This is the outfit that started me on my pursuit of a pirate character. My husband had surprised me with the beautiful burgundy velvet sleeves, laced with black ribbons, as a Valentine’s Day gift in 2011. I’m trying to be relatively modest in this photo because, rather than wearing a corset like I do now, all I had at the time that matched the sleeves was a burgundy-coloured lace bra and it’s perhaps a little too personal for me to share that much with my readers!
The black over-the-knee length shorts were something I had bought a couple of years previously, and had dubbed “pirate pants” at the time because of the buttons that sat on the knee. Striped purple socks felt pirate-y to me, too. Then there was a little jewellery to accessorise.
As you can note about my hair, at the time, it was fading out from the blue & purple I had dyed it in November 2010. This becomes important later.
When my sister came to visit later in the year, I had a great opportunity to have someone to go clothes shopping with. I searched for corsets that looked pirate-y to me, and ended up buying three. Two of them became my toss-up choices for the main costume piece. Honestly, I didn’t want to be walking around in a bra if I was going to try and do the pirate on film thing!
On the left, you can see the silk, magenta-coloured corset I ended up choosing, but I was also quite fond of the black one on the right. The main reason I didn’t choose the black one was that I thought it would be too much black to go with the pants.
I still had the striped socks, but I also managed to find the boots I ended up using in the costume in the same mall as the corsets.
At this point, the main problem I had left was my hair. There was no logical reason I could think of to have weirdly-coloured hair for an historically-based pirate. So I went out and bought a wig, as well as finding earrings, plain stockings, and scarfs at other malls.
Yeah, I intentionally grew my armpit hair for that photo shoot. Women didn’t used to shave, you know! At the very least I painstakingly wrote about Jaclyn’s hairy legs and armpits in the opening chapter of Adrift, my novel about Jaclyn Rousseau.
Interestingly, it was during this photo shoot that I realised I had enough other bits I could put together into a costume, to give Jaclyn two outfits. The third corset I mentioned buying earlier worked well for this second outfit. Along with that, I had a piratical-looking blouse that I had bought for another costume I came up with in my teens, and I had 3/4 length striped shorts with laces tying the cuffs that also made me think pirates. Fashioning all that together gave me a complete second costume, which also happens to be the one I’m wearing (though it is hard to tell, since I’m standing in silhouette), on the cover of the book.