All’s Faire in Middle School: Styled by Books + Blog Tour

Ren Faire style is the name of the game for today’s edition of Styled by Books — as part of the blog tour for All’s Faire in Middle School by Victoria Jamieson, a fantastic new middle grade graphic novel about one girl’s struggles to navigate public school for the first time and new responsibilities at the Renaissance Faire where she works with her family.

In addition to styling my own Ren Faire costume to coordinate with the book cover, I’ve also included some tips on places to shop for Ren Faire costume pieces.

I’ve never met a costume-friendly event that I didn’t love, so naturally I’m a big fan of Ren Faires and opportunities to dress up. Because I love these types of events so much — and because my husband and I go to a pirate-themed dress-up ball every year — I’ve accumulated a number of pieces appropriate for a Ren Faire that I can easily mix and match for a different look.

That said, the basic pieces are all the same for us ladies:

  • Blouse or chemise
  • Bodice, vest or corset of some kind
  • Skirt (or multiple skirts for layering, like I’ve done here)

Then mix pieces up, try different layering, and add in some accessories: bags/pouches, belts, jewelry, head pieces, cloaks, shawls, etc.

For the guys, the same basics apply: shirt + vest/tunic + pants/breeches.

HOT TIP! A great place to shop for Ren Faire-style costumes … is at the Ren Faire! Honestly, one of the biggest temptations I face every time we go to a Faire is the vast array of new costume pieces. And for my fellow plus-size ladies … let me assure you, the Ren Faire is very size-inclusive. I’ve found plenty of amazing options in my size and even bigger. (This is true for dudes, too. My husband is a big guy, and he found some amazing pieces, too!)

The Ren Faire is also a great place to shop for various accessories to dress up and personalize your costume. Look for things like hats, crowns, and other headpieces; bags and pouches; jewelry; weapons and tools; and other fun, whimsical items.

That said, here’s where I’ve found the pieces I’m wearing in these photos:

  • My chemise (which is actually about knee length under all that) is from a shop called Celtic Moonlighting. I purchased mine in person at the Oregon Renaissance Faire earlier this year, but they do have a website where you can find their appearance schedule and inquire about ordering.
  • My bodice is from – which is one of my favorite places to order Ren Faire basics online. (The one I’m wearing is their Lady’s Bodice in Twill.) The quality and customer service are both excellent, and while their pieces tend to be pretty no frills, they are fantastic basics which give you great options for mixing and matching. Their selection of chemises, blouses, skirts, and men’s costumes are also excellent — and I’ve ordered all of these things from them in the past.
  • Both of my skirts are actually made by me. I’m not the world’s best seamstress, but I know enough to make my own clothes and costumes when I’m really motivated. Skirts like these are pretty simple to make — especially since I make mine with an elastic waistband! — so I tend to make them myself. (Whereas I prefer paying someone else to do the more labor-intensive work of making shirts and bodices.)
  • My flower crown is also a DIY craft project, but you can find plenty of cool ones online. Aspiring Artista will actually custom make one for you; they’re not listed in her Etsy shop usually, but just send her a private message there and she’ll work with you to create exactly what you want! (Through the end of September, use SARA15 to save 15% on any orders from her shop, including custom.)

Now, if you want an historically accurate costume, there’s a bit more work — and expense — involved. But if, like me, you just want to look cool and feel good, these tips will help get you started on the road to Ren Faire!

Calling all Raina Telgemeier fans! The Newbery Honor-winning author of Roller Girl is back with a heartwarming graphic novel about starting middle school, surviving your embarrassing family, and the Renaissance Faire.

Eleven-year-old Imogene (Impy) has grown up with two parents working at the Renaissance Faire, and she’s eager to begin her own training as a squire. First, though, she’ll need to prove her bravery. Luckily Impy has just the quest in mind—she’ll go to public school after a life of being homeschooled! But it’s not easy to act like a noble knight-in-training in middle school. Impy falls in with a group of girls who seem really nice (until they don’t) and starts to be embarrassed of her thrift shop apparel, her family’s unusual lifestyle, and their small, messy apartment. Impy has always thought of herself as a heroic knight, but when she does something really mean in order to fit in, she begins to wonder whether she might be more of a dragon after all.

As she did in Roller Girl, Victoria Jamieson perfectly—and authentically—captures the bittersweetness of middle school life with humor, warmth, and understanding.


Victoria Jamieson received her BFA in Illustration from the Rhode Island School of Design and worked as a children’s book designer before becoming a full-time illustrator. She has also worked as a portrait artist aboard a cruise ship, and has lived in Australia, Italy, and Canada. She now lives with her family in Portland, Oregon, where she maintains a not-so-secret identity as Winnie the Pow, skater with the Rose City Rollers roller derby league.
Week One:
Week Two:





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