Wednesday, October 24

Real-World Steampunk Style: Winter Boots to Beat the Elements

So, as I shared in my last "Pseudo-Steampunk Sunday" post, late last Spring I finally found my perfect pair of Steampunk dress boots:

Here in California, winter means rain.  This means I really wanted at least one pair of dressy boots (i.e. look great with skirts) that were waterproof.  When I saw these in a little shop downtown I fell instantly in love--but they did not have my size, and could not order more since it was the end of the season.  I immediately scoured the internet, and after much searching found *one* other pair, in a little mom and pop store, in my size, in this lovely chocolate brown.  I felt the thrill of a successful hunt, and elation at finally finding one pair of practical, totally neo-Victorian dress boots.  I eagerly anticipated the turning of the seasons once more, when I could pull them out and finally wear them.

Of course now that cooler weather is upon us once more, you can find these boots everywhere, even on Amazon!  I'm glad I did not gamble on them being available this year; you never know what styles are going to be discontinued.  But I am so glad for all of you too, since how you have the option of finding them, if you need such a boot in your Steampunk wardrobe. 

I am also so glad that my research familiarized me with the brand La Canadienne. Not only are they beautifully made, quality boots, most of their styles are waterproof leather, and many of them are Steampunk compatible!  

Tahra in black

This boot is very similar to Tahra, but is a little more modern/neutral/subtle in the detailing.  (Be sure to click on the images to see them larger, for best detail comparison.) So this is an excellent choice if you want a boot that is vaguely Victorian, so it is compatible with your Steampunk ensembles, but also want it to be as flexible as possible in working well with other styles. 

A basic granny-boot style, but with a good heel for slippery sidewalks.

A basic riding boot is almost always good for Steampunk, esp. if it has nice buckle detailing.

I do not at all like the heel on this boot, but do like the detail at the top.  I can see this working well with Steampunk, despite the heel.

Rimes in the "black neptune leather"

Too bad the lovely little ankle detail on this boot is not brass--that would be ideal.

What an elegant boot!

You can even find a great selection of La Canadienne boots on eBay, sometimes NIB with excellent discounts!  All the following are what I found on eBay today, in various sizes:

found here

found here

found here

found here

found here

All of these boots are real leather, should be waterproof, and are perfectly compatible with a Real-World Steampunk wardrobe.

Sunday, October 21

Sunday Pseudo-Steam for Oct. 21, 2012

Another episode in my quest to create a livable Real World Steampunk wardrobe.  Today the weather turned just cool enough to justify getting out a more late-Fall outfit.

(You are welcome to click on any image to see it larger, for better detail.)

Jacket by Fang, which I bought years and years ago at Ross, long before I knew there was such a thing as Steampunk.  It has always been one of my favorite wardrobe pieces, and always felt like "me."  (And that's really why Dear Husband and I were so thrilled to discover this whole thing called Steampunk--it felt like finding out something we had been all along, but which we did not know there was a name for.)  I am so happy to now be finding other neo-Victorian pieces to go with this jacket in a pseudo-Steampunk wardrobe.

The top underneath I did not think was worth photographing on its own, but it is one of my favorite basic tops that goes with pretty much everything and is so flattering (and is made in the USA, which is always a plus).

The skirt is one of my favorites too, by Onanya, which I found on Etsy about a year ago.  I usually wear it with sandals in warmer weather; I am trying to decide how I like it with velveteen and boots.  It's the weight of the cotton fabric that does not quite seem right--it is a fairly crisp, lighter-weight cotton, so even though the style and color are suitable for year-round (esp. where we live, in such a mild climate), I think the drape of the skirt gives away its light weight.

As you can see, it has these lovely pull-cords built into the length of the skirt, two in the front and two in the back; you can pull them up to gather the skirt and give it a lovely shape.  (Although it looks like I should have  straightened the front before these photos--it does not usually look bunchy like that. Sigh.) So far I have been wearing the skirt with them raised a bit in front to create that nice drape, but have been leaving the back down.  You can see how the hem in front is significantly higher than the back when I do this.  This photos are good for me to see--now I'm not sure I like it, at least not without some kind of petticoat peeking out underneath.

And maybe a petticoat underneath would also make the skirt seem more appropriately substantial for the colder months, when I wear it with heavier fabrics on top.

I welcome feedback!

But the absolute best part about this Sunday's look:  getting to wear my new boots for the first time!


I have been waiting FOREVER to show these to you! These boots are the end result of my months and months of Steampunk boot searches online.  I didn't know exactly what I wanted, but I had my wish list of features--and when I found these, I instantly knew they were the ones. They were called "Tahra," I believe, made in Canada by the appropriately named La Canadienne.  Those Canadians know how to brave nasty winter weather in style--so these lovely leather boots are also waterproof!  And they are so comfortable.  And totally neo-Victorian!

