Pirate Petee

The Boots We Wear (On Bucket Boots)

470 posts in this topic

Statue of a typical 17thC seaman. Doublet, slops etc. (I need to run down the original statue and get a good look at it, but if you look at his left leg he appears to have a row of buttons up it - quite possibly this is a short legged boot. Woohoo! back on topic!)

LOL - I keep checking the header to see WHAT topic I'm in - it's all rather confusing at the moment...

And I'd love to see what that man has on his feet - they look like a more practical boot than the bucket style.

Whew - I think I'm getting it - finally... :wub:

So - because I'm just lazy and have no desire to invest in a hot ol' justaucorps, I could base my costume more on the buccaneer era (of course, not sure that there were ever any female buccaneers ...so that just throws the authenticity angle right out the winder... :wub: ). If I do - then I will wear breeches of some sort - for the public's sake - and a doublet/waistcoat sort of thing, with a shirt. If you can dig up a good pic of latchet shoes, or of that statue's boots, that would help, because I doubt that I'd bother with hot ol' bucket boots!

I have other questions, but I will leave them for the Buccaneer thread.

das

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latchet.jpg

Original 1650s latchet shoe with a stacked heel.

17c1.jpg

Different style of latchet shoe, modern repro.

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. I don’t think Hollywood came up with the idea that they wore boots, there are a lot of early 19th century images of seamen wearing boots, that’s in the 1800’s, a lot closer to the GAoP than we are  B) , with so many depictions of them wearing boots it had to have come from some where.

Early 19th century was still some 75 - 100 years AFTER the GAOP. Look at the fashion changes that have occurred between 1905-1930 to the present day; a comparable period of time.

Boots seem to have been "in" during the buccaneering era, "out" during the Golden Age, and "in" again during the early 1800's.

I recall reading in a book about Admiral Nelson, c. 1805, one officer advising a younger colleague to change from boots into shoes before battle: the high boots would afford nil protection but would make it that much harder for the surgeon to remove musket ball, splinters, etc. from his legs.

Capt. William

True it was a distance away, but the people in the early 1800’s that were illustrating these portrayals of pirates lived a lot closer to the time period. There would have defiantly been first hand information overlap. Even though the truth tends to get fuzzier the farther you get from the source, they were a lot closer to the source.

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True it was a distance away, but the people in the early 1800’s that were illustrating these portrayals of pirates lived a lot closer to the time period. There would have defiantly been first hand information overlap.

I don't think that's necessarily the case. If we're talking about, say, the illustrations from Ellms' Pirates Own Book then that's nearly 120 years after the events it describes (more in some cases). You're artistic minded Petee, so you make an excellent case study. How many people do you know who could tell you first hand what people wore in the 1880s?

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Touché , if there was anybody, there dead now, but I would say it were more likely than geting first hand info about 289 years ago. What I meant about "overlapping first hand experiance" was that Someones Grand father could have been alive at that time. Also heard this once" What’s the difference between an American Man and an English Man. The American thinks 100 years is a long time and the English think 100 miles is a long way." :rolleyes: Not sure if I told that right. Speaking of which, my great great grand father, or something like that, was a captain of some type of ship. I know he was from Liverpool and he died at sea. Anyway if I were able to give you a name how hard would it be to come by some information?

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How many people do you know who could tell you first hand what people wore in the 1880s?

*waves hand in the air* OOO!! OOO!!! I CAN!!!

Oh, wait...I have photographs...guess that changes things a bit, eh??

Let me illustrate the problem this way...

I am very interested in Native American/Indian culture - pre-1900. Now, the Battle of Little Big Horn occurred in 1876, and Wounded Knee in 1890 - these two events, and the things that occurred inbetween, effectively put an end to the culture of the Plains Indians. Geronimo (Goyaathle) surrendered in 1886, putting an end to the Apache resistance in the Southwest. Tribes in the Northwest and other areas all were contained around the same time, driven onto reservations and forced to give up their old ways. Yet, in many Hollywood movies made less than 60 years later, Indian cultures are confused, with customs of one tribe accredited to another, and their style of dress was greatly misrepresented, with hokey headbands and the like. And that was all done while original ('original', as in those who remembered the old ways) members of the various western tribes were STILL alive!!

