Sunday, September 30

Sunday Pseudo-Steam for Sept. 30, 2012

After I posted my first "Sunday Pseudo-Steam" look last week, I realized it must have looked very boring to those of you who love Steampunk for its gear and gadgetry and textural complexity.  I should have explained that my Real World Steampunk wardrobe is in its very beginning stages, and I am just now getting enough neo-Victorian pieces to actually start putting them together into looks.  So you might look at these photos and think, Minnie Zephie has no clue how to make a Real World Steampunk wardrobe.  Her clothes are barely Victorian, let alone Steampunk.  Where are the iconic style elements like goggles and gears and grommets and brass and buckles and belts and holsters and tiny hats perched jauntily?  

I would answer in return:
A. You realize I did at least put some gears on it and call it Steampunk. 
B. Even if I did own cool Steampunk goggles, I would not wear them to church. But it will be fun to find Steampunk accessories I can.
C. These images, unexciting as they might be, represent the personal triumph of months of searching and dreaming about my eventual Real World Steampunk wardrobe.  
D. I think these looks are boring and not Steamy enough too.  But have patience with me, because I am only just beginning!  

As I add more specifically Steampunk (as opposed to plain old neo-Victorian) elements to my wardrobe, I'll be anxious to add them to these looks and share them with you.  But in the meantime, just know that I fully realize these are stylistically bare looks--but I'll still share them, for those will enjoy seeing the wardrobe as it develops.

So, here was my pseudo-Steampunk look for today:

GAP Jeans (after looking at me in these jeans in all these pics, though, they are not my favorite!)
Pikolinos Moraira sandals
Jacket by Ann Taylor/LOFT

Couldn't get a good picture of the earrings, but they are these, from Elaine Louise Studios on Etsy:

I realized after we took all of last week's photos that I should have made sure to get a pic of what I was wearing underneath the jacket.  So, here is the blouse I was wearing today, by Odille. 

So, there you have it.  My second Pseudo-Steampunk Sunday look.  I can see in the future adding aubergine sheer striped tights and a knee-length skirt with ruffles to suggest a bustle, with my new Victorianesque brown leather knee calf-high boots.  We'll just have to wait and see what I can rustle up from eBay and Etsy!

Saturday, September 29

Steampunk Potential: Anthropologie Jackets on eBay

After I looked at my size in the Ann Taylor/LOFT category the other day, I checked out the offerings people had listed under "Anthropologie"--and was completely blown away by the fabulous options there!  Keep in mind, I am only looking for size 6 (or sometimes M, but that designation does not usually find the nicest pieces--junior and/or cheaper brands go by S, M, L while nicer labels generally use number sizes), so if you like something, just try searching for it under your own size.  Consider my posts a sampling of what is out there--and maybe my research will help you score your own find.

So, here you go--a bounty of beautiful neo-Victorian shapes, and a decadence of delightful detail:

found here

I love the texture along the front and edging. Feminine, but not fussy.  It works so well in this bone--the color brings out the ruffle and shoulder details.  This is the kind of jacket that is perfect for dress up/dress down, and would also perfectly complement other Steampunk wardrobe elements.  And I can picture it with long skirts, short full skirts and knee boots, or khakis, or jeans.  So much versatility.

found here

Too bad the other photos from this seller seem to show this jacket is a little too boxy in shape--a waist-fitted silhouette is more Victorian--but I just love the creative fabric "bunting" along the front and bottom of the jacket, esp. paired with the smooth strips of trim.  The color is beautiful too; if only this jacket had just a little more form I might be in love with it.

found here

What another beautiful pairing of delicate texture and color.  This olive is also so great for Steampunk--and this jacket would also look good with either long or short skirts.  And  I like that you could make a neo-Victorian look very simply with this jacket--the way it lays you would not need to fuss about an appropriate blouse but just wear a cami and call it a day.  But the lady who wears this for a Steampunk look really would need her hair up--any hair falling past the shoulders would just detract from the jacket's elegant line.

found here

This jacket would be nothing special if it were not for the sweet soft ruffle and how well it complements this particular shade of green.

