Balticon 46 Wrap-up – Part 6, Just Dandy: The Importance of Accessories in Steampunk

by Doc Coleman on February 11, 2013 · 2 comments

in Balticon

Time for the next installment of the Balticon 46 wrap up. If you’ve been with us since the beginning of the Balticon 46 Wrap-up, you’ll remember the video we started out with, where I was getting ready for a panel. Well, this is that panel: Just Dandy: The Importance of Accessories in Steampunk. This was a very different panel for me, as it was a part of the Costuming panel at Balticon. How did I get on a costuming Panel? Shooting my mouth off on Twitter. Pavlina, last year’s head of the Costuming track, was asking for ideas for ideas for panels. I tweeted the title for this panel, and Pavlina jumped on it. Sensing that I had gotten myself  in over my head, I demurred that I would only do it if Jared Axelrod, that modern epitome of Dandism, was part of the panel. Jared instantly replied, “I’m there.”

I thought it was going to be just Jared and I giving a talk on the subject, but it turned into a panel discussion, for which I was grateful. The Panel consisted of Elektra Hammond, Janine K. Spendlove, Jared Axelrod, Rebecca K. Davis, and myself. The panel and the audience were both beautifully attired. I know someone took video, but I don’t have access to it. However, Nuchtchas was kind enough to allow me to post some pictures that she took during the panel.

Recorded Saturday, May 26, 20012 at 1:00 PM. Show notes below the cut.


Before the Panel. Guess which one is a Panelist!

Show notes:

  • Welcome
  • Introductions
    • Electra, the moderator
    • Me
      • My name is Doc Coleman, and this is my fault.

        Rebecca, Doc, and Electra, during the introductions

    • Rebecca Davis
      • I have no idea how I got here. Must have taken a wrong turn.
    • Janine Spendlove
      • I keep getting put on steampunk panels.
      • I’m with you, men’s fashions do take short shrift.
    • Jared Axelrod
      • If you look up Steampunk, you will see me.
      • The element of presentation has fallen by the wayside in men’s fashion.
  • Show off the tails.
    • I was going to wear a frock coat, but I just came into this lovely tail coat.

      Doc gets up to show off his tails.

    • While Jared is a past master of Dandyism, I am but a humble student.
    • I take a subtle blend of Victorian gentleman aspiring for Dandyism.
    • Contrast and complementary color of the cravat, in this case an Ascot.
      • The fact that you know the difference puts you a good way towards Dandyism.
    • Just a hint of more than your usual trussed up gentleman. Someone who’s willing to handle a spanner.
    • Pins by Airship Entertainment, designed by Cheyenne Wright.

      Doc explains his outfit.

    • The rest is surprisingly mundane.
    • Delightful stuff out on Etsy.
      • Odds and ends  for the do-it-yourselfers.
    • A clear narrative to your outfit.
    • Ties and suit coats as a uniform.
      • Accessories move the uniform into the individual.
    • Steampunk as a forum for self-expression.
  • Formal dress on the Hill.
    • Braces and Pocket Squares.
    • Attention to detail.
    • Not just in your steampunk costume, but in your everyday wear.
    • You know when it hits Claire’s it’s mainstream.
      • And that’s not bad.
  • Rebecca’s bits.
    • High altitude air mask.
      • How can you be a pirate if you’re inside the entire time?
    • Zeppelin wings turns it from a Captain’s Jacket to an Airship Captains Jacket.
    • It’s not always what people can easily see.
    • You have to really work to break that, so don’t try.
    • Pay attention to weaponry.
    • Accessorizing is not about what pieces you have, but who are you.
  • The Clockwork Doctor – up from the audience
    • The Maker effect
    • The parts from the Doctor’s mask.

      Tek explains the construction of his Steampunk Venetian Doctor’s Mask.

    • Jacket from Hot Topic
      • It doesn’t matter where you find it, as long as it works.
      • Furniture tacks
      • Scrapbooking section of Michaels.
      • The wonderful places that you figure out to get stuff.
    • Just because you think you’ve finished something doesn’t mean that you won’t find something next week to make it that much better.
    • A patio light for a dollar, a wooden cane from the same dollar store, and a piece of string.
    • Who is this person, and what is he doing.
    • That’s not just a hat, that’s a time topper.
      • I went back in time and invented it first, so suck it Jared!
  • What’s your next project.
    • I’m about objects of opportunity. If I see something that works, I pick it up.
    • We collect miscellaneous pieces.
      • We’re hoarders!
    • A full steampunk costume out of the stuff I had around the house.
    • We’re always looking for new ways to be fabulous.
    • With steampunk now, guys have to pay attention to their beards.
    • Something as simple as wearing a french cuff shirt with cufflinks will set you apart.
    • Ladies like a man who cares what he looks like.
    • What you wear says something about you.
      • If you want to express your individuality, you can do that with little things.
      • You can fit in, and stand out at the same time.
      • Either be all the way out in the front, or be subtle about it.
    • Be comfortable about yourself as a person.
      • Make your choice and own it.
      • Re-discovering the cravat.
  • Interesting places to find fun stuff.
    • Ebay
    • Thrift stores
      • Particularly for things you can disassemble.
    • Dollar stores
    • Conventions
    • Antique shops
    • Restoration hardware.
    • Don’t talk about taking it apart in front of the seller.
    • Look at things with a different set of eyes.
    • Hardware stores.
      • So much brass there!
      • 90% of this, Lowes.
    • Tie Lab.
    • Model train stores.
    • Go antiquing and look at all the fiddly bits.
    • The way people dress has not changed that much.
      • You can always hearken to the past, you can always be a little ahead of your time.
    • Yard sales.
    • Swap meets.
    • Home invasion.
    • You don’t need to know what it’s called to use something.
  • Any Questions?
    • Easier to make or repurpose?
      • Depends on what you’re making, and what your skill level is.
      • I’m sorry my skill level is so high.
      • Also, how much time do you have to put into it.
    • Where do you go to find buttons?
    • How many times do you build something and it fails.
      • It’s never a failure, it’s just not quite done yet.
      • There will be mistakes. It’s just part of the learning process.
      • The point is the journey.
    • Where do you find buttons?
      • Dont’ use buttons.
      • They’re Lego pieces!
        • No they’re not.
        • But you could use Lego gears!
      • Go to places that have junk. That’s raw materials and inspiration for you.
    • Oriental trading
      • They have typewriter key beads.
      • Build your own keyboard.
      • Safari hats.
      • The Victorian era is characterized by the British going out and pillaging the world.
        • Balipunk?
        • It just needs to be brought back from elsewhere.
        • You’re always going to offend someone.
          • Dont’ be an idiot doing it.
          • Please don’t wear real military medals or wings unless you’ve earned them.
          • Be aware of what your accessories say about your character.
      • If you need ribbons, it is easy enough to make your own.
  • Final words?
    • You can say so much by what you wear.
    • Small elements can project what you want to say.
    • Nobody else knows that you’re not confident enough.
      • See how long you can fake it.
      • Play that character. Build that confidence.
    • Have fun with it, or you’re missing the point.
    • Own it!
    • There is no wrong.
    • Who is Zaphod’s vice presidential candidate?
      • His other head.
  • End.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Melissa (My words and pages) February 25, 2013 at 8:50 pm

Aah, the man behind the mask. We bumped into him waiting for a panel room to open up, and it was neat talking to him. Looks like a great panel there. 🙂


2 Doc Coleman February 25, 2013 at 9:57 pm

It was a great panel. Block out an hour and listen to it. Lots of good advice for making the most of your outfit, in costuming and in life. Some of it was even from me! ;D



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