“Steampunk is…a joyous fantasy of the past, allowing us to revel in a nostalgia for what never was. It is a literary playground for adventure, spectacle, drama, escapism and exploration. But most of all it is fun!” ― George Mann
From the Oxford dictionary:
1.1 A style of design and fashion that combines historical elements with anachronistic technological features inspired by science fiction:
the essence of steampunk is homage to vintage fashion with a modern, sassy twist.
I don’t think without a proper dictionary definition, the steampunk style could be understood. Even with the definition? It’s hard to process. Anyone directly in the alternative world of fashion and design may get it. But many on the outside looking in may be baffled. I tend to think of it like this: take a Harry Potter style, give it a punk edge with some designer style and you are on your way to a steampunk look.
Steampunk is definitely not front and center in the glamour & fashion world. In fact, it’s a little underground which makes it that much more eclectic and romantic. It is definitely built around the individual and each look is unique. No one goes into Macy’s and asks for the steampunk section of the store. But that doesn’t mean you can get a look there either.
As my fire-spinning evolves, so does my look. I find myself looking at things that I like, with an edgy flair, and a mystical aura. Do I still love my Manolos? Hell yeah. But you might find them next to a pair of worn black suede combat boots with wired taffeta laces. What can I say? Style is about individuality. That’s why I love this industry.
So you want to look at some steampunk inspired items? I happen to like these items when I’ve got the S-punk urge:
Makeup: Because steampunk is a genre which embraces individuality, no makeup look is right or wrong. There are a few things that can give your look more of an edge than a general look.
**Dark lips are always a plus. Heavy outlined lips, true red lip colors or black matte lipsticks or glosses are a nice look.
**Stenciled designs such as gears, feathers and scrolls around the eye/temple area is cool. You can also find temporary tattoos to give you this look. Enhance them with black or metallic liner for an extra pop.
**Dark gold or copper eyeshadow is a MUST! And the more sparkle and glitter, the better. Add a touch of glittery black liner for a deep look. A touch of the shadow in the middle of your bottom lip looks awesome too.
Sassy Likes: Eye Kandy Cosmetics Eye Kandy Glitter in Taffy (Copper Penny), $7.50; Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in “Outlaw”, $20.00 – Sephora
Clothes: Take a mixture of the Victorian era romance, elements from the Industrial Revolution from the 1800’s and a hint of the post-apocalyptic era and you may have an idea of what the general steampunk look is like. The key is individualism–wear what you feel comfortable in and feel it represents the style that reflects you. Key pieces to look for are long, flowing dresses, regal jackets and bodices, ruffled and/or lacy tops, unleveled hemmed skirts and more. I advise people to look at what other steampunk lovers wear and see what jumps out at them. Remember to try before you buy. What is good for some may not be good for you. Looking at styles presently in your closet may give you an idea of what types of s’punk clothes might interest you… if any! It may not be for you, but if it is, there are lots of places to shop. Start with your local thrift and consignment shops. You’d be surprised what treasures you may find there. You can even find a base and embellish it the way you want. If you are looking for something specific, there are several online stores that offer options such as SteampunkEmporium.com, pyramidcollection.com or my favorite rebelsmarket.com
Sassy Likes: Rebel’s Market Black Corset & Buckles Halter Top, $32.40; Belladonna Corset, $44.95 – goodgoth.com
Accessories: Your steampunk look most likely will never be ordinary but accessories can help take it to another level. These items can fall into categories that range from head to toe. They include hats, boots, jewelry and everything in between. When it comes to jewelry, the key thing to look for is bronze. Not necessarily the metal but the color! Necklaces and bracelets with old keys, buckles and chains are a perfect add-on. Chokers made of lace, velvet or leather accented with gems, gears, keys and locks are a pretty pick as well. Boots are a popular choice for footwear. All boot heights including knee high lace up, mid-calf with buckles or low Mary Janes are always popular. When it comes to shoes, dark colors of lace, velvet or leather look fab. And those cute mini hats are always cool if you can pull them off!
Sassy Likes: Necklaces from @Fishscalecreations on Etsy; UGG “Simmens” leather boots, $169.95 – Nordstrom; Steampunk Velvet Top Hat, $19.95 -yandy.com; Black leather metal studded fingerless gloves, $22.00 – rebelsmarket.com
If punk is a little extreme for you ladies but still want to stand out from the crowd, see if the individuality of the steampunk genre is your cup of tea (or poison). If you would like to know more about the why’s, who’s and what’s, check out the links below to give you more information. And as always…. keep me posted on your finds, looks, styles and so on. I’d love to see and share!!
www.steamfashion.livejournal.com: This link gives you a LOT of information. What steampunk is, your individual style, plus it’s history. A great start.
www.pennlive.com: If you want to master a steampunk look or costume, this is a great tool. I love how it talks about the recycling aspect of the look. It doesn’t have to be new, especially since the theme is Victorian based anyways.
thesteampunkempire.com: I love the fact that this is a discussion group that addresses questions you might have. The contributors are people just like you and me that need answers too!