As we’ve mentioned in previous blogs, one of our most frequently asked questions is “What is Steampunk?”. Sometimes the best way to explain it is through movies. If you want to familiarize yourself with the Steampunk genre or you’re looking for some visual inspiration for your steampunk costume then these are some movies I would check out. A caveat, these aren’t great movies but they do have some really excellent costumes and sets.
Wild Wild West
I think the 1999 Will Smith and Kevin Kline film is one of the most frequently referenced when people are trying to explain the steampunk aesthetic to muggles. Waistcoats, corsets, gadgets, giant robotic spiders and googles are just some of the steampunk elements that this movie highlights. Wild Wild West gives us cowboy steampunk. What’s not to love about that? A warning though, it has a terrible script so maybe watch it on mute. If you want to make a Wild Wild West inspired costume I would start with a double breasted waistcoat and build your outfit from that.
Sucker Punch is probably the next most referenced film when people are looking for steampunk examples. It offers a more militaristic version of steampunk. Most of the colours are muted compared to Wild Wild West. This movie is highly stylized and visually stunning. But the story is weird and the ending is unsatisfying. The costumes and character designed are super cool though and it’s worth watching in the background if you’re trying to come of with a steampunk character. For a Sucker Punch inspired costume, I would start with a holster harness.
So I had to include at least one movie set in Victorian England and while Sherlock Holmes and The Prestige are great choices I choose Sweeney Todd. Tim Burton’s twisted dark fairy tale style gives Sweeney Todd a little bit more personality. Everything Mrs. Lovett wears is amazing. It might not be strictly steampunk but it’s close enough. I especially love her swim wear (pictured above). Unlikely the other movies on my list, Sweeney Todd is actually an enjoyable film especially if you like murder musicals and Alan Rickman. For a Mrs. Lovett inspired outfit, I would start with a rail pull skirt.
Did I miss anything? What steampunk movies would you include on your list? What do you watch to get inspired? Let us on know on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. We’re always looking for good references to steer people towards!
In a previous blog I mentioned that I love steampunk costumes because you can do it at any price point. I thought that I’d expand on that a little bit and give you some most excellent examples. Grab your goggles and make sure to wind your pocket watch because it’s time to get steampunked.
Cheap and Easy Steampunk
If you want an absolute bare bones steampunk costume, you can grab a white button up shirt, some plain brown pants and a pair of goggles. To step it up a little bit you add some suspenders and paint up a toy gun from the dollar store in bronze, browns, and copper colours. If you have a bowtie or vest lying around that house those would both add to the steampunkness of the costume. You could also swap out the pants for a skirt just keep in mind that the steampunk aesthetic draws heavily from the Victorian era so longer or high low skirts would probably work better than a modern looking skirt. Assuming that you have some of the pieces for this costume already, you could probably put together the look for less than $60.
Mid range Steampunk
If you want to step your steampunk up and you have a bit of a bigger budget, you can use the cheap and easy steampunk costume as a base but swap out some items and add some more accessories. You could add a waistcoat, top hat, and pocket watch to your base if you want an aristocrat steampunk costume. Add an underbust holster vest and pocket belt if you want a more adventurous steampunk costume. Corsets or waist cinchers are also a welcome addition to a steampunk costume. You can also consider adding some jewelry like a choker or a necklace.
Do you want to go all out and you have an unlimited budget? Then the sky’s the limit. Start with some Victorian boots, rail pull skirt, pocket belt, corset, waistcoat, goggles and a pocket watch. If you have the money to spend and a good imagination then you can put together an amazing steampunk costume. Maybe start by crafting your steampunk character? Are you a handsome watch maker? Or are you a sassy resistance fighting former fancy lady? Let your accessories and choice of costume reflect your most excellent character.
No matter what your budget, you can put together a really cool steampunk costume. Whether you’re putting something together from your closet or you have an unlimited budget, steampunk is a great choice for you Halloween costume this year.
Halloween Costume Ideas for People Who Don’t Dress Up
Halloween is my favorite time of year. I love pumpkins, candy and most of all dressing up! There’s nothing better than putting together a costume and wearing crazy makeup and wigs. But I know that not everyone feels this way. Halloween can be a stressful time of year for people who aren’t into costume. Don’t worry. I’m here to help if you have a costume party to go and you hate dressing up.
Keep it Simple
Listen, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to come up with a costume. In fact, you probably have something in your wardrobe that you can at least use as a base for your costume. Do you have a jeans and a plaid shirt? Then you have the base of a lumberjack or hipster costume. Add some suspenders and a toy axe, voila you’re a lumberjack. Swap the axe for glasses without lenses and you’re a hipster. Got a black dress? You’ve got the base for a witch costume. Add a black witch hat and maybe some striped socks, voila witch.
Be a Time Traveler
Time Traveler is my favorite easy costume. Can you borrow items from your parents or grandparents? Great! You’ve got the base for your time traveler costume. The best part about being a time traveler is that you don’t really need a cohesive costume. You can wear your everyday jeans with an 80s shirt and some 70s glasses and it works because you’re a time traveler. In fact, the more disjointed your items are the better it works! If you really want to sell if you can add a bunch of watches. If you want to be a little more creative take a steampunk angle by adding goggles and a pocket belt.
Okay, so you have nothing in your wardrobe and you hate the idea of being a time traveler. Don’t worry, I have a solution for you. Just get a cloak. I’m serious. A cloak is the easiest way to look like you’re in costume without having to dress up. You’ll be able to get into any party. You’ll be the requirement of dressing up for your office.
I hope this helps you warm up to the idea of dressing up for Halloween and takes the pressure of coming up with a costume. At the end of the day, it’s about having fun. Give costumes a try, you never know, you might like it.
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!
January is cold and miserable. I hate to sound like a downer but it totally is. Christmas is over. It’s rainy. It’s freezing. There’s still at least 5 months until we can comfortably drink cocktails on the patio again. How are you supposed to feel warm and cozy when Eggnog lattes are no longer available?
I have a solution for you that will warm your body and soul.
Picture this, you are walking through a snowy forest looking tragically gorgeous and mysterious. As you step into a clearing, all the chatter and noises of the forest cease and you surrounded by the most serene silence. The snow covers the thick evergreen trees like a veil on a bride. Far above you can see sunlight and blue sky breaking through the clouds. A white fawn steps into the clearing with you. It approaches without fear and nuzzles your hand then walks off back into the woods leaving you standing alone in your wine velvet cloak.
I can’t guarantee that will happen if you get a cloak but the odds of it happening is probably slightly better if you do have one. When you put on a cloak you get to wrap yourself in a warm hug that will keep the January chill off of you. You also get to wrap yourself in a fantasy. You could be an elven warrior, a regal diplomat, or even a superhero. The only limitation is your imagination.