found here

It is hard to tell the fabric of this jacket by the photo--is that linen or very bleached lightweight denim?  If the latter. . . shudder.  Let's hope it is linen.  This is not my favorite jacket of the bunch, but I like how casual it is; this is another jacket you could throw over jeans and a white T-shirt for instant elegance, but with the right pieces it could be Steampunk.  I can't even tell exactly what color that is--gray?  Light blue?  That makes it  hard to mentally work into a specifically Steampunk look.  But if light blue, it could look terrific with coppery accessories and a rust long skirt.  If gray, I would go with more chocolate brown for the bottom half, or perhaps olive.  So much depends upon the sheen of the fabric and the actual color.

found here

This is another fairly simple style of jacket, but I really like the subtle flare at the hip and the distressed ruffled piping on the lapel.

found here

This one is the plainest of the bunch, but a great color for Steampunk, and a great practical shape for a modern Adventuress.

found here

You would probably never put this jacket into a Steampunk post, for understandable reasons. It's pink. It's uber-feminine.  It looks like eyelet, for heaven's sake.  BUT, there are many reasons why someone might want to work such a piece into her Steampunk wardrobe--such as not everyone looks good in the more common Steampunk colors, like brown, black, grey, khaki, tan, copper, rust, etc.  And it would get boring to only have those colors in one's closet.  And there are many ways how someone could work this jacket into a Steampunk wardrobe, esp. because it is such a pretty pairing with all those above mentioned "traditionally" Steampunk colors.  Imagine it with an above-the-knee tan skirt with a ruffly bustle, and striped cream hosiery (maybe even a little distressed, to offset the good-girlie jacket), and tall, Victorian-heeled beige boots.  With a cameo at the neck on a black velvet ribbon!

Also, notice the spacing of the buttons on this jacket could allow a belt to be worn over it--but it would have to be leather, and fall just right between the buttons.

found here

This jacket is very similar in feel to the pink one--and again, it is fun to think about how it could be S'punked.         (Did I just invent a word? I think I did.) With this one, if I were daring enough, I would put a black leather waist cincher underneath--the kind that goes from under the breasts to the hips, with a straight lines across the body so it would show just enough both above and below the jacket's closing.  But not a tight cincher, that would pinch the waist in--we're going for a smoother front drape.  With a white blouse--one that also creates a  horizontal line across the body to parallel the cincher, like an embellished camisole, with a soft drape and gather of fabric over the breasts (but not poofing out).  Then some kind of lacy neckpiece, and either a dark grey or chocolate brown mid-length skirt with a long ruffle at the bottom hem, and black boots.  Oh, and earrings made from Victorian black jet buttons!

found here

Another lovely yet practical design.  The ruffles are not too much, and the shape is flattering.  I agree with the length of skirt they paired it with in this photo, but it would be so cute with short khaki cargo shorts over striped tights too!

found here

This one is plenty Victorian, but harder to S'punk.  I would only put it with tan or beige, or oh! a long black and white small ticking stripe with a big ruffled bustle in the back!  But you would HAVE to swap out the buttons--those are hideous.  Even small cream buttons would be better, but a clever girl could make the buttons best suit the other pieces she plans on wearing with it.
found here

This one could be worn with long skirts, but is so flirty I think would look best with shorter skirts.  How cute would it be with a floucy black layered skirt with a silky slip of a highly contrasting color underneath, like peacock blue or absinthe green just peeking out?  And black textured tights and black heeled ankle boots?  The top you would wear underneath would really depend upon the look you were going for, but you could wear a simple camisole that would not compete with accessories, or you could even put a long sleeved black and gray striped knit underneath, to bring out the punk.  This is another jacket that would be better with hair worn up--and some little Steampunk feathered fascinator.

found here

Another short sleeved velvety red jacket--but I had to post a pic because the button detail on the back of the sleeves and on the peplum made me so happy.  This is the kind of detail I love.

found here

For a denim jacket, this is just about as Victorian as you can get.  I love the ruffle detail, and the darting detail above the pockets.  And the buttons are just right--a little railroad flair, and look like real brass.

found here

And for what looks like a warm weather coat, this one has a lovely Victorian shape that would go well over just about any Steampunk outfit.

found here

This one intrigues me too;  it channels the darker side of Steampunk.  Makes me think of those still, foggy London in nights and quiet footsteps behind that make a lady quicken her own.  I see it with long skirts and black boots.  And a plumed hat, for the one daring enough to wear one.

found here

So adorable!  And look at how the model is wearing it on the left--just make the head and neck pieces more  quintessentially Steampunk, wear with appropriate black boots, and right there you have a real-world Steampunk look.

