King Henry VIII Costume Ideas

Of all William Shakespeare's historical plays, Henry VIII is definitely one of the most blatantly pandering to the crown. The Tudors ostensibly did a better job, but his dynamic reign altered England and the very theological fabric of Europe.

• The Costume

The Tudor period of English history featured some pretty fancy outfits, as the HBO series demonstrated. On the bright side, the man had plenty of portraits made of him, so getting an idea for his ostentatious style isn't hard.

To don the robes of a King of England, you're first start may very well be a Renaissance festival. King Henry VIII's reign coincides with the start of this period in European history, so one of the costume shop sellers at such a festival may very well have the robes, pantaloons, and vested shirts you'll need to pull off the look. You could probably find some fake jewelry to help complete the look as well.

Of course, Reissuance festivals are not a very regular occurrence, and anything of quality found at one will be pretty costly. Thanks to HBO, cheaper, mass produced costumes can probably be found. If you're lucky enough to have an all-year 'round costume shop open in your area, they should be able to help as well. A mass produced costume won't be of the greatest quality and will be pretty generic, and a costume shop won't be cheap.

• Sprucing It Up

Fortunately, there's nothing saying you can't spruce up a cheaper costume or just use parts of other costumes to cobble something together. If you're going to be a king, you can emphasize quality in certain respects to make up for less ornate clothing elsewhere. For example, a cheaper costume set of pants and shirt can be accessorized with a fancy cloaks and jewels.

The reverse of this doesn't quite work, but taking the cheaper route on the cloak is one option. Either way, make sure to take color into account. As mentioned, with so many portraits of the man, it's easy to get a good idea of what he wore. Getting those materials is a whole other ball of wax.

• Final Thoughts

If you're really lucky to have a friend who likes to make period clothing, that's certainly a possibility. Though, as with the festival route, it won't be cheap, even with a friendly discount.

If you're looking to go on the low cost side of such a costume, take a look at everything you'll need, find out what you can get cheap, what you want to get cheap, and what you're willing to pay for to have as a quality part of the costume. However you go about it, it's important to remember that it's good to be the king.

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