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Author Topic: How do I get Steampunk clothes when I have no money?  (Read 94498 times)
Kieranfoy
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« Reply #275 on: September 15, 2012, 01:06:39 am »

As regards to pants, I've always been fond of the durable BDU. Wear one in enough, patch the knees with leather, and it can look quite steamy. Cheap at second hand or army surplus stores, comfortable for gents (not for ladies, my friends tell me) and durable as all get out. I've been wearing two of them for seven months of eight hour workdays as my uniform, hard outdoor labor, they're still intact and getting steamier by the minute.

Given our ninety percent humidity, that's unfortunately quite literal.

Anyway, if you can sew, get three or four pairs, and remove the leg pockets from three of them, and sew them onto the last pair. Perfect for an engineer.
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Margareta Nordenswan
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« Reply #276 on: November 08, 2012, 10:33:29 am »

As a student still dependent on her parents' financial support, I really appreciate this thread. Kiss

Not sure if this has been mentioned before, but you can also ask your friends and/or relatives if they have old clothes that they no longer need. Example: my mom sometimes receives loads of old clothes from her friends, and we sort them out, pick something nice for ourselves and send the rest to UFF (a local charity organization). Some time ago I found a brown ankle-length dress and a belt that matches it. Combining them with some clothes I already own have made a good base for my outfit.
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« Reply #277 on: November 08, 2012, 12:45:48 pm »

I find the greatest stuff at thrift stores.  You have to dig through all of the 1980's style, heavily shoulder-padded sequin to find the best stuff, but if you go not looking for anything in particular, you can usually find exactly what you never knew you needed.

My favorites were a bunch of waistcoats, but I've also found tuxedos (not victorian style tailcoats, but they were perfect for a performance a friend was doing), cravats and bow ties, excellent canes, and I've even found bowlers in great shape (but were, unfortunately, made for someone with a much larger head than mine).
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Loclif
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« Reply #278 on: November 14, 2012, 08:15:43 am »

As a student still dependent on her parents' financial support, I really appreciate this thread. Kiss

Not sure if this has been mentioned before, but you can also ask your friends and/or relatives if they have old clothes that they no longer need. Example: my mom sometimes receives loads of old clothes from her friends, and we sort them out, pick something nice for ourselves and send the rest to UFF (a local charity organization). Some time ago I found a brown ankle-length dress and a belt that matches it. Combining them with some clothes I already own have made a good base for my outfit.

On a related note to this: I make a lot of Steampunk accessories and I couldn't believe just how much in the way of materials I got from recycling the old and unwanted jewelry that I received from my friends and relatives when I put out a general request for it.

Most people have tons of old stuff sitting around that they are willing to part with that with a little elbowgrease and creativity can be made into something completely different and new.

I've made everything from goggles to death rays and I am not an expert maker by any means. I just picked up some pliers one day and let my imagination run wild.
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Herbert West
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« Reply #279 on: December 12, 2012, 03:08:08 am »

Just a thought, but with Christmas coming up, this would be a great time to start dropping hints to your family and friends about that stunning waistcoat or top hat you saw online.

Can't get much cheaper than free. Smiley
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zilegil
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« Reply #280 on: December 26, 2012, 11:04:52 am »

Two things I've noticed: modern women's jackets are often in a similar style to frock coats and if they are double breasted there's no need to add extra buttons so you can button them in the masculine style, just add button holes. I have worn a brown moleskin woman's double breasted coat as a Prince Albert. It looks more piratey than most Alberts but I live.

You can get cheap modern Albert chains off EBay.

Also, if you see a pair of Swiss military black leather biking gaiters they make most boots look wonderful and can sell for crazily cheap prices. They're not good with below the ankle shoes though as they tend to slip off as I learnt.

Straw boaters can be cheap.

