New Goth or New Pirate?

This reporter couldn’t help but notice the explosion of steampunk costumes this year at Dragon*Con. It’s a downright invasion, or should I say incursion. And with the addition of the Alternate History track and their signature Time Travelers Ball, the style is most definitely happening! I’ve heard the look called everything from the new Goth, to the new pirate, even the new zombie, though no steampunker in their right mind would compare the elegant style to that of the staggering brain-eaters of years past.

The allure of steampunk is varied. Some costumers love it for the color, the sheer beauty of the Victorian era, especially after the all-black, somewhat bleak interpretation of the same era previously explored by the Goths. The look also appeals to scientists and engineers, especially when creating props. From chemical-based weapons to stilts and wickedly cool sunglasses, no charming steampunker would be caught dead without a brilliant it-could-work accessory.

I love the notion that this exciting new sub-genre gives girls another excuse to buy and wear a fantastically intricate corset. I must admit, one day of steampunk costumes has given me more whiplash-look-at-that-dress moments than all of last year’s costumes combined. (Yes, including the Lego Boba Fett, thank you very much!)

What’s not to like for a geek like me? A gorgeous top hat adorned with the most exotic of feathers, the best boots (that would give me another reason to shop online), guys dressed to the nines in the best of pinstripes and vests, and umbrellas that would never dare endure a drop of rain. If only I had the time (and resources) to attend Steamcon, a Steampunk steamposium in Seattle next month, for there I would experience steamnirvana.

Of the people standing in line for the Time Travelers Ball, most were new to the sub-genre, having created their costumes for the first time this year. One veteran noted that the number of steampunk costume sightings she caught this year was 50 times greater than last year. And though she isn’t one to follow a trend, she is thrilled that steampunk has become so popular.

The entertainment on hand added to the atmosphere. The Extraordinary Contraptions, an Atlanta steampunk band with a “Trans-dimensional Rock” style, were playing an acoustic version of their repertoire in the hallway, keeping those waiting in line entertained. The band’s show goes beyond mere music; they also dress in finery and follow a storyline which they will soon be working into a graphic novel.

So get out there, women and men, boys and girls, and join the steampunk revolution. You’ll have a blast and look fantastic doing it!

Author of the article

When Suzanne Church isn't chasing characters through other realms, she's hanging with her two children. Her short fiction has appeared in Clarkesworld, On Spec, and Cicada and in several anthologies including Urban Green Man and When the Hero Comes Home 2. Her collection Elements: A Collection of Speculative Fiction is due out in spring 2014 from EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing. She is a three time finalist and 2012 winner of the Prix Aurora Award in the Short Fiction category.