If any of you readers have a different vision for how to S'punk up any of these jackets, I would love to hear it in the comments.

Tuesday, September 25

Steampunk Potential: More Ann Taylor/LOFT Jackets on EBay

In Sunday's Pseudo Steam post I was wearing one of my favorite things in my entire wardrobe, my grey LOFT jacket.  It looks great with everything, it is just the right weight for Spring, Summer and Fall, it is machine washable, and it has 3/4 sleeves, which I love because I can do anything in them without fuss.  But I am starting to worry that I am going to wear it out too quickly--I seriously wear it all the time!  So I have been keeping my eye on Ann Taylor/LOFT jackets on eBay, looking to see if I can find other jackets that would meet the same style and practicality needs while adding some versatility to my wardrobe.  And when I find ones I like, of course I have to share them with you.

So, here are my eBay finds for today:

found here

This is a jacket I found in an earlier search, but in black.  I have really been smitten with the color aubergine recently, and this shape in this color in this lovely texture is just. . . lovely.

found here

Another dressy jacket, with nice detail on the piping and closure.

found here

Pretty color, nice texture--not so crazy by the way the lapel lays, but it might be better on a person.

found here

This one is hard to tell from the way they laid it out for the photo--it could either be a very cute military style jacket that could translate very well to Steampunk, or it could end up looking like 90's business chic.

found here

If you have been reading this blog for long you know I enjoy the little details on any item of clothing; these are often what can turn an overall fairly blah article into something subtly pleasing.  In this case, it is the contrast created by the piping color and texture.  From what I can make out of the buttons, though--uh, no.  Swapping out the buttons would be a must if you wanted to use this for a Steampunk look.

This jacket is also one I featured before, but in brown.  The listing has ended, though, so I'm not bothering to link it.  I really like the shapely cut of this jacket, and love this kind of texture in my winter wear.  Oh, and since I was needing another jacket, and since I did not have a brown one, and since the seller of the brown version of this one had a "make an offer" option, I made an offer for half of what was originally asked, and "won."  I can't wait to see it in real life.

This is another listing that has ended, but is so cute I had to share.  I love the color and texture, and the seller's other photos showed that this jacket has the same cute little pleated peplum in the back as my favorite grey jacket.  I really wish I could add this one to my wardrobe too, but I don't need it, so will admire it from afar.  Sigh.

found here

This one intrigues me.  I love the antique styling, and the lovely sheen, and the listing says it is even machine washable.  I have a feeling it hangs much better than what they are showing here--you gotta love when sellers are asking a lot of money for a piece of clothing, but don't bother to steam out the wrinkles or straighten it on the mannequin.  And I wish I knew if the color was accurate; if so, that is such a lovely stormy sea green.

found here

This one could also look a little too '90's in person--but it has potential, and I absolutely love the idea of using the "real" texture and feel of leather for Steampunk jackets.

found here

Now this one is very unusual in style--this is a warm winter jacket, with the outer shape of a Victorian jacket but an inner layer with a zipper and hoodie!  (I don't think they actually separate into two layers, and not sure they need to.) I actually kinda like it; it would be so practical for colder weather and yet would not fight with the other elements of Steampunk you might wear with it.  So, could be a great find for someone with that need.

found here

This jacket is not very Steampunk;  I'm not even sure it is on the Victorian spectrum, but it is channeling something antique in style and that works for me.  I love the contrast piping, but only because of that adorable button detail at the waist--that's the kind of detail that is a little delightful surprise.  The seller's other photos show this has buttons on the sleeve cuffs too--love it.  And it is 3/4 shape, my favorite!  I only wish I could tell the tone of the denim; on a piece that this, just the tone of blue/grey changes its whole feel.  The seller says it is dark blue; if it were more on the black side, it would be more versatile for trying to work into a Steampunk wardrobe.

