How to Make a Queen Elizabeth I Costume

Queen Elizabeth I was a true fashionista as well as one of England's most clever and popular monarchs. The Elizabethan style of fashion came from her design and rulings and presented a sophisticated look. Creating a Queen Elizabeth costume requires a detailed approach and elegant styling. Many dress options can work to represent Queen Elizabeth I, but her signature pale white face is most important in distinguishing her appearance.

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Things You'll Need

  • Simple white linen fabric
  • A corset or safety pins
  • Stiff tufts of nylon fabric
  • Elegant velvet gown
  • A crown or headpiece
  • Sequins, beads, jewels or stones
  • Posterboard
  • Glue
  • White face paint or makeup and powder
  • Red lipstick and blush
  • Wig (optional)

Wear an Elizabethan Gown

  • Prepare the undergarments for your Queen Elizabeth I gown. Find an elegant corset from a thrift store or costume shop that will lace or button up tightly. This will add shape to your body for the Elizabethan gown. Wear a lofty petticoat skirt underneath your gown to add volume in the skirt area. Add tufts of stiff fabric -- known as a bumroll -- to the back of your skirt to add further size to your gown.

  • Purchase or sew an elegant Elizabethan- or Renaissance-style gown. You may find such a gown in a thrift store or costume shop. You can make a gown by following a Renaissance dress costume pattern. Use bright luxurious fabrics such as velvet, satin or charmeuse.

  • Make the gown as luxurious as possible by adding many layers of contrasting fabrics. This will create the more detailed effect often worn by royalty such as Queen Elizabeth I. Drape long pieces of colorful silk around your shoulders. Colors such as rich reds, purples and golds are good choices to represent the time period.

Add Distinct Accessories to Replicate Queen Elizabeth I

  • Create a ruff with basic crafting materials to add an important touch to the costume. Cut a circular neck piece out of stiff poster board and cut a smaller circle and slit to fit around your neck. Gather plain or elegant fabric into a circular shape and sew or glue it to the board. Queen Elizabeth I wore the ruff in many portraits.

  • Add elegant costume jewelry such as gold or jeweled rings, earrings, bracelets, necklaces and crowns. Glue beads, sequins or fake stones to strips of fabric to create makeshift bracelets. Go wild with the jewelry additions as royalty from this time period loved to show off their wealth.

  • Imitate Queen Elizabeth I’s final look by wearing lots of white face paint or pale foundation with baby powder dusted on top. Be sure to re-powder your face while wearing the costume to maintain your appearance. Add lots of lipstick and blush to boldly highlight your features. Create an appearance of pale eyebrows, rather than dark ones, as this was the preferred makeup technique of Queen Elizabeth I.

  • Craft a swift updo hairstyle and adorn it with a headpiece fit only for a queen. If you wish, wear a white upswept wig and add a crown. Add simple shoes or laced boots to finalize your costume, and don't forget to carry a scented sachet to protect yourself from odors.

Tips & Warnings

  • Give yourself plenty of time in the dressing room to put on this costume.
  • Be careful of a corset bound too tightly as it can cut off circulation and cause shortness of breath.


  • Photo Credit Images AndreyDubinin/iStock/Getty Images Sylphe_7/iStock/Getty Images Emissary_Filmworks/iStock/Getty Images Andrejs Pidjass/iStock/Getty Images Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images Georgios Kollidas/iStock/Getty Images
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