lay smoother.

Clothing Construction Links

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10. Underwear

This is for the men folk, as women's underwear should never be seen. Braies can be bought or made fairly easily. Hosen is much more difficult to make, but there are several places online which sell it. These two items put together make a world of difference to a man's appearance. We have a friend who wears simple, early-period tunics--nothing fancy--but he also wears braies and hosen and it makes a world of difference to his appearance. Even dressed casually, he looks impressive because he has all the details right; he looks more medieval than someone wearing a very expensive houpplande over a pair of modern pants.

Also, wear garters below the knee. This helps keep your hosen from sagging around your ankles and is a great detail that many people forget. Men's garters could be quite elaborate and decorative, so, as mentioned above, it's a great way to accessorize.

Underwear Links

  • Recreating 14th Century Braies
    This man's design for braies is very unusual; it is not the style used by commercial manufacturers, nor is it the way they are made in "The Medieval Tailor's Assistant." But, of course, that means you have one more alternative for construciton.
  • Chausses and Braies
    Good research on the first page, followed by information on making up chausses (hosen) and braies on the second. His braies are early--13th century and prior. Later braies are more fitted because men's garments became shorter and showed off more l
  • Revival Clothing
    Two different styles of braies to buy.
  • Historic Enterprises
    More hosen than you can shake a stick at. Also includes two different kinds of garters AND very early period leg wraps (mucho brownie points for wearing those with your viking kit). They also have three types of braies in their underwear sectio
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Bonus - Persona Development

Something which is less noticeable than outward appearance, but which is really impressive in conversation, is persona development. A lot of re-enactors never get any further than picking a name, time and place. And some go off on long, unbelievable fictions of how their persona was captured by the Vikings, sold to as a slave to the middle east, then wound up sold as a slave to Japan.

If you like wearing a bunch of different outfits, that's okay, but don't try to come up with outlandish explanations behind them. Your persona should be who you are MOST of the time; it's okay, though, as a Viking, to pull out your Elizabethan a couple of times a year.

Some clever people, however, when they can't make up their mind between two different times or places, come up with two completely different personas, and even have different names, so that they are one person sometimes and the other person at other times.

Whatever you do, make your persona story believable. Where were you born? Who were your parents? How were you raised and educated? If you are a man, how are you making a living? As a woman, who are/were you married to? (As a single woman, you can still play a widow and even run your own business as such.) Where did you end up living most of your life? What real medieval people were your contemporaries, and that you would have personally known?

The more you know about your persona, the more impressed people will be with your research and story-telling abilities.

Misc. Helpful Links

Advanced Costuming Research Books

Guestbook

Elizabeth of Elmeslac on March 29, 2016:

Loved your informative article but if I can be picky (and it is a small thing!):- wasn't the Manesse Codex early 14th century (1304) not 13th?

TheMedievalNun (author) on February 26, 2013:

@anonymous: Actually, the idea that purple was only a royal color has been dismissed. What is known as "royal purple" is specifically a dye made from sea snails and it tends to come out more of a wine-red than purple (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tyrian_purple). And the use of it as a royal color was Roman; it's not clear if its use--and prohibition--continued into the middle ages (although it would have continued to be expensive).

Medieval people were not a precise about their color names as we are today (thank you Sherwin-Williams); I have come across things which medieval people called "blue," but which we, today, would call purple. Purple is easily achieved by overdyeing red with blue--two common and cheap colors--so it's actually likely there was more purple worn in the middle ages than we think.

In the 14th century--my century--noblewomen displayed their hair more often than they had in the past and more than they would do again for a couple of centuries. (Plus, many of my pictures were taken BEFORE I was married, which means I was not obligated to cover my hair; hooray for being single.) I have more recently, however, taken to wearing a veil to cover part of my hair, usually only letting my temple braids be seen. I have a more recent pic that I'll have to upload.

anonymous on November 05, 2012:

Excellent. Thanks for the links!

fluffywings on October 15, 2012:

Interesting to read and see the differences you have noticed of how garments are worn in different countries. Im part of the Fauconberg Household here in the uk 15th century and am always in awe of the time effort,dedication and money re enactors put into their hobby. it is a great community to be a part of however I do sometimes have reservations about dos and donts but hey ho,its the way the cookie crumbles!.Great stuff.x

anonymous on October 08, 2012:

@anonymous: As an authentic re-enactor in England I can tell you anyone with modern glasses would be banned from wearing them in re-enactment, no arguments! put in contacts or get some medieval glasses.

anonymous on October 08, 2012:

