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How To Make Your Own Steampunk Costume

How To Make Your Own Steampunk CostumeLearning how to make your own steampunk costume doesn’t have to be an overly expensive or complicated project. The first step is figuring out where to start. For consistency’s sake, it can be a good idea to create your own character with a specific occupation or personality in mind. This can often give you more ideas for accessories and helps to ensure your outfit flows together nicely.

Picking a Steampunk Archetype

Giving your character an occupation (or obsession, for those mad scientist types) is a great way to coordinate your clothing and accessories so everything really looks like it belongs together and suggests a certain theme. Of course, that’s not to say you can’t mix things up and be free with your outfit, your archetype is really just a guideline.

Some common steampunk personalities include aviators/airship pirates, gentlemen/ladies, scientists/inventors, or mechanic/tinkerers. These only scratch the surface of possible steampunk personas to be inspired by. Any individual or character related to the Victorian era, Industrial age, Wild West, or steam-powered science fiction genre can be an excellent muse for you steampunk costume.

Steampunk Costume Wardrobe Basics

Once you’ve settled on a type of look you can start putting the basic wardrobe items together. Dusters, chaps, prairie skirts, and blue jeans are a good start for a western type of steampunk look. If you’re going more in the European Victorian direction you’ll probably wear garments like frock coats, breeches, ankle length skirts with bustles and crinolines, or triple-breasted vests.

Because steampunk is a reimagining of the past there are no rules you’re required to follow. Hemlines and necklines can be given a more modern approach that would generally be considered very risqué for a proper Victorian lady. Women can even dress entirely in what would typically be “men’s clothing” for all they like without even a single gasp of disbelief from any fussy old matrons.

Steampunk Costume Details and Accessories

For many steampunk outfits, the accessories are where the magic happens. You can dress up in Victorian clothing all you like but where’s the steampunk in that? You shove a ray-gun into your holster and now you’re getting a little closer. Other steamy types of gadgets might include modified pocket watches, aviator hats, top hats, and jewelry. Adding rivets, gears, leather, and wires to any standard accessory can give some great steampunk flair. If you want to get a little more complicated with your steampunk costume, bionic arms never cease to impress.

Goggles are a wonderful (and common) accessory for any steampunk outfit, but they really do look best when they go with your theme. Would a steampunk dandy need goggles? Maybe not. But is he also a welder or a scientist? Then yes, goggles would probably suit him quite well. That’s not to say you should only wear them if they serve a specific purpose. If their function is to make you look awesome then wear the heck out of those bad boys! A spiffy alternative to goggles are modified monocles or eye patches with a mechanized lens.

You don’t have to stick to any kind of archetype to make an awesome steampunk costume though. As I said, there are no rules, so if your style involves piecing together a costume from all the random odds and ends that appeal to you then go for it! You’ll end up creating a unique steampunk costume that expresses exactly who you are. Steampunk rebels against authentic Victorian style so embrace that rebellion and choose the accessories you like best rather than those you think other people will approve of as “steampunk”.

Have You Made Your Own Steampunk Costume?

If you have  made your own steampunk costume, share the details (and a link if you have one) in the comments :)

Comments (7)

  • Bookworm

    Thank you so much! Will be going as a steampunk girl for Halloween, this gave me quite a few ideas.

  • george beswick

    Made an awesome inventor costume, with a long trench coat with some brass fittings attached , big hat,and a old world war 2 gasmask for toxic fumes when inventing which has been sprayed bronze and gold and had have brass fittings and tubings attached

  • Rhys M.

    Good article. Thanks for the info.

  • Tasha

    Great article! Gave me a few ideas for the Clockwork Doll I plan on being for a sic-fi convention :)
    (I’m going to be a Steampunk Inventor’s invention)

  • Maeve G.

    Thanks so much for this article! I wanted to add some steampunk flare to my prom dress and your comments about accessories really helped. My dress is already a more vintage color and style so the accents will totaly make the dress. With some wire and extra chain, and maybe a brooch or two I’m all set. Thanks again!

  • Emma

    I was doing a school project and need help what should I be ???? Advice and Helo needed

  • Anne

    I’m currently putting together a steampunk outfit for my first convention. My persona is a writer in search of adventure and “the perfect story”. She grew up in the Wild West, so I included a leather wide-brim hat. She wears cargo pants, a simple corset, button-up shirt, and boots. Very excited for the convention! Thanks for the helpful tips!


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