Entering the fantasy world of steampunk 

Published on August 27, 2019

If you haven’t yet heard of steampunk and are unfamiliar with the fantasyland of the magical steampunk events, the first aspect to wrap your head around is to always expect the unexpected. Steampunk is a wonderful world of historic reinvention, a kind of historic science fantasy which draws together technology, design and Victorian industrial steam power into one hugely popular cultural phenomenon.

Unlike events such as Propelify Innovation Festival which puts on an elaborate show around the latest and greatest in technology, steampunk events tend to take a trip back in time. Before steampunk became the culture, as it is today, it began as a genre inspired by science-fiction in the 1970s. The main inspiration began back in the 19th century Victorian era with writers such as Jules Verne and H.G. Wells. Over a century later, their works of literature which featured Victorian settings have been the inspiration of steampunk culture.

With the rise in popularity of this cultural phenomenon, many first timers find themselves wondering what to expect and even more so, how to participate in the festivities of steampunk fantasy. All you really need to know is that steampunk caters for any individual looking to express themselves as uniquely as they so desire. An inspiring example can be read in an article by HuffPost which shows how an accident survivor turns her back brace into a steampunk outfit.

That being said, the following list serves as an aid to your first journey to neverland.

Post apocalyptic warfare, The Wild West, Victorian age

You really can’t go wrong with an outfit at a steampunk event, in fact, the only way you could possibly ‘not fit in’ is by not dressing up. The realm of steampunk caters for the wildest and weirdest fantasies which often include aliens, zeppelins, pirates, mad scientists, and scullery maids. It seamlessly blends horror, old town westerns, romance, fantasy, adventure, Victorians and more.

The word accessories often refers to a simple watch, necklace or bracelet. But when it comes to steampunk, accessories are what make or break your outfit. With an abundance of options to choose from, you can be sure to see elaborate accessories – not your discreet adornments. One of the best places to find steampunk gears is at a thrift store. Steampunk is a relatively new style that uses old anachronisms and technology on various items, a crowd favourite is the old school gear mechanism, like the ones seen in watches or old grandfather clocks. Additional common themes to expect are those of PopuLace, feathers, scarves, gloves, goggles and monocles. Masks are hugely popular as are umbrellas, compasses, watches and other futuristic looking gizmos.

Any age welcome

Steampunk is a family affair. Young, old and everyone in between. There isn’t a “typical” steampunk – the appeal crosses gender-lines, is intergenerational and consumes whole families from grandparents to teenagers. It’s a great excuse to get the whole family out for a day of dress up and socializing.

Although steampunk might be most widely known for its extreme sense of fashion, there is much more to it. Great art is one of the pillars upon which steampunk is based, so it would be only natural to expect a wide variety of stunning captivating artist pieces, often displayed in open air galleries. The art of performance is hugely popular and you will see all kinds of light-hearted skits such as tea-dueling (essentially a game of courage that involves dunking a biscuit in to a cup of tea and getting it to your mouth in one piece) and military-inspired parades.

For the ladies

Nothing says “steampunk fashion” quite like a Victorian corset does. Taken from the Victorian influence corsets are very often incorporated into steampunk costumes from the most basic to the most elaborate. Industrial-style rivets, chains and metal buckles are popular adornments along with chunky belts and choker collars.

For the gents

Steampunk is a rather personal culture and each experience is different from that of everyone else’s. With that said, to fully embody the essence of the interesting culture, there are specific styles and fashions that best fit the bill. Regardless of whether you’ve created your own unique steampunk character or simply like to present yourself in this culture’s style, your facial hair is one aspect of your look that can help you polish your appearance.

Typically steampunks are big hat fans. In this case, size really does count. The bigger, bolder and more elaborate the better. You’ll find all sorts of interesting fabrics being used, such as leather and felt, in all kinds of shapes and sizes. From jockey caps and aviator hats to riding hats and army caps you’ll be under-dressed without a hat at a steampunk event.


Contrary to what you might expect, one of the more distinctive finishing touches to a steampunk costume you’re sure to see are characters wearing goggles sitting on their top-hats or around their necks but rarely on the eyes. There are lots of brightly colored lenses, antique metallic finishes and evocative aviator goggles.

Though possibly the most important aspect of any steampunk event is the open armed community and friends who come together to embrace one another and share ideas, talk fashion tips and discuss trends and developments in their special world.

All in all, one of the more impressive aspects of steampunk is that it offers something for just about everyone. Steampunk attracts people from all walks of life into a place where fashion is suited to the individual, communities flourish, goods are robust, and machines are visually appealing.

Wesley Pestana in a News Columnist at Grit Daily.

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