It is terribly good of you to join us today to delve into the style of Miss Anne Bonny, scourge of the Caribbean and very stylish criminal. Whether or not you’re familiar with Clara Paget’s portrayal of Anne in the TV show Black Sails, Anne’s most recent on-screen appearance is nothing short of inspirational for anyone who wants maximum pirate babe aesthetic. We will explore layering high-low pieces to create three distinct looks for day-to-night-to-unexplained-fugue-state. I will not spoil the contents of the show herein because that is the height of bad taste, but what I will tell you is you can get the look without getting scurvy.
Landlubber Lewk: Long Layers
In this stunning look from Season 3, we see Anne in an ornate long coat with considerable ornamentation. Having a very fancy coat was a mark of excellent pirating, since pirates would steal the attire of their conquered captives, and then proceed to relentlessly sully the fine fabric with their hard-living ways. For a similar look, I suggest this velvet and silk robe-coat hybrid from FRS. FRS is short for For Restless Sleepers, and they make very luxurious pajamas for daytime wear. Since this coat will cost you $1,485, I do suggest stealing it from a hapless traveler on the high seas, for that authentic look.
Note Anne’s stylish waist belt. This is not just for show. Leather belts and waist sashes help provide abdominal support while hauling ropes aboard ship. This aesthetic depends on layering and attitude. Folding the tops down on these above-the-knee boots turns them from a rarefied gaiter to a genuine shit-kicking work boot. Unkempt locks and a sneer of vengeance complete the ensemble.
Dainty Disguise: Dressed Down
Anne often modifies menswear pieces because she
is a soft butch dreamboat robs mostly male crews, and this remains the only dress we see her in throughout the series. Anne had a light psychotic break, and her brothel-madame-slash-kingmaker girlfriend gave her a new outfit and hid her in plain sight. When viewers get a glimpse at a softer side of Anne, she wears soft fabrics to match. Anne’s dad raised her to wear traditional lady garb, but this dress harkens back to the worst time of her life. In the days before Jack Rackham, Anne was a teen bride with no support system.
When donning this very structured gown gifted to her by one of the ladies of the night, Anne wears her hair down and unadorned, with no makeup to speak of. To emulate this look, a floor-length dress with a gentle scoop or square neck can serve as a light chemise or worn as outerwear, and linen keeps you cool through those hot Nassau summers.
Seafaring Style: Sleeves that Slay
What a killer ensemble! The first time anyone sees Anne with her hair pulled back, she leads a boarding party. This showcases her accessories and the murderous gleam in her eye. Though a corset-style top showcases Anne’s feminine side, there’s a reason leather is also used for armor. Lace-up leather pants wipe clean with a damp cloth, but for that salt-encrusted patina, I suggest rolling around in the nearest body of seawater.
Though pirates do not obey our distinguished social mores, there’s a wealth of significance contained in their outfits, and significant actual wealth. Jewelry is an absolute must. Pile on necklaces, earrings, and rings, mixing metals while you plunder your jewelry box. Pirates believe that gold earrings in the left ear prevent seasickness, and while I’m not given to discuss such indelicacies, they’d know! Choose a ¾-length sleeve for full range of motion in case your mixed metals include daggers.
All in all, to really Get This Pirate Babe Look, just remember that Anne does not give a flying farthing about fashion police, even though the Sumptuary Laws literally dictate what not to wear. Anne’s style seems particularly understated when you consider her boyfriend’s name basically means “Flamboyantly-Printed-Fabric Jack.” Black Sails captures the true libertine society found at sea without erasing the complicated relationships between those who sail under the black. It is a matter of historical record that Anne had some sort of fantastic poly relationship with her partner and co-captain, Calico Jack Rackham, and butch lady-pirate-of-my-heart Mary Read. Pirates flaunt convention in their hierarchy and in their hairdos.
Pirates also use luxe fabrics outside their station to thumb their noses at the authority of the British Empire (which, though I do not endorse rebellion, makes you look very dashing if you attire yourself with aplomb). So the next time you need to assert yourself, kick ass, and take no prisoners,* put on your best pirate garb. If there’s a fashion rule you’ve always followed, break it. It’s what Anne Bonney would do.
*Lady Antoinette Marchpane and POMEmag do not endorse any form of treason against the Crown.