My love for Steampunk costumes does not come from the fact that it is inspired by aesthetic of the Victorian period, though not a full reproduction of it. What makes it so cute is the additional creativity and inspiration of the steampunk fashion. Steampunk fashion is void of rules, meaning everyone who wears it looks like they come from the same era. With the evolution of steampunk from just putting on a few gears with goggles and having an outer corset that looks gothic, boho, military and vintage-like,what is still keeping the costume’s steam-driven history is the Victorian style.
I have been so deep in love with Steampunk costume to the extent that I could spend hours observing each costume. I have the habit of collecting pieces of costumes and making new ones for each event in just a short time. I always have something waiting in hand in what I call Steampunk Costume Essentials. If you plan to go for your first Steampunk costume or you need some ideas on how you could modify an existing costume or make new ones, then you have to get these pieces you will be needing at hand:
Steampunk Costume Essentials
Firstly, you have to put in mind that all Steampunk movements get their inspiration from the Victorian era, which is why all the costumes have a Victorian taste. The costumes have the following characteristics: there is a lot of lace, velvet, bustles, heavy brocade, ornate hats, granny boots, a lot of jewels and gloves. Considering that it is the steam age, colors tend to be black or brown. The color tones can be improved with rich jewels, emerald green, purple, ruby red and midnight blue. What is common nowadays is to ignore the dark colors and use white as its base color.
What is common with women’s Steampunk costumes is that they have a corset. Corsets are not a Victorian underwear. They are actually worn outside of the clothing. It can be found in different material types like brocade or damask, leather, lace or other types of fabric that will suit your entire look. It can be and under burst corset or a full bust squishing corsets. They can be used alternatively. Corset costumes are not designed to support a bust as if they will be worn as an underwear. You might be quite comfortable in some while you will might not feel the same comfort in others. Making a corset could be the best option to have a comfortable fit if you really desire a serious costume. You don’t need to get hurt when you have a custom fitted corset. Anyhow, a costume corset my hurt, just make sure it should be loose enough to let you breath and move around comfortably. A strapless bra could be worn underneath for support if needed.
The shoes you put on can make or mar your steampunk outfit. During the Victorian period, shoes were mostly laced or buttoned up boots. They were called “granny boots” or “withch boots” because of its old antique style. You could easily find laced up boots nowadays, hence it wont be an issue. Some have gone as far as making “Steampunk” styled boots with complete buckles and gears. Both short and very long boots have become popular. Knee-high boots might not be Victorian, but they look good when worn under a short skirt.
Goggles are one of the most classic steampunk item that is essential. Imagine how a steampunk costume look like without goggles. Goggles have been looked upon as an icon, symbol or trademark of the Victorian age. Even though not all workers wore protective gears during that period, it still has that industrial feeling. Drivers and pilots or aviators usually put on goggles to help them keep dirt, oil, wind, sparks and steam away from their eyes.
When it comes to Steampunk costume accessories, “More is better”. The more costume accessories you add, makes it better. Steampunk jewelry is another way to add more life to steampunk clothing. Be it a necklace or choker, an earring or ear cuff, bracelet or a wrist cuff and a brooch or pin will all make your steampunk clothing colorful. The list can go on and on with jewelry made from lace or brass with designs of cameos, hot air balloons, birds, trains, clocks, insects, globes, and keys.
It is common to see every woman put on a bustled Steampunk skirt as a part of her costume. It can be long, short, very short or hi/low. What is more important is how it is styled and not the length. You can add all sorts of bustled effects on a plain long skirt. You can find ready-made skirts that come with bustled effects that can be customized with some ties and adjusted in any manner that you feel comfortable with.
Putting on a lace dress in the place of a skirt and blouse can be more appealing. Both look very similar. You can visit this traditional Victorian bustle or hoop dress site and find some useful accessories that can go with your Steampunk fashion.
The most common type of Steampunk hats that fit well with the costumes are the Top hats and mini top hats. Except for the mini ones, they actually come from the Victorian era. Most experienced costumers put in a lot of time and effort to craft and decorate their hats so that it can go well with the rest of the costume. At times they add belts, buckles, goggles, flowers, veils, feathers and a little fabric trim to fit. You can find feathers at a fly fishing sporting good shop. You can get them natural with no bright-colored dyes included. They are more “Steampunk” when natural.
Steampunk events usually take place in winter just like events in the Victorian era. The various layers added to steampunk jackets makes you feel warm. You need a Steampunk Jacket especially on cold days which will keep you warm and happy. The jacket’s military style coupled with the belts, buckles, ruffles, chains, corset ties and lace is now a popular look. They are made thin in such a way that it will not cover up the costume but add more flair to it. It is usually worn without being zipped or buttoned but could be secured with a wide belt. The jackets are rarely seen as jackets but short shrugs, bolero jackets and crop tops that cover just the arms and not the other parts of the body.
A long boot and short skirt could reveal a lot of skin, hence adding fun stockings or leggings can make it more colorful. You can wear leggings or pants in the place of a skirt. Also, pantaloons (bloomers) will add much fun to the already Victorian look. Stockings with wide colorful stripes, lace or crochet patterns are very popular. If your outfit has already got many patterns, a solid-colored stocking can work well. It looks lovely to me when I see a black or brown costume carrying a pop of bright red or purple with black and white stripes. Having some colors on your costume can make you shine in the midst of monotone costumes.