News:

In case of emergency, please visit our Lifeboat Forum, Spare Goggles.

Main Menu

How do I get Steampunk clothes when I have no money?

Started by Gavin, June 26, 2010, 12:30:10 AM

Previous topic - Next topic

Gulliver

There's a book called The Cut of Men's Clothes around, which is basically men's clothing patterns from the Tudor to the Victorian eras... so Regency frock coats for all! There is presumably a ladies' equivalent somewhere.

I found an ebook of it once for free, but that was undoubtedly of dubious legality. Hard to tell, though, as the website was all in Cyrillic apart from the word "download".

Jedediah Solomon

Not everyone in the Victorian/Edwardian era wore tails and cravat, even those of a more affluent station in life would not wear such as their daily attire.  Many adherents of this genre know this deep down, but it is still understood that when attending an event such as conventions,etc we consider these as one may have once considered a ball, that is an opportunity to show yourself in the best light. We, however have the freedom to be less concerned about being seen in clothing that may have been in vogue the previous year.  Feel free, my friends, to embrace the culture and not stress so much over the fashion.
Adventure awaits

Uncle Arthur

Make use of the huge amount of information on Internet Archive. It is all public domain. I have numerous books that I have downloaded from the site.
If at first you don't succeed , CHEAT!

Herbert West

At this point I'd be happy just to find a nice vest to go with my pants and plain white shirt. Sadly they seem to have all but vanished from our local Goodwill. Apart from the goosedown and sweater variety that is.

Methinks there may be some secret Steampunkers in the area raiding all the good stuff.
"I'm not a psychopath Anderson, I'm a high-functioning sociopath. Do your research!" ~Sherlock Holmes

Dr Fidelius

Goodwill comes through again. I now have my smoking jacket (black silk with little embroidered pagodas and other stuff). $12.00. (and .99 for the little stuffed wooly mammoth, who will work nicely in an invisible dog walker)
Pics to follow.
The opinions expressed here are my own, and do not represent any other persons, organizations, spirits, thinking machines, hive minds or other sentient beings on this world or any adjacent dimensions in the multiverse.

spcglider

Lets see... something from nothing is a very difficult proposition. Not impossible, though.

You basically have three elements to work with for any project: Time, Talent, and Money.  When you lack any one of the three, you MUST make up for it with the other two. If you lack two of the three, you need to find a new hobby. But I'm going to assume you have Time and Talent.  Just remember, Talent comes in many different forms. And you may not recognize yours right off the bat.

Some people are talented at making things from scratch. Some people are talented at scrounging for what they need. Some people are very talented in taking what they have and modifying it into something new. Some people are talented at working deals to trade for what they need. Some people are talented at simply convincing others to do their bidding.

Absolutely NO money? Well, you need to start with SOMETHING. So start by plumbing your relatives.  Especially the old ones. Many folks have closets full of clothes they no longer wear of simply cannot wear for size concerns.  Hit them up. See what they'll give you. Dress coats, vests, SHOES... you never know what's lurking in grandpa's closet that he'll just as soon be rid of. And old folks LOVE seeing young folks give attention to thriftiness.

Think about what sort of character you can get out of the freebies. Not everyone in the Victorian era wore a frock coat. A nice "sack coat" is perfectly wearable. Particularly if you're willing to take it to America and go for a little frontier action. Or you can go without a coat entirely. There are plenty of dress vests out there that will certainly pass muster. Off the shelf clothing you can find at garage sales... you just have to keep your eyes and mind open.

As for shirts, you can easily wear a white button-down shirt. If you want a high collar, simply turn the collar up and iron the tips out so they look like tabs. Then make a simple tie. And by simple I mean get yourself about 40"x 6" worth of light fabric. Could be an old striped bed sheet cut down and stitched into an empty tube.  Then follow the instructions here:
http://www.gentlemansemporium.com/how_to_tie_a_cravat.php

And remember, if you decide to go for an American look, blue jeans (particularly button-fly) will pass.

OR you can go for something less obvious.  Find a pair of grubby overalls. Get yourself a big, adjustable wrench, some simple work boots, a newsboy cap, and some smears of coal on your face. Voila!  You're an engine room worker. What engine room?  Could be on a coal-fired submarine or a dirigible or heaven forbid... a TRAIN!  LOL!

And always keep a sharp eye out for accessories. Who knows when you'll find a particularly cool belt or hat or goggles at a garage sale or flea market?

-Gordon


Professor Gordon Elias Weatherbee, Tinker and Time Travel Machine Repair. All models serviced.

Kryss LaBryn

I don't know this seller from a hole in the ground and have never dealt with them, but I wanted to give you guys the heads up on some pocket watches for sale for under $5 each including shipping.



