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Author Topic: How do I get Steampunk clothes when I have no money?  (Read 68744 times)
Otto Von Pifka
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« Reply #25 on: July 03, 2010, 01:46:03 am »

well, to see what kind of look you want, search "steampunk" and all the variations that google and ebay throw up...
but to actually shop and buy, search using any other catchwords or phases that you see when searching steampunk. avoid the actual word "steampunk" and the prices aren't insane.

the civil war reenactors get alot of their equipment from "sutlers", if you google that you will find a whole new world to peruse. prices are higher than your average thrift buy but the quality is usually higher and the attention to the details are excellent. those clothes are made to be worn quite alot and hold up to it. many of them carry civilian clothing too, you just need to dig a little to find it.
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« Reply #26 on: July 03, 2010, 08:57:38 am »

avoid the actual word "steampunk" and the prices aren't insane.
Definitely. I once saw two pocket watches from the same seller (can't remember the name) on Ebay, one of which had "steampunk" in the title. The steampunk watch was priced double what the other was, and was the only one with bids. Thing is, they were identical watches.

Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, slapping "STEAM PUNK" in the description is just a way to separate the gullible from their earnings. Do a bit of looking around, and you're far less likely to be ripped off.

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« Reply #27 on: July 06, 2010, 02:59:28 am »

avoid the actual word "steampunk" and the prices aren't insane.
Definitely. I once saw two pocket watches from the same seller (can't remember the name) on Ebay, one of which had "steampunk" in the title. The steampunk watch was priced double what the other was, and was the only one with bids. Thing is, they were identical watches.

Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, slapping "STEAM PUNK" in the description is just a way to separate the gullible from their earnings. Do a bit of looking around, and you're far less likely to be ripped off.



I'd say this, more than anything, is the proof requested in that "when has Steampunk hit the mainstream" thread up in Meta.  If the word "Steampunk" can add price-pumping value to rival the so-called New Age (do some comparisons, yes it can) it means that the marketers are aware that a lot of people will pay that much more for things they can be convinced come from that aesthetic.  As always, caveat emptor - look at whether something says Steampunk to you before you shell out any amount for it, large or small.
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thunderarrowalchemist
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« Reply #28 on: July 07, 2010, 11:52:06 pm »

i agree with more than half the people on this thread, charity and thrift shops have almost anything and everything. you can go in one and never expect what your going to find! its so much fun!!
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« Reply #29 on: July 08, 2010, 07:43:29 pm »

Quote
i agree with more than half the people on this thread, charity and thrift shops have almost anything and everything. you can go in one and never expect what your going to find! its so much fun!!

Thats the Thrill of the Hunt!
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« Reply #30 on: July 09, 2010, 12:41:41 am »

Quote
i agree with more than half the people on this thread, charity and thrift shops have almost anything and everything. you can go in one and never expect what your going to find! its so much fun!!

Thats the Thrill of the Hunt!

I'll agree there, when I have a whole afternoon and am not looking for anything in particular.  When I need something specific, however, this can be an infuriating factor.

I'd say the utility of the thrift shop method is a matter of how much time you have.  If you need a "steampunk outfit" for a convention in two weeks, you're better off rush-ordering one or two accessories and hitting a standard clothing store for regular-looking base pieces you can steam up with them.  If you're talking about building a wardrobe over months, then the thrift shop method is the way to go, unless you absolutely hate to shop.

(I say that as someone who pretty close to absolutely hates to shop.)
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Nyte
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« Reply #31 on: July 09, 2010, 01:52:41 am »

Think outside the bo a bit as well.  Almost all the outfits you see in steampunk, are upper class, clean and primped, proper ready to go to the club, ball or whathave you social event or location.  Making a more working class, poor, or street level outfit, one can get more clever with items and materials.

