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Author Topic: Victorian and Steampunk Crossdressing  (Read 52625 times)
Victorian Anachronist
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« on: April 19, 2009, 07:11:55 am »

Hi everyone! I'm new here (technically, I joined in 07, but life really pulled me out of the loop) and want to quickly introduce myself. My name is Alex, and I am an 18 year old male who loves wearing Victorian fashions. I'm also gay but that really has no correlation to my clothing preference.....

Anyway, I looked through the forums and didn't really see a topic for this. What does everyone think of Victorian (and Steampunk) crossdressing? I'm wondering--how do you view it? Do you engage in it yourself? Why do you do it? What have your experiences been?

I currently have one (Victorian, but not Steampunk) dress that I've made, based off an outfit in Victorian Romance Emma, a manga set in 1895-96. I've worn it for my high school Halloween, and for two anime conventions.



The high necked bodice and floor-length skirt is very flattering, and I love the silhouette I can achieve with the corset and petticoats! And I love history--I made a point of making that dress be and look as period accurate as possible. Right down to the corset, bloomers, petticoats, boots, and hat. I enjoy teaching others about Victorian fashion, and what better way than a visual presentation?

And the double takes and confusion are so fun. I chatted with a group of 40 something ladies at Ohayocon whilst waiting for a lift to arrive, and they didn't see I was a guy. I just spoke in my most refined, ladylike manner, and almost burst out laughing when one lady asked me (in all seriousness) if I'd be making my prom dress. Other people realized only because I told them, or I let my voice lapse into my normal male mode.

I guess the reason I like dressing like this is because it lets me assume the persona of someone else, of a different gender (and century), and helps to encourage acceptance of people who are different. If someone has a problem with me dressed that way, I like to point out to them that it is a very conservative style that is not vulgar or gross, like some half-arsed "cross-dressing" I've seen happen around Halloween.

The other reason...I've never felt attractive before, as a person. I've always been the awkward one, the teased and bullied child who could never make friends. I feel beautiful in one of those dresses (even if I'm not), and that just makes me feel so much better about myself. I have obtained a great group of supportive friends in high school, also, to help me otherwise.

I've kind of run out of things to say; I have work in the morning and should really get some sleep. Thanks for taking the time to read this, and I look forward to your responses!
« Last Edit: April 19, 2009, 07:24:16 am by Victorian Anachronist » Logged
Flynn MacCallister
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« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2009, 08:04:59 am »

*Laughs* Good work! You're very convincing. (and probably prettier than me, danmit! ;p )

I'd like to crossdress (I'm female, want to dress male) in a manner as exemplified by Her Majesty, the King Insanity (see images below)... but I don't think I could pull it off... (in fact, I don't know how she does!) I'm pretty distinctly, well, girl-shaped.

Spoiler: reference images (click to show/hide)
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darkshines
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« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2009, 09:32:45 am »

About 90% of my wardrobe are steampunk MALE fashions, for every day wear I feel far more comfortable in a pair freshly pressed trousers and a tailcoat, It just feels right. To be fair though, apart from my coat, everything is tailored to a womans shape, so still looks feminine on.

I think you looks amazing Smiley
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rosario
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« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2009, 09:44:54 am »

That is a lovely dress, and you pull it off very well.
I'm female and definitely enjoy wearing male styles from time to time, but I'm definitely, definitely shaped like a woman, so I can't be convincing about it. Makes me sad. From having lurked around here for a while, it seems there are quite a few women who wear more male clothing, but not so many men who favor dresses. Perhaps this needs to be remedied. 
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Mechanic
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« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2009, 12:28:11 pm »

Excellent job Alex!
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Prof Eumides Blakehurst
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« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2009, 12:30:54 am »

Excellent work!

I have to confess that the farthest I am planning along this route is a corset waistcoat (i.e., a normal waistcoat front with a laced centre back. I needs some boning, but is a normal piece of men's wear), so not very far at all.

