I had been looking for a pirate jacket for a long time. I wanted something in brown or black, with a fitted top, but something that opened up at the waist. So when I found this long coat, in a neutral brown canvas, I was thrilled.
I thought that I would have to put brocade or trim or buttons on it to make it pirate-y, but it turned out (after a lot of trial and error) that as long as the other pieces were in place, it needed nothing. And because I didn’t touch the jacket, it can serve in the future as a steam-punk coat, or a cowboy duster.
In face, I was really surprised at how quickly it went from being a pirate jacket (when worn with a tricorn hat) to a cowboy duster (when worn with a cowboy hat.) In this case, the pirate accessories and details really do make the pirate costume. The black pants turned out to be a critical piece. With jeans, the jacket leans toward looking cowboy.
But another other thing that pushed the outfit solidly into pirate territory was the flouncy cuffs. As with everything else, I first mocked up the sleeves by just stuffing some white fabric into the cuffs to see how lace or ruffled sleeves would look. And it was immediately clear that they would greatly improve the look.
I went looking for a white gauzy shirt that I could add sleeve ruffles onto. I was specifically looking for a white shirt with no collar, and ended up accidentally choosing a women’s blouse with a tuxedo-like front. It turned out that the front pleats also added subtly to the pirate look. All I did was gather some white fabric and stitch it on the ends of the sleeves. The overall look of the sleeves didn’t matter, since only the ruffles would show.