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Renaissance Costume Ideas – Ladies and Courtiers for Halloween

Okay, you missed the Renaissance by a couple hundred years, guys no longer wear tights, and women dress up in slightly less than a voluminous skirt, bodice, petticoat, bonnet and apron (no matter how hot it was outside!) Still, that’s what Halloween costume parties are for! If you’re feeling particularity Elizabethan, there are a great variety of Renaissance-themed costumes to choose from.

The Renaissance spans from the 15th to 17th centuries, when plague in the previous century severely weakened the feudal system, the Crusades brought in new ideas (not to mention fabrics and dyes), and the beginnings of an urban middle class emerged. Clothing was marked by greater colors and flair than the medieval period, as dyes and fabrics became more varied, accessible and cheaper. Fashion quickly became a status symbol, with men and women in the ruling class trying to outdo each other with elaborate styles and colors. Purple was reserved for royalty, but darker colors were often worn to better show off jewelry and embroidery. Even peasants could upgrade their clothing, which frightened the nobility so much that laws were passed restricting what colors they could wear. The lower class angrily responded by stitching two fabrics together and “slashing” their outer clothing, cutting geometric shapes and revealing the banned, brighter colors underneath. This grew into elaborate cuts and designs, with colors hanging out in a showy display.

Men’s fashions of the period included first the square look (where the shoulders were stuffed to look bigger) and padded breaches and hose. Later, when the barrel look came into fashion, the middle of the vest or coat was padded. Men had all the fun, baring their legs with tweed hosiery, and later embroidered silk stockings. Very sexy!

Women’s fashion changed just as fast, with elaborate gowns and dresses the style, with puffed sleeves, pleated skirts, flared underskirts and (later) the hooped skirt. The front was often slit to show a contrasting, fashionable color underneath. Royal dresses included a high collar that could be worn with lace and ruffles. For commoners, a white chemise with a lacy bodice was common.

For your costume party, you can make your look even sexier while still wearing the essence of the Renaissance. (Don’t worry guys, it doesn’t involve you wearing panty hose.) Here are a few ideas for costumes that can be easily found online:

Royal Lady: Don’t worry about the five layers of dress and the collar ruffles, you can wear a long, comfortable, elegant gown with lace and trim, flared or puffy sleeves, and a crown.

Haughty Nobleman: A white puffy shirt with a plunging neckline that can be tied or left untied, a rich vest with buttons and sharp collar, loose pants and high boots. Wield a sword to show you mean to protect your wealth and your woman!

Tavern Wench: With the rise of the merchant class came the rise of rowdy taverns near the docks! Try a sexy low-cut peasant dress, corseted vest, and slashed overskirt.

Country Maiden: Woo a nobleman with an elegant, gathered skirt, a low-cut peasant chemise, and a lacy, tight bodice that’s dying to be untied!

Renaissance Gypsy: Wild, free, dark and gorgeous, wear a bare-shoulder, low-cut dress with lace and a tight corset. Tell men their fortunes and steal their hearts!

Renaissance Knight: Less soldier and more romantic courtier, you rescue fair maidens in shiny chain mail armor (well, shimmery gray cloth for comfort at your party), a bright tunic, boot covers and, of course, your trusty sword!

Click "GO" below to find these adult costumes!

Filed under Adult Costumes for Men, Halloween, Sexy Costumes for Women
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