Medieval: A period of European history encompassing the 5th to the 15th centuries, its earliest years are sometimes known as the Dark Ages due to the breakdown in governance and learning following the collapse of the Western Roman Empire. The Middle Ages succeeded the Dark Ages, and saw the re-growth of cities, the building of the great Gothic cathedrals, crusading fervor, and the rise of new nations--along with the Black Plague, endemic warfare, and other misfortunes. Iconic figures: Robin Hood, Maid Marian, King Arthur, Leif Ericson, Joan of Arc. To see our selection of Medieval garb, click here.
Celtic: Settled throughout Europe since ancient times, the Celts were respected for their prowess in war and the arts. Pushed to the fringes of Western Europe by successive invaders and greatly diminished in numbers and power, the Celts nevertheless clung to their distinctive languages and traditions. Areas with notable Celtic cultures today include Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Brittany. Iconic figures: Robert the Bruce, Queen Boudicca (Boadicea), William Wallace, Grace O'Malley. To see our selection of Celtic garb, click here.
Renaissance: The mid-15th through the mid-17th centuries in Europe saw the renaissance, or rebirth, of learning in Western Europe, principally due to the spread of printed works, and geographic discoveries by daring ocean voyagers. This was an age of new inventions such as the telescope, of religious strife that colored constant struggles amongst the European nations, and of great artists, poets and musicians. The colonization of the New World begins in this era. Iconic figures: King Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, Leonardo Da Vinci, Shakespeare, Pocahontas. To see our selection of Renaissance garb, click here.
Pirate: Pirates have troubled seafarers since ancient times, but the high tide of piracy is generally considered to be the late 17th to the early 18th centuries. During those years merchants crossing the Atlantic were plagued by pirates, and some ports, especially in America, were virtually closed by their menace. The problem was worsened by the wartime practice of legalized piracy known as privateering. Finally a determined effort on the part of national navies exterminated the great pirate captains such as Bartholemew Roberts and Edward Teach along with much of their crews. Iconic figures: Blackbeard (Edward Teach), Captain William Kidd, Captain Henry Morgan, Anne Bonney. To see our selection of pirate garb, click here.
Victorian: Taking its name from Great Britain's Queen Victoria, who reigned from 1837-1901, the Victorian Era was marked throughout Europe and North America by rapid industrialization, competition among the European nations for overseas colonies, inequality and social strife, and great advances in science and technology. Railways, steamships, steam-powered airships, telephones, electric lights, and innumerable other inventions came into use or were first envisioned in this period. Iconic figures: Charles Darwin, Abraham Lincoln, Susan B. Anthony, Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, Annie Oakley. To see our selection of Victorian garb, click here.
Steam Punk: This genre melds Victoriana with retro mechanical fantasy. Still very much in a freewheeling stage, the basic look is 19th-early 20th century, with a garnish of goggles, gears, and assorted accoutrements of brass and leather as intricate as the wearer can devise. Iconic literature/movies: The Wild, Wild West, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Cowboys and Aliens, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, The Time Machine. To see our selection of Steam Punk garb, click here
Gothic: In the 1980’s, this youth subculture spread quickly from its roots in the British punk-rock clubs to Europe, the U.S. and beyond. The go-to word for this genre is “dark.” While never a serious social influence, Goth style has been a remarkably creative force in terms of music and art. The original inclination to black clothing, hair and nails persists, but the ripped fishnet stockings and safety pins through the nose are long outdated. Today’s Goth goes for lots of leather: pants, gloves, corsets, boots, coats—and metal: chains, piercings, buckles and studs. Think Victorian bawdy house masquerading as a death metal club haunted by vampires. Which is not to say that Goth culture is relentlessly nihilistic; Gomez and Morticia have a place, too. Goth and Steam Punk interests often overlap, and the two subcultures borrow freely from one another. Iconic Goth movies: Underworld; Edward Scissorhands; The Crow; The Addams Family. To see our selection of Gothic garb, click here.