Hawk at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival

How to Dress for the Minnesota Renaissance Festival

Last updated on August 18th, 2019

Get out those corsets ladies because it’s time for the Minnesota Renaissance Festival. This is the time where all judgments are left behind. I know this can be hard at times. But the whole point is to have fun! You all the reasons I love the Minnesota Renaissance Festival, but do you know what to wear to the Renaissance Festival?

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Wait a Second, Do I Have to Dress Up?

No. It is completely optional. If you want to blend in and not get picked on by the performers, I would. If you like that, pick you your favorite sports team and wear their shirt. Or show up with a shirt that calls yourself a freak. My sister only made that miskate once.

Realistically about half the people there will be in costume. About 30 percent of people that walk in the door dressed up. I’ve done both before and find both ways to be a lot of fun. About 20 percent of those that don’t dress up end up finding an accessory there to dress up their outfit. 

Steampunk at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival
Hooves at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival

How Much Should I Spend on a Costume?

It’s completely up to you. Depending on what you have in your wardrobe, you may be able to make something work at home. Women think corset, present top, fairy wings, skirts, and boots. For men, it’s all about the boots, flat front pants, a loose shirt. You can get them all online, but I find making costumes much cheaper and more fun.

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We spent about $50 apiece on my husband and I and about $10 on my daughters and maybe $3 on my son’s costume. Both my husband and my costume is doubling as a Halloween costume. All the individual pieces will are being recycled for other costumes later on. If you buy off the rack or have someone custom make an outfit for you, you’ll pay a lot more. Expect to pay close to $100 for each garment. You’ll need the boots, skirts, and top at the least. After that, it’s all about the accessories.

Mermaid at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival

Choosing a Character

Whatever you choose, make sure to get into character. Are you going to be noble with richer fabrics? Are you going to be a wench? Do you want to be a villager? Do you like to look a little riskier? Have you ever wanted to be a belly dancer? Maybe a gypsy? Have you ever wanted to wear leather chaps out in public but never had the courage? This is the place to do it. Really the sky is the limit. 

Officially, the Renaissance Festival takes place in Tudor England. During the reign of King Henry Tudor VII and his wife Queen Elizabeth. This is the less notable King Henry the VIII who had all the wives. This is was his father’s reign, who won the War of the Roses and started Tudor’s reign in England. 

Do I Have To Wear Something From Tudor England?

Trust me when I say no, you don’t need to wear stuff from Tudor England. You will see it all here. From the famous time-traveling Doctor Who, to a group of Trekkies. If you want to dress as a woodland fairy or even as a faun, go for it. The way I look at it, both the Doctor and the Trekkies time traveled and mythical creatures were hiding in the forest already. As long as you can find a tie to the period, you are ok. Steampunk is making a huge impact at the fair in recent years and they are going all out. Game of Thrones-inspired cloaks and other items from pop-culture favorites. You’ll also see lots of kids dressed in their favorite Disney princess outfit. No judgments.

Birdman at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival
Vikings at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival

Dress for the Weather

I recommended is that you create a look that can be adjusted for the weather. The Renaissance Fair is open rain or shine. I have experienced temps as low as 50 and rainy and as high as 95 degrees. In Tudor England, the nobler you were, the more layers you wore. Try to find something breathable. If you are considering furs and leathers, they are hot. Cloaks also add in a layer of heat. It could be great later in the season, but not earlier. If you are uncomfortable in what you choose, chances are you will not want to spend much time there.

Where to Find Renaissance Festival Clothing?

This can be a little trickier. I prefer to make my own but I know not everyone is capable of that. The most authentic pieces will are at the fair. If you don’t want to commit to purchasing anything this year, take a few business cards. You can contact them next spring to see if they can make something special for you.

There are also find a lot of distributors online. Amazon is the most reputable source. But if you are willing to take a risk, Wish.com also has inexpensive options. Wish is riskier, because everything ships from China, and so far I have a 65% success rate with getting what I want shipped to me and as described. Whenever you order online, make sure you are getting authentic looking things that will last. You don’t want to end up having something that looks like a cheap Halloween costume.

Renaissance Festival Costume Essentials for Ladies

For ladies, I highly recommended you buy a corset over making one. It is challenging to make on your own if you are not an expert seamstress.

Find a good pair of boots. Boots make the outfit. If you can get a good pair of boots, it will transform the rest of your outfit. They are also the trickiest to buy on a budget. My recommendation, check out what Amazon has to offer.

Renaissance Festival Costume Essentials for Men

Start with a peasant top. Loose-fitting and breathable. Then you look for flat front pants that can be paired with boots. You may be able to find a pair at a thrift shop. That is unless you want to go a step further and wear tights, or a kilt. Both are popular among men at the fair. Have a good pair of boots, a higher top. These are almost impossible to find at a thrift shop, but you never know. There are a lot of good options online.

To bring the whole thing together you need a belt or something to wrap around you. They used a single looped belt and tied the leather around it.

Wizard at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival

My husband found some boots and a Medieval Ring Belt Black that worked out great for him.

Pope and Clergy at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival
Leather Armor at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival


However, you decide to dress up for the Minnesota Renaissance Festival, remember to have some fun. Engage with the performers. Not everyone dressed up there is a performer. And bring a lot of single dollar bills because a lot of them work for tips.

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What to wear to the Renaissance Festival. A bunch of tip and costume ideas.

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