Make Your Own Steampunk Fashion On A Budget
Steampunk is a style that mixes up the Victorian era and the romanticism of science and inventions during the Industrial Revolution. Although all the elements are modern in concept and effort, steampunk isn’t bound by the rules of any particular decade.
Steampunk is much more than the appearance of garments, accessories, and other items that use a narrow set of aesthetic elements. Steampunk is the concept of designing a distinct style that showcases a modern view of Victorian fashion and invention.
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What is steampunk fashion style?
Steampunk style is a blend of technology and imagination. Many of the modern elements that add visual appeal to a steampunk outfit have been pushed into the deep depths of the imagination. Because steampunk fashion is boundless, there are endless creative possibilities.
Steampunk fashion has been criticized for its visual influences from older novels that used popular romantic and sci-fi characters to describe fantastical settings. Although steampunk fashion takes cues from other retro fashion trends and works for the modern-day, it’s a balance of technology and fantasy.
Steampunk outfits can be very intricate. Many of the designs and items in steampunk fashion are made to capture the flair of Victorian modiste, with lots of details and artistic merit. Although steampunk fashion is supposed to be romantic and whimsical, it has a lot of technical quality and aesthetic options.
Essential elements to Steampunk Fashion
So, makes up a steampunk fashion style? If you’ve seen some steampunk-inspired clothes and accessories in stores, what you’ll probably notice is that it’s not an easy thing to incorporate a steampunk look without making some significant modifications to your look or 'Steampunking it'.
Here’s a guide to adding some Steampunk flair to your wardrobe.
Expect brown, copper, gold, and rust in steampunk fashion. Black and metallic gray will give you that industrialized coal-look as well. Other colors that work well in steampunk fashion are red, maroon, olive green, and yellow ochre.
Contemporaneous steampunk style will allow bright colors of blue, green, violet, and fuchsia. However, the above-given hues make up for an authentic steampunk style.
Leather is an important element of steampunk fashion. It gives you that old and rustic look in every Victorian culture. Add some leather to your hats, goggle wears, bags, vests, corsets, belts, pantaloons, and shoe wear.
Vambraces are metal forearm guards located in the elbow area. Nothing says metal unlike the birth of the Industrial Revolution. You can make one yourself using tin cans or foils.
Ah! What would steampunk be without a bowl or top hat? Established Victorian men and women all wear a hat. For steampunk lovers, it’s best to have one with a hint of leather, gears, or mechanical accessories to complete the look. Feathers and timepieces are also a great way to adorn one’s top hat.
Mechanical gears and accessories
We are talking about the gears, cogs, wheel pieces, and rustic plates that you can place anywhere in your clothing. Gears make up a huge part of the Industrial Revolution. Take a piece and sew it on your hat, belt, vest, necklines, or boots.
Goggles, spectacles, and monocles make up the eyewear of a steampunk cultured lover. Worn with leather patches, these pieces of eyewear complete your stylish look. Bonus points if your eyewear magnifies things!
Lace and ruffles always provide that edgy look in any Victorian-steampunk fashion look. Create a romantic appeal by adding lace to your gloves or shirt. You can even wear it as a necklace or veil.
Pinstripes in clothing signify bold and daring. It’s a symbol of deviance and eclecticism. In Victorian times, stripe patterns are used for sports and leisure events. Its casual patterns are also associated with showroom girls or organized crime groups – perhaps to signify social defiance.
Shoe wear is best made of hard leather in the form of boots, dress slippers, or cogs. Feel free to decorate your shoes with some mechanical gears.
A Steampunk pocket watch is important to wear with a steampunk costume too because it can help the effect of a steampunk look more than any leather or metal costume or accessory could. See our range of pocket watches to buy here
You may include some bags, tool belts, hairpiece, gadgets, and gizmos to add to your style.
As far as clothes go, the Victorian Era is where we find women wearing corsets, crinolines, skirts, petticoats, and even pantaloons. With steampunk overture, some elements are needed in place.
More than just the looser of the corset girdles, female garb in the mid-1800 was high fashion. Corsets were tailored, shaped, and laced up tightly to create a smooth and shapely silhouette that was fitted, strappy, feminine, and flat-out sexy.
In a full-length cut, the fabric was carefully trimmed and shaped to accentuate the waist, which had to be kept tight, and the body overall looked slimmer. They’re made to look women desirable, strong, and free.
