Dressed to Plunder

In fiction, most Pirates are easily identifiable by their Stock Costume Traits.

Expect to see some combination of the following:

In most cases, no one individual will have every trait—they'll be spread around the whole crew, for variety. Expect the captain to get a fancier suit (perhaps a Badass Longcoat) and the most impressive hat; crew members are more likely to wear a bandana, breeches and a simple shirt (often striped). The most overt examples will be emblazoned with a skull and crossbones. Bonus points if they also Talk Like a Pirate.

This image of pirates can pretty much be traced directly to Robert Louis Stevenson, who single-handedly codified the parrot and peg-leg image with Long John Silver. (The hook was popularized later by Peter Pan's Captain Hook.)

That's not to say it has no basis in reality, with some notorious Real Life pirates wearing parts of the ensemble. Edward "Blackbeard" Teach, for instance, got his trope-naming moniker from his Beard of Barbarism, and due the primitiveness of medicine at the time it was common to see sailors with missing appendages (amputation being a comparatively safer solution to severe limb injuries than trying to let it heal in one piece). The eyepatch was also common, partly because actual eye injuries were not unheard of and partly because some sailors with healthy eyes would use the eyepatch to keep an eye dark-adjusted for when they went below decks. People who lived from plunder and had no fixed home were also expected to carry their ill-gotten wealth on themselves as jewellery and gold coins, or gold coins beaten into jewellery.

Subtrope of Pirate, of course. Often seen in Gangplank Galleon.


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  • In an ad for FreeCreditReport.com, a man sings the jingle; in his story his credit went to hell and now he has to work as a singing waiter in a pirate-themed restaurant.

    Anime and Manga 
  • Captain Ash and his crew in Mobile Suit Gundam AGE dress like this in a Space Pirates kind of way. Ash's Dark Hound Gundam even has a pirate hat with a skull-and-crossbones with a targeting mechanism that looks like an eyepatch.

    Comic Strips 

    Film - Animated 
  • The pirates in Ice Age: Continental Drift can pull this look without actually wearing any clothes. For example, Captain Gutt is a giant ape whose fur looks like a tricorner hat and a cape.

    Film - Live-Action 
  • The Pirates of the Caribbean series puts its own spin on the costumes, but still hits the major notes: parrot, beards, eyepatches, hats, bandanas, everything short of a hook (although Davy Jones's crab-claw creates a similar effect).
  • Fast Times at Ridgemont High: Brad ends up working at a pirate-themed restaurant and realized how low his life has sunk when he catches a look at himself in his own rear view mirror making a delivery dressed as a pirate.
  • Muppet Treasure Island, being based on the trope codifier, naturally follows this motif. Long John is particularly resplendent once he shows his true colors.
  • Silent film The Black Pirate could not play this any straighter. Peg legs. Pirate parrots. Bandana hats. Permastubble. The works.
  • In Down Periscope, the captain is told early on that the war game he's taking part in is designed to simulate asymmetrical warfare and he should, therefore, "think like a pirate". Sure enough, when the crew decide to make The Neidermeyer executive officer Walk the Plank, they dress the part using bits of their Navy uniforms — fake pirate hats, eyepatches, black marker for beards. One of them even has a frozen chicken attached to his shoulder as a "parrot".

  • Treasure Island is the Trope Codifier thanks to Captain Long John Silver. He's got a parrot and is missing a leg, though the original and some of the adaptations don't give him a peg leg, he just hobbles around on a crutch.
    • The pegleg at the knee (when Silver's amputation is said to be much higher) is probably an example of Pragmatic Adaptation, from multiple stage and screen adaptations- it's much easier to mock up on an able-bodied actor than a whole missing leg.
  • Peter Pan's pirates had a heavy influence on the trope. Most notably, Captain Hook popularized the Hook Hand look.
  • The Peter and the Starcatchers series plays off of Peter Pan, so of course the characters are similarly depicted.
  • Gideon Defoe's The Pirates books use these as the only identifiers for the otherwise nameless characters - the Pirate Captain, the pirate with the wooden leg, the pirate with the hook, etc. In the movie, one of the pirates has a wooden nose.
  • The Pyrates manages to hit every major pirate stereotype. This includes all variations of the standard pirate outfit.
  • Alex from Almost Night had his spirit bonded to an ancient pirate, and so he talks like a pirate and uses pirate weaponry such as a cutlass and a flintlock pistol. He wears an eye patch, but it's just for show since both of his eyes function just fine.

    Live-Action TV 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering: Ramirez DePietro has the standard eyepatch.
  • Dungeons & Dragons: The Complete Adventurer sourcebook for 3.5 edition includes rules for a "Dread Pirate" prestige class, accompanied by an illustration of a swashbuckling pirate sporting the standard beard, bandana, loose breeches, and Badass Longcoat.
  • The Ork Freebooterz of Warhammer 40,000 wear pirate hats.
  • In Rogue Trader, most of the official art draws little if any difference between "Officer of an Imperial Vessel" and "Space Pirate", especially the titular Rogue Trader and the Arch-Militant careers. Then again, about the only thing that separates you from said space pirates is you have a Warrant of Trade.


