Steampunk's been in vogue for awhile now, and I doubt it's leaving anytime soon. Why should it? It's both retro and modernesque, with gears and goggles and funky metal bits a-plenty, and it looks darned cool. Clockwork Couture is a nifty shop - not only are its clothes geared towards the steampunk and "neo-Victorian" set (and its website copy is written as if from that point of view), but it is, as far as I can tell, almost the web equivalent of a mom and pop store (only not actually run by people the ages of mom and pop!) in that I think they have just one actual storefront and the online venue, and a relatively small staff to run those things (although I could be mistaken?). Despite the apparently small scale staff, the mail-order service has excellent delivery time and customer service response time and, to date, I've never had a problem with it. Also, they rescue cute animals. Aw.
ANYWAY! TO THE CLOTHES!!
Click around and you will see that the store offers everything from stuff you could wear with your everyday outfits to things that lend themselves to serious costuming (like, say, steampunk corsetry). They also usually have a pretty good collection of interesting footwear (booooots!!). While I haven't loved 100% of the things I've bought from them, I have loved about 95% (and was able to return or exchange the stuff that didn't fit right, etc.). That's a pretty good percentage when it comes to online shopping.
One thing I should mention is that, due to the way they sell their clothes (selling until sold out and not usually re-stocking) many of the items I've bought are no longer available from the store (although with diligent searching sometimes you can find the items at other retailers, since most of the items carried aren't actually Clockwork Couture brand). But! That's part of the fun with more unique clothes, eh?
And now, A Sampling of Stuff I've Bought From Clockwork Couture. [Please note: Due to my slightly haphazard way of photographing ensembles before realizing I wanted to do a whole entry on Clockwork Couture, there will be a couple of other pieces in this collection that are NOT CC but still deserve discussion. So, I shall discuss. BECAUSE I CAN.]
Jacket: Light As Air Overcoat in brown, Clockwork Couture (Brand: Tell)
This lightweight brown jacket is adorably fun, and can be worn with everyday clothes as well as to dress something up a bit. I haven't had too many occasions to wear it out yet, as I ordered it just before it got Really Cold, but I did wear it out a couple of times and love it so far. It will definitely be part of my spring wardrobe.
Pros: Lightweight material; neat detailing (lace insets, shiny green lace borders, ruffles on sleeves); comfortable and not too tight, with adjustable ties; overall flattering cut.
Cons: I had to hand-wash it when I first got it, because due to packing the ruffles and lace edges were all pressed down wrong, and I didn't want to risk ironing. It's a bit awkward to hand-wash, but once you do it's easy to smooth out the lace and ruffles. The only other con is that some of the ruffle edging, not being hemmed, had stray threads. But again; easy to trim those off, and they haven't frayed more so far.
Overall: I love it, no significant cons.
Corset: Le Fae Verte Corset, Clockwork Couture (Brand: no tag)
Skirt: No idea, I've had it forever
Boots: Spatterdash Boots in black, Clockwork Couture (Brand: Funtasma)
The green color of the corset is incredibly pretty, and it has a black lace overlay over the green that is less common than the brocaded designs I usually see when looking for something a little fancier than a plain corset. This is going to be part of a costume I'm putting together, and it will work very very well. And also I must confess I just love the green SO MUCH. :)
Pros: SO PRETTY.
Cons: CAN'T BREATHE. But...that's pretty much standard when it comes to corsets. :)
The boots are pretty comfy considering they are 4.5-inch stilettos! I bought these to go with some costumes for the UK Discworld Convention (as seen here with my greatest fashion accessory, Sir Terry Pratchett :P) and will be using them for The North American Discworld Convention, and they also doubled as my Black Canary boots (seen here) at Halloween. They will be making more costuming appearances, but could also, of course, be worn out on the town.
Pros: So cute! Love the buttons! As comfy as high stilettos can be! When I wear them you can call me Adora Belle! (Discworld reference FTW!)
Cons: Because CC doesn't traffic in leather, their boots are made of Other Things. Unfortunately sometimes these Other Things aren't all that breathable. These boots get a bit warm, but not terribly so if you wear socks. Also, weirdly, on the site they did not look like patent leather, but that's what they look like in person. Which was fine by me, just unexpected.
Overall: Very nice except for the not-so-breathability
Necklace: "Pilot" necklace by Clockwork Zero
Jacket: Coat of Metallurgy in brass, Clockwork Couture (Brand: Peppe Peluso)
Skirt: stretch skirt in brown, Express
Boots: Great Gears O Plenty Boots in brown, Clockwork Couture (Brand: Demonia)
From top to bottom:
The necklace here is a unique piece from Clockwork Zero, who does amazingly cool steampunk jewelry. I found her via ellen_datlow, who bought several earrings from her. This piece includes a little compass and airplane, and I luuuurve it. It's made several appearances, including at a James Bond murder mystery birthday party and at the London midnight book launch of Sir Terry Pratchett's I Shall Wear Midnight.
