I notice some people seem to think that you are not a “true” steampunk or you are not steampunk enough unless you live, breathe, eat and sleep steampunk and go throughout your day wearing steampunk and living in a steampunk house and playing steampunk instruments and driving steampunk vehicles and in general defecating cogs and bleeding gears…. You get the idea.
This makes a very good and vitally important point about the steampunk movement and so-called “purists” within it. I myself like the movement and its aesthetic, but I just can’t do steampunk to the hilt all day, every day. On one hand, it’s about practicality: I live in a tropical country, and that much leather, lace and velvet just isn’t right (I would really like to one day shape a personal “tropical steampunk” aesthetic of my own, but that’s another story). On the other hand, I also work in a university, and I just cannot dress up that way all the time if I’m to be taken seriously by my students and my employers. I really like my job, and would like to keep it, thank you very much.
So I compromise as practicality and good common sense allow. I use accessories that are not too overblown, so that I can get away with mixing them into my regular wardrobe with no problems - earrings, hairpins, and one truly spectacular barrette that I intend to use as a highlight piece for an outfit. I’ve dabbled with the idea of buying a non-functioning pocket watch so I can redecorate my Kindle cover to be more in line with the aesthetic - despite it being a bright red so I can see it in the darkness of my bag. All small things, but satisfactory, in my opinion, to show my love for steampunk.
Does this make me “less steampunk” than someone who has the gumption and the budget to wear a complete outfit, goggles and feathers and all? I like to think not, but it just annoys me that there ARE people who would say I’m “less steampunk” because I’d rather wear watch-movement earrings instead of the whole shebang.