One of the most recognizable aspects of modern-day steampunks is their impeccable taste in fashion. I myself come from a long line of fashion-conscious, but I cannot claim to be anywhere near as dapper as many of the folks who go far beyond the call of duty in steampunk fashion. I mean, truly, it’s an indelible well of inspiration for me. I might get stuck with a chapter, and more than once I’ve been roused out of writer’s melancholy by a cursory Google image search for steampunk fashion.
Wikipedia has this to say on the subject:
The most immediate form of steampunk subculture is the community of fans surrounding the genre. Others move beyond this, attempting to adopt a “steampunk” aesthetic through fashion, home decor and even music. This movement may also be (more accurately) described as “Neo-Victorianism“, which is the amalgamation of Victorian aesthetic principles with modern sensibilities and technologies.
“Steampunk” fashion has no set guidelines, but tends to synthesize punk, goth and rivet styles as filtered through the Victorian era. This may include Mohawks and extensive piercings with corsets and tattered petticoats, Victorian suits with goggles and boots with large soles and buckles or straps, and the Lolita fashion and aristocrat styles. Some of what defines steampunk fashion has come from cyberpunk, and cyberlocks have appeared being used by people adopting a steampunk look.
The fact of the matter is that steampunk fashion is downright inspiring. Always a stickler for the Victorian myself, it takes it a step further, imbuing the lines and shapes of the time period with awe-inspiring details and lots and lots of shininess. I make no apologies for my raven-like behavior when it comes to thinks that sparkle.
I use Scrivener to compose which has, literally, changed the way I go about writing. Although I’m going to write another post devoted entirely to that most magical of software programs, for now I’ll say that for visual people–like me, I’m saying–Scrivener is a must. Not only does it force me to be organized (Professor’s ability to “make even the most disorganized rooms messier” is written from my own experience with myself) it allows me to integrate photographs into my work. I can stare at people who remind me of my characters, I can stare across prairies, and contemplate the doohickeys at the Victorian museum.
For my intents and purposes the fashion of the 1880s has been just the ticket. Of course, since my world isn’t our own, really, I could broaden more than that. But I feel, somehow, that sticking with a certain fashion “feeling” makes the rest of the narrative feel more realistic, in spite of the fact it’s completely fabricated. (Oooh… I just made a pun.)
On a visit to Charleston recently I was able to see some of these gowns in person. And although the quality of the images online has been by and large incredible, seeing the intricacy of the fabric and detail was another story altogether. Not to mention the shoes!
My favorite Victorian clothing website, hands down, is VintageTextile.com. The photographs and details are simply awe-inspiring. And of course, as far as steampunk clothing repositories you can’t get much better than the Aether Emporium’s wiki on the subject.
Now, I’m lost in the links again… oooh, shiny!