found here

I find this jacket absolutely adorable too.  It is feminine and fun, but yet looks like it would be easy to wear. And it is another 3/4 sleeve. I debated making this one my brown jacket for the fall, but decided the other one would be more practical, to carry me into winter.  So this too I shall admire from afar.

found here

I actually can't quite place the historical feel of this jacket, and it is not Steampunk at all--but it is gorgeous, and so I had to share it, for those of you who appreciate modern re-inventions of antique styles, whether Steampunk or not.  Another one that would likely be really flattering on me. . . good thing I am being sensible in my selections.

Sunday, September 23

Sunday Pseudo-Steam for Sept 23, 2012

I have mentioned before that my main fascination with Steampunk clothing is not the fantasy looks people wear only to cosplay conventions or costume parties.  Those glamorous, highly-accessorized outfits are usually so inventive, and the people who created them look fabulous and like they are having a ball--but they usually still look like costumes.  Elegant and fanciful and creative and even inspired, yes--but still costumes.

For me, the costume-y nature of most Steampunk get-ups goes against a very subtle underlying element of Steampunk itself, which is imagining that the alternate history is real.  Imagining the what if as if it came to be.  So the very best bits of Steampunk culture have verisimilitude, a wonderful word I learned way back during my film studies days that means, to quote, "The appearance or semblance of truth; likelihood, probability."   This means that the Steampunk looks I enjoy the most are the ones with the most realism--that look like they are real clothing, which might be worn by real characters, in the alternative reality of this re-imagined Victorianism.

And in this same vein, the Steampunk looks that really get me excited are those worn by normal, 21st century people going about their everyday business.  Real-world Steampunk Style--a continuing series I have been meaning to write about ever since I started this blog.  And yet, that is what I have been writing about all this time, when I share boots you can buy, or jackets, or jewelry.  They are all pieces that are subtly Steampunk, that one could wear any day of the week, to work and out in the evenings, that manage to fashionably marry the Victorian era and the modern day.   The people who dress up in Steampunk gear for occasional  themed events are indulging their creative fantasies, and good for them; the people who work Steampunk into their everyday clothes are living their creative fantasies.

It is much harder to do the latter!

Think about it--depending upon your own personal life, to go about your day as a teacher, a banker, a mom, all in clothing that nods to Steampunk and nourishes your creative spirit, but which does not seem out of place to everyone around you.  To wear clothes that are comfortable and practical for whatever activities that will come in your day,  that are easy to care for and you will enjoy wearing--but make you feel just a tad daring and deviant.  This is my personal fashion fantasy.

So starting last year, I decided I needed some new clothes, and by golly, if I could find vaguely Victorian pieces, so much the better!  The hunt was on.  And to be honest, maybe the hunt is half of the fun.  I don't know which is tinier, my closet or my clothing budget; either way, I have no desire to collect clothes that don't meet my real-world needs, that might look cool but I wouldn't really end up wearing.  So the process of steaming up my wardrobe is slow, but the few things I have found and bought already make me happy.

And that's really the point.  Clothes that make us happy, that make us feel fully like ourselves.

So as I assemble these real-world pseudo-Steampunk outfits, I'll share them with you here.  I know your tastes and mine won't necessarily be the same, but those of you who have a craving for more Steampunk in your everyday wardrobe might enjoy seeing what I've come up with.

And most of these Sunday Pseudo-Steam looks will likely be things I just wore to church!  Tee-hee!  If you can wear your Steampunk to church, you can wear it anywhere.

This Sunday's ensemble:
~ Jacket by Ann Taylor LOFT
Cocoa-nuts Skirt by Clockwork Couture
~ Pikolinos Moraira sandals

~ Earrings by Elaina Louise Studios

Subtle, for sure.  But super comfortable, practical, and most of all, me.

If any of you readers have blogs or Flicker sites or any other online photo collection of your own real-world Steampunk style, please do share in the comments!