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Not Your Great-Grandma’s Corsets, Sweetie

I never thought I'd go there.

corset image

As one who was in college during the Women’s Movement when bras were burned with considerable glee (though not my own since I couldn’t afford to replace them), I regarded corsets as instruments of torture. And yet I once purchased—brace for it—a corset pattern.

It is true. I confess that I did consider making a corset. I never bought fabric yet, but the pattern was here. In my house.

I’m not thinking about it because I want to (or ever could) have a Scarlet O’Hara waist, but because, well, corsets have become fun again—or fun for the first time. Fun, you ask, with brows arched in shock.

These aren’t your great-grandma’s corsets, sweetie.

For one thing, your great-grandma would have worn hers under her clothes. These corsets are making a statement.

The return of the corset comes to us courtesy of a movement called steampunk and it’s not just corsets they are bringing to the table.

Jeff Vandermeer points out that steampunk “embraces divergent and extinct technologies as a way of talking about the future.” It started as literature and spread into pop culture, the aesthetic seeping into movies, art, music, and fashion. A Sugarland Incredible Machine tour some years back was heavily laced with steampunk elements, including lining the stage with specially crafted vintage looking light bulbs.

They are probably the most mainstream band to embrace steampunk, but both NCIS and Castle had shows with some steampunk (Castle did it better, IMHO).

I first heard about steampunk on The Galaxy Express blog and had to check it out because, well, I’m a sucker for quirky fiction. My first steampunk read was Gail Carriger’s Soulless. It was a lot of fun and loaded with quirky and left me with an urge to…try it myself.

cover artI penned a steampunk/science fiction romance novella mashup called Tangled in Time, which led to me purchase a steampunk hat at ApolloCon. I’m not exactly sure why the two events are linked, just that I bee-lined to the display after I wrote my novella. Maybe a love of hats is buried in the female psyche and steampunk has set it free? And the hats are both fun and cool.

Then I had to get my goggles on because its windy when flying an airship and one needs eye protection while working on that steam engine. And because these aren’t your great-grandpa’s goggles either.


Also cool. As you can see, the steampunk artisans have got both style and flair down for something that is generally very utilitarian. I bought my daughter a pair at a steampunk fair and she got a lot of compliments. I still find myself stopping and looking at goggles. lol

While I have yet to create a “steamsona” (a steampunk persona), I did buy a corset pattern…

I don’t hear as much about steampunk these days, but the genre has persisted. I do see releases in the steampunk genre, so it’s still out there, in all its fun and quirky weirdness!

Perilously yours,