Corsets and velvet. Lace and leather. Gears and gadgets. Copper and goggles. It’s called “steampunk” and once you know what it is, you’ll begin seeing it everywhere. The movement dates back to the late 1800s Victorian era when people manned steam machines in factories and warehouses. It was a time when science fiction authors brought time travel and detective adventure to life from the pages of their novels. It was during a time that a Zeppelin was a great airship, not a great rock-and-roll band.
Steampunk is a bit of an oxymoron—it’s retro-futuristic. In film, it’s a world of mad scientists and literary characters “shuffling things around in time,” explains squidoo. You’ve probably seen some movies that fit into the steampunk movement, “The Prestige,” “Sleepy Hollow,” “Sherlock Holmes,” “Wild Wild West” and “The Golden Compass“, to name a few. Next time you watch Game of Thrones, pay close attention to the lead-in, fashion and set design—steampunk. In music, Panic at the Disco covers themselves in steampunk in their videos and onstage.
Here’s a breakdown of the steam-punk dress-code.
Mixed textiles, brass or copper accents and laces that travel from the top of the foot to the front of the shin are proper steampunk boot qualities. Think knee-high, military-type boots adorned with buckles. Look for more intricate designs that include watch faces and gears, clocks and metal heels.
You must protect your eyes from the steam somehow. Brass goggles and one-eye monocles with very unique inserts can be found at sites online like bytheswordinc.com. Created from all different types of materials, but sticking to the steampunk theme, you’ll see this odd eyewear sitting on the foreheads of any true steampunker.
If you happen to find any old watches laying around, you have yourself the beginning of a steampunk accessory. Watch gears, typewriter keys and mini-propeller blades are fused together to create earrings, necklaces, bracelets, rings and broaches. It doesn’t matter the shape the timepiece is in. Your looking for exposed screws, wheels and pins—the insides turned inside out. Be on the lookout for metal insect jewelry created from springs and dials.
Do not fear the corset. Whether with beautiful detail or delicate fabrics, corsets are the center point to the woman’s steampunk getup.
Reticules and Top Hats
What, say you, is a reticule, exactly? Simply, it’s a small purse. Very common in 19th century fashion, a little handbag is necessary for your ladylike things. Steampunkers tend to go big and bold by adding top hats with found-object attachments and decorations.
Cloaks and Collars
Be on the look-out for men and women alike sporting Victorian cloaks and collars at one of the many steampunk conventions across the country. Immerse yourself in the world of mysterious characters with captivating stories and timepieces. Get ideas from Etsy and Pinterest and be on the lookout for steampunk-inspired designs from high fashion designers like Prada and from mainstream retailers like Banana Republic and Restoration Hardware.
Mixing sci-fi with industrial, the outcome turns out to be something gothic and futuristic, with a splash of proper 19th century. Steampunk is all about being crafty and expressive, showcasing a very industrialized and deconstructed look.