Nice to see Americans getting more authentic instead of the usual tat, as an authentic re-enactor here in England it was a pleasure to read, though the glaring mistakes do seem to be the use of purple for your sleeves as it's a royal colour and a big no no, though glad your pinning them as we all do over here. The other mistake being the hair, only small chindren and prostitutes would have their hair out, get yourself a rabbit and cover it up! Especially as the royal purple image your giving off definantly doesn't go with the prostitute image, other than that, some good and accurate details (if a little posh which most people wouldn't be, we can't all be kings and queens), love your attention to seam details not being like modern seams, keep up the good re-enacting.

ghostgirl30 on August 23, 2012:

very cool lens, I love this time period and especially the clothing

anonymous on April 23, 2012:

I would like to see more of this type of information.. and help on making armor as well..

anonymous on April 22, 2012:

Shoes, shoes, and shoes. And hats.

Northwestphotos on December 11, 2011:

Neat lens! I've been to a few medieval faires and they are quite interesting.

anonymous on October 02, 2011:

@TheMedievalNun: Hilarious... Don't forget that all that disclaimer happens many a time while consuming large amounts of home brewed alcohol ;)

sue423 on August 25, 2011:

My husband & I attended SCA events almost every weekend when we were active - we never wore sunglasses (or T-shirts or jeans!), tried to be as authentic as possible. But I did wear "medieval-looking but with sole & ankle support" after ruining one foot at a week-long event with gravel walkways, wearing my soft slippers (eventually required surgery). The attitude in Calontir was "be as authentic as you can without damaging your health. As for eyeglasses - some had frames & glasses that looked "antique" -- but I could not change mine, so I wore my (inconspicuous, no-frame, metal sides that blended in with my hair) regular glasses. If I hadn't, I would have been in danger & would not have been able to participate (with vision of 20/800 & astigmatism). I found that people are so used to seeing glasses in regular life that they were "invisible" (they just didn't focus on them) - certainly we never frowned at anybody for wearing glasses if they were needed. If I went to an event now, I'd probably leave my glasses off (when they removed cataracts, they replaced with corrective lenses so I have 20/40 vision). I must use a cane to walk - I would not use my modern-looking black metal cane - I would carve a wooden walking staff to use. My philosophy is: We may live in the SCA - but when we die, we'll also be dead in the real world.

TheMedievalNun (author) on August 22, 2011:

@anonymous: 1. This is about being historically accurate. Sorry, sunglasses are not medieval.

2. We're talking a hobby that most people do, on average, one day a month. If one day a month without sunglasses ruins your eyes, you do not have normal eyes; you have a serious medical condition and you should avoid being outside as much as possible.

3. Most people do more damage to their eyes staring at computer monitors under the glare of fluorescent lights than they ever do outside... namely because people rarely spend any time outside anymore. And yes, your eyes do become sensitive to sunlight when you spend your days indoors where it is dark or has artificial lighting; and yes, when you go outside--which is, evolutionary speaking, where you're meant to be--your eyes will adjust to the light, if you let them.

Disclaimer: Historic re-enacting (in all centuries) is an outdoor hobby in which people sometimes whack each other with wooden sticks or shoot black powder and grass at one another, camp outdoors--in close proximity to fire ants, wasps, bees, ticks and other nasty insects--gather around open flames, use porta potties, spend all day in grassy, weedy fields, go without air conditioning in the summer and heat in the winter, light their tents with candles because there's no electricity, run across uneven terrain in shoes without proper ankle and arch support, frequently don't keep perishables in a cooler at a recommended 40 degrees or cooler, and sometimes go all weekend without using hand sanitizer--or, egads!--without taking a shower. And yet we have a surprisingly low rate of death and permanent maimings.

Re-enact at your own risk.

anonymous on August 12, 2011:

I am writing this from the perspectice of a healthcare professional. Suggesting that people forego eye protection is careless, irresponsible, and dangerous advice. While I enjoyed the rest of the information, your babblings about eyeglasses and sunglasses were out of line. Maybe medieval people used hats and hoods to reduce sun exposure to their eyes, but they didn't have to contend with depleted ozone and other atmospheric conditions that make modern sun exposure particularly hazardous to one's vision; also, brimmed hats do not fully protect the eyes, which can be damaged by glare off cement, water, and other surfaces. And, how do you know that medieval people didn't damage their eyes? You're only guessing and have no empirical evidence on this subject. Also, why do you think that the more exposure the eye has to the sun, the less "sensitive" it will become? That's like saying the more often you expose yourself to radiation, the less you'll be bothered by it. We are living in an era where melanoma is showing up in people's eyes; please think about what you are asking people to do before you commit your suggestions to print.

julietarot lm on July 09, 2011:

I like the detail that has gone into this lens and into the clothes.Brill.

mattseefood lm on April 25, 2011:

What a fun lens :) Thanks for this!

