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Jaclyn Rousseau: Evolution of a Pirate Costume

Posted by on July 24, 2013

Pirate Costume Phase 1

This is the outfit that started me on my pursuit of a pirate character. My husband had surprised me with the beautiful burgundy velvet sleeves, laced with black ribbons, as a Valentine’s Day gift in 2011. I’m trying to be relatively modest in this photo because, rather than wearing a corset like I do now, all I had at the time that matched the sleeves was a burgundy-coloured lace bra and it’s perhaps a little too personal for me to share that much with my readers!

The black over-the-knee length shorts were something I had bought a couple of years previously, and had dubbed “pirate pants” at the time because of the buttons that sat on the knee. Striped purple socks felt pirate-y to me, too. Then there was a little jewellery to accessorise.

As you can note about my hair, at the time, it was fading out from the blue & purple I had dyed it in November 2010. This becomes important later.

When my sister came to visit later in the year, I had a great opportunity to have someone to go clothes shopping with. I searched for corsets that looked pirate-y to me, and ended up buying three. Two of them became my toss-up choices for the main costume piece. Honestly, I didn’t want to be walking around in a bra if I was going to try and do the pirate on film thing!

Corset choice 1

Corset choice 2

On the left, you can see the silk, magenta-coloured corset I ended up choosing, but I was also quite fond of the black one on the right. The main reason I didn’t choose the black one was that I thought it would be too much black to go with the pants.

I still had the striped socks, but I also managed to find the boots I ended up using in the costume in the same mall as the corsets.

At this point, the main problem I had left was my hair. There was no logical reason I could think of to have weirdly-coloured hair for an historically-based pirate. So I went out and bought a wig, as well as finding earrings, plain stockings, and scarfs at other malls.

Jaclyn Rousseau full costume 1

Jaclyn Rousseau full costume 1

Jaclyn Rousseau (with hairy armpits) full costume 1

Yeah, I intentionally grew my armpit hair for that photo shoot. Women didn’t used to shave, you know! At the very least I painstakingly wrote about Jaclyn’s hairy legs and armpits in the opening chapter of Adrift, my novel about Jaclyn Rousseau.

Interestingly, it was during this photo shoot that I realised I had enough other bits I could put together into a costume, to give Jaclyn two outfits. The third corset I mentioned buying earlier worked well for this second outfit. Along with that, I had a piratical-looking blouse that I had bought for another costume I came up with in my teens, and I had 3/4 length striped shorts with laces tying the cuffs that also made me think pirates. Fashioning all that together gave me a complete second costume, which also happens to be the one I’m wearing (though it is hard to tell, since I’m standing in silhouette), on the cover of the book.

Jaclyn Rousseau's second complete costume

Jaclyn Rousseau's second complete costume

Jaclyn Rousseau's second complete costume

For a chance to win a copy of Adrift, check out the last entry of my blog, or pre-order your copy now at Indiegogo.

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Dominica has a strong interest in exploring diversity in media, seeing people subverting corporate control of creativity through crowdfunding and indie publishing, and spending as much time as she can travelling the world and discovering culture. This is what she most regularly blogs about. In her spare time, Dominica is primarily focused on long-form improv theatre, and writing and publishing speculative fiction. You can find links to some of her free and published stories and screenplays on her writing page, or check out her pirate time-travel novel Adrift. Though born and raised in Australia to American parents, Dominica lived in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, between 2008-2014, until she moved to the San Francisco Bay Area. She also has a background in web programming, filmmaking, and stand-up comedy. For more information, check out her about page, or any of the specific pages about her various creative pursuits in the links at the top of the page.

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