The SCA is well known for our medieval costumes, but how do you get started?
Options From Your Wardrobe
A generic medieval outfit starts with a long-sleeved dress for women, or a tunic (an extra-long shirt) over pants or leggings for men. Look for dresses, skirts, nightgowns, or extra-large t-shirts and belt them at the waist for the start of a medieval look. (Remember to wear solid colours if you can.) If you can only find dresses or ‘tunics’ with short sleeves, you can wear a long-sleeved shirt underneath to cover your arms.
The easiest way to hide modern clothes is a ‘tabard’: a long rectangle of fabric with a hole in the middle for your head. You’ll find instructions here
If you want to have a go at making a medieval garment, you can try your hand at a ‘t-tunic’ instead – this is the generic item on which the costumes for a wide range of times and places are based, and just about everyone in the SCA owns one. A very simple method is available here. For a more medieval approach, try this site.
Everyone knows accessories make the outfit. So what do accessories should you have?
- A long belt worn over the tunic, with the tail left hanging at the front. Cord can also be used. (Any colour except white is acceptable)
- Plain leather shoes or boots
- Headdresses, hats, and veils were common in our period, but it’s okay not to wear any. They’re a good way to keep the sun and rain off, though, and hoods can help keep you warm
- Wool cloak when it’s cold – the simplest ones are nothing more complicated than a blanket pinned at the shoulder
I need help
That’s okay! We know it can be intimidating to figure out something to wear, and we’re always happy to help out. We have a store of clothing in all shapes and sizes that we lend out to newcomers, so if you want to have a look for something you can wear to an upcoming event, feel free to get in touch with our Chandler (equipment loans officer) at email@example.com
- Costuming Through the Centuries – instructions for a range of garments in our period
- Medieval Clothing Pages – includes a number of articles on making medieval accessories
- The Renaissance Tailor – detailed information about 16th and 17th century clothing (note that the beginning of the 17th century is our cut-off date)
- Briana’s Clothing Page – a large collection of links to other costuming articles and sites
- The Medieval Tailor’s Assistant – A wealth of patterns and designs
- Rosalie’s Medieval Women – Instructions on many different clothing designs