Wednesday, June 22

Accessories for the (Steampunk) Lady: for the Shoulders

I posted last about beautiful and creative ways a woman could get some Neo-Victorian/Steampunkish style to her neck.  The neck is such a great place to add a little style.  Depending upon the item you choose for your neck, it can help you stay warm in the winter while lending you some texture and beauty;  it can instantly and easily give your outfit a touch of class, drama, or whimsy;  it can help you allow you to accessorize while keeping your arms and hands clutter free; it can be easily worn with shirts and jackets you already own.  If I decide to ask for a piece of Steampunk beauty for my wardrobe for a birthday or Christmas gift this year, it will most likely be something for the neck.

But I also love the less practical but just as beautiful shrugs and capelets and little jackets that can give an outfit subtle Steampunk style:

She looks gorgeous. A damsel in a story of love and adventure.  I'll bet she's just about to load up the kids in the Dodge Caravan to drive across town, and drop off the older kids at martial arts while she runs to Costco with the little ones for milk and pizza so there's something to throw on the table for dinner.  Or maybe that's just what love and adventure look like around here most days.

Here are more by the same etsy seller:

I think this is the cutest jacket.  I would so wear it--it would dress up a t-shirt wonderfully.

And it comes in black too, which is a little more child-friendly (although I prefer the rough cut of the edging on the bone jacket, for its nice texture).

This one is dressier, and less practical, and is a little more goth, but still cute--and I like that tank underneath too.

More from other etsy sellers:

I have lost the info for this seller--but so fancy! and steampunky!

cute crop top by hhfashions

That one is a similar jacket, but not photographed as well.  But I really, really like the textured look of the black mesh around the neck and bottom.

short sleeve shrug by decadentdesignz

shrug 003 by pookaqueen

poison black raw sink bolero by maryandangelika

armor bolero by ButterflyOfTelepathy

I am really attracted to that last one--looks so comfortable, and is unusual--and could be so fun to wear. . . but I have a feeling it would terrible on me, hiding my now miniscule bosom but showing off my belly.  Yeah, probably as attractive as it sounds.

That adorable shrug I would totally wear--so cute. But this appears to be by one of the etsy haute couture designers, and laughably expensive ($140).

If I was ever going to spend that much $ on a steampunkish jacket, it had better make me look like this:

madness shrug hoodie by aNGrYGiRLGear

And by that I mean ravishingly strong and sexy.  Except in a slightly more wholesome way.   Like a sexy but righteous-hearted superhero.

Re-imagining yourself.  The heart of Steampunk.

Accessories for the (Steampunk) Lady: for the Neck Pt 2.--the Delicate

As I made that last Steampunk fashion post, I realized there were just too many fun bits I have gathered over the past 6 months for one post.  

So here is Part 2!  Steampunk jewelry for the neck--the usual necklaces and chokers, but with Steampunk icons, or ideas, or materials:

Skeleton key necklace by GwenDelicious

oval keyhole pendant by GwenDelicious

fly away pendant by MisfitGirl

upcycled necktie maria necklace by lilian asterfield

For some reason I absolutely love that last one.  I would wear that necklace with that exact top and shrug in a heartbeat.  If I could afford it, which I can't.  So I'll just enjoy looking, and mentally stick the idea away for sometime when I have the urge to get creative with old men's ties!

Accessories for the (Steampunk) Lady: for the Neck Pt 1.--the Warm

I mentioned earlier that I started noticing there was such a thing as steampunk style last year, when I was doing a lot of clothing searches on etsy, trying to find a couple of new clothing pieces for my wardrobe that were made in the US (to try to put my $ back into our own national economy, and support small industry, and to avoid overseas labor abuses).  If you want cool handmade clothes, etsy is the place to go!  A lot of the stuff there is pricey, but a lot of it is what you would expect to pay at the mall at regular price.  So, no great discounts, but at least you know what your money is supporting.

