All about Steampunk Fashion and Apparel

Recently, I discovered a page about steampunk on google+, and was instantly fascinated by it. I’ve been looking more into steampunk fashion and culture and so far I love what I’ve seen and learned. In this post I will try to define steampunk and share what I’ve learned so far.

What is Steampunk?


Author G. D. Falksen, wearing a steampunk-styled arm prosthesis (created by Thomas Willeford), exemplifying one take on steampunk fashion. From Wikipedia

This is a difficult question to answer as there is a lot of controversy in what is included and how to define streampunk. From what I have gathered, Steampunk is asubgenre of science fiction and fantasy that incorporates features that are a combination of steam-powered machinery of the 19th century and the Victorian Era. You’ll also see many machines and devices that were not typically seen either era. Examples would be steam powered rifles and air ships. Overall, it is Victorian science fiction.

Steampunk fashion

Steampunk apparel and fashion includes fashions from the Victorian Era, such as petticoats and corsets, and combines them with references to the 19th century. These references include actual machine pieces, like gears and cogs, as well as workers accessories, such as goggles that look like they came straight from Willy Wonka’s factory. Colors for this fashion are usually rarely, if ever, bright and are more subdued neutral tones. When looking through pictures I see a lot of browns, whites, grays and tans, with the occasional red or blue color variations.


A steampunk-themed photo from Wikipedia

Most women tend to wear dresses, both long and short, complete with petticoats. But there are some women out there who wear pants, usually when portraying a pilot, engineer or air pirate. Most women typically incorporate a corset into their outfit, both overbust corsets and underbust corsets. For jackets Carriage coats, riding jackets, flight jackets and pea coats are the usual choices. Accessories include gloves, including elegant gloves, fingerless gloves and maybe even large leather gloves, and hats or elegant pins.

Men’s fashion is typically traditional Victorian in appearance, but with steampunk accessories, like a pocket watch. Some men also choose to change up the look with gloves, leather boots and goggles. Hats are also used in men’s fashion. Hats ranged from pilots caps, to newsboy hats and top hats, as well as many other options for a hair piece.

There is a lot more to steampunk fashion than what I have written above but it will give you the general idea.

Steampunk culture

There are people now who incorporate steampunk as a lifestyle and it’s starting to become a sub-culture. This trend has even been appearing more and more at various social events, from conventions to renaissance festivals. There are even events totally dedicated to steampunk. I personally would love to put an outfit together and go to a steampunk ball, with traditional dances and everything!

As I mentioned before there is a lot more to steampunk and steampunk fashion than what I’ve mentioned here. Here are some resources to help you learn more about this rising sub-culture, and if I got something wrong or you have other information to share, please comment or message me! I’d love to learn more 🙂

How To Dress Steampunk

What is Steampunk Fashion

Steampunk Wikia: Steampunk Fashion

Wikipedia: Steampunk What is Steampunk?

What is Steampunk?

What Do The Symbols On The Tag Mean? – Guide To Clothing Care Labels

When looking at the care instructions on the tag of your clothing, sometimes they write instructions and other times there are just clothing care symbols. Majority of the time I stare at these fabric care symbols and try to guess what they mean, and I’m usually wrong. Since I’d really rather not ruin my clothing I thought it was about time I researched these care labels and thought I would share my new found knowledge with the world!

Clothing Tag

Washing Symbols

The washing care labels are represented by what looks like a cup with two waves in it, like when kids draw waves for water. If the cup of water has one dot in the water then it’s machine wash cold, two dots for warm and three dots for hot. If there is a line underneath the cup, that means use a permanent press setting and two lines means use a gentle cycle. For example a cup with two dots and a line means machine wash warm, permanent press. If instead of dots there is a hand reaching into the cup, that means hand wash. If there is an X going through the cup, that means do not wash.

Drying Symbols

The dryer symbol is represented by a square with another symbol inside that tells you the drying instructions. If the square has a circle inside it that usually means it’s tumble dry and the circle represents the heat. A square with a filled in circle means tumble dry no heat, if the circle inside the square has a dot, then it’s tumble dry low heat. Two dots for medium heat and three dots for high heat. Like with the washing symbols if there is one line underneath the square, that means use a permanent press setting, two lines means use a gentle cycle. If the entire symbol, square and circle, l has an X through it, that means do not tumble dry.

