Step 1: Do Your Homework
It always helps to do research before embarking on creating any look and Steampunk has a rich history that can inspire a lot of ideas. But what is it exactly? Fans will tell you the hardest part about Steampunk is explaining it. A Google search will come up with tons of hits: it can be a style of music, a lifestyle, a literary genre, and anything in between. It seems a little overwhelming at first, but in simplest terms Steampunk is a Sci-Fi/Fantasy genre that pairs futuristic inventions, mechanics, and fashion with the Victorian era and the American Old West. Here’s a great definition of Steampunk that will give you some more detail. Cool right? And there are a lot of different routes you can take. That’s the beauty of a genre where almost anything goes.
Step 2: Gotta Get Goggles
From your research you’ve probably noticed one thing in particular being at the forefront of most Steampunk attire; Goggles. At first the idea might seem strange, but goggles as a fashion accessory in Steampunk comes from very practical reason. A steam universe in the 1800’s has to run on something like coal, or giant clockwork machines, or a very early form of electricity. What’s the best way to protect yourself down in the mines or around heavy machinery? Yup, goggles! But what about all those rich looking Steampunk costumes? They’re not working with dangerous chemicals. That may be true, but let me put it to you this way: Remember when trucker hats were in style? Remember the percentage of people wearing them who actually made a living driving trucks? It’s the same deal just a couple hundred years in the past. Goggles can be worn on your forehead, over a hat, around your neck, or on your face. But where do you get them? SteampunkGoggles.com is a great place to start your goggle hunt because of the wide range of styles and prices to match any outfit or budget. It’ll give you an idea of what’s out there and who knows, your dream pair might be there waiting for you. They even have bare bones goggles and lenses if you want to take a stab doing it yourself.
Step 3: Dress to Impress
After Goggles, clothes are the most important part of making a Steampunk statement. You can look for great Steampunk ideas on Pinterest as a guide. Do you want to play up the Victorian element with a corset or a top hat? Or do you want to focus on the gears and mechanics of it all? Whatever you decide, just remember that an amazing outfit doesn’t have to break the bank. If you can sew, a simple long skirt won’t cost more than a pattern and a couple of yards of fabric. If you don’t sew, thrift stores are your new best friend. Not only do they offer a huge selection of clothing for both men and women, but the prices are really low. And when you only pay $2 for something you feel less torn about altering it; a pair of slacks can be repurposed to be knickers, or covered in engine grease for a mechanic look. Some basic items to look out for are anything brown or khaki, collared shirts, vests, newsboy caps, boots, suspenders, fitted blazers, and shoes that come to a point.
Step 4: Accessorize
Whether you opt for an elaborate ensemble or a simple one the thing that will make it pop is some trendy Steampunk jewelry. You’ve probably noticed there are a lot of copper, and bronze jewelry pieces out there which tie in with the whole antique and industrial theme. But don’t feel like you have to limit yourself when it comes to color, particularly if you’re going for a more aristocratic look. Well-to-do Victorians would have sported rich jewel toned accessories proudly such as broaches, monocles, and rings. And whether your look is upper class or working class you can’t go wrong with timepieces. Hour glasses, pocket watches, and even wrist watches all work in a Steampunk look because of the time travel factor. The best part about Steampunk jewelry is that most pieces work with everyday attire too so you can get more bang for your buck.
Step 5: Be Ready To Experiment
Steampunk is big on “Do it yourself” (DIY). Mixing, matching, and adding customizable details to your costume is not only fun, but everything you make is then yours and yours alone. For example if you start with a plain pair of goggles you can create hundreds of different looks just by changing the lenses or adding stickers. You can find some great DIY stuff here.
So get to work creating your one-of-a-kind Steampunk masterpiece!