One of the things steampunk fans and authors are always getting asked (and asking each other) is “Where did you get that?” Costume geeks love finding that next great source. While I strongly recommend hitting your local thrift store for starters, (Seriously I have $1 skirts, $8 boots and a $6 jacket I use all the time.)sometimes you just have to cave in and find something really special. I’ve been doing a lot of Renaissance festival stuff this summer, and as I’ve mentioned here before, there’s a lot of artisan and fan overlap. So while I’ve been out partying like it’s 1599, I’ve also been indulging my newest addiction, steampunk fashions.
Now I’ve been a steampunk clothing fan from way back before there ever was such a thing, having always favored lacy blouses, long skirts and retro jewelry. Now, however, all the stuff I’ve always liked has a genre, and I have more excuses to wear the brooches and hair combs that have been in my drawer for 20 years. Of course, you can never have too much, so here’s a few of my favorites and new finds.
Fossil: Mainstream, but they were making funky vintage-style items before anyone knew there was a market for it. I have a 20 year old Fossil watch with exposed gears. And it still runs. Score.
1928 Jewelry: What Fossil did for watches, 1928 has always done for jewelry. Awesome faux-vintage costume stuff that’s inexpensive and easy to find. Again, I’ve been collecting this for something like 2 decades.
Corset-Story.com: Another vendor that you don’t find at fairs, but it’s the best place for finding inexpensive, decent-quality corsets. I have several. Also nice is that most of their wares go up to quite generous sizes without special-ordering.
Crimson Chain Leatherworks: A good, all-purpose leather shop with all kinds of goodies at very reasonable prices. I have bought very small stuff (belt mug-hanger for ten bucks) from them and very big stuff (My sweet new leather demi-cape. ) It kept me so warm and toasty I’m planning on it being my new fall jacket.
Mad Girl Clothing: This is the steampunk side of my favorite leather clothing vendor, Pendragon Costumes. (They make fabric items too, on both sites.) I can’t recommend their quality and style enough. They’re pricey, but worth it.
The Blonde Swan: These hats just make me swoon. I’m definitely saving up for one or more of their millinery wonders. Hand crafted and beautifully designed. Not inexpensive, but of a quality to wear for a lifetime.
The Silk Road: Scarves, hats, blouses and skirts in the most gorgeous silks, handmade in Michigan.
Spectra Nova: Steampunk and military-type insignia, jewelry, etc. A fun shop to check out!
Seventeen17Jewels: Original jewelry and beadwork. She’s an up-and-comer, but her stuff is VERY cool.
Fiona’s Fineries: At first I didn’t linger in this shop, as they’re also a Corset-Story retailer, and I knew I could get the same merchandise online. Then I wandered back into the other part of the shop, where original pieces were displayed. BINGO! I found a killer bustle-skirt that had been perfectly made to match a blue-and-lilac corset from C-S–conveniently, one I already had. Needless to say, that skirt is now a permanent part of my steampunk wardrobe.
Well, I hope this is helpful to some of you. Care to share any of your secret sources?