Steampunk fashion style is a term used to refer to a clothing design that took form from steampunk science fiction elements and literature.
This subgenre combines retro aesthetics of the Victorian era with the technology-driven styles of the European Revolution in the 1800s.
Steampunk fashion looks to match a unique blend of clothing, hairstyles, and accessories, to the taste of the post-apocalyptic era.
Though steampunk fashion is focused on recreating retro styles, more recent looks of the design now include denim and body modifications, with added hints of Goth and Punk aesthetics.
History of the Steampunk Fashion Style
Steampunk fashion has been in existence long before the literary works in the steampunk SCI-FI subgenre came into view.
The popularity of steampunk fashion was purely inspired by literature and there’s no way the origin of steampunk fashion can be discussed without mentioning the SCI-FI novel – Morlock Night by K.W. Jeter in 1979.
This novel marshalled out the core of steampunk fashion that seemed to be fading at that time.
19th-century contemporary writers like Robert Louis Stevenson, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and G. K. Chesterton began the work of spreading the steampunk fashion idea even before K.W. Jeter’s novel.
However, their works had strains of inspiration from the industrial age novels by Charles Dickens.
Kevin Jeter is noted as the first steampunk novel writer and Morlock Night greatly influenced modern steampunk literature.
Steampunk writers that followed till 2010 incorporated action scenes, baroque expeditions, and Victorian styles in their writing.
At the time of its origin, steampunk clothes were majorly hand-made bustiers, corsets, bodices, and customized jackets with household sewing kits. But as the steampunk movement grew, steampunk clothing bought the hearts of many and soon entered the mass production and fast fashion markets.
From the writing of Morlock Night till today, the uniqueness of the clothing style makes the outfit a hot note in the fashion industry, especially in Cosplay. People now take the steampunk fashion styles for their routine wear.
Variants of the Steampunk Fashion Style
In 2006, the first steampunk convention – SalonCon, was held and it featured new forms and variants of the steampunk fashion ideas.
These included cyberpunk and dieselpunk fashion that grew from Gothic, alt and punk fashion movements in the 1990s alongside steampunk.
Similar steampunk fashion conventions have been held since 2006 where sci-fi cosplayers, historical recreationists, and enthusiasts evolve imaginative dressing, inspired by the steampunk context of fashion.
As these movements grew so also was the evolution of steampunk fashion. The only issues that this posed were that different genres were mistaken for another.
For instance, the gothic fashion style is often mistaken for the steampunk fashion style.
What is the Difference Between Punk, Goth, and Steampunk Fashion
All three genres include handmade leather clothing, bustiers, jackets, bodices, and hats; however, the looks of the punk and steampunk fashion are easy to differentiate.
Examples of Steampunk Fashion Outfits
The costumes worn by steampunk enthusiasts at the SalonCon reflected the aesthetics of that era just like other art forms in literature; clothes styled in retro-futurist aesthetics and Victorian romance.
The outfits were fashioned with Victorian clothes and accessorised with heavy guns, leather vests, and masks.
Though steampunk fashion now includes birdlike gadgets, pith helmets, and brass goggles; the elements of history that were preconceived in books and films still tag along with it.
Steampunk fashion critics believe that the style is not just fantasy literature but extends to include alternated history forms in Victorian spiritualism, fetishism, and modern paganism.
Steampunk Fashion Styles
In 2010, Prada, Versace, Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, and Christian Dior started introducing steampunk fashion outfits in their fashion lines. High designer brands like John Galliano and Jean Paul Gaultier are also notable for their steampunk fashion style.
Steampunk fashion runway collections like the Prada FW 2012, Versace SS 2013, and Dior FW 2010, has now become mainstream fashion trends in spring haute couture show.
Prada started their mass production of steampunk fashion clothes with gadgets, accoutrements, detailed make-up, and hairstyles that closely depicted the Victorian historical era.
Neo-Victorian-inspired Steampunk Fashion Style
Steampunk Fashion for Men
Steampunk fashion inspiration can be a lab coat and leather belts worn by a gentleman.
Steampunk Fashion Inspiration
A debonair aviator with his gadgets, goggles, and leather helmet still finds methods to express his steampunk fashion style.
Steampunk fashion outfits may date back to the street fashion, burlesque, and frills worn by countesses and harlots in the 19th century.
Girly expression with brass accessories is also one of the fashion trends from the historical era.
Fashion in 1887 for women was primarily flowing dresses
Regal jacket bodices with elliptical-shaped skirt hoops.
Garibaldi blouse is one of the steampunk fashion styles that dominated the early 1860s.
Conical-shaped skirts with flared hem
Victorian era silhouette steampunk fashion dress styles with a modern twist of bell skirts, bustled skirts, and trumpet skirts.
Steampunk fashion headgears like pith helmets, bandanas, and bowler hats are also Victorian-era-inspired.
Victorian-era steampunk corsets
Brocade corsets are steampunk fashion clothing that is less of an undergarment.
Steampunk fashion for women – steampunk fashion style was not originally made to include jewellery but was decorated with gaudy embroideries, sparkling beads, and bangles
Leather corsets with steel boning are also inspired by the Victorian era. Brass goggles are standard steampunk accessories and have become intricate in steampunk fashion
Steampunk Fashion-inspired Movies
The following Hollywood films include elements of steampunk ideas and steampunk photography themes
- Sherlock Holmes by Guy Ritchie
- Warehouse 13 by Guy Ritchie
- The Golden Compass
- Van Helsing
- Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)
- The Three Musketeers
- Crime Show Castle – a steampunk-themed film
- Matt Damon: The Brother’s Grimm (2005)
- Vanessa Hudgens and Jena Malone: Sucker Punch (2011)
- Mad Max
- Wild Wild West
Also, the following music videos have strings of Steampunk fashion
- Roundtable Rival by Lindsay Stirling
- Music videos by the alternative band Abney Park were performed in steampunk attire
Steampunk-style clothing is similar to cyberpunk-inspired clothing styles which have amazing features and elements from fiction books, movies, and fashion lines.
If you are still unfamiliar with the aesthetics of steampunk styles, then this is a chance to try out the interesting design elements of steampunk fashion.
For steampunk fashion style enthusiasts, which of these outfits is your favourite?