Video Tutorial: Sizing Yourself for a Bodice

A properly fitted bodice is snug enough to offer support, but not so restrictive as to inhibit movement or breath.  Bodices can be cinched fully closed, laced so that the edges of the bodice overlap, or laced so that there is some space in between each edge of the bodice.  Typically we like to keep the separation between bodice panels under two inches at each point of adjustability, for comfort.  

Bodices are very adjustable and fit a wide range of body types and sizes within each size of bodice.  This can make it difficult to choose a size for yourself online, without the ability to be fitted by our wonderfully helpful shop girls.  

We have developed a system to help walk you through measuring yourself and selecting a size, but if you’re confused or uncertain as to your size we highly recommend emailing and discussing sizing options with us first. 

Our bodices are sized based on your ribcage.  Your cup size (the size of your breasts) does not have much significance in sizing for our bodices. 

To measure your ribcage place the measuring tape around your body at the widest point of your ribcage, typically just beneath your bust. 

Measuring yourself for a bodice is not the same as measuring yourself for pattern making or for shopping for traditional clothing.  When measuring for traditional fit, you would rest with a neutral breath: neither inhaling to an expanded ribcage or exhaling to a contracted ribcage.  HOWEVER, when measuring for a bodice you want to be sure the garment has a range of adjustability to offer the proper amount of support. 

So, to measure your ribcage for a bodice follow these steps:

  1. Stand up straight.
  2. Exhale completely and contract your ribcage.
  3. Measure your chest around the widest part of your ribcage, just beneath your bust. Measuring where the underwire on your bra hits is a good reference point. When measuring pull the tape snug. You want it to be tight, but not so tight that it is uncomfortable.  
  4. Check the measurement and write this number down. 
  5. Look at our sizing chart. The colored blocks represent the full range of adjustability within each size. The light purple blocks are the measurements in which the bodice will fit, but it will be laced with overlapping boning.  The dark purple blocks represent the optimal size range for the bodice.  The red blocks represent the maximum size that the bodice can expand to. As you can see, there is a lot of overlap within each size.  Select the size in which your measurement falls within the dark purple blocks, or if your measurement does not fall in any of the dark purple blocks, select the size that your measurement is closest to the dark purple blocks.  If your measurement is smaller than the colored blocks the bodice will not fit snuggly no matter how tightly it is laced.  If your measurement is larger than the colored blocks the bodice will be expanded so much to fit that it will begin to be uncomfortable.  

When ordering your bodices online we ask that you tell us the measurement you noted, as well as the size you’ve selected. We do this to evaluate your size selection and hopefully catch incorrectly ordered bodices before they ship. We are a small company and cannot support the costs in production and shipping we have had to spend on incorrectly sized bodices in recent months. Thanks for your cooperation! 

Working with Neutrals

Today’s post was written by Indigo, a long time Unicorn from our Maryland Shoppe, with edits by Erica.

As promised, welcome to our post on working with neutral colors!

In a world of glitz and glam, neutral colors may seem like background noise.  But these soothing, subtle, sophisticated colors are nothing to ignore. Use them independently, or use them as a base to guide and enhance bold accent colors.  The right neutral can change the entire mood of a palette. 

So what are neutral colors anyway? Neutrals are inspired by nature. But unlike earth tones which can be bold like fire and vivid like the setting sun, neutrals are softer. They are soothing, gentle, and lacking in the intensity of earth tones. Neutral colors range the spectrum of natural colors, from the palest tints to darkest shades.  For our purposes, natural colors mean creams, browns, yellows, greens and greys. We include white and black in our neutral selections, though technically they’re their own beast.  Not all yellows and greens are neutrals. Yellows leaning towards brown, like mustard and ochre, could be considered neutrals; while sunshine yellow is not.  Greens tending towards grey, like olive or oak moss could be considered neutrals, while emerald green is not.  Colors that lack sharp visual contrast are more likely to be neutrals.

Historically, neutral colors were the easiest to replicate, so they were the first dyes discovered and used. Eventually folks became better at replicating bolder colors, and our clothing became brighter and more vibrant.  Though, as you’d expect, those bold colors came with a high price tag, so neutrals became the domain of less wealthy folks, whereas the bright bold colors (especially purple, red, and blue) were the domain of the nobility and the elite. If you’re trying to create a simple peasant-style outfit, stick to neutrals! 

By the Victorian Era dark neutrals like black, charcoal, olive and navy became the popular color choices.  Several generations later, during the time spanning both World Wars, neutrals had again gained popularity.  For most of history, really, neutrals gained prominence during times of war, restraint, and rationing. In times of peace, plenty, and excess, bright rich colors led the way. In recent times, the choice of neutrals most often reflects modern minimalism, sophistication, and clean simplicity.  

Now let’s take a look at how you can use neutrals in your garb and costuming today. 

Like all colors, neutrals fall into two categories: cool colors and warm colors. Cool colors have blue and purple hues.  Warm colors have red, orange, and yellow hues. Green is the tie-breaker color, and can be cool or warm depending on whether it is more blue leaning or yellow leaning. Cool neutrals are colors like grey and black. Warm neutrals are colors like cream and brown. For a harmonizing look, combine cool neutrals with cool colors and warm neutrals with warm colors. For a more contrasting pop, combine a cool neutral with a warm color or a warm neutral with a cool color. The great thing about neutrals is that they can be paired with just about anything without clashing.  

