Over the last few years I have fallen increasing in love with Steampunk. For those of you not in the know, Steampunk is first and foremost a sci-fi sub-genre that is a imagining of what life would be like if the steam engine had taken over the world and stuck. There is a high emphasis with many enthusiast on fashion and costuming, as well as props and working mechanical contraptions.
I have always been a bit of a self proclaimed geek who enjoyed sci-fi heavy on technology, so when you give me a genre that also incorporates fabulous fashions and artistic expressions I go all out. If you follow me on Pinterest then you know that I have several boards dedicated to Steampunk.
This past weekend I went to my first ever Steampunk Con, The International Steampunk Symposium in Cincinnati, Ohio. Its an event that last for several days, however I was there for Saturday only. It was such a great experience I am already planning on going for the whole thing next year, as well as possibly a day or two of another one.
Before going, I of course planned out my costume. In the world of steampunk, you can be almost anything you can imagine, as long as you conform it fit the few guidelines to dressing steampunk. Like many things though, it is harder to find plus size items, and it often means a heftier price tag. But with a bit of imagination, craftiness, and willingness to put some time into bargain hunting you can cosplay a steampunk character with the best of them without breaking the bank. After a couple of funny conversations with some friends online, I chose to do a Unicorn Queen costume for the sake of an inside joke.
First lets talk about where everything came from.
The skirt was one of my Christmas gifts from my husband this year. It is the Victorian Bustle Skirt from Hips & Curves. It is also available in a black and white stripe pattern. Both options are available in 1X to 4X. Mine is a 3X, and I typically wear a 2X with most things at Hips & Curves, so you might want to size. I did order by the size chart on this one, so you should be good if you go by your measurements.
The top is the Prudence Top from Spin Doctor, and I purchased it from a Canadian store called Sweet Echo. I am wearing a 3X, as Spin Doctor fits more like a junior plus brand. For me, while in most traditional plus size companies I wear a 20W or a 2X, with Spin Doctor I wear a 3X if it is very stretchy or 4X if it has little to no stretch. There are even some items I can’t wear at all, as 4X is the largest size they offer.
The waist cincher is a custom made item purchased on Etsy, from a shop called Gone Away Designs. She has several waist cinchers as well as skirts that are fitting steampunk designs. There doesn’t seem to be any extra charge for larger sizes. And she is willing to customize, she did for me. Since mine was strictly for costume I wanted something that was going to be comfortable for the day as well as easy to take on and off as needed. So she made the front with a hook and eye closure for just a few dollars more.
The fascinator is also a custom buy from an Etsy shop called the Black Unicorn Shop. It is the same as the one pictured in the shops banner, but with a couple of slight modifications. This shop is located in Europe, so if you purchase from them, make sure you allow enough time for shipping when buying for an event.
Both my necklace and my scepter were custom designs from another Etsy seller called DR. Brassy’s Steampunk. My first purchase was the necklace, which is a part of her Trademarked Sightmares collection. Each Sightmares piece is custom made and unique. And as much as I loved the pieces in the pictures, they are even more fantastic in person. I decided to custom order a scepter shaped like a unicorn horn with a matching Sightmares eye. Here are a couple of pictures so you can see the detail more thoroughly.
All I can say is these are the work of a true artist, and I love everything about them. I will definitely be buying from Dr. Brassy’s Steampunk again in the future. Be sure to read up a bit on Dr. Brassy’s business as it in itself is interesting. And if you decide to buy from the shop, make sure to tell her I sent you.
The one thing that I am wearing that you can’t really see in the pictures is my shoes. When choosing shoes I had two issues I tried to keep in mind. First I have a lot of back and feet pain due to some of chronic pain conditions I have, so I needed something comfortable. I also have a foot that verges on being in wide widths depending on the brand, and unfortunately a lot of Victorian/Steampunk looking styles seem to run narrow. While I wanted to keep my cost down for my costume I decided my shoes were the one area I felt it was okay to really go ahead and splurge more than I had planned, and my feet thanked me for it. While I still had some soreness after it was all said and done, I know it could have been much worse. I ended up going with this pair of Hush Puppy Booties. I wish I could direct everyone to a place to purchase them, but I had to special order them from the UK even when I got them.
Of course I didn’t go alone. I went with one of my besties Jenny, who you have seen before as well as our husbands. Jenny wore a Tribal style costume, which is also one of the accepted styles of dress for Steampunk.
We had a great time together tooling around the convention.
I also want to share with you some of the other great people and fashion I saw at the Steampunk Symposium
This lovely lady pictures with my friend Jenny is former news writer, turned Steampunk writer, Emily P. Bush. You can check out her bio on Amazon.
Then there was this fantastic costume:
I was suppose to get back with this lady and trade information, so if anyone that was at the con recognizes her, message me with her contact info or have her contact me. I want to give her the proper credit for her awesome costuming skills.
Another impressive costume as well as a just lovely lady to speak to:
I wish my pictures had turned out better of this one. I am not really sure what happened with them, but it looks like I had some interference going on when I took these. But this ladies name is Helena and she is a costume designer. She makes custom and original pieces for all sizes. You can check out her store the Kinki Kitty.
And by far one of the most awe striking costumes I saw was this:
It wasn’t just the costume, it was the makeup. Yes folks that is makeup. As she walked near it looked like she was wearing a mask, but then she spoke and you knew it was makeup. And her hair, which turned out to be a fantastic wig with intricately woven in lace and lights, as seen here:
The entire look was absolute perfection. Her name is Madame Dowd, and she is a costume designer. If you are interested in purchasing one of her custom costumes or accessories you can visit her Etsy shop the Boutique of Curiosity.
Now if you are wondering what actually happens at a Steampunk Con, here are a few details and pictures to help you out.
We had a tea:
There was men parading around for the Beard and Mustache competition:
And there was Tribal/Belly Dancing:
All this long with much, much more. And one of the best things is there were all types of people of all shapes and sizes and colors and ages. And everyone is okay with that. If you would like to join us next year you can sign up here.