Monday, December 31

Sunday Pseudo-Steam for Dec. 31, 2012

What a great way to finish 2012--with the assemblage of my best Real World Steampunk outfit to date:

~Jacket by Sickonineteen, found on eBay
~Blouse by Apt. 9, from Kohls
~corset belt by Cabi, found new on eBay
~skirt by Onanya, on Etsy
~Tahra boots by La Canadienne

Finally, a Real World Steampunk outfit I am happy with, just as it is.  But the best part of the outfit for me was how it all came together so effortlessly.  I bought all these things separately, just because I liked them so much, not purchasing them to necessarily go together--but when they all arrived I had a hunch they would go together nicely.  

 The jacket I bought for myself on eBay a few weeks before Christmas, so my Dear Husband said I should put it under the tree and wait to wear it.  Sigh.  Well, if I must. . . .  When I finally opened it, I was so pleased with the fit and look.  The only thing I'm not thrilled about is the button detail, which proudly declares "Sickonineteen" over and over and over down my front.  Since I have no desire to be celebrating "sicko" youth culture, and since I am quite a bit past 19 (and don't want to be insecure that the jacket is too youthful for me), I at least turned all the buttons so that the words are upside down and might not be as noticeable.

~The famous and fabulous golden "hot air balloon" glass bead earrings by Elaina Louise Studios, on Etsy, which were my self-picked birthday present.  Good consolation for turning one year closer to ancient.

The corset belt was under the tree too; I had been looking for a good steampunky belt online for about a month, and was so excited to find this one:

(this is the seller's photo from eBay--I don't have a better close-up myself)

The belt is real leather, and has four functional buckles in a lovely bronze--not only beautifully steampunk, but highly adjustable!  I have a naturally long torso, so the cut of the jacket would likely not look right without that wide belt, which visually bridges the gap.

The skirt is the one I have blogged about previously, and used to wear with only the front gathered up.  But after seeing the skirt in the photos from that day's Pseudo-Steam photo shoot, I decided I liked it much better gathered in both front and back.  I have been wearing that skirt for years, but this is the first time I think I have done its subtly steampunky nature justice.  And I really like the tones of brown in the belt and skirt and boots together. 

The blouse I have had tucked away in my closet for years--further proof that my neo-Victorian leanings began long before I ever heard about Steampunk.  It was exactly right under the jacket.  So, all the pieces seemed to come together on their own, and this is what I wore to church yesterday morning.  Something about the juxtaposition of the anacronistic and Divine never fails to make me smile inside.  There's nothing sacrilegious about it--how fitting to dress creatively when going before the ultimate Creative Mind, the original Maker, who is simultaneously in and out of Time.

Happy New Year to all of you who stop by, and I hope this next year brings you plenty of Good and Satisfaction, Steampunk or otherwise. : )

Monday, December 10

Sunday Pseudo-Steam for Dec. 9, 2012: Mini-Minnie

Striped turtleneck by Mini Boden
Overskirt by Jottum, found on eBay
Skirt by Oilily (worn under as petticoat), found on eBay
Tights by Hanna Andersson
Boots (waterproof leather) by Timberland

Sunday, December 9

Real World Retail Win: Beautifully Steampunk Jackets on eBay

So, last week I wrote about the shopping excursion my girlfriend and I took to a retail area that should have had an excellent selection of clothing, and surely one or two steampunky items.  I anticipated the event for weeks--having had some neo-Victorian success on the same trip one year prior, and really wanting to find just one or two more items that I really liked. I don't mind building my Real World Steampunk Wardrobe slowly--much better to weigh each purchase carefully and end up with a small, tightly-cohesive, really "me" wardrobe than buy too many things hastily and and up with a jumble that I don't know what to do with.  And I am determined to make every piece I acquire have use in more than just one outfit, to make it worth the closet space.  So I have made a personal vow that much as I am impatient to have my RWSW now, I am going to rein my creative wardrobing aspirations in a bit, and will fully complete one outfit before I add more pieces to the wardrobe.  Reasonable, and so much more fun in the long run, because I will get to wear completed looks sooner.

The caveat being that if I see something fantastic for sale, at a great price, I can get it, wardrobe rationing aside.

