Young or old, Zaftig or slim, Male, female, married or single ; all are welcome to visit the world of Steampunk. Let your imagination run wild. That is the beauty of it. The only real rule you need to follow is to have fun.
Get dressed up in funny, Victorian inspired clothes, and wild toys and gadgets. Run around conventions and fairs having a grand geek experience. FUN!
But there is more, O’ so much more.
I have not been actively visiting the Steampunk world for very long, only a couple of years. That’s not to say I was not familiar with it. No, I grew up reading Journey to the Center of the Earth, 20,000 Leagues under the Sea, Jewel of the Seven Stars, and all those other wonderful books. I have performed for many years at another type of fair, The Renaissance Fair. I did historical demos, as well as comedy sword shows, and just for a kick, fire shows too.
There are a few similarities to the two worlds, a bit of history seen through rose colored glasses, bright colorful people and art, and the Clothes.
I remember attending an event as a kid, and seeing patrons dressed better than some of the cast, and I thought I want that.... But why? Was it because I was poor, and didn’t often have fancy clothes? No, my mom sewed, I always had better Halloween costumes than anyone. Maybe that’s part of it, I grew up very poor, not in the best situation, and costumes were my escape.
So that brings me to Steampunk.
Escape, but to where, when? “I know I’ll just google steampunk, and find out the rules”. What you will find is that the Steam Punk world lives in many planes. But all are centered, anchored to the Victorian and early Edwardian time period. This is due in no small part to the fact that there were such amazing contributions to the world of science and automation being made during this time. That’s not to say you must adhere to the British Empire when creating your wardrobe. See the world.
So how do you decide?
Back to the rules. Or should I say, “Rules, we don’t need no stink’n rules”.
That’s just it, Steampunk doesn’t have hard and fast rules to govern it, or it shouldn’t. There are guide lines, like being anchored in the Victorian era and your gadgets, and machines should be powered by steam or other modes from that era. But really that’s about it. If someone tells you otherwise, just know they have a stick up their buttocks.
Goggles- Goggles seem to be the number one item every good steampunk persona should have, MUST have. But, the answer is NO. If your character would not need goggles and you really don’t like them, don’t have them.
Hats- Big hats, little hats, teeny tiny hats, hats, hats, hats.....
Again what type of person do you want to be?
Just because everyone else seems to have a top hat on doesn’t mean you need to. Heck I look stupid wearing a top hat, even worse in a bowler.
If you decide you are going to wear a hat, make it one that YOU like and feel comfortable in. Sometimes picking out that hat can lead to your entire outfit. Myself, I LOVE HATS, no really, it’s kinda a problem sometimes. LoL
Spats- Spats are like gloves for your shoes. Again, you decide if your persona would need them. I will say they are very good at covering up modern footwear and disguising it.
Weapons- BIG ones, little ones, metal, wood, plastic nerf. You don’t NEED to have one, BUT you WANT one anyway. If you need to have an explanation for your character carrying a weapon, you’re just not letting your inner 4 year old out.
Everything else making up the outfit is there for modesty.
If you can’t sew, and are not independently wealthy, a good place to start is your closet. No really, you’ll be amazed at what you bought and thought you would wear to work. If your closet is bare, check your folks, Aunts, Uncles, that annoying roommate. Dress shirts of the 80’s had “ruffs, and cuffs, and fine array”. Many had mutton leg sleeves, and ruffles down the front. Then grab that long skirt you were sure you were going to wear, and you have the beginning of your first Steam Punk outfit.
Thrift stores are your next place to visit. Army-Navy surplus stores, Ebay, Etsy, and the endless shops on-line. Now if you can sew, that ups the game. Just about every pattern house has Steam Punk patterns out now. At the very least they have retro clothing patterns.
If you can sew, you can take those closet and thrift store finds and “tweak” them to just the look you are after.
Now you are saying to yourself, “that’s great, I have an outfit and gadgets, and my tickets to the event, but what do I do with my kids?” Dress them up in an outfit and take them with you. Worst that can happen is you embarrass the hell of them. No, wait, I think that’s the best that can happen.
But now you are thinking, “this is all well and good if you are in collage or your 20’s, but I’m too old for all this. What will the neighbors think? ” WHAT, you are too old to play dress up and run around with all the others. Do you really care what the busy body neighbors think? “
Next excuse, “I’m fat, or I can’t wear a corset, my legs are too short for spats or whatever your body hang up may be.” Really, do I have to head slap you? I am a 45 yr old, mid height disabled overweight woman. STOP looking for excuses.
What I’m really trying to say is, “Let your imagination out to play”. The world of Steam Punk embraces one and all. And remember the only Rule that matters is HAVE FUN.