Whatever the occasion, from a costume party to Halloween festivities, outfitting yourself in a believable pirate ensemble is a whole lot of fun. Not only do your clothing choices matter in order to make it convincing, you need to adopt the swagger and attitude of a pirate to really pull off the look. Walk around with confidence, put on a tough scowl, slur your speech to mimic being drunk and slip in words like “ahoy” into your conversations.

Different Pirate Looks

There are several different pirate looks that reflect the position and level of wealth a pirate had. Whether you decide to invest in quality pieces that you can wear over and over (who says you can’t be a pirate more than once?) or find a quick solution with items you put together at the last minute, the more elaborate your getup is, the more attention you are sure to receive. Follow the tips below to truly capture the essence of a pirate:

Begin With Proper Grooming

Even if your outfit is spot-on, you need to look the part from head to toe. Pirates spent their time on the deck of a ship where they were constantly exposed to the sun, so they had a sun-kissed glow. You can achieve this look without the UV exposure by sweeping on lots of bronzer or foundation that is a few shades darker than your natural tone. A smoky eye will enhance your pirate vibe regardless of your gender, so liberally apply dark eyeliner and smudge. Authentic looking pirate hair is long and wavy, so use some sea-salt spray if your hair is long or try a wig.

Clothing Options

Again, the position a pirate held on the ship heavily influenced how he or she dressed. No matter if the fancy clothing they owned was something that they purchased or plundered, it reflected their success as a pirate, and captains typically had several outfits to choose from for different occasions. On the other hand, those seamen who had a more difficult time attaining riches often had just one set of raggedy clothing and little else. If you are dressing up as a pirate captain, an elaborate frock coat will set the tone for the rest of your look, while an officer would wear a waistcoat. A loose-fitting poufy white or natural shirt that is tucked into pants is the perfect top no matter what ranking you want to portray. For the bottom half, knee breeches are ideal for a fancy look, while slops (wide, baggy pants worn by sailors) are just right for a more casual seamen’s look. Clothes that appear faded, ripped or patched up will give your outfit a more authentic lived-in pirate look. As for footwear, boots, buckle shoes and rugged sandals are all appropriate.

Pirate Props that Complete Your Look

Using the right props and accessories will elevate your look from good to great, and while you don’t need to overdo it, a few key pieces will complete your outfit. A tricorn (three-cornered) hat is quite authentic, as are a leather belt and pouch. Also look for weapons such as a sword and pistol (fake, of course), and jewelry including gold chains or hoop earrings. Temporary tattoos in designs such as an anchor or skull and crossbones placed somewhere visible are a fun addition. Other extras include a bottle of rum, a bandana, an eye patch or spyglass to perfect that pirate costume.