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:
- How To Make Steampunk Goggles – Threadbanger (video)
- How To Make Steampunk Goggles – eHow (written instruction to the above mentioned video)
- Steampunk Goggles: A Tutorial by Fenris-The-Red-Wolf (click to enlarge)
- How To Make Steampunk Goggles by Susan Dennard (Awesome goggles!)
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:
- Tie Me Up Spats – Dawning Dreams (visit the blog)
- Victorian/Steampunk Ruffled Spats by Rhonda Rowley
- How To Make Spats – Threadbanger (featuring Zoh Morrigan)
- Knitted Wool Spatterdashes by La Bricoleuse
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.
- How To Make A Corset – Threadbanger
- How To Make A Custom Renaissance Corset – Geek Mom
- Crafting A Corset by Alaina Zulli on Make Projects
- How To Make A Duct Tape Corset – Rhonda Rowley
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.
- How To Make A Fascinator Hat by Trisha a.k.a. Mary Sew
- Steampunk Leather Top Hat Tutorial by Tom Banwell ( visit his blog, too)
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.
- How To Make A Steampunk Outfit – Threadbanger
- How To Make A Peasant (Or Gypsy) Blouse via WonderHowTo
- Renaissance Style Blouse by Scarborough Wear
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.
- The Incredibly Easy Bustle Skirt by Holly via Fabric.com Blog
- How To Make A Bustle Pad by Violet von Mickelsburg of Steam Ingenious
- DIY Steampunk Pants by AbneyPark
- Steampunk Knickers Tutorial by luai-lashire
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:
- Gloves – ever been to a ball or the opera? Find out How To Make Gloves at Sew-ing.com and have a look at the Long Glove Tutorial
- Pocket Watches – maybe your father will lend his to you?
- Spectacles – is there a heirloom in the attic?
- Gears – might be found in the garage (or ebay)
- Parasols – a simple black one might do or you might even want to add ruffles; great tutorial: How To Make A Parasol From An Umbrella by Hexotica
- Wristlets/Wrist Warmers – check out Victorion Sleeve Arm/Wrist Warmers and also Hester & Esther Gauntlets
- Jewellry – long necklaces, victorian earrings, chokers: check out the Steampunk Bracelet Tutorial
- Bags & Pouches
- Ruffles – learn how to make ruffles: Shirring: A Tutorial – Ruffles And Stuff and also Easy Ruffle Tutorial by Midwest Magnolia
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
- Dressing Steampunk: How To Get Started by artvixn
- Seven Steampunk Fallacies by artvixn
- The Beauty Of Steampunk Fashion by Dahlia Rideout
- Brass Goggles
- Steampunk Fashion
- Steampunk How (lots of tutorials)
- Steampunk Fashion Flickr Group
- Etsy Steampunk Flickr Group
- Steampunk Sunday Flickr Group
Steampunky Online Stores
- Clockwork Couture
- Steampunk Decadence (DaWanda)
- Alignors Gewandschmiede (DaWanda)
- Steampunk Emporium
- Steampunk Threads
- MarySewDesigns (Etsy)
- London Particulars (Etsy)
More Steampunk on “Still Dark @ Heart”
- The Aviator’s Daughter
- DIY: Steampunk Blouse
- International Steampunk Day
- On Drinking Tea
- Steampunk Accessories
- How Do You Define “Steampunk Cowl”?
Edit: More links were added on April 8, and Oct. 29, 2011.