Follow TV Tropes


Dressed to Plunder

Go To
Image by Dan Piraro. Used with permission.

"With all those peg legs, hook hands and eye patches, it's like these movies are trying to tell us that pirates, more so than any other group of people in history, were remarkably good at misplacing body parts."

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 of the justacorps style) 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 (despite him not having a peg leg). (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 to 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.


    open/close all folders 

  • In an ad for, 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 & Manga 
  • Captain Harlock wears an eyepatch, a black naval jacket marked with the skull and crossbones, along with enormous cape and boots. He also carries a pistol and something that's a cross between a cutlass and a really long pistol, but keeps a strange long-necked bird in lieu of a parrot. His crew mostly wears striped shirts and bandanas, while sorta-sister-in-law Emeraldas wears a red version of Harlock's outfit.
  • 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.
  • One Piece, being a manga about pirates can't miss out on that trope - although mostly these traits are spread around the minor, generic pirates while major pirate characters tend to look more distinct. Still, there are a couple examples:
    • The Pirate King Gol D. Roger resembled a stereotypical pirate with his bicorner hat, naval coat and Badass Mustache. He also dual-wielded a sword and a gun at one point.
    • Blackbeard, who adopts an increasingly stereotypically pirate look as the series goes on (but manages to make it look imposing and terrifying). In particular he grows his beard out from a stubble to full size and adds a bunch of jewelry and a billowing black coat when joining the Seven Warlords.
  • Lalaco Godspeed of Space Patrol Luluco dresses like Captain Morgan with an enormous bicorn hat bearing the skull-and-crossbones, an 18th-century-style naval jacket, and high-heeled bucket-topped boots (and almost nothing else).

    Comic Books 
  • Batman foe Captain Stingaree sports an eyepatch, earring, neckerchief, long naval frock coat, buccaneer boots, and cutlass.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Vol 1: In the Golden Age/Earth-Two Diana and Etta Candy's Holliday Girls fought some sky pirates who dressed in bandanas and piraty hats and such.
    • Vol 2: Di adopts a leather pants and corset with an oversized jacket paired with big golden hooped earrings and a bandana tied around her head as the head of a rebellion labeled as pirates, and partakes in piracy stealing slaves, ships and other goods from the Sangtee Empire on a large scale. She's freeing the slaves and using those goods to provide for them.

    Comic Strips 

    Film - Animated 

    Film - Live-Action 
  • 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".
  • 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.
  • 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) and peg leg (again, Jones's crab leg invokes the image of one, and Barbossa gets a proper one in the fourth movie).

  • 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.
  • An Invoked Trope by the Space Pirates in the Bio of a Space Tyrant series by Piers Anthony, since the authorities won't believe (or don't want to admit to) ancient-looking pirates operating in space.
  • The Peter and the Starcatchers series plays off of Peter Pan, so of course the characters are similarly depicted.
  • Peter Pan's pirates had a heavy influence on the trope. Most notably, Captain Hook popularized the Hook Hand look.
  • 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.
  • In Rocko the Christmas Bat, one of the children from the main family goes trick-or-treating as a pirate, with a jacket and eye-patch get-up.
  • Samurai Scarecrow: One of Yukio's Ninja friends dressed as a pirate for Halloween. This involves pirate pants, a peg leg, and an eyepatch.
  • 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.

    Live-Action TV 

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Pirata Morgan, veteran of EMLL, as well as All Japan Pro Wrestling, FMW, Lucha Libre Internacional and AAA. The eye patches and half masks aren't just for show though, he did lose an eye in a match.
  • IWRG and CMLL wrestler Sable tended to dress himself like a pirate.
  • Kairi Hojo had swash buckler inspired entrance attire in Wonder Ring STARDOM, which she wore prior to winning the World Of title belt, which had been vacant for a month in 2015.

