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Steampunk Outfit Ideas

Updated on January 9, 2017
Steampunk Trio
Steampunk Trio | Source

What in the World is This Thing Called Steampunk?

It can become a difficult task to pinpoint was Steampunk actually entails, as it encompasses so many genres that it sometimes is not quite clear as to what Steampunk really is, and what it really isn't. There are a couple of undercurrents that run throughout the culture; mainly steam as the prevalent means of power, and a strong penchant towards all things Victorian in nature.

The term is attributed to J.W. Jeter in 1987, although the culture itself has been evident since the 1950' and 1960s. Described as Neo-Victorianism by some, others have said it is a blend of science fiction, romance and just plain disregard for the status quo. As for me, I just like the style and the idea of alternate timelines and "what-ifs".

Various Steampunk Looks
Various Steampunk Looks | Source

Steampunk Outfits Offer a Wide Range of Possibilities

The best Steampunk outfits are inspired by the general philosophy running through the Steampunk movement of a fictitious alternate timeline where advancements in mechanical engineering permitted Western civilization to create greater technologies through the use of steam technology.

This is done by retrofitting the typical equipment available at the time with sci-fi inspired enhancements.

Think Jules Verne and H. G. Wells, along with The Wild Wild West television show and movie.

Having its roots in classic sci-fi and to a large extent in classical history makes the creation of Steampunk outfits essentially limitless.

Read on as we offer up 3 of the most popular Steampunk outfit ideas for your consideration.

Steampunk Cosplay Costumes

Steampunk Outfits Range From Victorian to Casual and Comfortable

Whether you are new to Steampunk style, or an old pro when it comes to this fascinating and growing sub-culture, the choice of themes and the accompanying clothing and accessories currently available is expanding by leaps and bounds.

Having its roots in science fiction and influenced by Victorian era clothing, Steampunk fashion runs the gambit from sophisticated to rough and tumble, with stops everywhere in between. This makes Steampunk a culture of limitless possibilities for one to be both creative and individualistic at the same time. All it takes is a basic wardroom and some imagination to make a Steampunk fashion statement.

There's not much that can't be "Steampunked". "Going steamy" can be as casual as a printed t-shirt to an all out theme based period costume with boots, goggles, headwear and other mechanically themed accessories. Antique jewelry is another great idea to finish out your look. There is a lot of room for crossover themes, with Jules Verne, The Wild Wild West, and Star Wars all being appropriate themes to expand on.

Mad Scientist Steampunk Outfit

Let's suppose Charles Darwin or Ernest Shackleton had existed in a realm of mechanical wonder, having an oiled canvas overcoat safeguarding an extraordinary array of scientific devices.

Beaten and weathered boots tried through many years of fieldwork might be a nice addition to this image. Even more, some sort of sophisticated life-support system intended for exploration of inhospitable conditions.

Nuit Steampunk V - Mad Scientist

Steampunk Victorian Socialite Outfit

The iconic socialite wearing an elegant Victorian dress of crushed velvet with lace trim could be easily modified to represent the many subtleties of Steampunk fashion.

By simply adding a few accessories such as pocket watches or an unusual breathing apparatus you can create an elegant Steampunk outfit.

Pair up with your favorite Steampunk gent for a cool couples party theme!

Neo-Victorian Steampunk Photoshoot

A Steampunk Airship Pirate is Quite Popular

The airship pirate may perhaps be one of the most quintessential of Steampunk outfit ideas.

The very thought of some sort of captain-of-fortune standing on the bridge of an enormous airship decked out with lower leg boots, jodhpurs, a rumpled waist-coat, and brass goggles is an especially impressive one.

This is often a look that is equally suited for a man or woman, as many Steampunk outfits are.

Rubie's Costume Grand Heritage Collection Deluxe Caribbean Pirate Costume
Rubie's Costume Grand Heritage Collection Deluxe Caribbean Pirate Costume

Steampunk airship pirate gear is a great way to show off your love of sea and air navigation.

