By Steampunk Origins | Updated Oct 09, 2019
There is hardly a garment that is as evocative of the Victorian era as that titillating, elusive ladies wear: the corset. This fact comes in handy if you’re looking to pay homage to a certain subculture celebrating the bygone reign of Queen Victoria, because all you need is a steampunk corset to do just that.
Originally intended as a tool to achieve a more feminine shape, corsets come from a time when women had to do absolutely outrageous things to gain the favor of the opposite gender, and as such, have been the subject of controversy since the trend took off (source).
The allure of corsets is of course easy to see: it reduces the waist and thus exaggerates the size and curve of both chest and hips to create a wasp-like shape, along with causing the wearer to feel faint, which is of course ever so feminine.
Steampunk Corsets For Sale Quick Review
|Product||Best For||Our Rating|
|1. The (Faux) Leather One: Arley Steampunk Underbust Corset||Minimalist Style|
|2. The Extravagant One: Steampunk Brown Halfbust Corset With Skirt||Quality|
|3. The Classic One: Frawirshau Halter Underbust Steampunk Bustier||Versatility|
|4. The Avant-Garde One: Charmian Steampunk Brocade Victorian Corset||Figure Flattering|
|5. The Very Steampunk One: Bluland Steampunk Gothic Underbust Corset||Subcultural Reference|
The best corset for those looking for a subtle nod
Corsets: Then and Now
Invented officially by one Roxey Ann Caplin, an earlier version of the cincher is attributed to Catherine de Medici, (source) who apparently was so partial to a dainty waist she demanded women at her court do their best to make theirs appear smaller. Similar garments seem to have played some role in a number of ancient cultures as well – it seems the quest for an hourglass figure is one of universal appeal.
In the 20th century, the corset was updated to showcase the style without necessarily being functional, meaning that the boning present served a decorative purpose rather than that of altering the shape of one’s body. Today, corsets have mostly been relegated to the boudoir and often come with garters fixed on them to really drive the point home.
Steampunk Corsets: Choosing the Right One
The notable exception to all of the above being, of course, if you belong to that small demographic of people who love everything Victorian and aren’t afraid to express it: steampunks. Then, you simply need a corset. We’re pretty sure you won’t find the whalebone lined variant of yore outside of a museum, but the metal, plastic or even wireless kind is widely available in all shapes, designs and sizes.
Other than that, your choices are endless: you can go with fabric or (faux) leather, splurge on a handmade item or get something for a one-off occasion. You can find corsets in extravagant fashions or opt for the more basic, subtle kind – because remember that a corset in itself is already steampunk owing to its Victorian connotations, so you don’t need to dress it up much if you don’t want to.
Most corsets are lace-ups, of course, but some – like one on our list below – come with zippers to make it easier on you. If you’d like to learn how to put on a corset, here’s a little help: https://www.wikihow.com/Put-on-a-Corset
The fact remains that though fortunately an elective garment these days, there is nothing quite as elegant as a corset, or, if we’re being honest, something that suits the female shape better than a little tuck at the waist. If all this seems fine and dandy, but you have no idea what your corset size is, here’s a video guide to help you find out:
The fact that corsets are adjustable may make it seem like size doesn’t really matter, when this could not be further from the truth: the form-fitting nature of corsets, steampunk or otherwise, demands an exact size. If this corset is to be a gift for the lady in your life, don’t go guessing hers unless you want her to reach for the smelling salts at once.
But don’t worry, either, because corsets come in virtually all sizes women come in, so you won’t have to limit your choices based on fit alone. To help you find the steampunk corset that best fits your style and the occasion, we’ve collected some of our favorites below.
Steampunk Corsets Review
The best corset for those looking for a subtle nod
This understated faux leather corset is a great addition to any discerning woman’s wardrobe and can easily be dressed up or down according to mood and occasion. The material is very sturdy and the muted brown hue is flattering for most skin tones.
This handmade corset, steampunk by definition, features steel boning and comes with laces as well as a zipper on the side if you can’t be bothered or are no expert at lacing corsets – who is, these days? This is the ideal choice if you want to project an unmistakably steampunk air but are not looking for something overtly sensual or attention-grabbing.
- Comes with zipper
- May be too subtle
- You may feel hot due to material
The standard, no frills corset, a fit for everyone
You can’t go wrong with this one: most people picture something like this model when someone says “corset”. This understated black garment may seem basic but the devil, as usually, is in the details: the lace-like jacquard detail with a paisley pattern, to be exact. The plastic boning is a tad more forgiving than the metal variants on this list, which may or may not be what you’re looking for.
Another big plus is the fact that this model is haltered, which means that you can tie the laces a bit looser and it won’t slip or move. Add to that the fact that halter corsets seem more vintage, somehow, and you’ve got an ideal ingredient for a steampunk ensemble.
- Halters make it more comfortable
- Good quality
- Value for money
- Runs small
- Not very sturdy
The choice for those looking to make a steampunk statement
Say hello to the most steampunk corset on this list. If you really want to go all-out for a costumed affair and make sure people notice, this is the model you are going to want. The lace motif on this corset is similar to the previous item, although it disappears between all the chains, studs and clasps. And that’s a good thing.
A corset that is worth every penny of its rather reasonable price, this piece comes with a large modesty panel so you can adjust the size without making the laces look looser. A gorgeous, fun choice that is as steampunk as a corset can be – very.
- Heavy on the steampunk feel
- Fine detailing
- Metal detailing makes laundering difficult without rusting
An off-kilter, unique piece to flatter every shape
This funky little number is the best choice for those looking to make the difference between their bust and waist appear even greater due to its busy design around the top section. The spiral steel bones this corset is fitted with are the sturdiest variant of all and make sure to keep everything in place.
Another plus this model has over the others on this list is the fact that it comes in three colors, so you’re guaranteed to find the right shade for you. Very Victorian but with a distinctly modern feel – what is steampunk if not that?
- Very flattering
- Unique style
- Quite loud
- Not versatile
The corset to last a lifetime
Another very authentic steampunk model, this corset comes with a skirt you can choose to wear if you want an easy way to complete the look. That, and the fact that this high-quality corset is handmade, makes it worth the slightly higher price. Twelve steel bones make sure this corset keeps its shape for a long time to come, so you get a lot of use out of it and will fit right in at many steampunk gatherings to come.
- Full outfit with skirt
- Somewhat costly for a niche product
All things considered, each of the above corsets makes a lovely choice, both for someone you care to surprise and of course for yourself. But our – entirely subjective – choice would be the third item on this list, as it is both very fitting to the steampunk genre and a steal.