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You’ve Been Steampunked!

2018 You’ve been Steampunked!

The Essentials To (Mad) Maxing Out Your Wardrobe

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Roll over, 2015 and yield to the mighty tunes of fashion’s hottest trend in town – steampunk.

A subculture that embodies a mix of science-fiction and fantasy with a 19th century industrial kicker, steampunk is sometimes fashion’s answer to what the world would look like after an apocalyptic nightmare and, at other times, a style that encapsulates an alternative universe where the Victorian era was never left behind and everything works on steam.

All in all, regardless of what your preference, steampunk is a look worth embracing and, with a little help, your nod to post-Armageddon chic can be a fashionista’s dream.

Here are three loose and fast rules that are guaranteed to get you up to steampunk speed.

1) Don’t Be So Precious

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Many a puritan will claim that they are “highly offended” by writers suggesting that there are any rules to steampunk but I have something to say about that:

Firstly, we’re all a little too “offended” nowadays. The backlash spewed onto anyone that dare challenge mainstream perception is synonymous to the censorship bestowed on people by authoritarian ruler. It can stifle the genesis of dangerous thoughts and smuggle the challenging of the status quo.


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Of course there are rules to steampunk or at least guidelines! You can’t stick an aluminum plate on your head and call it steam punk. The same way you can’t spell fashion without a little of the “fas(c)h.”

2) Do Your Research

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Steampunk is not just a trend but an entire zeitgeist that incorporates music, fiction and film from which you can draw inspiration from.

Of the list of steampunk novelists, the most notable is Jules Verne, of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and Around the World in Eighty Days fame. You also have a procession of other authors attempting to create an alternate universe in their prose such as G.K Chesterton and Charles Dickens who, much like Verne, have had their masterpieces adapted to the silver screen.

But the buck doesn’t just stop at Victorian industrialism.

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The Mad Max franchise removes steam and replaces it with diesel to create an action-packed post-apocalyptic dystopia.

The Wild Wild West sets the scene in a parallel, western-derived universe. Then you have Dr Who which picks and choses from a few Steampunk influences.

All in all a delicious conglomerate to slip in to.

Then there’s the music…

3) Streamline Your Steampunk

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Once a newbie enters the glorious realm of steampunk, they’ll discover the rich abundance of factions that can be appropriated to their look.

There’s Diesel Punk for the Mad Max die hards that tends to have an apocalyptic tribal air about it.

Then you’ve got your Street Urchin whose ripped and torn petticoats are accentuated by baby doll tights, understated cross-dressing and a bucket load of bangles.

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The Tinker, probably the most renowned and caricatured of the bunch, loves a dose of protective eyewear, vests, top hats and billowy blouses.

And The Aesthete tends to amp up their Victorian-era inspired looks with industrial cogs and metal.

However, when creating your look, one should appropriate the “less is more” rule.

Mixing and matching these genres will have you looking like you fell down the basement stairs and onto your father’s work bench.

Opt for one style and wear it well. There are 364 days remaining for you to play and parade with different shades of steam.

4) When In Doubt – Always Have The Basics

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Image credit: From left to right: Corset from, belt from and boots from

Every steampunker will always have a few staples to fall back on.

The buttery texture of leather can feature in pants, jackets, riding boots and belts. Add a metal chain, a few cogs or keys and you’re halfway there.

For those who fancy a bit of Victorian flair, pirate shirts, a vest fashioned from brocade and tapered riding pants will see you through. Women should seriously consider corseting their waist and opting for billowing skirts. Always add an element of the “mechanical”, otherwise you could be mistaken for a confused goth that woke up and didn’t realize it wasn’t 1992 anymore.

Diesel punkers should think of combining natural elements of fur and leather. For the more daring punkettes, feel free to expose a lot of flesh, either in way of a micro skirt or crop top in earthy brown or striking black shades.

Finally, those that don’t really want to go full steam ahead with the look, perhaps look at accessories such a cog or skull ring, studded belts, a cropped top with a few metal details or studs or a leather jacket that incorporates plenty of zippers and chains but don’t go over board!

You aren’t playing homage to Sid Vicious here…

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