Recently, I was asked by some very good friends for some tips on Steampunk Fashion. Corsets tend to dominate the feminine Steampunk look, and my friends were looking for a few alternatives to squeezing into a corset. While a corset does wonders to define the female figure, there are some people who do not wish to wear one or have medical concerns that complicate the wearing of a corset. But does this mean that said lady must give up her Steampunk wardrobe?
I did some research and I’m very happy to report back some of my findings for their, and your, enlightenment. I’ll be providing photos and lots of clicky-links for inspiration. Just as a reminder, though, all of these suggestions will look much more Steampunk with a collection of accessories. Though you are leaving your corset behind, don’t forget about important additions to your ensemble that are critical to completing your Steampunk look!
Option 1: The Steampunk Jumper, or Ragamuffin Dress
Here’s a photo of me in my Steampunk Jumper. I like this style of dress because it is flexible, casual, and lightweight, perfect for the sweltering Texas summers. I’m not wearing a corset with this dress, or stockings, or a bustle, making me a far cry from a proper Victorian woman (lulz) but definitely a good example of a comfortable Steampunk. The dress has been tailored to be form-fitting in the bodice, so it has a flattering look without the use of a corset. Some other examples of this type of dress can be found here, here, and here.
Option 2: Waistcoats
Lady Dedlock Victorian Waistcoat on Etsy
Waistcoats are also another solid option when aiming to replace the corset in one’s wardrobe. They are versatile, can be worn with any bottom garment and with or without a blouse to achieve different looks. You can see other examples of Steampunk waistcoats for women here
Option 3: The Fancy Jacket
Womans frock coat on Etsy
Why bother with any more than a simple blouse when you can wear an impressive frock coat that is sure to make a statement? Coats are nice because, if properly selected, can single-handedly redefine your look simply by slipping it on and off. Unfortunately, coats are not a staple fashion accessory in Dallas, but they are still worth looking at as a way to replace the corset and still look Steampunk. There’s lots of options out there aside from the one listed above, that you can see here, here, and here. I really love the last example because the coat (which has a matching skirt that is sold separately) is just “professional” enough for me to get away with wearing it to work. Needless to say, it’s high on my list of things to purchase soon. You could even wear a jacket as a top by itself, like this riding habit from the Victoria and Albert museum.
Option 4: Aprons
This is, admittedly one option that I really like but have not seen done too often. An apron can transform your look significantly based on the sort of apron one chooses to don. The one above reminds me of a scientist or engineer. A leather apron can also work wonders for the Steampunk wardrobe. Here’s another similar example of a Steampunk Apron from the Steampunk Fashion Live Journal community.
So, the verdict is… yes, you can most certainly go without a corset and still achieve a very Steampunk look! It’s all about using a bit of creativity to complete an ensemble that represents and expresses you.