Steampunk Ensembles and Accoutrements

OK, so you can wrap your head around steampunk a bit and you want to dress the part. Excelsior!

First, let us reassure you on a couple points. You don’t have to drop crazy money on steampunk clothes and you don’t have conform to anyone elses’ rules. That said, we offer two guidelines:

  • Steampunk is 19th Century. Standard interpretation is English (Victorian) with European and American (frontier) variants, but the world is your oyster. English Raj, China, Hawaii, whatever!
  • Steampunk is whimsical. You can wear vintage 19th Century duds and still miss the mark. You’ll fit right in and rock the look, but there’s a fantasy element. Start at historically accurate, take left, and head off-road.

Then there are a handful of archetypes that are great starting points for inspiration:

  • Airship crew (and pirates)
  • Gun slingers
  • Explorers
  • Scientists
  • Automatons (and robots)
  • Aristocrats
  • Laborers and street urchins

…but quirky. Mix and match, wash and wear. Weaponry (steampunks love their ray guns) should be clearly fictional. Weird science is de rigueur. Women are suddenly cut free of the Victorian social conventions and welcomed into all walks of life – and showing a little ankle won’t get you barred from the club. While steampunk in its “purest” form focuses on “punks” – there’s aesthetic joy to be found across the social strata.

So hit the interwebs or read some Verne for inspiration and see what turns your screw. Then visit Goodwill or a thrift store in search of cheap basic stuff. We’ll have dozens of fabulous vendors at the event on Saturday at the Hootenanny, and you should check their sites for stuff you might want. If you’re looking to buy (or even just window shop) here are some other options:

Port Townsend:


East Side:

  • A Masquerade (With a looong list of gear. Great for costume ideas!)