The Crossroads of the Aether
Here's an odd question for discussion.
Recently, I've been looking at making a set of Widow's Weeds, and I was doing gratuitous research to ensure authenticity. But it leaves me wondering if the quest for authenticity is even worth the effort.
Since Steampunk is fantasy, and many people use it to take liberties with Victorian, Edwardian, and Post-Edwardian fashion and culture, does it really make a difference if a lady is wearing an authentic tie-back bustle or a gentleman is wearing a bombazine cloak? Or does anything really go?
In a world of plastic-boned ebay corsets, is there a place for authenticity?
In Steampunk, you can do whatever you like. If you like wearing authentic things and can put the extra cash in to ensure accuracy, all the more power to you. I do re-enactments, so not surprisingly, most of my garments are modeled to be pretty close to authentic as I can have patience for.
There's other people though who simply want to make their fantasy outfit, and that's great too. They put a lot of time, thought, and effort into making their clothes, just as much time, effort, and creativity as those of us who make authentic garb do.
And then there's the people who start out, and they don't know what to do. So they start out with very simple items that are much more in the fantasy realm usually and then work from there to what they want to be.
The beauty of Steampunk is that it's pretty hard to be "wrong", if true "wrong" even exists in this context of fashion. Though the general consensus is that Steampunk means that it's based in the 19th century because that is the "Age of Steam", I've seen people work 18th and earlier, or 20th century stuff into their outfits as well, and it really worked to pull the whole thing together.
But it's been my experience that when you can put in the research, time, effort, and so on to create an accurate outfit, it's appreciated by everyone, no matter how long they've been into steampunk, or if they're even steampunk at all.
We must remember that the steampunk it's set on an era that the idea of globalitation and new techonologies were being discovered, But the concept of an open mind wans't as clear then as it is now so, I would say it doesn't.
Well, it isn't really an issue of remaining open minded to multiculturalism as it is of the clothing of that time period.
I agree with Ms Pantea.Anything goes, as long as you are happy with it.
I would only add that even if you decide to deviate substantially from authentic garb, doing a bit of research may well pay off, in terms of inspiration, getting to find out what you particularly like and what you like less in each era's fashion, and perhaps give you some ideas about how to make your outfit as well. After all, why reinvent the wheel. To keep that analogy, even if you decide to modify the wheel with funky tires, it may still be easiest to build it basically as it has been for hundreds of years! For myself, I like authentic Victorian or Edwardian patterns even if I proceed to modifying them out of their authenticity; I like having the "real thing" as my starting point, feels more grounded than a pseudo-Victorian simplicity pattern.
Kindest Professor Argon Bats,
I find myself in agreement with your statement:
"I like having the "real thing" as my starting point, feels more grounded then pseudo-Victorian simplicity pattern".
I have concluded that my type of steam punk is to be more Victorian with a bit of flair. Mind You, my Lady Wife and I have only just begun our travels into the world of Steampunk. We have yet to fill our wardrobe; in my case I have just begun. I have purchased pattern #2767 by BURDA. It reads to be a 1850 "ish" mens garment.
I have looked at the Reconstructing History patterns and plan to purchase from these to have a good foundation to create my garments. Are these the more authentic of the patterns that are for sale?
I ask you and any other who might be so kind to chime in and offer their opinion(s).
Thank you Mr. Darby. I have not tried any of the Reconstructing History patterns. There are several companies offering historical patterns. The ones I have tried are Ageless Patterns, Truly Victorian, Laughing Moon Mercantile, and I have purchased patterns from one or two others that I have yet to try out. Mind you the selection of men's wear is much more limited than for the ladies, I am sorry to say. One reason may be that gent's garments were generally made by professional tailors, even in less wealthy circles, while many ladies made their own dresses. Men's tailoring is, I can report, extremely challenging if it is to be done "by the book". Well outside my expertise in fact, at least for jackets. I can do a decent pair of trousers if I am lucky that the pattern fits well to begin with.
Some pattern reviews can be found here, and I would encourage you to come join us at the Stitching Association for further advice and resources. Patterns have been discussed in several threads, and there are many seamstresses and tailors more qualified than myself, who I am sure will be glad to offer further guidance.
Steampunk fashion should adhere as closely as possible to an accurate recreation of that time when a man would wake up in the morning, have breakfast served by his monkey butler, and then climb into his personal airship to do battle with sky pirates and the undead hordes of Great Cthulhu. With a fuggin' cog glued to it.
You, sir, win the aethernet.
You return after nearly a year to post this? My dear, I am honoured beyond words.
Dr. Wolfenden is entirely correct. I'm so glad she posted, and thus reinvigorated this discussion so I, too, could enjoy your definition of Steampunk fashion. Bravo and brava, respectively.
Personally I like authenticity. I much prefer a truer authentic wardrobe with the persons Persona/RP tossed in the mix. Included in my own SP wardrobe I prefer heavy-weighted fabrics. My eye always goes to the more expensive of materials, epecially damask! Damask is my most desired fabric to use in my own SP wardrobe. I apprecaite rich tones, deep velvets, and taffetas. The more authenic the better for me! As for real boned corsets, they are available. I remeber Marilyn Manson prefering his real bone corsets. Try to be as authenic as your income will allow.
They are all talking straight to you Svenja. The only "rule" [if there is such a thing] of steampunk is have fun. :}
By the by, I played SCA for over 20 years. There you can fin some real "garb fanatics". My attitude the whole time was look good and die well...all else follows [I was a Viking]. My only concern with my appearance was that it look good. I did not care if it was period materials or patterns...I was having fun. I do the same thing with steampunk.