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Retro Steampunk Wear For The Modern Woman

Updated on January 6, 2017
Steampunk Gal at Texas Comicon
Steampunk Gal at Texas Comicon | Source

Popular Retro Gear for Today's Steampunk Woman

Steampunk wear for women is typically based on Victorian-era style clothing incorporating elements of the industrial.

Brass gears, fittings, leather, and rivets are all plentiful in modern Steampunk fashion.

Certain designers have described Steampunk in general as the blending of romance and technology. Anything anachronistic and fictional can be mixed and matched together.

For example, it's totally acceptable for Steampunk women to wear baby t-shirts with bustle skirts, goggles, and corsets along with pantaloons and riding boots.

Basic Women's Steampunk Wear

Steampunk Lady With Parasol
Steampunk Lady With Parasol | Source

How to Assemble a Female Steampunk Outfit

Steampunk colors can range from brown and neutral to deep and bold. Female Steampunk outfits have a tendency to sport multiple layers with minimal skin exposure. Although hints of cleavage are often present, high necklines are a must, as well as having stocking covered legs.

Women's Steampunk wear may include the following:


Even though these were technically not introduced during Victorian times, the look this narrow-waisted piece of clothing gives is often a trademark from the era.

Custom-made corsets can get expensive, but the off-the-rack versions tend to be cheaper and more readily available. Cotton, pinstripe, and velvet corsets almost all have a certain Steampunk feel.

In current fashion trends, corsets are often used as outerwear and in the context associated with Steampunk, you'll see them worn over blouses or shirts. Short boleros or shrugs can be worn together with corsets, acting as ways to provide additional coverage while showing less skin.

Bustle Skirts (usually with padded backsides).

Bustle skirts give you the bottom half of the characteristic female silhouette of the Victorian area. These types of skirts can be either straight in a "pencil" design, or round and full circle with many different varieties in between. One particular modern day version popular these days involves miniskirts with gathered lace back pieces attached.

Military Styles

Women's Steampunk fashion is very open to using elements known for being worn mainly by men. Vests and waistcoats are often seen worn over ruffled blouses. As an alternative to skirts, well-tailored trousers are also appropriate. Men's coats and tails can even be worn over bustles.

Boots, pocket watches, and top hats are also used as stylish accessories for both men and women alike. With regards to the military aspect, military coats and jackets are viewed as acceptable unisex Steampunk styles. Keep an eye out for epaulets, structured lines, and braids to add to a jacket you might be thinking about wearing.

Women's Steampunk Dresses

Banned Victorian Steampunk Dress
Banned Victorian Steampunk Dress

Made from polyester with brass toned PVC panels. (This dress is not actually banned!)


Women's Steampunk Accessories

Steampunk Hat at Steampunk Fest Roma - 2014
Steampunk Hat at Steampunk Fest Roma - 2014 | Source

Top Off Your Steampunk Look in Style

Ladies' hats are among the most familiar Steampunk ornament. Victorian-era hats were elaborate and included beads, feathers, and flowers along with leather and lace.

For your own personal Steampunk look, you can include various brass accessories with or on your hats. Top hats also fit in quite nicely with the style and may be adorned with buckles and feathers.


Knee-high or lace-up boots give a vintage fashion without looking dull. Almost anything with buckles, gears and buttons will work. Having stacked heels tend to be favored over stilettos for the Steampunk look, as well as flats and mid-height heels.


Your Steampunk wardrobe is easily enhanced by incorporating jewelry that is both creative and elaborate. Jewelry fitting in nicely using your Steampunk attire might incorporate brass fittings, buttons as earrings, clock faces, cogs and gears, keys, necklaces, or pins and broaches. If you can find a piece of vintage jewelry you are well on your way. Rings and necklaces should look heavy and ornate.

Additional accessories for any woman's Steampunk attire can include a belt, cane, eyeglasses, and parasols. Gloves also are also a popular accessory.

The handbags you may want to include can vary from plain rucksack-like to ones with elaborate clutches and reticules.

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© 2012 Hal Gall

Visitor Comments - Your Thoughts on Steampunk are Appreciated!

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    • Lorelei Cohen profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 4 years ago from Canada

      The more that I see the steampunk look the more that I enjoy it. Not so gloomy as goth but alive, antique, and unique. I love the look.

    • blujeanmomma profile image

      blujeanmomma 4 years ago from Rocky Mountains

      I had never heard of Steampunk until just a few years ago & find it quite fascinating. Very retro yet ultra modern.