    Tabletop Games 


    Video Games 
  • Captain Scarlett (she of the Pirate's Booty) in Borderlands 2 DLC dresses as you would expect, complete with a hook hand; about the only things that aren't fairly typical are a bionic eye standing in for an eyepatch, and slightly more modern piercings than most pirates. Of note, the hook hand is in a game where multiple characters (Gaige, Sir Hammerlock, and Wilhelm, to name just three) have fully functional bionic limbs; Scarlett is apparently so dedicated to the aesthetic that she's willing to overlook that.
  • Present in Captain Morgane and the Golden Turtle. Morgane's childhood home actually has a rack of peg legs, left from prominent pirate ancestors. Also, one of the crew members Morgane recruits makes it a condition of the hire that she buy him a gold earring so that he can look the part of a pirate.
  • The whole Kremling Krew adopts this visual in Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest, meaning every crocodilian enemy ends up with a gratuitous amounts of bandanas, bicorne hats, hoop earrings and peg legs. Some even use Hook Hands as boomerang projectiles.
  • Woodlegs from Don't Starve: Shipwrecked has, as the name suggests, two wooden legs, on top of a bicorne hat and a Seadog Beard.
  • Dungeon Defenders: This is an alternate outfit for the Squire in the Halloween 2011 Costume Pack DLC.
  • Pirates in Final Fantasy dress like this:
    • In Final Fantasy, Bikke is the Badass Longcoat captain with bicorn and Badass Beard, while his crew have bandannas and eyepatches.
    • Leila of Final Fantasy II wears a bandanna; her crew has that and eyepatches.
    • Faris of Final Fantasy V has a Badass Longcoat and a Sailor's Ponytail in the concept art, although her sprite looks different, and her crew look the same as all the others. Also, the Cannoneer job uses this kind of clothing (although you can call it a navy outfit, too), and the Skeleton enemies in the Ship Graveyard have bandannas and—somehow—beards.
    • In Crystal Chronicles Ring Of Fates and Echoes Of Time, Selkies can equip pirate hats and coats.
    • Drake's pirates in Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light have stripey shirts and bandannas; Drake himself has the bicorn and Badass Beard but is otherwise dressed the same.
    • Considering that one of the three major cities in Final Fantasy XIV is nautically themed, it's not much of a surprise that many of its residents dress the part (including the faction leader). Player characters can piece together the Buccaneer gear for a similar look.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • It's not totally clear if Mangle in Five Nights at Freddy's 2 also adheres to the pirate theme despite being in the "Kids' Cove", as by the time of the game they're simply a mess of metal parts. Nonetheless, they are missing the white of one eye in an echo of an eyepatch (and the glowing yellow light within suggests an undead appearance). Likewise, they feature a smaller, extra head that fanon speculates might belong to a Pirate Parrot when Mangle is in working order.
  • Ginger Beyond The Crystal: One of the outfits Ginger can wear is a pirate's outfit. In includes a tri-corner hat, an eyepatch, and a coat.
  • Joumee The Hedgehog: You can put a pirate hat on Joumee to wear in the game.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Most pirates in the Monkey Island games fit the bill.
  • Moshi Monsters: Most of the pirates dress like this.
    • Octopeg has a pirate hat and six peg legs (he's an octopus).
    • Captain Buck has a pirate hat.
    • Captain Codswallop wears a pirate hat, gloves, an earring and a monocle.
    • Mr Mushy Peas wears a bandana and a peg leg (also 3D glasses for some reason).
    • Jaunty Jack wears a paper hat and an eyepatch.
    • Pirate Pong wears an eyepatch.
    • Handy Van Hookz has hooks for both hands and a pirate hat.
    • McScruff has a bandana.
  • Pizza Vs. Skeletons: You can buy a pirate hat and eyepatch with in-game money to make the pizza wear. Also, one of the bosses is a giant skull with a pirate bandanna and an earring.
  • Pokémon Unite has Holowear for the various Pokemon you can use in the game; Captain style Cinderace dresses like this with bicorner hat and naval jacket, which provides a nice contrast with Greninja.
  • Puzzle Pirates hits most of the notes.
  • 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.
  • Skies of Arcadia plays with this trope adding fantasy elements to it. Vyse has a glass eye-patch that can been used to zoom in, Drachma has a robotic arm (that has a hook-like add-on), Guilder has his pet parrot (called Willy), the ensemble cast is covered with large jackets, buckles and stripes, and after finishing the game Fina changes her clothes to this with her Living Weapon gaining a standard eye-patch.
  • Invoked in Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves, where Sly has to obtain an eyepatch, peg leg, and hat to impersonate Contagious Tim when trying to get the location of Remy Lousteau's diving gear from Black Spot Pete.
  • 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.
  • ''Warcraft: The boxart for Warcraft 2 features Mirrored Confrontation Shot with a human in a coat and tricorn hat while the orc opposite has a bandanna and earrings, to advertise the game's newly added naval combat. Despite this, other piratical elements like Talk Like a Pirate are absent.
  • 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.
  • 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.


    Web Videos 
  • Manic Pixie Dream Wife: Chance is dressed like a stereotypical pirate in episode "I Be Her Bear". He wears a black bandana, an earring and he has a sword.

    Western Animation 
  • In Captain Pugwash, Captain Pugwash sports a bicorn hat with a skull-and-crossbones on the front; a Badass Mustache; a naval jacket; a flouncy shirt; and cavakier boots. His Arch-Enemy Cut-Throat Jake has a badass bandana; an Eyepatch of Power; a Seadog Beard; a waist sash; and buccaneer boots.
  • 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.
  • The Fairly OddParents: In one of the Oh Yeah! Cartoons shorts, Cosmo and Wanda dress up in the traditional garb while playing pirate.
  • 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.
  • An episode of Rocko's Modern Life featured a pirate who had wooden legs, wooden arms and wooden eyes!
  • The My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Nightmare Night" gives us the foal Pipsqueak, presently presenting as a pirate for trick-or-treating, with a jacket, head bandana, eyepatch, and toy cutlass.
  • One of PAW Patrol's villains, Sid Swashbuckle, wears a tricorner hat, bandana, jacket, and gold belt buckle.
  • 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.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Stock Pirate Outfit, Stock Pirate Costume, Pirate Eyepatch, Pirate Pegleg, Pirate Hat


Luz Noceda

Luz, Eda, and the sailors on the ship are dressed like pirates. King also acts like a parrot saying, "King wanna cracker!"

How well does it match the trope?

3.67 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / DressedToPlunder

Media sources:

Main / DressedToPlunder