How to Dress Steampunk – The Basics


So since Halloween is only a month away, I thought I’d do a few posts on costumes. One popular option theses days is Steampunk. An off shoot of gothic fashion, Steampunk is kind of a dark version of Victorian styles. Many people dress steampunk year round to varying degrees whether going out for a night on the town, clubbing or a special event like a party or sci-fi convention. For more on what Steampunk is check out my previous post “What is Steampunk”.

What does a typical Steampunk outfit look like for women? Well, there are various persona within steampunk like high class late Victorian lady, a Civil War era Southern Bell, a wild west saloon girl, an aviator like Amelia Earhart, a nurse, a Victorian shop girl, an safari adventurer or an airship pirate. If you want to go the most traditional and generic route it is a good place to start to build a wardrobe. You may like already have these items in your closet or can find them easily online at ebay or etsy or your local thrift store. Even big box Halloween stores like these and you can build an outfit from normal stores like Target or JCPenney’s.


Basic Steampunk for Women:

Skirt: ankle length Prairie skirt with some fullness and ruffles

Shirt: a peasant blouse, Victorian style button up, or chemise nightgown with lace details

Corset/Vest: Lace up corset, bodice or tight vest

Jacket: Cropped bolero style or fitted suit jacket

Hat: Tiny top hat, normal top hat, bowler, straw boater or newsboy cap.

Shoes: Granny Boots, cowboy boots or brown tall boots or ballet flats

Accessories & Jewelry: Copper, brass, gold, gears, cogs,  rayguns, cameos, chocker or watches

Fabrics can make a big difference. High quality fabrics like satin, velvet, leather, linen, silk or wool work well and will last. Colors tend to be earth tones like brown, tan, khaki, olive green, rust, or orange as well as jewel tones like dark purple, navy, blues, emeralds, ruby red, burgundy as well as black, gray and white. Patterns work too like muted plaids, wide stripes, and pinstripes. Try looking in the curtain areas of stores for some cool affordable options.

Get crafty: try making your own steampunk accessories or get sewing. Buttons, straps, and belts can add a steampunk flair to an outfit. Try adding flounces or bustles to your skirt.

Check out my Pinterest collection of steampunk items from stores like Target, Walmart and JCP.

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