Piracy was a way of life in Elizabethan times for seamen who found no work during times of peace. The original clothing of common pirates was comprised of simple cottons and leathers. Clothing that is more flamboyant was a result of their piracy on the high seas, and was worn primarily on land or by pirate captains. Make your own fancy pirate outfit with all the finer accoutrements that a successful pirate would don.
Mismatched pieces of clothing made from canvas, leather and wool were the norm in pirate clothing. Pirates wore tight-fitting drawers that made it possible for them to complete their chores on board a ship. Make a pair of fancy breeches, or short trousers, from the luxurious fabrics worn by aristocrats and rich pirates. To make clothing, use sumptuous fabrics such as velvet, damask, silk or taffeta, typically worn only by the upper classes. Use colours such as purple, crimson and dark blue, which laws of the period banned for use by all but the upper echelons of society. Make puffy-sleeved, lace-trimmed, ruffed shirts from cotton, linen and silk.
The common pirate wore a knitted hat, or Monmouth cap, on board ship. Bandannas would keep the sweat off the brow of a pirate while working. The tri-corn or three-corner hat was the norm for pirate captains to wear both on the ship and on land. Make your tri-corn hat fancy by stitching wide bands or several narrow bands of elaborate gold-braid trim around the underside of the brim. Add exotic ostrich plumes and peacock feathers for more elaborate hats.
The upper classes enforced laws about who could wear what articles of clothing and the colours for each class of citizen. Waistcoats and doublets were showy outer garments worn by the aristocrats and successful pirates, as were doublets and frock coats. Make them from velvet, brocade or taffeta. Add elaborate gold braid trim and large, fancy metal buttons. Make your doublet from crimson, purple, blue or black velvets and embellish with extensive gold braiding and fancy brass buttons.
Accessories make the pirate. Make your gloves fancy by adding lace-trimmed cuffs, using two or more layers of ruffled lace to pull out of the sleeves of a waistcoat. Add sparkle to an eye patch by attaching stick-on gems in a skull-and-crossbones or other design. Make a sash to wear around your waist, under the leather belt with ornate buckles, or around your hat, with luxurious silks or brocades. Add ornate ribbons to your braided beard or hair. Include lots of gold, silver and jewels in the form of bracelets, pins and pendant necklaces to show off your pirate booty.
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