Welcome to our review of The Best Steampunk Costumes 2023.
To ensure this guide reflects the true views of the steampunk community, we reached out to a broad spectrum of steampunk enthusiasts who use Steampunk Artifacts.
Our aim was to uncover the most important factors our community considers when comparing steampunk costumes. Using these insights, we have crafted the Best Steampunk Costumes 2023 guide, shortlisting only the aspects that truly matter to steampunks:
The Best Steampunk Costumes 2023
This look is perfect for capturing the spirit of exploration that defines steampunk. The ensemble usually comprises rugged leather boots, weathered trousers, a Victorian-era shirt, a waistcoat, and a duster coat. Accessorized with goggles, a pocket watch, and perhaps a compass or vintage map, the adventurer outfit embodies the blend of Victorian sophistication with the boldness of an explorer.
This costume combines the opulence of the Victorian era with the mechanical aesthetics of steampunk. Typically, it includes a Victorian-era corset, full-skirted dress with bustle, lace gloves, and Victorian boots. Often embellished with gears, pocket watches, and brass details, this costume reflects the marriage of tradition and fantasy that is central to steampunk.
A staple of the darker side of steampunk fashion, the Gothic tailcoat brings a sense of drama and mystery. Often made from lush velvets or distressed leather, it might be adorned with ornate buttons, braiding, or metal accents. Paired with Victorian-era trousers and boots, it offers a stylish, alternative interpretation of the steampunk aesthetic.
The Victorian dress provides the ideal canvas for a steampunk transformation. Layered with corsets, accessorized with cog and gear jewelry, and perhaps paired with lace-up Victorian boots, the dress can reflect the classic elegance of the era while embodying the inventiveness of steampunk.
The woolen cape with a hood adds a layer of practicality and mystery to any steampunk outfit. Its traditional material and design echo the Victorian era, but when paired with steampunk accessories like goggles, or a mechanical pocket watch, it becomes a unique part of a steampunk ensemble.
A top hat with removable goggles combines practicality with style, and it’s quintessentially steampunk. Whether paired with a full costume or a casual steampunk-inspired outfit, this combo signifies the blend of the Victorian era’s sophistication with the daring innovation of steampunk.
This garment brings a unique twist to the steampunk genre by combining elements of Victorian elegance, gothic darkness, and fantastical role-play. With its distinctive hood and probable dark hues, this piece fits well in the broader steampunk universe where mashups of different styles are encouraged.
Rooted in history and elevated by fantasy, a plague doctor’s cloak and robe add a touch of macabre to steampunk. The outfit, complete with a beaked mask, often seen in a distressed or antiqued finish, fits perfectly within the darker corners of the steampunk genre.
The gas mask, a symbol of survival in a post-apocalyptic world, adds an edge to any steampunk outfit. Whether used as a prop for cosplay or as a mask for a masquerade, the gas mask ties in with the genre’s appreciation for protective gear and mechanical design.
For young fans of the genre, boys’ steampunk costumes often mirror the styles of the adults but with a touch more whimsy. From mini adventurer outfits complete with vests and boots to miniature aviator styles with goggles and flight jackets, these costumes introduce the next generation to the wonders of steampunk.
Girls’ steampunk costumes offer a delightful mix of Victorian charm and creative whimsy. Often featuring full skirts reminiscent of the Victorian era, adorned with gears, cogs, and other steampunk embellishments, these costumes cater to the imaginative spirit of the genre. Paired with accessories such as mini top hats, goggles, or lace gloves, these outfits encourage young girls to explore the fascinating world of steampunk and express their unique style.
What is a Steampunk Costume?
A steampunk costume is an outfit designed in the aesthetic of the steampunk genre, a subgenre of science fiction and fantasy that melds technology and aesthetic designs inspired by 19th-century industrial steam-powered machinery. This genre is deeply rooted in the eras of Victorian England or America’s Wild West, and it presents a retro-futuristic vision of the world.
The costumes often incorporate elements of historical fashion, particularly from the Victorian and Edwardian eras, combined with anachronistic technological features inspired by science fiction. These elements can include gears, cogs, goggles, corsets, top hats, and parasols, often stylized to look as though they’re powered by steam or clockwork mechanisms.
Materials such as brass, leather, wood, and lace are commonly used, giving a rich, tactile quality to the costumes. Color palettes tend to lean towards browns, blacks, and metallics, although splashes of jewel tones can also be found.
Steampunk costumes vary widely depending on the specific theme or persona the wearer wants to embody. For example, some may opt for the elegant Victorian aristocrat with elaborate gowns and corsets, while others may prefer the rugged airship pirate with leather trousers and utility belts. Regardless of the specific style, the central idea is a mashup of the historical and the fantastical, combining the old and the new in imaginative ways.
How to Compare the Best Steampunk Costumes
When comparing steampunk costumes, there are several key factors to take into account:
Steampunk has several subgenres, including but not limited to, Western, Victorian, Post-Apocalyptic, and Industrial. A costume’s theme will heavily influence its design and the accessories that come with it.
Quality of Materials
A costume made of high-quality materials like leather, brass, or natural fibers will typically look more authentic and last longer than one made of cheap plastic or synthetic fabrics.
Detailing and Craftsmanship
The intricacy of a costume’s details and the quality of its craftsmanship can greatly affect how authentic and impressive it looks. Details to look for could include embroidery, metalwork, clockwork elements, etc.
Some costumes may come as a full set with clothing and accessories, while others might just be a base outfit that you’ll need to accessorize yourself.
Comfort and Fit
Since you may be wearing the costume for several hours at a time, it’s important to consider how comfortable it is and how well it fits.
Some costumes might be versatile enough to fit into several steampunk subgenres or to be broken down into pieces that can be worn separately.
Of course, you’ll need to consider the cost of the costume and whether it’s a good value for what’s included.
If you’re buying online, reviews from previous buyers can provide valuable insight into a costume’s true-to-size fit, quality, and overall value.
Comparing steampunk costumes based on these factors can help you find the best costume for your needs, whether you’re dressing up for a convention, a party, or just for fun.
Matilda Steed has been into Steampunk culture for decades now. She is a keen seamstress who loves customizing retro clothing and upcycling which is a perfect fit when devising Steampunk-inspired outfits.