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How to look like a Steampunk woman

If you love Steampunk, you are a person of specific tastes. This has been a niche genre with a steady stream of followers for decades now, and it appears that the trend will hardly change in the foreseeable future.

Photo by Noel Nichols from

If you love Steampunk, you are a person of specific tastes. This has been a niche genre with a steady stream of followers for decades now, and it appears that the trend will hardly change in the foreseeable future. Thankfully, individuals such as yourself get more and more opportunities to share their enthusiasm for Steampunk with other like minded people, and when any such opportunity comes, you’ll want to look the part.

Here’s how to look like a Steampunk woman.

Purists and enthusiasts

Steampunk outfitters can be divided into two groups of people – the purists and enthusiasts. Purists are all about recreating consistent Victorian outfits with a few eye-popping Steampunk embellishments, while purists adore the aesthetic approach and its outlandish, rebellious appeal.

For starters, it would be both fun and financially feasible to go with the second approach. It casts a wider net when it comes to items and accessories you can purchase.

For example, Steampunk clothes have a utilitarian side to them, so it shouldn’t be particularly difficult to seek out items of clothing all around you that have specific purposes.

Truth be told, most of such clothes do not align with the idea of a Steampunk outfit, but you can stumble upon a real gem. Believe it or not, safety metal instep shoes can be a rather impressive part of your Steampunk outfit.

Still, no matter how cool something looks, no matter how well it meshes with the rest of your clothes, you should make an effort to fulfill that basic tenet of Steampunk fashion – stick to the Victorian industrial era as much as possible.

Victorian appeal – Where to start?

The best place to start is the basic material and fabrics. As a Steampunk lady, you’ll want to steer away from modern blends unless they work well at imitating traditional textures which have been used during Victorian times.

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This includes wool, cotton, silk, leather, velvet, corduroy, suede, and lace. When it comes to trinkets, accessories, and paraphernalia: timber, metal (iron, tin, copper, silver, gold), and glass. Avoid lead at all costs, naturally. Denim should be avoided as well since it wasn’t available at that age.

Once again, if you want to save up money before venturing all-in on the style, you can look into items that are already available to you and see if they, in some shape or form, align with the Steampunk aesthetic. Better yet, see what you can do to create your own DIY Steampunk trinkets

The good news is that your closet already contains some materials and garments that have the necessary qualities – especially if you have an opportunity to dig through your grandmother’s old stuff.

Then again, certain items are practically a must, so you’ll ultimately have to splurge on these basic Steampunk garments.


If you cannot find an appropriate blouse in your closet, seek out typical Victorian blouses made out of ruffled material, with puffy sleeves and, possibly, a nice collar. If you can, avoid zippers and go for buttons or lace (not the fabric, but a cord for tightening).

Corset goes over your blouse, and it’s essential to note that plus size corsets are becoming increasingly popular in the Steampunk fashion scene. You’ll rarely see a fully-fledged Steampunk outfit without one. Whether it’s underbust or overbust, plus size corsets open up a realm of possibilities for styles and designs. So, let your imagination run wild and browse extensively before you hone in on the purchase. Embrace the versatility of plus size corsets and elevate your Steampunk look to new heights.

Waist-down, you’ll either go with a dress, pants or leggings. Victorian-inflected lace works wonders here, and you have just as many choices as you do with corsets. People can be very imaginative when it comes to Victorian garment design and you can easily find very interesting dresses without spending too much.

Now, boots are important, and this is where a lot of your budget will go. Avoid open toes and stick with buckles and cords for fastening. Zippers are a no-go here as well, and while it is true that this was technically invented by 1901, they simply didn’t look as modern.  

Now, since hats were in style during this era, it also wouldn’t go amiss to own one – a top hat, bonnet, wedding hat, church hat, Kentucky Derby variant, the more era-appropriate yet over the top – the better. Aviator glasses are a popular accessory as well, and they often go hand-in-hand with hats.   

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As you may have gathered, Steampunk is too broad a notion to cover in a singular article. As a cultural phenomenon that crosses media, culture and – indeed – fashion, there’s just too much to take in. And you know what: that is the beauty of Steampunk!

Discovering every facet of this niche genre is an adventure in and of itself, and the community is thankfully accommodating, inclusive and pleasant. At the end of the day, should you feel as if you’ve hit a dead end with your Steampunk outfit, you can always turn to the community that is willing to share their experience and knowledge.

Written By

Your "not that regular" all-around gal, writing about anything, thus everything. "There's always more to discover... thus write about," she says in between - GASP! - puffs. And so that's what she does, exactly. Write, of course; not (just) puff.


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