Pirate Costume Ideas


While there are lots of pirate costumes for sale these days, partly because of the popular “pirate” movies, you may have everything that you need to dress like a pirate somewhere in your closet.

If not, you should be able to pick up what you need at a thrift shop. Here are the things you need to look like a real pirate, from head to toe.

White Ruffled Shirt

A long white shirt with lots of ruffles is a must. Both male and female pirates can wear this kind of shirt. You may be able to find one in a thrift store. They were popular in the 1980s because certain rock bands wore them. They are also sometimes called “poet shirts”.

Black Belt

The white shirt is not usually tucked in but is worn with a black belt at the waist. The belt can also be used to hold your “sword” or a black velvet bag for your pirate’s booty. A large gold buckle completes the look, although it is not mandatory.


The pants you choose should be relatively tight in the legs. A pair of black jeans is acceptable. Rich colors like purple or burgundy will also work. Pirates often liked to dress in fine materials like velvet. So, if you can find a pair of purple velvet pants at the local thrift store, they will look just right.

Black Boots

Black boots are an essential item. If you want, you can invest in an authentic-looking pair. In a pinch, a pair of black galoshes will do. You can decorate them with some gold pins or medallions. Just make sure that they are large enough at the top for your pants legs to fit inside them.

Hat, Scarf, or Both

Traditionally, pirates wore a scarf or handkerchief tied around their heads with a knot at the side. Red is one of the popular colors for these scarves, although you might want to choose another color, depending on the rest of your ensemble.

The captain of the ship wore a hat on top of his scarf when he was boarding a ship or meeting with other pirates. There are many different kinds of hats that suit the costume. Those worn by the British navy were popular choices during the heyday of the pirates. But any black hat could work.

The eye patch is optional, as is the peg-leg. Both of those came from the story of Treasure Island and the character Long John Silver. Most of today’s movie pirates have both legs and both eyes.