I've recently purchased both the owl and the Eiffel tower watches through other ebay sellers, and I'm quite happy with them. They both run on batteries, rather than being spring-wound (which is probably why they're so cheap), but they are metal (albeit cheap pot metal by the feel) rather than plastic (although the bezel is plastic). They're also considerably lighter than my spring-wound watch, but they do have nicer (i.e. more ornate) hands than my spring-wound one. All in all, while they aren't fantastic quality, I wouldn't say they were crap, and certainly the antique bronze colour fits in well with the Steampunk look.

So if you're looking for an acceptable budget pocket watch, ebay seems to be a good place to get them right now (I recently bought one of the Eiffel Tower ones for a buck, and one of the owl ones as a smaller pendant for less than $4 including shipping).
"Be clean and courteous; raise your hat, And wipe your boots upon the mat: Such proofs of gentlemanly feeling Are to the ladies most appealing." The Professor's Manuscript - Dorothy L. Sayers

Miss Fianou Fayregood

#182
I would suggest looking at what you already have... can you modify it to make it look steampunk? Can you layer it with other clothes to get a more steampunk look? I found i could, I already had quite a few long skirts, jackets and button shirts. I will need to alter some shirts, perhaps rust dye a few to make them more steampunk. Stamp with cog patterns, or appliqué.
Decide on the basic accessories and things that will define your outfit as steampunk. I decided I must have a top hat, victorian shoes, a steampunk watch on a chain (cheap on ebay, some accessories are around $5), and a large brass locket. Oh and a cheap under bust corset from ebay too.  I am hitting up my family for christmas presents that come from my ebay wish  list.Its the best way to get the more expensive items as all my family have more money than I do... and they are always relieved there is something easy to get on ebay, use a wish list and let them buy from it. Once I figure out how my character travels I might go for goggles.
I plan to get more vests, dress pants, and jackets  when summer ends. from a charity/goodwill shop (we call them op-shops) they are a great place for old suits etc... I was thinking of maybe later trying to make a steampunk gown from an old wedding dress.
After I have these I plan to make some simple accessories like jabots and collars, frilly shrugs, fake fur stoles, cuffs, gaiters and spats. And later get more adventurous and make some weaponry and metallic accoutrements.
This is just what I am doing... but I think you get the idea... I think the steampunk comes in the overall look and not in the individual items of clothing so you may already have the makings of something in your closet. This is a great link I just found...
http://steampunk.cnbeyer.com/starting.shtml

Fennius

#183
I have three main pieces of clothing that I want to know how steampunky they are, namely:

1) A navy trench coat. Supposedly they were invented back in 1850 but they didn't get issued to soldiers till 1901 and I odn't think the epaulettes and belts were added till later. One, I think it could work but I'm not sure if it looks too noirish(it certainly does closed). As an alternative if its cold I do ahve a long winter coat that probably could be used. I'd die of heat at a convention though.

2) A black jacket, kind of an ultrafine cordouroy that almsot looks velevt form a distance with some nice silevry buttons. Comes in nicely at the waist but it's the more modern, shorter cut rather than the longer ones I like. I do want a proper frock coat but if I can't find one for my meagre budget I may be stuck with this.

3) Pair of jeans. Not very victorian gentleman but in my defence they're only cut like jeans, the actuale material is a kind slate blue-grey moleskin. Alternatively I may still have some olf grey flannel ones from school that might still fit, would that work?

Jacket(pre-buttons)
Spoiler: ShowHide


Coat
Spoiler: ShowHide

Dr Fidelius

#184
Quote from: Fennius on November 27, 2011, 02:06:22 PM
I have three main pieces of clothing that I want to know how steampunky they are, namely:

1) A navy trench coat. Supposedly they were invented back in 1850 but they didn't get issued to soldiers till 1901 and I odn't think the epaulettes and belts were added till later. One, I think it could work but I'm not sure if it looks too noirish(it certainly does closed). As an alternative if its cold I do ahve a long winter coat that probably could be used. I'd die of heat at a convention though.

2) A black jacket, kind of an ultrafine cordouroy that almsot looks velevt form a distance with some nice silevry buttons. Comes in nicely at the waist but it's the more modern, shorter cut rather than the longer ones I like. I do want a proper frock coat but if I can't find one for my meagre budget I may be stuck with this.

3) Pair of jeans. Not very victorian gentleman but in my defence they're only cut like jeans, the actuale material is a kind slate blue-grey moleskin. Alternatively I may still have some olf grey flannel ones from school that might still fit, would that work?

