Sunday, November 17

Adorable Real-World Steampunk Sweaters, on eBay

by Marc for Marc Jacobs

I am so tempted to bid on this cardigan.  This is effortlessly Steampunk--the kind of thing I have been searching for the past year, so easy to throw on with just about anything this winter, and appropriate for just about anything my day might hold.  The only reason I am hesitating is because it is mostly wool, which I am not sure I want rubbing against my neck.  Don't get me wrong--I LOVE the fact that is it a natural fabric, and not some nasty acrylic.  I am sure the texture looks amazing in person for the wool too.  But I'm one of those wool-sensitive types, and can't even wear mohair or merino against my skin without itching.  Which means I usually wear only cashmere.  And even then, only the softest cashmere.  Yes, I'm that much of a baby.  A baby with highly discriminating taste; and, fortunately, excellent skills hunting down luxurious but affordable cashmere at consignment shops and clearance racks.

So, I'm debating the sweater.  I wonder if I would be happy wearing a silk or cotton scarf around my neck underneath, cravat style?  Or maybe that would be too bulky at the front. . . or would shift around and end up looking messy?

Someone else is bidding on this beauty, so I have a feeling I won't have made up my mind before time is up.  That's why I am posting about it now--so at least I can admire it here, if not in my closet. ; )

by H&M

This one is also totally adorable, and Steampunk without even trying.  For me personally, I don't know--the length is the only issue, and it will fall more like a cropped sweater on me.  That is totally fine, if I would wear it open.  But of course the adorable Steampunky appeal is in the look of the cardigan when fastened closed, and I think that would just end up looking weird on me, long-waisted and middle-aged as I am.  So, I'll leave this find for someone else--but enjoy sharing with you.

 by Zara

This cardigan, on the other hand, looks great open, so the cropped length is not an issue.  I like the tone of the buttons, and the color too.  The fabric is a modern cotton knit, but as long as you were going for a more distressed Steampunky look, it would be fine. 

Also by H&M

This cardigan is more subtle, but so pretty.  The only downside is that it closes with hideous silver-tone snaps, very modern (and cheap looking), so you would have to wear it snapped all the time.  But, that would not be a hindrance if you planned on wearing it that way.

Listed as "Grey Military Marching" cardigan, if you feel the urge to go find it on eBay

Oh, this one is soooooo close to my ideal sweater.  3/4 length sleeves, so I can do anything (namely dishes) without having to take it off.  Grey, my favorite color.  Nice shape and good length. But.  It is a cotton/acrylic blend, which is okay, although if I would prefer natural fibers.  But the whole sweater just looks. . . cheap.  I mean, those buttons.  And the close-up photos of the sweater show that there are flecks of yellow and red and white throughout. Ugh.  So, this is one that I would pass on--so close, but yet so far. 

by Free People

This cardigan is a lovely wool, lined with cotton.  The shape is flattering, and the buttons are cute.  I'm not so crazy about the navy & grey color combination for a pseudo-Steampunk piece, since those usually fall in the preppy zone.  But still, it would be adorable with jeans and lend a very subtle steampunky flair to an everyday outfit.

by Juicy Couture

Here is something completely different--an adorable wool/cashmere blend sweater dress.  In the close-ups the weave of this dress is lovely, and this piece could be so sweet for winter--maybe with a brown striped long sleeved shirt or turtleneck underneath, with thick grey tights and some tall Steampunky boots.  And a velvet ribbon in the hair. 

Do you know of any Steampunky sweaters?  I would love to see them, so please feel free to share links in the comments.

Wednesday, November 6

This one, however. . .

This one has potential!

The buttons are not great, but the good thing about them is they would lay well under a black brocade or ribbed corset!   Then I would gather the sides of the skirt on each side of the front, if possible, OR even better, wear a corset with a built-in bustle skirt in the back to give this shape.  And a black petticoat with a ruffle peeking out underneath!  Then a lacy ascot--white, or grey, or even peacock blue or emerald green!--at the neck, and some complimentary white or black lace at the sleeve cuffs. . . black granny style boots with a little heel. . . and something in the hair with feathers!  Some clever Steampunk girl could really rock this dress.

