Guiding Principles and Guidelines
Authenticity is Key
The goal is to be historically accurate and authentic; to be honest with ourselves what equipment and clothing choices are motivated by history and which are motivated by mythology; and stand, as educators and as an example to the community of medievalists, of what is correct to history. Avoid having to “explain away” problems and craft impressions reflecting what would be considered normal for a person you are portraying. If you went back in time, could you blend in?
Strive for the Best
Aim to be as close to extant examples as our available research, skill, and resources allow. Replace old items when new research or newer quality comes available. Never settle, continue to research, and improve. Maintain a strict standard as to what you want to include in your impression, and hold each other up to a strict standard of authenticity in what we allow as a group. Critique of an impression is not a critique of the person.
Social Status is an Impression
Portraying a commoner doesn’t make a member of the group less valuable and portraying a noble does not mean the member is better than their peers. Common impressions are, in fact, more valuable. These are roles we take on to educate the public and experience a time in history we’re all passionate enough to reenact. They do not reflect on the merit or worth of the individual. Likewise, group impressions serve the need of the group, and no encouragement to portray the gentry or the peasantry has any bearing on the group’s opinion of the newcomer.
Do it Right
Whenever possible allow historical record and documentation to guide equipment and clothing choices. Attention to detail is critical, and while not every aspect of an impression can be documented as thoroughly as others, equipment and clothing choices with no documentation or research to support it should not be considered.
All members of the Household are encouraged to begin with a commoner impression. This allows all members to begin with minimal financial investment. The group as a whole can more efficiently portray group impressions of a knightly household when every member has the versatility to portray a common impression leading to an authentic ratio of social status when required or important (such as encampment or other ensemble style presentations at events.) We support individual portrayals of any status and will work to allow every member opportunity to develop an impression of what interests them. However, the commoner standard is more versatile, authentic, and makes the barrier to entry lower.
Regardless of social status, role, or impression clothing should strive for historical accuracy and authenticity for the fashion of early 15th century England in cut, construction, color, and material. Visible elements of an outfit will be made from natural materials of linen, wool, or silk. Blends should be avoided, however, blended fabrics with ≥50% of the natural fiber is appropriate when the aesthetics do not detract from the historical appearance. Clothing colors and patterns will be in historical tones and styles to include solids, patterns (heather, motley, twill, rayed (striped), quartered or mi-colored, tabby), brocades, and damasks. Exposed stitching should be hand-stitched or appear as such, while hidden seams can be machine stitched. Outfits should represent a coherent and cohesive impression in both time and social status within the context of the group’s portrayal. While not covering every possible variation, a basic outfit is understood as underclothing (a shirt and braies for men, shift or chemise for women), covering for the legs (hosen or stockings), an outer garment (dress, cotehardie, cote, doublet, gown, tunic), turnshoes, and a head covering (hat and/or hood) accessorized by a belt or girdle when appropriate.