Basic Dark Ages Costume

The do's and Dont's of Dark Ages Costumes


In the Grey Company there are four ‘warbands’ (Vikings, Saxons, Celts and Saracens) dating from 600 AD to 1100 AD. A basic outfit for any of these will consist of a tunic, pants, boots and belt. Depending on the weather, a cloak for winter or a mantle to keep the sun off in summer is advisable.

Before we go any further here are a few Do’s and Don’ts.


  • Use old army blankets for warm cloaks.
  • Get decorative material and cut into strips to make your own braid as bought braid is expensive.
  • Sometimes the cheap material at fabric shops is ideal for us; for example the general public wouldn’t dare make something out of big red and white stripes.
  • Use plainer materials for the tunics and striped material for the pants, or vice versa.


  • Don’t wear tracksuit pants!!
  • No iridescent colours – remember only natural dyes were available back then!
  • Watch the type of material – no stretch knits or obviously synthetic fabrics (unless it is very hard to tell the difference).

To get reasonably cheap material try the local markets. Spotlight and Lincraft are national fabric retailers. For more detailed information on what to look for when buying your fabric refer to the Fabrics and Colour section.

Your approximate fabric requirements are (based on 115cm wide fabric … beware as fabric comes both wider and narrower):

Pants: Twice your leg length plus extra for hems

Tunics: Double the desired length. If you want long sleeves get 1 metre extra

Fitted Dress: About 5 metres

Mantle: 2 metres, lining extra

Cloak: 3 to 8 metres depending on the height of the person and fullness of the cloak.