So, with all of that controversy behind me, let’s take a look at some inspirational images! First up, I was totally loving the uniform sketches and photos on the Dr. Steel Toy Soldier fan site. For reference only, here’s some of the images from the site:
Female Utility Soldier
The first is the female utility soldier costume; black skinny jeans, platform boots, brown button up dress shirt, black pvc necktie, cap, utility belt, and the piece that I think makes the outfit – the embellished corset with the stripes and super-large buttons. In other photos (that you can see on the website) you can see that the shirt has some military-esque patches on the biceps of both arms, the utility belt pouch has a patch as well (like the shirt and cap) and the jeans have black pvc stripes on the side. (Like RCMP yellow stripes or black grosgrain stripes on tuxedo pants). Of the different costumes, I really like this one the best.
Also super-cute (although a bit more revealing that I would wear personally!) – the Military Nurse costume. In this case it’s a brown pencil skirt with a high slit, a cropped brown dress shirt, the same black pvc tie, a cap, and a holster-style brown (leather?) waist cincher. (The cincher isn’t leather, but the straps look like they might be in this photo… I don’t think that I’d do leather personally…. but I really like the straps!) This costume doesn’t show any patches or decorations at all.
Last up (of the ones that I really liked) is the Military Nurse winter costume, this one is just a concept sketch, and has the same cap, with a brown coat, darker brown cincher, and a hem treatment that makes it look like there’s a yellow-trimmed split skirt over top of a pair of brown pants. I don’t really like how this necessarily is sketched, but I like the way that the costume reflects a bit of Victorian fashion.
I think it’s super cool that someone documented the costumes, as well as interpretations, and then provided resources how a fan could put together some of the costumes using ready-made clothing as the starting point. I’ve provided the images just as inspiration, please go back to the website to see the originals along with all of the other details.
FreyaGushi's recycled corset, click for the Etsy listing
Next on my inspiration-list: Totusmel’s Wunderkammer pointed me in the direction of this awesome corset made from recycled army shirts from Etsy seller FreyaGushi. I love the entire look really – it’s cute and feminine. The shorts are a bit weird to me, but the hoop skirt frame over top is very goth and interesting. I really like the look from the waist up best though – the matching hat and collar are great, and I love how the maker has recreated the chevrons with lace inset to the corset panels. You can’t see it in this small photo, but there are also some snapped flaps on the corset as well that add a great detail.
Chrononaut Mercantile's Military Cape
So, this is from Chrononaut Mercantile on Etsy; a short cropped cape with a double-breasted front lined in brocade. The cool part about it, is that the double-breasted part can fold back entirely, for a very different look. I imagine that worn like this, a removable chain or something would be needed to keep it closed, but that can always be done… I’ve seen it in black and grey, and really prefer it in grey. I think it would make a great topper above a simple sheath dress or something perhaps?
Soldier-on from TotusMel's Wunderkammer
I adore the Etsy treasury blog TotusMel’s Wunderkammer – and it had a great foursome on military-inspired pieces from Etsy on October 2010. The dress is adorable just for starters, and brings in that whole steampunk/military vibe, rather than going directly ‘military’. Love it! Just for reference sake – here’s the full version of the dress, from Etsy seller Sky Creation. (There are a bunch of other Lolita/EGL designs in Sky Creation’s gallery too.)
Captain Jack's costume
Captain Jack has this neat military-inspired steampunk costume on Cosplay.com. This one is comprised of a khaki green shirtdress, with a “tail” back (cut up the centre back) like a Morning Coat, a waist cincher, and then a bustle that pokes out from the tails of the coat/dress. If you click the link you’ll see more photos of the individual elements of the costume, plus the costume being worn – with a cap, lots of medals/pins, boots, and a white shirt under the coat/dress. I actually saw a dress JUST like this while out shopping the other day (but it didn’t fit across the bust… and I’ve noticed that this colour is very popular right now… might be a great time to multi-purpose shop! I think that the colours work really well together to make this military-inspired, while the bustle and cincher are what ties this back together again with the steampunk vibe.
Dress/Jumper from Dracula Clothing
Here’s a super cute dress/jumper from Dracula Clothing - the belt doesn’t do much for me, but the apron-like straps are interesting, and I love the double-breasted effect. I think overall this wouldn’t look good on me though, because of my full chest. Still I like elements of this dress a lot. Click the link to see more including photos of the lace-up back.
Corset and Cloak has some heavily embellished military-style corsets – click the second and third thumbnails on their page to see them in a larger version.
Auxiliary Magazine's fashion spread using Retroscope Fashions' clothing
Auxiliary Magazine featured Retroscope Fashions’ clothing in a fashion spread about military-inspired fashion. For the women’s look, they’ve taken a plain black pencil skirt and added the chevron patch from a military surplus store. The top is black with a circuit board print and white piping (it looks like khaki green to me on my monitor – your vision may differ!), and the jacket is a gothic, military-style jacket with a corseted back. The look is finished off with Transmuter boots, and lots of pins, patches, and medals that the magazine suggests finding at army surplus stores, flea markets, and “your grandfather’s closet”. (I guess we know where they stand on the whole controversial issue…) To me, this look is more military-inspired goth, than steampunk though. Not that there’s anything wrong with that…but it’s likely not precisely the direction I want to head in.
So.. that’s the round-up for now. I think the next step is to sit and consider all of the options, and then get sketching! … Well.. not anytime SOON though…