Many pirate coordinates are made from a dress or skirt with an asymmetrical design. This look is impossible to achieve without the right piece, and is a distinctly pirate element in a coordinate. Not very many brands or off-brands make asymmetrical skirts, the only ones I could find came from Alice and the Pirates and Moi Meme Moitie. However, you can make a pirate coordinate with other types of designs. Prints, solid pieces, and even plain staple pieces can make killer coordinates.
Pirate lolita is all about the accessories. Sure, you can make a pirate coordinate with minimal effort in the accessory department, but putting that extra effort to find the perfect pair of boots, the perfect hairpiece, or the perfectly pirate-y jewelry can really make a coordinate go from a borderline pirate outfit to a very obviously pirate one.
The easiest accessory to start with is the hairpiece. Now if you somehow happen to have one of those miniature tricorn hats, then this is automatically a step easier. Those are specifically for pirate style and really scream pirate to me. If you do not, don't worry! There are other options! My favorite right now are the fascinators that I've seen a lot of stores making. They often have a veil and some faux flowers attached to a headband. You can make your own quite easily. There are bunches and bunches of tutorials out there, but my favorites are from The Wedding Bee. It shows how to make the more simple corsage type and the more complicated ones with veils.
Other accessories to change include bags, jewelry, and socks. This might be the only style that I think it's okay to use fishnet stockings in. Of course, these should be layered over other stockings, but it gives it a cool, deconstructed look. Layer dark over light for the best contrast, or by layering with the same color it creates a very textured look. Wearing printed tights underneath the fishnets will create a really busy look, so I don't recommend it. Experiment with different colors and styles to see what you like best!
Bags are not so important in a pirate coordinate. In sweet they have the candy and the animal shapes. In gothic there are bats and coffins. Well for pirate, there are a few shapes available. The most popular (and by far the best) has to be the treasure chest. I saw one in person once and it was absolutely stunning. There's also the trunk-style bag. These would also work well in a classic coordinate, so if you're into both styles, it can be a good investment piece. I'd personally like one so that I can wear lolita to school without having to take my backpack too.
If you're looking to get shoes for pirate lolita, my recommendation is
boots. Boots are the perfect shoes for pirates, as they keep your socks from being splashed with seawater, they keep your feet safe from falling ropes and crates, and they're made of leather so they are stylish too! If you do a google search for pirate boots, it will come up with a ton of options. You want something not costume-y and without too high of a heal. Ideally, a thicker heal would be best. But low stiletto heals are okay too. Vintage shoes are also an option. Really, it's the element of lacing that makes the shoe feel more pirate to me. For great shoe options that aren't Japanese Brand, I highly recommend Modcloth. They have a wide variety of vintage style shoes perfect for many styles of lolita, not just pirate.
It seems that to be the quintessential "sweet lolita" that your dresses and skirts must have an adorable print on them. Sweet seems to be the only style with this level of emphasis on printed items. While printed items are available in pirate style, they aren't required by a long shot. I just want to take a bit to go over some print options that can be worked into a pirate's wardrobe.
Florals: Florals are a staple in any classic lolita's wardrobe. And while you might think
that a flower print doesn't have any place in pirate, that's not entirely true. It can be tricky to make a pirate coordinate based with a flowery dress without it becoming a strictly classic coordinate. But it is possible. If you're a die hard floral fangirl then check out the options from Innocent World and Mary Magdalene. I'm in love with the cut of the Ekaterina OP and the asymmetrically of the skirt fits with the pirate aesthetic well. Paired with a chiffon blouse with fitted cuffs and a cross-body style bag and it can become a pirate outfit with no problem. For florals seemingly made for the style, of course you should look at those done by Alice and the Pirates. Queens Coach and Operetta Bouquet are my two favorites for this.
Themed Prints: With the interest in pirate and other sub styles on the rise, prints created specifically for the style are on the rise too. Alice and the Pirate's recent release of Night Fairy Fantasia (based off the story of Peter Pan) as well as prints by Moi Meme Moitié and BABY seem to be created for the sole purpose of appealing to Pirate style enthusiasts. My favorites are: of course Night Fairy Fantasia, Masquerade Theater, and Vampire Requiem. All AATP I know, but I just don't really follow other brands quite as well.
Stripes: Probably my second choice after the themed prints for
Pirate style. Having pinstripes on a piece is classy and it's a bit edgy if you're wearing a female style. Fortunately, many pieces designed for men are also available in women's sizing. It's a neat look to combine menswear into female lolita looks, and it creates an edginess that's difficult to achieve with puffed sleeves. If you're not really into that, then your choices are a bit more limited. My favorite item of all time with pinstripes is this Frilled Stripe Blouse (right) from AATP. My sister owns this and so I've seen it in person often. I love the jabot on it(detachable) and the frill detail around the buttons. She NEVER wears it either, which is such a shame. It looks great on her.
Finally, I want to end this article with two coordinates. They're both pirate style. One is a Ouji look and the other is the female Pirate sub-style.
I'm pretty proud of how the left outfit turned out especially. I've never made a boy-style coordinate on Polyvore before and it turned out well in my opinion. I made this outfit with a friend of mine in mind. I think she'd really love this look, and I'd love to see her wear it someday! The blouse, shorts, and shoes are from Alice and the Pirates, as well as the bag. I went with a stripe motif for the whole thing; the bows on the bag, the blouse, and the tights all use the stripe pattern. The ship necklace is something that I personally liked but I'm not sure if it fits with a boy style.
The coordinate on the right is actually not something I created. All the credit for this has to go to my sister. She actually owns this outfit, minus the bag and hair piece. It's a classic coordinate with the boots, bag, and hairpiece pushing it into the pirate realm. The skirt and bag are from Alice and the Pirates. The blouse is from an Innocent World lucky pack, and the shoes are from Modcloth. Everyone loved the outfit when she wore it and so I hope you do too.
This article has been a month in the making, but I think it's turned out nicely. I'm going to try and do some more of these style spotlights, maybe even throw in some of the crossover styles. School's back in session for me now, and for some reason this is helping me write to the quality that I expect of myself. I hope to bring this blog back from the dead in the next few weeks. Please, if you have any questions about lolita fashion, something you'd like to see here, or general comments for me, let me know on my formspring. Thanks for reading~