It used to be written in stone that brown and black simply did not mix, nor did cream and white. That is less strictly followed now. And don’t forget- as far as we’re concerned if you do it with Intention and Joy, you’re doing it right! So mix those colors! 

Hopefully you understand neutral colors in fashion better now. We’ll wrap things up with some tips for using neutrals in your next Unicorn Clothing ensemble: 

  • Lighten an outfit up with a cream or white blouse. Lighter neutrals lift and accentuate all the colors of an outfit. 
  • Similarly, you can darken an outfit by using a black blouse.
  • If you’ve picked a bodice or belt with some neutral colors in it, try to match those neutrals in the skirts. 
  • Use black as the bottom skirt to ground an outfit and divert attention away from the bottom. 
  • In general we structure our outfits from lightest color to darkest, from top to bottom, to flatter the wearer. 
  • If you’re unsure of what colors you’d like to pursue, or you’re looking for some simple separates that will mix-and-match well with a variety of other pieces…start with neutrals! 
  • Steampunk style is basically Victorian Era garb in predominantly creams and browns. 

Prefer to listen rather than read? Find our Podcast Mane Street Chronicles on Spotify and enjoy our articles audibly instead!

January 2021 Newsletter

Welcome to 2021 with Unicorn Clothing

What to Say About the State of a Renaissance Business Today?

I started Unicorn Clothing based on the popularity of an item I had designed for myself  decades ago. Friends began suggesting I could sell such an item in a handcrafted market setting which was readily available in craft fairs locally and otherwise. After all, it was the often outrageous 1970s where novel ideas and new directions were welcomed. So, why not explore this unusual and fanciful world known as the Renaissance Festival with all it’s color, excitement and thematic pageantry? In the many years since, Unicorn Clothing has become a successful merchant at five Renaissance Festivals and has grown into a well regarded boutique business.

Fast forward to 2020 and that world–like so many we had come to know and love—came to a screeching halt with the pandemic lockdowns. Renaissance Festivals are the epitome of large gatherings and as such will be among the last events to reopen. Festival after festival was cancelled in 2020 and this trend continues to plague the spring 2021 calendar as well. Rather than the intermittent closures suffered by many businesses, the in-person retail experience for Renaissance Festival merchants has been consistently unavailable.

Like many small business owners, I have had to become even more creative in order to survive. But creative, after all, is what we do and what we have always done. I have chosen to continue the production aspect of Unicorn Clothing so I could save a few jobs. This has been costly and difficult as you might well imagine. Fortunately I have two important positives in a world that has become mostly negative— my loyal customers and festival fans, and my very creative and devoted marketing expert, Erica.

Reaching people, fans, customers, and even just the curious via online venues is more important than ever since it can provide much needed sales and revenue while keeping us all safer than gathering in person. Please help small businesses who are struggling to stay solvent and relevant in these strange times by supporting  their online presence, ordering goods from them and telling your friends about such opportunities.

I thank you in advance for any support you can offer as we explore other new and exciting venues.

– Teri Evans, Owner and Founder of Unicorn Clothing

What can you do?

Many of our loyal patrons have wondered how they can best help the artisans they have come to know and love. Shopping our online stores is certainly important, but now more than ever we need you to be our cheerleaders!

Like and follow your favorite artists on social media. Comment on their posts, and remain engaged with their pages. We love hearing from you! It helps keep up our spirits and enthusiasm while we take this crash course in online selling.  And it helps us stay relevant in the algorithms that sites like Facebook and Instagram use to decide who gets shown in the Newsfeeds.  

Browse our websites often. We are making frequent updates the more we learn.  Share links to your favorite items on your own pages so your network of friends can see us where they might otherwise not.  Sharing links and posts, commenting, and helping us promote our online presence is the new window shopping.  It is so so important, and really helps us feel connected to our community while we wait patiently for the festivals to open up again.  

We can’t do this without you.  Thanks so much for hanging in there with us. 

– Erica Hession, Director of Marketing, Merchandising, and Design for Unicorn Clothing 

Choosing Colors for Your Ensemble

Today’s post was written by Indigo, a long time Unicorn from our Maryland Shoppe, with edits by Erica.

I love colors. I love working with color, and exploring the different ways colors can be combined. I love all the variety of colors we supply at Unicorn Clothing. Sometimes all those choices can be overwhelming though! The largest part of my job is usually instructing customers on color theory and suggesting color combinations. This is also my favorite part of my job, because I like to think I have a good eye for what fabrics we have available, and how those colors can be worked into outfits. For example, sometimes we don’t have forest green, but a sage would be a nice addition in place of it!

Before we explore more ways to work with colors when picking out your next Unicorn Clothing ensemble, lets review some basic color theory. We all remember the color wheel from elementary art class. It focuses on the three primary hues of blue, yellow, and red. Between those, you have the secondary hues; green, orange and purple. Does it make sense how blue and yellow make green, so green is between those two? Excellent. 

You may have noticed we switched to the word “hue” instead of “color.” Let me introduce our first new color word. Color is a very general word used to mean any visible point on the light spectrum. Burgundy, red, pink, yellow, mustard…they’re all colors. For our purposes here, we will use hue to mean the specific color family the color is based in, and it is one of the six primary and secondary colors. So those are our six basic hues. We’ll introduce some more color words later on, but that’s a good place to start.

