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Steampauper

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Steampauper

Post  justredstockings on Mon Oct 13, 2008 10:06 pm

Alright, now while wearing your finest silks and cravvies are all very fine, I have begun to believe that a more appropriate look for some of us who end up spending our bread on brass would be much more along the lines of a Charles Dickens character. You know, beyond-repair types. Covered-in-soot types. What you think this appears like? How to "steampunk" it whilst still on the cheaps? Where do you suppose such supply and attire might be found?

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Re: Steampauper

Post  Lady Penelope on Mon Oct 13, 2008 10:16 pm

Thrift stores or estate sales. Look for suits or other articles of clothing that might have been dapper once, in a different age, and then age and distress the heck outta them even more once you've purchased them. Look at vintage photos first to get an idea of the right look for whichever period you're going for (that is, are you looking at steampunking a more Victorian look? Edwardian? or going more Dieselpunk in the timeline?), and then make your purchases based on what can be modified accordingly to get across the right feel. Since you're wanting to look shabby anyway, you don't have to worry too much about the condition of the clothing (so long as it's wearable), and mixing and matching periods of style would probably enhance the effect. After all, a down-on-his-luck steampunk isn't going to look very tailored or fashionable if he's getting all his dry goods second or thirdhand once the gentry (or even the humble but not impoverished working-man) has tossed all the prime stuff out.

Having said that, I'd be deeply distressed myself if you were to buy and further distress actual vintage clothing (so if you do that...shhhhh, don't tell me!), but fortunately men's clothing styles haven't changed a whole lot in the past century (women looking for suitable clothing to modify might want to look at some of the neo-Victorian stuff that was popular in the 1980s or the neo-40s fashions that came out either right before or after that), and some styles look more "retro" than others, so it would probably be fairly easy to find something that could be modified. Especially if you happen to find an out-of-style tux. Laughing
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Re: Steampauper

Post  B. R. Wilson on Mon Oct 13, 2008 10:29 pm

This should give you a general idea of what I'm thinking. To find the stuff, as Lady Penelope said, thrift stores and estate sales.
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Re: Steampauper

Post  pennydreadful on Mon Oct 13, 2008 11:03 pm

Someone has mentioned carhart pants as a possible option for menswear if your going for the more grubby look. They have a linen colored variety and the rustish light brown ones. Either kind properly distressed would look suitable as Victorian era work pants. They look quite like the pictures of workers from that era in cut and style.

We used to age jeans in the 80's (ack, I am showing my age). Instead of spending $90 on predistressed jeans at a department store we would buy basic levis. Bleach mixed with water in a spray bottle and misted on the jeans then run on the hot heavy duty cycle in the washer. If you want to have tears you cut with a scissors or razor blade before bleaching and washing. I have seen others use sandpaper or drying them with rocks or athletic shoes to beat them up more. Of course we did this in the dumpy laundromat near the colleges because they didn't care much what people did in their machines.
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Re: Steampauper

Post  pennydreadful on Mon Oct 13, 2008 11:10 pm

There is an image on this page, about midway down of workmen building a staircase. It has a decent view of what they are wearing.
http://www.cliohistory.org/exhibits/johnston/detail/mosaic/
Frances Benjamin Johnson has many photos of daily life, the poor and other cross sections of life at the time. They give a good idea how various classes dressed at the time.

There are some images in this Chicago World's Fair image gallery that have a cross section of society in the images of people by the lake and the street cars.
http://www.cliohistory.org/exhibits/johnston/detail/mosaic/
My favorite is the woman wearing sunglasses and the types of folding chairs people brought with that looked not so different from what you see people taking with them today.
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Re: Steampauper

Post  Plum on Tue Oct 14, 2008 12:14 am

Charity shops and army surplus! I possess only one expensive garment and that is my corset. Everything else comes from the chazzers.

