TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – As the Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla invades Tampa for the annual Gasparilla Parade, the streets are lined with crazy pirates to cheer them on in their revelry.
To begin a transformation into a buccaneer, you need to first know what century your inner pirate may have lived. Fashion changes even for pirates.
“In early time period of the 1600s, they would call the vest a jerkin. When it went to the golden age 1700s, it was longer called waist coat. Then in the 1800s, it became short again, and it was called a westkit,” explained Tiger Lee, owner of Pirates Fashions in Tampa.
The store is located on Cayuga Street, just a wee bit north of Raymond James Stadium where Lee lives the pirate life all year. Even during the pandemic when many pirates were moored and the Gasparilla Parade was canceled, Lee built an entire pirate ship in his store.
“The Golden Mermaid, a tiny pirate boat,” he proudly proclaimed.
Now that the pirates are back to their scallywag ways, Lee is outfitting pirates from all walks of life. For the women, it’s a choice between a lady pirate or a wench. “It is a pirate hat and weapons that transforms a wench to a lady pirate,” Lee explained.
For this lady pirate, the corset dress and frilly shirt were the first items we chose. Next, two skirts were needed, an outer fashion skirt and the petticoat underneath. Once all that was properly cinched and fitted, my wench status was reached.
We, then, added the jewels that all pirates love, and capped off the ensemble with the lady pirate’s signature three corner hat and weapon. My choice, a nifty knife-pistol combination.
It’s now time to make my way toward Bayshore Boulevard and join the rest of my krewe aboard the WFLA float “Faces of 8”.
Many of these clothing items are high quality and can get costly, but there are many options, depending on how much booty you’ve recently acquired.
You can watch our coverage of the pirate invasion and parade online and on air. Coverage of the invasion will begin on WFLA Now at 11:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28. The Parade of Pirates will be broadcast on News Channel 8 at 2:30 p.m.