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Costumes & Clothing Guide | Anachronauts Digest
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Costumes & Clothing Guide

Costume and Clothing Guide:

Clockwork Watch! is a big experience made great by the little details. One of those little details is how people and things look. We encourage everybody attending to dress appropriately, and to that end have created this guide to appropriate clothing and costume.

We don’t expect everybody to turn up in full bustled gowns or three-piece suits with mechanical augmentations, but would like to see as many Clockwork Watch touches as you can manage.
Of course if you do want to come in a gown with a clockwork retractable train, chemically powered automated corset cooler, and blueprints for your next gadget, feel free to let your imagination run wild!

At the end of this guide are some links you may find helpful. These will give you a general idea of the themes and styles of the Clockwork Watch.

General things to think about:

Costume needn’t be expensive: you may have suitable items in your wardrobe already and many items can be found in a second hand shop or flea market rummage.

You don’t need tremendous sewing skills. Just using a needle and thread to change the buttons on a shirt or jacket can produce quite stunning effects.

There are also a lot of online tutorials for easy to replicate accessories.

It’s all in the details. What can you wear that will define your character and their life? What country do they hail from and how can you reflect that?

History is just the beginning. While Steampunk and Clockwork Watch are inspired by a specific historical time period, the world is very different. Imagination is the only barrier.

Clockwork Watch! is a non-combat event so please don?t bring anything that is intended to resemble, or be used as, a weapon.

If you have chosen a faction for your persona then there will be more inspiration there.

From the back of the wardrobe – Just one thing…

Full costume not your thing? Don’t have time to get something or perhaps you are attending the event straight from a family lunch or church?

Here are a few simple tips you can use to help get into the swing of it and bring the event to life. Try as many or as few as you wish.

The shirt is cool

The good news is, any shirt will do. When in doubt, white or striped shirts make an excellent base to an outfit.

Wear a shirt with a stiff collar for that proper Victorian look or a wing tip shirt of the sort often worn with a tuxedo. Or why not a frilly blouse or top from historic folk costume? Don’t be afraid of colour or pattern, the past definitely wasn’t.

Bottom’s Up!

Trousers, skirts, hakama, saris and kilts. They all have their place in the Clockwork Watch world.

Whether you go short or long, there is lots to choose from on the skirt front. Long skirts can give you a glamorous well-heeled look, short flouncy skirts can be cute or practical, or you could go utilitarian for the discerning inventor? You don’t need petticoats, multiple layers of skirts can be used to change a look. Why not gather one up with a safety pin to create an apron? Or better yet, pin it with a decorative brooch.

When it comes to trousers, navy blue denim may have been invented in the 1800s but why stop there? You can choose suits and tweeds, corduroy or moleskin. Or if you are feeling really adventurous, why not cropped trousers like plus fours or britches, or wide legged styles such as harem pants or work wear such as dungarees.


In and out of fashion for some time, there are waistcoats to suit all shapes and sizes, types and characters. From suede to tweed, and silk through to jeans, waistcoats will add that bit of historic flavour to any outfit, and best of all, it doesn’t have to match the rest of your clothing.

Can’t find one on the high street? Try any second hand shop or market in town. One of the easiest things to find.

Jackets and Outerwear

From the humble suit jacket straight through the frock coat and opera cloak, jackets can either add to an outfit, or if you arrived in just a t-shirt it can hide it completely.

Extra pockets, good tailoring, or traditional looks are all worth keeping an eye out for.

Top it off!

The past was full of head coverings and hats and guess what, they are in fashion again! You can choose anything from flat cap right up to a top hat, or why not a straw boater?

If you don’t want to go for a full hat, there’s always headbands, scarves, and fascinators enough to find something that will suit you. If you haven’t got one with you, one of the many traders will be happy to suggest something to go with your outfit.

Stepping out

Don’t forget the feet! There is a variety of cheap and available footwear available that will add that perfect finishing touch to your outfit, from plain cloth or leather shoes right up to knee high boots with buckles and bling.

