Okay so, we know what steampunk is, at least I hope you do. So now lets explore the many aspects of my personal favorite part of the theme: the fashion. In future posts I will talk about specific themes of steampunk, but for now lets focus on the basic elements of steampunk fashion.
Goggles - The trademark of a steampunk adventurer, goggles are essential to the steampunk look. I'm not talking about sportsmen styled goggles here, they need to be big and fancy. Of course you can go with a simple approach. Spray painted and modified welder's goggles are perfect for this.
Boots - Boots are a common item, but not necessary. Heavy boots for men, or possibly Calvary ridding styled are optimal. Ladylike numbers, laced work well for women.
Victorian Clothing - Looking at period costumes is an easy way to get the right idea. You want to use a Victorian outfit as the base costume for your character and add on from there. Long coats, trousers, boots or dress shoes, waist coats, cravats and britches work well for men. Corsets, dresses, bustles and petticoats are great for women. Of course you are not limited to gender, any woman can go for the tomboy/pirate look if she wants. And I suppose if a man wanted to put on a dress, petticoat and corset, I wouldn't be there to stop him. Let's just hope he has a good reason for doing so.
Accessories - Canes, weapons, parasols, fob watches, fans, pipes, etc. Anything someone of that time period might be carrying is the perfect accessory. But, again, you are not limited to this. Use your imagination! Make some strange invention out of items laying around and use it as a prop.
Fabric - Argyle, Floral and pinstripes are great, however solid colors tend to be more common.
This is a picture of me. I just threw together a quick costume for a small steampunk get together. It took me 5 minutes to do. It consists of a white dress shirt with the collar popped and un-tucked. A pair of long khaki cargo pants with pockets on the side. A black/grey stripped vest with a pocket watch. Cavalry riding boots and a skull head cane I picked up from "Spencer's" one day at the mall. And finally: the black welder's goggles. In this case I felt that the goggles looked pretty good for the basic outfit so I haven't modified them yet. I pushed back my hair and put on some "guy-liner" and there you go! A simple outfit that portrays the essence of steampunk.
"I'm the dandy highwayman so sick of easy fashion!"