Steampunk Utility Belt: The Reveal

Project 8, part 5 – No, YOU Look Fabulous (Part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4 here)

Surprisingly, the ties hold very securely! Not surprisingly, I own a lot of purple. 😉

Welcome back to the Steampunk Utility Belt project and the final reveal! I had bought a lolita dress specifically to wear with this, but when it arrived it didn’t suit me at all. 😦 So I resold it to a lovely lady in Spain, and was back to square one for my photo shoot. Then I remembered the absolutely fabulous Mac Nakata and his fusion of steampunk and traditional Japanese clothing:

Photo from – please visit his INCREDIBLE website. His house and fashion sense are unbelievably cool. Eagle-eyed viewers may note the manji symbol on his sword – it’s a Buddhist symbol! Swastikas face the other way, and you can read up more on this here.

He is an absolute style icon, not to mention an incredible artist. I’m no where near his level, but you also don’t have to ask me twice to wear kimono or hakama! And it just so happens I own a purple haori that looks smashing as a top… 😉

Trying really hard to not spill my tea here since everything I’m wearing can’t be cleaned. 😅

Said haori was purchased from Harajuku Chicago, which is in Harajuku (in Tokyo), and is not in Chicago. 😀 It’s a thrift store that mostly carries second-hand clothes from America and Europe, as well as a huge selection of vintage kimono and other wafuku. When I was there I bought this haori as well as another one in all black with an embroidered wave pattern, and a skirt that was remade out of a vintage kurotomesode. My hakama are from one of my very favorite Japanese brands, Alice Auaa. Alice Auaa even has an international web shop now, and they’ve dressed some pretty famous people including Lady Gaga! If they’re good enough for her, they’re definitely good enough for me. 😀

It’s a little weird wearing a belt over my hakama instead of under as I’m used to for iaido, but the belt fits perfectly!
The larger pockets are quite comfy on my hips. I definitely chose the right size for my belt. I believe the original iteration of the belt is intended to go under a corset, but with the high-stiffness interfacing I used it holds up perfectly well on its own.

Jeff Vandermeer, in the Steampunk Bible, writes “Taking from [Jules] Verne the gift of a fantastical and playful imagination, and utilizing [H.G.] Wells’s sociological approach to facilitate changing the future, Steampunk rewrites blueprints, reinvents steam technology, and revamps the scientific romance to create a self-aware world that is beautiful and at times nostalgic, but also acknowledges dystopia. Social awareness is pivotal to the best practitioners of Steampunk, which has always been conscious of the the nineteenth century’s less inspiring moments. While that era featured great strides in aesthetics and technology, politically it was tainted by colonialism, imperialism, and racism…” This was another good reason for me to wear Japanese-inspired steampunk rather than pure British/American Victorian clothing. It’s important to me that my steampunk be informed by a diversity of cultures and ideas, and equally as important to me that wafuku isn’t seen as “native dress” or a cultural relic, but as the vibrant and living fashion that it is.

You remember how I made two fan pockets? Turns out the smaller one is PERFECT for a tea strainer! My past self is a genius! Boots are Tavistocks by American Duchess, wig is Dreamholic/Dcoucou.
After a long day of promenading and caffeine consumption, the refined lady traveler enjoys the finest in printed entertainment: Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure.

While the focus of steampunk is often the inventions or the tea, I recently learned about the Noble Art of Compliment Duelling, and it felt like the absolute best way to close out this post! The idea is to overwhelm your charming opponent with clever and verbose compliments to the point that they become tongue tied and blushing and must cede the field. So, my astute and intrepid reader, I very much laud your remarkable patience in waiting so long for the final reveal of this project, and I cannot wait to be in your glorious presence again next week! ❤

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