If in doubt, cover it in easy to make spats or gaiters for an instant change of look!

Cover up

Steampunk needn’t be fancy finery. Mechanics, factory workers, and labourers all have their place in the clockwork world. A cheap set of overalls or dungarees with some simple accessories can be very effective for men and women.

The Automaton

“Clockwork Watch” tells the story of the birth of the Automaton – fully self-aware clockwork servants. Over the course of the project’s lifespan, we hope to see many interesting costume pieces to represent these characters, but at the point that “Clockwork Watch!” is set, the Automaton hasn’t quite been perfected yet.

While that amazing Automaton costume you have isn’t appropriate for this first event, we will have more suggestions on how to costume a Clockwork Automaton at some point in the near future. Watch this space!

Taking the next step

So you have your base, now to make it really special and unique. The easiest way to do that is to start with the simple question, who are you? Are you an engineer or inventor? Do you need extra pockets, hook, clips and belts to carry the tools of your craft? Are you a reporter, always in need of their pen and pencil? All this will change the way you dress and what you carry with you.

Adding to what you have

Mix and match fabrics: leathers, corduroys, velvets, tweeds, silks, and chiffon can all be mixed together for an eclectic look.

Details: Extra pockets, changing the buttons, added decoration such as lace, beads, and brass. All of these and more can help to add character and fun to an outfit. Use unusual items for new things to show your inventive streak.

Accessorise, Accessorise, Accessorise

Eyewear: Consider adding wire rimmed spectacles, goggles (laboratory, welding, or flight depending on your persona). Or why not a monocle if you can find one? If you already wear glasses you could add a loupe?

Timepieces: Why not carry a pocket watch instead of your usual wrist watch. If you don’t have a pocket watch, you can get the look using a necklace as a fake watch chain (just don’t try to tell the time with it). Or bling up your wristwatch by adding a decorative cuff made out of fabric scraps.

Clothing accessories: Garters and braces, cravats, gloves and handkerchiefs can all say a lot about you.

Tools of the trade: Notebook and a fountain pen, pliers, keys, dancing shoes, or even a pipe can not only add to your character, but can be useful. Practical is good, practical can also be beautiful.

Don’t forget the bling: Whether you’re a lowly street runner or an aristocrat, your bling should reflect who you are. Mix and match soft with hard, lace with brass, shells and feathers. Show your culture a well as your taste. And remember, just because it wasn’t made as jewelry doesn’t mean it isn’t.

Hair today

Perhaps you could grow a moustache for the occasion or comb your hair into an old fashioned style. Or you could try one of a thousand traditional or old fashioned hairstyles, from the Gibson girl to plaiting and covering it with a scarf. Additions such as hair falls, hair clips, and all manner of decoration can be used. Go creative!

Some Useful Links

Whilst the Clockwork Watch is set in its own world, many of its fashions and styles are of the Steampunk genre. If you’re not familiar with this genre, or even if you are, you may find some of these links useful guides when deciding on what to wear:

Prangsta in London is offering 20% discount off your hire, if you mention “Clockwork Watch”.

Examples of casual aka easy to reproduce steam outfits as worn by everyday people in a week long wear Steampunk every day challenge. Link

A livejournal group with pictures, dicsussion, and links to tutorials. Link

Tips, discussion and images as well as multicultural Steampunk Link

Inspirational artwork for the workers and tinkerers Link

If you don’t have access to a second hand shop, try this one online. Stock changes regularly and there is usually never more than one. Sizings can vary greatly so i’s buyer beware. Link

Photo credits:

Original artwork from Jennie Gyllblad

Hat/beard photo, jacket and waistcoat photo : Spidere

Rocket man:

For the wrist image: “T”eresa

Bowler hat Image: Craig hatfield

Female Steampunk hair: magic tribal hair

Other Images: we have the express permission from the photographer and subject to use the images.

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