May 5, 2013

Aesthetic Analysis: Asian Bolero

A steampunk fairy with a teal, Asiatic bolero and teal wings.

This picture produces mixed feelings for me. On one hand, I dislike the wings, find the model's eye makeup and expression unflattering, and am unimpressed with the overall creation of the outfit. On the other hand, I like the bolero a lot.

Most all alternative fashion is based in a Western aesthetic. The Gothic tradition invokes the Gothic cathedrals and motifs found in Europe. Steampunk is a "history that might have been" centered around Victorian England. Finally, while Lolita fashion did originate in Japan and there are subsets of Wa- and Qi- Lolita, the aesthetic is based very much on the image of a Victorian Doll.

However, given the course of my studies, seeing how the aesthetics of other cultures plays into alternative fashion is of great interest, especially in the fantastically rich imaginings of steampunk. I believe this photo was found with a search of "Asian Steampunk."

Granted, there isn't much that is definitively "Asian" about this bolero besides the high collar and the frog fastening. However, they are nice touches. The height of the bolero is also reminiscent of the traditional Korean Handbok.

Traditional Woman's Handbok

Which I really like because it isn't a design normally seen in the west. Though on me, the combination of the high bolero with the dark waist corset might bring a too much attention to the chest for my comfort. 

Another nice feature of the outfit is the two bracelets on either wrist. They offer a nice repeat of the accent color and give a much more fantastic quality because identical bracelets on either wrist aren't a common look either. 

My take away? Next time I'm looking for a clasp for a more western outfit, I'll try adding a frog instead. Next time I'm looking for a bolero, it might be interesting to raise the hemline to a more interesting length.


  1. I love how steampunk is beginning to open beyond England and America.

    Beyond Victoriana is a nice multicultural steampunk tumblr.

    Steampunk India just got started, but has a nice little gallery.

    1. Excellent links! I think I've read some of Beyond Victoriana's blog, so it's great that she has a tumblr now too. And the steampunkindia has some great links to other multicultural inspiration.

      Merci Beaucoup!