Which, at least on etsy, are typically gorgeous.
Custom Steampunk utility corset by LillysWorkshop
Which instantly make a woman--any woman--look more elegant, sexy, interesting and playful.
Steel-boned Renaissance Paisley Corset by Innerversion
Which explains why any woman would buy and/or wear one, considering how completely impractical and, let's face it, distinctly uncomfortable they are as articles of clothing.
I mean, c'mon--can you see a mom like me lifting her toddler in any of these, or bending over to help a child tie her shoelaces. . . ?
Which makes me wonder if Kate Beckinsale had two corsets, which she alternated wearing during the filming of Van Helsing; one to strut in. . .
. . . and one with more "give" to wear during her swashbuckling action scenes. Because if she really was doing all that running and dodging and sword-swinging in the steel-boned real deal, she is either a wee bit masochistic or demonstrates a dedication to her art that leaves me in awe.
Typically, the steampunk women who put on a corset have nothing more strenuous planned than lifting their parasols or adjusting their goggles--their full intention is simply to stroll around and be marveled at in all their full feminine fabulousness.
Or maybe to roll around and be marveled at. . .
Gothic black corset by labellefairy
But beyond cosplay and foreplay, it seems as if corsets have also become popular for wedding ensembles--a PERFECT use for them, since all a bride wants to do on her wedding day is stand around looking unique and ravishing. (I wonder if any of them consider the symbolism of taking on such a restricting, self-crushing manifestation of femininity during the ceremony ushering them into matrimony. . . mmmm, probably not.)
Oh, those dresses are fantastic. Maybe someday when Dear Husband and I celebrate some major wedding anniversary we can have some kind of renewing of the vows ceremony. . . Steampunk style (you better believe DH would be all for it--he's waiting for an excuse to gear-up as much as I).
Mermaid Steampunk Corset Wedding Dress, also by labellefairy
corset wedding gown coral steampunk, also by labellefairy
Especially for a wedding, a corset can be steampunk or not, depending upon the fabric, the colors, and what else the bride is wearing; in fact, neither of these two examples are steampunk to me, just beautiful corsets that would naturally translate to steampunk if they were worn with the right accessories.
Look at the copper shimmer on this corset--so, so pretty, and would be lovely for a formal event, and subtly steampunk all on its own:
Black and Copper Lined Ladies Steampunk Corset by TreadleTreasures
On the other hand, some corsets scream Steampunk:
Striped Victorian Circus with Skeleton Cameo Corset by Louise Black
I don't usually go for the macabre Steampunk, but this one manages to be elegant and shows a sense of humor (although I say those ribs look way more comfortable than they would really be in a corset).
Ooooh, I like the pinstriped version of that one even more!
Pinstripe steel boned waistcoat corset, moll lace front corset also by Innerversion
Adorable juxtaposition of straight-laced (ha!) and playful.
Steampunk Neo Victorian Corset, Steel Boned Copper Overbust by Battieclothing
Corsets--the painfully playful side of Steampunk. If I ever have the need for jaw-dropping fantasy clothing--you know, like when I am nominated for an Oscar for that screenplay I am writing,* or when Minnie Zephie's latest line of haute couture children's clothing takes the runway in Milan**--you better believe I'm building my ensemble around a corset.
*no, really, I am. Or I was before kiddos took over my life ; )
**I have excellent taste and am brimming with ideas. Now I just need to learn to sew