It is a word that has invaded the verbage of the underworld fashion buffs. Always seeking something unique, new, and definitely eye catching, these individuals found a very specific genre. Some people love it. Some people hate it. Regardless of one's personal feelings about the topic, it cannot be ignored that this movement has influenced popular culture's fashion sects. Whether you see it through the obvious- clockwork goggles, tophats, and modified dusty pedicoats, or whether you see it at the local fashion mall- little clockwork hearts on necklaces, owls, or some form of bronzed- mechanized- somethings: there has been a stamp left by steampunk.
There is a definite appeal and a curiosity about the interesting creations behind steampunk artistry. It is mostly based on an "era" of reliance on steam-powered machines and gadgets. HG Wells might be pleased with some of the works that have resulted from the creative powers focused on this brand of fashion and art. The fashion isn't just about the steam-powered doodads. It's about Victorian visions of the future, and that influence is most obviously present in any costuming that you see- corsets, high collars, ruffled sleeves, jabots, tophats- and variations of each. The variations range from fashionably mild to, uh, steaming hot as people make their own personal modifications to skirt lines, coats, and corsets.
That being said, one can argue that this vision has gone a bit too far in ways. Rather than focusing on the inspiration of creative fashion and functionality behind the art, some "artists" are simply gluing bits of clock pieces to metal, creating half-hearted amulets, earrings, and rings. This is all fine and dandy if that it what the market desires to bear (as seen mostly in fashion malls), but it serves as little more than a shadow of the original intentions. That being said, I suppose it is a matter of how deep one desires to delve into the fashion of this.
Though Steampunk costuming has been around for some time now, it still has its place in the artist's world. Whether one is searching for an eye catching subject for photography and modeling or seeking inspiration for other costuming ideas, Steampunk influences are still popular and will probably continue to live in, at the very least, an undercurrent of fashionable influence in alternative costuming due to the legendary influences of HG Wells, William Gibson, and Jules Verne.
A good costuming source and inspiration source: http://www.gentlemansemporium.com/gentlemans.php
Another great source for Steampunk jewelry: Etsy! www.etsy.com (support artists here)
More costuming supplies and ideas: http://steampunkthreads.com/
*I have never purchased from any of the shops listed above. If you have feedback about any of them, please contact me and I will consider posting your review/opinion.