Monday, 25 July 2011

Styles of Goth fashion: Steampunk Goth

I suspect that the steampunk subculture was knocking around long before us Gothy types discovered it and fell upon it with such wicked glee as we seem to have done in 2010 and 11. 2011 especially looks pretty good for steampunk enthusiasts - The Steampunk Bible was published this year (yes I want it, what a nice bookshelf companion for The Goth Bible!), and new events are popping up all over the globe.

Just as the Industrial and Goth subcultures spawned the bastard lovechild that is Industrial Goth, Goths who deck themselves in steampunk fashion and/or listen to steampunk music (or conversely, steampunk enthusiasts who love Goth music in its many forms) may refer to themselves as Steampunk Goths.

Steampunk Goths may prefer a darker colour scheme than the browns and golds often associated with traditional steampunk, using black as a base for their ensembles as opposed to tertiary colours. They may not, however, often rendering the Steampunk Goth indistinguishable from the non-Goth steampunk enthusiast.
*sigh* Vecona...
Source: Tumblr
Since Goth is more of a 'lifestyle subculture' than steampunk - i.e. most of us dress this way all the time rather than just for events - casual steampunk styles are popular amongst Steampunk Goths, because these outfits are more suited to streetwear and allow these Goths to keep their 'look' every day.

Many staples of steampunk fashion are already popular amongst Goths - corsets, top hats, bustles, granny boots, and goggles - and so adding a steampunk-esque twist to a Gothic wardrobe is not overly difficult, particularly if you are already a Victorian or Neo-Victorian Goth, as there are many similarities in style. Motifs such as keys, cogs, octopi (what's that all about, anyway?), stripes and clocks appeal to Goths as well as steampunks for their antiquated charm.
I will *not* make a 'big weapon' joke.
Source: Tumblr
When not reading Jane Austen or Gail Carriger novels, shopping for ray guns or attaching lace to something stripey, Steampunk Goths are as likely to be found at large conventions or steampunk events as Goth clubs and festivals, and probably enjoy a selection of music popular amongst both subcultures, such as sepiachord, cello rock, violindustrial and dark cabaret. Bands associated with this subgenre may include Abney Park, Rasputina, The Clockwork Dolls, Vermilion Lies, Dresden Dolls, Circus Contraption, China Steamengine and Toy-Box Trio.

Saturday's work outfit (yes, I work Saturdays, no rest for the wicked *arf arf*).
Crap photo. Sorry about that.
Boots: Peacocks sale, £20
Petticoat: Foxtrot Vintage & Retro, £20
Belt: gift
Leggings: freebie from a charity shop
T-shirt: The Birthday Massacre gig, £20
Wristband: gift
Odd gloves: one from New Look, £1.50 pair, one from Claire's, £4 pair
Tiara: charity shop bridal section, £9.95
'Wish' necklace: Primark sale, £1.50

P.S. What madness is this?! o.O


Laurie Brown said...

Great post as always!

The octopi and squid obsession comes from Jules Verne's '20,000 Leagues Under the Sea'. Plus, tentacles are just cool looking. ;)

Smashed Doll said...

I love steampunk!!! Though I would probably be more neo victorian!! Great article Amy!! And you shouldnt be suprised you have so many followers you are a great writer!!!

Emily Lynn G. said...

Rasputina<3 i love it. But it's hard to find steam punk stuff here in the tropics...I found one store in South Beach that sold Vintage style things but was SO expensive...And I've never been fond of brown, thought I COULD learn to love that dirty gold metal...

Ashlee said...

Yeah, the octopus thing is from 20,000 Leagues under the sea. Which was a good book. You might like it.

Claire said...

Definitely one of my favorite styles. I would love to see what sort of steampunk outfit you could put together Amy.

The Green Fairy said...

Or even Ctuhulu (however you spell it)

Actually there aren't that many mentions of octopi in 20 000 leagues. There's like the one where the guy that capt' Nemo is holding prisoner guys out in a glorified scuba suit for the first time and he's all like "Woo an octopus, how majestic' or something.