Men would wear a regular three-piece suit, with a jacket, waistcoat, and trousers that were fastened with laces. The tight waistcoat was fashionable and even included a pair of vests to go with it.
Like women, they trimmed the coats with flounces, which were just ruffles in front. However, with men, unlike with women, ruffles, whether in the form of lace or ribbons, were no longer worn in the closed-style, standing shoulder-length waistcoat.
How to make your steampunk costume
Although steampunk fashion can be a fun, self-indulgent hobby, it is also a lot of hard work. If you are interested in experimenting with steampunk fashion, you are sure to be challenged in your creativity.
If you are interested in designing a steampunk outfit, you need to be prepared to put a lot of hard work into it.
Create your top hats
You can make this in less than a week! Hands-on instruction for making your steampunk top hat.
What you need:
Hot melt glue or stronger adhesive paste
Paint and paintbrush
Pencil or pen
Thread and needle
Gears, gadgets, and gizmos
Measure your forehead back. Give it some ½ inch to 1-inch space for wearing the hat comfortably.
Next, we’ll be working with the brim of the hat. Get your cardboard and trace a circle for your head to fit. Afterward, draw another circle about 2.5 inches (or more if you want) away from the first circle.
Cut out the center and take away the 2.5-inch hollowed circle. That’ll be your brim.
Create the cylinder part of the hat. We usually measure starting from 9 inches lengthwise. However, you decide on how tall your hat will be. Its width should fit your brim and head.
Glue the cylinder to the hole of your brim hat. At this stage, you can start forming the cylinder to the desired shape, like whether you need it narrower in the middle.
Remember the hole you cut out earlier? Glue it to the cylinder to cover the hat.
You can either paint the hat or cover it with textile found in most thrift stores. We usually cover our hats with striped clothes we bought downtown for around $0.50. Some lace material we’ve found costs only $0.30 and less.
First, we arc the brim at the sides to make its Victorian shape.
We start covering from the top of the hat first and down to the head section. You can style the cloth to make it more ruffled or shambolic when spiraling down. Use glue if necessary to steady its flow and shape. Afterward, you cover the brim and bring the extra cloth inside the hat.
Add any decorations you’d like to include such as gears, cogs, flowers, cards, timepieces, cards, feathers, etc.
Total time: 1 hour and 30 minutes
Materials spent: Barely $3 for the cardboard, glue sticks, and cloth. Most of the gizmos and decors are old items in the house.
Make a basic pair of Steampunk goggles
This is just basic steampunk goggle wear. You can add depth and layer once you’ve mastered your craftsmanship.
What you need:
Hot melt glue or stronger adhesive paste
Paint and paintbrush
Pencil or pen
Clear and thick plastic
Gears, gadgets, and gizmos
On a piece of cardboard, draw two pieces of the pattern for the cylinder and cut it out. Make sure it’s wide enough to cover your eyes when you fasten the sides.
Create your goggles by drawing a circle that fits in the cylinder. Cut out the inner circle and leave behind a ¼ inch space for your goggle circle piece.
Cut out a circle from your clear plastic and place it on the back of your goggle piece. This serves as a substitute for glass wear.
Glue your goggles to the cylinder.
Measure your eyepiece distance from one another to go over the nose bridge. Afterward, cut out a ribbon using the measurements and glue it from one eyepiece to another to secure the goggle tails.
Cut two lengthier ribbon pieces this time and attach them to each end of the goggle piece to tie on the back of your head.
Coat your goggles with metallic paint such as copper, gold, or brass colors. You can glue little pieces of wheels, gears, and cogs on your goggles to complete the look.
How to wear steampunk clothing
Steampunk was also famously inspired by the classic science fiction stories of Jules Verne. And just as the characters in those stories would fashion their costumes, so too, can you.
So far, we can only shop around thrift stores for clothing that’s akin to Victorian fashion wear. But, here are some rules and standards to guide you.
Dresses for women
If you’re looking for a dress, a long and ruffled garb will do. Opt for rustic colors or metallic gray to highlight the Industrial Revolution era. You can also play around with some dark colors like Navy Blue, Plum Red, Mauve, Olive Green, or Rust Orange.
The neckline should be low-shoulder style (also known as Bertha neckline) often rimmed with lace, ruffles, or simply fabric pleats. Another neckline option you should choose is the high-collared neckline akin to the respected and cultured society women in Victorian London.