For one thing, you want worn in, rattier looking clothes, that have seen perhaps more than thier fare share of days.  Sticking with a more British/European centric view for the moment;
Tan, brown or black slacks or cargo pants, faded and roughed some, perhaps even cut off rough at the ankle or below the knee.  It's perfectly ok if they have a few holes or sewn in patches.  Well worn in loafers, oxfords or boots (preferably boots), though well cared for worn in footware makes sense too, footware being the highest in cost and hardest to replace item, they would be like to see a lot of loving polishing and the like.  Of course a belt, but it can be old and beaten up, mismatched in color, or even non leather.  Perhaps it is too big, having been found, or left over from better days, and the buckle might be simple, or worn, perhaps pitted and unpolished.  A dress shirt, again one well worn, and if you have to get a modern one to use, either a used one or new and in need of aging, go with something too large for you, the sleeves will appear poofier, so more of a victorian cut, and the not quite fitted look is appropriate for the poor.  If you plan to cover the buttons (see a litt further on) any buttons will do for the front, though whatever ones show, you may want to consider changing from plastic to soemthing metal or wood.  I would suggest a sweater or the like over the shirt, something older and in a slightly ratty state, perhaps cut off the sleeves half way from the wrist to elbow.  I also plan to play with a hooded sweatshirt some to see how I can get teh look down.  I also suggest a slightly large or small waistcoat or vest, over the sweater or the like, or just the shirt.  Fingerless gloves, a lower class hat, perhaps a slop front or a bowler...  Then, dirty the whole thing up some, staine from sweat and dirt and grease and teh like.  Not too much, but enough to show wear and no money to replace.  Now yo uadd some accessories to show tools of a trade, or just trinkets you carry, and viola!.
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« Reply #32 on: July 09, 2010, 04:10:29 am »

Hm yeah, that's a tricky one, the class thing.  Most of the people you see in steampunk attire go for the lady/gentleman look because then you (supposedly) don't have to roleplay being outranked by those who chose a "higher-class" persona.  You don't anyway, but a lot of people don't realize this.  The fact of the matter is that "steampunk roleplay", in unstructured environments, largely consists of affecting older style manners and discussing steampunky topics.  The modern preference for "egalitarian" courtesy remains unchanged; people are just slightly more formal and definitely more mannerly with one another.  You can do a newsboy, boiler-tech, or outlaw persona and anyone who "talks down" to you as a part of his is being rude, just as in regular life.

And that's when you're even roleplaying.  Chances are you won't do that much of that, and what you do in your steampunk clothes will be pretty much your regular life like you would have done anyway; if you're a "lifestyler" then you would be one in jeans and a T-shirt, if not, then you wouldn't be one in a frock coat, top hat, goggles, &c.  (And as to the "lifestyle" and "manners".  Since when are manners a lifestyle?  How low have we sunk - manners shouldn't be a "lifestyle" that some do and others don't, we should all just have them.  OK rant off.)

I saw the same thing when I was doing LARP; a lot of people avoided doing the "lower class" characters because they didn't want to roleplay being of lower social rank.  There, there was a bit more concern:  in a formalized game you do have ranks and people act them.  The silly part was, with the most popular LARP system (White Wolf's Vampire) you had to roleplay being the "bottom" a lot of the time anyway!  It didn't matter if you created a character with upper-class origins; there was always a sire, prince, or other dominant overlord over you, and the silly political jockeying was an essential part of the game.  So it really didn't matter a hill of beans whether you were a robber baron or a gangster.  And that was in a game that had formal rules.  Unless you're playing a game like that in a Steampunk setting, what social class you play won't matter because the manners are still modern in that respect, and if you are playing a formal game, the reality is likely to be like that in Vampire.  So it doesn't matter; no need for the class and the fancy togs and titles unless that is what you want to do.
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Maj. Clive Hathaway
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« Reply #33 on: July 09, 2010, 09:34:31 pm »

Quote
Think outside the bo a bit as well.  Almost all the outfits you see in steampunk, are upper class, clean and primped, proper ready to go to the club, ball or whathave you social event or location.  Making a more working class, poor, or street level outfit, one can get more clever with items and materials.

While this is mostly true, its also true that most people are guilty of seeing Steampunk dress and Victorian class structure as having 2 polar opposites and no grey area in between. In the case of the Vickies, this simply wasn't true, and in the case of Steampunk, it doesn't need to be.

