A pirate is known as a robber who travels by water. Ancient history says that despite pirates being known as daring, evil, brutish, and aggressive, they were simple people who turned to piracy to make ends meet.
I am sure we have all seen pirates in movies and have been always fascinated with their dress. From the elaborate hats to the mysterious eye patch and even the occasional parrot on the shoulder, pirates have always been part of our culture, particularly in the entertainment world.
Speaking of pirate hats, these were hats designed just for pirates, and there happen to be different types of pirate hats. This article will elaborate on the different types of pirate hats, their designs, why they were designed as they were, and why they were significant in identifying and ranking pirates.
Types of Pirate Hats.
These are the most common pirate hats and most pirates wear them as a symbol of identity.
They are made from animal fiber, either beaver-felt or wool-felt. Beaver-felt material was more expensive than wool-felt material.
This hat was characterized by a round dome cap and a wide brim pressed upon the cap on three sides. The brim was either buttoned, laced, or pinned at the top, forming the triangle shape.
The edges were at times adorned with gold stitching, feathers, or both.
This hat was not only a sign of identity, strength, and power but also was functional. When the pirates stood in a queue and had their pirate guns, otherwise known as muskets, the design of the hat ensured their brims did not hit each other.
This hat type is so common, that it was worn by Jack Sparrow, played by Johnny Depp in the Pirates of the Caribbean film franchise.
These hats are also known as Bicorne Hats, Two-cornered hats, or cocked hats.
They were adopted in the 18th century and were made from good quality black wool felt. They also had an inner lining and band made from the same material.
They were similar to the tricorn hats but the brim was pressed up on two sides instead of three.
The pressed-up sides could be worn on either side of the head and their brim edges had elaborate decorations such as ornaments. The edges were also bound thus enabling them to withstand harsh sea conditions.
They were also stiff so as not to easily lose shape and they could be easily folded. This allowed the gentlemen back then, to fold their hats under their arms in case they needed to take them off.
It is often noted among pirate actors who wear this hat have a symbol of a skull and crossbones at the front of the hat.
These hats could be referred to as a mini version of the tricorn. They could also be referred to as Homburg/Godfather hats.
They were small hats with a rounded top and an upturned brim with a stiff edge. They were made from felt and traditionally trimmed with a grosgrain hatband.
Pirates wore this hat when they were out and about to protect their heads from sunshine and rain.
These hats became popular in the 16th century.
During Elizabeth 1’s reign, legislation was passed to have every person above six years required to wear a wool cap every Sunday and during the holidays, except while traveling. This was done to protect England’s domestically produced goods. After this, Monmouth hats became popular.
They were hand-knitted hats made from 2-ply wool, sheared from Ryeland sheep, which was high-quality wool at the time.
It was rounded at the top and had a double brim at the bottom and a loop at the bottom edge. It also had felt material incorporated into it, which made it strong.
The felting was water-proof, which enabled the hats to be fire-retardant, self-extinguishing, and can absorb sound and hold a large amount of water without getting wet.
This was suitable for pirates, as these hats could withstand harsh conditions at sea, mostly contributed by the felting they had. Their ability to hold large amounts of water without getting wet was also a plus for pirates, as they were around water often.
This is perhaps the most simple head adornment that pirates wore. They could also be known as bandanas.
It is a cotton cloth tied in skull-cap fashion. In pirate movies, they are often red and have patterns on them, such as white polka dots.
Pirates wore scarves to protect their scalps from sunburns, as they would spend a lot of time in the sun. The scarves also absorbed sweat from their heads, which prevented it from entering their eyes as they worked hard on the ship.
They would also wear the scarves under their hats, in case they had to take their hats off, or if their hats would be blown away by the strong winds at sea.
These scarves can be found easily in clothing and fabric stores. Bandanas are also very popular among the youth today.
Pirates had their sense of dress which not only catered to affirming their identity but also their functionality. They spent a lot of time at sea and had to endure adverse conditions, therefore had to find ways to make their dress adaptable to make their experience easier. We see this a lot through the hats they wore. Their external features, coupled with the materials used to make them served them best. From the small-brimmed hats and classic scarves which were practical and protected them from the harsh weather to the tricorn and bicorn hats which gave them a sense of identity, prestige, and rank, every hat was designed to serve its purpose well.