Elizabethan Pirate Costumes
When we think of the word Pirate, the first thing that comes to our mind are the clothes or the eye-patch. Pirates have always been represented in movies wearing all loose-sleeves shirts, weird hair, boots etc. But the truth is that pirates were not always poor to wear mixed clothes and look out of place. In fact, when they plundered, they also looted the clothes of their victims.
Since the loot would be randomly distributed amongst the crew members, it appeared that they were wearing messy clothes.
Under the command of a good and skilled captain, the crew would be lucky to get clothes made of rich fabric like velvet, silk or leather. Along with occasional rich clothes, male pirates often wore gold earrings so that after their death, they can at least have money to have a proper burial for themselves.
In 1571, the Elizabethan Sumptuary Laws were passed according to which every person who is above six years was to wear a woolen cap on Sundays and holidays.
This law also provided for the type of fabric, colors and the materials that were to be used whilst making clothes. The pirates wore clothes that were opposite to the law. Since the pirates wore mixed clothing they would be termed as Motley crew. The pirates preferred to wear tight fitting clothes while performing difficult tasks like fighting a battle.
The material used for making pirate clothes was anything that they could easily afford which included wool, leather, linen cotton and sheepskin. The captain of the ship was different in terms of clothes.
He would wear clothes made from velvet, silk, sarcanet, etc and even feathers at times were used. As far as the colors are concerned, they wore clothes of any color but, in particular red and purple were more common.
Other things that completed a pirate costume were a Bandana, a Tri-coated hat made of leather, a Coat or a Double Coat, Breeches or Trousers were commonly worn by English pirates, Knitted caps, Waist coat was worn by upper class or Flamboyant pirates, Drawers, Woolen and Silk Stockings and Shirts with puffed sleeves.
Pirates also wore accessories like Gold earrings, Bracelets, Sash to keep weapons, Braids and Ribbons, Boots, Belts, Buckles, Fancy buttons, Scarves, Wigs and an Eye-patch.