9 Costumes That Rennies Make Fun Of
Every faire gets their share of unusual or out of place costumes. For the most part, Rennies tend to be forgiving of really creative costumes, while there are some people who frown at adults wearing whatever Wal-mart put out this year as their “Renaissance” outfit. I’m personally just glad to see people willing to play dress up with me. Some costumes, however, will cause a domino effect of faire workers making the “Hey, get a load of this asshole” sign straight down the lane.
The Wrong Tights
He’s fully embraced the ren faire style. He’s got his doublet on, his floppy hat, his knee high boots, and he’s even gone out and bought himself some tights. Just… not the right ones.
While women can sometimes be seen wearing The Wrong Tights, it’s usually the guys who don’t understand that there is a difference between the sort of tights one buys at a renaissance festival and the sort of tights ones buy in the lingerie section of Ye Olde Tar-jay. Most women have worn various type of hose prior to their first outing at faire and already know that they need to check just how opaque their opaque tights are once stretched across white panties. Men, on the other hand, are typically not used to have to check their panty line before leaving the house and will cheerfully wander around the faire blissfully unaware that everyone they pass can tell just how white their tighty whities are. Of course, when one is dealing with a dude wearing the Wrong Tights, most of us are just grateful that he’s wearing underwear at all.
Lawn Aerating Boots
She’s typically wearing something tight all over. Corset, tights, maybe a foofy white shirt strategically tucked and ruffled to show off her best assets. She usually comes in the front gate looking sexy and sassy. But every worker she passes by knows that she’s not going to stay that way for long.
It is rare to find a faire that has a good mass transportation system. I personally recommend hiring a rickshaw at the day rate if you’re looking for ease of transport. But if you’re not willing to shell out the dough for a chauffeur, you’re going to be doing a lot of walking. Usually in the grass. Depending on the weather, you might even be walking in the mud. If you are truly lucky, there will be sidewalks in some parts of the faire, but even very large and successful faires don’t have sidewalks leading to every single attraction. So it always amazes participants to see people stomping around faire in stiletto boots. I understand that there are some women for whom the six inch spike heel is the daily norm, but one has to wonder if these people haven’t let fashion overtake common sense. This sort of thing is not solely limited to women, either. There are occasionally men who will come out in tall spike heel boots as well. More power to ’em, but there is rarely anything good that comes out of wandering around uneven ground in uncomfortable shoes for several hours. Especially uncomfortable shoes that are practically designed to do double duty as a solution to an impacted lawn.
His armor is flawless. A perfect reproduction that clearly cost quite a pretty penny. He’s got the right weapons, the right boots, and while one wouldn’t normally expect to see a Storm Trooper at a Renaissance Festival, you have to give him props for trying. Except that it’s not quite clear why he’s wearing a kilt.
Rennies get used to seeing people in whatever costume they happened to have in their closet. We get it, sometimes you just happen to have this epic Louis XIV court garb, wig, heels, and all, and there is just no other good place to wear it. When you spent a ton of money perfecting your Army of Darkness costume (complete with chainsaw!), you want to show it off. Trekkies of all sorts will cheerfully inform anyone who asks that they are on an away mission. Most Rennies know the urge to play dress up and understand that not everyone has a closet full of garb in their house sorted by time period and appropriateness for various types of weather. It’s the people dressed as Jedi while running around with a Final Fantasy sword that we give the side eye to. Wear whatever costume you like to the faire, just don’t try to wear them all at once. Unless you’re dressed as a pirate. Those fuckers can wear anything.
She’s dressed to the 1559’s in a classic Elizabethan style court dress, ruffled high collar, full skirts, beaded bodice, the whole bit. She’s even done up her hair in a perfect beaded coif worthy of any period picture. There’s just one tiny little flaw. Two, actually. One on each foot. The dreaded running shoes.
Whether it’s running shoes, mirrored shades, or the blue tooth tucked into one ear, it can be really disappointing to see someone in an amazing costume who has one tiny but obvious modern element to their garb. Especially for those of us who know how easy it is to fudge your authenticity. It seems senseless to put so much time, effort, and probably money into a perfectly good outfit, only to slap some modern element on it because you can’t do without for a few hours. Running shoes are the major culprit in this category because the women who wear them don’t seem to realize that their blindingly white shoes can be seen peeking out from under their skirts with every stride. Ballet flats are everywhere these days and you can get a pair that are both comfortable and inexpensive with relative ease. Guys can wear just about any black lace up shoe without raising any eyebrows, including black combat boots. No one honestly expects that everyone is going to show up in perfectly period outfits. We do reserve the right to snark about you for glaringly obvious blunders, though.
