The Traditional Pirate Headwear
Now, some may argue that the headscarf is more traditional for pirate headwear but I would argue that the tricorne, if properly adorned and worn with the right air is the end-all-be-all of pirate headgear.
The tricorne is a rather simple hat. It derives its name from the three peaks that make up the hat after it has been formed. Let’s start from the beginning of the manufacturing of a tricorne. You start with a felt hat blank. This is a wide brimmed hat that has had nothing done to it but the crown has been made to fit the head. This is done after the felting process has produced a sheet of felt that the hat can be cut out of. Now, the distance from crown to brim is going to be the height of the sides of the tricorne and certainly will lend a piratey flare to your hat.
So you have a hat blank with a crown. The typical tricorne was beloved by the military for the fact that it kept the rain out of your face, off your head and off your gear. A soldiers tricorne will have a point off the forehead and two peaks on either side of the back of the head. The back of the hat is brought up as well and gives the hat a very defined shape. With the hat then oiled and waxed, it became a waterproof rain hat. This spread the love of the tricorne to the civilian population, making it a hat for every occasion.
Enter the pirates…
Pirates took the love of the tricorne to new levels. Needing a hat to wear on land that would attract the ladies and let other pirates know of their own importance, they found haberdashers and convinced them to make hats of different sizes and shapes. All of a sudden you had a hat blank being turned up to make the start of the tricorne with the other side being left long to give the hat a more rakish appearance. They would change the shape to give the tricorne a more drastic and sinister appearance. The pirates took ownership of the tricorne and never looked back. Most of the time when you see a ship’s captain, whether it be Blackbeard, Captain Morgan or Calico Jack wearing a hat it is a tricorne or a descendant thereof.
So, here are a few places to start if you are looking for the headgear that is perfect for your pirate costume at the next faire you attend: