06/25/12 - 0 Comments
There is a growing trend of people paying costumed homage to the literary juggernaut that is Steampunk. Over the last couple of decades, the fashions have played a huge part in bringing the genre to the mainstream and there are many ways in which you can populate your wardrobe with all things steampunk and really stand out from the crowd. Here are a couple of guidelines to creating the perfect steampunk outfit:
1.What is Steampunk?
Good question. Steampunk – in a nutshell – is a literary sub-genre, usually written in a science fiction or fantasy style. The works are usually set in the modern day, or the future but incorporates machinery and language from the ‘age of steam’- for instance Victorian Britain and the ‘Wild West’ era of the United States. Check out the works of China Mieville or Alan Moore’s comic books.
2.What to wear…
The most obvious answer to this would be something that would have been current when these costumes and contraptions would have been popular – a ‘visual aesthetic’ if you will. In Victorian Britain the steam age was full of gentlemen in top hats and tails, and ladies in corsets and gowns. Obviously, there might be some kind of modern day or even futuristic clothing and accessories in the ensemble; otherwise you’ll just end up looking like someone from a Jane Austen novel and having a lot less fun. Think steam trains and paddle boats, but also science fiction. Think Jules Verne, but sexy.
3.OK, so this is getting confusing…
Don’t worry too much. There are no hard and fast rules about what is and is not steampunk and you can be as creative as you like when designing your own look. If you need inspiration check out pictures from SalonCon for example – the first large scale Steampunk convention in 2006 – to see what sort of things you could be looking out for and using. The scene has been growing quickly across the US, but it is spreading over the Atlantic to the UK and Europe, and there are many sites, blogs and message boards specifically there to discuss the fashions as well as the many other facets of steampunk.
4.Where do I find the bits and pieces?
Any kind of vintage store or thrift shop will have a lot of the things that you need in order to achieve the look. From flowing gowns, bodices and corsets to military style coats, suits and top hats- you might have to hunt them down but they are available. Even the vintage accessories can be found in such places and at a fraction of the cost of some specialist retailers – pocket watches, monocles and old belts are rare in thrift stores but well worth the effort that goes into finding them.
If you are a fan of the genre, particularly of the comic book illustrations and the films that they spawned, then you will be steampunking it around the streets in no time at all. Just make sure you make it look DIY, rather than WTF.