As far as the covered in soot part goes, may I share with you my rather appropriate smithing wear (real soot included!). It comprises of a pair of high waisted old style Dutch army trousers; braces (suspenders to some); a man's shirt with the winged part of the collar cut off and a tweedy cap. Add to this when occasion demands a waistcoat and gentleman's grey pinstripe jacket and any appropriate belts and jewellry and you have a splendid steamy miner/dockworker inspired ensemble.
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Re: Steampauper

Post  Prof Eumides Blakehurst on Tue Oct 14, 2008 12:50 am

Nice to see this has been brought up. Though I am fairly firmly in the persona of a mad-yet-gentlemanly-scientist type steampunk, the other idea of an urchin toiling in the boiler room of a steam airship, dreaming of making it up the chain of command is highly appealing.

And very Dickensian! All those youths forced to toil in the invariable blacking factory!

Tattered shirt and hat, suspender breeches, held together by bits of cast off chain. Nice and warm in the boiler room...
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Re: Steampauper

Post  Gazongola on Tue Oct 14, 2008 2:24 am

pennydreadful wrote:There is an image on this page, about midway down of workmen building a staircase. It has a decent view of what they are wearing.
http://www.cliohistory.org/exhibits/johnston/detail/mosaic/
Frances Benjamin Johnson has many photos of daily life, the poor and other cross sections of life at the time. They give a good idea how various classes dressed at the time.

There are some images in this Chicago World's Fair image gallery that have a cross section of society in the images of people by the lake and the street cars.
http://www.cliohistory.org/exhibits/johnston/detail/mosaic/
My favorite is the woman wearing sunglasses and the types of folding chairs people brought with that looked not so different from what you see people taking with them today.

The second link is the same as the first I am afraid.
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Re: Steampauper

Post  pennydreadful on Tue Oct 14, 2008 3:18 am

Gazongola wrote:
The second link is the same as the first I am afraid.

Ooops!
http://www.chicagotribune.com/features/photostore/chi-080926-white-city-photogallery,0,2594292.photogallery
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Re: Steampauper

Post  Mad Maxine on Tue Oct 14, 2008 3:49 am

I hope this doesn't come off as though I'm completely chapped by this question. I just find it a little funny. So here goes...

People used to own one or maybe two suits, a couple of shirts, and a hat. Wear the same thing pretty much every day, and you will accomplish your goal quickly. To accelerate the process, put down your computer, put on your clothes, go outside, and start working on cars, building a shed, doing yard work, or, better yet, wear it to Burning Man. You will never look authentic until you actually use your clothes.

Plan B: To synthesize this wear process, go get some real clothing made out of natural fibers like linen, wool, cotton, and silk. Put on your clothes and roll around in the dirt. Wipe your hands on your pants and your face on your sleeves. Sleep in the clothes. Go get rained on. Better yet, go get rained on, THEN sleep in your clothes. Store the clothes in a pile on the floor. Drag your sleeve ends, cuffs, knees, and elbows around on some concrete. Wear the clothes, ride a bike and fall off. Patch the holes. Or don't.

As a side note: In this day of disposable goods, where people wear the newest crap on the market for five minutes, expect people to look at you funny if you have worn cuffs (that aren't in vogue), there are holes in your gloves, or you walk around covered in sawdust and grease. I personally wear the same clothes for years. I work hard in them, and I wash them a lot. I patch them as needed. If the fingers rot out of my gloves, I cut the tips of the fingers off. I look more like a pauper than a princess because I am completely, utterly unimpressed by people who look constantly flawless.

My suggestion: buy good clothes. Wear the bejeezus out of them. Works for me every time.
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Re: Steampauper

Post  Elisha Rush on Tue Oct 14, 2008 4:13 am

If you want to get really dirty, smelly, and grimy - take a job in a machine shop. Preferably one that does welding and fabrication as well as machining. That way you get burnt and sooty, too. Lacking that - a shop that works on lots of high carbon steel will do just fine.

It gave my clothes a very stylish - and unwashable - arty look.

True story - in college I worked in such a fab shop (fabricating, not fabulous) and got some really interesting looking burns on the backs of my hands and forearms. I went to see a movie at the local art house - the Cinematheque - and some fashionable people how I did such interesting "ritual scarification." They seemed a bit put out when they realized real work was involved.

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Re: Steampauper

Post  Doc Hornfels on Tue Oct 14, 2008 4:22 am

I second the suggestion of army surplus, it's good tough stuff. Most of the grimy clothes I've got ended up that way due to scrambling over cliffs and through quarries. As for more photographic references try Frank Meadow Sutcliffe, he's a photographer from Victorian Yorkshire, took photos of the locals. Thus wholly fall into the working class catagory.

