Worn Wild

I’m sorry I’ve been lax with posting guys! To tell you the truth I’ve been on my Inception waistcoat stupor for the past month or so and felt too comfortable to change gears. As of now I think this blog will work better as a update-when-I-feel-like-it sort of thing – which is what I’m doing anyway – and if I have multiple updates to bring you I’ll try to schedule them a week apart.

I try very hard not to make this blog too narcissistic and fill it with stuff that’s less “what I wore today”, more “how to wear x, y, z”. But then Omega linked me to the official photos for the Melbourne Worn Wild (alternative fashion market… thingy) and thought I could totally combine narcissism and inspirational practical knowledge, but not really because I just wanted to show off how awesome I AND everyone else there looked.

Have a gawk at the photos over at Ellyway because I definitely got inspired from some of the lovely well-dressed people at the event. You’ve got your cybergoths, your lolitas, your rockabilly, your Victoriana…

And here’s me:

Believe it or not, the bulk of what you see is from Target. My pants, shirt and waistcoat probably cost me under $50 together and I consider them all wardrobe basics.

The hat and gloves you might recognise from this post. Pocketwatch was about $15 from eBay, umbrella/parasol was $7 from Queen Victoria Markets because the stall was closing down, bandanna was $2 from a thrift store.

My white rabbit brooch was from Little Shop Of and my cheshire cat necklace was from Tartx (both of which are linked under Shopping). Shoes are those $100 Tony Bianco boots that seem to go with everything.

I’m not actually wearing anything particularly flash, but note the combination of waistcoat + puffed sleeves give a more neo-Victorian silhouette, especially with the top hat. Add on the (pocketwatch) chain, cameo brooch and cowel bandanna and you get a very Victorian look indeed.

Compare this to the Inception GQMF look and I’m essentially wearing the same thing swapping puffy sleeves for the white long-sleeved shirt and bandanna for the buttoned up collar and tie. Pretty small differences that fundamentally change the style of the outfit.

Also despite my not having much money and being determined not to spend any, I bought the following wonderful messenger bag from Elvy Ess. It is extremely well made, gorgeous lining on the inside (and has a small pocket with more screenprinted creepy-crawlies), and it’s roomy and fits all my law readings! Gosh I wish I had the money to buy her clothes and maybe more bags. It did occur to me to get a job sometime in the future.

I am in the middle of writing up a long-ass outfit post for next week (hopefully going up Monday, but definitely within a week) so maybe this will tide you over for a little while.

Stay sexy!

Sweeney Todd (Demon Barber of Fleet Street)

Thanks for your comments about the blog everyone! If I had a machine that could download the contents of my brain within seconds into coherent words then I would post every day. While you guys get working on that, I’ll keep working on quality over quantity and not burning myself out on this thing.

Today we implement the encouragement for more dude stuff. Here at NaC we don’t get caught up with gender binaries. In the words of the Feminist Hulk:

TRICK TO SMASHING GENDER BINARY: MAKE SURE IT NOT SIMPLY BREAK INTO TWO NORMATIVE PIECES. HULK CREATE GENDERQUEER DEBRIS! (source)

That said I’m not aiming for “drag” or even androgyny when I try to recreate male outfits – I’m aiming for me wearing some clothes that I think look damn awesome. So for the dudes who read my blog your mileage may vary on my advice. One of the drawbacks of blogging this thing alone is that you only really get one perspective and one body type but if some of you guys sent in pictures/outfits I would be happy to post them up and share the love (hint hint).

The idea for this outfit came after I visited the Tim Burton Exhibition at ACMI (which is apparently a rehash of the MoMA one)  and drooled over the costumes that were on show there. I sometimes feel that men’s fashion can be very same-old, but Burton’s costumes for his male leads were always very distinctive and integrated with the character design, as much so as the costumes for his females leads.

Breaking It Down

Mr Todd is wearing…

  • White Victorian shirt with large cuffs and puffy sleeves.
  • Double-breasted button-up vest with lapels.
  • Fitted pinstripe pants.
  • A cravat.
  • A leather belt.
  • Fingerless gloves.

On occasion he also wears a short, almost cropped long-sleeved canvas jacket, or alternatively a mid-thigh long leather jacket.

The two most important items in the wardrobe is the vest and the shirt, with everything else being interchangeable to a degree. If possible try to find a double-breasted vest with lapels that cover most of the torso and upper-chest area. Although most button-up shirts don’t have this level of puff to the sleeves, some of them will have looser sleeves than others. Look at the cuffs to see if there’s a pleat that’s tucked and sewed in.

Silhouette-wise you want a V-shape if possible. The outline of the shirt sleeves gives the impression of the outfit being heavier around the shoulders and arms, and the tight-fitted vest makes the rest of the body but especially the waist and hips look small in comparison. To maintain the somewhat out of proportion ratio make sure your pants are also tight-fitting.

Try to keep colours muted like in the film if possible, or at least very dark shades. Stay with heavy matte fabrics for everything but the shirt which ideally would be made out of a light material like linen. If you have a shirt that is light, loose and floaty (as opposed to crisp, pressed and business-like) wear that one.