Though I would make a fabulous bearded lady! (Beards a speciality...)
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clockwork creation
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« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2009, 12:39:57 am »

hah ! you sir are made of win !!! i will have to put up some picures of me in drag  Grin
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Pec
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« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2009, 12:46:09 am »

nothing wrong with cross dressing! hell i have seen RHPS plenty of times and gone in custom!

but i must say you look really good in it! the cress fits perfectly
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Mr. Boltneck
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« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2009, 01:23:03 am »

Good job!
That's not an easy look to manage, I imagine. Living where I do, I have seen many examples of Drag Gone Wrong. Not, please note, gone bad (the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence http://www.thesisters.org/are famous for their nasty habits), but Wrong in the sense of "we neither know which gender you are, nor which one you intended to portray, but please make another choice."
Finding era-appropriate footwear has to be a chore in this case, though, unless you are unusually lucky in the shoe-size department.
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Victorian Anachronist
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« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2009, 02:22:10 am »

What a great welcome!

Flynn MacCallister, thanks! My friend Yasmin actually said the same thing (to everyone in earshot at Youmacon, "HE MAKES A PRETTIER GIRL THAN ME!"), which made me die laughing....And I've seen photos of Her Majesty before, she looks incredible.  Smiley I'm sure she won't mind the reposts.

Thank you, darkshines! And if you consider this from a purely anatomical point of view, wouldn't it make more sense for women to be wearing trousers, and men skirts (not exclusively, but you know what I mean)? It's an interesting topic that could probably become someone's university thesis...

I wholeheartedly concur, rosario! And I'm sure you still look dashing in your clothes!

Thanks Araneas!  Smiley

Professor Blakehurst, that sounds very intriguing! I've been playing with the idea myself but I've never had time to work out the design details. Would it actually be functional (as in, a little waist reduction), or would it just be to "firm up" your torso's shape?

clockwork creation, thank you, and I look forward to seeing those photos!

Pec, thank you as well, and by the way, it was a nightmare fitting that bodice...I would take in the seams and darts too much, and then let out too much, then take parts in again, and find it was too narrow at the bust, etc., etc....it's really hard to do that kind of stuff without someone else to do the pinning while you have it on. Now that I know how to do it properly though, my next bodice should come together easier.

Mr. Boltneck, as much as I love it, I will admit it is a fair amount of work. I have to moisturize before putting on the corset, so it doesn't itch, then put my shoes on, then corset down (which is actually really quick, once one gets the hang of lacing themselves up) and insert bust padding, then pull on the bloomers, then put on petticoats #1, 2, and 3, then put the skirt on, then wiggle into the bodice and do all 20 buttons up, and then set my wig and do my makeup, and then pin my hat to the wig. It takes awhile--but I love doing it! And I've seen the Sisters' Hallelujah chorus performances on Youtube; I do enjoy it but understand the "bad drag" part.  Cheesy

I do have a terrible time shopping for footwear....I wear a ladies US 12 (a men's 10.5), and most shoes stop at 11. I got extremely lucky, though--I'm friends with the lady I bought my Victorian wig from, and she is so incredibly friendly....she offered me a pair of boots she only wore once, because they hurt her too much, and all I had to pay was shipping! She is a large lady, roughly six feet tall, and hence wears about the same size I do (yet I'm only 5 foot 6 XD ):



Black faux leather, 2.75 inch heels. They do have zips inside, so I just ignore them (non-period), but they do make getting dressed faster. And I just bought a bunch of faux suede from Joann's for $3.50 per yard....I'm thinking leg gaiters  Grin .

My current project is a hoopskirt, to hold out a ca. 1870 dress that I might Steampunkify, once I make it, of course. I can post lots of pics later; this post has gone on long enough!
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vela
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« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2009, 03:07:16 am »

V.A.,
Are you sure you're gay, and not TG?  Grin  Either way, welcome.  And might I say, you look smashing!  That dress is incredible! 
I know how you feel about being different, and being bullied.  Been there.  Survived it.  Maybe not better for it, but definitely part of who I am is because of it.  Good that you are doing something about it -at least for yourself; that is where it really counts!
By the way, a little note to all: there is quite a difference between dressing in "drag", and dressing "en femme" or "en homme".

