Steampunk! The word is likely to raise a few eyebrows when mentioned. What does it mean? Steampunk is a new genre about Victorian Science Fiction, inspired by British Victorian Writer H.G. Wells and French Victorian Writer Jules Verne, that incorporates gears and gadgetry. Steampunk is about wearing Victorian replica clothing and altering your props such as a gun or parasol into wild, obscure gadgetry sure to amaze others at such places like Wondercon or even Comic Con International.
So how does one dress Steampunk for a Convention? Well, it varies from person to person. It can range from wearing just a bowler hat with goggles, a shirt, bow tie, and vest to wearing brass adorned helmets and sports gear with flashing lights or sound effects. Some well known Steampunk accessories added to a Victorian replica outfit would be goggles, gloves, gadgets, and spats or boots.
So does it cost a lot to dress Steampunk? Not really, if you know where to shop. It is recommended that if you want to be really original, that you shop thrift stores and swap meets. Also, look online for what people wore back in 1840 to 1910. Even though women wore dresses and carried parasols during the Victorian era, this does not mean that Steampunk women have to do the same. Women can be dressed like Steampunk Science Fiction heroines ready to take on the world too!
It certainly helps if a person reads books about the genre. There are many books out there such as the “Steampunk Bible” and “The Steampunk Gazette”. A person can see the variety of clothes, accessories, and unique brass and steel gadgets with gears or gauges in the numerous pictures of each publication. It is alright to try to recreate an outfit that you like, but yet still make it your own. There are so many coats, shirts, ties, and hats that can be altered to have that Victorian era science fiction look.
The main thing is to be unique and have fun when going dressed up to any Steampunk Convention. Make sure that you can move around freely in your costume. Sometimes people have the tendency to put a lot of heavy gadgets made of real metal. That can be a lot of weight to wear all day long in a loaded room of other Steampunkers! If you decide on making and/or wearing gadgets, use leather for durability and light weight metal that can be painted brass as attachments. Most gauges and gears are light weight. Before going to any all-weekend or all-day conventions make sure your outfit, along with accessories and gadgets are attached well and do not restrict your ability to walk, sit down and go to the bathroom.
Even more fun prior to Steampunk Conventions is to find others who are like-minded and extraordinary in their creativity for inspiration within the genre. There are many Facebook pages related to the topic, such as “Steampunk Revolution”, “Gaslight Gathering” (San Diego) and many others if you search the term specifically. Post pictures of yourself on these Facebook pages and gain some really cool comments and new friends too! As you get to know more people and attend more conventions, you will become more experienced and creative in your new outfits, accessories, and even gadgets.
Written by Michael Valiant
Facebook pages “Steampunk Revolution” and “Gaslight Gathering” (San Diego)
Main Photo by Steampunk Family the von Hedwig – Flickr License
Photo by Jun – Flickr License