Sunday, November 3

Neo-Victorian, Yes. . .

. . . the least bit Steampunk compatible, Good Lord no. 

(Unless you have way more imagination than me.  Anyone getting the creative urge to S'punk this look?  Double Dare you!) 

Friday, July 26

Pseudo-Steampunk on Zulily

There are some intriguing items available at the moment through Zulily that have definite Real World Steampunk potential:

This first jacket is just a little too. . . neat.  I would like it so much more if it were distressed.  And I'm not a fan of jackets that don't actually close in the middle--my middle gets cold!  But still--potential.  Because this jacket is so tailored and neat, I think it would be best paired with things with rougher texture and more grungy style--like a dark grey wool above-the-knee peplum skirt, distressed lace tights, tough leather boots with brass buckles.

This jacket is not real leather, so I would not purchase it myself. But for those who prefer "vegan leather" or don't mind the look/feel of synthetics--some very interesting visual elements going on here that could work really well with Real World Steampunk.  This jacket I would pair with an aviator look--can you see it?

by Aziza

This jacket appears, from the description, to be navy.  Of course black or grey would be ideal--but then again, navy looks fabulous with khaki and tan, those Steampunk staples. None of these are all that Neo-Victorian--but they have hints and are playful and I guess my eyes enjoy seeing something a little different, and my mind can see how these pieces could be really fun to work into a RWS wardrobe.  This coat would look good over a long, full skirt--I mean period long and full, with a high-collared, darted-front blouse underneath.  And a jaunty little hat!

Zulily also has some boots I have blogged about previously!

And the same in brown--even more lovely!

And right now there is still even a good size selection--sooooo tempting.

Thursday, July 4

Six Rules of Steampunk Fashion

Just saw this article today, which is not a new piece of writing, but something fun to re-invigorate me into blogging again, after a busy season: The Six Rules of Steampunk Fashion, by Steampunk author G. D. Faulksen.

And along with it, some fabulous Real World Steampunk eyecandy:


Esp. the dashing young man on the far left--I wish he had boots on instead of those. . . um, loafers?  But otherwise I am completely into it.  Thank you, Dolce & Gabbana.

Saturday, May 11

Saturday Pseudo-Steam for May 11, 2013

A few weekends ago we had a beautiful burst of hot summery weather out here on the Bay, which was the perfect time to try out one of my newest wardrobe pieces, a pseudo-Steampunk military-esque vest:

Vest/top by Jones Wear Jeans
"Cocoa-nuts" skirt found at Clockwork Couture and tambukiki on eBay
Caterpillar "Marin" boots in "coffee"

 Earrings by ElainaLouise on Etsy

I originally planned to layer the vest over tops, but that warm summery day I got the urge to try it on its own.  I've been pondering and playing with how one might achieve a Real World Steampunk Summer Wardrobe.  Let's face it--all the most effortless steampunky clothing bits are for colder weather, like adorable boots, high-necked coats, and tights.  What does summery Steampunk even look like?

The first thing that comes to my mind is safari. So that's what I decided to play with that Saturday. . .

Shoulder bag by Coach, from all the way back in the early nineties.   I love it that the purse I've had forever is pretty steampunk-compatible.

And did you notice the boots?  Yes, I did try those Caterpillar boots in the different color, and absolutely loved them.  Unlike the dark brown Marin boots, these are beautiful leather, and I enjoy the contrasting leather, esp. the detail at the ankle, which creates interest even with boot-cut jeans. These boots are so comfortable, so well-made.  I highly recommend them!

Sandals by Pikolinos

Just for fun, I tried the same outfit but dressed up with sandals and hair back. 

So, part of the reason I pose and post is because the camera is an excellent mirror, and it is so helpful to see an outfit from a step back, so I can evaluate how the elements are really working.  Or not.

I'm still not sure what I think about this look, either the casual or dressier.  I'm thinking it looks best with the sandals. . . But can my pale, old-lady arms pull off that vest as a top?  I'd be thrilled if anyone wanted to give (kind) feedback in the comments.

Happy Saturday, everyone!

Wednesday, May 8

Authentic New Old Suspenders!

There is a seller on eBay selling these beauties as a lot:

Real old-fashioned suspenders, from some old store collection in the Netherlands.