HaNs have been doing collarless shirts quite cheap but, watch out, stylishly translucent and skinny. It's the first time in my life a shirt has been too small for me.
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« Reply #281 on: January 19, 2013, 12:33:19 pm »

The main problem with charity shops where I live, is that all they sell are tacky 90s shirts and terrible suits - the town just hasn't been around long enough (not quite true, the town's been here since roman times, but expanded as a London overspill) for there to be any true vintage stuff. THe only interesting item I've ever picked up was a nice jacket from Brooks Brothers.
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kidkunjer
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« Reply #282 on: January 23, 2013, 01:49:54 pm »

i think its a lot about context. If you get the accessories and peripheries looking good, then nobody particularly notices the 'wrong' cut of the shirt etc.

the trick i have found is to get accessories from elsewhere as they are used for something practical, like welding gaiters/goggles, jewelers loupe's, etc.

choose one item such as a particularly nice set of goggles, a top hat or pith, and spend the larger money there, this will make all the other items look better as they will go together in one general impression.

and its true about birthday/xmas presents. if people know what you like then they get you presents to match. just this xmas i got a Belgian army knapsack that ties around the belly with leather straps and a fob watch in leather pouch with a metal latch on the front... people saw these items and thought of me, so make people think of you when they see anything steamy.

and if you are a gentleman, a good vintage haircut and waxed moustache cost no extra than your normal haircut... get a friend to do it who knows how to use clippers properly and its free... and it can really help add that steamy feel...
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Rushing's Rarities
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« Reply #283 on: January 23, 2013, 09:03:27 pm »

i think its a lot about context. If you get the accessories and peripheries looking good, then nobody particularly notices the 'wrong' cut of the shirt etc.

I agree. I'd like to point out, as it has been multiple times before (possibly even in this thread). Men's styles haven't changed all that much since Victorian times (at least when it comes to formal wear and suiting). This isn't the case for women's clothing of course but at the same time it's not that difficult to make a dress seem Victorian with minor alteration and layering.

As KidKunjer said, with good accessories you can begin to look the part. Even a traditional cravat in place of a necktie does the trick as a start.
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D.Oakes
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« Reply #284 on: January 28, 2013, 01:10:41 pm »

Thought of another good place to look....which will require work....go to your nearest small (well...the one I go to is huge, but I know the owners and they aren't owned by anyone else) arts/crafts/fabric store, many of them have bins with scraps of leather or fabric.  When I say scraps, I mean you can walk away with a few yards for $0.98 a piece.  Some of them also have tables full of rolls of fabric that are either getting low or have a slight imperfection in the weave.  The store I go to has them at $0.99-$1.98 a yard.  Since I make stuff for reenacting, I do try to be authentic as far as fabric goes, but when I see fabric that looks good, I usually take the risk, even if it is unmarked.  My haul on Friday consisted of 3 yards of undyed cotton duck (great for haversacks) at $1.98 a yard, a yard of this really nice checked fabric which turned out to be linen (did the burn test) for the same, and a yard of purple fabric for the fiance's Renaissance hat which turned out to be a mix of wool and cotton, also for the same price.  I really want to go back soon and get more of that checked fabric, I'd love to make a frock coat out of it.  Right now I am working on a mechanic's cap with it. 

These sorts of places also sometimes have other things you may want or need.  GIANT, INDUSTRIAL sized spools of thread/yarn in natural fibers, beeswax, pins, a lot of it on the sales rack.  The soft leather I use for sweat bands and accents comes from there as well and is priced at around $8 per pound with a half pound minimum.  And buttons....I reenact Civil War with the Palmetto Guards, I was trying to find proper buttons and was coming up with just plain civilian brass ones.  The other week I went through part of the button section I never really looked at before and there was a box of the proper brass "SC" Palmetto buttons at $0.85 a piece, which considering AC Moore charges $4 for 2 crappy looking plastic buttons....is quite a bargain especially since I needed nine. 
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Loclif
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« Reply #285 on: February 02, 2013, 04:51:52 am »

Another tip I have for those looking to find or make quality clothing is get to know your local theatre community, especially if your in a major city. Theatre companies are always producing new plays and wardrobes tend to fill up over time. For most companies storage space is at a premium so they occasionally purge their inventories of costumes and props which can yield some excellent finds for very reasonable prices.
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Dr. Hax
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« Reply #286 on: February 02, 2013, 09:37:50 pm »

