It’s my favorite time of year again: the Maryland Renaissance festival season is approaching. I have gone every year since 2003, and I will be there once again this year, frolicking with friends in faire garb.
As many of you faire goers know, faire garb is not cheap if you actually buy something from one of the vendors at the Maryland Renaissance Festival. Stores like Moresca and the numerous leather shops have amazing pieces for sale, but tend to hurt your pocket in the end. So how can you get good gear for prices that won’t decimate your savings? I’m here to help you.
My first bit of advice: thrift stores. Thrift stores are fantastic for finding unique pieces for any sort of wardrobe, and the prices are low. I have found many things at thrift stores over the years that I have used in my faire garb, but it takes a good eye and a lot of patience to find something you can use. If you aren’t patient, this may not be the best route for you to go. I have gathered pieces to put together into one outfit for over a year before, so believe me when I say it can take some time. Thrift stores are a great place to find long skirts especially; so if you ever need skirts to layer, start here. For gypsy-styled garb, thrift stores are also a great place to find scarves and jewelry for low prices. You’ll spend much less in the long run, and still have some cool stuff.
Don’t have the patience to search and search a thrift store? My suggestion to you would be to try eBay. If you are lucky, you can come across some really cool dresses and full outfits for lower prices than anything at faire. I have found some pieces on eBay that I wear every year to faire, so it is definitely worth a look. I also recommend Pyramid Collection. They can be pricey at times, but if you start early on and browse their sale section, you can get some nice stuff for a lower price than you would at faire. Also, from my personal experience, their clothes and jewelry are great quality merchandise. The jewelry, I know for a fact, comes with a lifetime guarantee and if you ever lose a stone or a clasp gets bent, it will be replaced or repaired—-free of charge.
Don’t trust the internet and want something new? Try Walmart. Some may cringe at this suggestion but hear me out: I have found some fantastic pieces at Walmart which really made my entire outfit. Target is also a good place to look, but if you keep your eyes open. You can really find something you can work into being faire garb anywhere, it just takes knowing what to look for. One of my favorite finds was a ruffled blouse I found at a Rainbow on the clearance rack for just $3.
Finally, if you are crafty or know someone who is, you can always make your own garb. I have lots of friends who make an event of getting together and making their garb for that year every year. If you feel intimidated by such a huge task, start small. Maybe make something simple like a pouch or jewelry to start and then work your way up to bigger projects like dresses, tunics, kilts, and such.
Good luck my saving-savvy faire goers, and hope you enjoy the Renaissance Festival season as much as I will! 🙂