Whether you are going to a Renaissance fair, dining at a medieval-themed restaurant or attending a medieval costume party, there are several different medieval costume ideas to choose from. The feudal and class-based society of the Middle Ages led to several different styles of clothing, depending on one's status.
The majority of people in medieval times were peasants. In the Middle Ages, peasants primarily wore clothing made of wool they wove themselves, although current dress-up versions may be made of cotton or synthetic fabrics. Dress-up clothes for medieval peasant men include stockings and long shirts or tunics. Women should wear long gowns with wimples over their heads and long tunics over their dresses. Peasant men and women all wore leather boots.
Many men and women during the Middle Ages were nuns, monks or clergymen. Medieval nuns and monks wore long, flowing woollen gowns. The colour of their gowns or habits indicated their order, so a black habit is the choice for dressing up as a Benedictine monk while a white one indicates you are dressing as a member of the Cistercian order. The style of clothing worn by many monks and nuns has not changed dramatically since medieval times.
The days of knights are exciting to relive in recreated jousts or other tournaments, and dressing up as a knight is an easily identifiable medieval costume. Knights wore tights and a tunic under a suit of armour made from either chain mail or large plates of steel. Actual suits of armour are unwieldy, expensive and difficult to wear, so for Halloween or another costume party a plastic version may be more comfortable.
Medieval aristocracy wore fine gowns and clothing of silk and linen. Dressing up as a medieval king, queen, lord or lady requires an elegant long gown for women and tights with a jacket or a tunic and overcoat for men. Heavy embroidery and elegant fabrics were favoured and coats and gowns may also be lined with fur. Women who dress up as medieval aristocracy can also choose from elegant headdresses or caps to wear on their heads.