If the square has three vertical lines inside of it, that means to drip dry the clothing. One horizontal line means dry flat. The last drying symbol has a small curved line, inside the square towards the top. It almost looks like an envelope, at least to me it does. This symbol means the garment needs to be line dried.


Other Symbols

The other symbols on the clothing care labels are instructions for ironing, bleach and dry cleaning. For drying cleaning there are two symbols. An open circle means dry clean. There may be additional letters or lines with this symbol but those are mainly for the dry cleaner. If the circle has an X, that means do not dry clean. Usually that means the fabric would react badly to the chemicals used in dry cleaning.

The ironing clothing care symbol looks like an iron, an old fashion iron, but an iron. If the iron has one dot then that means you need to iron, steam or dry the garment with low heat. Tow dots is medium heat and three dots is high heat. An X through the iron means do not iron. The other symbols is an X through 2 lines underneath the iron. This odd symbol means do not iron with steam. So you can iron it, just don’t use any methods that create or involve steam. To learn more about ironing check out my post on How to Iron T Shirts and Other Apparel.

Bleaching instructions are represented by a triangle. A plain, empty triangle means bleach as needed. If there are diagonal lines inside of the triangle then use non-chlorine bleach as needed, which is what I typically stick to when washing my clothes. The final symbol is a triangle, sometimes filled in and sometimes not, with an X through it which means do not bleach in any way or form, and that includes detergents with bleach in them.

For examples of these fabric care symbols, as well as more symbols, check out these resources:

Care Labels: Your Guide to Easy Care

Guide to Common HomeLaundering and Drycleaning Symbols

Wikipedia – Laundry Symbol

Your Guide to Fabric Care SymbolsFabric Care Symbols from the Cleaning Insitute

Guide to Apparel and Textile Care Symbols

1950s Fashion – Vintage Apparel Style Guide

This is the third post in my series on Vintage Apparel Style. We’ve looked at the 1970s and the 1920s, now we’re time traveling to the 1950s.

Background on 50s style

During World Wat II, fashion and style had become less important as supplies and money were needed more for the war than to fill closets. In America, there were restrictions on the number of clothes one could purchase, while in Britain clothing was rationed. Simple easy to make clothes were the norm, and many women even remade men’s clothes to fit them, so as not to waste the fabric since most men at the time were in uniform.

After the war, Christian Dior’s “New Look” became the inspiration for popular styles and trends. It’s signature shape included long, full skirts, a pointed bust, small waist and rounded shoulder-line, just like in a lot of the older movies that I watch with my mother and grandmother sometimes. Also, new textile technology resulted in the creation of new synthetic and easy-care fabric finishes that fit the suburban life style after the war.

Girl from 50s1950s Fashion For Women

Women favored a tailored , feminine look. Tailored suits with fitted jackets that had peplums. (A peplum is an elongated hem designed to look like a short skirt that is designed to be worn over a skirt or pants. Peplums have recently made a comeback and are popular in women’s fashion today.) These fitted jackets were typically worn with a narrow and long pencil skirt. Gloves and Pearls were popular accessories in 1950s fashion for women.


Lisa Fonssagrives in an tailored suit features a long pencil skirt and a fitted jacket with peplum. Photograph by Toni Frissell for Harper’s Bazaar, London, 1951 – From Wikipedia

There were also evening, day and cocktail dresses. A cocktail dress was not as formal as a dress for evening, but nicer than a day dress, and were mostly used for parties in the early-evening. Day dresses usually had a fitted bodice and full skirts, with low-cut or jewel necklines. Other popular day dress styles in 1950s fashion were shirt dresses and sun dresses with halter tops. Evening gowns were the same “ballerina length” as the day dresses with full, frothy skirts. Lower cut gowns and dresses typically were paired with bolero jackets and shrugs.

Another popular trend was an increase in the use of casual sportswear that matched the relaxed lifestyle of the suburbs. Loose printed and knit tops were popular, as casual skirts were either narrow or full.After wearing pants during the war, many women were unwilling to give them up so they became part of the fashion in the 1950s. Women’s pants were designed to be ankle-length and narrow. House boy pants were cropped at the mid-calf and shorter pants, just below the knee, were referred to as pedal pushers. The 1950s was also the time of the famous poodle skirts, though that fad didn’t last very long.