I probably should know the character's names seeing as Jules Verne is one of my favourite authors >.<

Mike Piasta said...

It's funny you mentioned it up top as my copy of The Steampunk Bible is on my bookshelf next to my copy of The Goth Bible :P I have yet to start reading it though.

My love for steampunk is only overshadowed by my love for Cyberpunk, and dark spooky things.

Unlacing the Victorians said...

Octopi are also a common fashion thang right now... not totally sure why, but I've seen jewelry with the tentacled monsters pop up in several stores very recently, as well as everywhere else online.

In my experience though (which is very limited), more steampunks are inclined to talk about the most recent episodes of Dr. Who rather than Jane Austen. At the steampunk events I have attended (i.e. two events) I sometimes wondered if I had wandered into a Dr. Who convention... thank goodness I have seen enough of the episodes to keep me in the loop. Meanwhile, no one seemed to have ever picked up an Austen novel or seen anything other than movie adaptations of "Pride and Prejudice" :)

Celeste said...

Thank you for your blog. It's very informitive. :) Personally I have always been intrested in steampunk, though not enough I think to actually go out and wear the style. Most of the time I don't leave the house so I go with the "Lazy Goth *cough cough*" look. The picture of you is quite lovely. It makes me want to find a full length mirror and go all-out goth so I can take picutes too! :P
I is stalking *ahem* following you now. Congrats on all the followers! :)

Anonymous said...

I find this a bit embarassing, but I would like to recommend "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang", a 60's film that has steampunk elements. I was charmed by this movie in my toddler years, but I know goths love timeless things and still chuckle at the mention of the Count in Sesame Street. Try it out sometime. ^-^

ultimategothguide said...

@ The Green Fairy - "he's all like "Woo an octopus, how majestic' or something." This gave me the giggles for like ten minutes straight. I have no idea why. >.<

@ Claire - challenge accepted. ;-)

@ Smashed Doll - thank you! :-D

@ Anonymous - "One bat! Two bats! Fifty bats!" *ahem*

I haven't seen Chitty Chitty Bang Bang for years... might see if I can find a copy somewhere. ^^

The Green Fairy said...

@Unlacing the Victorians: I consider myself a steampunk and I've read a few austens and I've seen the Colin Firth pride and prejudice series *too* many times :P

But I also love Doctor Who :P

The Green Fairy said...

Glad I made you laugh :P

LovleAnjel said...

The cephalopod thing is linked to the movie made from 20,000 Leagues perhaps more than the book - there's great scene where they fight off a giant squid during a storm. Plus Kirk Douglas sings to a sea lion.

The kraken was a giant octopus, there is a well-known engraving of one taking down a large ship.

Back to Future 3 was my first steampunk viewing experience.

Gaia_Noir said...

Really awesome article, covers the basics and more :) inner literature student just won't let me let this one pass :P *ducks irate blows from those less nitpicky than herself* It's Jane Eyre, not Jane Austen.
The inspiration behind Steampunk is taken from approx. 1850 onwards, about the point at which 'Jane Eyre' was written by Charlotte Bronte. Books by Jane Austen are about 50 years too early for Steampunk - the state of the world in the Napoleonic wars of the 1810's was arguably pretty different and had little to do with all the neat Victorian inventions that inspire Steampunk.

Having said that, us Steamy folk can't get enough of the AWESOME PIRATE TRICORN HATS (omg! They're all piratey and cool!)...which weren't really worn much past 1780. And hey, Abney Park, what's with that totally 1700's-looking ship contraption that' on your album covers?! Heh - basically, nitpicking historical accuracy in Steampunk is about as much fun as contracting cholera and makes you about as popular, which is why I restrict it to only the literary bits I just can't pass by and leave the rest up to whatever awesome anachronistic mixups we invent next!

The Green Fairy said...

I don't think you understood what we meant, we're not saying Jane Austenbworks are Steampunk go-tos, more just describing from experience what literature modern day steampunks are likely to have previously absorbed into their knowledge base. And I'm pretty sure Jane eyre has nothing to do with Steampunk. I was unde the impression steampunks took more inspiration from thIngs like the industrial revolution and the change in emphasis in olde day England from rural to city environments. If we're going to argue semantics I'd actually say north and south is more of a Steampunk kind'a novel; what with the industrial theme and focus on the cotton mills etc.

