Sometimes you just want to dress up as your favourite character from a show, movie or book. But that can seem daunting if you’re worried about putting together a screen accurate costume especially if you don’t want to go with a bagged costume. Even the most basic items can be hard to find. You’d think it would be simple to find a plain white t-shirt… until you actually need to buy one then they just don’t exist. Don’t worry, we have some suggestions that might make the process easier.
Accuracy is Overrated and Limiting
Characters in movies look amazing and they should. There is a whole team of people who decide how a character should look and then go out shopping for the perfect pieces at multiple stores or make the outfit themselves. You are one person with a life, a job, and people who rely on you. You probably do not have time to check 15 different stores for the perfect sweater and you shouldn’t have to. Instead, we suggest focusing on the colours and shapes of the outfit. Take Disney’s Snow White for example. Instead of finding the perfect gown keep your eyes open for the right shade of blue in a sweater, or even a corset. Replace her white stand up collar with a white collar necklace. You could do a red cloak or you could do a red cardigan. Yellow pants, shorts or a skirt would all work to sell the outfit as snow white. A black bob wig is pretty easy to find but if you don’t want to wear a wig then a red hair bow or headband would still give off that Snow White feel.
Mashup are Fun
Sometimes combining 2 or 3 ideas give you more room to create an awesome costume. Last year, my husband was Post-Apocalyptic Malone. He drew on some Post Malone tattoos on his face with eyeliner, threw some goggles on his head and wore a beat up military looking jacket. Alternatively, I always see steampunk versions of characters at every convention we go to. Steampunk Ariel is one of my favourites. You need a red wig, goggles, a corset (purple is good because that’s the colour of her seashells but if you can’t find purple try a purple blouse under the corset), and leggings that look fin-like. You can also add a pocket belt, and jewelry if you want to because with steampunk more is more.
Don’t Forget about Books
Books are great for inspiration because the only limit is your imagination. There’s a good chance the author has explained what a character looks like or dresses like at least once in the book. What does hair like midnight and silvery eyes mean to you? How about a black flowy dress? It could be just about anything. The point is that it’s up to you to decide. Some people might recognize who you are but most probably won’t and that’s okay. You can still put together a really fun and interesting costume that makes you feel connected to your favorite character. Whatever you decide to do, we fully give you permission to forget about making it accurate and instead make it your own. Halloween is supposed to be fun after all! Want more costume suggestions? Be sure to follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
Countdown to Halloween. You have three more weeks to perfect your costume ensemble. This week we’re focusing on our most popular costume request: Steampunk. Grab your pocket watch and start up your airship, it’s time to get your steampunk on.
What is Steampunk?
Steampunk is a specific sub genre of science fiction. Imagine the future in the past, that’s basically steampunk. It draws heavy inspiration from the Victorian era and the industrial revolution but in a more fantastical universe. Picture pirates on air ships, tinkers making clockwork men, and lots of steam. Stempunk fashion draws on those same inspirations so corsets, goggles, waistcoats and pocket watches.
How do I put together a Steampunk Costume?
Steampunk can be a lot of different things. We suggest starting with a character. Are you going to be a high society lady/ gentleman or a clockmaker or an adventurer? As all those characters would wear different things, it will give you a good starting point. If your stuck creatively, try making a steampunk version of your favorite character from a book or movie. For example, steampunk Tinkerbell, steampunk Batman or steampunk Santa Claus. The only limit is your imagination. Pinterest and Instagram are also great for inspiration.
What makes it Steampunk?
There’s lots of ways to steampunkify your costume. Top hats, goggles, corsets and waistcoats are a good start. A lot of people think of browns, coppers and bronzes as the main steampunk colours, however, steampunk can be colour you want as long as you’re picking Victorianish pieces. If you want to mix in pieces from different time periods, just make your steampunk character a time traveler.
Steampunk gives you lots of room for creativity with your costume. So have fun putting together your steampunk look! If you want more steampunk outfit ideas or costume suggestions, be sure to follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
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.
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!