While searching for great Steampunk pirate gear, it is important to assemble a look that not only has the typical pirate and airship themes but incorporates extra aspects that also ooze Steampunk.


Steampunk Studio - Abney Park - Airship Pirate

A Couple Wearing Steampunk Outfits
A Couple Wearing Steampunk Outfits | Source

Anything Can Be 'Steampunked'

Virtually everything is a candidate to be 'Steampunked', from typical everyday wear to ornately designed outfits based on a core concept.

Going steamy is often as simple as using any clockwork print on a T-shirt, or you can dress to the nines using time-period clothes and accessories designed from genuine antique items.

What a lot of folks don't realize is that Steampunk involves much more than just brown leather boots, goggles, and brass cogs.

About all one really needs to augment their wardrobe is a couple of outfit ideas and a little bit of creativity.

A Few Final Thoughts on the Steampunk Movement

What happens when Goths find out black is not their only color option!

When I first discovered Steampunk a couple of years ago I had no idea how prevalent the genre was in both modern and post-modern culture.

Steampunk has found it's way into music, TV and movies, fashion, the gaming industry as well as interior design and fashion jewelry. Some of this has been by design, while a lot if it was there all along, but wasn't really considered part of the sub-culture at the time, finding itself as a part of the movement by default.

Let's Get Social!

Steampunk Outfit Poll

Which of the Featured Steampunk Outfits Do You Like Best?

See results

Steampunk Fashion Poll

What is the Most Important Feature of a Steampunk Outfit?

See results

© 2012 Hal Gall

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    • profile image

      MarcellaCarlton 3 years ago

      I enjoy all these looks. They are wonderfully inventive!

    • Jo-Jackson profile image

      Jo-Jackson 4 years ago

      The airship pirate was my favorite but I enjoyed all of them.

    • TolovajWordsmith profile image

      Tolovaj Publishing House 5 years ago from Ljubljana

      Real treasure for all steampunk lovers!

    • vineliner57 profile image

      Hal Gall 5 years ago from Bloomington, IN

      @tonybonura: I am very glad that you like it. Thanks for stopping by!

    • SilmarwenLinwelin profile image

      SilmarwenLinwelin 5 years ago

      The mad scientist costume is really awesome!

    • profile image

      MintySea 5 years ago

      I love the steampunk mad scientist costume as well as the Victorian scolite

    • vineliner57 profile image

      Hal Gall 5 years ago from Bloomington, IN

      @anonymous: Hi Megan. Glad you like the lens. I like all the artwork that is also springing up centered around Steampunk. There are some great looking posters and paintings being produced, and some of the jewelry is really cool... Have fun with the Steampunk pirate theme this year. I know where you can get some great pirate earrings. Only a buccaneer!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I am so glad that Steampunk has reached a tipping point, so that many more people know about it than a few years ago. The sheer volume and types of costumes that are considered Steampunk are incredible. I have finally got the courage up this year to dress in a Steampunk pirate variant. Thanks for your article.

    • vineliner57 profile image

      Hal Gall 5 years ago from Bloomington, IN

      @junecampbell: I really like Steampunk and all the options available. Thanks for the visit!

    • junecampbell profile image

      June Campbell 5 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      I am fascinated by steampunk. I often use steampunk as the style when doing various arts and crafts projects.

    • BestBuyGuy profile image

      BestBuyGuy 5 years ago from Beekmantown, NY

      Great idea for Halloween.

    • vineliner57 profile image

      Hal Gall 5 years ago from Bloomington, IN

      @halloweenprops: The more the merrier!

    • sudokunut profile image

      Mark Falco 5 years ago from Reno, Nevada

      I really like the steampunk style but I don't think I'd have the guts to walk around the streets wearing it.

    • profile image

      halloweenprops 5 years ago

      I wonder how many steampunkers I'll see this Halloween!

    • CrossCreations profile image

      Carolan Ross 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      I've noticed a rise in the popularity of 'steampunk' and yet really did not know what it was, til now. I like the looks of the Victorian lady but couldn't imagine ever wearing it myself.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      i like the Airship Pirate