Getting Started With Steampunk: Job, Environment, Character
*This segment is based around the idea that you are creating a Steamsona (a steampunk persona of/ or for yourself) or creating costumes for steampunk characters. Even if you just want to wear steampunk as your everyday self, I hope this helps you figure out your own personal brand of steampunk. If that is your goal I encourage you to just be comfortable with yourself and what you chose to wear.
Welcome to the final segment of “Getting Started With Steampunk”, we’ve been through how to assemble your ensemble on a budget, different steampunk looks for men and women, steampunk looks based around job, and the influence the environment will have on your ensemble, now it’s time to bring all of the information together and address Character. Ultimately, the goal in any sort of character design is to create a believable, relatable character. Because this whole series has been based around steampunk fashion, this segment will be centered around expressing your character’s personality, quirks, and everything that makes them who they are through their wardrobe.
Income is one of the most important things to consider when you’re dressing for a character. If the character is a poor-house orphan who works in a factory for long grueling hours then your character would never be able to afford to wear an elaborate pristine bustled skirt, all leather boots, and filigree jewelry, no matter how steampunk they seem. If you character is somewhat of a kleptomaniac, a mis-match of high end and low-end pieces (depending on their usual income) could really set that character into the reality of their condition and status.
While personality does effect your wardrobe it will never be the only factor. So in order to really get a feel for what your character would wear, make sure you spend plenty of time fleshing them out whether it’s on paper or in your own head. Take for example, the crew of the Sappho. Our cook, Sophie Everwood, upholds the etiquette that was taught to her. She feels scandalous revealing an ankle or heaven forbid a shin and wears the classic long skirts of the period. Though, the rest of the crew has managed to corrupt her some in her time on board. Kaeden Einbinder is a notorious rebel and Suffragette. She is practical and, in her beginnings on the Sappho, rather vain. She manages to pull together some stunning looks even with the budget of the crew, salvaging fabrics and outfits second hand. Our dear Henrietta is quiet and calculating, with a vengeful streak, displayed by the medals of honor she still proudly pins on her blouses despite her dishonorable discharge from the U.S. Airforces.
Is your character a rebel, or do they prefer to blend in? Do they love to be up to date with all the latest trends or do they prefer to keep to their comfort zone? Are they an American, a Brit, or otherwise? Do they embody the spirit of noblesse oblige, or are they more laissez faire in their fashion sense?
Wishing you luck in all of your steampunk endeavors,
Elisabet McDowell and the crew of The Good Ship Sappho