With Alexander McQueen drawing on the pirate’s opulent, romantic aesthetic, Jean Paul Gaultier’s Spring 2008 ready-to-wear collection and Vivienne Westwood’s consistent admiration for punk piracy, the dark and alluring trend of pirate-inspired fashion has artfully woven it’s way onto the high streets and into our wardrobes with surprisingly little publication.
Designer’s fantastically inclined interpretations of nautical themes has welcomed a continuous source of inspiration for both the fashion industry and my own personal style love affair. Dramatic, flamboyant and indisputably empowering, a skilfully inspired pirate ensemble is a refreshing and exciting alternative to daily dressing.
It is worth noting that the true fashion of piracy was not to make an ostentatious statement or revel in their treasurable successes but of pure practicality. It has only been through Hollywood’s depictions, such as Kate Beckinsale’s incredible outfit in 2004’s movie ‘Van Helsing’, that the modern day perception of pirate fashion has turned progressively warped. Despite this, I personally find it to be an exciting trend that one can masterfully anchor into their wardrobe.
Taking inspiration from high-end designers, fashion trends and creatively elevating through personally favoured seafarer stories, I have carefully composed a simple, outfit formula that pays tribute to modern day piracy style.
From high seas to high fashion. Here’s how captain chic evolved in to contemporary dressing and five ways to sail your style into the alluring depths of pirate panache.
A hat fit for a captain
During the 17th century, Cavalier hats proceeded to become a popular style, influenced by the Swedish military. Swedish military dress suggested a certain fluidity of movement during this time and was deemed an intriguing approach to dressing for the English. Named after its famous supporter- King Charles I- these wide brim hats were ornamented with long ostrich feathers. Although these hats were exclusively worn by high-class noblemen due to their high cost, this hat style is now indoctrinated with pirates and 17th century outfits courtesy of Hollywood’s costume designers.
A historically accurate Cavalier hat would far contradict the contemporary take on this periodic fashion. Therefore, a simple wide brim hat equally achieves a Maritime profile and avoids ostentation.
Loose lips sink ships
Led by the Hollywood vampish beauty approach, Victorian influences are often connected to pirate ensembles. Therefore, I personally chose to opt for a dark, glamorous starlet complexion when it came to my beauty choices. Purple and red tones with plenty of black eyeliner felt the most appropriate and imaginative concept for this seafarer style. The Charlotte Tilbury Glastonbury Matte Revolution lipstick adds a flawless finish to this dramatic trend.
All decked out
Pirates are well renowned for their obsession with treasure and thus, it would be a crime to skimp out on accessories.
Although I personally prefer delicate jewellery, a statement necklace felt most appropriate for this buccaneer trend. Whilst I am certainly not religious, part of my family is and as such, the necklace adorning my décolletage was passed down to me by my mother. Oozing the dark glamour of the Victorian era, the jewellery brings another dimension of drama to the ensemble. Still playing in to the practicalities of fashion, the plum coloured bag works perfectly with the similarly toned makeup.
A fitted silhouette was a necessary practicality amongst traditional pirate wear. Logically, running up and down the ship or climbing to the crows nest would have been very difficult if carried out with flowing sleeves and superfluous decoration. However, much like all modern fashion, practicality is but a feeble notion into dressing oneself. No longer are we bound by functionality come dress codes and I personally felt that the decorative design elements on this white shirt added depth and distinction.
Fortunately, a figure-hugging silhouette can be highly flattering; delivering confidence to the wearer by highlighting their best features whilst simultaneously achieving a delicate touch of pirate panache. This white off-the-shoulder shirt cinches-in at the waist curating a covetable hourglass profile whilst also providing versatile styling options. The puffed sleeves add an addition of drama, which paired with sky high boots, elevates the edit to one of daring decadence. To ensure balance throughout the ensemble, a pair of skinny leggings establishes a refined sense of volume, guaranteeing perfect proportions.
Collect the booty
Leather boots sailed from high seas to high fashion, evolving into a style statement desired by many. Now imagined in a myriad of styles: knee-high, slouch and heeled, to name a few., these faux suede thigh-high boots not only achieve that Hollywood pirate persona, but also ooze sartorial confidence and seductive appeal.
Designed with a feminine drawstring detail to the reverse and poised upon a vertiginous block heel, these boots boast an elongating thigh-high profile. With a loose slip-on design that skims the shape of the legs, this sultry style delivers a flattering fit. Furthermore, this footwear oozes modern seafarer style.
Historically inspired fashion not only provides a refreshing and creative outlook to daily dress codes, it also provides a new dose of self-confidence. Pirates were outlaws of the sea but they also lived their lives with liberation, passion and an admirable amount of gall. The philosophy of Eternally Elle is to express the freedom to wear what one wants without hesitation. Life is too short to live it for others- and this includes the clothes we wear.
Now you know the ropes, implement this outfit formula into everyday wear for a vampish vibe that is authentic to you.