So, although living closer to a period SHOULD aid in authentic portrayals, it often does not...

das

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WHICH brings us full circle...as a hardcore reenactor, or if you're doing it for laughs at a RenFaire or festival you could look at the portrayal of a pirate as an artistic endeavour. And therefore the decision to wear bucketboots or not must simply be at the discretion of the "artist" and their intent. :)

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Also heard this once" What’s the difference between an American Man and an English Man. The American thinks 100 years is a long time and the English think 100 miles is a long way."

It must have been someone very wise and profound who told you that, I wonder who it can have been... :rolleyes:

Speaking of which, my great great grand father, or something like that, was a captain of some type of ship. I know he was from Liverpool and he died at sea. Anyway if I were able to give you a name how hard would it be to come by some information?

It would depend greatly on what kind of ship. If it were a naval ship then it should be fairly easy. If it were a merchant ship belonging to a major line then it would be not too difficult. If he were the master of a Mersey tubgoat then it would be considerably more tricky.

Without any promises of when or even "if", what's the name, and do you have any idea on date?

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I am still in the boot thread, right??

Onesies, who posts here occasionally, is a rider...and in chat she just said to me, regarding boots (on pirates): "Remember, i wear tall leather black boots at summer horse shows...only an idiot would do that willingly."

:rolleyes:

Make of it what you will...

das

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Now THAT is probably the best single anti-bucket boot testimony I've read yet. Succinct, logical, and funny. Thanks!

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The boot topic seems to be a moving target... I hope that it has finally found a home. Maybe it could be a sticky topic..... since there is always so much discussion about it.

My next question is:

Why do so many folks want to include bucket boots in their pirate costume/kit?

The only thing I can come up with is that they personally think that bucket boots are cool

or

There are so many "other" pirates wearing them, that it must be the thing to wear.

or

Collective pirate "wisdom/mythology" states that of course pirates wore boots.

I have never met (or read on forums) a boot enthusiast that has actually posted or attempted to post, historical documentation about the use of boots (except for Pirate Pete... but he seems to be more of a Devil's Advocate, not a boot enthusiast).

I have to think that its a lost cause... those that are interested will make an attempt, do their own research, ask the right questions, and come to their own conclusions.

I hate to think that its a dead horse... but its dead.

GoF

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*kicks dead horse and gets it back up on its feet*

Well...I wouldn't say that it's a dead horse, dead end, dead topic...nothing like that. I think it's obvious that, at one time, men (in general) did wear boots as a fashion statement.

The first thing is the 'when' - and it seems to be during the early part of the 17th century.

Now, the 'why' - because they looked cool! (that tends to be a constant throughout history) Let's face it, if they were as expensive as has been noted, only those with a few shillings to spare would be buying them. I'll take a guess that they were worn mostly by the richest and foppish of gents, and by those who...well... thought they were cool. ;)

Okay - so...'who' would these gentlemen be? Pirates? Perhaps - if boots were somewhat common, I can imagine that the odd pirate or two would want a pair.

'Where' would he wear them? Well, certainly not while swabbing the decks! No - in looking at the pictures and all, it seems that boots (if worn by a pirate) were reserved for stepping out on the town and, if for nothing else, than to give the impression of being a successful gentleman, whether he was, or not.

These are just speculative conclusions I've drawn from these discussions...and partly based on period drawings and etchings. Obviously, men DID wear them in the early 17th century, and pirates WERE men...so it's highly likely that some men 'employed' as pirates during the Buccaneer era wore boots - somwhere, sometime.

But if we're talking the GAoP - well, it seems (for now) that boots were a no-show, both in society and amongst pirates, except in later drawings.

