The Best Steampunk Costumes and Ideas [2022]

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Halloween is right around the corner! You know what that means, right? It’s time to pick out your costume!

While you can settle for a traditional costume, such as a vampire or a cat, wouldn’t you rather pick a costume that stands out? Look no further than a steampunk costume!

Steampunk is a fashion trend inspired by the industrialization that occurred in the 19th century. Many steampunk costumes feature machine imagery, gears, and other industrial-inspired memorabilia.

Are you interested in creating your own steampunk costume but aren’t sure where to start? If so, we offer tips and steampunk costume inspiration so you can create the best steampunk costume!

Essential Tips When Creating a Steampunk Costume

Before we get to the steampunk costume ideas, you should know a few expert tips to create the best steampunk look. Here’s what you need to know.

DIY Is the Best Option

When looking at the complexity of some steampunk costumes, you may think it’s best to buy one pre-made. In reality, DIY is the best option. DIY steampunk costumes look more authentic and creative. Your costume doesn’t have to be perfect, just hold the basic elements of the steampunk style.

In addition, shopping for your steampunk costume is cheaper than you may think. You may be able to find all essential steampunk costume pieces at your local thrift store.

It’s All About the Hat

You’ll likely see many steampunk aficionados wearing hats. You may see complex hats designed with goggles and gears or you may see a basic black top hat. But the hat is an essential part of the steampunk style.

Why is the hat so important? Hats were extremely popular during the Victorian era — since steampunk fashion is rooted in the 19th century, the hat is a staple in steampunk fashion.

What if you hate hats? Your costume doesn’t need one, but your costume will look more authentic with even a basic top hat.

Dress in the Proper Era

As stated previously, steampunk fashion is heavily inspired by history. While most refer back to Victoria-era style, many also imitate Edwardian fashion.

Each period had three distinct styles of dress: upper-class, middle-class, and lower-class. Upper-class steampunk is what you would expect — fancy clothes! The women wear dresses while men wear suits.

However, most steampunk enthusiasts imitate the middle and lower-class styles of the Victorian and Edwardian era. You can find most essentials at an affordable price or even at your local thrift store.

How did the middle and lower class dress in the 19th century? Focus on fitted jackets and coats, collared shirts, and vests. For women, wear a long skirt or a shorter skirt with bloomers. However, pants are also suitable for any woman.

What About Goggles?

You may also see steampunk enthusiasts wearing goggles, especially on their hat. How does this relate to steampunk?

Goggles are used by many in industrial professions. At the time, railroad workers commonly used them.

People also wore them when they needed eye protection. Early trains didn’t have windows, so people used goggles to protect their eyes from dust and cinder — which is how these goggles got the nickname “cinder goggles.”

They serve more than protection — they also have aesthetics, especially when used in steampunk garb. But the goggles you wear have to be the right kind. For example, ski and swim goggles are out. You’ll also want to avoid single-lens goggles.

Where do you find industrial-grade goggles? Look in the place where most professionals will look — welding supply and hardware stores! If you have no luck with this option, try costume stores. There are also plenty of steampunk-inspired goggles available online.

Don’t forget to paint them! Goggles back in the 19th century were usually made of copper, had colored lenses, and were secured with a leather strap. You can easily imitate this look with some paint.

Other Elements You’ll Need

There are other staples that will make the perfect steampunk costume. Here are a few examples.

Props

No steampunk costume is complete without some props! Since most steampunk characters are a product of fantasy and science fiction, there are no rules when putting together your prop.

You can choose an accessory, such as a mask, binoculars, umbrella, or cane. Some characters also carry a weapon (but be sure it’s a fake and/or not damaging).

You’ll also want to keep the time period in mind. For example, your character won’t want to carry something new and modern.

Shoes

What shoes should you wear? Both men and women should wear boots. However, women in the Victorian era also wore clogs and dress slippers.

Your footwear also depends on your outfit. For example, those in high-class garb should wear nicer boots or shoes.

What style of boots should you choose? Fortunately, you have flexibility here. There was a myriad of boot styles in the Victorian era. However, you’ll want to choose laced-up boots. Zippers and similar are very modern — most boots in the Victorian era were secured with shoelaces.

Belts

You can wear a belt with your steampunk outfit. Just be sure it’s a belt that fits the Victorian era. At the time, most belts were made of copper or brass. To spice up your outfit, adorn your belt with studs or add a fancy buckle.

Belts were popular accessories during the Victorian era and weren’t always worn around the waist. You can wear a belt as a choker around your neck, around your hat, and even around your chest.

The Coolest Steampunk Costume Ideas

Now that you know the basics of creating a steampunk costume, it’s time to create the most unique costume! Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Steampunk Robot

Steampunk has lots of science fiction inspiration, so a robot steampunk costume is not only unique but creative.

To become a robot, you’ll want to make yourself as less human as possible. Paint your skin to look like metal, such as brass. Adorn your body with gears and wires. Wear a costume that makes you look mechanical.

You can also add some steampunk inspiration by adding armor, chainmail, and goggles. Make sure the hat you choose also looks mechanical.

Steampunk Disney Villain

Do you love steampunk and Disney? Combine them both by reinventing the classic Disney villain.

For example, this woman reinvents Alice in Wonderland’s The Red Queen with some steampunk inspiration.

You can make a steampunk costume inspired by any Disney villain. Create tentacles and paint yourself purple to become Ursula. Wear horns inspired by Maleficent. Hold a mechanical apple as if you were the witch from Cinderella. Dress in high-class garb with half-black and half-white hair like Cruella de Vil.