NYThroughTheLens on April 25, 2011:

Oh my goodness. This is awesome. Love this lens!

JoyAgain on February 28, 2011:

I had to do it... I remembered this lens and have come back to tell you've I've now added it to a new Historical Sewing lens, http://squidoo.com/historicalsewing. LOVE the tips on persona development. Again, well done Medieval Nun!

JoyAgain on December 03, 2010:

Very NICE lens! 5 Stars for excellent details from a fellow reenactor :-) I am featuring you on my "How to Bring Your History-Based Daydreams to Life" lens (squidoo.com/playhistory).

WhitePineLane on November 01, 2010:

Incredible detail - you can tell you really know your stuff! This wealth of information has been blessed by a Squid Angel!

Susanne Iles from Canada on October 12, 2010:

This lens was spectacular! It was exactly what I was looking for. All the information I needed in one place. Congratulations being chosen for LOTD, you certainly deserve it!

KonaGirl from New York on October 02, 2010:

This is a wonderfully detailed lens. I love the Renaissance era with the wonderful costumes and now that the Renaissance festivals continue to tour the country, it is a great reason to invest in the time to make really authentic costumes that you will use again and again.

Virginia Allain from Central Florida on October 01, 2010:

An amazing wealth of information for re-enactors or for costuming a play or even for Halloween. Well done!

StaciJansma LM on September 17, 2010:

I agree - you have made this a very interesting lens - lots of detail.

USAJaguar on September 14, 2010:

Great lens. Will use your braiding tips for my daughters school Ren. fair. We spent a lot of money last year to get started but will add some embellishments you suggested this year. Thanks for the info.

Emily Tack from USA on September 13, 2010:

This one get forwarded to Facebook, as my oldest son and his wife did a medieval theme for their 10th wedding anniversary. My daughter-in-law made the clothing, I believe, for their entire family. I have a great photo of them, in their regalia. This is definitely a spectacular Lens, and congratulations. Lots of work, here, and from an obviously talented lady!

Tagsforkids on September 13, 2010:

Good job, and congrats on your LOTD. We usually attend the Renaissance Festival in South Florida every year and always enjoy it. Although we show up in our regular clothes, I'm always amazed by the amount of folks who not only look the part, but are rather adept at acting the part too! Always a good time!

Lisa-Marie-Mary on September 13, 2010:

Very interesting lens - so much detail! Love it!

carinsuranceq on September 13, 2010:

Wow!! i am getting crazy about these medieval accessories

MaryRay1 on September 12, 2010:

Great lens - last time i was at a Renaissance festival - my friend was grabbed and had her toes sucked! It was wild and fun!

Mart903 on September 12, 2010:

Congratulations on this nice and interesting Lens of the Day!

WhitePineLane on September 11, 2010:

Incredible lens! Most impressive!

wvierra on September 11, 2010:

Wow! this was an impressive lens. I love the renaissance era and at times wish I lived in that time period. this has some real insightful information. the next time I decide to go and participate in the renaissance near my home I will have to come back and reread this to brush up on theses ideas.

Missmerfaery444 on September 11, 2010:

Brilliant lens, congrats on the LOTD! I love all things medieval, would love to go to a re-enactment or fayre one day!

JulietJohnson on September 11, 2010:

I just love all the detail you added and the simple, straight forward way you have broken the look down into manageable chunks. Superb!

Joan Hall from Los Angeles on September 11, 2010:

Another Angel blessing for this superb lens, and it will be featured on my SquidAngel At Your Service lens.

CCGAL on September 10, 2010:

I love garb, so this lens was like candy to me! Congratulations on your LOTD - certainly well deserved. Thumbs up, a fav, and I'm now in your fan club, too. Am looking to see where I could lensroll this, too.

RebeccaE on September 09, 2010:

this isan awesome lens, and I learned a lot from it, in fact Imight try a couple of thing out myself. Good work and great lens.

TheMedievalNun (author) on September 09, 2010:

Thanks to everyone for the comments and congratulations. I've been busy working on my novel (http://keripeardon.wordpress.com/), so I haven't done much of anything with my lenses in a while, but my first book is now complete and I'm starting to query agents, so hopefully I will have the time to write more lenses and update some of the others. I don't lack much being able to apply for Giant Squid status!

