Getting Started In Steampunk

Everyone within the Steampunk community has their own level of commitment and areas of interest for what they want to do. Some people dive in full force and want to do everything, while some may only want to make stuff or just dress up and go to social events and conventions. Some new people to the community may not know where to start. So we created this article just for you!

First and foremost, the goal is to have fun! You don’t have to have gear or costuming or an Airship to come join the community and come to social events and conventions. So, I highly recommed joining the facebook communities and joining in on festivities. Here are a few of the big ones that we have joined:

Now, as you probably already know, Steampunk is Asthetic! That means, it’s visually pleasing. People get dressed up and that’s what you see when you are first exposed to Steampunk. How do you come up with your outfits? Where do you shop for outfits? There are many choices. There are several online stores where you can purchase full outfits, but those are often expensive. We’ll share those resources with you, but there is a way to put a decent outfit together on a budget (inexpensive).

We tend to shop at thrift stores and garage sales to get old vintage looking clothing for the basic outfit. Then we put good money and DIY crafting into the details. We buy or make nerf mods, goggles, hats, and accessories. Accessories are fairly simple to make, so we suggest looking into crafting sometime. Seriously, look in the thrift stores because you can buy a cheap shirt just to rip off the buttons to use on another shirt, or get old watches and miscellaneous items laying around the store to take apart and use the bits to create something for your outfit. We’re not ashamed to say we’ve bought materials at Home Depot to add to our costumes. You can even give white clothing a tea bath to get that Steampunk color.

You can incorperate many things to get a Steampunk look – browns, tans, and sepia colors, brass buttons and things, copper and bronze, vests, frilly shirts, ruffles, lace and ribbons, goggles, nerf mods, top hats, pearl beads, lockets, pocket watches, keys, gears, bustle dresses, corsets, bloomers, bodices, pleats, petticoats, london riding pants, bomber jackets, flight caps and flight goggles, pendants, gloves, parasols, hair flowers and feathers, and even some gold jewelry for the ladies!

Now if you don’t want to just wing it, you have a few options – design a character, choose a role, or pick a style, and then build off that. The best thing about these three options is that you can google it for inspiration! If you have a persona, it’s fairly easy to design an outfit. I highly recommend taking a look at our article about Designing A Character.

If you aren’t ready for designing a character, you can just pick a role to work with. Some example roles are Captain, pirate, mechanic, explorer or inventor, pilot, or wealthy woman/man. A Captain always has a hat (it’s the most important detail), usually carries a weapon, and may even have armor. Pirates are easy, because they are pretty much the same in Steampunk – a pirate hat, a rapier, and maybe some steampunk flair. A mechanic often has more down to earth civilian clothing, a mechanics jumpsuit, some glaves, and deffinately goggles and handy tools. An explorer or inventor might have a utility belt, some gadgets and tools, an explorers vest and hat, and merriad of other things. Pilots may have a bomber jacket, riding pants, monocular, and a flight cap with googles. The wealthy woman would have a beautiful victorian bustle dress and corset with a mini tophat, while her wealthy husband has a nice frock suit or a fancy vest with an ascot and gentlemen’s tophat.

Now picking a style is similar to picking a role, except you’re choosing from the bigger picture. You want something Victorian, so you go with the fancy expensive attire, the bustle dress, flashy hats and top hats, and a nice suit and fancy vest with an ascot. You might like Deiselpunk which is a subgenre of Steampunk that is set during the industrial revolution of the 1920’s to 1945 (World War II era). Deiselpunks can be bootleggers, military greens, and lots of silver. Here in Oklahoma, we have a flair for Westerns, so you’d want a gritty cowboy look with your old west style pistol, and a hat reminiscent of 3:10 To Yuma.

Now, you can buy various parts of your outfit at vendors who are selling at conventions. You can get pretty much everything you need for a costume at a convention, but it’s pricey if you get it all at once. If you are patient, you can pick up pieces of your costume over time from various places. You can also buy full outfits and accessories online. Pay close attention to shipping costs – this can be a deal breaker on some items.

Etsy is a good place, but beware! There are people who use the tag “steampunk” just for the sake of attracting buyers, not that the item is any good or even remotely steampunk related. Also, people tend to jack up prices just because it’s “Steampunk”, so be sure to shop around to make sure you are getting as fair price.

Here are a number of online stores:

I also wanted to mention Airship Isabella. They are a wonderful and very popular Airship Crew. They do great work! I highly recommend checking out their shop.

Butterfly Creations is another wonderful shop to check out!

Now if you want to know about starting an Airship, you should check out our article on How to start an Airship.

So now you have a great place to start! We may come back and add some more content if anything else comes up. Let us know if you feel like we’re missing something in our start up guide, and feel free to ask questions.


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