Jacket(pre-buttons)
Spoiler: ShowHide


Coat
Spoiler: ShowHide


Nothing is intrinsically "steampunky" except perhaps a coal-burning mechanical automaton of Queen Victoria. Are you a Steampunk? Are you wearing these items? Then they are steampunk clothes. QED. We really are not historical re-enactors - the steampunk era is whenever a given author feels their story should be set.

But to be a little more helpful, I must ask where you are thinking of wearing these items. Daily wear? Then comfort is an inportant consideration. A costume for a convention or other special event?  Then I think you have a decent basis to build upon.

Do you look on Steampunk as being basically a style choice or do you like the stories? Do you feel comfortable wearing a vest and a nice hat on a daily basis or are you trying to create a character for play? These are some of the questions you should think on before you start building a steampunk wardrode. (There are no wrong answers, but this can help define your goals.)

In the interest of full disclosure, I had been dressing in an out-of-style manner and reading alternative history stories for decades before I became aware of the community of Steampunks. I am not one to give any useful advice on fashion.
The opinions expressed here are my own, and do not represent any other persons, organizations, spirits, thinking machines, hive minds or other sentient beings on this world or any adjacent dimensions in the multiverse.

Fennius

True enough on your points, dmostly I'm currently just thinking of putting together a steampunk costume for conventions, mostly in the victorian gentleman + nifty stuff look.

eritas

im utterly broke as well so i have some  experience in this

ive gotten quite a bit of material and stuff to work with thru dumpster diving and trash picking
i just go out riding on my bike on trash day looking for cool stuff people have thrown out and going thru dumpsters

anything else i acquire is generally from 99cent stores and then reworked and modified

also im always looking for shiny bits while walking down the street
ive found huge quantities of awesome little metal fiddly bits this way
heres to our lives being meaningless
and how beautiful it is because freedom doesn't have a purpose

Annlyn Lloyd

Quote from: eritas on November 30, 2011, 03:08:56 AM
im utterly broke as well so i have some  experience in this

ive gotten quite a bit of material and stuff to work with thru dumpster diving and trash picking
i just go out riding on my bike on trash day looking for cool stuff people have thrown out and going thru dumpsters

anything else i acquire is generally from 99cent stores and then reworked and modified

also im always looking for shiny bits while walking down the street
ive found huge quantities of awesome little metal fiddly bits this way

Love how you put that..."Awesome little metal fiddly bits..."
Annlyn Lloyd: Probably the only steampunk who answers to Lamppost~

I'm not random, you just don't think as fast as I--Hm, the sky is looking rather gray today... I bet it's the aircity New London passing over.

RATFINKBOYMICAH

also don't be afraid to check womes isle an thrift stores look at pants boots shirts coats an jackets where I'm from sometimes men's stuff gets placed in woman's isle cause it looks like. woman's but don't be afraid to wear women's stuff

Vagabond GentleMan

I don't know if this has been mentioned previously in this thread, but tho this may sound strange, gun shows in the U.S. are some pretty awesome places to go form Steampunk stuff.

Gun shows, to my surprise upon attending my first, aren't all about guns.  They seem more to be about ManShopping.

So, antique clothing, pouches, patches, military surplus, gadgetry, flasks, gunbelts, leather works, knives and blade accoutrements, pocketwatches, jewelry, antique buttons, epaulettes, boots, packs, holsters, bandoliers, tools, etc.

I've been to three in VA in the past three years.  I've purchased a flask, articulated magnifying lenses, cufflinks made of modified bullet cases, leather WWI cartridge pouches, a leather belt pouch for cigarettes and a lighter, cannon fuse, surgical tools, pocket shears, Mercury dimes from 1906 and prior, etc., much of which I've Steampunk'd to integrate into steamy ensembles of various sorts.
Well that wolf has a dimber bonebox, and he'll flash it all milky and red.  But you won't see our Red Jack's spit, nug, cuz he's pinked ya, and yer dead.

D.Oakes

Quote from: RATFINKBOYMICAH on December 28, 2011, 09:53:27 PM
also don't be afraid to check womes isle an thrift stores look at pants boots shirts coats an jackets where I'm from sometimes men's stuff gets placed in woman's isle cause it looks like. woman's but don't be afraid to wear women's stuff

And needless to say a lot of women's jackets today are quite 19th century military in appearance....  Found a jacket the other week while I was shopping for my fiance that was awesome...then I realized I was thinking about it on me and not her.    ;D
"I'm very drunk and I intend on getting still drunker before this evening's over." -Rhett Butler

Steam Titan

I've seen the term car boot sale listed on here before but I can honestly say I have no idea what that is.

