You’ve heard about it, the idea of “steam” plus “punk” intrigued you, but you really have no clue what it’s all about….well, friends, you aren’t alone. Steampunk falls into that mysterious, difficult to define place between fantasy and fact, which is absolutely ideal for the geek in all of us that seeks adventures in uncharted territory.
Let’s begin with the essential ingredients of Steampunk:
- 1/3 whimsical Victorian past
- 1/3 clunky, adventurous future machinery (if oil fuel was never invented)
- 1/3 punk mayhem, anarchy, and unrest
- 1 generous helping of corsets, bustles, petticoats, and vests
- 1 scoop of flying machines, clockworks, optical apparatuses
- 1 sprinkle of Final Fantasy, 10,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Mad Max, and the Labyrinth
Keep in mind that this recipe is only the starting place. Like any good formula, variations on a theme can produce magnificent results! To really pull off the Steampunk look, time, energy, and odd adornments are required- this realm is for the brave costumer only!
You in? Let’s get started with these tips and ideas for becoming your Steampunk fantasy:
“Steampunkize” a familiar character…perhaps one for which you already have the “ingredients.” For example, dress like a historical figure gone futuristic such as Steampunk Honest Abe. You need a top hat, beard, black coat, and a few Steampunkish trappings like a pocket watch, goggles (search: welding goggles on Amazon.com), and old typewriter keys for buttons. Spray paint an old vacuum cleaner hose gold or silver and affix it to a similarly colored small backpack to mimic a futuristic jet pack.
Makeover a favorite past persona. Do you love old Westerns? Burlesque? Explorers a la Lewis and Clarke? Take a basic costume such as this burlesque outfit and add Steampunk flair with suitable gadgets like vintage gauges, brooches, and clocks. Add a hat adorned with clockworks or googles for the perfect Steampunk touch.
Work from a favorite item. Have a beloved corset? Own a killer bowler hat? Know where to get a debonair handlebar mustache? If so, you’re halfway to your Steampunk dream. Browse the web for inspiration and consider what items you already have that can be dressed up with a little help:
- Steampunk Emporium
- Clockwork Couture
- Designing Your Own Steampunk Costume
- Steampunk Costumes at Costumecraze
Peruse your local thrift and antique stores for more inspiration. Afterall, this is a movement made of creativity, and customization is key!
First, raid your local thrift store or shop online for Steampunk accessories. Depending on which look you want, gather a variety of metal gears, buckles, clock faces, and brooches. You’ll also want to keep an eye out for old lace or leather gloves, garters, and handlebar mustaches (always a plus for the fellas).
Steampunkers love to include images of octopuses, owls, and peacocks. Jewelry or other gear that reference those fantastical creatures is a major plus!
- Invest in a cowgirl/cowboy costumeor put together your own outfit with a short leather or denim skirt/distressed jeans, a brown or black leather vest, and some rugged boots.
- Accessorize with a cowboy hat, lasso, and toy gun (plus holster!) Note: as a Steampunker, your weaponry is now known as a “raygun.” No pistols here!
- Add that Steampunk touch by affixing machinist goggles to your hat and various vintage accessories to your belt of sleeves.
- Customize your toy gun with metal gears and spray paint it gold or silver for a futuristic look.
- Get a basic flight costume.
- Wear an aviator helmet and glasses.
- Put a Steampunk touch on this great costume with vintage metal pilot’s wings, affixing several old brooches to your belt, and distressed leather gloves.
- Add a futuristic jet pack:
- Spray paint a small cardboard box or backpack and various hoses gold
- Attach these hoses to the box along with two straps, which you can create with old belts or rope
- Wear a vintage suit or dress under a white lab coat.
- Add futuristic over-the-coat shoulder plates by affixing small portions of scrap metal or spray-painted cardboard pieces
- Attach a stopwatch to your lab coat pocket and wear a monocle.
- Carry an old cane and an outdated medical book in your lab coat pocket.
Go forth and steampunk!