Steampunk-Inspired Alternative Fashion

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Steampunk-Summer-103FinalThe idea of Steampunk – a movement that combines science fiction with Victorian-age aesthetics – has been making an impact in fashion recently. If you’re looking to get the best form this look, then we’ve got the information for you.

You might think that clothes which pull inspiration from all the way back to the late 1800s might be a bit out of date, but just one look at the Victorian costumes available on and you’ll see just how stylish it can be. Don’t be fooled into thinking that purchasing one of these will get you the true Steampunk look, however; there’s still some accessorising to do before you look like you stepped out of a Jules Verne novel.

The basics

There are a few key ingredients you’ll want to take into consideration when thinking about a Steampunk outfit. The first is leather: everything from boots to details like straps are made of the stuff. While not everyone is a full-fledged tanner, guides are out there to help you construct your own leather accessories, perfect if you’re looking for a bandolier for your Victorian tools.

Another important part is the palette of the clothes. Shades of brown, brass and sometimes gold are instantly identifiable as Steampunk. These may sound boring, but the metallic shades not only work well with the browns, but contrast beautifully with the white shirts and muted colours of the age.

Starting at the top

Goggles are one of the defining pieces of Steampunk fashion – they’re almost like an individual costume’s signature. These usually have small lenses for each eye covered in intricately-designed artistic touches, including multiple levels of magnification, a leather strap and a brass-like finish. Don’t be afraid to jump in and either buy or make a pair of your own, as illustrated on, to really define yourself in this movement.

Headwear lifted from the Industrial Revolution finds itself at home in Steampunk fashion, so don’t be afraid to go straight in with a bowler or even a top hat (both also excellent places to store your goggles). Men have the opportunity to sport thick mustaches to get across the inventor feel while women shouldn’t be afraid to let their hair go wild – one of the advantages of not being in the Victorian age itself.


The body of the matter

The bulk of the fashion bases itself on formal wear; for men that means crisp shirts, waistcoats and military inspired jackets, while for women it means big skirts and corsets (but don’t be afraid to steal ideas from the men). It’s this formality combined with the themes of invention, adventure and mechanics where it gets exciting: many drape themselves in leather straps and brass studs to make themselves stand out from the crowd.

One thing that many people forget is jewellery. Pocket watches and chains complement Steampunk costumes well, giving you a living piece of the technology the fashion was inspired by. Other pieces like rings and bracelets – once again, with a brass or gold finish – also work well, especially if they feature pieces of period machinery, like cogs and sprockets. Even pieces found in many antique stores can be the finishing touch to your outfit.

Giving things the boot

While trousers are simple to get right – formal wear again – for your feet bigger is better. Don’t be afraid to go in with the biggest pair of leather boots you can find. For any engineers reading this you can get away with wearing your steel toe capped shoes, even with all the scuffs and dents of a hard day’s work.

Women have a lot of choice in this area. Big heels to your boots is going to give you an edge in style, but if you’re wearing something that shows off your legs then don’t be afraid to go for something a little higher: if the opportunity arise then don’t miss out on sporting knee-high boots to really make an impact. Remember that these are supposed to be the shoes of an adventurer, so they should be able to go the fictional distance.

Back down to Earth

Unfortunately, we can’t go around looking like mad inventors all the time, but we can still hold onto the essence of Steampunk in everyday fashion. The previously mentioned formalwear is still a hot look, though trousers and smaller skirts are going to be more practical for women. There’s also no reason to take off any of your Steampunk jewellery either – looking at your pocket watch beats checking your phone for the time. As for other ideas, tweed – the fabric that has come back in a big way – is great for keeping up the look without going all out. Leather jackets and striped shirts are also good for a more subtle look, with bonus points if they’re brown.

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About Candace Reid

Candace Reid is the owner and author of My Serendipity Life. She is the mother of 3 and a college graduate having earned her Associates Degree in Business for Hospitality/Food Service Management. Candace is pursuing an AAS degree in Photographic Imaging from Lansing Community College. She also loves to blog about family, food, fun tech and travel. Email Candace


  1. Although I’ve never actually dressed in steampunk style before, I love the look.

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