There are several stock pieces of costuming that you will encounter at the Ren Faire. The first one that I would like to discuss is the tabard.
The tabard is a simple coat or outer-garment. Normally the tabard will come down to right below the waist or to the mid-thigh. Now, here is where the variations may come in. The tabard could be sewn up the sides and open in the front like a true coat or it could be dropped over the head and left open at the sides to then be belted. You will see the tabard in both varieties at Ren Faires. In the picture that goes along with this article (The Waterseller of Seville by Diego Velazquez) the tabard that the man is wearing is sewn together at the very top and has very simple shoulder coverings.
The sleeves and shoulder coverings are as varied as the rest of the tabard. The sleeves can either be actual sleeves or just simple shoulder coverings and can take any fashion in between.
Here is the best part about the tabard. They are easy to make and really make your costume pop. A simple tabard is nothing more then a poncho style drape of cloth. Now don’t take this to mean that you need to wear a poncho to the Ren faire! But that style is very easy for people to make and all of a sudden you have a whole different look. With a poet shirt and simple pants you have gone from a peasant to a more noble look. Add a belt and you are ready to go.
Something else about tabards: like in World of Warcraft, if you get a set of tabards for everyone in the group that is going with you to the Ren Faire, you can all match. I know this sounds like a horrible idea but in essence you can have a band of warriors running around together throughout the day with the same color of tabard and depending on how industrious you are you might even have the same crest of arms on your tabards. This could make it very cool if there are a lot of you together at the Ren Faire.