Viking costume inspiration: From around the internet

Viking costume inspiration: From around the internet

So the next group of photos are just random photos from around the ‘net.

Viking costume inspiration photo

Viking costume inspiration photo

The first is an underdress, only made interesting by the heavy use of accessories. This would certainly be a less time-consuming costume for me, since I already have a few suitable costume under-dresses. This one is from tumblr, and shows the dress, with one wide waist belt, a torc necklace, another low wrapped belt for the sword, and a bunch of other things. From another photo on the same page, there appears to be a drinking horn and two small pouches hanging from this belt as well. There’s also a fur ‘shawl’ worn over one shoulder, tied with a cross-body tie. In another photo, she’s shown with the same accessories, plus a cloak pin holding the neckline together, a sideless tan apron, broaches with a varied-bead broach half-necklace, and a beaded necklace. It also shows a closer view of her hands, with several rings.

The same link is full of very unrealistic images as well, but also includes this one (which seems very Flemish to me – likely because of the coif..)

Inspiration photo

Inspiration photo

This one has a lot less detail, which makes what is there easier to see – white underdress, shorter dark-green dress, and then a grey (not sideless) over/apron-dress. (with princess – like seaming) Broach-necklace, belt, pouch..

From the ‘Folk Metal and a Pagan Life’ on Facebook came this image:

Image from 'Folk metal and a Pagan life' on Facebook

Image from ‘Folk metal and a Pagan life’ on Facebook

Click for the original version (though I don’t know where they found it…) or lookat a close up of her oval brooch, hair braids, and the trim on her apron by clicking this link. Additionally they’ve loaded up another shot that isn’t as long here, where you can focus a little more on her hair, sword, and jewellery. I did a google image search, and can’t find the original source of the photo unfortunately.

She is wearing what looks like:

  • A close-fitting (likely modern cotton knit) long-sleeved shirt with what appears to be a cowl or fold-over neckline – not at all appropriate, but the overall look still works.
  • A white, sleeveless top (likely also a modern cotton knit). I presume that this was either a choice for modesty because of how low the apron rides, or because it’s actually a dress under the apron.
  • A light, warm brown apron. The closer image makes it look like it’s either a soft wool, or more unlikely, a flannelette. It has a ‘Celtic knot’ type of trim along the top, and two straps held in place by brass-coloured oval brooches. It looks as though the apron is laced closed from the waist to underarm, but is left open below the waist.
  • White underskirt (or, as previously mentioned, this could be a dress)

Her accessories (which is what I think really make the outfit) include:

  • The aforementioned oval brooches
  • A fine silver (?) chain – likely part of her normal attire and not part of the costume
  • A silver-tone pendant. The image isn’t clear, but it resembles a Thunder Cross
  • Silver-tone beads strung on her braids in her hair
  • A fur ‘shawl’ which might be held in place by the brooches as well – there doesn’t seem to be any other obvious way it’s staying on.
  • A gold-tone torc-style bracelet
  • Leaf-shaped earrings
  • A brown bracelet – it looks like one of those gemstone chip ones on an elastic cord
  • Three gold-tone rings
  • A sword
  • A red/brown leather belt
  • An unadorned drinking horn
  • A red tooled-leather pouch
  • And.. what I’m guessing is a white fox-tail

Originally I found this following image on Pinterest, but it’s from a Deviant Art photographer VendelRus; a photo of his wife in garb.

VendelRus's photograph

VendelRus’s photograph

I like this as an overall view of a costume (he also has several close up photographs) showing the underdress, the apron-dress, along with the longer white skirt/dress. There is trim on the apron and the white dress, and then she has three pins, the festoons (half-necklace) of beads, and lots of accessories hung from her fabric belt.

It looks like this next image was loaded directly to Pinterest – because it doesn’t click out anywhere else. Thus, I don’t know anything about it’s origins.  ( I did a Google Image search, and it also only brings up Pinterest listings.)

Image from Pinterest

Image from Pinterest

I actually really like this one for  it’s deceptive simplicity and colour scheme. The woman is wearing a blue (and grey?) undergarment with white trim, then a burgundy garment over that with orange/black/white trim, and topping it off a forest green apron-dress with brown/tan trim and straps, worn with silver-tone tortoise brooches and three strands of beads – with also a cord for her key/knife/etc.  She also has a little drawstring pouch – which I presume is tied to her belt based on where it’s hanging (though I can’t see a belt). Very pretty!