Case in point, members of the middle class- engineers, professors, detectives and the like, wouldnt be dressed all posh, but they wouldn't be dressed in the manner of street urchins either. A somber suit, a plain neckcloth and shirt would do, and the bowler was for a long time the go- to middle class headwear.

Take also the example of the criminal underworld. Most flashy Victorian criminals in literature and movies dress 'better' than your average middle class person, but far too garrish and brazen to be mistaken for the upper class. Better, but certainly not more respectable. They often try to affect an upper class look, but frequently fall short from trying too hard. Think of Bill the Butcher in Gangs of New York. Checkered trousers, bright silk waistcoats and patent leather boots/ shoes, for example.

I realize this is abit off- topic, but its something i feel strongly about. There arent just two modes of SP dress. Either way though, thriftshops are a good source for all modes of Steampunk attire.
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Vienna Fahrmann
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« Reply #34 on: July 10, 2010, 03:30:04 am »


   I'm not sure what the really correct wordings for these are, so bear with me please...

    As well as thrift stores, look around for listings of the charity sales that various organizations hold on a regular basis, especially  those in wealthy areas.  I used to find never-worn US$ 300 shoes for about $2-3 at a monthly charity sale put on for a medical organization.  The very wealthy women liked to give "last season's" clothing, etc. to the high-profile charity, and the rest of us reaped the bargains.

    There are also organizations  that "freecycle" or recycle various kinds of surplus materials for no or minimal cost.  Finding out about any of these that exist in your area can turn up all sorts of useful items to construct costumes.

      Vienna

     (one of the cheapest ways to get clothing is still learning to sew...can you find a willing friend to teach you?)
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thunderarrowalchemist
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« Reply #35 on: July 10, 2010, 08:20:19 am »

haha! to me a thrift shop presents you with opportunities when you dont need them. and then doesnt when you start getting desperate. just to walk in and find something you didnt expect is good.
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Angus McCarthy
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« Reply #36 on: July 12, 2010, 02:02:01 am »

I fear our friend Mr. Gavin appears to have flown the coop, so to speak, but this is still an interesting topic; perhaps one that deserves a sticky thread - "Sources for SP gear on the Cheap" or something possibly more appropriate.

Rummage sales - especially at churches where there is a large elderly population - are a wonderful source for clothing on the cheap, provided of course that you don't mind the hat you just bought smelling of Brylcreem and moth balls. They are also excellent scrounging grounds for raw contrapting and fabrication materials.
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« Reply #37 on: July 13, 2010, 04:59:37 pm »

I fear our friend Mr. Gavin appears to have flown the coop, so to speak, but this is still an interesting topic; perhaps one that deserves a sticky thread - "Sources for SP gear on the Cheap" or something possibly more appropriate.

Rummage sales - especially at churches where there is a large elderly population - are a wonderful source for clothing on the cheap, provided of course that you don't mind the hat you just bought smelling of Brylcreem and moth balls. They are also excellent scrounging grounds for raw contrapting and fabrication materials.

I second this suggestion. Sticky, please!

Mentioning the smells of an old garment makes me think also of the problems that might come along with used clothing - head lice, etc. I can throw a used shirt into the wash. I know less what to do with a used hat to convince myself that it's clean. Does anyone have suggestions on disinfecting?
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« Reply #38 on: July 13, 2010, 08:56:10 pm »

Here you go all nice and stickied.  Lysol can work wonders to disinfect things.  We use it a lot at the costume shop for stuff that is imposable to wash.  But you must check it in a small inside place to make sure it wont mess with the color or fabric.
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« Reply #39 on: July 13, 2010, 11:58:50 pm »

Disinfectants:

I don't know how many of you have the new washers that use a silver ion cycle...disinfects delicates even in cold water.  I work in the medical field and have switched to using it on my scrubs.  If the garment is not fragile I use hot water, detergent and pinesol on a long cycle. 
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Maj. Clive Hathaway
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« Reply #40 on: July 14, 2010, 09:54:36 pm »

I take my hats to the dry cleaner, but none of them are really that old. Not sure how really old fabrics/ materials would hold up to the dry cleaning process....
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Nyte
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« Reply #41 on: July 14, 2010, 11:03:26 pm »

