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Steampunk Fashion for Women Over 40 or 50

steampunk fashion for older women

by Christina Gregoire

What is Steampunk and why will you wear it? I know you’re probably over 40, 50, or 60. Hey, I’m almost 60 myself. So, why am I talking to you about Steampunk fashions when you and I “know” you’re never going to wear anything as silly as a Victorian-style outfit unless you’re invited to a fancy dress (masquerade) ball?

Well, Iwhat is steampunk - halloween fancy dress? happen to know that playful, little Steampunky things will sneak into your closet when you aren’t looking.  Hey, once you know what you're looking for, you will notice inconspicuous elements of the Steampunk trend all around you.  So, let us brave the new world and find out how older women can incorporate details of this indie trend into their fashionable wardrobes.

What the Funk is Steampunk?

Steampunk can be a lifestyle, but in your case, you can think of it as a fashion trend. Steampunk style developed from an obsession that many younger people, usually from England or Japan, had (and continue to have) with the Victorian Era and its dapper styles.

But, Steampunkers took the Victorian-goth trend a step further by incorporating many of the fantastical, science-fiction ideas from the Victorian period.  Highlights of this include the Jules Verne’s novels, A Journey to the Center of the Earth and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, along with H.G. Well’s The Time Machine.

Steampunk for Seniors

Victorian Steampunk Bootie for WomenAt this point, you’re probably asking yourself what a bunch of punky kids in London have to do with a mom, from Kansas, like you. Well, that depends. If you wear a Chairman Mao Suit, a jogging suit, or a Nun’s habit every day, Steampunk will affect you only in a subliminal way. However, if you are one of the few sensible women in the U.S., who sometimes wears shoes that do not say NIKE on the side, you might begin to notice the Steampunk trend and you will probably like some aspects of it.

Sgt Pepper’s Meets Mary Poppins

I’m going to try to simplify Steampunk fashion for older people using imagery from my generation, so all of you purists out there can correct me in the comment box below. To start with, there is more than one type of Steampunk, but many fashionable Steampunk outfits include elements of one (or more) of these baby-boomer memories:

  • Sgt Pepper’s:  Remember Carnaby Street in the 60's?  Well, this time the military jacket is for both men and women (unisex).
  • Mary Poppins:  Even though "formal" Steampunkwear is from the Victorian and Edwardian Eras (around the time of Mary Poppins), the Steampunk "era" sometimes includes other time periods, such as the First or Second World War.  However, you are not designing a period piece for a movie, so feel free to mix and match whatever looks good on you.

  • Around the World in 80 Days: Steampunk aesthetics often involve references to spectacular inventions and the art of the possible, so anything related to hot-air balloons, dirigibles, steam engines, gears, and sci-fi rayguns are apropos. (article continues)

Keep reading about steampunk fashion for women on page two - if you find this interesting.

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Tina Boomerina (AKA Christina Gregoire) is a Baby Boomer born at the end of 1952. Her mission is to make the internet a kinder and gentler place for Baby Boomer women around the world. Tina's specialty is fashion for women over 50.

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12 Comments

  1. Sylvia @ 40PlusStyle

    Interesting article. I'm definitely interested in some aspects of steampunk especially the hats, but for the most part I'm sticking to more minimalist outfits. But I love admiring other women wearing this style!

  2. Christina Gregoire

    Sylvia,

    I'm a lot like you. I really love the hats. And, my point is that any chick can take one part (or a few parts) of Steampunk style, add it to her regular outfit, and update her look. Personally, I grew up in hippie times and I have no problem wearing outrageous stuff. I think it's fun... and how do you think street style starts? But, most women didn't wear fur vests in the 60s when they were 12 (my mom cut the sleeves off my aunt's old coat). I was so unique (almost all the time) that I had people taking photos of me in SF during the 60s. (No, I was the tastefully unique girl... not the tie-dyed freaky girl.)

    The main reason I won't go all out and wear Victorian Steampunk from head to toe (just the parts that look good on me) is because I'm remarried to a retired suburban guy who wears tennis shoes and shorts and a baseball hat (aaack!) unless I badger him. Once I'm able to convince him that it's more fun to be a bit of a peacock, I might go a little more Steampunk. For now, I'm going minimal, like you. But, if I can ever afford the crazy prices at crummy London hotels, I would piece together some kind of (slightly) SP outfit.

  3. BC

    I like velvet and lace.

  4. Tina

    Martin Soulstealer sent me a nice reply when I asked if I could get permission to use his photo:

    Re: Photo Permission

    Hi there - no problem at all - as long as I get a credit - a link to soulstealer.co.uk would be even better, but no issues! Nice article, but just to note the pic you've used is more goth than steampunk.
    Cheers,

    Mart

    (If you want to see his photos - I've added some links at the bottom of the article.)

  5. kay kerns

    I am attracted to steampunk jewelry

  6. khawk

    I'm 42 and am going on to my 3rd nuptials next May. It's going to be all Steampunk themed in Peacock colors!!! You're never too old to have a great time!

  7. Natalia

    Thank you for this wonderful article, Tina! I am getting into steampunk visual aesthetic, and that was exactly my plan - to try to incorporate a few elements into my style. But I am also open for dressing up (costumes), and my husband is totally up to it, so we'll see where we'll go from here! :)

  8. Autumn

    I am only 14, and I absolutely love alll things steampunk! This year will be my first Homecoming, and I am thinking of going in a steamlunk style dress. I loved this article! <3

    • Tina-Boomerina

      Autumn,

      Steampunk is a gorgeous, flattering style. And, most homecoming dresses are so ordinary/average... with no personality. I'm sure you will look amazing.

      Tina