First off, let me say that contrary to rumours circulating, steampunk is NOT what happened when goths discovered brown! Lol Steampunk fashion is about bringing to life Victorian fashion with a twist. There is only one basic rule - start off Victorian or Edwardian and then add to it, or subtract in the case of hemlines…
In my novels the heroine, Cara, doesn't follow fashion but wears what she likes and what is practical for her lifestyle. With such structured social classes as the Victorian era, displaying her personal style is one way Cara thumbs her nose at others and shows she is not a part of society, or the "punk" part of steampunk.
For starters you want a cute skirt or pair of pants, whatever you are comfortable wearing. I bet you have something in your closet right now that you could grab. You don't have to rush out and custom order a bustle skirt. Simple skirt hitches will transform an ordinary long skirt into something different.
Now find a pair of boots. If you can, pick something with a bit of extra detailing, maybe they lace up, have cut-outs or a funky heel. Another option is spats over high heels, which gives you a unique look. Or if you are creative, decorate a pair of plain boots. Paint the heel a metallic colour and then let yourself loose on the rest of the boot. You could add small gears or chain if you wanted.
Next add a corset, but leave the tight lacing to those dedicated souls who wear a steel boned corset for 20 hours out of every 24. A corset should feel like that alpha male has his arms wrapped around you in a firm embrace. A good rule of thumb is if it hurts, or your lips are turning blue, your laces are too tight! The internet is littered with places to buy corsets these days, my personal favourites are Damsel in this Dress for fab front lacing corsets or Dracula Clothing for authentic leather and steel boning. Most important thing to remember for the novice corset wearer - boots then corset. Believe me, it doesn't work the other way around.
Don't forget a hat. No outfit is complete without some form of headwear be it hat or fascinator, or maybe you will carry a parasol? Pick something that expresses your character, remember there are no rules. If the steampunk police try to write you a citation for not following "their rules", tell them to go stick a cog in it!
And lastly – accessorize! This is the bit where you get to go wild and maybe raid your grandparents' house for an old fob watch or pair of binoculars.
If you were a character in your own steampunk novel, who would you be? Would you be a society lady, a femme fatale, an airship pirate, mad scientist or an explorer?
About A.W. Exley
Books and writing have always been an enormous part of Anita's life. She survived school by hiding out in the library, with several thousand fictional characters for company. At university, she overcame the boredom of studying accountancy by squeezing in Egyptology papers and learning to read hieroglyphics.
Today, Anita writes steampunk novels with a sexy edge and an Egyptian twist. She lives in rural New Zealand surrounded by an assortment of weird and wonderful equines, felines, canine and homicidal chickens.