-vela
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Prof Eumides Blakehurst
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« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2009, 03:43:21 am »

Professor Blakehurst, that sounds very intriguing! I've been playing with the idea myself but I've never had time to work out the design details. Would it actually be functional (as in, a little waist reduction), or would it just be to "firm up" your torso's shape?


I have been inspred by Master Freestate (who happens to be local to me). Have a quick peek at what he is wearing in this thread:

http://brassgoggles.co.uk/bg-forum/index.php?topic=104.msg183610#msg183610

There can be some boning in the four panels (the front sides and the back sides) if required, or it is simply a waistcoat that is perfectly contoured to your body. I've made numerous waistcoats, so all I need to do is clear the sewing table and experiment with the back closure, then decide if I want to play with boning. Any boning I do add would be quite lightweight and mainly to keep shape of the garment (since the waistcoat will be two separate pieces held together by buttons at the front and lacing at the back).

Frock coat trial run first (pieces cut and gathering dust next to the sewing machine...  Undecided)
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Novercalis
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« Reply #12 on: April 20, 2009, 07:51:31 am »

Nothing wrong with crossdressing my good err madamsir? Tongue
anyways im guilty of wearing several womans top that im able to pull off and still look masculine but im guilty on corsets

anyways I know several gay folks who dresses in victorian and I manage to turn one into a steam-dandy but he still loves to "queen it out" with over the top hair and makeup - yet he pulls it off fantastically.

and who cares if others gives you the look or bitches about what ur wearing and your sexuality.
I say purposely wear a strap on dildo and whip that out and tell them to suck on it! Watch them run away in disgust! lol
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Rowan of Rin
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« Reply #13 on: April 20, 2009, 01:44:15 pm »

Wow, looking good! That is a very nice bodice which I must say you wear very well.
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wildilocks
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« Reply #14 on: April 20, 2009, 02:40:46 pm »

You look delightful my dear!

We have one friend who's very keen on FtM steampunk crossdressing, so I daresay it's quite popularly peppered about the scene here and there. Good show, carry on!
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BrassMonkey
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« Reply #15 on: April 20, 2009, 09:43:20 pm »

Thank you, darkshines! And if you consider this from a purely anatomical point of view, wouldn't it make more sense for women to be wearing trousers, and men skirts (not exclusively, but you know what I mean)? It's an interesting topic that could probably become someone's university thesis...

You know I have often thought the same thing. Given that higher temperatures have a negative effect on the male reproductive system, garments which allow more... erm... airflow would make more sence. And, to be frank, just be more comfortable.
I've always thought the Scots had the right idea with kilts and am always wishing I had the courage to wear kilt type garments more often.
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Lady Crystalmir
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« Reply #16 on: April 20, 2009, 10:26:11 pm »

That is an absolute gorgeous ensemble though I confess to being rather jealous about your shoes.  I would say that there have been a few notable crossdressers historically, the Chevalier d'Eon comes to mind, and thus applaud you for daring to do so.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2009, 02:23:31 am by Lady Crystalmir » Logged

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Doctor Z-kun
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« Reply #17 on: April 21, 2009, 01:52:51 am »

I say, you're quite lovely! Cheesy

I'm fond of seeing people cross dress in general, be they good at it or not, so of course I think there's a place for it in Steampunk and Victorian cosplay. ^_^

It's sort of difficult to answer whether I do it or not, as I'm FtM transgendered. As a result, people who don't know that about me may perceive me as cross dressing when I don't feel like I am, but if I wear something girly, I feel like I'm in drag!
Odd, as much as I like when other people cross dress, I don't like feeling like I'm in drag so I almost exclusively wear mens' clothes these days. Perhaps it's got something to do with the whole "wrong anatomy" thing. And I don't like the drafty feel from dresses and skirts....
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Flynn MacCallister
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« Reply #18 on: April 21, 2009, 03:30:01 am »

Thank you, darkshines! And if you consider this from a purely anatomical point of view, wouldn't it make more sense for women to be wearing trousers, and men skirts (not exclusively, but you know what I mean)? It's an interesting topic that could probably become someone's university thesis...

