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' (, ' 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,


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The long C19th ( 1789-1914 ) seems to present major difficulties for the uninformed .
Attending anything approaching a formal occasion the Professor dresses in what he hopes is the style of the 1890s-Edwardian period . This has evoked remarks such as " ooh , Charles Dickens " and the suggestion that I was in costume rather than dressed in my normal clothing ( see above ) .
One recent observer nailed it with the remark : " How very Oscar Wilde " .
I hope it was meant kindly .

and nowadays Oscar Wilde gets mistaken for Willy Wonka...

I guess it could be worse - that Johnny Depp has a lot to answer for !

Since Wilde was famously particular in matters sartorial - with the rare excursion into mocking buttonholes - I would take that as a compliment any day.

I chose to take it that way .
Oscar might have muttered something about imitation being the most insincere form of flattery .

Ha! Yes - rococo, early Victorian, late Victorian, Edwardian, renaissance... all goes into one big lump sometimes.

If the skirt reaches the ankles it must be from the "olden days."

It was amazing when our elementary school performed "Fiddler on the Roof", in spite of sending out sketches and web links, what some parents sent in a costumes.  Can you picture Russian peasants in tie-dye and mid-thigh skirts?

I do give folks some slack; The Victorians were into revivals of historical styles (the pre-Rafaelite artists, fancy dress balls, in amateur theatrics) and I have seen any number of Victorian etchings/prints of earlier art works that have an ineffable renaissance-victorian air.  I think even some people who have some sense of history may get confused, having seen such hybrid images.

Ah yes, the Revivals. Good point - some quite interesting  "confusions" came out of those, too! This thing below is from the 1890s.... with those sleeves and collar! Ha! It's rather ridiculous, but I confess I absolutely love it.

I love browsing the Met museum website, so many inspiring costumes *sigh*

 Thank you for sharing that Professor.   I love it too.

Someday I will learn to sew velvet.

Basting is your friend, keeps the layers from shifting, as velvet is especially wont to do.

Absurd perhaps, but absolutely stunning.  I love it!

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.


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