Steampunk Fashion: Then and Now

Steampunk Fashion: Then and Now
Pocket watches are a big part of steampunk fashion!

Steampunk fashion can be defined as an industrial, gothic style; it depicts an alternate history of two specific, actual times in history: the Victorian era, and the Industrial era.   With jewelry pieces and outfits that resemble the nineteenth century era Steampunk jewelry pieces and outfits resemble pieces from the Victorian era, and a majority of them are handmade.. Since they are mostly hand crafted, some may think that they are just bits and pieces from a watch glued together – however, steampunk jewelry is the farthest thing from it.

The trend is a cross between the old Victorian style and industrial usefulness, creating its own combination of form and function. The colors are generally kept to neutral or darker colors. Accessories will usually be one center piece, and then a few other pieces to complement it. The industrial vibe is brought in with the accessories,. Whether it is a pocket watch or a pair of goggles, they are usually made to look very brassy or mechanical. This trend is expected to bubble within years to come and take over the retail industry, as IBM predicted in 2013.

The future for steampunk looks bright. But where did it come from? You can find a lot of inspiration in movies like Walt Disney’s 20000 Leagues Under the Sea, particularly in the submarine Nautilus and its interior. People take the time to redesign anything, from watches to iPads, in order to make them look old-fashioned steampunk, using accents like brass, wood, and leather. In regards to jewelry, there is a lot of inspiration drawn from 1960’s The Time Machine, where pieces from clocks and watches are used in different, creative ways. Since there were no actual wrist watches during this time frame, people will often remake them into pocket watches, the more commonly used portable clock of the time.

The first person to coin the term “steampunk” was K.W. Jeter in 1987 to describe that steam, not electricity, drove technical advancements. However, influences of date as far back as the times of Mark Twain and H. G. Wells, who is one of the forefathers of Steampunk. Authors such as Tim Powers and William Gibson were influenced by the authors of the past, and they are the ones who inspire the style of today. It is safe to say that steampunk could possibly be the longest chain reaction, in regards to style.  

So, to sum this all up, steampunk has been around forever, and isn’t going away anytime soon! The easiest things to wear on a daily basis would be the jewelry, considering they have the vintage vibe, but aren’t as distracting as other steampunk element. But who knows? Maybe in a few years, steampunk fashion will be a norm in society. History tends to repeat itself, and we see it the most in fashion. We went from high waisted bell bottoms, to “hip huggers,” and then back to high waisted, so maybe we are just retracing our steps, learning slowly that we had it right the first time!

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