Goggles, monocles, aviator hats, space guns, pocket watches and rings made of gears: What do these items have in common? One, they are Neo-Victorian, sci-fi-fantasy loveliness; and two, they are components of steampunk couture.
When you mix science fiction with 19th century Victorian style and sprinkle it with fantasy, nautilus and industrial steam-machine technology, you get an explosion of wildly creative embellishments and style that spreads beyond fashion. We see it in interior design, on set at the Academy Awards and in movies. And if you happen to be traveling to one of the playful Comic-Con conventions this year, you’ll see the magic of steampunk unfold like never before.
Technology Meets Romance
Steampunk is a style. It’s an aesthetic. You give it the personality. The diversity of the genre allows anyone the freedom to be original by creating and designing their own steampunk outfits. Small additions to your wardrobe can put you in a steampunk state of mind. When technology, whether modern or futuristic, meets dark romance, an understanding is formed and a subculture emerges. Adorn a classic corset, ultra-fem skirt, bodice, regular or plus-size costumes with steampunk accessories.
Is It Goth?
Kind of. It’s Goth-like. It’s dark and brooding, with a glimmer of whimsical. Just as Goth was birthed from music, steampunk jumps off the pages of 19th century literature. Authors like H.G. Wells imagined a future of time travel, fantastical airships and submarines. Steampunk shows its gothic side with vampiric cloaks, velvet corsets and leather boots adorned with gages and small springs, while metal and brass accents embellish lapels and top hat brims.
Adding a buckle-cinched brown waist coat layered over a typical Victorian era lace-up corset is a great start to steampunking your life. Add a full skirt, petticoat, fishnet hose and some sweet leather lace-up knee high boots and you are well on your way to becoming part of this subculture. Some other feminine items to add to your wardrobe are gloves and a pretty top hat — either large or oddly small.
Back in the steam age, mechanical power needed gears and moving parts to transmit power. But since the digital age, we tend to steer away from analog watches and clocks. Unless, of course, it’s a Michael Kors “Camille” or “Large Runway” watch we can’t get in enough shades.
Turn your watches inside out. Deconstruct them by removing the screws, hands, levers and gears. Browse thrift stores and antique shops for unique old time pieces and create unique broaches, hat clips, rings and necklaces. Often designers like to create decorative insect pieces with these gears and gadgets.
Probably the most important accessory to the steampunk outfit are pilot-style goggles. The bigger, the better. The ones you want are the quirky goggles with flip up monocles and light beams attached to the rims.
Mix the feminine with the masculine and you get the ying and yang of steampunk. The balance between two worlds coming together joining into one cohesive, if not bizarre, subculture. Kids and adults can celebrate science fiction, fantasy, time travel, the Industrial and the Victorian age all in one sitting. The style has been around since before the name “steampunk” was coined, however its popularity is slowly being exposed. Jump on board. It’s fun!