“Victorian women were feminine, perhaps the most deliberately feminine females of history, and dressed and carried themselves to look the part. Steampunk lasts in part because the Steampunkettes dress in pseudo-Victorian costume, and it looks very cute and very female. It is refreshing change from the dull unisex monotony of modernity.”–John C Wright–A Salute to Steam-Powered Cuteness
The attraction of steampunk clothing to the modern woman interested in feminine and modest clothing that delights her own creative nature is in the period of clothing from which it takes inspiration.
John C. Wright, over at his blog, gets into the reasons why Steampunk has lasted so long. I found the article interesting and true in its assessments. Including the one quoted above about the pleasures of modest and feminine clothing. There is much to recommend in the discussions as well. 🙂
Modern women recognize that we can be both our intelligent, educated, creative selves AND dress in modest and feminine fashions. It is a pleasure to seek inspiration from peoples from the past who recognized true beauty and worked hard to create virtuous societies where-ever they went. Whatever one might think of the negative side of their efforts, the Victorians were the first to end slavery, end wife burning in India, and insist that women receive the right to vote and to own their own property.
There is something audaciously feminine about the clothing women wore during the Victorian era. There is no shame in being female, no expectation that one should dress like a man in order to be taken seriously. Victorian women marched across the West and civilized most of the United States– in dresses. There is a toughness in the way these women dressed. Corset and button shoes are not the clothing of wimps but of tough minded individuals who would not compromise their sense of fashion. There are even Western side saddles for women who rode aside on cattle drives, and they could shoot as well or better than the men. These Victorians were not wimps but women of education, culture and determination. These Victorian women had characters with the durability of steel and lace. Their bold female descendants cast off the elements of their grandmother’s clothing that they found displeasing, and THEIR granddaughters take it up again in steampunk.
Interesting what the clothing says about people. The philosophical despondency of steampunk never appealed to someone as myself, steeped deeply in Christian philosophy, who feels comfortable with the desire of the Victorians for beauty, in conduct, clothing, buildings, art and even in the orderliness of their laws.
I think the clothing of steampunk is indeed a major factor in its longevity.
Now if only we could bring back hats for men.