Review: French&Indian War Shirt

Rating: ★★★½☆
Flying Canoe Traders
www.flyingcanoetraders.com/

I firmly believe that the hardest historical clothing item to find is the “basic” garment. You’ll find the perfect billowy shirt, only to see that it has ruffles you don’t like. Or you’ll find a nice pair of slops, and they’ll have an elastic waistband.

Well, if it’s a basic baggy pirate shirt you want, you need look no further than Flying Canoe Traders’ “French & Indian War Shirt.” It’s loose fitting, 100% cotton, and cut to period standards – what else need be said?

… actually, there’s quite a bit more that needs be said. Such as the fact that this shirt sports historical pewter buttons, and that it’s double stitched in several key stresspoints, thus ensuring this shirt will cling to your back through many a pillagin’. But none of these are this shirt’s coolest feature; what makes this shirt truly stand out is that it is in fact a truly lengthy beast that hangs below the knee when untucked, making this not only an outstanding pirate shirt by day, but also the perfect nightshirt by – well – by night. Two shirts for the price of one – if that ain’t pirate value, I don’t know what is!

The only feature that makes this shirt less than completely ideal is the neckline – while the banded collar fastens nicely with two pewter buttons, the remaining neckline is free to hang open to the mid-torso. This might be uncomfortable for some guy pirates, and is downright dangerous for the ladies (if you only got into the crew by pretending to be a lad, a la Mary Read, then your gig is surely up!) Of course, this is easily remedied by adding a few stitches to the neck until you achieve your desired length, but I would have been remiss if I’d not at least mentioned it.*

Plunging neckline aside, this is a fine shirt. Roomy and comfortable, it has a splendid historical feel about it. Like the previously reviewed Flying Canoe Sailor Slops, this shirt isn’t so much a fashion accessory as a functional piece of period garb – I wouldn’t hesitate to wear this shirt when wading through mosquito infested Central American swamps on my way to pillage some silver city or another. It’s as up to the task as any shirt I’ve seen – period or otherwise.

* The neckline can also be shortened by adding a few extra bottons. Flying Canoe sells them by the dozen for $7!