At least, that's how I'm seeing it. I do have a question, though. IF boots were worn by pirates...could they have been a regional thing? In other words, pirates/buccaneers in the Caribbean less likely to wear them, while pirates plying their trade in northern climes did? Do we have any documentation on cold water pirates?

das

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Yeah, we've got information of "cold-water" pirates and seamen - in many cases they were the same people that worked the Caribbean. The same arguments stand for those in the colder climes. They're not practical, they're not fashionable, and there's no evidence in support of them.

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I think this has been a lively discussion.

I think the preference for boots is based on looking cool. There is obviously little to support their use in GAoP. Sure, they were probably available. But think about our current fashions.

You can still buy a fedora but they haven't been fashionable since the 50s. Hats in general went out of fashion in the 60s and haven't returned to favor. I'm talking about the kind of hats ladies and gentlemen used to wear to church... not berets, stocking caps or baseball caps. Fashions change and one would tend to follow fashion. This would even be true of a pirate going to town. They wouldn't want to seem out of place, in my humble opinion. Their goal was to blend in.

I think one of the reasons guys prefer the boots is they look more authoritative or impressive than a pair of buckled shoes, which could be perceived as a bit prissy. But that was the general fashion on land then. I for one love to wear the shoes because I seem to stand out among the hundred other pirates at an event who are wearing boots. It takes a bit of daring to wear the ol' "princess shoes" as my crewe calls them. And it creates a good talking point when out in public.

I would encourage everyone here to branch out and try the shoes too. You may be surprised at the response you get. And they good pair of shoes costs a lot less than a good pair of boots.

-- Hurricane

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This would even be true of a pirate going to town. They wouldn't want to seem out of place, in my humble opinion. Their goal was to blend in.

In my case, I wasn't referring to the GAoP, when boots seemed to fall out of fashion, but to the earlier Buccaneer era when, based on several etchings and the like, boots were somewhat fashionable. During that time, I can image that the odd pirate or two may have worn boots about towne, if for nothing else than to look...well...cool. ;)

Clearly, seafaring men of all sorts during the GAoP wore shoes...and many images of pirates support this. And out of practicality, I doubt that even during the Buccaneer era that any pirate or sailor wore boots while working the ship, except, perhaps, for a captain if he desired to stand out from the crew.

Now, on an aside...but not really. From the Vasa Museum:

typicalsailor.jpg

Make of it what you will...enjoy!

das

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Well I do like to consider myself a boot enthusiast, I don’t think I’m playing devils advocate. I mean I wear both, buckle shoes and “Bucket Boots”. I do try and back it with historical fact, which let me tell you friends is an up hill battle ;) . With the lack of documentation, as with a lot of history its comes to educated guesses. Das, during the GAoP they were worn, but for more of a practical purpose, riding horses and less for fashion. I myself can personally see a practical purpose for a pirate or sailor for that matter to wear them, not all the time mind you. Foxe, I believe his name would have been Charles Moore, and I believe it would have been on a merchant ship, they say it’s a “clipper” ship, not sure what they mean by that, also I believe his wife set up a boarding house in Liverpool. I am guessing it would have been in the late 1800’s.

ThumbnailServlet4.jpg

Upper right hand corner, not the stiff fitted cavalry boot, but a baggier leather boot with folded tops.

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Nice painting Petee...very nice. Got a date & artist on that? Based on the technique and style it looks like a later 19th or even 20th century painting to me.

boots (if worn by a pirate) were reserved for stepping out on the town and, if for nothing else, than to give the impression of being a successful gentleman, whether he was, or not.

Ok, then it stands to reason that if a pirate wanted to look his best on the town then not only would he put ON his finest, biggest, baddest boots, but he should also remove all the rest of his "piratey" gear, and go dressed merely as a gentleman. After all, why have fashionable footwear if the rest of you looks like a dirty seaman? Yet all the bucket-boot brigade pirates I see always still have the headscarf, the sash, the weapons, the knife, the bloodstained shirt, the belaying pin, etc...

