Monday, September 9, 2013

She's a Pirate

Today's post is a little different, as it involves using my Unfashion prowess to create a costume rather than street clothes. And not to toot my own horn or anything, but I feel like this takes even more prowess, because it requires me to combine a bunch of modern items to create an anachronistic whole.

Today's challenge: the 16th-century pirate, for Pirate Weekend at the Maryland Renaissance Festival! First, a disclaimer: I'm not going for a historically accurate depiction of a female pirate, because, for one, I don't think there ever were many! I'm just going to do my best thrift-store rendition of the typical piratess getups you can find in costume shops.

I asked my boyfriend to take a picture of me for my fashion blog. He, as any proper man would do, had no clue how to take a fashion photo and cut off my legs! Boys! I let him have it once I looked at the photos later that evening. Believe me, he knows how to take a picture for a fashion blog now!

The hat:

The hat was easy-peasy, as it was a dead ringer for the cheap felt new pirate hats the thrift store was selling in its annual Halloween pop-up shop for 5 dollars each. In fact, it was the same hat, never worn, but donated to the thrift shop and therefore heavily discounted. I got it for $1.12. I didn't like the skull and crossbones that had been pasted on the front, as it was poorly executed and made the hat look fake, so I removed it. I dipped the brim in boiling water to soften the glue, and the felt applique peeled right off with only a faint bit of residue. I might try using a blow dryer for the heat next time, as the water deformed the felt hat a little bit.

The skirt:

The skirt is one of my trusty wardrobe staples. I wear it all the time, although I think I've only pictured it once in this blog. It was a natural choice for a pirate skirt, since almost every costume pirate skirt has an uneven hem. I was a little bummed by the polka-dots in the under-layer, but I tried to ignore them since I really like the under-layer for its gauzy appearance, which adds an extra element of raggedness to the skirt. The top has textured polka dots, so I like to imagine a sort of subtle parallelism is ensuing and not just poor coordination.

The boots:

These boots were one of my favorite purchases of last winter/spring, and I got a lot of use out of them in the month or three that it was still cold enough to wear knee-high boots. They're not particularly pirate-like with their modern lug soles, but since I didn't have to spend any money on boots for the costume (and they were only 10 dollars when I bought them originally), I'm not too concerned. The nice thing about these boots is they're pretty wide on top, permitting them to be folded over for a more period-appropriate look.

The top:

The bodice is what really makes this outfit. I had to pay a little more than I usually prefer to for tops, but what I got for my money was perfect pirate and two reusable articles of clothes. I had scoured the shelves at both sides of my local double thrift shop and was just about ready to give up when I ran across the perfect corset-laced tank top! It was everything I'd been looking for, and even in the traditional pirate red! The problem was it was so small, I practically had to pull a Houdini to get out of it once I'd tried it on (it was only later that I found the side zipper—doh!). For this top, I paid $3.

Well, a good-looking corset is essential to a pirate costume, but it's still no-go without a good old peasant top underneath. Fortunately, black blouses are ubiquitous at the thrift store, and I found one with short puffed sleeves that I figured would be ideal for keeping me cool on a late summer day. The best thing about this blouse was its sheer texture, meaning I would be able to cram it underneath the already-very-tight tank top without busting a seam. This top cost me $4.50, which is a lot for my budget, but for that amount, I got a blouse I think I'll be able to wear again, plus a detachable camisole that came with it.

The accessories:

I wore a worn-and-faded gold-plate necklace I found on the ground the last time I went to the Renaissance Festival. I probably should have taken it to lost and found, but it looked shabby enough to not be worth the trouble. And besides, that was a very pirate thing to do. I wore gold-and-red earrings, and put red bows on everything I could get my hands on! This was a prime example of non-destructive embellishment—the one on the hat was held there with a straight pin, and those on the boots (which served to cover up the size information that was printed on the inside) were attached with Res-Q tape, which came off like a charm when I needed it to.

In total, I spent $8.60 plus tax on this costume, and I didn't even have to do any sewing! Compared to the ready-to wear costume sets that were on sale at the thrift store for 30 dollars, I'd say I made a great haul! I'd put in some sort of pirate reference here, but it's just not coming to me.

Oh, and later on, I posed for a photo with the king, who gave my boyfriend a few pointers about how to treat a lady (by not calling her a wench, for starters). He didn't even get into how to properly photograph a lady for a fashion blog, but it looks like the cameraman for this photo is on the right track! At least he got most of my boots.

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