Who am I?
In the steampunk world, I am Lucretia Strange, the Baroness Strange. I run the Promethean Society, and do a variety of presentations at steampunk conventions.

In the real world, I am Cassie Beyer and a historian with a blog, History, Interrupted, devoted to history, steampunk, costuming, popular culture and other eclectic interests.

You can best reach me through the Promethean Society or through Cassie@AlterEgoDesign.netAlterEgo is my freelance web design endeavor focused on small businesses, individuals and organizations.


Your First Costume

The first concept behind this site was to help people who were interested in attending their first steampunk event but felt they had nothing to wear, didn't want to go in modern clothes, and either had no idea where to start or were totally intimidated by by the price of steampunk costumes. If that sounds like you, this is where you should start.

First: General Appearance

What kind of look do you want. Dapper gentleman? Rugged explorer? Greasy mechanic? Crazy inventor? If you're not sure, that's OK too.  Some of us start building outfits and eventually decide what sort of persona will fit it.

Second: What to Look For

What makes something look steampunk?  The answer to this is both loose and subjective, but that doesn't mean we can't offer general suggestions and pointers  Here are basic guides on how to find items that "look steampunk":

Third: Search Your Closet

 While some steampunk costumes are fantastically complex, a lot of very passable ones consist of items already sitting in your closet. This is particularly the case for men, although it can also be fairly applicable to women. Price: FREE!

Read more: Coming out of the Closet - Items commonly found in your closet which can be incorporated into a costume.

Fourth:  Thrift Stores

If you don't like your options from the closet or want to add something more, check out your local thrift stores such as Goodwill. There's a lot of experienced steampunk costumers who frequent thrift stores. I'd estimate at least half my wardrobe originated in a thrift store. Price: About $5/item

Read more: Thrifting - What all can commonly be found at a thrift store, as well as some tricks on how to modify what you find.

This may very well be as far as you go for your first costume, particularly if you're worried about budget. After all, why invest a bunch of money in a costume you're not yet sure you're going to wear again? And, again, I want to stress that you do NOT need to spend a lot of money to be considered a "real steampunk." Many of us pride ourselves on our thriftiness.

But if you are going to do at least a little serious shopping (such as for a corset, even if the rest of your costume came out of your closet or a thrift shop), here are some tips on various locations:

  • Amazon.com - A selection of steampunk items available on Amazon, with an emphasis on the least expensive pieces (although I've thrown in a few higher priced items as well).
  • eBay.com - In general, this will be the cheapest of your remaining options, although, of course, there are bargains everywhere. Read up on how to find what you're looking for without overpaying.
  • Etsy.com - This site produces some rather unique pieces, but since they are handmade, they are often (but not always) pricey.
  • Online Shopping - In general, this is my last option. Shops that cater to steampunks commonly charge a premium just for calling something "steampunk." However, some of the items out there can be quite distinguishing, and I do highlight a handful of sites which are more reasonably priced.