Steampunk fashionDecember 23, 2014
When you look up steampunk fashion there are many different answers, but the questions is which one answer is authentic, who can you believe. It would seem sensible perhaps, to take what you can from all the answers you come by and come to your own conclusions. After all, if steampunk fashion embraces so many genres, then it seems only natural that your look will be an amalgamation of all these things.
It doesn’t have to be a uniform look, but to get yourself on the starting rung of the steampunk fashion ladder, a little of what you fancy, remembering the Victorian theme, can do you good. Following a structure helps you to build up your look from there.
It does seem easy, the more you read about it. But it doesn’t end there, a lot of steampunk fashion is derived from steampunk literature. There are plenty of places on the web where you can source a list of books to read to get you in the mood. The list can be endless, although there are a few “must read” titles. Keep in mind it’s mostly fantasy and science fiction, so take your cue from there. Its H.G.Wells meets Dr Who, meets alchemy and warlords, meets futuristic powers.
Steampunk fashion – Victorian
As mentioned earlier – start with Victorian and then build up a look from there. In the 19th century the Industrial Revolution started a cavalcade of new technologies that saw manufacturing, travel and science change the Victorians world view. A lot of steampunk literature will be based in or around a Victorian environment.
Steampunk fashion – Be original and unique
Be true to yourself and create your own image, don’t be fooled into thinking there’s a right or wrong way to do Steampunk fashion, or that you have to stick to some sort of uniform. Although Victorian in nature, the style can be original, and there’s ample opportunity for you to create a look that stands out from the rest. Create something that you enjoy wearing, feel confident in and want to show off in a crowd of steampunk enthusiasts.
The colours of steampunk
Apparently there is no colour code and you don’t have to do monochrome, unless it’s how you like to dress. Colours can be as vivid as you like, or as dark as you wish. Complicated patterns are good as they represent the sophisticated advances of textile technology and manufacturing.
Be true to yourself always
Don’t allow your personality to get lost in it, after all steampunk is about individuality and being unique. Be confident and assertive and create a steampunk look that is very much about you and no one else.
Steampunk fashion – Putting it all together
Finally, steampunk isn’t something you can simply buy on the high street, it’s an amalgamation of many different bits and pieces put together, and that takes time to create. You must be prepared to spend time and effort on putting together an steampunk clothing outfit. Trawling through vintage stores is a great way to find something truly unique and original. Wide A line skirts that fall at the knee with plenty of draping, a corset top and some lace-up knee high heeled boots. It’s really up to you how you put your outfit together.
What’s most important is that you have fun, I must say that Steampunk fashion seems far more exciting now than it first appears, it isn’t set around one particular look with accessories that must be adhered to, but allows itself to evolve into something different, with Victorian overtones, and the individual’s personality and character allowed to shine through.
Next time: A little more on how to make steampunk style work for you.
For those of you who already know, look away, we’ll get to you later. For now, for those of you who don’t know, here’s a swift guide to get us in the mood…What is steampunk and why should we care?Is it fetish? Is it Goth? Is it Victorian fancy dress? Is it science fiction?
What is Steampunk
What is Steampunk-Let’s look at the evidence
Steampunk on the surface seems quite complicated and has a finger in every pie, be it engineering, fashion or music. There’s a combination of British and American influences ranging from Victoriana to the Wild West. It’s taking little bits of everything and making it into one whole. A modification of an already existing idea, or a whole new creation from old parts. You can see why it’s so easy to become confused about What is Steampunk
It may be a set of ideas then, a philosophy as well as a way of dressing, even a lifestyle that’s emulated by steampunk enthusiasts.
Confused about What is Steampunk?
It can encompass science fiction, with its emphasis being the industrial revolution of the 19th century, representing the steam part, and punk the part that rebels against it. There are many disagreements of what exactly it is, because on top of that, we have a little of the American Wild West thrown in.
A little spiritual feeling…
The supernatural can be included, according to some, and if this is a genre which emulates the 19th century then the supernatural would be an integral part of it.
For some it’s the supernatural without the technology and for others, it’s later than the 19th century. It can even be from another world entirely with Victorian technology and a little of the Wild West thrown in (again). Are you with me so far?
Keep in mind a sprinkling of erotica, young adult fiction and romance. There are games and movies too that capture the steampunk theme, as well as fiction, there are even musicals.