Thrift stores are the way to go, my family has always been thrifty, but recently my tastes in clothes have gone down a route that most 18 years of age. If you want to dress up as a gentleman for, example, suits and dress shirts are plentiful at places such as good will *if you happen to live in the states*. Also once in while they get good stuff they have no idea what it is, For example I picked up my top hat at goodwill (HORRIBLE condition, crushed looked like those cheap party shiny squishy fabric hats.. restored it, placed a masonite board in the top giving it a nice hard top to it, and then I lined it.) suits and such can be found for 8-10$ matching sets go for 14 dollars... its rather humorous that its cheaper for me to dress in dress shirts and suits then tee shirts and jeans. Now only if i could just get vests. Oh yes also if you need a good antique sewing machines thrift stores are the way to go, just know what to look for. Old cast iron singers are the way to go, granted I found an 1898 electric sewing machine powered by a westinghouse motor that is an original tesla patent.... for 9.99. That was one of the happiest finds there, right next to my top hat. The most I have ever spent on clothing was 75 bucks for my 1980's soviet parade overcoat. Basically big grey overcoat brass buttons on it (Nobody ever notices the little hammer and sickles on them). But honestly it depends on how you want to dress. I have a feeling I will be quoting this quote a lot on my time here, but.....


I must confess to having no desire to walking down the street looking like a bizzare post-appocalyptic fussion of a ship's welder, Adam Ant and Isambard kingdom brunel.

Yupe, it's all about the taste of the individual and what they want to look like. Its all down to personal taste and how the individual taste and preferences.  So I say look at thrift stores, ebay, and even craigslist, also garage or boot sales do in fact help a lot. You mind find some old person cleaning out their closet and find that right vintage clothing item you wanted, ebay can help you find those certain items you need with patience, (my overcoat I spent 3 weeks hunting for it and when I found it I threw the down the money instantly.) Also if you are so inclined making it could also be good, (Once again check thrift stores for sewing machines... and then look up places that will repair them.)
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« Reply #287 on: February 12, 2013, 06:47:25 pm »

I do not understand why one must dress in a "steampunk" manner.

To get girls, duh.

Oh, wait, I wasn't supposed to say that. Um, forget I said that, okay?

Does it work?

IT DOES!!!!! I got my girlfriend by wearing a waistcoat. Love it.
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WhistleLark
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« Reply #288 on: February 16, 2013, 08:48:40 pm »

The best way to get your hands on them is to be creative.
Buy clothing from secondhand and thrift stores, or even get handmedowns from family members!
Repurposing, and modifying are blessing.
Don't be afraid to customize your clothing!
There are plenty of tutorials on Youtube on how to do this.
The DIY nature of Steampunk is one of the most wonderful aspects of it, or so I feel.
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« Reply #289 on: February 18, 2013, 11:26:00 am »

We are lucky where we are in the Midlands (Derbyshire, UK) - there is an excellent army surplus store in a town called Ripley, the store goes by the name of Anchor, that sells all sorts of gubbins and clothes from all eras, including odd bits and bobs. Some of it is expensive, because they know their stuff, but some of it can be had for a few pounds or even pennies, including odd brass bits and bobs and tin cups, etc. Buttons, decorations, etc can all be picked up, and even the more modern plastic examples can be repainted and distressed to look more authentically steampunk.
Anchor also has a store on the outskirts of Nottingham city centre.
Then we have, in Burton-on-Trent (just a short drive away) a wondeful place called Springfield's army surplus store. They have all sorts of odd stuff - I have an eighties policewoman's bowler from there, without the badge and checkered band, and I've found army boots, gaiters and a policewoman's winter coat there. Plus, they too also do all sorts of odds and ends.
I can't recommend these stores enough for anybody local to the area, it is such a shame that some surplus stores are about nothing but the camo and the logo tees.
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Capt. Stockings
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« Reply #290 on: March 31, 2013, 06:07:57 am »

I do not understand why one must dress in a "steampunk" manner.

To get girls, duh.

Oh, wait, I wasn't supposed to say that. Um, forget I said that, okay?


Does it work?

IT DOES!!!!! I got my girlfriend by wearing a waistcoat. Love it.