which leads me to think that they are not interested in portraying a "succesful pirate parading about town" but rather are interested in portraying a sailor wearing what are essentially cowboy boots. Which I suppose is kind of like a Viking reenactor stubbornly pressing on with his horned-helmet despite the evidence against their existence? Why? We all know why...because Mr. Viking man thinks it just looks cool. It comes down to choosing the myth over the history. And again, as GOF has said before, there is NOTHING wrong with either pursuit...just be clear to yourself and the rest of us what you're goal is. Because all this warping of history hurts my brain! :P

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That would be an 19th Century, good eye. Not period true, just showing that sailors did have and wear boots. Know I don't think that they would have worn them to show that they were successful, after all I think they would have wanted to draw the least amount of attention to themselves. What I am saying is that if they wore them it would have served a purpose or thats all they would of had and or personal preferance.

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Ok, then it stands to reason that if a pirate wanted to look his best on the town then not only would he put ON his finest, biggest, baddest boots, but he should also remove all the rest of his "piratey" gear, and go dressed merely as a gentleman.  After all, why have fashionable footwear if the rest of you looks like a dirty seaman? Yet all the bucket-boot brigade pirates I see always still have the headscarf, the sash, the weapons, the knife, the bloodstained shirt, the belaying pin, etc...

Exactly. Which is why I said somewhere that a re-enactor has to make a decision about what sort of pirate they want to portray - the pirate ashore in his finery, or the pirate at work (on deck or ashore, either for raids, or for secluded relaxation or careening).

I think the problem stems from the idea that a pirate during the golden age wouldn't be caught dead in public with his coat off. So, when folks go to faires, etc...they gotta wear those doggone coats because they are 'out and about'. Well, in my humble, that big ol' justaucorps just looks a LOT better with bucket boots than girly hose and princess shoes... OTHERWISE, everyone kinda looks like Ben Franklin... :P

So...what about pirate re-enactors going about in their 'work' clothes? Sure, many did wear coats even while working, but not those doggone justaucorps!! They're as impractical as those doggone bucket boots!! :P And I'm sure on hot days, a good number of men working the ship went, not only coatless, but shirtless as well. So...what about the stripped down version of a pirate? A shirt (with or without waistcoat), slops without hose/breeches with, and a pair of shoes is accurate, though perhaps not what would have been worn in 'public'. Perhaps if more guys would 'dress down', they'd be content with those princess shoes!

Again - it's all about deciding which version of a pirate one is going to portray. A shipboard working man or a shore-bound raiding party, or a man-about-town, trying to blend in with the rest of the gentlemen. And even with that, there are different 'versions'. A pirate might throw a jacket/coat over his working clothes if he's just going into town for a day for supplies, mingling on the dock and blending in with other sailors. So - several versions of the same 'pirate' can be created...it's just up to the individual re-enactor to decide which works best for him...or the re-enacting group, to decide what part of piratical life they want to portray (of course, anyone can have several styles, and incorporate the working pirate with the gentleman pirate and the dockside pirate all into his kit.)

Just my opinions...now...*tosses 'em to the seadogs*...here, tear 'em apart!! :P

das *poking at the embers...*

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Das, nice Vasa picture!

Petee, do we know what kind of ship they're on in your painting? It wouldn't be a fishing boat would it?

Which I suppose is kind of like a Viking reenactor stubbornly pressing on with his horned-helmet despite the evidence against their existence?

Well said!

It comes down to choosing the myth over the history. And again, as GOF has said before, there is NOTHING wrong with either pursuit...just be clear to yourself and the rest of us what you're goal is. Because all this warping of history hurts my brain!

I have no issue with people choosing the myth over the reality. I happen to believe very strongly that once you actually look into it the history is far more interesting than the fiction could ever be, but that's just my opinion. I don't even have an issue with those who choose the myth deluding themselves that it's history. I DO have a problem with them deluding others that it's history.

Exactly. Which is why I said somewhere that a re-enactor has to make a decision about what sort of pirate they want to portray - the pirate ashore in his finery,

Popping the cork on my worme canne. What evidence do we have of pirates "dressing up" to go ashore, and to what extent does that evidence show their attmepts succeeded?

