Thursday, February 21, 2013


I'm at the awkward stage. You know the one where you have 80% of the knowledge, but only 20% of the tools. It's pretty frustrating, and somehow comforting myself by saying "but at least I know what's right" isn't working.

My wardrobe of garb has been dramatically improved, particularly over the course of last year, but it's still falling short. It's a bit mismatched. And even more frustrating is that my extensive headdress collection is partly to blame. It's not as extensive, I see now, as it needs to be. Or rather, it's extensive in the wrong way.

I enjoy having a variety of things to put on my head. I also use many of the items in my hat box as props for teaching. I enjoy the process of imitating the looks found in period art, and the sometimes long testing sessions that come with that line of research. Due to this, my head accoutrement collection now fills 3 boxes. Unfortunately, this penchant for covering my head has resulted in a disproportionate number of headdress that I don't actually wear to events.

My 15th century headdress options are particularly lacking. Which is stupid (to be blunt with myself), since 15th century headdress is, in a research sense, my forte. Also, my three main dresses at the moment are all 15th century garments. As a student of 15th century clothing, I feel a bit hypocritical to show up at an event wearing a noblewoman's gown with a peasant woman's hood. The best excuse I can give is that at 11pm Friday night, it was the lesser of two evils. I could have either felt like a goober trapped in personal class warfare, or like a goober with mismatched periods.

Goober, or not, I has happy to be by my husband's side,

I didn't look terrible, and I have to remind myself that the vast majority of people around me couldn't have cared less about how mismatched I was, but the fact of the matter is that I was bothered by it.

This upcoming spring and summer offer me a particular challenge I have not had the opportunity yet to experience- serious garb preparing for Pennsic War. It's been 10 years since I last enjoyed the atmosphere of Coopers Lake strewn with pavilions, and I've changed quite a bit in that time. For starters, I feel much more compelled these days to make sure that my husband and I have a great selection of well-made garb ready so that we don't have to compromise on our personas simply to get through the week.

Which brings me back to the issue at hand- my mismatched wardrobe. If I have any hope of feeling like I've accomplished the task of dressing well for that week in July, then it's crucial that I take experiences like this past weekend to heart, and evaluate what lesson they taught me. And right now, the lesson is to sit down, mentally permutate my garb options, and start finding the solution for the gaps I find.

The interesting thing about doing that is that there are two sides to the coin. On the one hand, I can look at my dresses, create outfits with them and figure out what appropriate headdress I'm lacking. Or, I can look at my headdress in conjunction with my dresses to determine if there are dresses or gowns that I'm lacking. The possibilities are pretty vast. Especially if I open myself up to looking beyond the outfits I can create today, and think about outfits I'd like to be able to create for Pennsic.

Of course, this borders awfully close to that whole "planning" bit I wished to steer away from this year. I suppose I can justify that by pointing out to myself that it was a lack of planning that resulted in me wearing a hood with a noble woman's gown in the first place.



  1. In a way, I think we're both in the same place. I go between wanting to do my 16c. stuff (Flemish fun!) and late 13c./early 14c. stuff and what I've ended up with is a mishmash. I've kind of decided to garanimals it in terms of my garb....make sure my later things and my early things can compliment each other. Does that make sense?

    I was just thinking about your blog the other day, too! I recently cut my hair, (it's a pixie cut so it's now imperative I cover my head) and, as we were getting ready for an event, I found myself thinking, "How would Edyth cover this?" LOL!

    1. Hehe! These days, I rely on my Saint Biritta's Cap to hide those modern sins, but back when I chopped off my hair after the twins were born, I played around a lot with veils. There are a lot of head wrap options you can have if you start by pinning the veil tight around your hairline. I'd love to know what you decided on!