Monday, November 5

Sunday Pseudo-Steam for Nov. 4, 2012

Today I had no intention of trying to be the least bit Steampunk.  I was in a hurry getting ready for church, and did not feel like getting fancy.  I hadn't shaved my legs, so wasn't planning on wearing a skirt.  I just this past week put away all my cute summery clothes and got out the cold-weather things--and then today turned out amazingly sunny and hot, so I didn't have the appropriate selection of clothes ready to choose from.

(Such is life in Santa Cruz--and I'll enjoy such surprisingly warm Fall days when they come, even if I am hankering to wear all the cold-weather things I just resettled in my closet.) 

I ended up throwing on a pair of jeans that were clean, one of the few short-sleeved tops I had not yet packed away for the winter, and my favorite light-weight jacket (which I had to take off by early afternoon because of the heat).  I tried to dress up that basic look with my earrings, bracelet and heeled sandals.  And I wore a hat because my bangs were beyond help.

Jacket by Ann Taylor LOFT
Jeans by l.e.i.
Pikolinos "Moraira" sandals

Blouse underneath by Express
bracelet handmade by a friend
cap by Pistil

Earrings by Elaina Louise Studios on Etsy

I was only the least bit barely neo-Steampunk today.  And yet--I am still blogging about it.  Here's why: my someday goal is a Real World Steampunk wardrobe, as I described in this previous post, and then clarified in this one.  This means I am purposefully considering "traditional" Steampunk elements (such as gears, straps, leather, clockwork, corsets, brass, buckles, bustles, tights and tiny hats) as well as Victorian elements (like jet buttons, cut glass earrings, long skirts, fitted waistcoats, feathers, and low-heeled button boots) and seeing how I can subtly work them into a regular, every-week wardrobe.  Someday I hope I could get dressed in a hurry, grabbing what is clean and available, and end up with a look that has almost effortless Steampunk chic. 

This was not that Sunday. ; )

The buttons on this blouse are black, but they have a sheen that was catching light in these photos.

But that is partly why am still blogging about it, too;  the camera is an excellent mirror, showing me with a highly critical and completely impartial eye how my efforts are working (or not working).  For example, after posting two different looks that involved two different pair of jeans, I have decided that boot-cut jeans just don't lend themselves to Steampunk.  I have a feeling skinny jeans are really the way to go, because their tapering leg-line best echoes the historical Victorian female leg-lines. Sigh.  Because of course I don't own any skinny jeans, have never found skinny jeans that suited my shape, and don't exactly like drawing attention to my hips.  The jeans I was wearing in this post are one of my most shape-flattering pairs, and I'm content with how they make me look--but am realizing that when you are going for a subtle, neo-Victorian, Real World Steampunk look, every element you put on has to help convey the overall feel, has to further the suggestion of steampunk.  Otherwise the overall look is not distinct enough.  And boot-leg jeans, I now admit, just do nothing to further the overall look.

More Steampunky footwear would have helped the look too, but as I said, it was really hot and sunny--and my brown dressy boots are the only truly Steampunk shoes I own.  Lots more online searching to come, clearly!

But the problem now is that the long tops, tunics, and overdresses that women usually wear with skinny jeans (because I'm far from the only woman who wants to downplay her hips) do not themselves have neo-Victorian lines--they tend to be relatively shapeless at the waist and drapey around the hip, whereas the Victorian shapes were fitted at the waist and full at the hips.   They also tend to have lower necklines and unshaped shoulders, whereas the Victorian shapes are more focused on coverage, attention drawn to the neck, and fitted or embellished shoulders.  It is possible one could wear a long tunic with a wide belt, to get the fitted right shape but still have the flattering length of top. . .  and some long tunics have button-fronts with more detailed necklines, but without that belt or corset I'm afraid they would look too peasant or pirate. . . I'll have to be on the look-out for images that inspire me and help me visualize how such pieces could be made Steampunk.

So, not very successful Real World Steampunk style.  But another day of creative experimenting--an important part of the process!  I am sure the results I desire will come in time.

As always, please feel free to share your own thoughts, experiences, and suggestions in a comment.  If you can direct me to photos online, even better!


  1. Have you tried straight leg jeans? A shape between skinny and boot- I wear them with normal length tops, and they work pretty well for me. (I have a 13 inch waist-to-hip ratio, if that helps.) If you really want to wear skinny jeans, perhaps try a very short fit-and-flare dress over, and legs tucked into boots. Beware to avoid looking medieval. Now that I'm thinking about it, I'll have to flesh this out in the future!

  2. Merrihel, thank you for the feedback. Alas, straight-leg jeans just don't flatter me, and end up looking too much like Mom jeans. Ugh. But I think you have the right idea--any slimmer of a leg would likely be a good thing. No, I think I'm going to try to find one pair of skinny jeans and experiment with them. My fear with those is the exact opposite--that the looks that I can make Steampunky will end up being too "young" for me. Because that style of dress you mention sounds like a great style to try--or even the same with leggings or tights instead. Or with a flouncy skirt. But the danger there is no just medieval, but also straying into lolita territory. . . see, this whole "real world steampunk" gets interesting when one factors in the clothes that are most flattering to one!

    And please, if you do "flesh this out in the future"--share it in a comment here, so I and any other interested readers may benefit. : )