TheMedievalNun (author) on September 09, 2010:

@happynutritionist: I've never actually been to a ren-faire, so I don't know what all goes on there, but there was something similar at a sci-fi con that I went to. Your friends could have you "arrested" for $10, I think it was, and you would be put into "jail" for 15 minutes or so. You or other friends could "bail" you out immediately, though, for like $5. All the money went to charity.

sue423 on September 09, 2010:

This is great information! Congrats on well-earned LOTD :) Wish this resource had been available when I was in SCA (which I still miss - just doesn't fit with living in the boonies on limited income). Greetings from Zenobia of Rebelswood (Z)

teamlane on September 09, 2010:

A most excellent lens, and congrats on your recent LOTD! :)

happynutritionist on September 09, 2010:

The annual renaissance festival close to us was only a couple of weeks ago...we do have to get to one one of these years...I was told that sometimes you can get captured and whisked away and closed up in a room until someone finds you and rescues you. I had never heard of such a thing...have you? Congrats on LOTD by the way:-)

DecoratingEvents on September 08, 2010:

Excellent! You definitely know your niche! Congraulations on LOTD

Fran Tollett on September 08, 2010:

Wonderful lens. Makes me want get some new clothes and spectacles! It really sound like a lot of fun. Congrats on LOTD!

MacPharlain on September 08, 2010:

Wow, that's a lot of good info for anyone wanting to be a re-enactor. Nice work and congrats on LOTD.

norma-holt on September 08, 2010:

Wonderful lens, *-*Blessed*-* and featured on Sprinkled with Stardust and also on Witches

Shelly Sellers from Midwest U.S.A. on September 08, 2010:

Congrats on LOTD! I LOVE seeing men in tights ;)

Jennifer P Tanabe from Red Hook, NY on September 08, 2010:

Fascinating! Congrats on your well deserved LotD!

divacratus 2 on September 08, 2010:

Really cool! Congrats on getting LoTD! :)

DebMartin on September 08, 2010:

A very nicely done lens. I appreciate your attention to detail in your lens and in your clothing. I hesitate to call it a costume because you really do become the person you are creating. Nice!

reasonablerobby on September 08, 2010:

Congrats on LOTD. Some fascinating historical information here. Perfect for walking around Nottingham where I'm from!

Fcuk Hub on September 08, 2010:

This lens is hilarious. Great work.

sandralynnsparks on September 08, 2010:

I would love to be able to make a hat like the one illustrated in the sleeve module!

poutine on September 08, 2010:

Sincere congratulations on this well deserved lens.

Violin-Student on September 08, 2010:

This is a lot of fun! Thanks for all the hard work! Very informative!

KimGiancaterino on September 08, 2010:

A very interesting hobby ... congrats on LOTD!

Lady Gotrocks on September 08, 2010:

Gratz on LOTD!

justholidays on September 08, 2010:

I love anything medieval, therefore, congratulations on your LOTD! It's a really interesting page, with lots of info.

anonymous on September 08, 2010:

Very cool, congratulations on your LOTD, I'm off to look for my knight LOL, Kathy

cherylsgifts2go on September 08, 2010:

You did an outstanding job on this lens. I learned a lot about medieval clothing, hair and, even the eyeglasses (that was a good tip cause who would have thought about that?)

Heather Burns from Wexford, Ireland on September 08, 2010:

what an awesome LOTD! great medieval tips!!!

anonymous on September 08, 2010:

I am a history buff, and I love this lens. Thank you.

Sandy Mertens from Frozen Tundra on September 08, 2010:

Congratulations on your LOTD! We went to a renascence fair. It was a lot of fun!

stacy mcdaniel on September 08, 2010:

Congratulations on lens of the day. Very good information. Love the shoes.

anonymous on September 08, 2010:

This is the best lens of the day I've seen in months. I used to sing at Renaissance Faires and really admired the people with fabulous costumes. I took a 16-piece vocal ensemble with me and did most of the sewing myself but we couldn't afford great costumes - we dyed miles of muslin and mostly made do with that. It was very hard to persuade the guys to wear tights. And you should have seen the truckers at the Motel 6 when we'd pile out in the morning ready for our day of singing at the Faire. This reminds me of happy, happy times.

RichLeighHD on September 08, 2010:

Many congratulations on the Lens of the Day! :)

SandyPeaks on September 08, 2010:

Wonderful stuff; a very deserving LOTD - I don't have your excellent eye for costumes but I always look at their shoes - it's a dead giveaway who makes that extra effort and who doesn't!

