I have been keeping an eye on eBay, when I get a chance, seeing what might be out there in the world of well-made "real world" clothing that is easily adaptable to Steampunk style. Over and over, the best I see are by Ann Taylor/LOFT. Just to prove my point, I have gathered some size 6 LOFT neo-Victorian jackets off of eBay today--a random selection of what you might expect to find in your size in any given week:
First of all, I must start with a jacket I own, and LOVE. The jacket has a lovely peplum shape in the back and subtly distressed texture at the collar and cuffs. The buttons are not steampunk but are innocuous enough, and there is equally subtle military detail on the shoulders. The jacket is also 3/4 sleeve length, which is my favorite--so perfect for multiple seasons, so practical for daily wear. It looks great with jeans and skirts. Did I mention I LOVE this jacket? I was thrilled to get mine in the store on clearance--now if you are a 6 regular you could have it for $18 and free shipping! (For the next 3 days that is. . . .)
I like the railroad engineer stripe on this jacket, and the stitching detail at the bottom. I even like the buttons, although swapping them out for something more Victorian would be a must if you wanted to translate this to SP.
This is more of an elegant evening jacket, but OH I can picture this with a long skirt gathered at the sides and some leather hip and/or bustier accessories. And jet Victorian earrings peeking out under upswept hair and one of those cute little veiled top hat fascinators. And maybe some colorful feathers. So much potential!
I guess I should just admit that I have a weakness for railroad/ticking stripes. But look at the lovely lavender interpretation here! Again, ideally I would swap out the buttons for something Victorian-esque, or at least a little distressed, in pewter tones perhaps, but these are also workable just as they are. This would be lovely with a tan or olive long skirt, white petticoat under, period-appropriate heeled leather boots. Like Katharine Hepburn in a steampunk version of The African Queen. . . .) The hat would have to be something much more sensible than what I envision for the last jacket. . . ohhhh, a little straw number with mosquito netting, or maybe a whimsical bird! Anyone else see it?
Pseudo-military, excellent beginning for a SP jacket. The buttons are not my favorite only because they are plain, and a glossy matte--but then again, I guess I can't picture at this moment what I would like better. If this jacket was 3/4 sleeve it would likely be in my closet by now. . .
And speaking of my closet, I just could not resist this one. Yes, there were three of them on eBay, and I made a reasonable offer on the cheapest and won--and it was NWT to boot! In my defense, I actually need a new winter jacket, and, well, I just could not get this one out of my mind. The three sellers describe this jacket as more of a brown with purple undertones than the plum it appears in the photos--which sounds perfect, since I am craving some color in my wardrobe, but still want a coat that will compliment the rest of my clothes. But just look at the texture on that jacket! And the closures!
This jacket is just too adorable. Oh, I love the shaped waist, the color, the fabric--the only thing I would want to steampunk up would be the buttons. I know, you all think I am way too hard on the buttons of these jackets. But sometimes a subtle detail like that is the one thing that will make a piece go from cute jacket to steampunk.
Do you have a jacket you love, or a designer who leans towards neo-Victorian/Steampunk? Please do let us know in the comments--I always like to know who to keep an eye on.