Hold on--all that is WAY too practical of an introduction for what I want to show you today, which is just pure eye-candy;  in this case, gorgeous pieces for the neck.  Ok, some of them are practical, kinda, if you need your neck really warm.  In fact, I found most of them when I was looking at scarves last year.  But I saved them to show you just because they are so cool, and so beautiful.  And they can be Steampunk, or not, depending on what they are put with. 

Have I mentioned that I love texture?  I think this is one of the main reason Steampunk clothes appeal to me--they usually involve a play of textures:  lace worn with metal grommets, leather and buckles with velvet and brocade, satin with canvas and brass.  In my own wardrobe I have always loved contrasting (yet complimentary) textures, like black velvet against blue denim, nubby wool with wide grograin ribbon.  But thinking about my warbrobe nowadays, it is mainly practical denim and cotton knit--not much texture at all.  I think that is why I was so attracted to this collection of accessories on etsy--the knitted and knotted and felted and beaded stuff--I miss the subtle play of textures in my clothes.

Of course, the best part about that is it will be so easy to add a little bit of texture AND steampunk style to my wardrobe with just a few select pieces!  Hmmmmmmm, I do have a birthday coming up. . . .

Crochet Pretty Flower Neckwarmer by FuzzyLumpkinCrochet

Braided Crochet Neckwarmer by FuzzyLumpkinCrochet

Fiesta Stole by Ellita

Ok, so some of these are pretty dramatic, and I would not be brave enough to wear them. But boy, are they striking. And so, so beautiful, each in their own way.

leaf scarf by deniz03

comfort me with roses necklet by mermaidencreations

But I would wear several of these, including this last one--too bad California does not get cold enough.

gray black boucle capelet by knitsomestudio

And there is so, so much more I am sure I could find on etsy, the treasure-trove of handmade goodness.  But I am just posting the things I have come upon, and try to restrain myself from window shopping for hours and hours, as I am sure someone could easily do.

On the other hand, sitting down to browse with my afternoon cup of tea for a "few minutes" seems perfectly reasonable. . . .

Accessories for the (Steampunk) Lady: For the Waist

I was going to make my next post in this sequence about how steampunk styles can be subtly conveyed in every-day clothing--Steampunk Style In Real Life.  But it has proven a lot harder than I expected finding pics of women in steampunkish outfits that don't look like costumes they just wear on special "dress-up" occassions.  I think this is because we don't usually take pics of ourselves in our everyday clothes!  So that particular post I'll be working on and will save for the end of this series.

So for now, you will just have to use your imagination. Several of the outfits in the last post (esp. photos 7 and 14) I could see being worn in the real world--ok, I would wear them!  (#7 I wish I could have right. now.)  And the second from the last is adorable, and although not quite my style, if the corset was more "top" than "undergarment" looking, I could see it at casual day at work.  Well, depending upon where you work. ; )  The design foundation of Steampunk is neo-Victorianism--so take your long skirt and/or your puffy-sleeved, high-necked blouse and you have the beginning elements!  Then choose your persona in this alternate history, and make the clothing fit that story. 

And that, I think, is really what sets Steampunk attire apart from plain-old neo-Victorian--that the clothes suggest you are part of a bigger, more complex, and unexpected story.  So that is why the clothes deviate--and in most cases EXTREMELY--from the historical Victorian apparel;  because the Steampunk vision deviates from Victorian history.

Before we get on to more eye-candy, I want to address something my friend Stacy said after my last post :

I see [Steampunk] as an alternate post-Industrial Revolution option. As in, a world vastly similar to ours went through an industrial revolution during a time of more gender equality and the clothing represents the mechanical advances of the day but still remains exclusive through amazing fabrics and accoutrements that the average worker wouldn't be able to afford. Like a Hollywood meets Industrial Revolution style. . . 

Stacy, YES, that is exactly it--an alternate ending to the historical Industrial Revolution. It is looking back at our world at a particular point in time when so much change was just starting to happen, when there were so many advances in science and industry and exploration, when humans were learning to fly, to gain landspeeds never before comprehended through mechanical locomotion, etc. . . and then imagining what it would have been like if certain ideas from today had been around with that era's "advanced" technology.

