How To Find Pirate Clothing

Woman in pirate costume

Pirates are back, and in a big way. Thanks to the success of the three "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies, people of all ages are once again very interested on how the pirates of the past dealt with the treacherous seven seas. Adults and children love playing dress up for costume balls and Halloween and unless you have Johnny Depp on speed dial, it is very hard to come up with a believable pirate costume.

Pirate clothing was never supposed to look perfect, new and sharp, so don't worry about getting it too perfect. If you truly imagine what pirates had to go through — weeks, perhaps months of being on ships without taking a bath for days — it isn't too surprising that most pirate clothing is torn, tattered and grimy. Pirates also come from different parts of the world so their outfits are probably a derivative of what the locals wear, or a hodgepodge of every piece of clothing that pirate has stolen from his exploits around the world.

Here are some tips on how to come up with a believable pirate costume:

  1. The top garment - The top part of the outfit can probably take the form of any of three looks. One type of upper garment that we always see is the oversized Victorian coat with elaborate ruffle detail on the shirt. These garments are not exactly easy to find unless you're connected to your local drama club, vintage store or costume store. The next type of shirt is the plain white long sleeved shirt that Johnny Depp's character wears in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" trilogy. It's a simple, loose fitting white shirt that's accompanied with a vest or jacket. While it is a fairly simple look, the bareness of the shirt requires a lot more styling and posturing. This type of clothing should be easy to find at any apparel store. Striped, tight-fitting shirts are also reminiscent of what pirates wore. Imagine the companions of Captain Hook. It shouldn't be that hard to find striped shirts. Just use a piece of coal to make the necessary grime marks on the shirt.
  2. The pants - Any old pair of loose fitting pants should do. For maximum effect, try to shred the bottom seam. Use a red broad sash as a belt, or a black, wide leather belt.
  3. Accessories - Accessories are really what make the pirate outfit believable. Using a big handkerchief in a solid color as a bandanna on top of your head makes for a good effect. You can also use hoop earrings. Use clip-ons if you don't have piercings. Make your own eye patch using a piece of fabric and an elastic string. You can also check your local costume store for fake beards. From the toy store, you can buy a fake musket or sword. These bits and pieces certainly complete the look.

Dressing up as a pirate isn't that difficult. You just need to think of the classic pirate look from the movies. Once you have the costume, you just need to act like a pirate, talk like a pirate, and — if you're up to it — drink like a pirate.


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