In Ravenworks, it's like "Choose Your Own Adventure." You can start as a noble lady of the royal court and then turn into a raffish lady pirate of the high seas - like I did in my recent visit to this costume specialty shop.
Opened last January in Westgate Mall by former cop Raven Albrecht, Ravenworks sells historically accurate and just-for-fun Renaissance-era clothing and accessories as well as other period pieces. Although she mostly caters to Renaissance fair enthusiasts, "faire wear" is also popular for weddings and Halloween.
And Albrecht's passion for Renaissance history can help you create a great costume and character.
New to the faire wear scene, I ran with Albrecht's suggestions, first trying on a regal, deep burgundy noblewoman's gown and chemise ($250). While that looked nice, she thought I should go rogue, and I felt great when I became a pirate in black stretch pants, a poet shirt and thigh-high boots ($150).
The prices of the costumes vary; Renaissance rookies can get affordable and suitable gowns as well ($30). Ravenworks' historical costumes fit all personalities. Men can be knights, Vikings or peasants. Women can become royalty, merchants or belly dancers. Children's sizes are also available.
Then there are the accessories, which can look good with a costume or even on their own. Ravenworks offers headpieces, kilts and swords, which could add about $150 to any costume. There's locally made art and jewelry and cape-like ruanas ($65-$125).
Ravenworks has a dedicated customer base, and Albrecht plans to host a Renaissance fair in December with a banquet, games, music and even an actress portraying Queen Elizabeth I.
I certainly had fun - and I found out I make one jaunty pirate.
Ravenworks: Westgate Mall, 608-630-2348, www.ravenworksip.com
Tues.-Fri. 11:30 am-8 pm, Sat. 11 am-6 pm, Sun. noon-5 pm