Ever heard of the steampunk fashion subculture?
- Steampunk simply refers to a tiny genre of fantasy or science fiction going back to the late 19th century.
- The name aptly describes the essence of this sub-genre really as the steampunk fashion is heavily inspired by the 19th century steam-powered machinery.
- It is a celebration of a romanticized idea of 19th century Western industrialisation and its heavily mechanical aspects.
Everything you know about 19th century Western civilization and the process of industrialization that ushered in the modern world as we know it is celebrated in the steampunk culture.
But before we get lost into the historical roots of the sub-genre, there is the steampunk fashion itself which is a rich expression of the steampunk sub-genre. This fashion trend is currently undergoing a vigorous renaissance and many are now embracing those curvy and feminine lines which are a throwback to the Victorian era fashion.
But it is not simply an embrace of the deeply feminine Victorian era fashion. The steampunk fashion also has a heavy dose of the mechanical (think of powerful steam engines transporting goods to new markets and large industrial estates raring to cross into the 20th century). This mechanical futurism is boldly expressed in steampunk clothing and styles. A great example of this is the movie Wild Wild West.
If you are new to this fascinating style, we provide you with some handy tips that you can use to construct your very own impressive steampunk look. If steampunk is already your preferred look, you’ll get plenty of tips to add some sleek touches and a sense of elegance in the style.
Steampunk Clothing and Fashion Guide
Go for cinched and elaborate jackets: Team a waist cincher jacket with elaborate steampunk detail along with a matching or contrasting bustle or mermaid skirt for the start of an amazing steampunk outfit.
For men, go for a long tail coat with ornate steampunk detailing, brass buttons and chains.
Corsets and vests: These, fortunately, didn’t fade with the 19th century and the steampunk fashion reintroduces them with a vengeance. Many of us remember it well as Scarlet O’Hara’s dress in “Gone with the Wind”. The corset is a centre piece fashion item which holds great attraction and fascination with those who are interested in the Victorian era fashion. It was what gave form to the Victorian fashion as it could be worn in diverse ways. You really have to cinch yourself tight in order to get that desired “hour-glass” look and figure with the highly restrictive waist. A steampunk or Victorian style corset can be teamed with everything from jeans and pants, to the traditional layered skirts.
For men, vests and waistcoats are the perfect way to add a touch of style to your outfit. Even plain brown pants and a cream shirt can become a full on steampunk outfit as soon as the right waistcoat is added.
Full skirts and petticoats: These are the other centre piece of the 19th era fashion and were worn well into the 20th century. Think dresses and silhouettes that are full-bodied, a bit ruffled, a little flouncy and distinctively feminine for the perfect steampunk-style skirt.
The striped tights/pants: These have found their way into the modern high-street fashion but they have their deep roots in the 19th century fashion. With their vertical ribbing designs, there is also a hint of circus styling when added to other steampunk fashion items.
Males get to enjoy a striped pant too. In the right colours, this accessory provides a whimsy styling to your cosplay outfit.
The fascinator: Hair fascinators are the perfect way to top off a steampunk look. Adding a veil, some feathers and crystal beads really accentuate that.
Gloves: The gloves when combined with the corseted wristlets can give you a great touch of the old fashioned and a truly feminine look. Think lace or leather. Another popular item is the slave bracelet which adds a touch of glam to your look. Guys can use aviation style gloves with brass coloured detail to provide a look in the right style.
Goggles: They look like Amelia Earhart-esque vintage aviation goggles but these actually have their roots in the late 19th century and it is the 19th century aspect that steampunk fashion buffs embrace. Steampunk goggles are a great accessory for men and women as they are unisex in styling.
Jewellery with exposed gears: the gears might remind you of the finest Swiss-made watches but they are a unique feature of the ornate jewellery that represents this style. The jewellery is inspired by the mechanical toughness and theme of the steampunk fashion.
Ready for your steampunk makeover? Visit Steampunk Emporium to start shopping!