Steampunk was originally a subgenre of sci-fi and fantasy. Think technology, exploration, and alternate history where steam, gears, and brass run industrial machines.
Simply put, it’s the Victorian era with advanced technology. This subgenre, later on, made its way into modern fashion, thus evolving into a steampunk subculture.
The aesthetics of steampunk is pretty straightforward: autumn tones, greys, whites, tans, browns, and occasional reds. Steampunk is commonly seen in cosplay conventions where steampunk cosplayers dress up as mad scientists, pilots, engineers, or any other professional related to technology.
People in this subculture are known for wild ensembles made up of belts, lots of leather in all shades of brown, brass accessories, boots, and of course, Victorian corsets. Surprisingly, steampunk fashion has made its way into mainstream fashion, and can also be incorporated with office outfits by just adding basic staples of the steampunk subculture.
The first thing to do is to set a budget. After that, plan the overall look based on a specific character, persona, or profession, like inventor/scientist, engineer, explorer, cowboy, or even a pirate.
Check out the other tips below on how to pull off the steampunk style, whether for work or just streetwear:
Style Hair with a Vintage Look
Hair is where it all starts. Get the futuristic neo-Victorian vibe by dyeing the hair with metallic colours like silver blond, rose gold, and ivory.
As for styling the hair, go with large curls, waves, and bangs. A quick trick is to fix the hair with an antique brass hair clip. For men, the popular undercut works perfectly with the overall steampunk aesthetics, especially if paired with a beard. Classic can fit just as well.
Steampunk hairstyles are derived from romantic-era hairstyles, which are office appropriate and are subtle enough not to draw too much attention.
Pick Clothes with Dark and Muted Colors
The typical steampunk colour palette consists of the colours of autumn: dark and earthy tones. This aesthetic is inspired not only by Victorian fashion but by the American Wild West as well.
Since dark or muted colours are neutral, they help achieve an understated look that can be casual and toned down enough for the office.
For men, grey pinstripes, blazers, and dark trousers are steampunk enough. At the same time, they will fit well in a professional environment.
Shop Online for Ensembles
When in doubt, purchase steampunk clothes and accessories. This is great especially for someone who is just starting to familiarize themselves with the style. A complete ensemble can be bought at one time. If not, selecting a few essential pieces and combining them with clothes already in the wardrobe works just as well.
Collecting essentially versatile pieces and then eventually getting more intricate items that can be mixed and matched with new or existing ones is a good way to grow a steampunk wardrobe.
Add Shiny Accessories
For a toned-down steampunk look that one can take anywhere, the props may be a little too much. However, by knowing the basic motifs and symbols of the steampunk subculture, simple accessories can complete your look. These accessories need to have prints or decorations like clocks, pistons, gears, cogs, industrial equipment, and maps.
For women, jewellery like earrings, bracelets, and pendants can have the steampunk edge by selecting pieces with gear designs. This can also be achieved in watches. The key is to think of gears and brass.
For men, any antique brass accessory, like cuff links and a pocket watch, is enough to give off that Victorian-era vibe.
Look for Stylish Eyewear
Stylish glasses are a quick and easy way to add a steampunk twist to the overall look. Steampunk-inspired glasses can easily work with either formal or casual outfits.
Glasses that perfectly represent the style very well are ones with round or square frames. A change of frame shape is steampunk enough. To take it up a notch, combine these frames with blue, silver, yellow, or orange lenses.
Keep Having Fun
Add as much as you want. In steampunk, there’s no such thing as too much. Add hats, scarves, and gloves to tie in with the overall look based on a chosen “profession.”
Don’t pressure yourself to be historically accurate. Only reenactors need to fuss over historically inaccurate wardrobe pieces. Moreover, go beyond the Victorian England box. There is steampunk outside Great Britain and Europe. The 1800s United States fashion, especially during the Civil War era, works just as well.
You can go full-on steampunk or take a piece of the steampunk aesthetic for a more subtle look. The steampunk aesthetic is so unique that it always works as the perfect conversation starter.