Misconceptions of Steampunk According to Mala

I have admired steampunk since I was in high school, but didn’t really immerse myself in the culture until 2012.  I by no means claim to be an expert on this subject. I only hope to open peoples eyes to the possibilities of the steampunk world.  And hope to inspire people to not limit themselves to only the Victorian Steam Era.

Some of my thoughts on misconceptions of steampunk do not agree with the limited literature or other blogs that I was able to locate while preparing this blog.   I was hoping to give you a ton of information backing these misconceptions.  However, there is not much out there regarding them, so you get pictures instead!  These were submitted from the steampunk communities I participate in.  So make sure to show them all a little love!

Through the past few years of immersing myself in this realm here are misconception I have noticed.  Again, these are my thoughts. Please feel free to agree or disagree as you see fit!

Misconception 1. Must be clothing and items from the Victorian England era. 
I feel that this is the biggest misconception out there.  You don’t have to wear a bustle or top hate to be steampunk.
Yes, this is the base of most steampunk but there are other influences into the subculture!  Below are examples of steampunk infused by time periods and cultures of the world other than Victorian England!

1930’s inspired Bonnie and Clyde by  Goombah Squad Cosplay & Props.

A geisha used in Salt City Steamfest 2014 Multi-Cultiral Steampunk Fashion Show!  I wish I had more pictures of all the amazing outfits used in this show!

 photo geisha at steamfest_zpskemno3ig.jpg

Photo by Nina Taggart

Persian inspired outfit created by Carol’s Custom Costumes.

 Bollywood inspired outfit by Makeup Siren.  Facebook. Deviant Art.

 photo bolly wood punk_zpskf8vcead.jpg

Then you have these Post Apocalyptic outfits by Steampunk Pyramid Head and Lumi.
If you are not sure what Post Apocalyptic steampunk is heres a great explanation of this subgenre.  Please note, this website has no affiliation with this blog.

And you cannot forget my favorite, Dieselpunk!
This is the 1920s-1950s had there been different technology. It is often a militant style.  If you want more information about dieselpunk Click Here.  Please note this website has no affiliation with this blog.

Here is my first dieselpunk outfit.  With me is Anna Belle as an English explorer.

 photo disel punk_zpskylqwze8.jpg
Misconception 2. Steampunk is limited to browns and black.
Some once told me they don’t like steampunk because it is the goth kids who changed their black for brown.
Guess what, you don’t have to use brown or black if you don’t want to!

Check out the example below.
I think the heavy use of leather in steampunk may have contributed to this fallacy, but that is my opinion and I have no evidence to support it.
 photo 10628437_10200427795415440_3479804456393381739_n_zpsduxcehkp.jpg

Misconception 3. Steampunk requires a corset
Guess what, not true!   Shyna created this perfect outfit without a corset!
 photo Shayna Fairbanks_zpsnfvo410m.jpg

Misconception 4.  You must have goggles.
Though goggles are staple of steampunk accessories, they are NOT required! Here is a beautiful example that an outfit can me amazing without them! Created by Shyna and Carol’s Custom Costumes.
Another thought about goggles is that your goggles can be any color you want!  Change out the lens to add a pop of color.  My dream steampunk closet has all sorts of colored goggles to go with my colored wigs!

 photo goggle-free credits to Me Carols Custom Costumes and Vladimir Chopine Photography_zpsk4ez3vke.jpg

Photo by: Vladimir Chopine Photography

We also have  this strapping gentleman! Michael Mannon portrayal of Sgt Major Angus “Red Jack” MacMasters, Chief Engineer aboard the A.S.S. Titilus, copyright by Steam-Funk Studios.

 photo 11086833_946044402151938_30155183_o_zpssz1wl0b8.jpg

Photo by Brenda Howell, Dream Out Loud Photography

Misconception 5. Steampunk involves traditional hair.
As mentioned above I like to wear colored wigs with my steampunk. Why?  I love the colors it adds!  Check out the photo below! Sadly this is the only decent picture I have of one of my wigs.  The others are all blurry.  Color adds so much to steampunk.  As you can tell I even like to add funk colors of lipstick!  Why?  Cause steampunk can be what ever you want it to be!
 photo 10351084_697307537045256_7539401224770666080_n_zpsvcls88yg.jpgGuess what? I am not the only one who feels this way. Check out Nivi Da Nivi’s awesome outfit!  She uses colored wigs regularly with her steampunk outfits.  Make sure to check out her Facebook page so you can see all the colors she uses in her steampunk outfits.  You should also check out I am RIP‘s amazing leather work!  That is the gentlemen in this great photo with Nivi Da Nivi

 photo 1458521_231448713712455_789950210_n_zpsuj4jjugc.jpg

Photo by David Ngo

Misconception 6. There are limits to Steampunk

As you might guess from above I disagree with this thought!  I think that there are no limits to steampunk!
I think you are only limited to your imagination. That the world of fantasy and sci-fi can mix with steampunk technology and culture to create amazing characters and outfits!

Check out this list of creative steampunk inspired outfits!

Leprechaun!!!  This lovely lass even clogged in this outfit!! Corset and hat and all!!!!!

 photo lepercan_zpspw4godst.jpg

Here is a Dia de los Muertos inspired steampunk.

 photo 15066649204_59c92a7b63_z_zpshzxyk3ml.jpg

How about a steampunk fairy.   This is the one I made in 2014.

And this other fairy I met at Steamposium 2014. photo photo 1_zpskzkljhws.jpg

How about this steampunk mermaid on land by Criminal Mischief photo 10479497_324680487735263_6975585399428025290_n_zpslw6prh36.jpg

 photo 10649511_274441916092454_881290901207316403_n_zpspuawfltv.jpg

Back view of steampunk mermaid by Criminal Mischief. Look at all the details and thought that went into this! You should check out the work in progress pictures on her Facebook page.

Or this  steampunk mermaid by Angry Mushroom Pixi Design?

 photo angry pixie mushroom_zpsjdtx0lpp.jpg

As with many things in life, the more you learn about steampunk the less you really know. I hope this blog will inspire you to experiment with steampunk and open your imagination. After all, my favorite thing about steampunk is that the character you design is only limited by your imagination!  I hope you are inspired by these designs for you next steampunk adventure!

I am also working on different cross over features. If you have a crossover steampunk outfit you want to see featured please email me at AdventureWithMala@gmail.com. Please include the photo, your Facebook or website, and photographer credits.

7 thoughts on “Misconceptions of Steampunk According to Mala

  1. Pingback: Interesting Blog: Adventures with Mala | Lily Rose

  2. Pingback: Misconceptions of Steampunk According to Mala | Airship Flamel

  3. I applaud all of your listed misconceptions save the last one… while the costumes are wonderfully diverse they all share certain common themes which make them steampunk. There are limits, rules and definitions that come with the label, as with all things. If there are no limits then everything belongs and thus someone dressed in a classic Star Trek uniform with no changes or modifications could claim it is Steampunk [as a simple example].


    • I see what you are saying here about the commonalities and maybe I could have picked better terminology for the last point. There are for sure elements that are needed to be considered steampunk. That point is actually the part I struggled with phrasing while working on this blog and the reason it took way to long get it done!

      By being limitless I mean that anything can be steampunked! Including a Star Trek uniform. Four ways have already quickly come to mind and I am sure you have your own ideas as well on that one.

      I will have to think further on how to phrase this last point and perhaps adjust it to better make my point.

      I really appreciate that you took the time to read and comment on this blog!


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