Edited to Add: There have been a lot of comments about the need to wear comfortable shoes. And rightly so. But to be quite honest, if you can afford to buy a $1000 dress, you can afford to buy black athletic shoes instead of white ones. I wore combat boots with a borrowed dress to an event one year and the only reason people realized that I was wearing them was because I kept lifting the hoop skirt to show off my bloomers. 😀
Bad Homemade Armor
He didn’t have a costume to wear to the ren faire. So he grabbed the materials he had on hand, worked all night, and created the most amazing armor that he knew how. Too bad it’s made of duct tape, cardboard, and suck.
Don’t get me wrong. Good cardboard and duct tape armor can be a thing of beauty. I’ll even give props to the dude who wrote “+1 Cardboard Armor” on his terrible creation. Bad homemade armor is just sad. It makes the wearer look like they went their whole life thinking that their participation trophies were really for winning first place. When you are at the point where your choice is “walk around in something bulky and uncomfortable all day” or “don’t wear a costume,” choose the option that is less annoying to deal with when you have to hit the head. Alternately, if you insist on running around in the boxes left over from your last move, slap some strategic brown paint on it and claim you’re wearing the leather armor from Minecraft.
She’s got cleavage and she knows how to use it. It’s just the corset she doesn’t know how to use.
Corset malfunction comes in many forms. I could do a whole other “9 Terms” post just on the ways that Rennies describe the results of a corset malfunction. Table Boob, Jello Boob, Snoopy Boob, Dunlop Boob… Actually, that might need to be two posts. In short, the corset doesn’t fit. It’s either too small, too big, badly laced, and even occasionally on upside down. A corset or bodice should create a smooth hourglass curve from neck to hip, with no lumps or dips out of place. A good corset can be hard to find, especially for your more solidly curvy women. Bad corsets, on the other hand, are everywhere. If this bout of creativity wears off in the near future, maybe I’ll put up my How To Lace A Corset class materials. In the meantime, if you’re wearing a corset that you aren’t sure is laced quite right, check for a handy boothie who is also wearing a corset. Preferably one who isn’t busy doing her job. Male boothies will also usually cheerfully help fix your corset, but you may run the risk of being the centerpiece for a bit on how to undress a woman.
Pointy Armor of Doom
He’s spent more money on his armor than most people spend on their cars. He may have made some armor maker very happy, or taken the time to lovingly hand craft his armor himself. He will gladly agree to let you take a picture with him. You just might want to be careful about putting your arm around him.
Spikes are a fairly common element to fancy armor. Any leather worker with a halfway decent tool kit can pound out a line of decorative rivets. Spikes are actually easier to do and can be quickly changed out if the customer wants a slightly different look. Plus they are a great shortcut to “badass.” Some people, however, take that a little too far and turn their armor into a veritable pincusion of pointy armor bits. After all, if a few strategically placed spikes make you badass, then a whole chest plate covered in spikes makes you even more badass, right? Nevermind that in a real battle those pointy bits would actually make it easier for an opponent to stab you and that the only damage they would do is if you were planning to hug someone to death.
Underage and Underclothed
She’s picked out the skimpiest outfit she owns. She’s working the tiny top, the string bottom, and the strategically placed veils. And it’s fairly certain that her Mamma didn’t see her leaving the house like that.
Though not all that common, the Underaged and Underclothed do show up with impressive regularity. And what they show up in may be borderline or even full stop indecent. Typically they are in a pack of slightly older friends and can usually be spotted early in the morning just past the first bathroom. Security will snag their fair share at the front gate and politely suggest they go put some different clothes on, but the more clever patrons of this sort will sneak their outfit through in a bag and change at the first opportunity. Which is helpful when they are spotted by security inside the gate because at least their change of clothes is handy. Older patrons can occasionally be seen in outfits that any sensible person understands would get them arrested for indecency, but younger ones are more likely to think that their boundary pushing is totes okay, ’cause OMG ren faire.
Nazi Diesel Punk
He’s worked really hard to get his whole outfit historically accurate. Black knee high boots, perfectly cut uniform pants and top, the officers hat, and erm… Is that armband what I think it is?
There is a certain kind of asshole who insists that there is nothing wrong with wearing a 1940’s era German officer’s uniform out in public. After all, they’re not *really* dressed up as a Nazi officer or even advocating for systematic elimination of any nation, faith, or minority group. They’re just doing Diesel Punk, man, and it just happens that they like the German clothing from that era!
Yeah. Fuck that asshole.
People who do this sort of dress-up aren’t really hardcore history buffs with a penchant for historical fashion. Real fashion history buffs tend to aim for time periods and cultures which aren’t infamous for the efficiency of their genocide. In reality these people are just fuckwads who think they are being edgy, sticking it to The Man, and getting a cheap thrill by wandering around pissing people off. I personally do not give a flying fuck if someone wants to spend the day walking around like the world’s biggest pile of Green Mud. Then again, my weapon of choice is a scathing remark in my most carrying voice. Other people at the faire might not be quite so nice.
ETA: Major props to my friend Erick, who started the discussion which really helped to bring this article into focus.