We like pleated or ruffled skirts, but bustle skirts like those worn by bar girls are simply divine. Brown, copper, red, or black ones are often better for steampunk style. But, hey, if you can do one better, do you!
Whether it’s a bust or full corset; if your steampunk costume doesn’t include a corset you’re making a mistake. Steampunk lovers would prefer wearing more flexible corsets, but a tight leather corset is probably a more realistic version to wear. Because leather keeps the shape, they’re also usually fairly snug around the waist. A steel bone corset is also a nice alternative!
Meshed stockings, especially fishnets, floral, patterns, or stripes work best. Whether you opt for white, copper-gold, or black stockings, it can make a statement together with your bustle skirt.
Vests and coats for men
Just like mittens or shoes, vests can either be leather or cloth depending on their wearability. Leather vests tend to be more durable, but also more expensive. You can opt for velvet, cotton, or silk that’s thick and quality-made.
Boots are the staple for steampunk wear. You can adorn your shoe wear with little trinkets and cogs if you’d like. What we do is take out an old, leather watch, take out the timepiece, and attach some gears and wheels to it. We place the modified strap around the boots and the timepiece into our top hats.
Accessories, accessories, and accessories
A pocket watch is a staple accessory for any steampunk guy or gal. Make sure not to go out without one! Other accessories can be a tool belt with a small wrench, screwdriver, lights, and small hammer. You can have a map or a couple of empty vials, too!
Necklaces and bracelets
Necklaces are better adorned with choker laces or layered chains of copper and gold for women (and men!). Make sure the pendant has the elements of steampunk like gears, cogs, wheels, timepiece, lock and key, tools, etc. For bracelets, it would look too cool to have leather-bound straps on your wrists.
A worker’s glove is often done with leather ones. But, if you opt to be more ceremonial or societal-type, a lace glove will do for women.
Final words for making your steampunk costume
Creating your steampunk costume can be daunting. How to get things done right?
Invest in quality pattern materials
We strongly recommend buying fabric as close to the color you want, so you can maintain the level of craftsmanship and design you like. A big part of steampunk is mixing and matching different techniques, materials, and designs.
For example, you can make your top hat out of patterned fabrics or leather. Leather can be tricky to work with because it gets wet and easily dents when you work with it. Patterns are more durable and resilient. You can buy a variety of different patterns or print them off yourself.
If you buy leather, make sure the top is completely dry before you try to glue it to your top hat. Otherwise, it can get sticky and damaged very easily. After you get the pattern materials, don't hesitate to buy a few different colors so you have a variety of color choices. You don't have to match each pattern to the exact color of the fabric, as they will change with use and wear.
Buy sewing and patterns
As a beginner steampunk enthusiast, you can buy patterns at your local craft store for about $10 or less. You can get patterns for fabric and leather as well.
Worst case scenario, you can print off your patterns, but that would be a lot more work than it's worth. There are tons of top hat patterns online as well. Try searching for steampunk top hats on Pinterest.
We recommend you buy sewing patterns for the sewing tools you'll need, such as a needle, thread, and fabric. If you're in a pinch you can make your patterns, but make sure you purchase them in addition to buying sewing tools.
Opt for a pocket watch
Steampunk costumes are often seen being dressed up in corsets, claps, and tall boots. Because a pocket watch has a different material than anything else that will be in the theme of a steampunk costume, this watch can help the costume stand out from the rest and is great to pose with open in your hand. You will need to learn how to do your favourite Steampunk character poses with and without a pocket watch for a truly completed costume and look for your event see our guide on how to pose.
These costumes all have wooden and leather bodices and details, which can be very stark and plain against a large black outfit or even black fabric. Pocket Watch is used as a cute and modest way to dress up as steampunk and hideout as the center of attention, from behind your leather vest.
A pocket watch is fabulous for a steampunk costume, a modern style pocket watch, with a design based on the 1830s or 1840s, with a thinner and wider body than the pocket watch of today.
There are numerous steampunk outfits, costume ideas, fascinators and steampunk accessories that can be acquired over time by following a few simple rules, letting your imagination fly over to many unforgettable scenarios. Don’t forget to do a first impression and look your best. Come to our shop to buy a pocket watch to finish off your Steampunk costume here.
We sell Steampunk pocket watches please buy and support this blog here and continue reading below to learn more on Steampunk fashion on a budget