Maybe this year is your first Ironfest or perhaps you’ve never felt you nailed the perfect Ironfest outfit. Either way we have employed some sartorial support from Gallery Serpentine in Sydney, Lithgow’s Lady of Ironfest, Maree Statham, and the Lithgow Mercury’s extensive Ironfest archives to create an unabridged fashion compendium for your Ironfest inspiration.
Onwards, ye stylish soldier.
Stephanie Calkin of Gallery Serpentine believes the one thing that will bring you peak Ironfest satisfaction is putting elbow grease into your get-up.
“Deliberately being in costume makes people feel like they have entered another world and feel free to get lost in it. There’s been studies into what that does for the well being of a person. It just sets your imagination fire,” she said.
2.Embrace creative stinginess
Using what you’ve got and spending only what you can will heighten your enjoyment of Ironfest.
“It’s all about making an interpretive effort,” Stephanie Calkin said. “Get your glue gun on, go to the op-shop and pick up some cheap costume jewellery and head to Spotlight to make something yourself.”
A steampunk look can pretty much be achieved with just accessories.
“I would definitely recommend guys getting into a top hat or some sort of aviator cap,” Ms Calkin said.
“Then you can just wack some goggles on it, add a cool belt and team that with some basic pants. Spray paint a Nerf gun to create a blaster, and you have your whole outfit there.”
Rather than spending extra dosh at the hairdresser, Maree Statham recommends going straight for a wig.
“If you’ve got one at home or if you can buy a cheap one, just pop that on. It will lift your costume and can honestly be anything at all,” Cr Statham said.
Remember the Kingdom of Ironfest is still in the chilly climes of Lithgow.
“Make sure you are covered up and you have weather appropriate shoes on. Ironfest is a week later than usual so it could be even cooler,” Cr Statham said.
While winter is not coming, forecasts predict rainfall.
6.Get down with the theme
“I just love the theme of ‘Lost World’,” Ms Calkin said.
“It puts steampunk and the Victorian world right in focus. Straight away it got me thinking of explorers and adventurers going into new worlds with measurement tools, crazy defenses and guns and just that look of, ‘I might need to run away from a triceratops in two seconds!’”
7.Corset, of course
A well fitting corset will set you back some dollars but can be brought out year after year to create a variety of Ironfest looks.
“I’ve had more people wanting corsets this year. You can pair them with the big Victorian bustling skirts or with a pair of tight pants to create that ‘Lara Croft’, adventurer look,” Ms Calkin said.
8.Look for inspiration
Gallery Serpentine work to churn out a warehouse of alternative Victorian and steampunk designs all year so they know about looking for new muses.
Get your history books out!
“We draw inspiration from classic period movies, as well as strange historical facts,” Ms Calkin said.
“We will find out about some awesome 15th century pirate lady and be like, ‘Oh my god, we have to make a costume for her!’”
It doesn’t matter if it is a water gun you tricked up, a road sign you stole or a painfully researched historical replica, bring your weapons* to Ironfest.
You’ll feel empty-handed once you see a few tanks roll by.
*By which we mean fake weapons for fashion slaying purposes only.
10.Bring your squad or bribe your family
The best accessory for a costume by far is other people who dressed like you (but not quite as well). Yes, that means you need to call up your friends/family members and convince them that taking style cues from you is perfectly safe and reasonable.
Leftover Easter eggs are always a good bargaining chip.
Enjoy Ironfest 2017 and may your wardrobe live long and prosper!
*Tara Moss photography by Berndt Sellheim.