For as long the Society for Creative Anachronism has been around, its members have been making and wearing attempts at the clothing worn by people from before 1600CE. We find that this adds to our experience and makes it much less like attending a thing and turns it into a feeling of belonging to a thing.
The rules do state that all that is required is an “attempt” at clothing from before 1600CE, and there are many resources dedicated to helping people get started. One of the best pieces of advice I can give you is please, show up to a local meeting (no special clothing required) and talk to our local members first. Especially before you buy anything online. There is a lot of junk sold online these days.
Most people starting out in the Society for Creative Anachronism follow one of four paths to get their first sets of historical clothing.
You Have It – Many people who find us through Ren Fairs already have garments that will work. Ask your local group and we can help you figure that out
Borrow It – most local groups have loaner clothing that you can borrow free of charge. We do this so that you can attend an event and see the magic first hand.
Make It – if you can sew or know someone who can, simple garments are easy and pretty inexpensive to make. But please, stop by a meeting first. We have many resources and can help you find out what fabrics to buy and which to avoid and where to find the patterns that will capture your imagination (Hint: the ones sold in the fabric store are far more complicated than the more historically correct ones)
Buy It – In recent years more and more online vendors are selling clothing that they try to market to Ren Fair, LARP and SCA attendees. Some of this is ok stuff, reasonably priced, reasonably accurate and easy to get. But much of it is an absolute waste of money.
There are also known SCA vendors who have been selling clothing to SCA participants for years. These vendors are members of the SCA (not representatives of the Society for Creative Anachronism non-profit organization.) Among these vendors are some good ones and some not so good ones.
Stop by a local meeting and we can help you figure out if the right path for you to follow and hopefully prevent you from making a choice that could take away from your historical adventure.
Want More Information? Check out our new project at the SCAIowa Garb Guide