Drawn from the past, but with a view of the future – that’s the steampunk style. Characterized by the fashion of the Victorian age, steampunk clothing has become a popular idea for disguising for carnival, Halloween or theme parties. What exactly does steampunk mean? What do the costumes for women and men look like? Can you make a steampunk costume yourself and which accessories go well with this style? The answers to these and other questions can be found in our article!
What actually is steampunk?
Steampunk is a phenomenon that began in the 80s and 90s of the last century and is only referred to as a literary movement. This has evolved into an art genre, a cultural movement, and even an entire subculture, all of which are closely related to the Victorian era. Steampunk combines elements from science fiction, fantasy, history and horror. A futuristic technology is combined with elements from the Victorian era. In terms of fashion and clothing, this age, and therefore Victorian clothing style, is idealized.
The roots of steampunk can be found in the literary stories of famous writers Herbert George Wells and Jules Verne. The accessories, which are an important part of steampunk clothing, are precisely shaped by these novels. There the future of technology is described from the point of view of industrialism. That is why pocket watches, welding goggles and gears are an essential part of the costumes.
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Steampunk clothing for women
Since the steampunk fashion is influenced by the Victorian era, the costumes match this style. The costumes for women are particularly elegant and versatile and are immediately reminiscent of the 19th century. The women can opt for wide skirts and dresses, as well as lederhosen in combination with a matching coat. Lace, brocade fabric, velvet and ruffles should not be missing either. Since steampunk clothing is usually handmade, skilled ladies can also try to sew some of the most famous items of clothing themselves.
Skirts and dresses
Without a doubt, skirts and dresses are the most common steampunk clothing for women. They are always combined with petticoats and corsets, as well as with matching gloves and hair accessories. The gathered skirt is a classic in Victorian fashion, so it works well in this case too. Elegant and extravagant disguises are perfectly fine here too. The dress or skirt should combine perfectly with the rest of the look and speak for a harmonious overall picture.
The colors also play an important role in steampunk clothing. Above all, fabrics in brown and black are used, which can occasionally be replaced by dark tones such as deep purple, emerald green, midnight blue and ruby red. The blouses and petticoats are also often white or ivory in color.
The steampunk corsage
The overbust or underbust corsage is one of the items of clothing that is typical for all women in this style. In Victorian times, corsages were not worn as underwear, but over the rest of the clothing, i.e. as a top. The corsages are often made of leather, brocade fabric or lace and should be coordinated as a top with the entire outfit.
Vests and jackets
As an alternative to a corsage, women can also wear a vest. However, this often becomes excess if the steampunk costume is combined with a jacket or coat. Aviator or riding jackets are also worn as outer clothing, because women often dress up as air pirates, engineers and pilots. That is why leather jackets are worn in some costumes, but they do not cover the costume, but complement it.
For a woman, make-up is always an important part of the costume. The successful make-up should be in harmony with the steampunk clothing and accessories and complement them. Therefore, earth tones, as well as occasionally black, white and gold are suitable for the outfit. Bright colors are completely unsuitable for make-up and should be avoided. The make-up should generally be subtle and look particularly natural.
Steampunk clothing for men
The men’s outfits are in turn associated with Victorian fashion and show real elegance and style. Men can dress up as well-known representatives of this time, such as Sherlock Holmes or Phileas Fogg, as well as crazy scientists, air pirates or engineers. Steampunk clothing for men should always be well thought out and all clothing and accessories must be coordinated with each other so that a successful overall picture results.
Suits for men
The gentlemen from the Victorian era are often portrayed as elegant gentlemen, so suits with vests are the perfect steampunk clothing for men. This also includes shirts and tasteful ties that ensure a chic look. They are often complemented by top hats, gloves, goggles, and accessories such as pocket watches. The look is usually rounded off with a coat, jacket or frock coat as a top.
Coats and vests
A real look is achieved with a vest over the shirt. Tops are important when it comes to outfits for men and they should definitely speak for Victorian style. Whether a coat, frock coat or tailcoat, the colors and accessories play a major role. As with steampunk clothing for women, brown tones, beige, black and dark, rich colors such as burgundy red are also suitable for the costume.
The most important steampunk accessories for costume
Steampunk clothing is not complete without the right accessories. You can also distinguish accessories for women from those for men. The ladies usually wear various gloves with or without fingers, mostly made of leather for the pilots and air pirates, or of lace for the elegant Victorian ladies. Umbrellas with lace combine just as beautifully with an elegant steampunk dress.
On the other hand, the futuristic wind-up pocket watches with gears, as well as various pistols and futuristic weapons are considered must-haves for men. A walking stick in hand and a pipe are further suitable accessories for men who want to dress up as Victorian gentlemen.
The welding goggles are exactly associated with this style and are therefore an important part of the steampunk costume. It is worn by scientists and adventurers as well as pilots. The classic models have a futuristic look and are decorated with many gears and other elements. For the air pirate or pilot look, the glasses are combined with an aviator helmet or headscarf.
Hats for men
The costume for men just isn’t complete without a hat. Top hats are considered classics in this case and can be spiced up with various elements from this style. Leather straps, gears, goggles, and other traps are often attached to the hat. In general, the gentlemen can opt for any hats and caps, as long as they are from the Victorian era.
Jewelry for women
However, the headgear is important not only for the men, but also for the women. You can also wear hats that are decorated with futuristic elements such as feathers and tips. Alternatively, diverse hair accessories for women are perfect for the steampunk costume. Headgear with feathers, leather, bows and metal gears go very well with it. As additional jewelry, gear chains and brooches are always a good idea.