The Outfit

What I’m wearing:

  • White shirt from my high school uniform (!!) with that collar popped up to imitated a Victorian high collar and cuffs buttoned up. (This trick will work with most button-shirts if you do up the top button.) – I have no idea what this cost, but I’d consider it “free” for these purposes.
  • Double-breasted black vest that used to be a jacket- $10 from Cotton On (a post on this is in the works!)
  • Pinstripe black denim pants from Target – $20
  • Belt with pockets from Happy Cow – $70 (design is now discontinued)
  • Fingerless leather gloves – $20 from Sportsgirl.
  • Thin black scarf with star pattern – originally attached to a dress.
  • Black boots – $100 from Tony Bianco

I couldn’t find a jacket that I was 100% happy with so I ended up going with a huge ankle-length woollen jacket that looked vaguely Victorian and matched the outfit.

If I were Johnny Depp the folowing picture would make people faint from teh hawt. Unfortunately I just look silly.

Steampump Part 1

This post is meant to be read in conjunction with Part 2.

The Steampump event was so huge, so brilliant that it definitely warrants two posts. Part 1 will be a picspam of fashion from the night and some general observations about wearing and putting together an outfit. Part 2 will be the specific deconstruction of my own outfit.

I’ve re-uploaded a couple of my photos of favourite outfits on the night below. There were a lot of other people who wore wondrous things – actually pretty much everybody – but I didn’t manage to get a photo of everybody and you can’t really see what people are wearing in some others. You can find my full gallery here, and there’s links to different photographers here should you wish to peruse more pictures.

Create Your Own Steampunk Outfit 101

The Base

The key to many steampunk outfits is layering or at least the illusion of it. If you think of the areas of your body as a canvas, the layered look involves showing as many different colours, patterns and/or textures on as many different areas of your body as possible. A lot of the bases start with a simple button-up shirt or plain top. I would recommend something long-sleeved since your arms are another place to display a layer, but this is definitely not a hard and fast rule, especially since you can use long-sleeved jackets and shrugs to the same effect. Similarly, you can also start with fairly plain bottoms – a skirt or trousers – and add layers on them although I find it slightly difficult to layer bottoms.

Clockwork Insect by In Sectus

Layering

The best items for layering are ones that cover a small area and expose the items under it. For example cropped jackets and shrugs are quite popular in steampunk fashion because people want to show off their corsets or belts. Vests, singlets and waistcoats cover the torso but not the arms and many leave the upper chest exposed. If you start with a simple long-sleeved top you can cover it with a short-sleeved shirt and then stick a corset over the top.

You can experiment with adding skirts and underskirts and bloomers by wearing several skirts of different lengths on top of each other (that also gives the upper layer more volume). Alternatively a lot of people like to pin up or tie with ribbon sections of a long skirt (I’ve used a garter belt to achieve this effect in the past). Not only does this reveal the different underskirt but you can safety-pin multiple sections to give a plain skirt a bustle-like cascading effect.

Layering trousers is a bit more difficult. You can roll them up and wear funky knee-high socks or tuck them into some boots. You can also make something like this. Accessories play a big part: a hip-height messenger bag can add to the overall outfit, or maybe a holster for your Nerf ray gun. If you have some spare material or lace you can create sashes, neckties and cravats. Extra belts can be worn around the hips or worn over the shoulder like a bandolier.  Suspenders can hold up trousers or skirts, or can hang loosely from your waist for a laid back look.

Clockwork Hairpiece by Clockwork Butterfly

Final Touches

This no-sew collar tutorial shows just how important accessorising can be. A cravat or choker can add extra class, a pocketwatch and chain makes a waistcoat look that extra bit awesome, and a hat, hairband or fascinator is almost a must! You might also want to think about adding scarves, shawls, gloves, pipes, cuffs, rayguns, watches, canes, parasols, fans, masks, eyepatches, goggles, spectacles, monocles, weaponry and a number of other easily-obtainable (or makeable) extras to personalise the outfit.

World-famous Goggles by Maduncle Cliff

Ahh! It’s all too much!!

I encourage all of you to experiment, but sometimes we’re the most creative when we work inside limitations or structures. A lot of people find personas and roleplaying helpful. If you’re a “beginner” in steampunk aesthetics it’s useful to think about a character or occupation to impose constructive limits. For example a lady would tend to wear brighter colours, more elaborate textures like silk and satin and carry a parasol or a fan. On the other hand airship crew would have more practical clothing, wear matte textures like linen and cotton, stick to black, grey and brown, carry rayguns and goggles. These are definitely not rules and you should feel free to wear bright pink linen shirts and carry a raygun and a fan. But if you’re feeling overwhelmed or worried you’re not “doing it right”* an occupation might be a good place to start putting together an outfit.

*It’s very difficult to do “wrong” unless you miss the mark completely and think converse shoes, baggy jeans, t-shirt and a hoodie is a steampunk outfit. And even then it’s arguable.

Gemstone Kaleidoscope from Wunderkammer

Shopping & etc

There were some wonderful local vendors and exhibitors at Steampump and I would do them injustice if I didn’t give them some publicity. Thank you to everyone who worked on this event and volunteered their time to help because it totally went off. I can’t wait till the next one.

Unfortunately I didn’t catch the names of everyone who had a stall or performed. If you’re not on this list, let me know!

Part 2