Jeff Vandermeer and S.J. Chambers’s “The Steampunk Bible” presents four steampunk archetypes: the street urchin, the tinker, the explorer, and the aesthete.
The street urchin is a survivor, a beggar or a pick-pocket.
Think filth and stains, beaten-up or torn attire that has a lower class feel. Mixing and matching of vests, breeches, tights and boots are encouraged. As for hair, dreadlocks are good.
The tinker is the scientist and the creator. Belts or pockets are necessary to tote around tools. Clothing should be refined and neat: leather boots, pressed white tuxedo shirts with dark vests or buttoned jackets.
Ah, the explorer! This character is daring and ready for adventure. Military influence comes into play as well as the aviator look. Corsets, vests, pith helmets and billowing sleeves are all advisable.
Finally, the aesthete comes in waving around his cigar and brandy. This archetype has a bohemian twist. These are the artists, plotters, musicians and vagabonds.
The clothing is polished for an upper class appeal. Canes, corsets, spats with boots, tuxedoes and aristocrat garments are recommended. Lace gloves, topper hats, bouffant up-dos for the ladies and waxed mustaches for the gents.
These are all mere suggestions. Steampunk thrives on the make-it-your-own attitude with clothing choices and props.