One of the best things about steampunk cosplay is that it invites the wearer to spark their own imagination. While there are several standard aesthetic conventions, steampunk is broad enough for everyone to come up with their own unique looks. Sites such as the BBC news have guides on what steampunk entails. This will help cosplayers to understand what their outfit needs to look like.
It is at its core an aesthetic based around alternative versions of history. There can be fantasy elements to the cosplay. However, medieval looks tend to be avoided. Instead, the fashion of the Victorian era takes precedence. People who attend steampunk conventions will often base their cosplay on a particular archetype. Popular ones include explorers, adventurers and aristocrats.
People can express their own individuality by mixing their cosplay with other genres. For example, steampunk vampires have emerged within the convention community. In the early days of steampunk, jewellery was avoided. However, this has now changed. Modern cosplay could feature a plethora of sparkling accoutrements. The most important thing to remember when designing a costume is that the process is meant to be fun.