Joan Hall from Los Angeles on September 08, 2010:

Loved reading this. Congratulations on LOTD.

sandralynnsparks on September 08, 2010:

Love it! Congratulations on LotD!

mich1908 on September 08, 2010:

This is a most interesting lense. I loved the olden days clothes that women wear. So lovely and feminine. Thanks.

SofiaMann on September 08, 2010:

Super good info. Congratulations on LOTD.

TheMedievalNun (author) on September 08, 2010:

@auronlu: That sucks, because it was a really interesting site; it showed you exactle how they made the wig.

http://www.sallypointer.com/makeover.htm

This is the intro page to the entire Roman makeover experiment, and it includes a picture of the wig. There looks to be a link there with contact info, so you can see if they can e-mail you the info. Hopefully the site being down is only temporary, or they're in the process of moving it to a different host.

Robin S from USA on September 08, 2010:

What a fun lens to read! Congraulations on LotD!

Sue Mah from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on September 08, 2010:

Congratulations on LOTD!You have done a great job on the lens.

irenemaria from Sweden on September 08, 2010:

Very interesting and informative lens! Now you are welcome to the Medieval week in Sweden!

A medieval week

auronlu from Spira on September 08, 2010:

Congratulations on LOTD!

Oy, I haven't been active in the SCA in so long. Lousy health makes camping events difficult.

Query: Do you know what happened to that link on the Roman Wig? It's a Geocities site that's defunct. I tend to do early period, and I always struggle to figure out what to do with my hair. I've tried to copy some Roman portraits from Pompeii, but...my hair doesn't do that!

Gift-Guide on September 07, 2010:

Congratulations on LOTD!

Lisa from Rhode Island on September 07, 2010:

this lens is amazing congratulations and well deserved I love Medieval times and we attend many fairs I just love this lens fully enjoyed learning and reading Nice work

Airinka on September 07, 2010:

funny + interesting lens

Mildegard on September 07, 2010:

Wow! Love it :)

religions7 on September 07, 2010:

WOW - great lens of the day. Love the details in this lens.

hollyshope on September 07, 2010:

I love the way you have laid out this piece. It is obvious you are avid Renaissance goer. Very informative. Thank you for all your info on dressing. I love the festivals too, but have never dressed up.

vagueterminolog on September 07, 2010:

Wonderfully lens! Congratulations on LOTD!

Jerry_David on September 07, 2010:

interesting ways to look medieval. congrats on Lotd!

tandemonimom lm on September 07, 2010:

Brilliant! Well-deserved LOTD! Lensrolling to Celebrate the End of the Middle Ages!

eclecticeducati1 on September 07, 2010:

We have a really nice festival near use that dresses in period costumes. I love seeing how they dress. This is a great lens. Blessed by a Squid Angel.

seegreen on September 07, 2010:

I love re-enactments and I've been to quite a few. I'm always amazed at the work people put into their outfits, some are just gorgeous. Blessed by an Angel.

anonymous on September 07, 2010:

What a fun and interesting lesson on how to look more medieval! Congrats on your LOTD. Ringing my Squid Angel bell with a blessing.

WindyWintersHubs from Vancouver Island, BC on September 07, 2010:

Congratulations on LOTD!

Alfiesgirl LM on September 07, 2010:

What a marvelous work of art you have created with this lens. I have lensrolled it to my own medieval sandwich lens (nothing to do with bread though). Fantastic work and truly deservant of lens of the day status...even lens of the month x

modz on September 07, 2010:

Great lens! Congratulations on LOTD!

anonymous on September 07, 2010:

Congratulations on your LOTD! I've never been to a Renaissance Festival but a few of my friends recently went and had a blast. Am sending this to them to help with their Halloween costumes. Nicely done!

LouiseKirkpatrick from Lincolnshire, United Kingdom on September 07, 2010:

It's an absolute pleasure to read such a wonderfully detailed and beautifully presented lens written by a lensmaster who knows their subject inside out! Blessed by a SquidAngel :)

MagpieNest on September 05, 2010:

Excellent stuff. Our boys are really enjoying watching medieval reenactments, and are learning some history along the way. Lensrolled.

anonymous on August 31, 2010:

WOW what a great lens on reenactment costumes and stuff. You do a great job in writing and research on the subject.

anonymous on June 03, 2010:

Great lens, welcome to the: linen fabric wholesale

bdkz on September 13, 2009:

Excellent Lens! 5 Stars and a Squid Angel Blessing!

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