If you look at the color wheel we have, you’ll notice that red is opposite of green, blue is opposite of orange, and yellow is opposite of purple. These color matches are known as Complementary Colors. They go together nicely because they don’t have any hues in common. When selecting colors for your outfit, one palette you could use is the complementary palette (a palette is a range of colors used by an artist.) For example, if you like yellow, you can pair that with purple for a bold complementary outfit.

Another possible palette is the analogous palette. This means taking colors that are next to each other on the color wheel. For example, if blue is your main color, you can add green and/or purple because they fall next to each other. These are fun if you want to focus on a season or an element for an outfit idea. For example red, orange, and yellow are suitable for an autumn or fire theme. Blue, green, and purple, suggest a water theme.

Another idea is to pull from the monochromatic color palette. This is when you focus on many different tints, tones, or shades of one color. This is a great way to create a look if you have a favorite color or a color you know looks good on you!

Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! What are all those color words I just dropped there? Tints are variations of a color with only white added. They make for lighter paler colors, like pastels. Tones are variations of a color with only grey added. They make for dulled, complex, sophisticated colors. Shades are variations of a color with only black added. They make for darker richer colors.

Tints, tones, and shades help you define the mood or personality of your outfit. Unadulterated hues are often viewed as childlike for their bright boldness. Heavily tinted pastel colors are often used in the spring and for youthful outfits. Heavily toned colors are considered complex and pleasing to the eye. They are often used in modern color palettes. Heavily shaded colors can be used to create darkened outfits that can either feel sinister, or elegant and romantic.

As a side note, all black fabric is actually just an extremely dark shade of one of the basic hues. It has not yet been possible to create a true black fabric dye. So even in creating an all black ensemble, the basic rules of color theory must be followed! Is it a red hued black? Or a blue hued black? True color connoisseurs will know!

That’s enough color theory to get you started. Once you know what colors you like, and what mood or theme you’d like to emulate, it’s time to start playing with combinations! If you’ve noticed…pretty much anything goes as long as you like it, you do it with intention, and you’re confident about your choices. We love colors, remember! We can make anything work.

But wait! What about neutrals, you may be thinking? And how do I know what will look good on me? We’ll explore those topics in future posts. For now, have fun enjoying the color spectrum with us!

Prefer to listen rather than read? Find our Podcast Mane Street Chronicles on Spotify and enjoy our articles audibly instead!

What’s in a Name?

Sometimes in trying to do something good, you end up doing things that aren’t great. Intention is important, but we’re all a part of this ever changing world, and we must always be willing to change and grow.  Being well intentioned in a vacuum is little better than being willfully ignorant, and when you learn better, you shouldn’t be too proud or fixed in your ways to do better. 

Before starting Unicorn Clothing, founder and owner Teri Evans traveled the world, lived abroad, and studied world cultures and philosophies. Unicorn Clothing was founded in 1973 and joined their first Renaissance Festival in 1978. Somewhere along the line between then and now Teri designed two of our most long lasting items: the Gypsy Blouse and the Gypsy Skirt.  When she designed and named them she wanted to tip her hat to the free-spirited, exotic, colorful, somewhat wild, anything but mundane Romani people that the items were modeled after. When she chose those names, for better or worse “Gypsy” was the best name available to refer to the culture of travelers that spans countries, continents, and centuries. 

But somewhere between then and now, it became apparent that “Gypsy” was more frequently used worldwide as a derogatory name; as a slur and an insult to an entire peoples. And we aren’t about that game.  At Unicorn Clothing we want to honor and embrace all cultures, now and throughout history. 

So we’ve decided it’s about time we renamed the Gypsy Blouse and the Gypsy Skirt (also commonly known as the Three-Tiered Skirt.) 

Most of our other women’s items have been given ladies’ names as a cute and concise way to differentiate them, and we wanted to bring these two items in line with the rest. So we decided the best way to continue to honor the culture that inspired them was to name them after notable Romani women. 

To that end, may we introduce you to the newly renamed, but perpetually well loved, Nina Blouse and Esma Skirt.  

The Nina Blouse is named after Nina Dudarova.  Born in Russia in the early 1900’s, Nina became a notable writer and scholar of Romani culture.  She was one of the first Roma women to become published, and boy did she publish a lot in her illustrious career. She wrote fiction, dictionaries, textbooks, and plays.  Nina is well deserving of the honor we can bestow upon her by naming our most popular peasant style blouse, previously known as the Gypsy Blouse, after her. 

The Esma Skirt is named after Esma Redzepova-Teodosievska. Esma was an incredible musician, dancer, vocalist, songwriter, and artist. For this, she was known as the Queen of the Gypsies during her extensive career as a performer. She brought Roma music and dance to pop culture with her fusion of western pop and traditional Roma and Macedonian musical styles. She too is a powerful woman and we are honored to name a skirt after her. 

We hope you’ll join us in welcoming these new names to our line up. It’s important to remain an active supporter of diversity and cultural celebration now and always.  

Thanks for growing with us all these years, and we look forward to seeing you in the lanes again soon enough. 

Until next time.


Prefer to listen rather than read? Find our Podcast Mane Street Chronicles on Spotify and enjoy our articles audibly instead!

Not Just For Faire

Welcome back to the Mane Street Chronicles, and welcome to our last installment in our Slow Fashion series. We hope you’ve enjoyed it! I’ve certainly enjoyed writing it and I’m excited to launch into some new topics next week!

