Steampunk – Accessories & Trims

When viewing Alisa’s Steampunk Geisha   (originally found on the Multiculturalism for Steampunk blog) and other really awesome Steampunk outfits, one of the things that I noted between the really brilliant interpretations, and the “oh, you put on a super long skirt” costumes, were the accessories and trims. 

For instance, in Alisa’s costume, there is a hair piece, hair sticks for the hair piece, geta-style shoes, tabi stockings with white spats, a white jabot, the fur collar, the pocketwatch, the jabot pin, the corset belt-thing (I’m not entirely sure what that is really) not to mention all of those lovely antiqued brass buttons, (I’m really much more attracted to the antiqued versions vs. the shiny brass on other costumes.) the tassel fringe, and the embroidery on the corset. 

So, with that in mind, I started thinking that one element that might upgrade my neo-Victorian garb to something more well-rounded would be some of the accessories.

Some random brainstorming:

  • Pocket watches

  • A compass
  • Parasols – I have a beautiful vintage white lace one
  • Military-style medals

Original source unknown... I think it was Clockwork Couture.

  • Lockets – like the photo below

  • Millinery – mini top hats have been around for a long time, but I’m thinking of hats a bit larger (still small and perched on the head though), tricorns, derbys, etc… I love hat-making enough that I could write posts and posts about this!
  • Keys – like rings of keys like a Victorian maid might carry…
  • Rayguns, pistols, and other slightly-off weaponry – though I dont know if I would have a persona who would find a purpose in carrying obvious weaponry…
  • Holsters and harnesses – to hold all of those rayguns and pistols I suppose. 
  • Fingerless gloves – I want to stay away from lace gloves I think..
  • Spats – but how would these work with the kind of footwear I generally wear?
  • Fans – I have a lace one.. where did I put it?
  • Canes – walking canes.  If only the one I have didn’t have a sword inside of it… not really street-legal.
  • Gauntlets and cuffs
  • Cameos and other pins/broaches
  • On footwear- those lovely granny-boot styles that I’ve been seeing somewhat more of lately. 
  • When I think of Victorian jewellery, I think a lot of jet –shiny black stones and carved details, garnet beads, rosary beads, elegant but not necessarily realistic florals….
  • On a more masculine front – pipes… though I dont think I would want to be carrying around something like that, unless I could blow bubbles with it! hehe
  • What else?  What else would you see someone wearing/holding/carrying?

I’m not a fan however of the “take a bunch of gears and glue them to something” school of Steampunk jewellery.      I suppose it’s because I think of the overall look as being more like transporting to a certain era, what would someone wear if they really were in that time/place.  The ‘glue some gears’ design seems more like something to wear everyday as an advertising piece or something to show off your interests – not something to wear with a full costume.

Thinking then about trims, there are a lot of trims that in my mind scream “neo-Victorian” (or simply Victorian, and by that matter Steampunk too) such as:

  • Tassels

    Pleating, ruffles, gimp, lace, bows, soutache...

  • Tassel fringe
  • Soutache braid
  • Fringe of all sorts
  • Heavy gimp-like braid
  • Braid that today would be reserved more for upholstery and home decor use than fashion
  • Fur (faux or recycled of course!) in collars, muffs, etc
  • Ruffles and lace (heck, ruffles trimmed in lace!)
  • Similar to that – self fabric pleated into a trim. I’ve done this once on my blue taffeta skirt, and once on the black and white skirt too.
  • Fabric itself – this isn’t so much trim – but using stripes and cutting them to create chevrons, or using lace overlays…  it’s doing something above and beyond…
  • military-inspired braid
  • Buttons as trim (again, back to the military-styled elements like double-breasted jackets, etc..)
  • For that matter, things like snaps and rivets, pushed from functional to decorative would count as trim as well…
  • Chain or chainette (again, military…)
  • Feathers (I’m not so much thinking of this as something that comes up top in my mind, but I’ve been seeing some feather trim in other’s costumes, and think that in the right context, they work…

Hmmm what else?  It’s one of the interesting things – I rarely “decorate” my normal daily clothing that I make with
Appliquéd cogs

 embelishments and trim, but it might be one of those things that takes a single garment out of the ordinary and more towards ‘costume’…. (and thus blending with other peices more easily…) 

When it comes to embellishment, I’ve seen a number of people stencilling, appliquéing, or sewing on things like cogs, clock hands, etc – but I think that generally is heading towards ‘stunt dressing’ more than costume.  That being said, I can see the motifs being translated into something like cutwork lace trim (out of non-fray ultra suede perhaps) or being incorporated in some other way – blowing up the motif perhaps or scaling it down considerably and repeating it. 

On an entirely different note, I had the chance to get to the first Steampunk Meet up here a few days ago, and had every intention of attending, but flaked out at the last moment.  Someone who I didn’t really want to hang out with was on the invite list as well, and another who I had hoped might attend wasnt…. and it was my first day back to work so I just decided to do other things instead.  Boo me.  *shrugs* Maybe the next one.


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