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FAQ: Do you do custom?

Why we don’t do custom work

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.

steampunk frock coat

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.

Like us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to get the latest scoop on what we’re up to. You can also sign up for the Steampunk Tempest in order to get awesome, secret deals.


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Stuff’s on Sale!

So here’s the deal, Sanne found some truly awesome fabric and it inspired her to make a whole bunch of new stuff. We have all kinds of new military frock coats, vests and pocket belts in works and waiting to make their big debut.  There’s only one problem. We are running out of space to put things. We have been left with only one option: have a sale! Of course, we still have our Last Chance for Love Sale rack with $25 goodies but now more things are on sale too.

silver gown - frontGowns

Have you ever wanted to be a princess or queen? Well now is your chance. All of our gowns are now $249 -$350. We have awesome bridal gowns, grad gowns, and everyday gowns. Seriously, now is the time to get one.



Military Frock Coats

Is there a steampunk man in your life? Military Frock Coats make excellent Christmas presents. Would you like there to be a steampunk man in your life? Give a regular dude a military frock coats and presto chango, he is on his was to becoming a steampunk man. Select coats are now sale for $99.


Who doesn’t love a corset? They look fabulous, they feel sexy and your confidence goes through the roof when you wear one. Our beautiful handmade sweetheart corsets and zipper corsets are now on sale for $99. How awesome is that?


Celtic Scroll Jaquard Pocket Vest 001Vests

Nothing says gentleman like a vest. Lucky for you, we have select styles of handmade vests on sale for $99. Our vests may not make you act like a gentleman but at least you can look like one.



Renaissance Jackets

Our Renaissance Jackets are all one of a kind. They are made up fabric remnants so no two jackets are exactly alike. This year, you can give a loved one (or yourself) a unique gift that no one else will have. Renaissance Jackets are on sale for $75.



That’s just a small taste of what we have to offer. You’ll need to check out our sale section or come into the store to see what else we have to offer.

Has anything tickled your fancy? Let us know what you like in the comments below.

Like us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to get the latest scoop on what we’re up to. You can also sign up for the Steampunk Tempest in order to get awesome, secret deals.

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Don’t know what to be for Halloween? Try an Elf!

It’s already October 9th! That means there’s only 22 more sleeps until Halloween! Do you know what you want to be yet? Well you’d better make up your mind. It’ll be Halloween before you know it and you don’t want to be part of the last minute scramble for a costume.

One of my favourite series of movies of all time is the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. I saw each film several times in theaters and I’ve watched the extended version on DVD more times than I should probably admit to. But what’s not to love? There’s magic, fighting, romance, orcs, hobbits and of course elves! This weekend, I was watching Legolas toss his majestic head of hair again and it occurred to me that we have everything you would need to put together a pretty decent elf costume in the shop.

So that’s exactly what I did! Or more specifically I put together a unisex accessory pack that could be the start of a most excellent elf costume. It begins with a green panne cloak. You could really use any colour cloak you want but green translates to elf for most people. Next we have a pair of prosthetic elf ears and green contacts. The ears are totally necessary but the contacts are optional. I find that they add a touch of other worldliness to the costume but the idea would still come across without them. I also added a pair of black velvet glovets. Again the glovets are not necessary but I think they help to give an air of royalty and elegance to your elf costume. Finally I topped the outfit off with a green glass potion holder because I just really just love the potion holders.elf

Now you may have noticed that setup isn’t a complete outfit. If you wanted to you could just wear a pair of black pants and a black shirt or a black dress underneath and you would totally look like an elf. However if you wanted to step it up then I would suggest a pair of brown vegan leather bondage pants with Jamie’s white button-up poet shirt and some boots. Alternatively, you could go for more of an Arwen look with green satin mermaid gown and some Victorian inspired boots.

So what are you going to dress up as this Halloween? An elf? Let us know in the comments below.

Like us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to get the latest scoop on what we’re up to. You can also sign up for the Steampunk Tempest in order to get awesome, secret deals.

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Featured Product: Cloaks

If there are two things I know to be true, it’s that cloaks are awesome and not having a costume makes Halloween kinda shitty.

There’s nothing worse than going to a party where everyone has elaborate super cool costumes and you’re just in a tank top and jeans. When people ask you what you’re supposed to be you either have to admit you don’t have a costume or claim to be a serial killer (because they look like everyone else). On the flip side, there is no better feeling that being out in a crisp autumn evening wrapped up in a cloak with a boozy hot chocolate. If you haven’t figured it out already, cloaks are the solution to not having a costume.

Seriously, if you have no idea what to be just get a cloak. Costume done. Wear all black under your cloak and if people ask what you are you can reply with either witch or warlock. BAM, you’ve just unlocked the Halloween costume achievement. It doesn’t even really matter what colour cloak you wear. You’ll still give off mystical person vibes and for most situations that’s good enough.

You can totally set it up though, if you want to. Try a poet shirt, black pants and boots with a cloak and you’re now a ranger, prince, knight, Aragorn or Robin Hood. It’s that easy. Wear a corset or Queen Anne Corsetlet with a princess skirt or long circle square skirt and you’ve become a princess, Lady Stoneheart, high priestess or lady knight. Want to be a jedi or sith? Start with a cloak. Want to be someone from Assassin’s Creed? Cloak. Elf? Cloak. Vampire? Cloak. Oh and most obviously if you want to be Little Red Riding Hood then you should probably start with a red cloak.

Thus concludes the Halloween installment of why Devon thinks you need a cloak. Do you know what you’re dressing up for Halloween? Let us know in the comments below.

Like us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to get the latest scoop on what we’re up to. You can also sign up for the Steampunk Tempest in order to get awesome, secret deals.

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Halloween Costumes Online Now!

halloween costumes

I love Halloween so much. I mean what’s not to love: everything is spooky, people give you candy and you get to dress up! Costumes make me so happy.  Naturally, that makes October the best time of the year to work in the store. We get customers who make up insanely cool and unique costume ideas. Other customers come in with specific character costumes and you can’t help but admire their attention to detail. It’s my favourite time of year to work with people and help them realize their Halloween goals.

On the flip side, we get a lot of people who come in and have no idea what they want to be for Halloween. If you fall into this category, have no fear, we are here for you. If you’re a little bit nerdy (like me) you should check out our Guide to Cosplay. We make some cool suggestions for coming up with your own version of some of your favourite characters. If you’re into steampunk then you should check out our Halloween Steampunk Outfit Guide for some costume suggestions.

If you’re still feeling lost and alone in the woods, then I might just have a shining beacon of hope to lead you to Grandma’s house. This year we have decided to add a costume section to our online shop. If you’re expecting a typical pop up Halloween shop selection of bagged costumes then hold onto your hat because we have something way better. We have put together costume suggestions made of awesome Venus & Mars handmade clothing. You have the option of selecting all the items we show or just picking out a couple. That means all the outfits are customizable to your existing clothing. Best of all, all of the pieces can be integrated into your wardrobe for everyday wear. What’s not to love about that?Amazon Warrior

We will be featuring a different costume every Monday on our blog so if you haven’t already joined our mailing list now is the time to do that. We will also be featuring past Halloween outfit, helpful accessory suggestions, and lots of steampunk inspiration on our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

So do you know what you’re dressing up as now? Let us know in the comments below!