If you asked the average person what color steampunk is known for, they will most likely say brown. Most subcultures have a dominate color they are known for. For example, Goths have black, Lolitas have pink (even though they can get very colorful), and Cybergoths have acid green. Many Goths say steampunk is just goth in brown. In my opinion, this is not true, though I do understand why people may think this. What is one of the biggest materials Steampunks use? Leather (which I am not too big of a fan of, but that is another story).
Ladies and Gents, put the brown down and let me introduce you to the steampunk color wheel. Yes, there is brown, there is even tan and black, though be careful with the black that you don’t just end up going goth and stick goggles on it and call it steampunk. But the colors do not stop there! Colors up until 100 years ago were very intense, something most people don’t realize. Most fabrics during the Victorian age were very blue to counteract the yellow glow of new technology, gas lighting.
Just a small disclaimer. Color is hard to describe in the way I will need to in this next part because what I think is neon yellow some might say is sunshine yellow. Even if I was to attach a picture of the color I am talking about it might not look the same on your computer as if did on mine. So stay with me, as I try to describe the colors I think can add to your Steampunk look.
I look good in brown, and don’t get me wrong I like brown, but it is not the be all, end all. I think the color that most fits Steampunk is rust orange. While this is a color I cannot wear because it unfortunately matches my hair, it is a good place to start if you are hesitant in getting out of the brown. Earth tones are available, and yes brown is in there, but there is also moss green, garnet red, maroon, golds (both metallic and flat), bronze, and brass. Now these are all what we call warm colors. If you are not a warm color person, then there are cool colors available (mostly in the jewel tones): Cobalt, peacock emerald greens and plum purples. You can mix any of these with a dark rich brown and pop that color right out, adding just the right accent to your outfit.
Try and stay away from neons like pink, yellow, and similar colors. I think the only exception to this is electric blue. If you want to use these colors you will need to look at the cut and line of the garment ( I am totally going to make a outfit with electric blue and peacock colors in it. ) You can always get into Nerfpunk if the call of neon is just too irresistible.
Just remember, there are a rainbow of colors to choose from. Make your outfits pop with a splash of color. And remember, brown is not the only color available!
The Nerfpunk photographs belong to Jessica Lilley
Jessica Lilley (also known as The Lady of Graves) is a freelance photographer & mixed media artist living in the Boston area. You can learn more about her, where she will be and what she does at her blog. If you would like to contact her about photographing your event, commissioning an art piece or just want to say hi, you can use the contact form on the blog or email her at ladyofgraves[at]gmail[dot]com!
You can see all of her Dragon*con photos here!