Costuming Ideas and Suggestions

Most pirates were just ordinary sailors. A very simple, ordinary sailor costume is probably best to start with if you haven't done this before. Some suggestions are:

Modern fabrics should be avoided for reasons that should be obvious: lamé, shiny spandex, nylon, and polyester. You will be cooler and more comfortable if you stick with natural fibers that breathe: cotton, linen, wool, silk, ramie and even rayon. Also avoid neon colors, non-period prints, Velcro, and blue jeans (denim is period, but jeans are not). Note that sunglasses are allowed, but they should be wire framed or otherwise period looking.

As you progress in your character, you might want to add fancier items:

Most characters would have personal weapons.

Additional personal props may include a drinking vessel, eating utensils, and a plate or bowl in period materials such as wood, metal, or ceramic. Even glass was used. "Venice-glass" was considered a protection since many believed that poison would cause it to shatter.

Researching period costumes is the best thing you can do, especially if you are portraying an actual historical person. But even if you're portraying a character you made up, it's still important that you do the research and have the proper costume for the era. If you're having trouble deciding on costume pieces or choosing "a look," talk to someone in the club whose costuming you like. They'll be flattered and you'll gain useful knowledge.


Contributors to this article: Amy Weyand and Shari Land.