What I like most about Steampunk costumes is that although the aesthetic is inspired by the Victorian era, it is not a strict reproduction. Your creativity and inspiration are at the heart of Steampunk fashion. There are no rules, but everyone who wears a Steampunk costume looks like a Steampunk person.
Even though the feminine costumes have evolved, wearing welder's goggles and a leather corset, outfits incorporating gothic, military, boho and vintage elements... it is still a Victorian style mentality that unifies the costume rooted in the steampunk look. What we also like in the movement is to start from a theme like Snow White, Red Riding Hood, the witch, the princess like Snow Queen or Batman, a ninja, a vampire, a zombie etc... and you would have understood it, putting it in the future. The common denominator will also be the Victorian era and the fantastic Steampunk gadgets.
While I would like to say that I am a Steampunk costume geek, able to spend a hundred hours on each costume, it would not be true. I love collecting pieces and making a new costume for every event in minutes. With a handful of what I consider to be essential costume pieces for the futuristic style, there is always a new look waiting for me. If you're going for your first Steampunk event or need some ideas on how to change your existing costume, these are the costume pieces you need on hand...
As the Gothic and Steampunk movement is inspired by the Victorian era, the foundation of any costume has a Victorian charm. What does it mean? For me, it's a lot of lace, brocade, velvet, corsets, black dresses, granny boots, ornate hats, gloves, and extravagant old jewelry. Since it is also the age of steam, the colors tend to be black or brown with perhaps a hint of other rich jewelry tones such as deep purple, merald green, midnight blue and ruby red. The current trend I see now ignores all dark colors and embraces off-white as its color palette.
Starting with your upper body, you need a blouse or shirt. I am looking for lace or ruffled blouses, black or off-white buttons, high neckline. The blouse can have long sleeves with even longer cuffs or short puffy sleeves for the summer. Lolita fashion is a great resource for Victorian/Steampunk style tops. The current boho trend with lace shirts and low-collared peasant style tops is another good source of Steampunk shirts.
It's easy to accessorize with little waist cinching corsets and small light jackets like a camisole. Adding a jacket on top of a corset to give it some sleeves in cold weather is a must. If you're comfortable showing so much skin, ditch the blouse and do something like this. Wear just a corset or blouse, short vests work just as well over corsets or in place of corsets (a good tip for steampunk maternity costumes).
Almost all women wear a Steampunk skirt in their costume, simple and elegant it is the most empty to match with a corset. They can be long, high/low, short or very short. Length is not as important as style. Wear skirts or ruffles to give volume, you can easily add some ties, so you can adjust them as you want. For those who don't have the creative side, there are some good Victorian-Steampunk style skirts available to wear in our store.114
A lace dress can work well in place of a skirt and blouse. Many women wear a dress with a corset, vest or belt over it. The look is similar. OR you can opt for a traditional Victorian dress and use accessories as part of the Steampunk fashion.
An alternative to skirts and dresses are pants, leggings or bloomers. I love the look of Victorian ruffled pants, also called pants, under a short skirt or alone with a corset and accessories. The leggings have the advantage to have original and very creative patterns.
The other essential item for all Steampunk costumes for women is the corset. These are not Victorian undergarments, but rather worn on the outside of the garments. Corsets can be made of leather, brocade or damask, lace, or any other fabric that fits your general look. Underbust corsets are an alternative to full bust corsets. Most cosplay corsets are not designed to support a bust as they would if worn as undergarments. You may find some more comfortable than others. For serious suits, making a corset or having one made for you is the best option for a comfortable fit. A custom fitted corset should never hurt! A costume corset .... can be a great help. Keep it loose enough to breathe and move around inside. Wear a strapless bra underneath if you need support. Our corsets are designed primarily for comfort.
Your shoes can make or break your outfit. Victorian shoes were almost all lace-up or button-down. Some people call them "granny boots" or "witch's boots" for their old-fashioned style. Lace-up boots are back in style this year, so they should be easy to find. There are even a few brands that make steampunk style boots with industrial buckles and laces, but they are still hard to find and are not of high quality. Short boots or very high boots all seem to be particularly popular. These are Victorian boots, but they look great under a short skirt.consider transforming regular boots by adding socks that fit under the boot.
