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.
Okay, hands up, who has been planning their Halloween costume since November 1 of last year? I love Halloween. Is there anything better than spooky things, candy and dressing up? It’s the best time of year! But it can still be stressful. Maybe you have a budget to work with, maybe you have too many ideas, maybe your ideas are too extra to pull together in a month and a half. Don’t worry, I’m here for to help you plan your perfect costume.
Pick Something you can wear comfortably for a long time
Listen, I get that you want to have the best costume in the history of the world but the thing is if you can only wear it for 15 minutes at a time then the epicness just won’t translate. If you’re only planning on wearing it for an instagram photoshoot then by all means go to town in some 6 inch stilettos and a tight laced corset for your sexy Captain America costume. I support you and I will double tap and comment with emojis. If you’re going out dancing or trick or treating or to a party may I suggest swapping heels for combat boots and loosening your corset a little bit. It’ll still be obvious that you are sexy Captain America but you’ll be able to breath and walk around comfortably. Plus, I’ve also found that it’s easier to be confident in what I’m wearing when I don’t feel like I’m dying.
Pick items you can wear again
Halloween can get pricey. Let’s say you wanted to dress up like a steampunk adventurer. You could go to a pop up Halloween shop and spend $60-$100 on a bagged costume that will likely fall apart after a couple of times wearing it or you could invest in a couple of pieces that you could mix into your existing wardrobe that you could reuse in future outfits. If you wear steampunk bondage pants with an under blouse, waist cincher, vest and goggles it will probably scream steampunk. If you took the same pants and wore them with a t-shirt they would just look like cool pants. Excluding the goggles, all the pieces in that ‘costume’ would work with a bunch of different outfit. And even the goggles could be used for future events or festivals. It might be more money upfront but it’s more economical in the long run.
Accessories can make or break your costume. If you don’t have the cash to get a full outfit you can usually achieve the look with good accessories. You could totally put together the steampunk adventurer look with stuff from your closet. Start with brown or black pants, add a white button up shirt and a vest if you have one. That will be the base of your costume. Add a hat, some goggles, compass and a map and voila! Don’t have the cash for the accessories, get crafty with cardboard. A friend of mine made an Ash vs. the Evil Dead chainsaw arm out of cardboard, glue, and coloured sharpies. At the end of the day, you can be wearing the most gorgeous garment in the world but the accessories are going to be what gives your character a personality.
Get out your notebook and make a list of costumes you want to try this Halloween. Go through your closet and see what you have already. Make a sketch. Write a list of what you need and start gathering the pieces to make this the best Halloween ever!
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.
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.