Lynne’s Rules for Steampunk Fashion

World Domination is our game

Doctor Steel, Cogpunk Steamscribe, Professor Von Explaino and the Steampunk Buzz Lightyear.

Before we get to the ‘rules’, a DISCLAIMER: Steampunk cosplay is not to be taken seriously, and is just a bit of fun. These guidelines are to assist newbies to Steampunk cosplay, or to give old hands a chuckle, and – as such – are not cast in steel.

Rule One: Steampunk is not the same thing as historical recreation. If you want, you can get as accurate as you like with the Victorian aspects of your outfit … but it isn’t Steampunk until you add the gadgets, ray-guns and goggles.

Rule Two: No one item is Steampunk by itself. A lovely pair of boots aren’t Steampunk until they are matched up with the rest of the outfit; the trousers, the vest with the watch-chain, the hat and the goggles, the ray-gun and the quizzing glass, none of these items can create the Steampunk Aesthetic in isolation.

Portrait of Cogpunk Steamscribe by James Niland.

Portrait of Cogpunk Steamscribe by James Niland.

Steampunk Rogue And Phoenix X-Men CosplayLady Centaur Dress

Afternoon Dress by the House of Worth, circa 1872

Afternoon Dress by the House of Worth, circa 1872

Imperial Russian Court Dress by Frederich Charles Worth,circa  1888

Imperial Russian Court Dress by Frederich Charles Worth,circa

Rule Three: The palette of Steampunk clothes isn’t limited to brown and black and white. The Victorian and Edwardian clothing was colourful, and it is only the sombre tones of the tintypes and black-and-white photography that gives the impression that everyone wore black and grey, or brown and sepia.

Rule Four: Be a Secondhand Rose, particularly if you are clever with a needle and can make-over clothing to adhere to the Steampunk Aesthetic. Two of my girlfriends, Nadine and Catrin, have the creativity to see the potential in an item of secondhand clothing as Steampunk couture.

Nadine and Catrin

Nadine and Catrin

Catrin, Helen and Nadine

Catrin, Helen and Nadine

Rule Five: The Victorian and Edwardian eras saw an enormous range of styles and fashions worldwide, so there is a style suited to simply everyone. You can be ultra-feminine in a bustle and corset, or dressed for adventure in jodhpurs and a pith helmet. You can Steampunk just about anything with imagination and creativity.

And that is it! That is really all the rules you need. You can put as much or as little effort as you want into creating your Steampunk cosplay. Have fun!



Filed under Alternative Subculture, Bling, Fashion, Steampunk

10 responses to “Lynne’s Rules for Steampunk Fashion

  1. So they’re more like guidelines than actual rules…;)

  2. Prof. von Explaino

    I’d like to add that the Steampunk era(s) aren’t confined to England, Western Europe, or the Western world either. Africa, Middle East, Asia, Pacifics, Americas: they all have their fashions and styles to contribute.

  3. Dr Steel looks a little to in to it.

  4. I have learned that if you create something to wear and it makes you feel good then you are mostly there. Its so wide open…but I like the classy edited gentleman look myself.

  5. That looks like great fun. Thanks for the rules!

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