Clockwork Zero's Etsy store has some other cool pieces, too. Check out Flight of the Shimmering Bee or Steam Train Dreams.
The Coat of Metallurgy is from Clockwork Couture, although it's no longer available. It's a cute middle-weight coat (it has a light liner) and I've worn it several times. It's very eye-catching, and the adjustable ties (more in the back) make it cinch-able at the waist.
Pros: Very unusual, nice lightweight jacket, adjustable, flattering cut.
Cons: The one con to this jacket is that even though this is the right size, it's a little tight across the shoulders. It's not enough to be uncomfortable - just enough that I wouldn't recommend doing any wild stretches in it! Or climbing on monkey bars. :P
Overall: Very cute, fairly comfy, a teeny bit tight in the shoulders; but I still love it.
The skirt is from Express, and even though you can't really see it here, I mention it solely to say: Express, PLEEEEEAAAASSEEEE bring back your stretch skirts like this one! This is cute and comfy and a staple of my business wardrobe but it's getting worn and I need MORE. In ALL THE COLORSSSSS.
The boots are very adorable. I love the metal gears, and you can't get more steampunk than metal gears! Also the outside upper part is very soft. Also the heels are wide enough to be a bit more stable than, say, stilettos. The one problem I have with these is the same as that mentioned for the Spatterdash boots. No breathability. At allll.
Pros: GEEEAARRRRRRSSS!!!!! So cute. Also: easy to walk in, will not fall down (unless your name is Bella Swan.)
Cons: These are terribly not-breathable. More so than the Spatterdash boots. Your feet WILL get v v v warm. Be warned.
Overall: If they weren't SO goshdarned cute I don't know that I'd like them quite so much, because: NOT BREATHABLE. But the gears make up for it somehow. Because I am Woman, and Woman will suffer for cute fashion.
Jewelry set: Swarovski crystal necklace and earrings, made by yours truly.
Jacket: Cloak and Dagger Trench in black, Clockwork Couture (Brand:
Skirt: Will be featured another time
Boots: Tsubo Kampot boots in black
Ooh, Swarovski! Look! Look at the shiny things! I know you can't see them too well here, but I was pretty pleased by how this jewelry set turned out. (Here is a closeup of the front detail.) Not to mention I am a Swarovski fiiiieeeennndd. ♥
The jacket is the reason for including this photo here, though. It's a lightweight trench coat made of a durable weave material, with adjustable sleeves and waist tie, and an adjustable corset-tie back. I love it for the strong material, the adjustable sleeves and ties, the genuinely trench-coat-sized pockets (i.e. they are deep pockets and perfect for the proportions of the coat, in terms of actually comfortably keeping your hands in them; also this makes you look like a spy), and the cut.
Pros: SO CUTE, SO COMFY, SO DURABLE, SO POCKET-Y!
Cons: Like the Coat of Metallurgy, this coat is a bit tight across the shoulders. Again - no crazy stretching or jumping jacks! But for everyday, it is fine. The only other problem is the finish on the button seams - there doesn't "seam" to be much (terrible pun intended)! So this is one of those coats where the buttons get caught on random threads from the sides of the button-holes. A minor inconvenience, though, if you're careful with the buttoning and unbuttoning!
Overall: I just plain love this coat. Unless I have to do jumping jacks in it.
The boots here are from Tsubo, and even though this is a CC post, these NEED to be pointed out. Not only are they super-cute, but they are super-comfortable as well - a genuinely well-made, well-fitting pair of boots, good for work or play (and also often on good sales at Amazon). Tsubo's prices can run a little high, so looking in places like DSW (where I got some Tsubo walking shoes for $40 instead of $120) or Amazon will benefit you. Tsubo bases their reputation on designing shoes that are stylish but comfortable, and these boots don't disappoint. Padding in the heel and front make them super-easy to wear all day.
Pros: Cute, comfy, excellent quality.
Cons: The only thing to keep in mind is that for me, personally, while I wear the 6.5 size for the casual sneakers and the boots I have, when I tried on the regular heels (like these), they were too tight. I would recommend a 1/2 size up there.
My thoughts on steampunk couture, let me show you them:
I like, I like!
Eh, I'm not impressed.
My favorite place to shop for unusual or steampunk clothing is:
My favorite piece of steampunk-ish or Victorian clothing that I own is:
My favorite steampunk story or novel is:
If I was going to build, or draw, a steampunk machine, it would be:
Fashion Watch #2: Koolaburra Victoria Boots!
Fashion Watch #1: We Love Houndstooth