We propose to have a ‘Medieval Fancy Dress theme’ today as on December 29th 1170, four knights entered Canterbury Cathedral and assassinated the Archbishop Thomas Beckett whilst he was going to prayer. This followed their over-hearing King Henry II ranting about how Thomas had been interfering with his plans and asking, rhetorically as it turned out, who would rid him ‘of this turbulent priest’ (or words to that effect). The knights thought they were the men for the job but, having done the deed, found that the King had apparently spoken in haste, so they were forced to flee up North. The King, meanwhile, did many penances and made a pilgrimage to Thomas’ tomb. Thomas, himself, was canonised and made a saint in 1173. After that story from the early annals of English History, we thought we would suggest having a Medieval theme, or perhaps Saints and Sinners, or what about a Knight out with the Lads?
A lot of people only think of Medieval costumes with weddings, but Medieval remains a very popular fancy dress theme all year round. Now if you are thinking of holding a Medieval costume party you must decide if you mind if your guests dress up in Tudor & Elizabethan costumes as well. Most people do get confused with these historiacl eras, so please be specific in your invitation if you do not want the eras to mix. It may also help to give your guests some actual information so they understand the look you are trying to create. Saying that, a lot of people really are not bothered whether the eras do mix, but, that is really down to the person who is putting on the party. It is understandable for people to tend to gravitate toward Tudor & Elizabethan costume as it is more ornate, and probably looks a bit more romantic. As with all fancy dress, we do not intend to hire, or sell an historically accurate costume. To be honest, nobody would want to wear an authentic medieval costume ever, so all the costumes available are going to have a bit of artistic involvement. If you are looking for historicallay accurate costume, we suggest you look for a local costumiers, and not a fancy dress shop.
So, what is the difference between Medieval & Tudor?
In Medieval times, the 14th Century Government dictated that lower classes should only wear blankets, and could not wear linen girdles. Trade people (and their wives) could only wear fur from rabbits, lambs, cats and foxes! Ermine fur was only allowed to be worn by royalty. And we think our Government today is too interfering!
A typical rich lady would wear:
Velvet, fur, silk, taffeta, lace and cotton. Knights returning from the Crusades would bring exotic materials back with them. Ladies would wear many layers, to help protect them from the draughts in the castles. Sleeves were very wide. Hair was worn long and plaited, only the Queen at her coronation, and young girls wore their hair down. Hats startedout as just material over the head and wrapped around the neck, and evolved to look like pointy horns.A medieval nobleman would wear trousers covered by a long tunic. A tabbard would often be worn over this. A fur trimmed cloak would be pinned at the shoulder to demonstrate his wealth. You could also attend the function in a Knight’s costume. Medieval peasant men wore linen or rough woollen shirts or tunics that came down to the knee. Pieces of fabric would either be tied around the legs or the man would go bare legged. To be honest, a peasant costume, doesn’t really change that much throughout this period of history and most fancy dress shops will have costumes to hire. The choice of costumes to purchase is still fairly low, but improving all the time.
A Medieval peasant would wear:
Wool, linen and sheepskin. A Peasant lady would wear a full length tunic made from a woollen or rough linen material. It was generally pulled in at the waist by a belt.
The richer the material from which Tudor clothes were made, the higher the status of the wearer. Silks, furs, and heavy brocades, as well as wool, were used for Tudor clothes. Bright colors of taffeta and satin were commonplace and it wasn’t unusual to see patterns mismatched. Both men and women wore their hair shoulder length.
In early Tudor, Men wore short doublets (jackets) over their hose (Pantaloons). It was fashionable for their sleeves to be slashed and their flat hats were often decorated with feathers. Women’s clothing gave them a triangular shape. Their corsets were tight fitting while their kirtles (petticoats) and gowns were very full
Poor people wore simple, loose-fitting clothes made from woollen cloth. Most men wore trousers made from wool and a tunic which came down to just above their knee. Women wore a dress of wool that went down to the ground. They often wore an apron over this and a cloth bonnet on their heads
This is the most popular of historical costumes from our extensive range. Tudor costumes tend to be more flattering and elaborate than medieval costume, and many people, although looking for a medieval costume, actually chose this era instead.
Tudor Fancy Dress Costume Suggestions:
Tudor Peasant Lady
Tudor Peasant Man
Tudor Man Costume
Henry VIII’s wives
For costuming purposes, we tend to link Tudor & Elizabethan in together, but the interesting fact of Elizabethan life is that , the Government (again getting involved!) decreed in 1574 and it was enforced by Queen Elizabeth I, the following colour dress code. To violate the law you could actually be fined, lose your title or even our life!
Red – lower and upper classes
Gold -Duchesses, Marquises, and Countesses. Dukes, Marquises, and Earls
Crimson – Royalty, Nobility and members of the Council
Indigo – Royalty, Nobility and members of the Council
Purple – Queen, Queen’s mother, children, and sisters, and aunts. The King, King’s mother, children and uncles
White – lower and upper classes
Black – although expensive to produce, lower and upper classes
Blue – lower and upper classes
Orange – lower and upper classes
Brown – lower and upper classes
Grey – lower and upper classes
Green – were lower and upper classes
Yellow – lower and upper classes
Pink – lower and upper classes