Looking for plus size renaissance dress advice? Need tips on what to wear to a medieval or renaissance faire if you're a plus size woman?
Recently, that very question came up in the Plus Size Nerds Facebook group. The Facebook group is a closed group for plus size nerd women only. It's a safe and supportive space where we discuss all kinds of topics, from how to deal with chub rub to what to wear to a renaissance faire.
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Originally, Nicole G.B. posed the question about plus size renaissance dress ideas and any other tips she could use for the day as a “newbie.” She said, “We went last year and I got a new bodice. I just felt like I didn’t belong yet since I was unsure of things – a newbie!”
The other plus size nerds were ready to jump in with plus size renaissance dress advice!
What to Wear
Patti Wigington (author at PattiWigington.com) said, “RenFaire garb tends to be super flattering for plus-sized women. The key is a good fit. I’m a size 16-18, and have been going to the Ohio renaissance festival annually for twenty years. A few thoughts:
“1. Corsets. No matter what size you are, a well-fitted corset makes your rack look amazing. It’s worth the expense to have a great one, but if you’re on a budget, work with what you’ve got.
“2. Skirts. Wear petticoats or layers for a fuller effect.
“3. Blouses. Wear something low-cut or off the shoulder, and pair it with a well-fitted bodice if you’re not wearing a corset.
“4. Boots/shoes. You’ll be on your feet and walking a lot. Wear something comfortable. Don’t use this as the day to break in a new pair of footwear.
“5. Undergarments. Someone else suggested bloomers (see below), but I go straight commando. Period clothing was designed to be worn without underwear, because they didn’t have it, so I feel like dresses and skirts look more natural without it. Also, it makes using the restrooms easier, because all I have to do is lift my skirts.
“6. Accessories. This is my favorite part. I have a wonderful belt with all kinds of things attached to it: a pouch I use for my phone and car key and money, a leather drinking tankard, a knife, a set of iron dining utensils, a telescope, and a couple of other doodads. I also have a magnificent Elizabethan hat, several hairpins, and a parasol. The sky is the limit here!
“A couple of other tips: most vendors will allow you to purchase something and come back for it later, so do this to avoid carrying stuff around all day.
“If you attend in garb, rest assured that the non-costumed guests will assume you know where everything is. Make it an immersive experience and when the nice family of muggles asks for directions to the turkey leg stand, reply in your best Shakespearean theater voice.”
Emily B. said, “Bloomers are a must. Not only do they go with the outfit, but they totally help with chub rub. Make sure they are natural fibers, no poly cotton. Less swamp-ass with natural fibers.”
Amy J. said, “I recommend as much 100% cotton or linen fabric you can wear. Bloomers are a must. Baby powder is your best friend. Good, broken-in shoes… And socks (good for feet protection). Sunscreen, ice water and electrolytes. If you are into pickles, they are awesome on a stick. Carry a cloth handkerchief. You can dip that in water and apply it to your head, neck or chest. It will help cool you down if need be.
“If you have an under-bust corset, please wear a bra under your chemise. Its really unflattering to see breasts hanging over a corset and barely covered by a chemise.
“As for accessories… A belt is essential. I love my leather ring pouch. It's super handy.”
Kit K.B. said, “…bodice that goes over the shoulder (not just around the waist) to support your boobs, gauzy, light-weight fabrics (I'm in Southern California, so staying cool is key). The royal court looks amazing but all those layers and all that velvet would kill me. Drink lots of water, flirt with everyone and have fun! Fair thee well, my good gentlewoman.”
Be Prepared to Walk. A Lot.
Jen F. also said, “…be prepared for a ton of walking.”
Kit K.B. said, “Comfortable walking shoes, bike shorts or something for chub rub.”
Embrace Your Plus Size
Jen F. said, “I mean it's a great place to be plus size since you know… wenches and stuff lol.”
Carol M. said, “The jester may hit on you…I don’t have a tip for that, it’s just usually fun.”
Amy J. said, “It's ok to be a noobie. We all start somewhere. Look at what other folks are wearing, especially cast. They tend to know what works. Being at a Ren faire, there's so much to see and do. And if you see someone in something that appeals to you, ask them about it. It's a good conversation starter.”
Reenie Panzini (of ReeniePanzini.com) said, “Oh I just love love love the RenFaire! I've been going annually since I was about 20, so that's 30 years! How the hell…? Anyways, sometimes I dress up, sometimes I don't, but I always feel like a beauty when I'm there. All shapes, colors, ages and everyone is happy!”