Since I now have posted on several threads about my Neo-Victorian aesthetic (including pictures, like my profile), I thought I'd blog (my first) on the topic for future reference and to avoid an overly long post.

Here's how I got to Neo-Victorianism:

My first step was a hat. Until I got to grad school (seminary) I wore an assortment of baseball caps like everyone else. While at school I noticed the occasional guy with an actual man's hat and decided that was for me. I bought and started wearing a fedora.

In 2006 I started my first full-time regular job. The office was business casual and I went with that at first but didn't really like it. I soon switched to wearing dress shirts and pants. Then, I discovered something I really liked the look of: vests (waistcoats, historically speaking). I got my first one probably late 2007 and in a year or so started wearing it regularly.

Then, I took the big leap in 2009. I saw the movie Sherlock Holmes and loved it.

I had heard of this sub-genre of SF called Steampunk and even had read some (League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) without really investigating it. For some reason, I realized that the film had a steampunk vibe (even while not being a pure example) and it set me off to investigate more about the sub-culture. I was soon reading or watching most any steampunk I could get my hands on.

Steampunk itself is often very critical of Victorian life and principles, but while researching the sub-culture I found that there was a brand of related literature (Gaslight Romance) much more accepting of it. And there was also a group of people who style themselves Neo-Victorian. Neo-Victorians can appropriate as much of Victorian culture as they want. Much of it (classicism, racism, sexism) is rightly rejected, while other aspects (manners, formality and modesty in dress) is perhaps more worthwhile, at least for me. I soon subscribed to this idea both as a style of dress and in dealing with people. It is my hope to be a gentleman in the Victorian vein in the best sense of the term.

At my most intricate (formal occasions or steampunk events) I attempt to dress as if I could completely blend in on 1870s street. Much of the time, it's a bit more of an adaptation (plastic buttons, a hand tie). Unfortunately, since I lost my job I can no longer afford to keep up with the dry cleaning and since I don't go out as much you're just as likely to see me in a t-shirt (secretly dreading that I'm bearing my arms in public) as a waistcoat if I'm just popping into my LCS.