Recently, I became interested in Renaissance clothing. However, I suffered some confusion about what exactly makes an article of clothing “Renaissance.” For example, the Renaissance Fair (or Faire) that I was familiar with seemed centered around
From what I have learned so far, when people talk about Renaissance clothing they are generally referring to the clothing worn by Europeans during the Renaissance Period. The Renaissance Period took place from roughly the mid-1300s through the 1500s, depending on the country. In
During the Renaissance, clothing was much more than a physical covering for the body. It was also symbolic. Clothing was used to establish social status and reinforce the hierarchy of upper class royalty and nobles over lower class commoners. Upper class nobility were able to afford the latest fashions and most expensive materials. The lower classes mimicked upper class styles. In
Obviously, a wide range of clothing styles can be classified as belonging to the Renaissance. The time period covered is several centuries long. Styles varied from country to country.
Today, people dress in Renaissance clothing for a variety of reason. Perhaps it is Halloween or a costume party. Another common activity is visiting one of the Renaissance Faires which take place during the summer months. Although visitors to faires can wear anything they please, faire workers wear clothing that is “typical of the late Elizabethan period.” This period occurred in the later part of the Renaissance during Queen Elizabeth I’s reign in
Various Renaissance reenactment groups and activities also provide ample opportunity for modern people to dress up in Renaissance clothes. It is a good idea to check with the requirements of these groups because what constitutes suitable clothing may vary. For example, the Society of Creative Anachronism, Inc. prefers participants “wear an attempt at pre-17th century clothing.” According to this definition, clothing prior to the Renaissance would be acceptable as well.
In conclusion, the term “Renaissance clothing” refers to clothes in a wide range of styles, colors, and materials as worn across
 Answers Corporation. 2008. Renaissance. [Online Database]: (http://www.answers.com/topic/renaissance). [24 November 2008].
 Will Durant. The Renaissance (The Story of Civilization V). (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1953), 69.
 DenverFabrics.com. Renaissance Costumes – Fabric. [Online article]: (http://www.denverfabrics.com/pages/static/renaissance/renaissance-costumes.htm). [24 November 2008].
 JMV. 1999. Renaissance Faire Overview. [Online article]: (http://www.renfaire.com/General/faire.html). [24 November 2008].
 Society for Creative Anachronism. Events. [Online FAQs]: (http://www.sca.org/docs/pdf/scafaq.pdf ). [24 November 2008].