The fashion on board any seafaring vessel would have been different than the fashion on land, but it would certainly echo the trends, and pirate ship captains would be no different. It’s key to keep in mind, however, that most Pirate Captains would have no experience with Captaincy before they became pirates. As such their fashion would be different to that of Naval and Merchant Navy Captains and more likely to reflect the trends in fashion.
Pirate ship fashion – How did pirates captains dress?
There is evidence, hard evidence, that the fashion sported by Merchant and Royal Navy Captains, as well as Pirate Captains was often a practical adaptation of the fashions that were in vogue on land. For example there are pictures depicting Captains of the 1680’s sporting the fashionable long coats with modified cuffs (the land faring fashion was for long cuffs) which kept them practical for day to day life on a ship.
It is certain that many a pirate, Captain or no, would take great pleasure in dressing richly now and then, particularly when celebrating on shore away from their pirate ship. Nonetheless we can be reasonably certain that the clothes worn on board the pirate ship would be designed for the hard use they would see, too. This might mean, for example, using tarred canvas for coats and light linen for breeches.
Camouflage among the pirate ship crew
Pirate Captains, more so than Naval Captains, were also known to dress more like their men while on board their pirate ship. This was partly because they shared in the hard work that had to be done on a day to day basis on board the ship, but also for more ingenious reasons. You see, if and when a naval vessel captured a pirate ship the pirate Captain would change his clothes in order to fit in with his crew and up his chances of escape! You see- fashion could be life saving for a Pirate Captain.