The seller says they are true new vintage, from the 1940's.  Oh, I would love to buy just one pair for my eldest Mini Minnie, whose favorite literary character to dress up as is Dickon, from The Secret Garden, and who has expressed a desire for suspenders.  Too bad they are being sold as a lot. 

If any of you occasional readers happen to own an Etsy store, you should snatch these up!

Oh, wait.  Minnie Zephie owns a currently empty store on Etsy.  (I had visions of steampunky couture for children--but life has not allowed it.)  Hmmmmm.  Maybe this means its time to stock the shelves!

Monday, April 22

Sunday Pseudo-Steam for April 21, 2013

Skirt by Onanya, on Etsy
Jacket by GAP
"Tahra" boots by LaCanadienne
Earrings by Elaina Louise, on Etsy

After months of screen-shopping on eBay, hunting for whatever neo-Victorian treasures might be found there, I have finally begun to be tempted to buy.  One of my new acquisitions--the lightweight corduroy jacket I wore today--was an initial disappointment.  The jacket was listed as "pink," and it does look pink in photos--but when it arrived, I found it is actually icy lavender.  I never would have knowingly purchased anything in icy lavender, even at the super low price at which I snagged this jacket.

And yet, it grew on me quickly, and now that quirky color is now one of the reasons I like it so much.  Those of you who have been reading for a while might remember some of the pale pastel jackets I have posted previously;  there is something about that particular juxtaposition of steampunky style and so-not-steampunky colors.  It's unexpected.  Fresh.  Playful.  And besides, those pale pastels look amazing with the rest of the colors in the "traditional" Steampunk palette.

Look at the adorable lines on the back of this jacket!  And the little peplum detail!

Here I was trying to show how those fabulous earrings echo the shape and metal tone of all those tiny, functional metal buttons.  And the aubergine in the earrings' drop bead complements the purple undertone of the jacket, but warms it. 

gratuitous beauty shot of those fabulous earrings

"Cocoa-nuts" skirt, found at Clockwork Couture, and tambukiki on eBay

My Dear Husband photographer was patient while I tried the look with two different skirts.  Both work, but I like the darker brown gathered skirt best.

So now I have a second dressy pseudo-Steampunk look that I really like--and best of all, it is in colors that are perfect for the transition between winter and spring. 

Wednesday, April 10

Your Basic Brown Steampunky Skirt--on eBay

I have been haunting eBay for the past week, seeking cute and practical Real World Neo-Victorian clothes for my eldest Mini-Minnie, who is just starting to get big enough to wear the tiniest adult sizes.  But of course once I start looking for her, I start looking for me, and then I start finding, and in particular yesterday I was thrilled to find a great selection of basic brown steampunky skirts in my size.  Because I have a long brown skirt, but no knee or above length skirt, and that is one basic I think my Real World Steampunk Wardrobe needs before summer. 

I have found that with the current color trends (neon! blech!), it is near impossible to find any brown items, let alone well-made, in good fabrics and Steampunk-compatible.  But just look at the great selection on eBay:  

by Elevenses, found here

All the skirts in this post are size 4 or 6.  Most of them are under $20--many of them are under $10!  And as you will notice, I'm not interested in any boring skirt.  I love texture and detail, so while a very plain skirt can certainly work well in a RWSW, I prefer to choose pieces that will subtly add layers of visual interest while not detracting from the other elements in the ensemble.  Like this very pretty and quiet scallop detail on the hem in the skirt above.

by Nine West, found here

The color combination on this skirt is fabulous.  OH so Steampunk!  You would have to take off that ugly belt and put a brown leather one in its place, but that would be so simple.  I seriously debated bidding on this skirt, but since I am toying with the idea of getting the Marin boots in "coffee," and those would be the boots worn with whatever brown skirt I get, I fear the effect would be too matchy-matchy.  But for someone with plain dark brown boots--gorgeous.

by Ann Taylor, found here

This is a perfect example of a plain skirt that is not boring.  The way it sits on the waist is flattering and hopefully you could work with those belt loops to accommodate a wide brown leather belt.  The shape of this skirt is flattering too, and excellent for pseudo-Steampunk, and could even be gathered up with skirt clips, if you wanted to layer it over another skirt for a more Lolita effect.

by Banana Republic, found here

This is a light-weight skirt, which would be great for summer.  I'm not crazy about the elastic waistband, though, so you would need to hide that with a bustier or corset belt.  In the ideal RWSW, that is!