Like this jacket, which I just won on eBay for the ridiculous price of $8:

The back:

And I can see in my mind's eye exactly what I would put with this jacket, so I am very excited to receive it.  All the way from Buckinghamshire, UK.  For still cheaper than I would find it in a mall in America, even if I could find something this steam-alicious this season.

Yes, eBay will continue to be my favorite place for Real World Steampunk treasure hunting.

Here are more lovely neo-Victorian/Steampunk jackets available right now on eBay:

By Deep. Found here

Very similar to the one I won, just longer bodied and with a lot more buttons.  Wearing this many buttons can be dangerous--ventures into "trying ridiculously hard" territory.  But the shape and tones of the buttons themselves look nice with that much repetition, so I think this is still cute and definite Steampunk fodder.  But I would wear this with fairly simple and neutral clothes--textured, but not patterned.

By Ann Taylor LOFT. Found here.

Once again, Ann Taylor LOFT of years past is a great place to start looking for steampunk-compatible jackets on eBay.  This camel color and the coppery-toned buttons are lovely, and the semi-fitted shape is also very good for Steampunk.

By White House Black Market. Found here.

I absolutely adore this jacket.  If this were at all a color I could wear well, I would be sooooo tempted to add it to my wardrobe.  I love the shape, the rich texture, the detail, the darting, the collar, the three wee buttons--this is a piece that is well-designed and while the color is not at ALL one would think of for Steampunk, it would be so beautiful with black and grey, very elegant, very fresh.  No one wants to wear those traditionally steamy but overall a little dull colors everyday.

By Theory. Found here.

Basic black velvet with nice shape.

Found here.

This little jacket is just lovely, and would really work with a Western-themed Steampunk look.  Think big bustle-y black skirt hitched up with lacy black stockings and sassy little Western riding/granny boots.  Adorable!

By Worth.  Found here.

Another attractive jacket with a shapely silhouette.

By Carma. Found here.

Very cute--really like the  distressed ruffles and 3/4 sleeve length.

By Ann Taylor LOFT. Found here.

This is the jacket I bought for myself this year in dark brown--so now it seems it can be found in green as well as in burgundy and aubergine.  If you like this jacket, and are a size 6, check out the link ASAP--at $6.00 the price is right.  

By Ann Taylor LOFT. Found here.

Lovely shape, lovely color, lovely texture.

By Internacionale.  Found here

Another icy sea foam blue.  This one is not quite as cute as the first I linked above, mainly because of the slightly oversized buttons--less would have been more in this case--but it looks like a jacket one could layer with, so well worth consideration.

By Sitwell/Anthropologie.  Found here.

Basic jacket, excellent shape and color and buttons for Steampunk--and the jacket's texture and color really work well to give that earthy, mossy feel.

By Tulle/Anthropologie. Found here.

This jacket has a very nice subtle texture I really like, and it would be a very practical, versatile piece--could be worn as jacket or top, and would go with all blacks, browns, greys.

Found here.

This jacket has interesting Steampunk potential--if you want to see more, follow the link to see more photos, which show the detail better.  The detail on the front is clear plastic sequins--ew.  But yet, I really kinda liked how distopian they felt in that placement on that jacket--turned a little girlie touch into something more cynical.  But why on earth the seller decided the neck piece was a good accessory with this jacked I don't know.  (Shudder.)

By Marc Jacobs.  Found here.

A creative re-invention of the denim jacket.

Found here.

This one is so similar to the little girl denim jackets I blogged about here--and I almost think I like this look better on kids than grown women.

Unbranded. Found here.

This jacket looks like cheap Chinese sweat-shop.  But I included it because I like the pewter buttons against the olive green.

By Atmosphere.  Found here.

This one is also a very cheap looking jacket.  It reminds me of a similar jacket sold by Free People last year, which you can often find on eBay.  But this jacket also comes in black, green and red, so could be worth considering if you needed one of these harder-to-find colors in a military-feel jacket.

H&R London. Found here.

Can't tell the quality of this jacket, but I really like the subtle but intricate black-on-black trim down the front there, as well as the slightly off-set row of antiqued silver buttons.

By ABS.  Found here.

Another cute military style jacket.  So Steampunk.

