An Introduction to the Renaissance Faire

The Lure of the Bodice

The other night my Shakespeare club gathered for a reading of “Much Ado About Nothing.”  I happened to have my latest garb project with me, as I’m still in search of the perfect lace trim to complete the finishing touch.  Somehow my friend Brenda, who has never made it to faire despite repeated invitations every year, agreed to try on the outfit. 

I think she was enamored of her reflection, a not uncommon response to a woman’s first experience of being laced into a bodice.

The men of faire are also enamored with the vision of a woman in a bodice, too, which is yet another part of the whole appeal of faire.

When properly fitted, a bodice is not constricting as it might seem, but rather supoprtive and very comfortable.  And somehow, it manages to flatter every body type.  Thin women become voluptuous in a bodice, and a bodice displays the curves of the more full-figured in their most flattering light.  We all feel more feminine and attractive in a bodice.

And who doesn’t love to play dress-up?  My friend Brenda admitted she drove home from Shakespeare club feeling “on a high” that night.  I tried to explain to her that THAT feeling is part of why I enjoy the faire so much.  Dressing in character is part of the appeal, but it is also because for those few afternoons I am able to totally immerse myself in the feeling of being in another place and time. 

It’s not something I can truly communicate in a blog.  Until you’ve dressed as an Elizabethan character, or until you’ve stepped through those gates of faire yourself, you’ll never know that feeling of pure escapism. 



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