Monday, May 23, 2016


This is the first in a series of posts for our Fashion Guide, explaining the elements commonly used in Steampunk fashion, and how to put together a complete outfit.


The most commonly used article of clothing in women's Steampunk fashion is the corset. Corsets have been used throughout history, but hit their peak popularity during the Victorian era. Since Steampunk is supposed to exist during Victorian times, many cosplayers turn to corsets to add femininity and sex appeal to their costume.

why are there so many corsets in steampunk fashion costumes

Corsets are often confused with "bodices" and "bustiers," so lets clarify before we go any further. A corset is a garment designed to hold the torso in a shape that creates a desired silhouette. The Victorian era focused on an hourglass figure, with an exaggerated bust and hips and a tiny, cinched in waist (much like our modern ideal silhouette). Corsets usually have a buttoned or hooked front opening (called a busk) and laces in the back, used for tightening. Boning keeps the stiff shape of the corset. Bustiers are designed to lift the bust, not cinch the waist, so they don't extend as low as a corset, have functional lacing or boning. Bodices are just the upper part of a dress (not including the sleeves), or a separate piece of clothing that women wore like a vest over a blouse, so they aren't designed to boost anything up, or cinch anything in.

did victorian women wear corsets over their clothes or as tops

Does this mean women wore corsets outside their clothing during the Victorian era? NEVER! It was the most modest of times, so corsets were strictly an undergarment. However they did wear something similar called a Swiss Waist (more on that in a minute). The reason you see cosplayers wearing corsets as outerwear is that they're trying to make modest Victorian fashion sexier, and there's nothing sexier than a corset!

Some corsets have straps that go over the shoulders or in a halter style around the neck, and some have garter straps to hold up stockings.

Underbust Corset - this corset stops just below the bust and has open cups, so it needs to be worn over a dress or blouse. If you want to increase the sex appeal, wear it with just a bra, bikini top, tube top or pasties.

Examples of Underbust Corsets:
steampunk womens fashion black underbust corset
Camellia 26 Steel Bone Black Corset
steampunk brown striped underbust corset
Charmian Striped Waist Brown Underbust Corset (
steampunk brown underbust brocade corset
Burvogue Steampunk Brown Underbust Corset (

Plus Size Underbust Corsets:
Steampunk Plus Size Black underbust corset
Valentina Steel Boned Underbust Corset (
Brown Leather Steampunk Underbust Corset
Ophelia Leather Underbust Corset
Steampunk plus size corset in black and white stripes
La Strisca Steel Boned Underbust Corset (

Overbust Corset - this corset covers the bust, so it can be worn over a dress or blouse, or alone as a top or bodice.

Steampunk Jasquard Striped Overbust Corset
Charmian Jacquard Stripe Boned Corset
steampunk overbust black corset
Charmian Spiral Steel Boned Gothic Corset
Steampunk Brown Overbust Corset
FeelinGirl Steel Boned Brown Brocade Embroidered Corset (

Plus Size Overbust Corsets:
steampunk plus size brown leather overbust corset
Jules Steel Boned Leather Corset (also in Black) (
white plus size overbust steampunk corset
Vintage Cotton Steel Boned Corset
Plus Size Steampunk Overbust Corset in Black Leather
Angelina Leather Steel Boned Corset (

Longline Corset - This can be an underbust or overbust corset, but instead of stopping above the hip, it extends down over the hipbone. This makes for a smoother hip area and a much longer corset.


Steampunk black leather underbust corset long
Double Spiral Steel Bone Faux Leather Underbust Corset (
white longline steampunk corset overbust
White Longline Cotton 26 Steel Boned Overbust Corset (
black brocade steampunk corset long overbust
Black Brocade Longline Steel Boned Overbust Corset (

Waist Cinchers (aka waspies) - A shorter corset that covers just the waist area (from low on the ribs to just above the hips). It resembles a really wide belt, but like a corset, it has a busk in the front and laces up in the back.


steampunk waist cincher belt in white
White 26 Steel Boned Waist Cincher Corset (
steampunk black waist cincher waspie belt
Black Brocade 26 Steel Boned Waist Cincher Corset (
steampunk brown bronze short torso waist cincher belt waspie
Bronze Short Torso Steel Boned Waist Cincher (

Swiss Waist (aka Swiss Belts) - These were worn over the clothing during the Victorian era and are often incorrectly identified as corsets. The Swiss Waist is similar to waist cinchers in that they're shorter than corsets and have boning, but they don't have visible boning channels and they don't fasten with a busk in front. Instead they either have no front opening, or a lace up front. The back fastens with lacing or buttons. They usually come to a point in the front below the bust and/or a point down at the hips, creating a triangle or diamond-like shape.


Steampunk black leather waspie swiss belt swiss waist
Black Faux Leather Lace Up Waist Belt
steampunk swiss belt swiss waists brown lace up corset belt
Coffee Lace Up Corset Style Cinch Belt
steampunk swiss waist swiss belt waspie cincher belt
Black Elastic Wide Band Elastic Waist Belt

Plus Size Swiss Waists:
steampunk plus size lace up corset belt waist cincher waspie swiss waist belt
Women's Plus Size Adjustable


In Part 2 of the Guide, learn about Victorian era skirt and dress styles, and their sexier counterparts in Steampunk fashion: Skirts & Dresses

Learn how to recreate popular Steampunk costumes: Tutorials

Browse our carefully curated photo gallery of beautiful Steampunk cosplayers: Fashion Inspiration

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