Monday, 5 May 2014

Steampunk Fashion

A Steampunk group at a convention
Victorian base clothing, adventuring accessories, cogs, goggles, brown colours

I like collecting things and as such am an avid user of Pinterest for collating images of things I like and sharing those with whoever else out there is interested. Fashion is part of this and gets drilled down more specifically into gothic fashion and again into Steampunk fashion. Steampunk is something that has been around for a while now, but is only recently becoming trendy. I get frustrated by the volume of outfits that get tagged as Steampunk when they just aren't. So, here's a brief overview of what I think defines Steampunk fashion.

Regular readers of this blog will know that we've touched on Steampunk a few times, but if you're not familiar it is a subculture borne of the exploration of an alternative future society stemming from the Victorian age. Imagine Victorians with better technology, where dirigibles (airships like The Hindenberg) had been refined so they don't explode as much and thus filled the sky; where the power of steam and industry had been harnessed and progressed at a much quicker rate than in real history. Steampunk has the word Steam in it to represent the Victorian age. Other retro-futures have different names, such as the slightly later turn-of-the-century Dieselpunk.

Those wanting to dress as Steampunks should start with clothing that is Victorian in some way or nods to this era of dress. It can depart from Victoriana a bit, but not too much otherwise it slips into a different aesthetic. Brown (as a reflection of brass, used in the futuristic machinery of this period) is a favourite colour palate to work with, but any colours work and it's really nice seeing people experimenting.

From a Victorian style base, accessories are where Steampunk comes into its own. While not essential, a lot of the accessories of Steampunk stem from 'adventurer' characters. So utility belts and braces, invented weaponry, sturdy boots and so on are often part of the outfits created. There are a few overriding symbols of Steampunk that have risen to the surface, namely cogs and gears on EVERYTHING, goggles (usually with cogs and gears and/or brass, otherwise they can look like Cyberpunk googles) as a nod to the (early) birth of aviation and cups of tea.

Someone just wearing Victorian clothing isn't Steampunk. They're just Victorian. This can still be very gothic, but isn't Steampunk. There needs to be something that shows how their Victorian era has progressed beyond the bounds of history.

Just my opinion, but let me know in the comments if you agree or disagree.

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