So. How to wrap up Slow Fashion? I think it is time to talk about a topic that is near and dear to us, and has been for several years. It isn’t the first time we’ve touched on it, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. 

What is the topic?

We call it “Not Just for Faire.” 

That sounds fun, but what do we mean?

We mean taking our favorite pieces of garb and breaking the “costume barrier” by incorporating them into our every day wardrobes.  This concept is particularly meaningful in the context of capsule collections and Slow Fashion, which is why we are touching on it today. We love our fluffy skirts, our lightweight cotton blouses, our cozy fleece wraps, and more. All of that can easily be worked into your daily wardrobe, with a few key accessories. And viola! Your sultry pirate queen has suddenly become a stylish boho chic socialite. I’ll go over some ideas here, but definitely check out the video on our YouTube Channel too, for some great examples on how to incorporate your garb into your every day style. 

1) Peasant Blouses

Our ladies blouses are always an easy go to for your ‘not just for faire’ looks.  Soft cotton, off the shoulder, loose fitting blouses were a staple of the 60’s hippie era.  They had a resurgence in the early 2000’s when the styles from the 60’s and 70’s circled back around.  And now again they’re gaining traction in mainstream fashion under the vintage and bohemian aesthetics.

Pair your Unicorn Clothing blouses with a chunky leather belt and your favorite jeans or leggings for an easy, breezy, comfortable look.  Or, if you want something a little more fitted, without the belt, our Carmelita blouse with elastic at the waist is just the thing. 

It’s easy to picture the beachy relaxed look of a peasant blouse in the summer. But they make a great cozy layer in the fall too, especially when paired with a chunky scarf. 

2) Rani Dress

Our Rani Dress is so cute it deserves its own category.  This dress can go so many different directions with the right accessories. Pair it with a leather belt and cowboy boots for a Southwest look.  Cavalier boots, some chunky jewelry, and a cardigan make it more urban chic. A skinny patent leather belt, lacy tights, and heels and you’ll give off some excellent witchy gothic vibes.  I could go on, but you get the idea.

3) Belts and Bodices

Our Artemis Belts and Princess or Courtier Bodices work great with your modern collection too.  These pieces are definitely a little more avant garde, but I know every one of you has the edge to pull it off. I believe in you! Pair these structured pieces with an oversized men’s button up shirt or t-shirt for an urban artistic look.  The belts especially are a great way to add structure to any loose fitting modern dress. 

4) Fleece Outerwear

Cozy is always in style.  This winter, consider a stylish cape instead of a cumbersome coat. Fall 2020 Fashion Week showed many top designers showcasing an elegant cape on the runway. Add some oversized sunglasses and you’re ready for the day. 

5) Gauze Coat

Our gauze coat is a loose fitting robe that was designed as a part of our Moroccan Dreams collection. But as a casual oversized jacket it fits right in with edgy urban trends.  Pair it with a camisole and skinny jeans for a blaise boho look. Pair a black one with some flannel and combat boots to tap into the 90’s grunge chic that’s been having a resurgence in recent years. Yep, ‘grunge chic’. I said it. Street style is weird these days. But all I know is these maxi layers are hitting the runway hard right now with floor length, oversized trench coats showing up alongside capes and chunky jackets. This season is a great time to add a gauze coat to your collection of favorites. 

6) Three Tiered Skirts

This is an easy one. Who doesn’t love a flowy cotton skirt on those perfect spring days? Tap into your inner earth child with these tiered skirts. 

7) Harem Pants

Similar to the full length Tiered Skirts, our Harem Pants make an easy relaxed layer for that hippie girl look. Pair with sandals and a camisole in the warmer weather, or a fitted long sleeved shirt with an oversized sweater in the fall. 

8) Avalon Overskirts 

As you can see, almost any of your favorite Unicorn Clothing pieces can be turned into a regular part of your every day wardrobe with the right accessories. It’s all about attitude and creativity! I could go on forever, but not to worry I’ll stop here. I’m sure before too long I’ll find some reason to create even more “Not Just For Faire” outfit ideas. For now though, we’ll wrap up with the Avalon Overskirt.  This asymmetrical handkerchief style skirt is great with leggings, sure, but did you know it can be worn as a top too? Wear the waist over one shoulder and belt the rest to your body for shape and suddenly this simple skirt is a stunning blouse. 

Ok. Ok. I’ll stop. Really. Now it’s your turn! What cute, clever, creative ways have you incorporated your Unicorn Clothing garb into your wardrobe?

Send us photos, videos, and suggestions! We can’t wait to hear from you.


Prefer to listen rather than read? Find our Podcast Mane Street Chronicles on Spotify and enjoy our articles audibly instead!

Slow Fashion Through The Ages

Welcome back to the Mane Street Chronicles! Today we are going to look at Slow Fashion throughout history. 

Though in that sense, perhaps Slow Fashion should just be called ‘traditional fashion.’ Or maybe ‘renaissance fashion.’ Not because it is mirroring cuts and styles from the Renaissance time period, but because a ‘renaissance’ is a renewed/revived interest in something, and the concept of Slow Fashion is certainly a renewed way of viewing and interacting with clothing that was once common place for most of history before being lost during the industrial revolution. 