And I almost missed out on them--it was the end of the season last year when I discovered them, and only found *one* pair left for sale in my size, in the brown leather, on the whole world wide web!   However, if you like these, you might still be able to find them around the web, at least in the black version, which is also lovely, if not as quintessentially Steampunk.  They are not cheap, but I am a firm believer you get what you pay for, and for lovely neo-Victorian, waterproof leather boots?  Totally worth it.

Earrings again by Elaine Louise Studios

I love these earrings with this skirt; the copper and aubergine tones somehow together subtly echo the brown of the skirt.  So, complementary without being matchy-matchy.  I would really like to find one more accessory for this look--I'm thinking something with feathers, to wear in my hair.  Some understated brown plumes, with a hint of purple perhaps.  Yes, I think another Etsy search is in the making.  But in the meantime, if you have a suggestion, I would love to hear it. 

Sunday, October 14

Sunday Pseudo-Steam for Oct. 14, 2012

~ Pikolinos "Moraira" sandals
~ Clockwork Couture "Cocoa-nuts" skirt
~ blouse by The Limited
~ belt I've had forever
~ earrings from Trade As One

Okay, so the earrings are not very Steampunk.  But I really like them with this ensemble anyway--in my mind's eye, they complement the hint of jungle adventuress I am going for with this look.  

I'm not happy with the way this blouse fits my chest; alas, the darted breast contours just don't suit my own shape.  I might break down and buy a padded bra for this blouse, because I really like it--I love the layered texture, and the shape is lovely for Steampunk--but all that extra fabric in front is just not flattering.  (And made it really hard to get pictures I liked for this post.  These are the best we could do, and that's not saying much. But many thanks to my Dear Husband for his efforts!)  

As for my Pikolinos--yes, you will likely see them a lot in these Sunday Pseudo-Steam posts, as they are my only dressy--and remotely Steamy--sandals.  I have mentioned before that I don't want to be frivolous with my clothing expenditures, so I try to get good deals on things.  But good shoes are one thing I do not scrimp on--if your feet hurt, then the rest of you is going to be miserable, and those adorable, trendy shoes you love so much will just end up sitting in their boxes, admired but unworn.  In my case especially, if a pair of shoes is going to be taking up valuable real-estate in my tiny closet, they had better meet all my criteria:  be comfortable, work well with the clothes they are supposed to, and make me happy every time I look at my feet.  So this past summer I broke down and admitted I needed a pair of dressy brown sandals, to go with all the lovely neo-Victorian skirts I was acquiring.   These are perfect for me.  They are just the right shade of  brown for all my skirts, the heel is not too high and is nice and sturdy, I absolutely love the three different textures on the straps, and they are soooooooo comfortable.  And so far, I have found all the shoes and boots in the Pikolinos brand to be equally well-made and comfortable, which I guess should not be surprising; those Italians know good shoes.  

Sunday, October 7

Sunday Pseudo-Steam for Oct. 7, 2012: Mini-Minnie

Blouse by George
Skirt by Oilily

Today's Sunday Pseudo-Steam features my eldest daughter, who also loves the Steampunk aesthetic, and who provides me with more outlet for my Real World Steampunk Wardrobe hunting--Mini-Minnie style.  She is 11 and shooting up like a reed, which means she is outgrowing all her clothes, which necessitates Mommy going shopping for her.  Well, if I must shop for my daughter, of course I'm going to see if I can find comfortable, practical neo-Victorian pieces.

I'm finding it is even harder to find neo-Victorian pieces for older girls than it is for women, which is a shame because girls are just so sweet in them.  I think eldest daughter looks just the right amount of grown-up and girlish at the same time.  This is another outfit that is just beginning; can you see it this fall with bone striped tights and black granny boots and a big bow in her hair?  The Victorian-esque aspect is coming along nicely; how to make such clothes Steampunk without making them look costumey, or forced is another matter.  I think for kids, the color palate becomes so much more important, if you want the look to be the least bit Steampunk.  If this same blouse and skirt were, say, copper and dark grey, it would immediately suggest Steampunk.  If I find pieces like that, I'll buy them!  But so far, my online options (well, that don't cost an arm and a leg) have been limited.  Please let me know in the comments if you have sources for kids' Steampunk clothing--that is actually clothing, and not costumes.

I'll also welcome suggestions for what accessories/elements can be worked into a girl's Steampunk wardrobe without them looking too adult, too outlandish, too pretentious, too pretend-ish.