Devon Dale is a twenty something Vancouverite. When she isn’t being a lady adventurer for hire she is at Venus & Mars selling you corsets, kilts and other steampunkery. She enjoys hula hooping, reading and yoga. When you see her in the store, mention the Doctor and she will squeal like a delighted child.
Fresh out of the studio, we have new waistcoats for all you steampunk and formal needs. Everyone’s wardrobe needs at least one waistcoat! A waistcoat will take your cosplay from recognizable to exceptional in the blink of an eye. Imagine, you can go from drab to dapper just by putting on a vest. Obviously, you can wear your waistcoat for more than just cosplay. They look great with a nice shirt and jeans if you are going for a casual look but when worn with black dress pants and a dress shirt they become formal enough to wear to a wedding. Our favorite outfit is matching one with a poet shirt and steampunk bondage pants.
I don’t know what’s going on in the city right now but I’ve had a tone of people coming in for steampunk costumes. I felt like it was the perfect opportunity to give a little bit of a refresher on steampunk essentials/ steampunk outfit ideas. And I decided to include some of my favourite steampunk pictures for reference.
You cannot go wrong with an underblouse and corset or waist cincher combo. It’s the perfect base for your outfit and immediately conjures up Victorian imagery. Alternatively, a waistcoat in place of a corset or cincher is also a good option if you’re not a fan of being laced in. Then all you need to do is add a princess skirt if you’re a fancy lady or a pair of velvet capris if you’re more of an adventurer. If you feel like you’re somewhere in between fancy and adventure then I suggest a long asymmetrical skirt.
My ideal men’s steampunk outfit is steampunk bondage pants, a poet shirt, a waistcoat and a steampunk frock coat. That can get a little bit expensive if you’re just starting out. I usually recommend guys start with a pair of brown or black dress pants and a white dress shirt then you can add one of waistcoats or a frock coat and immediately elevated the look.
Accessories are the best part and there is no limit on what you can add to your outfit. A pocket belt is probably a good start. You’re going to need somewhere to put all your time travel gadgets (not to mention your wallet and phone). Pocket watches are also pretty standard for steampunk. Suspenders will give any outfit a little something extra. Oh and goggles! How could I forget goggles! Steampunk and goggles are almost synominous.
What does your ideal steampunk outfit look like? Let us know in the comments below!
Way back in August Andrew and Patty came into the shop looking for outfits to wear to a steampunk themed photo shoot at the Langley Museum. It turned out that Andrew is a photographer and Patty is a model. After finding the perfect outfit for Patty (and later Andrew too), we started discussing doing a potential collaboration. We were reluctant at first. In the past, we have loaned out clothing to photographers and/ or film makers and had the items returned damaged or dirty. We’ve also worked directly with photographers and ended up never hearing from the photographer again or seeing a single picture from the photo shoot.
Andrew understood where we were coming from but he was also very persistent. In the end we agreed to put something to together on the condition that I could come along to make sure the clothing didn’t get damaged. As it turned out, Patty has an identical twin (Many) and their good friend Aman is an excellent make up artist. Andrew was also able to get the back bar at the Clough club for us to shoot in so it was difficult to decline. The only ting left to do was pick a date to do it.
Unfortunately, when we met Patty and Andrew we were in the middle of our busiest time of year. We decided to wait until after Halloween to pick a date. None of our schedules’ lined up until January. But it was totally worth the wait. The day of the shoot ended up going really well. Aman did some beautiful makeup. Many and Patty were troopers and went through each outfit with ease hardly taking a break all day. Andrew was super prepared and had come with a schedule, poses and lighting all ready to go. Then, after the shoot, Andrew spent a lot of time editing all the pictures and adding in our logo.
We’re so happy with how everything turned out and we can’t wait to use the images for up coming projects.
Ready to conquer an Empire? The Empress of Byzantium would certaintly aggree she’s ready to reign supreme in H&R London’s amazingly popular Byzantine Dress! The beautifully made Byzantine Dress will have you realizing your dreams of royalty. A strappy swing dress with a strikingly bold brocade print, the dress has delicate lace on the straps and a corset-tie waist to tighten or loosen for a perfect fit. The sweetheart neckline enhances the bustline and the built-in cotton lined petticoat really makes this dress extra special. The Dress hits at the knee, and zips up the side. Available in both Black and Red.
Black brocade tail coat with black lace and satin ruffle along neckline and cuffs. This gothic jacket is short at front with a longer split tails at the back. There is cord lacing though eyelets down the centre back. The front and sleeves are detailed with antique-silver buttons and studs on military style straps. The jaquard fabric is of high quality and the tailcoat is fully-lined. In view of the critical lack of decent coachmen nowadays, this is obviously a must-have for any lady who has to drive her own coach! A perfect topper to your dream steampunk ensemble.
Add a little romance to your wardrobe with a poet shirt. Note! These shirts are not meant to be fitted in any way. The loose following sleeves and drop shoulder will make your feel like you just walk off the cover of a Gothic Romance and into modern times. They look great with a pair of jeans if you’re just looking to spice up your everyday look but they look even better with a waistcoat or jacket. We like Poet Shirts the best when paired with vegan leather jeans and a steampunk frock coat.
One of our most frequently asked questions is: do you do custom and/or alterations? It’s a totally reasonable question. If everything with the Venus & Mars label is handmade in store then it only seems logical that we would be set up to do custom but the truth is we’re not. Back in the day we used to do custom but a steady increase in business and customers has made it impossible to continue. The following is why.
Custom is expensive
Custom work is expensive. In the time that it takes to make one custom jacket, we could probably make two dozen steampunk frock coats (more on that below). From an accounting standpoint, it’s difficult to justify charging the same amount for one custom jacket as it would be for one regular jacket that we could produce in a small production run. We don’t think it’s fair to charge $1,000 or more for just one jacket but we wouldn’t be able to survive if we charged the same amount for custom as we do for off the rack.
It is time consuming
Everything we make is made in small production runs. That means that Sanne uses a pattern (of her own design) to cut multiple items at the same time. She then bundles everything together for our sewer and we get shiny new awesome products once they are all put together. If it is a brand new design then Sanne will cut one and sew a sample for our sewer. Depending on what we are making, we generally have a turn around time of a week for multiple items in a size run. Custom work requires a lot more time.We have to set up a consultation, make a new pattern, construct the garment, provide a fitting, and make any necessary alterations. In the time that it takes to do a consultation alone, Sanne could have cut 6 black wool cloaks.
Bonus: Putting together a cosplay? Check out What is cosplay for suggestions on how to put something together off the rack.
We don’t want to
Sanne started Venus & Mars in 1993 because she wanted to make her own designs. People come to us with excellent suggestions and incredibly creative ideas that we love to hear about. Sometimes these ideas even inspire us to make new things (for example the ladies tails vest) but that’s on our own terms and in our own designs. What has made the store successful for a quarter century is Sanne’s unique designs and we would like to continue in that vein.
We totally want to make your vision a reality. If you bring in a picture of what your trying to recreate, we can offer suggestions and help you come up with at least a base for your outfit. We’ll try to recommend other places too that might have what you’re looking for. If you do end up getting custom work done then make sure to do your homework. Look up reviews from other customers and shop around for a price that fits your budget.
What has your experience been with getting custom clothing made? Let us know in the comments below.