I would say that the 1950’s was the turning point when Fast Fashion became the norm.  Around the 1950’s there was an explosion in marketing and a Consumer Culture was born.  Suddenly shoppers found themselves being egged-on by marketing agencies. Encouraged to try to keep up with their neighbors they constantly sought to display always newer, better, more stylish purchases- from clothes, to cars, to furniture and home decor. 

Looking earlier, there was certainly a period of overlap between Slow and Fast fashion.  The early 1900’s showed a transition to factory production brought on by the industrial revolution.  Suddenly clothing could be made in bulk and conformity at a price everyone could afford. For the first time the middle and lower class could have a say in deciding fashion trends, and they could have more than one or two sets of clothing. 

Before that fashion was dictated by the nobility and the wealthy elite. Were there a great many things wrong with this arrangement? Certainly, but that is not the focus of this article.  And in regards to Slow Fashion at least, times were better back then. 

We can pull examples of Slow Fashion pre-industrial revolution from both the realities and practicalities of time, and from laws enacted by the church and state. 

Practically speaking, all fabric and garment notions (buttons, lacings, thread, etc) were made by hand. Every aspect was hands on: growing the cotton or linen, raising the sheep for wool, processing, spinning, weaving, dyeing, sewing, and more. This gave a much greater appreciation for the materials, and made the price of clothing much more expensive, comparatively, than modern day. For this reason, many things were done to preserve one’s garments. 

For example, many pieces of a lady’s dress were detachable and interchangeable.  Parts of a dress were all separate pieces: the bodice, skirts, overcoat, etc. Sleeves could be removed so a dress could be worn in all seasons.

Also, a lady always wore several skirts.  The nicest skirt was worn as the top layer, with the hem pinned or tied up to keep it clean and out of the mud.  Petticoats and older skirts were worn underneath so a lady’s modesty could be maintained.  But even these skirts often had an extra piece of fabric sewn to the bottom hem so that just that piece could be replaced as it became dirtied and worn out from constantly dragging through the mud and getting stepped on while she walked.  Women who had to work also wore an apron overtop their nicest skirt to keep it from getting dirtied during her chores. 

Young girls wore dresses with thick hems that could be let out for added length as they grew.  Alternatively, as a dress became too short for modesty, panels were sewn to the bottom hem to add length.  

Most ladies had a hand in making their own clothes, or had a personal tailor to do the sewing for them. For that reason dresses could often be modified as trends changed. While the basic silhouette may remain the same, perhaps the cut of a sleeve or neckline might change from one season to the next. Rather than purchase an entirely new dress, women would update their current wardrobe to reflect the new trends. Even once they were done with a dress it was not simply discarded.  If it had been adorned with real pearls or gem stones these would be carefully unstitched and saved for use on a future dress.  Then the dress could be sold, or gifted to a younger family member or even, on occasion, to a servant. Gifts to servants tended to be smaller however: a pair of gloves, a handkerchief, or a fichus (the small thin piece of white cloth or lace worn around a lady’s neck acting as a bit of modesty necessary when bodice necklines were indecorously low). For the lower classes, how a belt was worn- at the waist or hips for example- was a simple way to keep up with current trends without needing to modify existing garments or buy new ones. 

Certain laws also leaned in favor of Slow Fashion. These Sumptuary Laws were most popular in England during the reigns of King Henry and Queen Elizabeth. They dictated what fabrics, colors, designs, and accessories the various classes were permitted to wear.  Though these laws were in place to maintain societal hierarchies and distinguish between the classes, they also had benefits to Slow Fashion.  For example, only certain nobility could wear certain furs- thus preventing the over hunting of those animals.  There were laws on the amount of fabric permitted to be used in particular garments. In a culture where your clothing said a lot about your wealth and status, people certainly would have been tempted to dress to excess if not restrained.  Often an overarching goal of the Sumptuary Laws was to encourage purchasing textiles and accessories made within the country, rather than importing foreign items, and supporting the local economies. That all sounds very Slow Fashion indeed. 

Special and ceremonial attire was often seen as antiquated or traditional when compared to current fashions. This was because these pieces were worn infrequently and therefore updated more slowly. 

The list goes on. But from these examples, as you can see, Slow Fashion was the norm up until the early 1900’s where it began picking up speed until it reached the break neck fast fashion culture we have today. There have always been outliers: the hippies of the 60’s and punks of the 80’s certainly didn’t conform to society’s Fast Fashion standards.  But it wasn’t until the early 90’s that Slow Fashion began reclaiming any noticeable share of the fashion marketplace. Even today it is far less well known than it should be. But hopefully as we move towards greener, more ethical, and environmentally sustainable choices overall, the fashion industry will be pulled along as well. 

Certainly 2020 has seen a break in the Fast Fashion carousel. Thanks to the global pandemic, fashion shows canceled around the world. Designers didn’t release collections. With no where to go and Be Seen, overall purchasing in the fashion markets dropped significantly. Perhaps this is the pause for breath we have needed. Perhaps this is the year to evaluate your closets and your habits. Build that capsule collection. Learn how to sew and start mending those worn out favorites before casting them aside. Decide what your style IS, not what you’re told it should be. And move forward into the future with new priorities and goals for a healthier Slow Fashion mentality. Just a thought.

Tune in next time while we explore the final piece in our Slow Fashion series: Not Just For Faire. We’ll show you how to use your Unicorn Clothing pieces all the time!

See you then!