You know I have often thought the same thing. Given that higher temperatures have a negative effect on the male reproductive system, garments which allow more... erm... airflow would make more sence. And, to be frank, just be more comfortable.
I've always thought the Scots had the right idea with kilts and am always wishing I had the courage to wear kilt type garments more often.

Yes.

However, think about it from the point of view of the traditional mechanics of... one of the primary primitive interests of humanity. No, not fighting. No, not science either, but you're getting closer. The other one.
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Miss Aetherly
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« Reply #19 on: April 21, 2009, 04:23:54 am »

I must say you look absolutely lovely--and I'm incredibly jealous of your shoes!

I've dabbled with cross dressing before (F to M) in the past, but only recently tried it with Steampunk/Victoriana. I think I prefer that to cross dressing in modern clothing, because 19th century men's clothing is a bit more elaborate, refined and dashing. Of course dressing up like a Victorian lady also feels like drag to me (what with all the corsets, petticoats, boots, wigs and makeup) since I don't usually wear girly clothes on a daily basis.

There's a pretty interesting book about F to M cross dressing in the 19th century is called "Women in Pants" by Catherine Smith and Cynthia Greig. I heard about it in forums--it's full of wonderful photos and historical info.
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Doctor Z-kun
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« Reply #20 on: April 21, 2009, 04:34:45 am »

But... but Amazon thinks that everything non-heteronormative is porn!

Source:
« Last Edit: April 21, 2009, 04:39:45 am by Doctor Z-kun » Logged
Novercalis
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« Reply #21 on: April 21, 2009, 05:21:37 am »

I say, you're quite lovely! Cheesy

I'm fond of seeing people cross dress in general, be they good at it or not, so of course I think there's a place for it in Steampunk and Victorian cosplay. ^_^

It's sort of difficult to answer whether I do it or not, as I'm FtM transgendered. As a result, people who don't know that about me may perceive me as cross dressing when I don't feel like I am, but if I wear something girly, I feel like I'm in drag!
Odd, as much as I like when other people cross dress, I don't like feeling like I'm in drag so I almost exclusively wear mens' clothes these days. Perhaps it's got something to do with the whole "wrong anatomy" thing. And I don't like the drafty feel from dresses and skirts....


im sorry but my eye twitched a bit hearing these words together - steampunk cosplay and victorian cosplay... it's not cosplay...
and becareful telling a elitist lolita she has an awesome loli cosplay - those parasol are very very pointy
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Doctor Z-kun
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« Reply #22 on: April 21, 2009, 02:22:52 pm »

Sorry. Would it help if I pointed out that I was tired when writing that and failed to think of a better word for it, especially since my costuming roots lie in anime cosplay?



Although, I have met some people who do consider their steampunk costumes "cosplay"....


Really, we're all going out in costumes and having fun, why be elitist about the terminology? I mean, I'm sorry that I offended you, but I'm not sure what exactly was so offensive about the word "cosplay." That is to say, "costume-play" sounds like having fun while wearing a costume to me. Is this not the case?
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darkshines
Rogue Ætherlord
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Miss Katonic 1898


« Reply #23 on: April 21, 2009, 02:30:04 pm »

For me, dressing like a "normal" peson would be costume play, as I dress steampunk 24/7.
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Doctor Z-kun
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« Reply #24 on: April 21, 2009, 02:31:42 pm »

True; I didn't think about that while I was writing my posts. My apologies.
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