Garbing on the Cheap

Costumes, if you haven’t noticed, can be expensive!  And I don’t mean like they are more expensive then regular clothes, some of the clothes are just expensive.  Try buying off the rack at the Renaissance Festival.  You are going to lay down some cash.  Now, that being said it is completely worth it.  The money you spend for good costumes when you really become a Rennie is going to be money well spent.  Finding those choice items that are well made and in some cases made by hand are going to last you for years.  The featured image to the right is from Museum Replicas and trust me, they make wonderful costumes.

But what do you do if you are on a budget and you still want to go in garb to the next faire of the season?  Here are some options:

  • Vintage Clothing Stores – It is amazing what you will find in a vintage store.  The 60s and 70s were huge with the Ren Wear.  Poet shirts and blouse, waist tied pants and billowy skirts were the style of the day.  Most vintage shops are relatively inexpensive and the clothes are still good quality.  Stay with neutral colors and you will be fine.  Add some knotted (read macrame-d) jewelry and you will have a great look for a low price.
  • Second Hand Stores and Thrift Stores –  Garb, garb everywhere!  Dig through the racks and bins.  You can find a whole costume at a thrift store.  Again, neutral colors rule.  Check for those things that are vintage and you will be surprised what you may run across at the local thrift store.
  • BigBoxMart – I am not one to usually promote the BigBox chains but, it is possible to find lots of accessories at WallyWorld.  Big bulky jewelry, straw hats for the ladies, bulky belts and possible a skirt that is rather plain-jane are to be found.  Use your imagination and you might be able to pull together an entire costume in one afternoon.
  • Families Attic or Storage – Go to your grandparents or parents house, head to the place where they are storing all their old clothes. Aim for the clothes from the late 60s and early 70s.  If your folks or grand-folks were hippies… you have hit the motherload.  Plus, if they are just being stored you have probably found a free motherload.
  • Make-Your-Own – Go to the local fabric store, buy a pattern and some material – make your own costume.  Or if you have someone in the family that can sew they might give you a hand.  Learning to sew can save you tons of money when it comes to costumes but… it does take a lot of time.
Your costume does not have to break the bank.  Read the articles on My First Costume (Part 1 & 2) and you might get some more ideas.  Think outside the box and you will be able to garb-it-up on the cheap!
Thanks to Sabrina for this topic.  If you have a topic or an idea that you would like to see written up, please drop me an email.  Or if you would like to write for Renaissance Outfitters we are now taking submissions.  Email the editor.

-Bobaganush the Pirate