An Introduction to Steampunk Fashion

Have you ever wanted to dress up like your favorite fictional character? Wear a Halloween outfit every day? If you have a love for fantasy, history, and dramatic costumes, then Steampunk fashion might already be on your radar. The Steampunk fashions borrow heavily from Victorian-era clothing styles, often adding a darker dimension to recreate the exaggerated appearance of a brooding, emotive Romantic of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Steampunk also prominently exaggerates the industrial force of the Victorian era. By focusing on metal trinkets and mechanized accessories, Steampunk fashion asks us to recall the time when steam engines were the beacon of society, indicating a promising future and ushering in the technical wonders of the postmodern age. Whether or not Steampunk fashion leans more to the historical side or the fictitious side is entirely up to the wearer. The wearer appropriates Victorian styles and mechanical accessories according to his own desires, often adding a modern spin to the look that keeps Steampunk from being merely a replication of a historic fashion. Though there are no instructions for how to amalgamate fantasy, history, and drama to create your Steampunk style. A peek at the inspiring looks created by veteran Steampunk artists never fails to spark creativity.


Though her corset piece is unique and her feather shoulder fascinator artfully placed, this model’s hairdo truly solidified the Steampunk look. Her voluminous ringlets evoke the teased-up up-do associated with Victorian women’s hair.




Aviation-inspired styles are just one avenue in which Steampunk explores its fascination with man’s first brushes with technology. The first model’s archaic aviator’s jacket, helmet, and high-wasted trousers seamlessly recall the apparel of early 20th century pilots, while her straight and striking platinum hair implants a modern twist on the over-all look.

The second model’s aviation jacket is more simplistic, leading to a less in-your-face dose of Steampunk fashion. Additionally, her headpiece stands out as a purely creative, complementary piece with a design spun entirely from the imagination. In contrast, her faded leather jacket and the murky gaze of her goggles’ vast lenses haunt the outfit’s observers like ghosts of the past.


You might be surprised to learn that Steampunk has its own line of fandom fashions. Steampunk fashion has woven its archaic magic over nearly every fandom realm in sight, so naturally the Disney princesses have all had wardrobe transformations. The Steampunk rendition of Snow White above shows how successfully this transformation can be pulled off — from her impressive bustle and Victorian hair to the corset-lacing of her hat. And she’s still recognizable as the Disney princess who bit the poisoned apple. Just like all of the examples above, the uniqueness and sheer creativity of each outfit point to the phenomenal imagination required to implement Steampunk fashion.

Written by: Rachel Molloy

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