The Steampunk Empire

The Crossroads of the Aether

Everyone's familiar with the common steampunk tropes. Air Pirate, Engineer, Saloon Girl, etc. etc.

So what occupations and costumes can you think of that are outside the norm? Either speculative, or an actual costume you've photographed?

For the first, I would like to suggest an itinerant agricultural laborer. A Spalpeen, if you will.

Due to the nature of crop farming, extra workers were needed during the Spring ( plowing, planting ), and especially the Fall harvest. The day-to-day needs of animal care were done by the farmer and his family, so they didn't need help with that.

Someone that owned a steam traction engine was very busy during both seasons. But they had to do something different the rest of the year.

Itinerant laborers were desperately needed in the Fall, but during the rest of the year they were "free" to find other work. Or starve ( a very popular option ). So the spalpeen is not tied down to one location. This would give your character the excuse to be almost anywhere during the rest of the year, in the lower levels of society.

Farming was (and is) a very dangerous business. I can imagine someone having a specialized arm to harvest corn (maize) or other grain. Their task might be to harvest the outer 8' of a field, because a machine or animal powered harvester would trample down this part of the crop.

What else????

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The Concept I had come up with is a Naturalist- an observer of wildlife. 

However, the concept I have reaches a bit further than observing. In my concept's case, the hunting and dissection of the targeted wildlife to see how it functions. Like Thomas Henry Huxley, only a bit more grotesque and quirky. If You've played Red Dead Redemption, think Professor MacDougall.

This concept should allow me to take on an Adventurer-like role, complete with rifle and observational notebooks and sketches, with the fun of intelligence and a bit of blood- yaay for sharp, pretty things!

My character is a medium and arcane engineer. Harvesting energy from psy and other occult sources and assisting the living by conversing with their past and future loved ones. Costume elements I have devised to date include aura receptors (decorative hat pins) necromantic snares (veil netting on hats) and a negative psy energy shield (parasol)

Would be interested in any ideas others may have...
22nd century garb may not be a problem for me, given that I am married to a time traveling privateer ;-)

How did I miss out on this thread for so long?

When I first discovered steampunk I went to my closet and started pulling out work clothes and military surplus things that I wore as work clothes, then moved on to my fancy dress things. I was challenged by a friend on Live Journal to come up with what they called a "steampunk Indiana Jones" outfit. Due to a previous love of things Cowboy, I was able to assemble something that met the challenge in less than an hour. Then I decided to play. An airship Captain uniform took a bit of work, but I finally managed it. An Explorer/Big Game Hunter was a bit easier. As was a pirate. After that I started stretching. A Mechanic, a Gentleman Spy, a Mountain Man hunter/trapper, a Cowboy, a Riverboat Gambler, a European who had gone native in the orient, a Civil War-era steampunk superhero, WWI Flying Ace, and a Tommy, quickly followed. All of these are still evolving, becoming more polished and better developed. Some are even what I consider to be close to finished works.

Some are on my Empire profile photo page, but more are on my Flickr page. Vila's Steampunk Outfits On Flickr

So of these concepts have been discussed earlier in this thread. Some are the more usual tropes. But some do fit the bill as being less frequently seen.

I was just kicking around another idea. I have seen Steampunk StarWars. What about Steampunk Star Trek? I'm in the middle of drawing up a fashion design for a steampunk Federation Uniform (based off the Wrath of Khan). Because what is more Steampunk than the Star Trek mission statement? Of exploring strange new worlds, seeking out new life forms and new civilizations, and boldly going where no man has gone before.

Sign me up!

I am a traveling seamstress!

One never knows what one could encounter in this exciting new world of adventure and it behooves me to ensure that those I encounter are suitably tailored for their adventures.  I am never without my trusty sewing kit, kept conveniently to hand as a wrist cuff and my odds and ends of lace and ruffles turn out to be just the thing when a skirt is torn or  shirt needs mending.  With all this talk of clothes, it's a wonder you don't see more of my profession!

I also took on the role of a seamstress. Mainly because I study fashion design at the Art Institute and thought I should stick with skills I actually know for my persona.

I love your idea of traveling with your sewing kit in a wrist cuff. Very clever!

Recently purchased some WILD lace up boots from eBay red, white and silver that look like wrestlers boots. I have since collected some bizarre fringed fabric and plan to eventually make a Victorian acrobat's outfit or-- more likely-- a Victorian super hero costume. Of course, just for giggles! Meanwhile, here's one I'm toying with and will bet no one has yet considered-- a night man! (yes, you heard right. To say 'sewer cleaner' is to put it mildly.....


I've been working on a magician's costume. I'm in the middle of making a top hat, a punked out magic wand and I'm learning a few magic tricks to go along with it.

I am going to tweak my current costume (which is to say completely get rid of the bottom half and adjust the top half) and this time I am going to give myself an occupation, of sorts. I was thinking Victorian suffragette, with the top half having a vet-blouse combination. I was hoping that this would be a bit of a feminine flair, yet have masculine elements. The vest and the blouse are fitted and I love them together. Any comments or suggestions?  

If you have a costume that has become soiled, torn or is now ill fitting consider utilizing it as a depiction of the huge army of poor and the underclasses in Victorian times.  Go ahead, be a costermonger, street thug, longshoreman (somebody had to unload airships), a dockyard lay about, confidence man, a tosher, a cracksman, a poor but honest Horatio Alger type, these can be represented well with large groups. 


Consider being a factor for a large company, a traveling tinker, a gypsy, and a small time peddler, any and all of these could actually be a disguise of a detective or newspaperman – making a costume within a costume.


Most every job and level of society can be reflected with a steampunk sensibility.  You don’t have to be European or your actual ethnic group (keep in mind sensitivities).  The idea is to explore, not just doing the same thing everybody else is doing.  Hurrah, for all of you doing something daring or different!


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