Another image that first came to me via Pinterest was from Hantverkat’s blog.  The photos here are beautiful, and she seems to share a lot of information about her process, but I only have one problem…. the entire blog is in Swedish. Google translate is doing an ok job of translating it for me, but it’s a slow read because the translation isn’t smooth.  I’ll share two photos, not just to see detail, but also to look at the difference in photography…

From Hantverkat's blog

From Hantverkat’s blog

The original image that drew me in is the above. Of course it’s a beautiful photo of a beautiful woman in beautiful garb, but it also has a lot of information visible.  The creator also goes into a lot of detail in her blog post which is extremely helpful too.

From Hantverkat's blog

From Hantverkat’s blog

The next photo I found on her blog, but am equally as interested in it… it really illustrates how important the photography is to the ‘effect’ of the garment as well… While the first photo is inspirational, the second photo just looks like two friends dressed up. I think this is something good to remember – that looking in the mirror or at one photo, doesn’t limit the possibility of the costume.

I really like this costume – breaking it down there are a few differences between the two photos as well though.

Element Top photo (by herself) Second photo (with a friend)
Underdress V-neck orange underdress. In neither photo is it visible if this is long or short sleeved.
She shows off an orange underdress elsewhere in her blog as well, which, for practicality’s sake I can only imagine is the same one.  It has a rounded neckline, is floor-length, with long sleeves.  I suspect the reason that it looks V-neck in this photo is because the width of the chest is wide enough that with the coat over top, there is excess fabric, which has been tucked down into the apron-dress.
Green underdress with a rounded neckline.
Apron-dress Unlike some of the other apron-dresses I’ve seen, hers is long – as long as the underdress. Most of the ones I’ve seen thus far have been shorter.  While this might be less accurate, it’s also very attractive and looks very “flowing”, versus more practical as an actual ‘apron’ or protective garment.The apron dress is green, with a blue/red/yellow trim at the neckline, and a blue/white narrower trim at the hem.The apron-dress is also very full at the hem, likely due to the addition of gores to the skirt.  It’s much fuller than some of the other examples I’ve looked at, and is the one-piece construction.  I can’t see how she arranged her straps. The apron remains the same.
Coat/caftan The coat is a dark red with red/gold trim around the opening and hem. It doesn’t close in the front by the looks of things, so it’s not really a coat.. but not sure what else to call it. She’s also added gold silk to the sleeve cuffs (on her website she describes this as a choice to identify her persona as of higher status) and fur at the cuffs and hem.  She admits that the fur at the cuffs will likely be removed, since it’s impractical for eating etc. She mentions that the coat has gores to increase the hem’s width and add “a light swing”. The coat remains the same.
Cloak She isn’t wearing the cloak in the first photo. The cloak is a rectangle of orange/red woven fabric. Elsewhere in the blog she describes that she wove it herself! (Jealous! I loved weaving…)
Head covering She isn’t wearing a head covering in the first photo, instead her hair is loose and long. In the second photo her hair is tied back, and covered with a (likely) linen cloth.
Jewellery A festoon of light/white beads (primarily) with a golden/bronze-tone round medallion.Bronze-tone tortoise broaches, with attached necklace/festoon hangers.A five-strand festoon of glass beads, in a heavy blue-green colour scheme. There seems to be a spacer bar in the middle connecting all of the strands, and on the bottom strand there are a few circular charms/etc hanging off the bottom.  (The bottom strand also has a stronger red/purple colour scheme by the looks of things.) Strand of brown beads in a short necklace (above the underdress neckline.)The brooches are the same.The colourful festoon is the same.
Other accessories In the first photo I can’t see any additional accessories. In the second photo she also has a long leather belt with a metal buckle, and a drawstring orange pouch hanging from the belt.  The woven fabric on the bottom of the pouch I think is the same as the cloak material – she discusses the pouch a bit in her blog as well.

Her friend in the second photo is beautifully dressed too – but based on the button-up coat and the pleated beret-type of hat, I suspect not intended to be Viking-style.


I’ve collected even more looks and ideas on my Pinterest board – To Holmsgard and Beyond


4 comments on “Viking costume inspiration: From around the internet

  1. SpiralightCostume says:

    This was really interesting!

    The first photo is ‘Myelvenkingdom’ on tumblr ,

    and the third image is ‘thevikingqueen’ on tumblr xx

    I love seeing structural breakdowns on outfits, makes it far easier to design your own with those same aspects n.n x

  2. Dawn says:

    Thanks for the referrals for the tumblr accounts – I get frustrated with tumblr sometimes.
    I like breakdowns too – but I have learned SO much since I started getting this inspiration…. so many of my thoughts were ‘off’ – but they’re all still gorgeous costumes!

  3. Where are you located? Do you do Ren Faires?

    • Dawn says:

      I’m in Alberta, Canada. We don’t have a lot of Ren Faires around here, so I’m not part of any of them. I am part of the Society for Creative Anachronism though.

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