Some basic Viking get-ups (sorry, they are a bit sloppy–only had time to throw this together real quick late last night). Also, let me remind you that, while we might use the term “Viking” today to refer to anyone living in the ancient North, the term actually just meant “pirate” back then. These are my own versions of the illustrations found on page 36 of Else Roesdahl’s The Vikings (current paperback edition). Her caption: “Male dress with trousers, tunic and cloak fastened with a brooch. Female dress with finely pleated shift, over-dress and oval brooches.” Check out her book for further details. Out of the books I have with me right now, I also found good descriptions in Richard Hall’s The World of the Vikings and Jacqueline Simpson’s The Viking World (Vikings seem to have their own world in a lot of these titles). You might want to check out this article as well, which points out that the ancient Norsemen actually dressed much more ornately and colorfully than we often believe (I guess we are just too used to black-and-white line illustrations in paperback books…) I am a fan of simpler styles myself, regardless of period, so my cartoony illustrations have usually involved some version of the male get-up shown above. I’ve looked over this website as well, and it looks pretty good–I’ve gotten a bit frustrated by the Hurstwic site in the past because of the large number of students plagiarizing from it, and for academic papers I ask students to limit themselves to peer-reviewed journals or introductory books from academic publishes, but this is an excellent and thorough site covering a lot of information which is a bit difficult for undergraduates to get their hands on–great “trickle-down.” I see that Dr. Short has at least one book out in addition to a few DVDs, but haven’t had a chance to look at any of those yet.
For the bands of embroidery on the costumes (did not fill out the details–sorry!) you can check out some examples of Viking Age art which could be filled in–lots of interlace and ribbon-like animals, depending on the period. There are a lot of introductory books on Viking and Medieval Scandinavian art, but one of the more concise yet accessible (and illustrated) texts would be the section on art in Peter Foote’s The Viking Achievement–out of print, unfortunately, but you can probably find a copy somewhere, and I believe most university libraries would have a copy. I did a pretty thorough lecture on Viking age art for my Viking and Medieval Scandinavia course at Berkeley–I will turn that into a blog post one of these days. For now, here are some examples of the Oseberg style (early Viking age), Mammen style (Late Viking age) and Ringerike style (post-Viking age). This is not to say that artistic style was ever uniform or followed the same timeline throughout Scandinavia–as is often the case when we study human culture, these are abstract generalizations for our own benefit as we try to make sense of and find connections between the discrete artifacts we are fortunate enough to dig up, themselves concrete products of real craftspeople embedded in complicated and unique contexts. The artifacts themselves would have lived “lives” of their own,
being used and passed down for decades or centuries, their own existence within the cultural and social world of Scandinavia overlapping with several different “stylistic periods.” Point being, if you want to have a few different styles overlapping in your costume, that doesn’t necessarily make it “inauthentic” (however complicated the idea of “authenticity” may be). That said, I don’t expect clothes would last all that long…
You can’t really see the woman’s hair in my pic, but in the illustration in Roesdahl’s book I believe the hair is supposed to derive from some of the braids/knots we see in women’s hair in some viking age art. In the examples I have here, we’ve got (possibly) a Valkyrie welcoming Odin or a dead warrior to Valhalla (the usual interpretation, anyway), and (ostensibly) the giantess Hyrrokkin from the story of Baldr’s funeral.
Well, that’s all for now. Sorry, Viking costumes aren’t really my specialty… but most introductory books on the Vikings have some notes on this, so check out the ones I’ve listed, or any others you can find!