There are gadgets that people actually make from the imagination, modern 21st century gadgets which are taken and reinvented into something along the lines of steampunk, hence the modification of already existing ideas and items. Is it Goth then? Well according to one person, it would be, but without the predominance of black.
Steampunk clothes, jewellery and makeup are all part of an authentic steampunk look and it’s important to get a full grasp of what it is before trying to emulate the style. If you don’t understand it, then how can you dress like you know what it is?
The philosophy embraces the future as well as creativity and respecting the past. It romanticizes the Victorian period (and not to everyone’s liking) and looks optimistically to what the future can bring.
So there you have it – steampunk and all its philosophies, dress, ideas, literature and film. But is that it? If you’re going to start embracing the steampunk aesthetic – do we need to know more before we sprint to the nearest vintage store?
Steampunk fashion – what is it?
My immediate thought is – futuristic Victoriana with a hint of the Wild West with a little contemporary twist. I don’t think I’m far wrong…
“Steampunk fashion, at its heart, is based on the Victorian style aesthetic”
Wiki isn’t always reliable – but it seems I’m not far from the steampunk aesthetic when it comes to fashion.
And that of course is where we’ll leave it. In our next installment – let’s take a deeper look at the steampunk style and how you should dress – if you feel a sudden nostalgic yearning for the steampunk look.
I can only imagine that a Steampunk Christmas is the best fun one can have if you’re not buying into fetish, burlesque or punk. If you’re doing steampunk however, you can probably amalgamate the whole lot into one gorgeous steampunk extravaganza, with you playing a central role.
Steampunk Christmas New Year
A futuristic steampunk gun (yes you can buy them) and a festive corset and you’re almost there. If you use your imagination, your whole outfit should be a source of conversation for some time.
When you’re doing steam punk fashion, as we’ve seen, it’s best to start with a Victorian theme, and then dress around it. It’s like Victorian with a futuristic, science fiction kick. You can do whatever you like as long as you have this essential thing covered.
For Christmas it’s just a case of doing what everyone else does at this time of year – a little more glitz, a little more sparkle and a little more satin, and you’re on the home straight.
Steampunk fashion clothing – Corsets
Go for satin, brass, silver and gold covered corsets with luxury piping and extra frills as an added extra. If you can afford to, go expensive and then dress around it inexpensively. If you can’t afford it, then you’ll find there are plenty of inexpensive corsets on the market, and you can search vintage if you want something just that little bit more authentic. You can even embellish it yourself, and if you’re going for a particular theme within the steampunk look, then embellishing can only be a good thing.
Velvet, satin and sleeves
Luxurious, opulent fabrics are a must, with velvet and satin and rich dark colours. Hobble skirts in shiny satin, and underneath your corset,a puff sleeved creation that shimmers on your shoulders makes for a dramatic look. A hat with full plumage, the pillbox hat worn forward on the crown of your head, with curls tumbling from it and lying casually around your shoulders. The corsets and boots can be sourced via fetish stores, we’re talking laces, heels and buckles.
A faux fur stole (perfect in white) with elbow length gloves. Contemporary make-up with a faraway look matched by ankle length skirt. Jewellery is heavy Victorian with the science bit added – think cogs and wheels, like the inside of a watch worn on the outside, sitting at the centre of a Victorian brooch. Goggles are a little stereotypical steampunk and unless you really do have a deep desire to wear goggles to the Christmas party, leave them at home.
Steampunk fashion – Men
For Men’s steampunk outfits think Caractacus Potts from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and the science and invention of the 19th century. Long leather or suede coats with pilots hats, and if you insist, those awful goggles.Long dress coats are good for a bit of a dandyish look and you can choose a character and dress around it, be a vampire, pilot, inventor or an explorer (80 days around the world meets H.G. Wells).
The choice is yours, just use your imagination and make sure you have all the accessories to match. Binoculars, goggles (!), or futuristic embellishments, fob watches, pocket watches and maybe a steampunk gun, if you really feel you must.
If you’re doing steampunk this year, either because you’re a real steampunk enthusiast or you’re just dressing up for a fancy dress party, whatever you do, do it with style. Steampunk is a really beautiful and imaginative way of dressing and with a little and patience, you can create some amazing looks.
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