Because the play takes place in Ancient Greece (Athens, to be specific), traditional costuming would probably fit the garb of that vintage, rather than Shakespeare’s. For the most part, men would be dressed in tunics, possibly hats and either leather sandals or barefoot. Women might wear flowing gowns, capes and perhaps headdresses. Of course, since more accessories, longer material and more splendid color are all associated with higher status, these ideas can be manipulated. They could even be changed completely, at the discretion of the costumer or director! Remember the importance of a character’s personal expression through wardrobe. Perhaps the powerful Oberon should wear something that complements his authority or strength. Helena might be more conservative or simple. Consider the “Characterization” section for ideas on how to mirror character traits in costume. Peter Holland agrees that a character’s costume tells a story about the wearer and that it is revealing of personality (159). For detailed descriptions of period costumes, visit these sites:
For a costume plot (basic description of each character’s costumes throughout the play), please visit the “Costume Plot” section. This has been provided by Costume World, Inc., the largest costume rental and retail company in the U.S. You can also visit their website http://costumeworld.com/ for more information.
According to Jadene Deems, Costume World’s Theatrical Booking Agent, this plot is the general model for a traditional production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Although she says the fine linens and cottons that were used in Elizabethan England wrinkle too easily or simply are not as functional as synthetic fabrics used today, the colors and styles may remain the same. As far as color, the general rule of thumb is that earthy, dull colors were common among the lower classes. These dyes were cheaper, more easily found. Rich, vibrant colors like indigo or crimson indicated a much higher status because of their rarity and expense. http://www.elizabethan-era.org.uk/dye.htm