Are we all thinking of Abney Park? Good, that is one example of airship piracy. Now this band is, of course, not the definitive representation of the airship pirate. Pirates come, as they have always done throughout history, in all shapes and sizes.
Any type of pirate can be used as the base for your airship pirate persona. Whether you go back to historical pirates such as the infamous Edward Teach, a.k.a. Blackbeard, take inspiration from Captain Jack Sparrow or simply start out with a base of good solid steampunk fashion, everything goes, and you can make it all work.
The diversity between types of the airborne rogue is probably the greatest in all aspects of steampunk fashion.
There are the aristocrat pirates, with their elaborate coats with dog-eared cuffs, shirts and waistcoats, carrying beautiful flintlock pistols with elaborate decoration and a cutlass sword, having exchanged their top hats or derbies for a tricorne, looking like a steamed-up and more dignified version of the pirates from yore or the more commonly known fantasy pirate.
And then there are the adventurer pirates, wearing aviator hats and goggles, with wild extravagant hair worn loose or in elaborate hairstyle. They generally wear more casual shirts, trousers, skirts, waistcoats or corsets. Their boots are stumpy, because they must withstand the elements, and often covered with spats. Many belts, bags and flintlock pistols and even melee weapons are perfect accessories and essential tools, as are a compass and spyglass.
Jewelry often depicts the skull and crossbones or the zeppelin, the mode of transport of choice. Think Captain Shakespeare and his crew from Stardust if you are looking for inspiration.
The look of the airship pirate is undoubtedly one of the most diverse aesthetic aspects of steampunk fashion that can be devised almost entirely according to personal taste.
Besides, it is one of the most exiting roles to portray, for who would not like to be a dashing rogue making the skies just that little bit more unsafe?
This story first appeared in Gatehouse Gazette #3 (November 2008), p. 10, with the headline “Steampunk Wardrobe: The Steampunk Aristocrat”.