Goodwill steampunk outfit 

Goodwill Outfit

Can I really make a costume from Goodwill materials? 

Absolutely.  Discounting some of the accessories, this entire outfit comes from Goodwill.

Approximate Cost

Blouse, bolero, belt, underskirt, overskirt without trim, gloves: $30


  • General comfort
  • Causal look
  • Not bulky
  • Avoiding corset


The hat was a prize in a contest which I won.  For me it was free, but you can easily get a hat of similar quality for about $30.  Most of my hats are decorated with feathers, metals and beads, but I only just got my hands on this one.


I used to wear the monocle on my face all the time.  The problem is it cuts into my skin.  Here it's perched on the hat.  Many steampunks wear goggles on their hats, regardless of the fact this makes them completely useless, as you can't get them over the brim and onto your face.  Steampunk is frequently about fashion over form.


The black satin jacket was found in the XL section of Goodwill.  I've never worn an XL in my life, but it was an easy fix to size it down in the back with a single seam. $5


Another Goodwill purchase, I originally thought I was going to be re-donating it, as it doesn't look at all right on its own.  (I think it is because it is short-sleeved.)  Throw a jacket or bolero over it, however, and it works darn well. $5


The belt was handed down to me by a friend.  I love wide belts because it covers where my blouse and skirt come together without the constriction of a corset.  Goodwill is full of creative belts which are roughly $5.


I created the bracer from two stretchy bracelets and a panel of pleather.  One bracelet was from Goodwill ($7), while the other was at JCPenny ($10).  I snapped the elastic bands and sewed each piece individually to the pleather.

Pleather is inexpensive (about $9/yrd, with each project requiring a small fraction of that) and great to work with.  It doesn't fray, so you don't have to hem it.  It's heavy enough to take a lot of weight, but a needle still easily goes through it (unlike leather, which can be really hard to work with).


The gloves are from Claire's, a modern accessory store that caters to teenagers.  They've got quite a steampunk theme (and things that can fairly easily be co-opted for steampunk)going on right now.  Great example of how you can find good options in unlikely places.  $5.


Both over- and underskirt comes from Goodwill, each about $5.  The trim on the overskirt was an additional cost.

Read more: Building the Overskirt

Walking Stick

The walking stick is a doorknob on top of a stained wood dowel rod.  The bottom end has a cane tip which you can buy in a drugstore.


I wish there was more color to this outfit.  The overskirt was supposed to be a deeper blue than it is.  The fabric just didn't take dye well.

Read more: Dying for a Better Tomorrow

However, neutral colors can mix and match with pretty much everything, so I can (and do) use these pieces in other outfits.