When someone talks about wanting a vintage Renaissance pirate costume, the person is most likely looking for a costume appropriate for Renaissance Faire fun.
Vintage Renaissance Pirate Costume Looks
So what exactly is a vintage Renaissance pirate costume? A genuine vintage piece is of course not going to be found anywhere except in a museum. In this instance, it's the look that is referred to - the desire to have something that, though recently made, looks authentic enough to be a vintage piece.
An Elizabethan-era man wore short breeches over hose and a cap and cloak for outdoor wear, rather than a hat and coat. A lower-class man, and pirates were certainly lower-class, tended to wear longer breeches and long waistcoats over loose shirts. Boots were worn by the lower classes as practical footwear for hard work (and also because they often couldn't afford hose and this was how they hid their legs), while the rich wore fine shoes. Pirate coats can be an excellent costume choice. For a Renaissance look, select a full leather coat with gold or silver metallic trim and exaggerated cuffs with a contrasting fabric that can either be brocade or velvet. A pirate is distinguished by his knee-high leather boots and often wears a long waistcoat over a loose shirt, so a vintage Renaissance pirate costume comprises these boots, longer breeches, a long waistcoat and a scarf or cap.
A cloak would only be worn for warmth, as it would get in the way during a raid on a ship. A pirate would also wear his sword and any other weaponry at all time - this more than anything would distinguish his profession, as other lower-class men would be unlikely to have anything more than perhaps a dagger.
Women who want to dress as Renaissance pirates can choose from a selection of beautiful and sexy bodices. The tooled bodices will undoubtedly be the most popular, as they feature epaulets and carved images on the stomacher. Pair them with a brocade skirt and peasant blouse, as well as a belt laden with purse, tankard and weapons.
There are a number of websites dedicated solely to Renaissance and pirate style costume attire. When in the market for an appropriate costume, it's best to shop at a specialty online retailer rather than general costume sites. Serious Renaissance Faire players make their own garb or have it made for them, but there are plenty of fine things you can buy ready made.
At Majestic Velvets, you'll find costumes for Renaissance men and women of all classes, as well as dedicated Pirates of the Caribbean costumes. The Peasant Tunic and Pants combo offers roomy breeches and a long, loose tunic to be worn open over a poet's shirt. Add a belt, boots and head scarf or cap, as well as weaponry, and your pirate look is complete.
For those who want the unmistakably authentic look of leather or suede, go to Pendragon Costumes. Here you can get finely crafted leather doublets. The aptly named Pirate can be had in black or brown suede or black leather. It has a skull-and-crossbones insignia on each shoulder and antiquated gold buttons. The lacing is black and the inset is red, although you can request a different color if you choose. Wear it over paned slops, which are knee-length fabric breeches with leather or suede panes sewn to the waistband and at the knee. The decorative brocade can be had in any color.
Obviously, whatever costume investment you make, you will want to take good care of the pieces you purchase. Whether you work or play at the Faire or other events, a costume well-made and then well-kept will guarantee a good time for years to come.