There *can* be a little bit of the exclusivity I think you mean--in fact, those are the Steampunk "Aristrocrats"--BUT I would venture that part of the appeal of Steampunk is that it celebrates the common, everyday person who has ideas and gumption and is adventuresome and hands-on.  Which is also why a lot of steampunk clothes are more drab in color and are pretty utilitarian in fabric and style, and have so many gadgets!

In fact, the gadgets that are so much a part of steampunk clothes represent that these "characters" DO things--and creative, brave things at that. The goggles suggest aviators, or metal-workers, or driving in primative but fast vehicles. Two big Steampunk design icons are locks and keys, which I think represent secrets to be unhidden (think Sherlock Holmes) and are symbolic of (particularly for women) power over one's own freedom. Clocks (esp. their gears and cogs) are the other big design icon, and they represent not only the glory of the mechanical at its most beautiful and efficient, but also the playing with time and history that takes place within the Steampunk imagination.

But I came across a great quotation about this aspect of the fashion on a discussion board (the discussion ended back in something like 2006, so I am not bothering to link it): 
Steampunk’s not all about cogs and gears, and a lot of serious steampunks even look down on it when people stick them to things with no purpose aside from decorative. Clothing does not have to have cogs and gears on it to be steampunk. Clothing where they actually have a function (like tightening a corset) is great, but be careful about sewing a gear to something and calling it steampunk, because to a number of people it just says noob.

I completely agree.  And as I mentioned before, I prefer the outfits that look like something a "real person in a Steampunk age" would wear, and not costumes.  Outlandish is fine--as long as you can sell it. 
And here is a short but very good article (with pictures) about why Steampunk clothes can't be "too plain-old Victorian."

Still speaking of goggles and gears, one of the things you might have noticed about the steampunk emsembles in my last post is that the accessories are really what make them Steampunk!  There are certain accessories that are quintessential Steampunk:  goggles, gloves, lace, stockings, hats, chains and keys, lots of straps and buckles, belts and corsets!  For this post I will focus on the latter: steampunked waists.

I must confess that I love the way corsets look.  Ultra-feminine, and yet a little tough.  Some of the ones pictured below would be adorable with jeans or a long skirt, and I imagine would nicely play up my newly deflated bosom while downplaying my four-baby belly.  You know, so I'd look kinda like this:

Innocence Custom Corset Top by aNGrYGiRLGear

(. . . momentarily sighing and gazing wistfully off into space. . . )

Ok, where was I?  Right.  Some of the corsets currently out there are true steel-boned, custom-fit pieces--the real and painful deal.  For those who like the look, but also enjoy breathing, there are other corsets and belts that have more giving structure and comfortable fabrics/leathers.

All of the belts and corsets featured here are from etsy.

Red Button Tab Vixen Corset by damselinthisdress

Pirate Vixen Corset by damselinthisdress

Black and White overbust corset, steel boned, custom made by corsetwonderland

Wool Plaid and Faux Leather STEAMPUNK Extra Wide Waist Belt or Cincher by CurvyWench

There are several here I would wear around town, and feel good about, or that I would create an elegant evening look with--if I ever had the need and extra fashion funds.  My favorite of the bunch (and the most quintessential steampunk) is the "copper utility corset"--but the one I really wish I could buy is the "lola loves leather" one.

(OK, I would love to have some fun accessories like this, BUT I have written before about how having a lot of stuff SO does not fit my life values right now, or the size of my house. So I will just enjoy looking, and not actually fall into coveting!)

Oh, and you full-bodied readers--I must say after browsing through lots of pics in the last 6 months, while slim women model these items on etsy, very big women are the ones who love to wear them to Steampunk costume events!  And they usually look fabulous.  And like they are enjoying themselves immensely.  I'm just sayin.' 

Up next. . . Steampunk for the neck!