Getting Started with Steampunk: Steampunk Clothing Styles for Women
Sometimes it seems like there is only one option for female steampunks: the period-appropriate bustle dress, probably with a high collar, probably made from taffeta. Such ensembles certainly turn out elegant, and are an iconic steampunk look.
But not all women want to wear that.
I, for one, would like to be able to wear pants. The dress to the left is pretty and all, but it’s not quite fit for running. That is an integral part of my lifestyle. Also climbing on stuff.
But luckily for women wanting other options, there have been many creative women who have paved the way for different styles of being steampunk.
Perhaps the second most recognizable female image is the white shirt, corset, and pants. Easier to run in than our first option, but still dangerous (I have the scars to prove it). Often a vest is substituted for the corset, which works well when one needs the extra mobility. However, for women who can bear it, a corset can be comfortable and ego-boosting. Just be sure to drink lots of water if you decide on wearing a corset to an outside event or any event that involves lots of walking. Fainting, while genre-appropriate, is not fun or safe.
Some more enterprising steampunk ladies might try a more eclectic style. This costume by Urban Threads isn’t quite “vagabond”, but it does have that rumpled, devil-may-care attitude. Here she’s utilizing layers- not just the cropped jacket over the corset over the shirt, but also on her bottom portion. She’s wearing shorts (very important!) under a lifted skirt, and spats over her thigh-high socks.
Or, like our own Elisabet (and Kato of Steampunk Couture, right) you might prefer a gentleman-inspired look. Certainly they tend to allow for a greater range of motion, but they are also frequently warm (which may be a boon to you northern ladies, but is a detriment to us, in Florida.) Additionally it is a bit more difficult to procure “menswear” in the size and fit required by hourglass-shaped bodies. It is, of course, easier for some women than others to find menswear in their sizes, whether it be because some have the money to spend on tailoring, the talent and time to make bespoke garments, or even because their individual body shape is such that clothes made for men tend to fit well.
Military-inspired clothing can range from all-out, such as this ensemble worn by Amanda Scrivner, to more casual, military-inspired garments widely available in department stores.
I’ll keep my commentary on this brief, as Elisabet has a post coming up that will mention uniforms as well.
Military[-inspired] garments have the benefit of being easily steampunked. A modded Nerf Maverick would look much less out of place here.
Short skirts and bearing skin is still controversial in some steampunk circles, but it’s especially useful for those of us in sub-tropical climates.
Those of us who bear skin as part of an established steamsona are encouraged to develop an in-character rationale for this clothing choice. Remember, people at steampunk events might just be acting in-character when they comment on your miniskirt and bared midriff.
But if you don’t welcome such comments, screw them and wear what you want anyway.
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