The Steampunk Empire

The Crossroads of the Aether

Reactions and phrases to appearing in public well dressed

I am sure that all of you on this site receive various reactions from the 'general' public regarding your individual attire. No doubt these reactions vary according to place, as there are areas were dressing well or dressing up are quite common. It is both amusing and interesting to observe and listen to the various verbal reactions that people direct toward me regarding my dress (and accouterments). To be expected is the general razzing or making fun of how you are dressed. Recently two young men were snapping as they approached me and as I just took their ribbing in good jest (actually I told them they were paying me a compliment), we wound up having a conversation about the use of the term snappy in relation to dressing (we also had a lively discussion about their common misunderstanding of the origin of the Homburg hat,they relating it to 'gangsters'). After that evening I myself was reflecting upon other terms I have heard such as 'dressed to the nines' (http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/dressed-to-the-nines.html), ' very sharp', 'dandified'.

One of the more amusing encounters related to my attire happened the other night in a pub when a young woman said that "that kind of outfit ain't right for a bar". I retorted with the quote from Oscar Wilde "Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months." Apparently it is acceptable to be dressed well or 'gussied up' (one of my personal favorite phrases) if one is in church or at a wedding, however not at a drinking establishment. I would welcome the various reactions that your own individual style has in your own environs and for you to share any humorous phrases your unique apparel (and accessories) have inspired. One other important thing to remember is to include the compliments. Today at work several people complimented me on looking so well (one woman used the word dapper). The ultimate response today was a lady who asked if I was an artist and if my art was involved with my clothes to which I replied "I always endeavor to involve art in every aspect of my life."

To the art of dress,

~D

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To be fair, I'm sure many of those sellers know what era their merchandise belongs to, and merely wish to attract as many viewers as possible. Some things can be adapted for different time periods depending on accessories, jackets, etc. And I'm sure they also want to attract the kind of buyers who just want something kind of old-fashioned looking and really aren't that picky.

Sometimes when l do a search for "Victorian" or "Steampunk" I find things that are really neither but are still interesting.

We more often get asked if we're in a play. I guess that's what happens when you have a group of fancy-clad airship crew members, it certainly draws attention!

Last week I was wearing a pair of buggy mad scientist sunglasses that look like goggles and make me look insane at the ice rink. I was about to open the door to leave when a girl pulled it opened. She jumped, and I think I scared her...

Well done , both of you .

Well Done!
Anything that makes Academics pause is good.
And I approve of the fellow, he did well.

Well!  A few weekends ago I and SWMBO were at the Steampunk Meetup at CRMI, and afterwards took refreshment at a local Brewpub.  I dropped off Her Mostship, and proceeded with the vehicle to a nearby parking facility.

Having left the vehicle, I marched towards the Pub...and on the path there trod in the opposite direction a woman in her late 30's.
In passing she said "Thank You For Your Service".
I was astounded, until I realized that I was wearing my #2 Toy Soldier Uniform, with which it's fore-and-aft cap can resemble that of a VFW or American Legion member's cap.
I saluted, and continued to the Pub.

You are performing a service, of sorts. Enlightening the masses to the joys of being very well dressed, although I am sure that was not what she meant. 

 

On a side note, I do not know much of etiquette but, not being a true "service member" in the modern sense, youself, is it proper to salute?  While your steampunk personae may indeed "serve" I wonder whether it would bother/ offend someone in active service in the national regiments... I do not mean to offend, I am merely asking for clarification.

I use a modified French/British salute, which cannot be readily confused with the typical American Military salute as prescribed by U.S. Military manuals and practice.
The only other salute I use is the Toy Soldier Salute when in the presence of other Toy Soldiers, and this is in no way confused with any other salute I have seen.

A salute is, to me, a signal offering of respect and courtesy.
And a salute is not necessarily military in origin....it is a modified 'tugging of the forelock' used by many servants, serfs and lesser types in Medieval and later societies IIRC.  The Roman salute was later corrupted by the Nazis, and is rarely seen if ever, any more.