Whether dresses, skirts, lederhosen or suits, steampunk clothing is usually complemented by a matching pair of boots. The shoes are decorated just like the rest of the clothing to match the costume. In turn, gears, as well as metal ornaments, chains, screws and so on can be used.
Make steampunk clothes yourself
If you need cheap steampunk clothing that you want to wear to the next occasion, you can try to make the individual pieces of clothing yourself. However, if you are not good at sewing or have no free time for it, you can try to transform simple items of clothing into a suitable costume. To do this, you need a good idea and a certain amount of creativity. Stick to Victorian fashion, but still try to incorporate the technical elements into the overall look.
Tip: In vintage and second-hand shops you can find clothes that match your costume at a very affordable price.
The jewelry and accessories for the steampunk costume can be imitated much easier than the clothes. Basic items such as the hat, glasses or gloves are necessary for this, which you can then decorate yourself with the appropriate decoration. For the jewelry and headgear, you can certainly find nice things at the flea market.
Steampunk make-up: ideas for women
At carnival in particular, it’s not just about the disguise: A successful make-up can perfectly complete the look. Especially if you decide on a topic like “steampunk”, you should also style your hair appropriately with great care. We show you some ideas for steampunk make-up for women, as well as explain how you can make the right hairstyle yourself. At the end of the article you can also find steampunk makeup ideas for men. let yourself be inspired!
Steampunk make-up: ideas for ladies, sorceress
With a little skill and imagination, you will surely succeed in the first look. Accentuate your eyes with black kohl and mascara first, then wear glittery eyeshadow around the eyes to recreate the look of a steampunk sorceress. You should ideally choose a palette in gold-bronze, because these nuances look good on women with blue and dark eyes. In addition, the theme comes into its own thanks to the metallic colors.
At the end, don’t forget to emphasize the lips with a black lip liner and then put a golden shade in the center of the lips. Blend the two nuances very carefully and then apply lip gloss. In contrast to everyday makeup, you can accentuate both your lips and your eyes. At the carnival, your face can glitter and sparkle.
Make up Steampunk clock: ideas for the carnival for women
Another idea that has successfully established itself in steampunk is to put make-up on a clockwork of a pocket watch. Time plays an important role in the steampunk world, which is why small details in clothing always point to it. Anyone who likes to experiment can use skin glue to attach old coins or individual clockwork wheels. Skilled and experienced makeup enthusiasts can paint the clock hands around the eyes with black kohl.
And anyone who wants to put on steampunk make-up, but is looking for a simple idea, can find stencils for clockwork in stores. Simply place the stencil on your face and apply bronze eyeshadow with the makeup sponge. Then carefully remove the stencil and voilà: the make-up for the carnival is ready! Now all that remains is to emphasize the eyes and lips and the party can begin!
Steampunk make-up: female pilot with goggles
Goggles are a popular accessory to steampunk costumes. They are often used in the steampunk world: sometimes they are used as eye protection on a journey through time, sometimes they are part of the equipment of pilots, sometimes they shield your eyes from sparks and flying objects when building a machine. The next idea is inspired by the futuristic stories about the steampunk future. Transform yourself into a pilot. Make a stencil, place it on the eyes and spray the skin with gray body spray. Remove the stencil.
You can continue to apply any make-up to your face and also decorate it with clock wheels, rhinestones, etc. Put on cat eyes and apply red lipstick to complete the look. Of course, the goggles shouldn’t be missing, because they add the finishing touches to the disguise.
As for the colors, metallic nuances are very appropriate. The lips are either black, or dark blue or purple, the eyes – traditionally made up with eye shadow in shades of copper. You can also use a blush brush to smear black eyeshadow onto your face. Spread the paint so that the face looks dirty.
Steampunk make-up: Make-up ideas inspired by the Victorian era
Steampunk is heavily influenced by the Victorian era. Accordingly, the Victorian ideal of beauty also plays an important role. So if the ladies want to apply steampunk make-up, then you can subtly emphasize their eyes and accentuate the lips with red or pink lipstick. Such “subtle” make-up leaves room for creative accessories or hairstyles.
Steampunk hairstyles for women
The steampunk hairstyles for women offer the opportunity to give free rein to your own creativity. Because practically anything goes with steampunk. If you have decided on a futuristic costume then you can braid your hair in dreadlocks. In this case you should comb the hair against the direction of growth and then shape the individual dreadlocks with your hands. Artificial dreadlocks made of wool are also sold in stores; they can be combined with other braided hairstyles.
Of course, there are also simpler, everyday updos that are ideal for the costume of the fantasy fighter. The ponytail also turns out to be a suitable hairstyle for ladies with long hair. He makes the costume stand out better and draws attention to the jewelry and accessories.
For the steampunk inventor, who is always curious about everything new, there is the next braided hairstyle. Two pigtails a là Pippi Longstocking are interpreted in a modern way. The braids are loosely tied, individual strands come out, the ends of the hair are styled into waves. The hairstyle has one more decisive advantage: you can wear a hat or cap.
Classic Victorian updos are the next option for all women who would like to bring a romantic touch from bygone times into their hair. Voluminous, loosely pinned up, decorated with fabric flowers or vintage hair accessories, the hairstyle is a real eye-catcher. A corsage and a maxi skirt go with it.
Steampunk make-up men: Makeup idea for half face
Not only women can dress up for the steampunk carnival and apply make-up accordingly. Men can also have fun dressing up and draw attention to themselves with creative makeup. In the photo gallery we offer you some examples of how a steampunk man can put on make-up. The make-up ideas are super easy to imitate.
Steampunk make-up: ideas for men
Men put on make-up for the steampunk carnival
Steampunk robots applying make-up
Steampunk make-up men: inventor costume and makeup
Steampunk man applying makeup: hunter