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While it’s inching its way into the mainstream in super-cool techno/throwback style, steampunk is still uncharted territory for many. If you haven’t experienced the joys of this phab and very sexy trend, grab some goggles, a long duster (coat) and something mechanical and let’s get punk-y this Halloween!
The Steampunk Recipe:
- 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 apparatus
- 1 sprinkle of Final Fantasy, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Van Helsing, Wild Wild West, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, anything 60s James Bond, Mad Max, and Sherlock Holmes (the Downey version, of course)
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, 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? How about an old watch you can glue gears and kewl stuff to? 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.
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!
- 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. Or buy an industry rubber apron.
- 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.
- Invest in a cowgirl/cowboy costume or 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.
Go forth and steampunk!