During the Great Flu Epidemic of 1918 it was recommended that men salute each other rather than shake hands...it was believed that flu virus was transmitted through contact...later to be found also transmitted by aerosol spray (coughing, sneezing etc.) from infected parties IIRC.

And I must state for the record that I have never offered a salute, or been offered one, by or to any serving member of any military branch.  I would not offer one UNLESS I was completely familiar with said military member, lest said member think I was mocking him/her.
I WOULD of COURSE return any salute offered to me by a serving or retired military member...that is only courtesy to my mind.

In a further note:
I wear my non-commissioned officer's insignia 'inverted', so as not to be confused with serving members of the military.  As it is, the position and inversion of my insignia is actually similar to the way such insignia WERE worn back in the late 1800's.  WOuld that I had a good (and free or cheap) source of the correct gold braid, in which case I would mount them on the sleeves of my shirts and jackets in the late 1800's type of style, directly on the fabric.  Current insignia are embroidered on felt or other fabric, and subsequently stitched onto the cloth.
In the distant past, progress in rank (private to corporal to sargeant to master sargeant etc.) was VERY slow.  It might take 4-7 YEARS to make corporal, for example, and many years after that for sargeant etc.  That's why rank insignia were often embroidered directly to sleeves.  This practice changed in the early 1900's IIRC.
Someone please correct me if I am wrong, I do not have any early copies of The Soldier's or Bluejacket's Manuals before me.

This is all fascinating!  Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my question with such care!  I am so glad to hear of all the research you have done-- it is awe-inspiring.  I have always loved the re-enactors/ actors/ Steampunk plutocrats and Renfaire beauties that have done their research, and so transcend mere "acting" and go into the realm of "being."  I have always thought that when you honor the culture you represent, in some ways you are no longer merely acting the part.  Such forethought and care do you great credit, Master Grimm.  Thanks again!

Two hundredth birthdays are not celebrated very often - well , about every two hundred years or so - so the chance to celebrate that of the obscure English novelist , Charles Dickens , was not to be missed .
The occasion was to be hosted by ' The Charles Dickens Fellowship of Melbourne ' and the invitation said black tie optional .
This was enough to convince the Professor and Madam Fate , his guide in all things , that dressing in neo-victorian style would be acceptable . Not that the Fates would have appeared in any other style .
Madam Fate wore a black velvet ankle length skirt , black ' granny ' boots , ivory high necked blouse and deep red late Victorian jacket . Much jewelry was on display . The Professor was in the usual combination of frock-coat and top hat .
On entering the venue the Professor was accosted by a gentleman in full C19th century rig who raised his bowler hat and complimented him on his choice of headgear . He raised his hat in salute . The Professor returned both the compliment and the salute .
Of course , bowler hats should not be worn at formal evening events but charity and good manners required the Professor to react in this manner . The Professor hopes readers will not judge him too harshly .
The next person encountered was Charles Dickens himself , looking rather spry for someone his age , who turned out to be an imitation of the Great Man , hired for the evening to present an animated version of his works . The actor wished to discuss details of the Professors dress . This was more than professional curiosity because , as Mr. Dickens double pointed out , things wear out and need to be replaced .
Having navigated the initial hazards of the room the Fates enjoyed the rest of the evening with only the odd request for photographs to disturb them .
On leaving , to the occasional witty comment such as " your carriage awaits " , ( Dickens Fellowship people are a droll lot ) we shared a taxi back to our city lodgings . One of those in the cab ( six foot seven and built like a heavy weight boxer ) was wearing conventional black tie and opined that he did not like to use public transport so late at night as HIS dress might attract attention . The Professor stifled his chuckles and informed him that in the case of difficulty he would take up a position behind him .
A good time was had by all and the 300th anniversary is now much anticipated .

I must confess the latter part of your anecdote amuses me.  He was 6'7" and built like a heavy weight boxer, dressed in a tux and he was worried about public transport? Oh my. I should think that anyone who just glanced at his attire who wished to stir up trouble would have given him a wide berth upon second glance.

Well, 200+ pound of muscle won't stop a bullet... Still it is rather amusing.

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