You can also choose other Disney characters and steampunk-ify them. For example, this woman made a steampunk Chesire Cat from Alice in Wonderland.

Halloween Steampunk

If you’re creating a steampunk character for Halloween, invent a spooky Halloween-inspired steampunk character.

Wear a skeleton outfit with Victorian-era clothing. Dress up like a steampunk witch, complete with a broom and cauldron. Combine pirate and steampunk elements to look like a super cool steampunk pirate.

Steampunk Mythological Character

Steampunk has its roots in fantasy, so it only makes sense that steampunk fantasy characters look awesome!

For example, this guy is wearing a top hat made with horns and goggles. The horns make him look like a satyr or a similar character with horns.

This costume took a lot of work, but there are other steampunk mythology costumes you can create. Examples include steampunk fairies, steampunk Greek goddess, steampunk angel, and even a steampunk devil.

Steampunk Alien

Another great steampunk sci-fi idea is making yourself a steampunk alien. You can get creative — make a crazy costume, accessories, and prop by hand. Or, you can wear traditional steampunk clothes but paint your skin green.

Steampunk Elf

Whether you want to look like Buddy the Elf or Legolas, you also have lots of flexibility by being a steampunk elf. You can add many elf-inspired elements to a traditional steampunk costume, such as pointed ears and a pointed hat.

Steampunk Zombie

Who said steampunk can’t be scary? If you want to create a Victorian-era zombie, there are many ways you can do so easily (and even affordably).

Get contacts to make your eyes look dead and glassy. Paint your skin so it’s white and add black around your eyes. Add other scary features such as fake blood and gashes. You can pair these elements with traditional steampunk fashion.

Steampunk Sheriff

A steampunk sheriff isn’t as difficult to make as it sounds. Victorian-era policemen wore a black button-down coat matched with black boots and trousers. They also wore a black hat with a police emblem and carried around a baton.

You can easily make this costume using cheap clothes you’ll find at a thrift store and a vintage sheriff hat (or you can make your own). What if you’re a woman? If you want to make your outfit more feminine, find a black or brown dress instead of a coat and trousers. Did Victorian-era police officers carry guns? It was very controversial and limited, so your costume will be more realistic if you carried a baton.

Steampunk Circus

To create a unique steampunk circus look, all you need is a ringmaster jacket and you’re good to go! You can also add a dash of style with fishnets and boots like this model did.

Steampunk Cowboy/Cowgirl

Who said you can’t mix steampunk and the wild wild west? This lady wears a cowboy hat and carries a fake pistol while adorned with Victorian-inspired boots and goggles. This is a simple and eye-catching costume that anyone can create.

Steampunk Couple

If you can’t think of anything else, create an awesome steampunk costume with the person you love! There are many steampunk clothing options for all couples.

FAQs

Steampunk is a very stylish but complex fashion trend. It’s normal to have some questions about dressing in steampunk garb and creating a costume. We’ll answer a few questions here.

What Is Steampunk?

Still not sure what steampunk is? Steampunk is a movement inspired by science fiction and history.It’s most notably a fashion trend where users dress in Victorian-era costumes. However, steampunk got its roots in literature.There are different ways to create a steampunk outfit — not only by clothing choice but wearing specific jewelry, creating different hairstyles, wearing certain makeup styles, and even with body modification.

How Did Steampunk Begin?

Steampunk actually started as a subgenre in the science fiction genre. The trend was started by Victorian-era writers, such as H.G. Wells and Jules Verne, but reached its peak in the 1970s and 1980s.
Steampunk fashion gained popularity in the 2000s, especially when Kate “Kato” Lambert created the clothing company Steampunk Couture Clothing. Since then, these styles have been seen on the runway from major designers and even on an episode of America’s Next Top Model.

Why Is It Called Steampunk?

The name steampunk originated from the name cyberpunk. “Cyberpunk” started as a short story by Bruce Bethke about a group of teenaged hackers. The genre became famous with William Gibson’s book Neuromancer.
From here, this created a genre that mixes technology and teenage “punks” (not related to the genre of music).
William Gibson is also responsible for creating the literary subgenre steampunk. He and writer Bruce Sterling teamed up to write The Difference Engine, an alternative history novel about the Industrial Revolution and if computers existed a century early.

What Fashion Inspires Steampunk?

Steampunk is inspired by many fashion trends that originated in the Victorian and Edwardian eras. These fashion staples are combined with factors synonymous with the Industrial Revolution, such as gears.
But steampunk can be more complex than this, especially in the modern age. You can see the qualities of goth and even burlesque fashion.

Is Steampunk a Lifestyle?

Many fashion trends, such as minimalist, are also a lifestyle. What about steampunk? While it’s technically not a lifestyle, many people connect with steampunk on a stronger level. That’s because many of the features of steampunk, such as technology, are prevalent in our modern society.
There’s also a major steampunk culture. Many steampunk aficionados meet at conventions and other events. Steampunk is also a popular Halloween costume style.

Create the Best Steampunk Costumes

Are you still deciding what Halloween costume you want to wear? These steampunk costumes should provide plenty of inspiration. Steampunk is one of the most interesting fashion trends, combining history with fashion and creativity.

If you want to dress in steampunk garb, steampunk costumes are easier to create than you think. You can also come up with unique and creative ideas that are sure to receive attention.

Not only that, but you should look into the fascinating literature and culture of steampunk. Who knows — maybe you’ll regularly attend steampunk conventions!

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