Steampunk is on the rise! Depending on your point of view, the growing mainstream acknowledgement and acceptance of steampunk is either awesome (more things to buy and people don’t look at you funny when you say “steampunk” any more) or kind of cringe-worthy (why are there so many cogs, and why are you wearing two mini hats?). But regardless of how mainstream steampunk fashion gets, it’s still an amazing style with fantastic motifs and character archetypes to draw on: the pilot, the lady, and so many more. The only problem is, most of us don’t have the wardrobe to explore all the different steampunk substyles. Or do we?
Allow me to introduce the Steampunk Victoriana dress by Banned. It’s a dress that can carry a number of different steampunk looks, and you can get it from Tragic Beautiful here. And now that we’ve been introduced, let me show you four different outfits for four steampunk substyles, all using that same dress.
First, and probably one of the well-known steampunk archetypes, we have the Airship Captain. This outfit takes advantage of the bustle front to show a little leg and to compensate the long-sleeved blouse brings back a hint of Victorian-era modesty. The hat and goggles are quintessentially steampunk, and the gloves are a must for piloting an airship!
Next up we have a related steampunk character, the Sultry Sergeant, the pseudo-1800s iteration of Rosie the Riveter. I know, I know, this is not as much of a well-recognised archetypes as the pilot, but military inspirations do make up a big part of some steampunk substyles. This dress doesn’t immediately give off a military vibe, so layering with a sleek overdress, a simple cap, slicked back hair and topping it all off with a cincher really cinches (haha) the vibe. The bare arms and sleek lines make this outfit just a bit sexy, hence the “sultry”.
Now we have the Elegant Lady, with this particular outfit taking a bit of a Bolshevik influence. The best thing about the Victorian influence on steampunk fashion means that you can often use vintage pieces in your outfits, like the stole, hat and gloves in this outfit. I think something like this would be lovely if you could working more colours or even another pattern, perhaps a floral. Opulence is key to channelling the aspect of a steampunk lady.
And lastly we have the Cute Mechanic. This is where I brought a bit of Lolita into my steampunk, including wearing a petticoat underneath the dress to get a cuter shape. The adorable mechanic or the cute scientist as my favourite steampunk looks because it fuses modern cuteness with turn-of-the-century industrial styles. I think pigtails are fun, but plaits or loose hair with a newsboy style cap could also work for this kind of look.
So there you have it, four different steampunk substyles all using the same dress! The possibilities are pretty limitless with this dress. It looks nice just on its own, you can wear the skirt up or down for different vibes, and the neckline is surprisingly conducive to wearing a blouse underneath. Though if blouses aren’t your thing you could wear a number of different jackets on top and only feature the skirt of the dress in an outfit. There are always ways to channel the steampunk substyle you want with a dress like this. It just takes a bit of experimentation, and that’s why it’s so fun!