Go to an auto parts store, get a can of brake cleaner.  It is the same chemical that they use in dry cleaning.  Spray it on, if there is a stain rub carefully with a brush, but otherwise spray it on and it will dry in a few minutes.  I would recomend doing it in a well ventliated area, like outside.
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eruannu
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« Reply #42 on: July 15, 2010, 11:53:34 pm »

Go to an auto parts store, get a can of brake cleaner.  It is the same chemical that they use in dry cleaning.  Spray it on, if there is a stain rub carefully with a brush, but otherwise spray it on and it will dry in a few minutes.  I would recomend doing it in a well ventliated area, like outside.
but make sure it is the non chlorinated variety unless you want to see scary bleaching magic.
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« Reply #43 on: July 17, 2010, 04:06:08 am »

If you have the slightest suspicion that an item carries head lice, seal it up in plastic - an airtight seal - for at least nine days; that's the breeding cycle of the head louse and keeping them and their nits without oxygen that long should kill them all.  At least, that's what they tell parents to do with kids' toys when they bring lice home from school.  Spraying on a little Lysol, as suggested, couldn't hurt either, and should help keep harmful mold from growing on the item while you have it sealed away.

Of course, if you're very concerned about this, I wouldn't try hats on in the store either.  Wink
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« Reply #44 on: July 17, 2010, 11:20:53 am »

Thrift/secondhand stores are a must.

But to add to this, steampunking your collar is easy enough if you study older collar patterns (such as the ones on Gentleman's Emporium).  You can cut the collars of and resew them with some other material of another piece of fabric. 

Also, look on craigslist under the for sale sections by searching for vintage clothing or yard sales nearby you that could offer something useful..
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H.Q. Megatherium
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« Reply #45 on: July 18, 2010, 01:38:54 am »

Free Victorian clothing patterns, for the ambitious:

http://www.tudorlinks.com/treasury/freepatterns/index.html#Victorian

http://www.costumegallery.com/pattern.html

http://www.costumes.org/HISTORY/xoom_nbci/otherpatterns.htm
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« Reply #46 on: July 19, 2010, 08:17:44 am »

Quote
i agree with more than half the people on this thread, charity and thrift shops have almost anything and everything. you can go in one and never expect what your going to find! its so much fun!!

Thats the Thrill of the Hunt!
I don't think we've hit the nail over the head enough, THRIFT STORES
I found basically my entire steam punk outfit at one Thrift Town: pants, shirt, vest, bag, shoes and all of it for under 30$
Can't beat that at all~
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Otto Von Pifka
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« Reply #47 on: July 20, 2010, 02:31:29 am »

learning to sew is helpful and you don't need to make clothing from scratch either. repurposing clothes can work fine too. sometimes a subtle change to a collar and changing out buttons make all the difference in the world.
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remission
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« Reply #48 on: July 20, 2010, 02:34:09 am »

Go find a old clock, take the gears off, and sew every gear part on a old white shirt, , and then put it on Etsy with the Steampunk tag. Im sure SOMEONE will buy it, giving you money to buy proper gear.  lol J/K

But thrift stores are the best I have found when broke, for clothing and accessories and then learn how to alter clothing by free google searches. That will let you modify it to your choosing.

I tend to be impulsive and buy a few items without checking to see if they fit first *grumble*  Now I have to try to resell or trade these somehow.

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« Reply #49 on: July 20, 2010, 02:35:16 am »

Quote
Ah, well, new clothing wise, I find a lot of stuff at H&M.
They have so many blouses with frills!  And so maybe of them are 5 dollars because nobody else wants them!

Funny enough, this is true!! They have a lot of waistcoats, a lot of henley shirts as well as band collar shirts and slim leg trousers... i actually get a lot of Steampunk-ey feeling items here that i can combine with other things to achieve the look i want. Also Top Shop, if your lucky enough to have one in your town. I have to go to New York for that. Though Top Shop is debilitatingly expensive, H&M is pretty moderately priced, and the sale section there has things that are dirt cheap.

I <3 H&M.  Stylish vests and boot cut straight twill pants.
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