Steampunk 101

By Erin Cowan, MHS Round Table reporter


Does Victorian fashion really grind your gears? Hehehe, steampunk anyone? Steel corsets, bronze and golden gears, those weird goggles that make you look like a bug, and way too many  hours spent laboring over props  made of out of cardboard but spray painted to  look super rad.  If any of that sounds appealing to you, then it’s time to study up on what kind of style you want to portray.


First of all, the Victorian era was from the years 1837-1901, so practically the turn of the century. The beauty standards focused on extremely thin waists, bustles giving the rump a boost (for definition, of course), and the long, exquisite dresses (ankles are scandalous, duh).  Now, when you incorporate steampunk fashion and design into these age old, hardcore corset masterpieces, the alterations on the original inspiration keep some of the core stylistic choices while adapting the outfits to be functional for the steampunk universe.


Alrighty, so steampunk in a nutshell (from Wikipedia) is a “subgenre of science fiction and sometimes fantasy that incorporates technology and aesthetic designs inspired by 19th century steam-powered machinery.” Lots of authors and geeks have used that general statement and created their own universes in the general category of steampunk. Because of this, all steampunk cosplays and designs are different depending on the person who made them. For females, steampunk cosplays usually continue with the cosest and skirt theme, though the skirt will usually be hiked up in front and/or the back.  The costumes may also be tailored to the type of character the person is trying to portray, sometimes even incorporating metal limbs, flamboyant top hats, industrial goggles, and gears galore.Taking everything in a nutshell, steampunk cosplays vary widely, even when they have the similar base pieces of the Victorian era.

These cosplayers exemplify their portrayal of a steampunk design. Both can be found on Instagram through their usernames over the picture. These designs are fairly similar, with the white blouses over a brown half corset with a skirt and goggles. This tends to be a general trend; however, you should go for whatever crazy idea you have and bring it to life 😀


Hopefully you enjoyed this little Steampunk 101  post. I’ll probably make a follow-up post about male steampunk fashion. Currently, I am working on my own Steampunk cosplay for a faerie festival in May. I’ll be most likely posting somehwat of a tutorial for steampunk faerie wings along with general costume progress and instructions.


Now go, grab your gears, clamber onto your mechanical, steam-powered dragon , and fly off to your local craft store to buy your supplies!