The Mad Scientist Style

The defining garment of this look is no doubt the apron or lab coat.

Mad scientist fashion
Mad scientists Dr. Kranken-Shaft and G.D. Falksen (Tyrus Flynn)

Surely, everyone is aware of the importance of science to the steampunk movement. We all have heard about the scientific importance of the Victorian era, thus it comes as no surprise that this lives on in the steampunk of this day.

Inventions and scientific revelation and discoveries, and the entire DIY feel that comes with them, are vital to the movement and many members build their own mechanical contraptions and spend many an hour on some kind of experiment. And what better way to do this than in style?

One of the defining garments of this look is no doubt the apron or lab coat, often modified. Or a garment augmented to look like it. There are some lovely dress patterns out there for both ladies and gentlemen that would make for fabulous scientist or inventor garb.

Underneath the apron or lab coat one can wear whichever style suits your persona or personality best.

If you wish to be an airship-dwelling or -exploring inventor doing fieldwork, you will likely wear the garb that allows you a lot of movement. After all, you will be on the go a lot.

Are you a Neo-Victorian scientist? Then you might favor the aristocrat look as basis for your ensemble.

The more casual-inclined lab rat might even prefer a shirt, trousers and protective stompy boots (with or without spats) underneath the protective gear.

Some prefer to not wear a lab coat at all, but instead modify a tunic or dress or another garment of their choice to suit their tastes.

Accessories to this style are rather universal in general, no matter which base you start from.

Of course, there are the goggles or glasses, because your eyes do need protection. Then there are belts to hang material from. Some might even prefer an actual tool belt. Belts with test tubes as well as belt bags to hold various tools and other things of importance are also common with this style. Apart from that, it is really up to you however else you wish to accessorize!

As an endnote I would like to leave all the scientists and inventors working on their kit with the following handy notes:

  • LARP stores often sell belt bags especially made to hold potion tubes, together with all sorts of little glassware.
  • Hunting supply stores sell cartridge belts, some models hold tubes, which is extremely handy if you wish to carry a lot of them.
  • If you cannot sew and want to have a nice apron without spending a lot of money, try to find a plain one in the color of your choice at a store that sells cooking supplies and decorate it with painted-on gears (most craft supply stores sell fabric paint) or sewn on gears and/or lock washers.
  • If you want to go for the really mad look, you could always splatter fake blood, noxious green paint or smear grease on it!

This story first appeared in Gatehouse Gazette 6 (May 2009), p. 11, with the headline “The Steampunk Wardrobe: Mad Scientists”.

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