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Author Topic: Steampunk Outfit Basics for Beginners  (Read 1343 times)
Amalia Zeichnerin
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« on: May 01, 2014, 01:05:32 pm »

I've written about this on Tumblr: http://amalia-zeichnerin.tumblr.com/post/84007362394/steampunk-outfit-basics-for-beginners
Feel free to comment Smiley

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Cain McFaydon
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« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2014, 05:53:50 pm »

Vary well done. It's to the point, helpful, gives new steamers a choice in wardrobe options, has helpfull and informative links and even addresses the largest misconceptions and rumors about the style. All in all a good first step for the uninitiated.
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Amalia Zeichnerin
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« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2014, 07:51:17 pm »

Thank you kindly, Cain McFaydon Smiley
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Argus Fairbrass
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« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2014, 08:19:13 pm »

Hmm, Interested to know how you came up with the period 1870 to 1940?
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Herbert West
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« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2014, 01:44:51 am »

A nicely done little article Miss Amelia.

Though I'm sure some of your points are likely to stir discussion.
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Argus Fairbrass
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So English even the English don't get it!


« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2014, 03:09:46 am »

You're quite right Herbert, perhaps I should phrase my question slightly better. The article is indeed nicely written, but I am genuinely curious about the time period quoted. I realise that Dieselpunk is also mentioned, but specifically as regards Steampunk fashion, I've often found it quite hard to put a specific date on many outfits I've seen, as they regularly seem to contain elements that bridge different time periods.
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Amalia Zeichnerin
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« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2014, 02:17:32 pm »

The time period of 1870 to 1940 is rather meant as a rough guideline. Of course, in Steampunk, almost anything is possible. Of course you can easily mix elements from different periods. Yet at least in my experience you seldomly find Ladies' outfits similiar to fashion from ca. 1837 (first year of Queen Victorias reign) to ca. 1860.

For example you rather see bustle dresses (of all sorts and lengths) than wide crinoline dresses (in the victorian era from ca. 1830 - 1860) and I have never seen a Steampunk girl or Lady wearing a bonnet (which was also a fashion from ca. 1830 - 1860).

For me, I have to admit, on the other hand, gentlemens' fashion in Steampunk is harder to trace down to similar fashion in a specific time in the 19th century, because it didn't change as much visibly (at least with a cursory glance) as ladies' fashion. For example, the top hat was worn from ca. 1820 till right on in the early 20th century.

Of course, if you are an expert in gentlemens' fashion of the 19th century, you will disagree with me and know all the subtle changes in gentlemens' fashion.

(I hope you understand what I mean, I am not a native speaker because I'm from Germany.)
« Last Edit: May 02, 2014, 02:20:45 pm by Amalia Zeichnerin » Logged
Argus Fairbrass
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« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2014, 04:52:02 pm »

Sure, and I've definitely noticed the lack of bonnets and crinolines as well, even from those of the Weird West persuasion which is interesting. You'd have thought the pioneer look would be a little more widespread, but I guess actually in recent years, there's been little in pop culture or indeed sci fi to popularise it. At the moment it may have too much of a Waltons or Little House On The Prairie type vibe. I think many Steampunk ladies are taking their cues far more from Wild Wild West or Moulin Rouge or even Firefly than they are from Dr Quinn Medicine Woman or indeed the Amish hehe. And to be honest I think the glamour factor is often playing it's part there too which is fair enough.

This is one of the things in Steampunk fashion I noticed pretty quickly. I think in many ways it reflects and takes as much if not more inspiration from pop culture than history.

I've little doubt for example that some of the Steampunk pirate fashion has been more influenced by Pirates of the Caribbean than any actual pirates. But it does seem that it gained exposure and developed through the sci fi convention and festival circuits as much as anywhere, so that would make sense. Hence you have Steampunk Star Wars and Superheroes etc (and of course zombies...always the damn zombies lol). Also sci fi conventions have long been an environment where folks of the cosplay persuasion have showcased outfits they've designed and made. Turning those acquired skills on Steampunk resulted in some of the more colorful and imaginative examples we've seen.

But as far as the more workaday fashion as it is currently stands goes, I'd actually largely agree with your statement.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2014, 05:13:56 pm by Argus Fairbrass » Logged
Amalia Zeichnerin
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« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2014, 07:30:23 am »

Thank you Mister Fairbrass, for your explanation. That's indeed something I haven't thought about, that many Steampunks are inspired more by pop culture, movies etc. than by actual historical fashion. I guess I should add this in the article. May I quote you? 
When I think about it, that would also be a nice topic for a survey - asking Steampunks where the inspiration for their outfits came from.
By the way, I'm now offline for the weekend as I visit a Steampunk festival (the "Aethercircus" in northern Germany).
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1so-static
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« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2014, 09:28:10 am »

Does anyone here make clothes ?
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Argus Fairbrass
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« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2014, 08:06:17 pm »

Thank you Mister Fairbrass, for your explanation. That's indeed something I haven't thought about, that many Steampunks are inspired more by pop culture, movies etc. than by actual historical fashion. I guess I should add this in the article. May I quote you? 
When I think about it, that would also be a nice topic for a survey - asking Steampunks where the inspiration for their outfits came from.
By the way, I'm now offline for the weekend as I visit a Steampunk festival (the "Aethercircus" in northern Germany).

There's no need to quote me m'dear, you can certainly forward that as an opinion if you agree with it. I should underline though it is just my opinion rather than an absolute, and some may well not agree. Being in the UK, in an area with a growing but still hardly massive Steampunk scene, these are largely observations I've made from afar as it were.

I think to a degree it may be a cultural thing as well. There certainly are Steampunks that are influenced more by historical than fantasy or sci fi styles. I've met a few in my area, but they've often come to it from a background of being re enactors. I still believe that the pop culture influence has originated largely from the States. It was actually Bruce Boxleitner of Tron and Babylon 5 fame that I heard state that observation. He's currently still trying to promote a Steampunk influenced production of his own called Lantern City. Hence he's doing interviews and panels on the con circuit. He said this whole scifi fantasy cosplay etc fandom, has in recent years grown to such proportions that it truly should be considered pop culture and I totally agree.

Steampunk in origin is a sub genre of scifi/fantasy literature. So it does make sense that many of it's fans are also part of the wider fandom, and that is often very much reflected in their representations of Steampunk. It seems to me (again just an observation) that this influence has spread world wide because that aspect receives a great deal of publicity. But it hasn't necessarily been embraced by everybody. Hence for example you have some folks that are new to Steampunk who are under the impression that developing a persona is almost mandatory. And others (like myself) rather scratching our heads at that idea, as it's not something we've encountered much in our cultural circles, and we would consider that more of a cosplay take on things. I personally am not really involved with that, but again it is definitely something that is growing in popularity here.

So yes I would say the angle a person views Steampunk from (at least initially), is almost certainly influenced by the path or environment through which they first encounter it. And for many folks now that is pop culture.

Does anyone here make clothes ?

I believe so, what are you after?
« Last Edit: May 03, 2014, 08:16:50 pm by Argus Fairbrass » Logged
Amalia Zeichnerin
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« Reply #11 on: May 07, 2014, 01:15:06 pm »

Dear Mister Fairbrass,
thanks again for explaining. I've inserted a new paragraph in my article "Modern influences on Steampunk fashion" where I mention your observations about influences from pop culture.
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