Today when we think about "accessories" we probably think about what pair of shoes goes with a certain dress... and maybe which handbag matches those shoes. Then we may also accessorize a little more by donning a necklace and a pair of earings. One check in the mirror, a quick make-up touch-up (did I say "quick"?), and we are GOOD TO GO! We are simply NOT complete without our accessories. Even the males of our species dare not leave the house without their favorite baseball cap or the gold chain around their necks. What about their favorite sunglasses?... To shield their delicate eyes from the sun?...or because they simply look good? Accessories are NEEDED for us to feel fully dressed I think. Ü
It has been the same down through the ages. People MUST Accessorize! When I think of Medieval times I have to wonder... where would King Arthur be without his Sword? Now to you and ME a sword may not be an Accessory, HOWEVER! I'm pretty sure that the good King would not have left his castle without it! OK...This true that the King MAY have just needed his sword by his side for purposes of personal protection... but WHAT then... was the purpose for the jeweled and beautifully tooled Excalibur and other high-fashioned swords of the day? Could it be that a sword... while hanging at it's masters side... took on the place as a fine piece of jewelry? Heck, I think Excalibur probably made a GRAND Fashion Statement. :-) Aside from necessary weaponry of Medieval days there were plenty of beautiful Amulets and Fancy Bobbles worn by everyone from the Shop Keepers to the Wizardry to the Royalty. "Renaissance and/or Medieval Festivals and Craft Fairs" are a good place to find special additions to your Costumes of those times. Online stores that are listed here are an easy and trouble free way to complete your costume BEFORE you attend the Festivals and Fairs so that you may fit right in as soon as you arrive.
Check out my Renaissance Costumes page for more accessory ideas for that period. There you will find more "Weaponry" of the times also.
When I think of "accessories" for these past times...the first thing that comes to mind is their "weapons". I hope that doesn't say that I am into "violence" because I definately am NOT! I simply think that a firearm was a basic need back then. I dare say that in the Old West there weren't many Gun Slingers..or even Town Sheriff's who went anywhere without their Gun Belts securely attached to their hips. On the gentler side though...they also accessorized with Pocket Watches, some wore Cowboy Hats, some wore Derbys. Women had Hats of all shapes and sizes in the Western era... which hat you wore greatly depended upon your station in life of course.
There are many more Western Accessories on my Western Costumes Page. Links to fine Western Stores also.
On the other side of the spectrum in the days of the Old West there are the Native Americans. Accessories of the Indian Anchestors are many and they took much pride in the beauty of things...even in the making of their weapons. Most things for Native Americans was made of natural things from the earth, or bone or leather from animals killed for their meat, or from feathers. Seed Beads were used to make Jewelry, as well as polished stones and shells. Beads often adorned Ceremonial Dress and Moccasins too. The list of Native American Accessories is LONG and WIDE and I will let the online stores I have listed speak for themselves. Native American Powwows and Native American Festivals and Craft Fairs are also good places to gather some of the Native American Accessories and other beautiful Native American things, old and new, that will add to your Native American Costume.
The Civil War Period is the most HISTORY based of the Costumed Activities I think. By that I mean that it calls for the most "accuracy" in preparation and dressing. Some families have access to old pictures of their relatives from back then and they try to stick closely to what they see in the picture when picking out...or designing...a costume, uniform, or dress. Often times a family will even have the old War Medals worn by the person in the picture. The more REAL the outfit is the better. If "real" isn't an option then "Historically Accurate" is the next best thing. The online stores, for which I have provided links, have what you want or need as far as Civil War Accessories. One good place to find Civil War stuff is at Antique Stores...but of course shoppers must beware of fakes and outragous prices.
A place you may want to start looking for Accessories, if you are doing the Civil War thing as more of a "Costume" affair..in otherwords..not a REAL "serious" occasion...would be the Civil War section at The Costume Zone. You will find caps from both sides, the Blue and the Gray. Lace Parasols for a Southern Belles stroll in the garden. Even a few Civil War Period Firearm Replicas can be found here. You will find MORE Civil War Accessories on my Civil War Costume Page.