A Popeye costume pays homage to one of the most well-known classic comic and cartoon figures, Popeye the Sailor Man. As befitting his supposed occupation, Popeye wore a sailor’s outfit, which is not too unusual except in its coloration. When we think of sailor uniforms we think along the lines of white and some colored trim. Popeye wears a black shirt with a wide red collar, gold-colored buttons, yellow belt, and blue pants.
Popeye the Sailor Man was often shown as wearing a sailor’s hat, as well as having a corncob pipe in his mouth most of the time. Remember that the character came from a time when smoking was not as vilified as it is today. Of course, he had disproportionately large forearms, each with a tattoo of an anchor. A Popeye costume can be done without these, but for the full-on impact they are indispensable. One only wonders how hard one should work to get forearms that big. Anchor tattoos are of course standard nautical fare.
Part of the Popeye character is his characteristic way of speaking, his swagger, and his one-eyed state. For reference on how he speaks, there really is no substitute for the old cartoons. His swagger is said to have been developed by walking aboard a ship at sea, and many sailors have a gait that seems unusual to landlubbers. He may appear to be squinting with one eye all the time, but in the original version he had actually lost that eye (the right one). When asked about it, he never really gave any details. Later versions had him saying that his right eye was always “squinky” as he put it.
A good accessory to any Popeye costume is a can labeled as spinach. Popeye would often take a beating before resorting to downing a can of spinach which then gave him superhuman strength, to the detriment of his opponents. Whether this was a deliberate gimmick to get children to eat more vegetables, we can’t quite say.
All in all, a costume based on the character Popeye symbolizes masculinity, strength, individualism, and the ability to have a rollicking good time. Let’s toast our cans of spinach to that!
Available Popeye Costume Sizes
Popeye was a bit of a runt, which his rival Bluto always teased him about. You don’t have to be a runt to play Popeye though, and guys of normal size won’t have a problem finding a Popeye costume that fits them. Simply put, there are two sizes available for men’s costumes: Standard and Plus. Standard should fit all men of regular build, and Plus goes to our larger buddies out there.
Though Popeye is a cartoon character, children’s versions are difficult to find. Perhaps it’s because most kids nowadays don’t know who Popeye is.
The one-size costume is meant to fit a wide range of body sizes, so it might hang loose or be a bit clingy, depending on your build and size. One thing’s for sure though – the padded forearms will still be big, even if your real ones are small. Shoes aren’t included in the default package, so you’ll have to get some of your own.
Popeye Background Information
Popeye first appeared in the comic strip Thimble Theatre, which was in its 10th year as Popeye made the scene. Soon, he became the focal point, and the comic strip was renamed to “Popeye”.
He is characterized as quite laid back until angered, and when he does get fed up, he usually pops open a can of spinach and brings the pain to his opponents. In another light, he is a bit of a romantic, and reasonably behaved around children.
Due to the times, Popeye was also used as a propaganda character, particularly during World War II.
While he might seem like an uneducated roughneck with a speech impediment, he has been shown to have a cartoonish high level of intelligence when needed. His penchant for eating spinach actually did have a positive effect on children’s consumption of vegetables, not just spinach. Popeye may no longer be as popular has he used to be, but his influence on comics and cartoons is permanent.
Popeye Movies & TV Shows
Popeye has appeared in comics and cartoons, which most people know. The comics are still being produced today, but the artist has changed over the years. Did you know that for a time there was a Popeye radio show too? It was 78 episodes over the course of less than a year, from August 1936 to February 1937.
As soon as Popeye made it big, lots of stuff was marketed with images from the franchise. Candies, spinach, and razor blades were some of the memorable ones. Of course, there were toys too.
Popeye’s Chicken & Biscuits, a popular restaurant chain, originally had nothing to do with Popeye the Sailor Man, and was named after “Popeye” Doyle from the 1971 film The French Connection. Sometime in the latter part of the 20th century, the chain got the license to use Popeye the Sailor Man, and so he appears today as the chain’s mascot. He’s also the mascot for Flamengo, a famous football team.
Want something like Popeye but not quite the exact one? Well, it is hard to have to keep squinting all the time. You can choose to dress up as any of the supporting characters in the Popeye franchise, like Olive Oyl, Bluto, Wimpy, and the others. For those who want to really get crazy, try a costume that resembles a can of spinach, ostensibly labeled as such, and find out how many can get the reference.
Of course, if all you are after is the nautical look, then you can skip the cartoon connections and go with sailor outfits and the like. These outfits are also quite comfortable and easy to move in, so you won’t mind wearing them for a long time. Choose between deckhand and officer’s dress for your sailor costume! Be the captain, the first mate, or the poop deck scrubber – it’s all in the accessories and characterization.
Ideal Companion Costumes
The ideal companion costumes as voted by our subscribers are the Navy Costume and the Pirate Costume!
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