By River Island. Found here

This one also strays into the "way too many buttons" territory; less circus and more clown.  And yet, I still like it.   But I think whoever wore this jacket would have to be very careful in putting clothes together with it, and keep the other elements dark, distressed, textured and simple.  Absolutely no patterns!

By All Saints.  Found here.

Props to this seller for the lovely background for the photo.  This adorable jacket can be found on eBay in gray as well.

Unbranded.  Found here.

This jacket leans towards the pirate end of the Steampunk spectrum--but is just so lovely I had to include it. 

By Free People.  Found here.

Ditto on this jacket--these rich textures are just beautiful, and would allow the wearer to dress this up or down easily.

By Insight.  Found here.

Another pirate-y option.  And yet, this jacket/coat made my jaw drop when I saw it on eBay--can you believe such wonderful clothes exist and a regular person like me could buy them and work them into an alternative reality wardrobe?  This fact alone makes me happy.

Found here.

This is another jacket that it is hard to get a feel for from the photos--could be very cheap looking in person.  But the design is fabulous!  I esp. enjoy the buttons and the belt details.

By Corrine. Found here.

The jacket I will leave you with.  So, so pretty.  What a lush and unusual shade of blue, so elegant and unusual design.  Effortlessly Steampunk--the kind of thing I hope a closet full of someday.   I don't mean just to have a closet full of clothes--but to have a closet that only contains things that are beautiful and make me smile inside.

So, there you have it.  The world of retail does not have squat going on in the stores these days.  Pity.  But the online world of other peoples cast-offs is rich with potential Steampunk fodder. 

Sunday, December 2

The Real World Retail Excursion Fail--and Boots

Because apparently I can't go for more than a day or so without blogging about boots. 

This past week one of my dear sisterfriends and I had a rare day away, and went up to Santana Row and Valley Fair Mall in San Jose to shop. I was looking forward to looking for some excellent Real World Steampunk finds--and came up with NADA. Zip, zilch, zero. This was really surprising, since it was only one year ago that she and I made the same trip with excellent results. Well, by excellent I mean finding at least one lovely neo-Victorian piece in Ann Taylor LOFT, Free People, and The Limited:

My favorite jacket, with distressing along the neck, front and cuffs, and a subtle peplum in the back.  Ann Taylor LOFT.

So much more beautiful in person--this black Free People coat had a black-on-black romantic pattern, and those little buttons up the front and on the sleeves!  The skirt is totally adorable and steamy too!  Both were so overpriced I would not consider buying them in the store, but I have been keeping my eyes open for them on eBay ever since.  And have found them there--but still not in my price range.  So, the hunt continues.

This blouse also came in the most lovely eggplant--I bought the blouse in both colors because I could not choose my favorite, and then later returned the eggplant, chiding myself for wanting two when I only needed one.  After this year's shopping disappointments, I wish I had kept both.

But I guess that was last year, and this year's "hot" looks are completely ugly and not at all Steampunk-compatible.


So, I decided eBay will continue to be my shopping site of choice in my continual search for Real World Steampunk clothes.  After all, last year's clothes are this year's eBay!

While we were out shopping, I also kept my eye out for some of the boots I have been featuring on this blog, and did find several.  Alas, Black Friday sales had decimated the size offerings, so I could only actually try on a few.   So, again, the Real World shopping disappointed, and I guess Zappos will continue to be my go-to site for footwear as well.  Until Minnie Zephie opens her own Steampunk boutique, that is. ; )

Zappos wins out over other places with great steampunky boots, like 6pm and ShoeMetro and ShoeMall, because of the free shipping and returns.  Of course, you still have to make sure you can't get the same boot elsewhere for a lot less--but if you are not sure if a boot will work for you, but can't find a pair to try locally, Zappos is really amazing.  But it is also a good idea to keep an eye on eBay for steampunk-compatible boots--if I thought a boot would likely fit my foot, and it was a great price, I might take the risk and bid.  Look at these real-leather lovelies I found in my size this morning:

Found here

Found here

Found here

Found here
Found here
Found here

Found here

Found here

Found here

This last pair is so adorable, and reminds me of my favorite Vintage Shoe Company.  I think I may have blogged it before--doesn't matter, it is worth seeing again!

Any favorite real-world retail stores I should know about, or favorite finds on eBay?  Share them in the comments!