How to Dress Like a Pilgrim

By Erik Neilson , last updated January 28, 2012

Dressing up like a pilgrim can be a great deal of fun. Whether you’re attending a costume party or preparing for a reenactment play, there are plenty of different ways to dress up like a pilgrim.

Many people don’t realize, however, that the common perception of pilgrim attire is actually a bit different from how real pilgrims would dress. As a result, it’s important to understand the various elements of style that are associated with real pilgrims before dressing up in order to ensure that you’re doing the look justice. Fortunately, dressing like a real pilgrim doesn’t have to be difficult, especially if you take the following tips into consideration.

Men's/Boys' Attire

Men and boys have plenty of different options when it comes to dressing like a real pilgrim, which can make the process all the more enjoyable. Typically, men and boys would wear button-down long sleeved shirts of a solid color, sometimes with a larger shirt on top.

Perhaps the one article of clothing that is crucial for men and boys to wear is what is commonly called “breeches.” Breeches are special types of baggy pants usually secured with a belt and tied tightly right below the knees. Typically, breeches were a solid color, such as red or white. When it comes to coordinating colors, shirts and pants can either be the same or exact opposite in color.

Finally, it’s important for both men and boys to wear hats, which are available in a few different styles. Most commonly, floppy hats made out of felt were worn, although there are plenty of variations on this style.

Women's/Girls' Attire

Women and girls can have a lot of fun dressing like real pilgrims, as there are a variety of different ways to go about the process. Typically, women would wear skirts that were ankle-length and solid in color, which were usually made out of cloth that was brought over from England. As a result, dresses were often constructed from a single piece of cloth, although some were made from a hybrid of different types of cloth.

Bonnets were commonly worn by women in order to keep their hair clean, and were referred to as coifs. When working, women would typically wear aprons, which can look great when used as part of a pilgrim costume. Sometimes, however, women would wear floppy felt hats similar to those that were worn by men. A long, flowing skirt with a long sleeved top can be an effective base for a female pilgrim costume.

Where to Buy Materials

There are plenty of ways to go about obtaining materials for a pilgrim costume. For those who like to shop in person, costume shops and thrift stores are ideal for such a purpose.

Others, however, might instead prefer to purchase their materials online, which offers a great deal of variety and usually good pricing. When shopping online, be sure to choose a retailer that offers free return shipping, as you never know if you’ll need to return an item because it either doesn’t fit or you do not like it.

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