Yup, we love it when a man knows how to dress!
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shaszbotter
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« Reply #291 on: April 13, 2013, 05:10:33 pm »

i think for shoes you cold just go to an outdour shop and buy a pair of *dark* hiking shoes
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SpeedyFrenchy
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« Reply #292 on: April 17, 2013, 11:41:11 pm »

i think for shoes you cold just go to an outdour shop and buy a pair of *dark* hiking shoes

Seconded, a good pair of *leather* hiking boots looks great (when clean), is comfortable, and lasts forever(when well looked after). I bought a pair when my the sole fell off a previous boot, and they're still as good as new two years of hard wearing later.
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Heckler
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« Reply #293 on: April 18, 2013, 01:29:57 pm »

Slight thread hi-jack, I saw a pair of virtually brand new men's riding boots in a charity shop for peanuts; my question was, I don't ride horses, so never owned riding boots, will these things be uncomfortable to walk in?
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« Reply #294 on: April 18, 2013, 01:51:12 pm »

That depends on the boots; I had a tall pair which were very hard to walk in because on me they came up slightly too high and dug in at the back of the knee if I tried to move quickly. My shorter pair were comfortable. Try the boots on and see how they feel.
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Heckler
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« Reply #295 on: April 18, 2013, 02:14:02 pm »

Try the boots on and see how they feel.

Which is probably the best advice. 

Cheers!
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« Reply #296 on: May 10, 2013, 03:30:15 am »

It has been said time and time again, but I cannot stress enough the greatness of thrift stores. If you are lucky, it can be your one-stop-shop for all your steampunk needs. You can find delightful brass bits and miscellaneous items to create wondrous things out of, while at the time you can find a complete outfit. I would recommend shopping with an open mind. Look for things that you can alter, if you don't like the sleeves on a nice jacket, cut them off and make it a waistcoat. Search for clothes in the other gender's section. If you love the buttons and fabric on something, but hate the actual style of clothing, buy it and use the fabric and buttons for a different project. Don't just browse your size; often you can find the perfect thing and sizing down a skirt, for example, is quite easy.  Which brings me to my next point, I would suggest to learn the basics of sewing. Some things are so incredibly easy to make. My current favorite item to make are circle skirts. You can make one ranging from knee-length to floor length, and though not strictly Victorian-esque, if made with the right material and paired with the right accessories, it could look quite nice. Also, anyone can make a nice pair of spats if they have the right tools. To find cheap fabric, search the before-mentioned thrift shops. Look at curtains, sheets, dresses, and simply anything that may hold a lot of fabric. Buy it, bring it home and you have yards of fabric for mere pennies.
Also; my personal favorite for hardware items and random metal things galore- salvage shops. The one in my town is a charity of sorts, they get parts from houses that are being torn-down and sell them for 40-60% off the estimated store price. Also, if they have them in your town, attend antique shows/fairs. My town has hosts one of the biggest shows in the US. A lot of things are horrendously pricey, but often one can find treasures for cheap. I have found a leather belt pouch from the 30's for only $5 and a package of skeleton keys for the same price. Even if you end up not purchasing anything, it is quite fun looking at the antiques themselves.
I have found the best items in thrift stores, my favorite gloves, which I think are women driving gloves from the 1960s, have this wonderful appeal and fit perfectly and I bought them for just $4. I have bought a nice dress shirt for the same price and a beautiful leather belt for only $3. My biggest regret though is that I once was shopping and found this lovely full length bustle skirt, but it was two sizes to big so I decided not to get it. If only I knew then the sewing skills I know now... But alas, one must live and learn.
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Wirenth
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« Reply #297 on: May 14, 2013, 11:20:00 pm »

I must say that so far the only things I have purchased for any of my outfits are, needles, thread, a corset and some scrap leather, all in all I think my three outfits have cost me all of around £20, the rest of the outfit is just bits and pieces I hav modified, the latest one I used some old paints I had and painted up some of my kids toy guns, and as for clothes I have just altered a bridesmaid skirt (from my mums wedding 5 yrs ago, i did call her up and check it would be ok first lol) another outfit comprised of a corset I had had for ears, a blouse, a leather trench and a pair of jodhpurs again all things i had in my posession for years, a bit of clever accessorising and voila! a basic steampunk outfit  Smiley
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frances
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« Reply #298 on: May 15, 2013, 09:19:13 pm »

One thing that could do with being emphasised is that an outfit takes time to assemble.  It can take a couple of years to get all the bits together to one's satisfaction.

I usually find myself adding/sewing each time I decide to wear a particular outfit.  So noone should fret if their outfit is not finished.  I've had safety pins decorating the inside for years!
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Unsubtle Pete
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« Reply #299 on: May 20, 2013, 11:46:37 pm »

another outfit comprised of a corset I had had for ears

A corset for ears sounds intriguing, but not necessarily comfortable  Tongue
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