Prefer to listen rather than read? Find our Podcast Mane Street Chronicles on Spotify and enjoy our articles audibly instead!

Style Versus Fashion, Trends, and Capsule Collections

Welcome back to the Mane Street Chronicles! Today we’re going to look at Slow Fashion in context of style, fashion, and trends. As a quick reminder, Slow Fashion is a way to approach clothing choices that is more sustainable for the environment, local economies, and communities. If you’re just tuning in, check out our first article “What is Slow Fashion?” and the follow up “Slow Fashion and Unicorn Clothing” to learn more. 

Slow Fashion is a way to build on your own independent personality and style. It has longevity and is filled with intentional choices. This is compared to fast fashion and the chasing of every latest trend, whether you even like it or not. Trends are shapes and cuts of clothing and accessories that become popular very quickly and fade into outdated obscurity just as quickly. Think cut out shoulders, wide belts, espadrilles, gaucho pants and skinny jeans. Fashion is an unbroken train of trends stacked one on the next backwards in time. It is also very culturally specific. Western fashion is very different from Southeast Asian fashion, for example, and though there is some overlap now with modern global connectivity, their histories and futures are still very different. 

So trends make up fashion. But what about style? What do we mean when we say style and fashion? Aren’t those the same thing? Not even close!

Style is personal and timeless. It is your way of presenting your personality and individuality through the art of dressing yourself.  Style is forever. It prioritizes the things that are important to you. It can be comfortable or well tailored, modesty or edgy, reflect a culture or era you find significant, or even just be about a particular color palette. Some style examples might be “classy” or “witchy” or “hippie” or “street.” You pick and choose the trends that work for you, your personal mission statement, and your body type; and you stick with them for as long as they make you happy. 

Fashion, on the other hand, is all about the present time. It looks at the most popular way of dressing in a certain era, and it is constantly on the move.  Fashion used to move more slowly.  The same trends stuck around for years with minor variations from one season to the next. Think, “Edwardian Era”, “Victorian Era”, “Mod” from the 60’s, or “Flapper” from the ‘20s. As the industrial age and mass production picked up speed, so did the world of fashion. Now, modern fashion is ravenously fast. Trends come and go in a matter of weeks.  If you’d like to explore the speed of fashion through history, tune in soon when we look at Slow Fashion Through the Ages in a future article. 

The speed of modern fast fashion is designed to be overwhelming.  The fashion industry wants the consumer to chase after every new trend, and feel a sense of inadequacy if they can’t keep up. Yuck!

That’s not to say as a slow fashion advocate you can’t ever enjoy a new trend or keep up with current fashions. The trick is to establish a versatile Capsule Collection as a base, and incorporate thoughtfully chosen current fashion pieces in from there. Capsule Collection is not a concept we created. It is a pretty popular term in the world of Slow Fashion used to mean a small, dense collection of your favorite pieces, chosen for their versatility and longevity. It is a few pieces that can be mixed-and-matched interchangeably to create completely different looks, maybe with the addition of a key accessory or two. 

At Unicorn Clothing it is easy to build a Capsule Collection. Many of our pieces are designed to be versatile. Our bodices and belts, for example, are all reversible so you have two fabric options in one garment.  They’re also so adjustable they can remain a useful part of your wardrobe even if your weight or body shape fluctuates frequently.  A couple of blouses, a bodice or two, a coat, and a handful of skirts and you can have an endless variety of outfits.  Check out our Youtube Channel where we have tons of useful videos, including one where we make a Capsule Collection and use the same seven pieces to create nine different outfits, with more possibilities not even explored!

Because all our pieces are separates that work best when layered, our pieces have the added benefit of being a useful part of your modern wardrobe as well, and “Not Just for Faire” as we like to say.  Stay tuned for a future article as we explore just a few of the ways you can incorporate our pieces into your everyday wear. Besides, if you love a thing and have a beautiful story behind why you bought it, there’s no reason it should be packed away and worn only once or twice a year! 

Thanks for reading. See you next time when we explore Slow Fashion in the Renaissance!

Bye-bye now. 


Prefer to listen rather than read? Find our Podcast Mane Street Chronicles on Spotify and enjoy our articles audibly instead!

Slow Fashion and Unicorn Clothing

Hi, Erica here again! Welcome back to Mane Street Chronicles! Today we’re going to continue our exploration of Slow Fashion by looking closely at Unicorn Clothing and placing our practices in the context of Slow Fashion.  To review, Slow Fashion is a way to approach the fashion industry that values sustainability and responsibility for the environment, workers, and local community. Slow Fashion has a lot of aspects that cover the entire life cycle of a garment, but for simplification we broke them down into a couple of main areas: company structure, product design, production, sales, use, re-use, and retirement.

Let’s look a little more closely at each of those areas, using Unicorn Clothing as an example. 

Company Design: 

Slow Fashion focused companies are typically smaller businesses, locally or nationally based, with a cultural connection in their company mission. Unicorn Clothing is headquartered in Santa Barbara, California and has been since it was founded in 1973 by the original and current owner- Teri Evans. If you’d like to learn a little bit about our origin story, check out Teri’s Letter here.  

Unicorn Clothing is classified as a micro-business by today’s standards.  We have a core team of two in management: myself, Erica, the apprentice, and Teri Evans, the founder, mentor, and business owner extraordinaire. We also work with several small teams of seamstresses. Lastly, our seasonally recruited shop helpers, many of whom have also worked with us for years and years. We love our herd and can’t wait to showcase some of them in future posts! 

