Last-minute Mary Read (or Anne Bonny)

In the final run-up to Halloween, we’re offering tips on how to do last-minute, stripped-down versions of some of our popular costumes.

MaryRead2015_costumeHere’s the thing about pirates: most of ‘em wore rags. Their clothes were a wild mishmash of stolen loot, cast-offs, stuff they’d sewn themselves, and old clothes they’d been wearing since junior high (if pirates had junior high).

So putting together a last minute pirate costume is just a matter of embracing your inner hobo and raiding your closet. Or possibly the closet of a convenient male relative or friend.

Our full-blown Mary Read costume is at right. Here’s what we suggest for a last-minute version:

  • Skip the tricorner hat. You don’t need it. You know what pirates wore a lot of the time, maybe even most of the time? A knit hat. Yep. It’s true: pirates were the first hipsters. And if you don’t have a knit hat, just tie a bandana around your head and go full Depp.
  • Wear a man’s shirt. Stripes, checks, and solids are all good. If it’s an old shirt and you can get away with it, cut the collar off for a more 18th century look.
  • Optional: if you have an old jacket or blazer that you can destroy, cut the sleeves off. Instant waistcoat. Any other kind of old raggedy vest could also work. If you have a pea coat or a short jacket, you could also wear that. But it’s okay if you don’t have any of those things. Just a shirt is fine.
  • Wrap some material around your waist as a sash. Any kind of material: a cut-up sheet, some rags, a scarf, anything.
  • Sling a wide leather belt across your torso as a baldric. Fasten another wide leather belt around your waist. Neither one needs to actually have a hilt or holster for weapons; just the look of the leather belts is enough.
  • Wear cropped pants or cut off an old pair of pants at the knee.
  • Wear white knee socks with flat shoes. This is what most pirates wore all the time, not boots.
  • Optional: stop by the drugstore or pharmacy aisle and get a plain black eyepatch. For some reason an eyepatch is the International Symbol for pirates, so this will help cement your identity.

And there you go. You’re a pirate.

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