Because it would look a bit odd to have a vendor who is selling his hand made walking sticks attired as a noble, or a fine jewelry vendor wearing rustic farmerŐs clothing, choosing the right character and dress to fit your activity is most important. Here are a few ideas to help the character and costume you choose fit your station in Elizabethan life.
There were three great social classes in Elizabethan England, and everyone knew their place. Laws were passed which defined just what you could or could not wear. This readily announced your station in life and insured proper social etiquette between the classes.
The Peasants were the lowest class. Mostly tillers of the soil or low servants, with hand made, rough, ill matched, hand me down and much patched clothing, they gave deference to all.
At the top were the Nobles just below the Queen herself, who wore their fortunes on their backs in velvets, jewels, and ruffs, and had their garments made for them. Any colour except purple, which was reserved for her Majesty, was theirs. Of course, everyone bowed to them! In between were the COMMONERS, what we would think of as the Middle Class, from where we take most of our Villager Look. This covered quite a span between Peasant and Noble. It included all the Professions and Trades, Merchants and Crafters, paid Servants and all the levels in between. Of course, anyone doing well financially became aspiring Gentry, and dressed as well as they could.
The Renaissance was a time of expansion, exploration, travel, and trade. As Shrewsbury is a typical market Faire, this gives you a world of European, as well as British, cultures to choose from. Here is your chance to explore your family history and recreate your heritage, or indulge that secret lifelong urge to be someone else. Let your imagination soar!
AN ELEMENT OF FANTASY
All fantasy characters should have their basis in Elizabethan history and literature of the times.
PLAYING WITH THE PUBLIC
Here at Shrewsbury we use First Person Interpretation. to go along with our character and our costume. This means that when playing with the Public we portray a person from the past who has no knowledge of modern life, who assumes everyone he meets is also in the same time frame, all without dropping character.