The Explorer Style

Exploration is a big part of steampunk and one must dress for the occasion.

Steampunks London England
Steampunks in London, England, February 27, 2010 (Garry Knight)

Steampunk and dieselpunk have always been synonymous with adventure for a lot of people. Exploring things ranging from contemporary events and places to history and hidden tombs in some exotic jungle. Whether in real life or as a made-up persona with their own world. Twist and turn as you like, exploration is a big part of both movements and, of course, one must dress for the occasion.

Explorers should dress comfortably no matter what class of society they hail from. Garments are easy to move in and shoes are comfortable. There’s no use going out on a daring exploration if you can’t move properly due to overly constrictive clothing or suffer sore feet after half an hour, after all.

High heels may look pretty, ladies, but unless you’re portraying an aristocrat that isn’t doing any walking during her exploring, you may want to reconsider that type of footwear.

While this is something to keep in mind whatever type or class of person you wish to portray, it is, just like with pretty much every other steampunk style, important to get a firm grasp on who exactly you wish to portray and how historically accurate you want your outfit to be, so you know what to go for.

If you’re going for proper historical dress, of course researching the era and outfits from those times are vital. If you’re just looking at history for inspiration, it isn’t a bad plan to look at historial images and text on the subject either. Even if you’re not going for historical accuracy, it’s always good to know what your basis is and you may get some really good inspiration from the past.

Even on a budget this is doable. You can find a lot of good base pieces in high-street stores as an alternative to DIY. Even if you wish to portray someone from the aristocracy or the upper class, you will likely find a nice blouse made from materials to resemble e.g. silks.

Leather bags and good, handsome boots are all the rage this season and chains like H&M offer affordable alternatives to big-brand names with bigger price tags than popular shops catering to a tighter budget.

As far as accessories go, you’ll need to think about what you would need if you would really go exploring: a good bag, possibly some kind of utility belt for extra and super handy storage. A weapon of some kind to ward off hostile natives and that pesky competition (treasure hunting and mapping the world isn’t without dangers), a hat to protect you from the elements as well as sunglasses or goggles.

Other good accessories are scarves, belts, gun holsters and helmets. And, of course, a tie or cravat for the gentlefolk to distinguish themselves from the more roguish characters out there.

This story first appeared in Gatehouse Gazette 21 (November 2011), p. 26, with the headline “The Steampunk Wardrobe”.

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