Steampunk Fashion: How To Add “Steam” To Your Wardrobe

Steampunk is getting more and more popular by the day. I like this genre a lot, too, and I spend hours staring at all those great Steampunk Outfits one finds when browsing the internet. When I was younger I would have gone hunting for my own Steampunk Outfit. I would have loved it, worn it to festivals and conventions and I would have felt awesome in it.

But alas! I’m not 20 anymore. Nowadays, mine is the average life of the working population. And I have to dress accordingly. But there’s still a tiny spark deep inside that wants to dress differently…

Has this happened to you, too? Did you turn into quite an average person – like me –  but would love to add a little “steam” to your wardrobe… Then dare doing the unthinkable! Dare having a closer look into your closet…😉

Steampunk Fashion – It’s All About Basic Essentials

Yes, indeed: Certain pieces of clothing and certain accessories are just considered to be essential to every Steampunk Outfit. I’m sure you know what I mean? So let’s see if there’re some things in your closet that qualify as “Steampunk Basics”.


Be honest, didn’t you think of goggles first when I mentioned Steampunk?😉 Most people do, I think. I own goggles, too. I bought them years ago at a gothic festival. But you might not have to buy a pair. Ask your significant other if there’re welding goggles somewhere in the garage. There’s a small chance he actually owns a pair. There’re also great tutorials on the web if you’d like to make them yourself:

Boots & Spats

Boots are easy to find. You might even already own a steampunky pair or two! Remember my ankle boots? I think they look at least a little victorian (don’t look at the socks!)… The aviator-style boots (photo above) were in my closet, too. They were on sale, I paid less than 30 $ / 20 €. Don’t own steampunky boots and don’t want to buy any? Conceal your regular shoes with spats:

Corsets, Camisoles, Vests & Blazers

If you own a corset you’re really fortunate. I don’t have one but I found the camisole you can see above a couple of years ago. I usually wear it with Gothic Outfits but I think it works for Steampunk as well. Vests are great, too. Not only for the girls but for the boys as well. Again, there’re lots of great tutorials online.


Yes, I’m wearing an original chapeau claque in the picture at the top. It’s a flea market find and was not cheap (it’s antique). Some people are lucky and own a heirloom like this one. If not – ask your grandparents or parents. They might still have one in the attic. Other kinds of hats might be steampunky, too. You don’t have to go hunting for a top hat.

Blouses & Shirts

Again, there might already be steampunky blouses and shirts in your closet. Did you find any? If not there’s lots of ways to make those yourself or even re-fashion a man’s shirt into a woman’s blouse. You can also try “normal” stores like Target, H&M, New Yorker, Orsay.

Pants, Skirts & Bustles (!)

In my opinion, many everyday-skirts and pants can be part of a Steampunk Outfit (except for jeans, I’d say). Pants that can be tugged into your boots are great, so are many types of flowing skirts. Depending on what “archetype” you have in mind for your Steampunk Outfit (Aviator? Adventurer? Scientist?) you can probably chose what you like. If yours is a gothic wardrobe already chances are good you already own a victorian-style skirt or dress.

Finally: Accessories!

In addition to Steampunk Basics you’ll need accessories to put some steam in your outfit. Here’s some of what I found in my closet:

Here’s a quick list of accessories that could be part of a Steampunk Outfit or at least add a little steam to your everyday/work attire:

Want more?

That’s all for now!🙂 I hope I didn’t bore you to death? I tried to write only about steampunky things that can be obtained without too much (financial) effort. Hopefully, some basics are already yours and you just don’t know yet.

Please let me know if there’s anything I should add to this article. Did I forget to mention something important? Is there anything you don’t like? Anything I could do better?

Unfortunately, I’m not able to cover every aspect of Steampunk Fashion. There’s much more I could have written about, many more great tutorials and steampunk-related sites I’d liked to link to. I’ll try to offer additional information in future articles.

Last But Not Least: More Steampunk Fashion & Inspiration

Steampunky Online Stores

More Steampunk on “Still Dark @ Heart

Edit: More links were added on April 8, and Oct. 29, 2011.


  1. This article turned out very good! So many wonderful links to explore, too. I’ll be busy this weekend!! I’m totally excited about the Armwarmer tutorial. I’ve seen lots of girls make them by just cutting the feet off of knee socks but they always still looked like socks to me… The gathering, the button and the lace trim make such a difference.

  2. Great introduction to adding Steam to your everyday life. I think it would be worth collecting more shop links (etsy and retail) and maybe link some more DIY projects (you’ve got some great ones, but maybe even show something you’ve tried yourself would be cool).

    My suggestion under shoes is “Miz Mooz” brand. They have many victorian like boots and pumps with Louis heels. I know the Amelia Boot and Echelon pump are two of my favorites. Their spring stuff isn’t really Steam-y but their boots often have cool button up details.

    1. Yes, you are right, I should add shop links. I’ll edit the article sometime this weekend.

      I have DIY “work in progress” which I didn’t mention here yet. I’ll show it if it turns out okay.😉

      Thanks a lot for your feedback!🙂

  3. I love this post SO MUCH! wonderfully written. And so many new tutorials I didn’t know yet🙂 great work, dear!
    Is it okay if I like to you on next week’s steampunk sunday?

    1. Of course!🙂 I’d be very happy about it. Thank you for offering.
      I’m glad you like the article, you being a Steampunk insider and all!🙂

  4. Wow, what a great resource you’ve created here! I will definitely be back to make use of those links. Like you, I am just now exploring that side of me I have neglected or suppressed until now. It’s quite challenging at times, and feels silly, but very rewarding as well.

  5. This has been very useful and relevant. Thanks a lot. I’m planning on making a steampunk outfit so just been doing some research.

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