What is Steampunk Fashion?

What is steampunk? What type of clothing is steampunk fashion? What is steamfashion? What are some accessories to use on a steampunk theme costume? What is the name of the fashion trend inspired by H.G. Wells and Jules Verne? Why do people dress up w

Imagine if fashion were based on the writings of H.G.Wells and Jules Verne. The Time Machine and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, are two of many books that have been the inspiration of a fashion movement known as steampunk. Indeed the movement is not limited to fashion, it also extends to home décor and more.

In steampunk it is as if one is in a different reality, a realty ruled by steam power, machines are very much a part of the culture. There is a slight Victorian edge, as well as one leaning towards a post-apocalyptic time, or even old west. There are elements of fantasy and wonder.

The term steampunk was introduced in the 1980's but really was not applied to fashion until 2006 or thereabouts. In fashion it is sometimes referred to as steamfashion.

Again the three different genres of steampunk include Victorian themes, this easily confused with goth, post-apocalyptic themes, and those of the old west. When done to represent the Victorian era, Steampunk is similar to goth fashion, however black is not featured as prominently in steampunk fashion as it is in goth. Where goth fashion uses silver accessories, in steampunk fashion metal accessories are often gold, silver, copper, and bronze, very often in combination.

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The post-apocalyptic style is somewhat like the fashion in the Mad Max movies, leather is common, and the clothing may look as if it has another function to it in addition to providing warmth or protection. Goggles are very common. To this end even modern technology is sometimes modified to make it appear old (as if in the future it were kept as old technology), a bluetooth headset might be altered to look like it has gears, or painted more metallic. The gear itself being a very common theme of steampunk décor and fashion.

In the old west style of steampunk fashion the clothing is designed as a bit of a fantasy, again leather will be common.

A good rule of thumb for anyone designing a steampunk wardrobe would be to imagine being in charge of costuming on a fantasy type movie by Jules Verne, or H.G.Wells, and going from there. Remember to use at least 2 different metals, feature “gears” and use basic fabrics, such as leather.

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Must have Accessories of any Steampunk Clothing Theme Include

  • Hats
  • Watches (with gears showing)
  • Tinted glasses, or googles
  • Large Rings
  • Corsets (for women)
  • Leather boots

Alternative Accessories Could Include

  • Pistol
  • Chokers (for women)
  • Telescope
  • Sextant
  • Parasol (for women)


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