Our cultural connection is a community specific one rather than a traditionally cultural one, but I think it still counts. We find our community in the Renaissance festivals, historical reenactment groups, and most recently in the world of cosplay. This community connection allows us to make clothes that fit our niche and are protected from the buffeting winds of change that endlessly plague fast fashion in the modern day. 

Product Design:

All of our pieces are designed in-house by myself or by Teri. We try to release one new item each year, to keep the interest of our long time customers, but the nature of historical fashion means things rarely go ‘out of style.’ Sure there are some trends. Pirates may be “in” one year, steampunk the next, but the versatility of our pieces allows for a lot of creative play and a lot of overlap of styles and eras. 

We get really excited when we find new colors in our favorite high quality fabrics.  We work with high quality cotton gauze, cotton twill, and cotton tapestries for most of our pieces. Just this year we finally found silver, darker storm grey, and a light lilac in our cotton gauzes after years of searching.  

In the era of rampant production it may sound strange to be unable to find a specific…anything really. But part of our commitment to sustainable production means sourcing fabrics locally.  Aside from our own occasional forays into the city ourselves, we have a loyal fabric buyer that does most of our shopping in the Los Angeles Fabric District. He knows what we like and what works for us and is always on the hunt for new colors of gauze and twill.  Many of our tapestries are close-out bolts; fabric that won’t be made available for the bigger buyers any more, and often sits around at the back of warehouses until finally getting tossed in a dumpster on cleanup day. It means most of our bodices and belts are limited runs and once they’re gone they’re gone, but we like to think our customers enjoy seeing the new fabrics each year. We certainly love the excitement of delivery day at the workshop! 

We also aim for zero waste with our fabrics.  Even the tiniest pieces are saved in well organized boxes stashed in every corner of the workshop.  The girl’s Two-Tiered skirts, for example, are made from the narrow band of fabric left on the rolls after making a woman’s overskirt.  The belts are often cut from the “scraps” left over after cutting a run of bodices.  Since we still cut everything individually and by hand, we are able to save these scraps in ways that just aren’t feasible for larger companies with industrial cutting machines. Some of that is pure luck, but we definitely design new patterns intentionally to use the fabric as efficiently as possible. 


Did we mention everything was cut individually and by hand? That means we are able to operate on a very tight just-in-time inventory system.  We make things in batches of a dozen pieces or less, often on a weekly basis, to fill the needs of our festival shoppes, unlike mega companies that make thousands of each item at the beginning of a season and hope for the best. Do we misscalculate sometimes and run out of key items? Sure, nobody’s perfect. But we like to think our customers are pretty understanding, and overall it is a very low waste way to operate. And in this modern age of online shopping, anything not readily available in one of our Renaissance festival shops that day can easily be ordered on our website at, slipped into the production queue and sent right to the customer’s home. 

Everything is made by hand in small workshop like settings in Santa Barbara, California. 


Obviously our items have a much longer “season” than fast fashion or modern fashion.  We don’t chase trends, flood our sales floors with new items, and discount them before the weather even changes. You see this particularly frequently in modern shopping with bathing suits, winter coats, and spring sundresses. Many of our styles have been available for years. Though we introduce something new every year, we rarely retire anything, unless it gets a new and improved redesign like we saw when the Empress Vest was upgraded to become the Empress Half-Bodice

We also think very carefully about our prices.  We like to provide high quality historical fashion clothing at an affordable price. But we do provide clothing, not costuming. Our prices reflect the quality of the clothing and the responsibility we have to everyone on the Unicorn team. 

Wait what’s the difference between clothing and costuming, you may be wondering. Costumes are imitations of the thing they’re trying to mimic. They are designed to replicate rather than be something real in and of itself. Clothing, on the other hand, is the real deal. When you buy a skirt from us, that skirt can be whatever you want it to be. It can be part of your favorite summer time outfit. It can be mixed with other pieces to make any kind of outfit or costume you want, but by itself it’s just a skirt designed and inspired by the Renaissance or Victorian eras. And it’s a high quality skirt at that! 


What do we mean when we say high quality? It is made with valuable materials designed to age well and last a long time. The methods used to make it value durability and longevity over speed of production. We want our customers to get years of loving use out of our pieces. 

We want them to shop based on their interests and personalities. For that reason our pieces have great diversity and versatility of style. And we love the way our shoppers’ eyes light up when they find just the thing they were looking for. If you ask them later, many people have loving stories about every piece in their collection, things from us and things they found from all the other vendors at the festival as well. 

Sometimes things wear out. Especially things we love and use frequently.  But our slow fashion shoppers are loyal to their favorite garments and aren’t afraid to mend and repair their well loved pieces.

Re-Use and Retirement:

When our slow fashion customers are done with their pieces, they often find new homes for them. Some get passed down to younger family members and friends. Or to friends young and old who are just beginning their journey in historical fashion. Sometimes they resell their pieces at flea markets or in growing online communities like “Renaissance Faire & Festival Classifieds” and “RennShop and Exchange.” At the very least they get donated to thrift stores. We like to think. 