A quick word about fabrics: there were some very cute skirts that had the right shape or look for Steampunk that I did not include here, because I am a fabric snob.  I not choose to wear synthetic fabrics, whenever I have the option of natural, because of the way they feel--and the way I feel in them--but also because of the way they look.  Most synthetics look like what they are--cheap imitations of better fabrics.  And the really high-end synthetics have a silky drape that is very modern, and inappropriate for Steampunk looks.  The best fabrics, that will subtly enhance the realism of a steampunky outfit, are those that really would have been worn back in the Victorian days.  My favorites are cotton and linen for skirts--they hang and fall just right, are comfortable and breathable and easy to care for.  

by J. Crew, found here

by The Limited, found here

A lot of the photos of these skirts are not very helpful--you have to look closely to see the detail that elevates an otherwise almost boring skirt.  In this case, it is the triple-layered ruffle on the hem.

by CAbi, found here

In this skirt it is the subtle vertical texture, and the lovely raw hem.

by GAP, found here

And in this skirt it is the waffle-weave--subtle, does not act as a pattern visually and therefore does not compete with other patterns you  might wearing with it, and yet adds very nice texture.

by Maeve, found here

In this skirt it is the carefully shaped construction and the hem detail.

by Elevenses, found here

by Alberto Makali, found here

Just lovely for the jungle adventuress!

by CAbi, found here

Ha--looks like I liked this skirt so much I accidentally posted it twice.  Hmmm, perhaps this means I should seriously consider it for my own wardrobe. . . .

by Free People, found here

Now this skirt is intriguing; you can find it online both with and without the front embellishments.  I like the embellished version because those "flowers" look subtly like gears--which is perfect for someone like me, who is really drawn to large gear designs on clothing but does not like how. . . obvious they always are on a skirt.  They always seem stuck there, inorganically, proudly proclaiming, "Look, I'm a Steampunk Skirt!"   This detail on the other hand simply suggests.  And worn with some jewelry that incorporates real gears--or real gear buttons on a jacket--the visual connection would be complete.

by LOFT, found here

The careful construction on this skirt is also what makes it appealing--a little patchwork feels a little dystopian.

by BCBG, found here

Again, I love the waist on this skirt--so flattering, and the texture on it is lovely.  You could wear this one either with or without a belt.

by Charter Club, found here

A more unique shape, but would still work well for psuedo-Steampunk.

by H&M, found here

Another hideous belt--ugh, I cannot bear to look at it.  But the skirt is so cute, and a wide brown (or black, depending upon the rest of the look) leather belt would be great.

by Old Navy, found here

Another skirt that would be so cute layered over a cotton petticoat.  Could be cinched up or not.  This skirt is also an excellent example of the importance of fabric; this is clearly cotton, and the eye can tell.  If this exact same skirt were synthetic, it would not work at all. 

by Tommy Bahama, found here

Now you have to be careful when choosing tiered skirts like this one--very easy to look too tribal, or too late 1980's.  Best to translate to Steampunk if you are already working a prairie girl look.  But look at the gorgeous pattern on this one--so pretty, so elegant!  This skirt would need a jacket with it--for example, a bone high collared jacket with small dark bronze buttons, and plenty of them, either semi-fitted at the waist or cropped.

This is just a sample of what I found in an hour of looking yesterday.  So next time you need to find something basic like this, just sit down with a cup of tea and enter something really vague like "brown skirt" in your size in the search bar.  Don't be daunted by the fact that 13,000 hits come up--just narrow it down to women's clothing and set it to search by "price--lowest to highest" and sit back and window shop.  You will be surprised at what you can find, even under $10. 

(In case anyone ever wonders--no, I get no financial compensation from eBay and other companies for all my recommendations to their goods.  I just share with you all what I do myself, hoping it is helpful to someone else.  Let me know if it is--that will be reward plenty!)