Anonymous said...

The octopuses (no, really, that's the real plural!) thing is in part because of Jules Verne and all of the incarnations of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. It's also linked to the whole airship popularity within Steampunk, since the mighty sky kraken may attack your ship!

Btw, the kraken has been many things throughout history, one of them a giant octopus (probably Enteroctopus dofleini, 71 kg (156.5 lb) 7 m (23 ft)), which does not get as giant as the giant squid, of which there are two types! (The Colossal Squid Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni is the largest cephalopod every caught, 495 kg (1,091 lb) 10 m (33 ft).) And if you go further back it's connected to the stories of great sea serpents, and Leviathan, which has *also* been attributed to be a ridiculous amount of animals, including a whale and a fallen angle. WTH.

The increasing popularity in the mainstream stems from the fact fashion "discovered" Steampunk in all it's cephalopod loving glory recently, much as it "discovers" Goth almost every winter. Really, this all just illustrates that octopuses are cool! So go visit your nearest aquarium. (And also, that I am a nerd. Ha!)

trinity said...

hi amy me and me friends read your blog all the time our favorites are the outfit and music posts and we would love to see you do a post on ghost, horror, carnival, vintage goth styles! and my friend also suggested tropigoth, bubblegoth and kitty goth and kindergoth styles even tho they arent really "true" styles! they are still interesting nonetheless. thanks a heap for reading this if you do ;)

trinity said...

sorry english inst first language lol :)

Anonymous said...

^^ hi ive seen pop/girly goth get popular as well as witchgoth. lol carnival goth sounds cute

Mal. said...

I like this post for a couple of reasons. The first is that your right it blew up really fast. My introduction to Steampunk was in 2008 by the League of S.T.E.A.M. at the Labyrinth of Jareth Ball in Los Angeles.(In fact you have a picture of one of their founding members here on your blog,Crackitus Potts, awesome kudos) The next year their were many more that joined and then it was everywhere. the League has even done a few shows. (Castle was the best one)I love steampunk as well because it is just as open and individual as the Goth culture.

InfiltratorN7 said...

There's a steampunk bible! O_O *googles* I'm probably going to buy that at some point. I'm always reading websites about steampunk and the lesser known dieselpunk (I'm a big fan of art deco, I want to visit New York one day as I find a lot of the buildings built in that period fascinating).

I love all the steampunk tech people are designing and actually creating like steampunk laptops and PCs.

Maybe the octopi obession is some link with Jules Verne and the Nautilus? Or maybe I'm just grasping straws here.

I totally recommend 'The Sepiachord Passport' compilation to anyone looking for something new to listen to, something different or just wanting to find something that could be the 'steampunk sound'. It was reviewed on Gothic Charm School and I am so glad I checked it out.

I remember when The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing played at my local goth night and the club was invaded by a crowd of steampunks. It was fantastic, so many beautiful outfits. I would love to go to a steampunk convention one day.

InfiltratorN7 said...

Just reading through the comments and love The Green Fairy's description of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. ^_^ Oh and yeah I've heard the same thing too about steampunk events. Everyone's talking about Doctor Who! And why not it's an awesome series! :-p But then one of the goth nights I go to is like that. They'll put posters up asking people not to talk abou the latest episode so as not to spoil it for those who hadn't watched it yet.

....also a fan of Jane Austen. Austen tends to get slagged off a lot these days I've noticed but I still love her books (I mean by people in general not steampunks!). Even if they're not very feminist (which I consider myself to be, just for clarification).

Loved muninandhugin's post as well about kraken tales, squids and octopuses which I think are very cool and I wholeheartedly agree. Go visit aquariums andcheck out the sea-life. I've always found the ocean to be fascinating. When I was a kid I had a book on mysteries of the deep which inlcuded stories and images of krakens, including those strange monstrous ones with the fangs and water spouts! But I think the realities of sea-life can be just as weird and fascinating.

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