Steampunk is a design and fashion trend influenced by science fiction that mixes historical aspects with anachronistic technological features. Steampunk is influenced heavily by Victorian-era fashion. A small but strong Steampunk culture is growing in the Western world.
Many people start by dressing up as a Steampunk lady or gentleman for Halloween, then mix in pieces to their everyday wardrobe until they’ve mastered the art of Steampunk.
When entering the Steampunk fashion, you must know what character you’re hoping to achieve. Assuming the dress-up is a one-time event. Once you have a vision, you can piece your look together. However, if you plan to don Steampunk regularly, slowly add pieces to your wardrobe that you can pair together to create multiple outfits.
Mens SteamPunk Attire
When picking your Steam Punk outfit, consider earth tones for your trousers and jewel colors for your vest and accessories. For Steampunk trousers, choose a worn pair with no special dye or cut. The trousers have a high waist and relatively narrow or straight legs. Moleskin pants are also good. Jeans would be acceptable, but only if they are not dyed.
Any kind of shirt, as long as it has long sleeves and is a solid color. Depending on the look you’re trying to achieve, you could wear a long sleeve white button-up with puffy sleeves. Or, if you want to achieve a more commoner look, choose a collarless shirt. For someone higher in society, you’d like a shirt with a high collar and or wingtips. You can even wear a long-sleeved t-shirt, preferably with buttons. Vests are standard and often add color to the overall look.
Accessories are essential to bringing together the Steampunk look. A top hat or a leather helmet are two of the most common headpieces for men when dressing up in Steampunk gear. Most hats are decorated with some type of brass wheels, or a brooch.
Men’s Steampunk outfits aren’t complete without a jacket, duster, or trench coat. You can choose a piece with no pattern or pattern in the lining.
Footwear will bring your entire Steampunk look together. Men tend to wear leather boots, either ankle-height or knee-high. If you’re on a tight budget, add a spatter guard over dress shoes you own to tie the look together. Spatter guards and thick fabric that cover the tops of your shoes, with a strap along the underside of the shoe to hold it in place.
In these times, both genders used jewelry. Items like pocket watches on a leather strap, signet rings, cravat pins, and cuff links are suitable for men. Men wear an earring, typically a metal ring, not a jeweled stud. Complete the look with a ribbon in a buttonhole or a boutonnière. There are many online craft sites where you can purchase Steampunk accessories.
You can express yourself quite freely with your hairstyle. The usually short and neatly combed hair is fine, spiked hair is quite OK, and if you like, have dreadlocks with added leather straps and tubing.
Womens Steampunk Attire
Before you choose your steampunk outfit, whether for a costume or as part of the typical wardrobe think of your desired character and build your costume around pieces that will achieve your desired look.
One of the concepts behind Steampunk is an adventure, and women used to wear a little shorter and simpler skirts for these occasions. For Steampunk, the skirt can hit just above the knee, just as long as it has volume from ruffles, rouches, pleats, drapes, and gatherings. Women can wear trouser or bloomers of any length. Oftentimes, shirts or dresses are worn over pants.
Womens tops be it a blouse, vest, jacket, or coats should be fitted. Some womens Steampunk outfits include all 3 pieces worn together. If you want to create a very realistic Steampunk look, a corset it a must. Pulled tight to excenuate the waist.
Shoes, for women the outfit is never complete without the perfect shoes, doesn’t matter what era you’re dredding for. If you’re trying to pull off the perfect Steampunk look consider lace up boots, and preferably something that has a tapered heel.
You can add a parasol to accessorize any outfit. What is a parasol? Picture a Victorian era decorative umbrella. – or you could use a fascinator between a hair accessory and a hat. Another accesory to bring the look together is a beaded or embroidered purse or carpetbag. You can never have too many rings or bracelets and very dangling earrings. Complete the outfit with a leather strapped wristwatch, a pocket watch or brooch-watch.
While long hair isn’t required, it was often the chosen style in the Victorian era. To have the perfect Steampunk look long hair in a braid, a fancy updo, or corkscrew style curls.
Boys SteamPunk Ideas
I would put children in pantyhose, both boys and girls, but some boys find this too girly and thus uncomfortable and shouldn’t be forced to wear tights. It might help to persuade the child to wear such uncomfortable and inconvenient pieces of clothing if you tell him that this is the origin of Christmas stockings. (Then you have to keep your promise and fill the stockings (both of them) to the brim. Otherwise, you will be considered a liar and a cheater, and it serves you right).
I would choose laced boots for boys, but make sure that the shoes have different heels and that the sole is made of one material. You can also take a pair of ordinary leather “party shoes” and give the kid spats to “disguise” the modern details. Or use simple canvas shoes the same color as the boy’s stockings.
Girls Steampunk Ideas
Even when it was unheard of that a girl would wear pants, it is quite acceptable for a Steampunk girl to do so. Girls are usually easier to persuade to wear unusual clothing than boys. Still, even here, you need to consider the child’s personality.
A girl’s dress is usually one-piece, and you can choose the early dress with a fitted bodice and wide skirt that falls from the waist. A straw boater or beret is suitable for both styles. Still, a big hat with decorations should be used with something other than the late Edwardian dress.
Whether you’re dressing for steampunk to attend a convention or a party, the attire is easily pieced together to take you back to the Victorian Era. You can make others admire the lengths you’ve gone to in order to dress the part by following these tips.
Erin is the mother of identical twin girls and their slightly older brother. She is a domestic engineer, and previously had a career leading customer service teams for a major HVAC company. Cleaning without harsh chemicals, and cooking easy and usually healthy meals are part of Erin's daily life. She volunteers with youth leaders, and genuinely wants to help others win. Erin has a degree in Communications, with a focus on Broadcast Journalism.