1950s Mens Fashion

For work men tended to stick towards suits. Single-breasted twopiece suits that has less padding in the shoulder area and narrower lines became popular. Pants became fuller and typically were style with cuffs. These suits tended to be dark blue dark brown and charcoal gray, with gray being the more popular color. Another color that started being worn by men was pink, but that tended to be in the more casual wear. In the late 50s a new style of suit with sharper shoulders, and jackets there were shorter and more fitted and had narrower lapels appeared in Italy and also became a trend.


Writer Truman Capote wears a pullover sweater, casual shirt, and cuffed trousers, 1959. – From Wikipedia

For more casual occasions 1950s mens fashion consisted of cardigan sweaters, usually paired with a pair a trousers or shorts. younger men wore leather jackets, white t shirts and tight pants. During this decade Tartan plaids and other various plaids became a popular pattern in menswear. Khaki-color pants also became a trend for a more casual look.

1950s Hair


Typical hairstyles of the early 50s shown here on Fernando Lamas and Danielle Darrieux – From Wikipedia

For women, hair was cut in various lengths, though most preferred a shorter hair style. Earlier on in the decade hats were frequently used in fashion. Later in the 1950s fashion hats became less frequent and hairstyles became fuller. Short and high volume was a popular style, but other styles included tight curls or bob cuts. The most popular, and more well known hair style, was the bouffant. This hair style is what the character Tracy Turnblad wears at the beginner of the movie Hair Spray.

For men, the regular haircut consisted of hair that was parted at the side and tapered at the back and sides and was clean cut. Crew cuts were also popular. But for men who wanted something a hair style that was different, and against the norm, the greased up pompadour was the hairstyle of chose. This was the style made famous by Elvis Presley and James Dean. And though the style was frowned upon in schools, it was a popular style for men of all ages.

To learn more about the styles and trends of 1950s fashion check out these resources:

Wikipedia – 1945-60 in fashion – Wiki page on the various styles and trends after WWII through the 50s

Fashion 1950-1959 a project page on the University at Buffalo website about 1950s fashion

Wikipedia – Hairstyles in the 1950s – Wiki page that looks at popular hair styles of the 1950s – 1950s Fashion History, Costume History & 50s Social History – This website has many pages that look at different parts of 50s style and fashion

Living Fifties Fashion – The @LivingFifties website is dedicated to 50s fashion and is an inforative resource on the subject

Fashion Style Guide: Bohemian Clothing and Style

There are many different styles and trends out there in today’s world, from goth and rocker to preppy or mod. In this post we’re going to take a look at the bohemian style and the fashions associated with this style.

What Is Bohemian Style?
Bohemian fashion is a mix of casual, hippie, ethnic and vintage styles that is also called Boho-Chic. The style consists of loose and colorful clothing and is generally associated with writers and artsy people, though it is not exclusive to them. This style also tends to be most popular in the summer.

Origins of Bohemians and Boho stylebohemian dress
The first bohemians appeared after the French Revolution as a counterculture in France. This was a time when many artists were plunged into poverty since wealthy clients no longer supported the arts like they had in the past. Many of these artists began to live a nomadic life style. These people lived cheaply and tended to wear, and re-wear, worn out, used and unfashionable clothing for the time period. These people started showing off their creativity and craft in the way they lived, becoming a piece of artwork themselves and this is wear the bohemian style first began. Thought it wasn’t until later that bohemian fashion became a trend that caught on and spread its influence beyond that of the poverty stricken artists.

Characteristics of the Bohemian Style
-Bohemian clothing uses flowing fabrics that are used to create the long and loose fitting clothes of this style.
-Accessories and jewelery tend to be large, colorful, chunky and usually very affordable, this is a great style for a person on a budget.
-Many pieces have fun and interesting prints, patterns and and trims.
-Tends to favor bright colors, though some styles available in more subdued hues.
-In regards to footwear, this style tends to use sandals, boots and ballet slippers. No sneakers or platform shoes here.
-Embroidery and beadings give a more homemade feel to some pieces of bohemian clothing. Beads are also used in jewelry or accessories.
-Hair is worn loose and flowing. A scarf can be wrapped around the head or used like headband, to keep hair loose and flowing, but out of your face.

bohemian hairstyleTo learn more about Boho-chic and the bohemian style check out these resources:

The Chic Fashionista Bohemian Fashion Style

Boho – The Fashion History of Bohemian Style

Wikipedia Bohemian style

Wikipedia – Boho-chic

Yahoo Voices – A Guide to Bohemian Fashion

Fashion After 50 – 6 Tips for Bohemian Fashion: Arty, Edgy, Ethnic & Enduring