Steampunk Chic: How to Dress Like a Raygun-Bearing Neo-Victorian

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The Steampunk Bible (AbramsImage)

Steampunks revive the dandified look.

Retooling Victorian-era decorum and Jules Verne's fantastical sense of adventure for the modern age, Steampunk subculture offers a polite counterpunch to all that's sleek and casual about contemporary life.  As chronicled in Jeff VanderMeer and S.J. Chambers' new book The Steampunk Bible, Neo-Victorians celebrate gadgets, fantasy fiction and fashion that thrive on excess.  

Steampunks will surely be dressing for the occasion next month at the annual San Diego geekfest known as ComicCon. Here's a cram course in back-to-the-future retro fashion excerpted from the book.

HEADGEAR: A bare scalp may indicate a bare brain beneath. Headgear is a wide-ranging term that includes fascinators, formal hats and work hats.

GOGGLES: There's no way to complete your Sky Captain ensemble without the customized goggles worn by seasoned aviators.

FINGERLESS GLOVES:Steampunks need to be fashionable but also able to jumpstart that greasy, rumbling perpetual motion machine that always seems on the verge of failing.

TOOLS/WEAPONS: Whether carrying them or wearing them on belts, Steampunks need their tools. You never know when a contraptorsaurus might be in need of a good smack across the boiler, or when that irksome neighbor. . . needs a good imaginary raygunning.

POCKET WATCHES: As with goggles, pocket watches come in all shapes and sizes while retaining that one essential temporal function; to make the wearer look elegant and sophisticated and in the moment.

SOCKS/STOCKINGS: For women, stockings are an excellent option for the housing of legs and provide areas prone to airship battles, you may want to consider metal stockings.

BOOTS/SHOE:Footwear determines whether you end your fashion conversation with an exclamation point or a question mark.

SPATS:. . . a shoe without a spat is akin to a lively argument initiated silently, without the tongue. If you lack spats, which cover the instep and ankle, you are, in Steampunk terms, practically a nudist.


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Los Angeles-based writer/musician Hugh Hart covers movies, television, design, art and miscellaneous slices of pop culture for publications including Wired Magazine, Los Angeles Times and New York Times. When he's not interviewing people like Quentin Tarantino or Lindsay Lohan, Hugh likes to glug blackā€¦

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