A blend of both futuristic and classical styles, steampunk fashion might seem strange at first sight. But a little context behind the history and culture around steampunk style will tell you it’s actually a fantastical blend of technology and Victorian-era clothing that’s tied up in a mindset of a different world. If you’re curious what makes this fashion sense tick (or need some pointers for a cosplay or costume) here’s our guide to wearing steampunk.
What Is Steampunk Clothing?
Steampunk is characterised by a mixture of Victorian-era clothing like corset dresses, bloomers, and tailcoats with the steam-powered technology that hallmarked the Industrial revolution. It’s a mix of goggles and gears with top hats and jackets: one of the earliest versions of industrial haute couture.
Steampunk outfits generally comprise classic-style clothing typically worn in the 1800s mixed with machinery motifs like watches, helmets, work gloves, and other assorted jewellery. Steampunk fashion has seen a surge in the past couple of years among women and men’s clothing as a popular costume party idea – there are even some events that even cater to this trend, like steampunk-themed weddings!
Best Examples Of Steampunk In Popular Culture
Aside from the hundreds of ideas you can see online, here are some of the best-known examples of steampunk-inspired outfits:
Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes
This fast-paced movie was rife with steampunk references, because of the time it was set in. While less heavy on the machinery than most steampunk outfits, it’s a good starting reference if you want to see where the steampunk style comes from.
Reality TV Shows
In a memorable episode of Project Runway: Under The Gunn, they challenged contestants to make “steampunk chic” outfits, with some stunning results.
Fashion And Style
Two designers have since branched out their talents to creating steampunk inspired pieces: John Galliano used it for a spring show for Christian Dior, and Jean Paul Gaultier, who uses a lot of the motifs in his collections.
Steampunk Clothing In Australia
If you’re looking for your next pair of leather boots or poufy skirt for your steampunk-inspired attire, here are some places you can get your gear from (and our personal picks from their online store):
Cost: Starts at $100 AUD
Why we love it: Sleek, chic, and elegant: This blazer will give you a more sophisticated touch to your outfit. We love the button detailing at the back and tapered cuts for an imposing silhouette.
Cost: Starts at $25 AUD
Why we love it: An intricate, well-crafted necklace of gears is the perfect statement piece to pair with any formal outfit. Even if you don’t match it with steampunk attire, it’s a nice necklace!
Why we love it: This dress is the perfect mix of cute and comfort: with a long tail, ruffles, and wide cuffs, it’s a great addition to any outfit, steampunk or otherwise.
DIY Steampunk Fashion
If want to make your own steampunk-inspired clothing, it’s easy to do! Here are some tips for you to get started:
Altering instead of buying: Lots of steampunk outfits draw their roots from Victorian clothing – dresses, vests, and coats are all pieces you can work with!
Gears and clockwork: While we can consider steampunk modern fashion, it’s less of neon and laser and more of clockwork and steam. Think of vintage mechanical devices and incorporate them into your outfit.
Stylish, not subtle: Steampunk fashion is designed to be a statement piece. It’s better to overdo it than underdo it with steampunk clothing.
Alternatively, you can always buy several pieces of steampunk fashion from stores and combine them into your own look if you’re itching to make a personal statement with your outfit!
Tech Up With Your Clothing
Steampunk’s an awesome thing to wear – and even if you’re not cosplaying, there are some pieces that you can integrate into your wardrobe for a unique touch to your style.