And I'm sure on hot days, a good number of men working the ship went, not only coatless, but shirtless as well. So...what about the stripped down version of a pirate? A shirt (with or without waistcoat), slops without hose/breeches with, and a pair of shoes is accurate, though perhaps not what would have been worn in 'public'.

At the risk of sounding dogmatic (and I know Das really doesn't want to hear this) I think stripping to the shirt would have been very very rare indeed. We have to get into the 18thC mind-set that a shirt is underwear, and even nowadays folks don't generally go to work in their skivvies. See my earlier comments about stripping to the shirt in Henry Teonge's diary. It did happen, but only under the most extreme of circumstances. Bear in mind also that the mid-17th century saw the end of what has been described as a "mini ice age", so even during the GAoP the average temperatures were lower than they are now. Furthermore, if you habitualy wear a coat all you life then your body compensates for it. Yes, it happened, but so rarely as to make it noteworthy. Stripping to the skin - even more unlikely. This is a classic problem which is almost always approached with a 21stC mindset, not an 18thC one.

I have often gone stocking-less on a hot day, but since reading about seamen keeping their stockings on when they went swimming, I'm having doubts about that too.

Perhaps if more guys would 'dress down', they'd be content with those princess shoes!

Are you gonna tell Petee or am I? :P

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YOU tell 'im!!!! :P

I am aware of the diary, and I don't mind at all hearing it again. As far as the coat goes - well...a coat like a short jacket is one thing...but a long, fancy justaucorps?? Are you telling me that they wore THOSE while working, or do I have yet another case of Peteeitis?

As far as evidence of 'dressing up' to go ashore - well, this all depends on the answer to the above. If they wore short jackets aboard ships and not the larger coats, then those pictures of pirates ashore in justaucorps (I'm going on memory of pictures posted about a year ago as evidence of wearing coats ashore) would be my idea of 'dressing up', compared to working clothes like slops and a short jacket. BUT, again...it all hinges on what sort of 'coat' they wore aboard ship...

das

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Bad case of Peteeitis.

I think that 99.9% of the coats worn by the working seamen were short sailors' jackets. BUT I think that 99.9% of them wore them 99.9% of the time. Shirtsleeves were a rarity.

Some of the pictures of pirates ashore from the period do show long coats, but there are two things to take into consideration: a, most of those pictures show captains rather than grunts, and b, even some of the pictures of captains ashore show them in short coats!

Right, I'm off to play my grandmother at Scrabble.

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And I'm sure on hot days, a good number of men working the ship went, not only coatless, but shirtless as well. So...what about the stripped down version of a pirate? A shirt (with or without waistcoat), slops without hose/breeches with, and a pair of shoes is accurate, though perhaps not what would have been worn in 'public'.

At the risk of sounding dogmatic (and I know Das really doesn't want to hear this) I think stripping to the shirt would have been very very rare indeed. We have to get into the 18thC mind-set that a shirt is underwear, and even nowadays folks don't generally go to work in their skivvies. See my earlier comments about stripping to the shirt in Henry Teonge's diary. It did happen, but only under the most extreme of circumstances. Bear in mind also that the mid-17th century saw the end of what has been described as a "mini ice age", so even during the GAoP the average temperatures were lower than they are now. Furthermore, if you habitualy wear a coat all you life then your body compensates for it. Yes, it happened, but so rarely as to make it noteworthy. Stripping to the skin - even more unlikely. This is a classic problem which is almost always approached with a 21stC mindset, not an 18thC one.

I have often gone stocking-less on a hot day, but since reading about seamen keeping their stockings on when they went swimming, I'm having doubts about that too.

Hmmm... so are ye sayin' I am incorrectly dressed in 110 deg F. temp?

http://www.pyracy.com/gallery/details.php?image_id=676

Should I have been wearin' a wesket in th' least?

Not tryin' ta be a smart are here...

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Hey, I wear the princess shoes too. My point is that wearing of the boots would be dressing down. Also like I said earlier, that I'm not sure a pirate would want to dress up at all, calling attention to himself.

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