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.
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.