Captain Shipton Bellinger

Quote from: Steam Titan on January 01, 2012, 11:51:45 PM
I've seen the term car boot sale listed on here before but I can honestly say I have no idea what that is.

It's where lots of folk turn up with their car boot full of their old junk and other stuff that they no longer need and lay it out for sale. They're usually held in a field, although some are now indoors.

I believe that the American term would be 'swap meet' or 'flea market'.

Capt. Shipton Bellinger R.A.M.E. (rtd)


D.Oakes

Quote from: Captain Shipton Bellinger on January 02, 2012, 09:48:02 AM
Quote from: Steam Titan on January 01, 2012, 11:51:45 PM
I've seen the term car boot sale listed on here before but I can honestly say I have no idea what that is.

It's where lots of folk turn up with their car boot full of their old junk and other stuff that they no longer need and lay it out for sale. They're usually held in a field, although some are now indoors.

I believe that the American term would be 'swap meet' or 'flea market'.



The car's boot being a trunk.  Never quite understood why a car needed boots when it had tires....  ;D  Got to love the English language. 
"I'm very drunk and I intend on getting still drunker before this evening's over." -Rhett Butler

Captain Shipton Bellinger

Quote from: D.Oakes on January 03, 2012, 06:21:11 AMThe car's boot being a trunk.  Never quite understood why a car needed boots when it had tires....  ;D 

It's an old coaching term, going back to at least the early 17th C.

Originally it referred to a sort of low outside platform where the attendants would sit. Some time before the early 19th C it shifted to mean the exterior platforms where luggage was stowed, and then the enclosed compartments of the same use.

You'll find all sorts of nonsense on the Ætherwebs about it originally being the 'boot-locker', where coach passengers stored their boots. Don't believe a word of it.

QuoteGot to love the English language.
I do. Indeed I do...  ;D

Capt. Shipton Bellinger R.A.M.E. (rtd)


Steam Titan

Quote from: Captain Shipton Bellinger on January 02, 2012, 09:48:02 AM
Quote from: Steam Titan on January 01, 2012, 11:51:45 PM
I've seen the term car boot sale listed on here before but I can honestly say I have no idea what that is.

It's where lots of folk turn up with their car boot full of their old junk and other stuff that they no longer need and lay it out for sale. They're usually held in a field, although some are now indoors.

I believe that the American term would be 'swap meet' or 'flea market'.



ah I see. I figured it was something like that. Saddly for me I dont know of any flea markets or swap meet like locations around where I live

Kieranfoy

If you live in the American Southwest (I know, real regional adivce here), SWAPMEETS!

Seriously, I picked up my favorite leather vest (which I wore untill the lining literrally rotted away... then ripped out the lining anmd continued wearing it) there; for, if I recollect me aright, somewhere in the one to two dollar range.

Failing that, attics. Ask your folks. My mother had this nice deep green duster (with a mantle!) that, with a few brass buttons, will be perfectly steampunky, and at no cost to me at all, save for the amount of time needed to swap out some buttons.

And ANYONE can do that.
'Invoked or not, the gods will be present.'

-The Oracle of Delphi

josecou

If you live in an old house try going outside with a metal detector. I have found many little metal bits like this. I once found a small box of car fuses!
:D

Unsubtle Pete

Don't be afraid to re-button something. Sewing on buttons really is not that difficult.

Buttons aren't that expensive - at least not compared to clothes - and something ruined by ugly plastic buttons can be transformed by horn or metal ones. You may even find yourself buying horrible things from thrift/charity stores just to steal the buttons to put them on nice-but-bad-buttons things from the aforementioned thrift/charity stores.
With his stovepipe hat and his drainpipe trousers he was a credit to his ironmonger.

NEW Discerning Scoundrel blog

RATFINKBOYMICAH

  i have seen remakes of that style i think knock offs too
Quote from: bittersweet on June 27, 2010, 04:19:26 PM
Quote from: Nikola Tesla on June 26, 2010, 07:48:46 PM
In my experience footwear is kind of anything goes; pick a comfortable formal shoe or a fanciful boot (especially for the air pirate or the Western thing).  Avoid any kind of "athletic" shoe or anything canvas with laces.  I have little doubt someone, some day, will find a way to steam Converse All-Stars but it probably won't be me.  However, since a lot of steampunk dressed-up activity seems to include hanging around standing up in museums, parks, clubs, conventions, and expos, comfort aces out historical accuracy in my opinion.

Converse All Stars were first sold in 1917 making them rather steampunk in their own right. Of course the ones with pink flowers or purple skulls would be right out, but a classic black or white pair would be more appropriate.

Actually the original converse all stars were very steamy looking, check out the first picture on the link.

http://chucksconnection.com/history1.html