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Steampunk is a mixture of sci-fi/fantasy and Victorian fashion. Most steampunk cosplay is inspired by the steam power method used during the Victorian era – everything in the steampunk world is run on steam. It’s a lifestyle that might even prove difficult for a steampunk enthusiast to explain; it is easier to show than tell! 

Steampunk is a kind of science fiction genre of the Victorian era. In this period, almost everything worked on steam power. Steampunk cosplay also demonstrates the transition during the industrial area, from steam to electricity. Hence, the goggles, engines, and gears decorating a typical steampunk outfit. Although goggles and gears and motors aren’t precisely what defines the steampunk cosplay, it makes it more remarkable. Steampunk costumes are also recognisable by an 18th Century fashion style.

What is Steampunk Cosplay?

For some steampunk enthusiasts like myself, steampunk cosplay is more than a mere fashion or costume display – it’s a way of life. There are some of us who wear it whether there’s a meetup or not! Some might go a little over-board with the dressing up, but that’s just the beauty of the steampunk universe – you can never overdress! Aside from our steampunk superheroes and characters, you rarely see two same outfits. 

Where is Steampunk Cosplay most Popular?     

It’s true that some cities are more steampunky than others. If I were to make a list of the most popular steampunk havens in the UK, London would come first closely followed by Lincoln, York and Whitby. Lincoln and Whitby are hosts of the annual steampunk festivals – Whitby steampunk weekend and Asylum steampunk festival.

For other non-UK cities, Atlanta (U.S). and Toronto (Canada) are big steampunk cities. Other popular steampunk cities include but not limited to Vancouver, Chicago, L.A. and New York. In these cities, steampunk ideas are unlimited and always impressive. 

Steampunk clothing

Steampunk Cosplay Genres

Steampunk Pirate

If you’ve seen pirate of the Caribbean, then you already have an almost perfect picture of the steampunk pirate. This outfit is also perfect for any costume party. A gothic ruffled shirt is an essential steampunk pirate piece…

You will also need a medieval pirate jacket. Most steampunk pirate jackets have a lapel collar, open front design and ankle length. They mostly come with two breast pockets, and waist pockets where the pirate can keep his little precious sea stones!

For pirate accessories remember to get your sword and eye-patch! You might even like a parrot for your shoulder (don’t go for a real one!).

Nautical Steampunk:

As the name implies, a nautical steampunk genre describes the Victorian era maritime fashion. As a steampunk sailor or seaman, you aren’t to be caught wearing the pirate style – that would be a dishonour to the nautical steampunk brotherhood! Okay, enough of that! This attire looks similar to that of the steampunk pirate with little disparities like the infamous pirate eye patch among others.

This telescopic walking cane is a fantastic accessory for any nautical steampunk costume…

nautical steampunk cosplay

Victorian Steampunk

The Victorian genre features lace trim wraps across the rims of lavish corsets. Yes – Skirts and corsets are combined to create a unique piece dress style, also sexy and very comfortable. The Victorian steampunk skirt is often a high-low design – a multi-layer skirt that gives a puffy structure that steals attention. Here’s a great Victorian steampunk costume:

Victorian Steampunk costume

Steampunk Aviator:

This is a ubiquitous genre, recognisable for its ever-present aviation goggles.  The steampunk aviator is iconic for its polyester cap that has a smooth inner cotton lining. The style of goggles demonstrates aviation fashion from several decades ago; brown faux-leather with gold metallic plastic with a foam eye padding. For a steampunk aviator, your attire cannot be complete without your scarf. An aviator scarf is usually a white satiny fabric with fringe details all over it.

steampunk cosplay aviator

Steampunk Engineer

A steampunk engineer is instantly recognisable by many gears and engine parts embellishing his outfit. This Victorian costume will have features that include long sleeves, decorative buttons, knee-length, double-breasted, stand collar, slim fit and two flat pockets. Finish off the look with a bow-tie and a nice pair of steampunk gear cufflinks!

steampunk engineer

Steampunk Fairy

For a steampunk fairy look consider incorporating steampunk fairy wings for kids and adults – brown metal-like filigree patterns that are made of plastic with an elastic shoulder strap. Steampunk fairy wings mostly look like metal, but they are usually made of plastic.

Here are some fantastic steampunk fairy wings that are available on Amazon. These plastic wings are hinged so that they can move freely. These wings come in brown featuring metal-like filgree patterns but are made of plastic with a comfortable elastic shoulder strap.

steampunk fairy wings

There are also some great Victorian flying machine style fairy wings such as these, photographed at the Lincoln Steampunk festival a few years ago…

lincoln steampunk festival

Steampunk Burlesque Dancers

Steampunk burlesque dancers go all out – and as previously mentioned, you simply can’t be overly dressed. The steampunk burlesque style is characterised by colourful custom wigs, women fishnet tights, choker lace necklaces, high waisted asymmetrical swallow skirts and flower top hats. Here is a fantastic steampunk burlesque dress…

Victorian steampunk burlesque

Steampunk Superheroes and Characters

Steampunk Alice in Wonderland

Alice in wonderland is one of the most famous cartoons ever to be aired, and it is proudly steampunk. This is a character that has been a strong inspiration in the steampunk universe, and most styles are design to reflect Alice as in the cartoon.

steampunk Alice in Wonderland cosplay

Steampunk Batman:

Batman is a very famous and influential character, not just for kids but also for adults. The character has formed a steampunk genre on its own and is widely loved in the steampunk world. Steampunkify the usual Batman costume by going for a brown colour scheme with goggles, cogs and gears!

Steampunk Batman cosplay
Image Credit: Cosplay in America

Amelia Earhart

Amelia Earhart is a classic steampunk heroine that is known for her record-breaking exploits, one as the first female pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic. This character is an extreme example of the steampunk aviation genre.

Amelia Earhart steampunk cosplay

Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes is a character with several engraved steampunk details. The movie itself is a myriad of steampunk lifestyle display. As a character, Sherlock Holmes and other characters in the movie reflect the outfit style of several steampunk enthusiasts. Don’t forget the pipe and the magnifying glass accessories.

Sherlock Holmes

Long John Silver

Long John Silver is an opportunistic and cunning pirate. He lived as the quartermaster under the notorious Captain Flint. He is a fictional character that expresses the Victorian maritime fashion sense and is a major inspiration for the steampunk pirate genre.

Lara Croft

Lara Croft is a subtle steampunk character. The character is a superhero that inspires a lot of her steampunk fans. A good Lara Croft outfit gives a sort of badass vibe, and a touch of sexy. If you are looking to appear dangerous yet at the same time erotic, this is the steampunk cosplay outfit for you!

The steampunk universe is so full of creativity and fictitious arts you could feel like a superhero yourself just wearing the cosplay. Well, who am I to say, you might be a superhero already. Thanks for taking the time to read, and here’s another blog for you to read about steampunk corsets.