There are a number of trends and concepts that rise, like fads, and steal popular focus, and one of those concepts in recent years has been what’s known as Steampunk. This is an idea that extends into literature and can be represented through clothing and décor styles as well. Steampunk looks back to the Victorian era with a longing eye and embraces ideas of the time frame and technology as creative inspiration, making it an intriguing idea for the science fiction fan who could read Steampunk novels and the history fan who adores the time period that stands as the inspiration for it.
If you fit with either of these qualifying details, you might be interested in Steampunk—and if you’re interested in Steampunk, you might want to add a little Steampunk flair to your life. One way to do this could be choosing Steampunk elements to add to your clothes—like these!
Look for the High/Low Hem
One of the most stand-out traits of a Steampunk-style dress or skirt is the existence of a high/low hem. What exactly does this mean, you might ask? Well, it’s pretty basic! Essentially, it means that in place of the standard hem where everything is relatively the same lengthwise, the hem on the Steampunk dress or skirt can be less consistent in an up-and-down fashion. Note that this does not mean it’s jagged! It only means that the length is different! This could mean there’s one scoop at the bottom of the dress or skirt that raises that part of the hemline, and it’s ready to be a Steampunk dream!
This high/low look isn’t just limited to the hemline either since you can look for this quality in various patches of the dress where fabric is gathered in bunches. This creates a draping look that could extend for large sections of the clothing, and it practically screams Steampunk.
Add a Little Puffiness
Just as Steampunk dresses can embody the high/low hem, Steampunk clothes can also utilize varied dimensions. This is created by having different heights of layers across the clothing, and although this concept might sound complicated, it isn’t. Rather, it’s just the process of having areas with more puff than others, like sleeves that are puffy at the shoulders or wide at the elbows. These elements create depth in your clothing that is relatable to the Steampunk style.
One other prospect for bringing in this dimension detail is to have ruffles somewhere on your clothing. These ruffles can surface like a dress shirt from the Victorian era, or they can arise in other areas as well—like the hems of widened sleeves. They could also be a part of the neckline. Basically, there are plenty of ways to bring this dimensional aspect to your Steampunk clothing, if you choose to embrace it.
Choose the Right Fabric
This is a detail that could often be overlooked when deciding on clothing, but the truth is that fabric choice can have a lot of sway on your clothing. This extends from making the clothes—some fabrics are easier to work with than others—to how that fabric matches your purpose. A satin top wouldn’t be best for a mountain hike, which is solid evidence that fabric needs to be considered.
For Steampunk, lace can be a huge factor in building the right look since it seems like fanciful Victorian elegance. Just a little lace around the neck or an all-over lace layering on a skirt can do wonders for constructing that Steampunk feel. Other fabrics to consider include silk and satin for similar purposes, but if constructed correctly, you can go with more standard fabric choices as well to build the Steampunk look—like polyester, rayon, and even cotton.
You might want to consider the colors of your fabric as well since they can elevate the Steampunk look. While there are no set hues or tints for the style, there are some that are more predominant—like black and white—and there is one general guideline that could keep you clinging to the Steampunk line as you venture into various colors. That guideline is to choose deep colors. It’s okay to use purple, for instance, but a soft lilac won’t bring the theatrical flair and drama that Steampunk can call for. Instead, choose a purple that’s dark and vivid. This concept can guide you through the rest of your color choices as well so that you’re choosing dark red, midnight blue, and jade green rather than reddish-pink, sky blue, and lime. In representing such a bold concept, choose a bold color!
Have the Right Accessories on the Clothes
One of the most notable traits of Steampunk culture is technology that feels grounded in the Victorian era—like gears and clocks. While this might seem like something that can’t have a place in your Steampunk wardrobe, there’s the very real possibility of bringing these elements to your attire if you choose the right accessories on your clothes. Think of the most Steampunk concepts, and find representations of those concepts on clothes. Believe it or not, this can prove a fairly easy thing to accomplish since Steampunk clothing options are so vast.
You can do some browsing online and find clothes that come with gears, chains, and watches scattered across the fabric in ways that hold to the Steampunk image. These elements, since they’re so connected to the Steampunk idea, can ground your clothing in the fashion more than other elements could, and there are other possibilities as well in regard to on-clothing décor to give you this Steampunk detail. Just think about what would look old-timey and dated, and search for clothes that utilize these concepts. This can be done through a pendant placed at the neckline of a dress or antique-looking buttons highlighting a dress’s hemline. Something that looks dated, but classy, can work to build your Steampunk look, so definitely keep an eye out for clothes with those elements.
Have the Right Accessories with the Clothes
Just like the right accessories on the clothes can boost the Steampunk feel, the right accessories with the clothes can help to construct it as well. The most obvious choice in regard to these add-on details could be choosing the right pair of boots. These should have high heels, and although their reach can be as low as the shin or as high as the knee, there should also be some kind of dated accessories on them, like buttons or metal gadgets. It’s important to note, though, that the simple presence of lace can pull this look together since the idea of lacing up the front of your boots from foot to knee is a very dated concept. If you can’t find a pair of books within your budget that have gears, settle for that lace-up detail.
The right kinds of jewelry are also great accessories for the Steampunk look, like wristbands with lace and gears as well as necklaces with antique keys. Beyond these general details, you might find that the right hat could be your best choice for building your Steampunk fashion, one that has that top hat appearance and comes with Steampunk details like lace and gadgets.
The right kind of gloves can also help in bringing the culture to your wardrobe. To choose the perfect pair of gloves for the purpose, find a fingerless pair with other elements of Steampunk life—like the lace fabric or the buttons and gadgets concepts. Keep in mind while you choose your Steampunk gloves that there’s no mandated length of these accessories. They can extend just to the wrist, or they can continue beyond your elbow. The important details are in the Steampunk traits—the fingerless aspect, the fabric, the gadgets…—so don’t get too hung up on the length of the glove!
Remember as well that clocks are a Steampunk concept, so finding an antique pocket watch—or one that just looks antique—can help in solidifying your Steampunk look. Having one hanging from a vest pocket or around your waist is a Steampunk kind of thing to do.
If you’re feeling particularly quirky, you might think of adding a pair of Steampunk goggles—thick rims that are surrounded by material, with a band that wraps around your head. These goggles can come with additional lenses attached to the front for that Victorian technology vibe, and as always, look for those other Steampunk elements to show up on your goggles to make them the perfect selection for your Steampunk fashion venture.
If You Follow These Guidelines…
You could have a Steampunk-inspired wardrobe that’s eye-catching, breathtaking, and accurate—one that’s fun to wear and expresses your love of the culture. So what are you waiting for? Start shopping for the right Steampunk clothes for you!