This is such a fun accessory to add. Boots are on our wish list for future development.
Between a short skirt and tall boots, there can be a lot of skin, unless you add some fun socks or leggings. Legs or pants can also be worn in place of a skirt, if you wish. Also consider pantacourts for a fun Victorian look. Stockings are popular in wide stripes, lace or crochet patterns. Solid colors can work well if your outfit has a bunch of patterns in other pieces. I like to see all black or brown suits with a bit of bright red or purple or black and white stripes. A little color or pattern can make your costume stand out and avoid a monotonous costume.
Just like the Victorian era, Steampunk clothing tends to get dull in the winter. All these layers of clothing make the costumes quite warm. For those particularly cold days or just because a Steampunk jacket is just great to have, I highly recommend buying one. The military style jacket with buckles, belts, chains, ruffles, laces, ties, and what is most popular this year. The striped jackets are also always "in" and are one of my favorites. Steampunk jackets are almost an alternative to blouses and tops. They are usually thin, not bulky, custom made to add to the costume instead of covering it. Usually they are worn unbuttoned/zipped and can be fastened with a wide belt.
Many jackets are not jackets at all but capes that enhance the shoulders or bowl jackets that cover the arms and not much else. I love this look but it's hard to find something to wear. If you have some sewing skills, you can get almost any jacket and cut off everything but the sleeves, part of the back, and most of the front.
Top hats and mini hats seem to be the typical hat choice for Steampunk costumes. They of course date back to the Victorian era (not the mini). Hats are where the more crafty costume designers go to great lengths to make a plain hat to coordinate with the rest of the costume. They use the addition of belts and buckles, gears, goggles, flowers, veils, feathers and fabric trim. At the very least, I try to change the feathers in my hats to match the color I'm using in my costume. (Hint, an ideal place to find feathers, in addition to a craft store, is in a fly shop. Many of the feathers are still natural, not dyed in bright colors, and I think they look more "Steampunk" like.
Of course the hat provides an extraordinary finish to any costume. But you don't necessarily have to wear a hat with your suit, sometimes it's just too hot. I sometimes style my hair like the "en désordre" and use a hair accessory such as a feather clip, a bow or a big piece of jewelry.
What would be a Steampunk costume without glasses? Of all the essential items, this is the most difficult to include. Why? Because people who make their own glasses often have extravagant but not very durable ones, and I don't like to keep remaking the same accessory. One of these days, we should put some tutorials online to transform our boring glasses into fabulous Steampunk glasses, but there is so much to do that we won't promise anything for now. In the meantime, buying your own ready-made goggles will ensure you have a solid accessory.
Get a pair of goggles and make them a unique part of your costume! Or follow the latest trend and wear vintage sunglasses instead. They can be simple round glasses, metallic frames with gold or green lenses or more elaborate Steampunk sunglasses.
Add the gum, there is never enough when it comes to Steampunk costume accessories. The more "stuff" you can load up, the cooler your costume becomes. Steampunk jewelry is one way to add more "stuff". I always get compliments on the jewelry and accessories I wear. Think necklace or choker, bracelet or wrist cuff, earrings or a big brooch/pin. Think lace or brass jewelry with designs of gears, clocks, trains, hot air balloons, birds, insects, keys, globes and cams. There are many great custom jewelry pieces on etsy.com with custom prices to match. I'm used to finding good stuff in cheap jewelry stores and even the supermarket... but we also created Steampunkstore with that in mind, it's so hard to find steampunk jewelry...
I said above that you can't have enough accessories and I mean it...
A pair of fingerless gloves is a great idea. Lace or leather, mesh or velvet. Anything works!
A cape or shawl instead of a coat is a nice romantic touch, especially on a costume that is more Victorian romantic than Steampunk.
A wide band or several thin bands. Not only around the waist, but also as a shoulder strap, thong, strap or bag handle. Belts are also not included.
The gun: probably not a real one, but a plastic or metal custom steampunk gun would be perfect. Mine is a "pirate" gun that I found at a Halloween costume sale. A little paint can turn any toy into a steampunk weapon.
A pocket watch on a chain is a great accessory to hang on one of your belts - and you always know what time it is.
For more ideas check out our Pinterest boards, they are full of images and links to other steampunk enthusiasts!
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