Wow. I guess we can wrap up there. Clearly I am very passionate about the lengths Unicorn Clothing goes to to be a sustainable fashion house. We wish more modern design houses would get on the slow fashion train. But maybe Unicorn Clothing just needs to make a bigger name for itself in the modern fashion world…

Tune in next time when we explore style versus fashion, trends, and capsule collections. 

Thanks for Reading!


Prefer to listen rather than read? Find our Podcast Mane Street Chronicles on Spotify and enjoy our articles audibly instead!

What is Slow Fashion?

Hello! Welcome to the Unicorn Clothing Blog, “Mane Street Chronicles.” We’ve been talking and thinking about this blog for a long time now, and we have an exciting list of topics we are eager to talk about. Everything from the daily fun of being a small business in general and running a shoppe at a Renaissance festival in particular, to historical fashion, to the history of Unicorn Clothing, keeping up with modern trends, and more! It is such a long list, in fact, that we had trouble deciding where to start! 

So, let’s start with introductions. My name is Erica. I’ve been with Unicorn Clothing since 2011. I manage several of our shops around the country, as well as many behind the scene things. I run our Website, Facebook, and Instagram pages; design the new pieces we’ve been adding to our collections; and more. I have a background in theater, fashion design, and small business management…so being a part of the Unicorn Herd is exactly where I want to be! I’ll be a frequent writer for the Mane Street Chronicles, but I’m sure we’ll have guest writers from time to time as well. We have a lot of interesting and enthusiastic Unicorns in our herd! 

For our first article, I thought I would pick something interesting, but easy enough to get our feet wet, so I landed on the concept of Slow Fashion.  But once I started writing I realized this was a really interesting topic! My tiny intro article blossomed into an entire series! So, for the next several weeks, we’ll be exploring Slow Fashion and how it relates to Renaissance festivals, the loyal festival audience, and Unicorn Clothing. 

So…shall we dive in? What is Slow Fashion? 

It might be easiest to define a thing by comparing it to its opposite- Fast Fashion. Fast Fashion is the modern fashion business model. It is releasing new collections every season, every month, sometimes even every week. It is low price, low quality, high volume clothing production. It tells its customers to chase trends and stuff their closets with cheap things they don’t even like, and won’t even wear, but feel compelled to own. Or worse, they find things they do like, but the clothes are made so quickly, of such low quality materials, that they break down after just a few washes. And trying to mend your favorites is just not acceptable in fast fashion. I won’t bore you with statistics, but the sheer volume of fast fashion clothing that ends up in landfills each year is staggering. Even worse, often the clothing going to those landfills is brand new! Mega brands will throw away warehouses full of new clothing that didn’t sell in time, and can’t be sold now that they’re on to the next micro-season and new new NEW things to sell. Anyway, you get the point. Fast Fashion is unsustainable. It wrecks the environment, often comes at the expense of the workers at all levels, and is a dangerous economic game. 

In contrast, Slow Fashion focuses on sustainability, both environmental and socioeconomic sustainability, and cultural connection.  It focuses on style rather than fashion. (Don’t know the difference? Tune in for article #3 as we explore style, fashion, trends, and capsule collections!) Slow Fashion follows the total life of each garment. It places responsibility and intention with the company, by demanding accountability of design, production and sales. And it follows the garment home to the customer by demanding responsibility of use, re-use, and finally retirement of the garment. 

Let’s look a little more closely at each of those areas. 

Company Structure: Slow Fashion focused companies are typically smaller businesses, locally or nationally based, with a cultural connection in their company mission. 

Product Design: Clothing is made with high-quality, environmentally friendly materials. It is designed to be used for years. New styles are released slowly, and old styles are aged out infrequently.

Production: Items are made in an environmentally protective way. Those making the items are paid a living wage and treated with dignity and respect. Production schedules are often just-in-time, meaning items are made as they are needed so that companies aren’t left with excess unwanted stock. 

Sales: Clothing is available for much longer than the brief seasons seen in fast fashion. The same pieces are often available for years! Maybe a new color release marks a new season. Slow Fashion garments are priced to reflect the quality and sustainability built into the life of the item.  They might seem “higher priced” than fast fashion, but those prices reflect the true cost of production, including the costs born by the environment and the local community. 

Use: Customers purchase items they love and that are a true reflection of their personality and interests. They wear them for years, maintaining them through mending and low-maintenance washing to extend the life of the item. 

Re-Use: When the original owner of the garment no longer uses the item the item often becomes a hand-me-down to younger family or friends, gets sent to a thrift store, or is cut up and used in a new “up-cycled” fashion piece. Up-cycling is taking an older item and modifying it to be used in a new way. Like cutting up sweaters to make into a patchwork coat, or cutting down an oversized flannel shirt into a comfy fall dress. 

Retirement: At the end of a garment’s life it can be used as rags for cleaning, filler for pillows, or finally retired to a landfill or recycling center. But since the slow fashion pieces were designed using environmentally friendly fabrics (i.e. cotton, linen, etc.) even pieces that do end up at the landfill often breakdown and decompose much quicker than cheap fabrics used in fast fashion items. 

Just by reading through this definition, you might be thinking of all the ways Unicorn Clothing and many of the shops at the Renaissance festivals participate in slow fashion.  Tune in next time when we talk about all the ways Unicorn Clothing upholds these slow fashion pillars, and has done so since 1973!

See you next time! 


Prefer to listen rather than read? Find our Podcast Mane Street Chronicles on Spotify and enjoy our articles audibly instead!