The Sensible Heel, The Hairdo, and The Real Pirate
I want to be a pirate for Halloween. I’ve already declared this earlier here, and I’m excited to see how the costume will actually turn out, but just out of curiosity, I clicked around to see what other people have come up with. The female pirate is a fascinating thing only because we don’t know whether she actually did or does exist. The feminist part of me likes to think she did.
But I don’t think she would have worn any of these outfits. See for yourself, in my Museum of Unlikely Ship Wenches.
Exhibit One: Once the men got over their connection of bad luck to women, which I think would have been easy, she would have been put to work. Thus, the headband thing is believable and the droopy shoulders on the blouse are believable. After all, a man’s shirt only fits a girl so well before it goes drooping in places. The corset is somewhat believable. She might have worn it as she got on board originally, underneath her dress; she then might have altered it or worn it differently to make the man’s shirt fit better and easier as she worked in the sun and the salt. She wouldn’t have worn it nearly as tight as it was designed for, of course.
The heels are completely impractical. So is the jewelry. The skirt is borderline impractical. Being a Renaissance girl, she would have picked up a pair of men’s slacks, but if none were to be had, well, women worked just as hard as men in skirts. I am debating the length, though. Is that long enough to withstand wind and men’s hands and being tumbled about on a water-blown deck? She probably didn’t want it floor-length, but I would have wanted it mid-calf, for practicality’s sake.
Exhibit Two: If she didn’t have the sword, everyone would be asking her what she’s dressed as. However, the color scheme is probably more historically realistic that the previous exhibit; the colors would have all faded to brown or off-white. This pirate girl is awfully vain, though. She hasn’t lost the stupid shoes either, and she’s got silk ribbons woven in her corset. She probably had silk ribbons when she came onto the
ship, but if I were her, I would have tucked them away in some cranny of the ship. Silk was valuable, as was gold. I’m debating on whether these girls are stupid or brilliant for wearing their share of the treasure around their neck. A good way to get instantly killed, either by a stray, snaggy rope or by a stray knife. And this girl’s hair? Way too clean
and brushed-out to be a real pirate. Of course, the lace would have ripped and become a pile of lint long before she became accepted by the crew. But when it’s the only thing you’ve got to wear…
Exhibit Three: This girl has lace, ribbons, and pearls all tucked away under the good linen dress and the books in her personal chest in the hold. She’s still got heels, but at least they’re square and are less likely to give her a broken ankle. She’s still far too clean, and the hat looks weird. It could just be the angle, though. I like the boots purely on a style standpoint.
Exhibit Four: She fails. Miserably. She’s trying to look Spanish but she’d get left somewhere fast and she wouldn’t know it until she realized she wasn’t in her shaded hammock. The costume doesn’t even come with the hat or the boots, and without those, her shoulders would surely get sunburned from being forced to work. Silly girl, trying to be a pirate.
After reading about real pirates in history, and then letting my storytelling imagination run wild with this Women In Piracy page, I’m happy to only be dressing up as one. I’ll take my stories and my computer and my bed-and-afghan, thanks. But I also won’t be buying lace or spiky boots anytime soon. I like my chunky heels.
And in all seriousness: how should I do my hair? It’ll have a red kerchief on it, and dreads would be too intensive and too long-lasting. It’s waist-length, which narrows my options quite a bit. Maybe I’ll just put it up and make it look like I chopped it off; that’s what the real pirate girl would do.