    Video Games 
  • RuneScape: All of the stock traits appear on various pirate NPCs: bandanas, tricorner hats, eyepatches, a hook-hand, a captain's hat with a skull-and-crossbones on it, etc. Most of them are also available as wearable equipment, and there is a parrot...well, a zombie parrot ("ex-ex-parrot") available as a pet as a reward for a pirate-related quest.
  • Team Fortress 2: The Demoman has an eyepatch by default, but the "Swashbuckler's Swag" outfit adds a peg-leg, a bottle of rum, and a captain's bicorne with piratey Flavor Text. Also of note are the Rimmed Raincatcher hat and the Soldier's Brawling Buccaneer outfit.
  • Most pirates in the Monkey Island games fit the bill.
  • Dungeon Defenders: This is an alternate outfit for the Squire in the Halloween 2011 Costume Pack DLC.
  • Puzzle Pirates hits most of the notes.
  • There are several factions of pirates in World of Warcraft, most of whom sport this type of garb and have a tendency to say "Yeaaarg!" when they attack. There's even a hat with a skull and crossbones on it that players can get and use, and if you really want, here's how to dress your character as a pirate. Or you can just use the pirate wand.
  • Pirates in Final Fantasy dress like this:
  • The field and battle sprites for the Pirate class in the Fire Emblem series have bandannas. Most recruitable pirates have them too. Exceptions are Geese from Binding Blade (who has a Badass Longcoat) and Briggid from Genealogy of the Holy War, who was a pirate captain by profession but a Sniper by class.
  • The game manual artwork for the first Metroid showed the Space Pirates as aliens sporting this outfit. Counts as Early Installment Weirdness, as all later Metroid games portray them as humanoid arthropods with some basic armor at most.
  • The pirates in the various Wario Land games all share parts of these traits. The Ghost Pirate in Wario Land 3 looks pretty much as you'd expect him to, and Captain Coin from Wario Land 4 has the hat, the eye patch and the hook hand among various other pirate traits. Captain Skull in Wario World has this look, except with a giant cannon in place of one hand and a grappling hook for the other. And while those three are the ones with the most traditional pirate garb, even the other pirates in the series have them to some degree. Captain Syrup has the clothes and sometimes the hat, the Badineros from Wario Land: Shake It! have the bandanas and cutlasses and the Shake King looks like a mix between a pirate, a viking and a traditional Evil Overlord.
  • Foxy from Five Nights at Freddy's is dressed like a traditional buccaneer, though not a captain (presumably Freddy being the leader of the animatronics means he outranks Foxy). Foxy features a hook for a right hand, an eyepatch, several gold teeth, and muzzle markings resembling stubble. His lower legs and left hand are damaged and bare, revealing the endoskeleton beneath, which also evoke either more artificial limbs on a person or the skeletal Ghost Pirate motif.
  • Gangplank from League of Legends is easily identifiable as a pirate by his hat, beard, red naval jacket, and piratical Sword and Gun combo. Several other characters have pirate-themed alternate costumes as well: the Bilgerat Rumble, Bilgewater Katarina, Pirate Ryze, Bilgewater Swain, and Fiddle Me Timbers skins all include stock pirate visual cues.


    Western Animation 
  • The Powerpuff Girls: In "Mizzen in Action", a crew of predictably-dressed pirates accidentally imbibe some Chemical X to become the Villains of the Week.
  • The Simpsons: Shown on the cover of Treasure Island that Bart tries to BS his way through a book report of.
    Well, as Mrs. Krabappel already mentioned, the name of the book that I read was Treasure Island. It's about these pirates, (Looks at the illustrated cover of the book.) pirates with patches over their eyes, (Looks at cover.) and shiny gold teeth, (Looks at cover.) and green birds on their shoulders. Did I mention this book was written (Looks at cover.) by a guy named Robert Louis Stevenson? (Looks at cover.) And published by the good people at McGraw-Hill. So, in conclusion, on the Simpson scale of one to ten—ten being the highest, one being the lowest and five being average—I give this book a nine.
  • Spongebob Squarepants:
    • Patchy the Pirate and the Flying Dutchman.
    • In "Aargh!", Mr. Krabs goes treasure hunting with SpongeBob and Patrick dressed in fancy pirate captain duds, and gives his two underlings some pirate wear to match. SpongeBob puts on two peg legs and calls himself Peggy the Pirate, while Patrick wears eyepatches on both eyes as Blindbeard the Pirate.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door features the candy-themed pirate villain Stickybeard, who wears an eyepatch, a black hat with a skull on it, a Blackbeard-style beard (with candy stuck in it), and a peg-leg and hook-hand both made from candy canes.
  • Youngblood of Danny Phantom is seen in full hook-and-pegleg regalia, complete with skull-and-crossbones hat.
  • Futurama's Space Pirates dress this way, with accommodations for their Bizarre Alien Biology—one pirate has three peg-legs and multiple eyepatches.
  • The Garfield Halloween Special has him and Odie going out Trick-or-Treating dressed as pirates, Garfield wearing a pirate hat and sporting a peg leg, while Odie has a bandana, single earring, and striped shirt, and being who he is, starts off with a peg on every leg. Later they run into some ghostly pirates who show more of the usual fashion sense, just more dead and decayed.
  • In one Muppet Babies Imagine Spot, the gang finds themselves talking to a crew of pirates, and when one of them demands to know whose crew they're on, they says they're Nanny's crew. Gonzo then goes a bit overboard in describing her as a great pirate, with a patch over both eyes, two hook hands and two peg legs.

Alternative Title(s):

Stock Pirate Outfit, Stock Pirate Costume, Pirate Eyepatch, Pirate Pegleg, Pirate Hat