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Re: Steampauper

Post  justredstockings on Tue Oct 14, 2008 4:24 am

Well then, glad as usual the idea was a smash. I must say first that I was raised in Carhart's, those things NEVER quit. My own father would be the modern-day pauper, and as such doesn't bother knowing such fancy words to describe himself, we use "cheap". I am afraid the worst of my habits are dress shoes, which, while I get them relatively cheaply, am afraid that after daily wear are dead in half by a few months time. I suppose they weren't built for that, just more to be sleeping in the top or bottom of your closet... same with dress socks, really. Bugger stockings are so much more comfortable than cotton gym socks, but can't cut it for more than a month.

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Re: Steampauper

Post  Mad Maxine on Tue Oct 14, 2008 6:24 am

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Re: Steampauper

Post  Mr Clockwork on Tue Oct 14, 2008 10:24 am

I was lucky enough to find a good vest at a second hand store, it's a wool like brown vest that I've coupled with a plain white longsleeve shirt of which I roll the sleeves up, and I wear some well worn pinstripe pants, although shoes are a bit of a challenge to get to mix with the rest, the effect ends up being that I end up looking like a steampunk mechanic/tinkerer.

My suggestion to make things look more pauper like, wear your clothes that look fairly period like, then get damn dirty. Take things apart (like cars), get oil on you, get dust and soot, ash and other such things on you, let it get engrained in the material.

Depending on what persona you want to convey choose the dirty activities that match it.

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Re: Steampauper

Post  Silas Morgan on Tue Oct 14, 2008 7:54 pm

Patches..... lots of patches.

A long time ago, I did American Civil War Reenacting, (Co.A 14th TENN. CSA) I didn't want to actually "distress" my uniform (I didn't want it to fall apart ) So I sewed a bunch of patches wherever they "would have" gotten worn.

Later, I discovered that it was more "Period Correct" (at the time) to sew the patches on the inside of the garment instead of how we sew them on the outside now... I can't remember where I found the picture, but it showed a slave who's trousers were nothing but patches (all sewn on the inside) It had an interesting ragged look. But to distress a newer pair of trousers, sewing the patches on the outside would be easier.

Using patches that are a close match to the color of the trousers would add "texture" to a pair of trousers, using different colored patches would add...well.... color. You might have to be careful that they don't end up looking too much like what the Hippys wore, but if you avoid peace signs and bell bottoms, it should still work.

And for Steampunk, you could add some embroidery (gears and such) to some of the patches... it doesn't have to be "period".... just look good.
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Re: Steampauper

Post  Silas Morgan on Tue Oct 14, 2008 8:03 pm

I just did a quick search for "Patched pants"... after four pages found this;
http://flickr.com/photos/sierrasolitude/2282830242/

OK it's the Hippy look from 1976, but if it was in shades of browns instead of different colors, (ignore the bell bottoms...) but wouldn't something like that work ?
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Re: Steampauper

Post  Gazongola on Wed Oct 15, 2008 5:13 am

I was in the Uni workshop today, and it occured to me. Dungarees! (I wear dungarees in the workshop and they are pretty groovy generally).
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Re: Steampauper

Post  Silas Morgan on Thu Oct 16, 2008 7:36 pm

In Stempunk fashion http://community.livejournal.com/steamfashion/
There is a post "A Word About Punk" that has a few pictures from Jacob Riis's "How the Other Half Lives."

I did a quick Google search for "How the Other Half Lives." and found this...
This pioneering work of photojournalism by Jacob Riis focused on the plight of the poor in the Lower East Side,
http://www.authentichistory.com/postcivilwar/riis/contents.html
Check out the "list of photographs& Illustrations (with links)"...
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Re: Steampauper

Post  justredstockings on Sat Oct 18, 2008 1:14 am

Cpt. Morgan,

This is precisely what I was looking for.

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Re: Steampauper

Post  Mad Maxine on Sat Oct 18, 2008 2:53 am

Another snazzy link to old-timey photos

http://www.shorpy.com/
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