Five Easy Futuristic Costume Ideas

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Predicting fashions of the future isn't exactly a science, but but it is fun to imagine what the future might hold for fashion and to look at how past predictions turn out. Whether your futuristic costume ideas ever hit the mainstream, they can be easy to put together.

Post Apocalyptic Future

This possible future is a favorite in films and fiction. A post-apocalyptic society could be set around water as in Waterworld, sand as in the Mad Max series, or even in space as in Firefly. Two things are sure: in a post-apocalyptic costume, you need to look scruffy, and you need to look prepared for a fight. Use the Old West for rough-and-tough inspiration, but add a technological twist with high-tech weapons and accessories.

  • Wear old dark or gray clothes.
  • Use several layers of clothes, and rip them around
    the edges, or rub the fabric with sandpaper to make it look tattered and worn out.
  • Use face paint or makeup to darken your eye
    sockets and liberally smudge your face with brown and black. You want
    to look like you've been wrestling zombies in the dirt all day.
  • Black leather boots or a leather jacket
    can work with this outfit. The older, the better.
  • Make liberal use of metallic
    accessories. A spiky collar or shoulder pads is the ideal, but a bullet belt or necklace are also good. Metal chains
    should clank when you walk.
  • The more outlandish your weapon(s), the
    better. They don't need to -- and shouldn't work - they just need to be dark, dirty and scary-looking.

Warning

  • Be cautious about appearing in public with any fake weapons. Fake guns in particular, but even knives and swords, can appear threatening to the public and could result in police action. Keep yourself and the people around you safe by using common sense with any costume item that could be taken as a weapon.

Steampunk

Steampunk is often framed as an alternative past, or present, but can also be seen as a post-apocalyptic future that combines Victorian and punk theme in a sub-culture with high tech based on steam.

  • Steampunk aesthetic tends toward subdued
    colors, like dark tones of red and green, brown, black and white. A
    corset and frilly skirts are ideal for women, while a long, formal
    jacket can work for either sex. 
  • If you can easily acquire costume thick lensed glasses,
    or vintage goggles, you're in luck. But if not, you can make a pair of steam punk goggles with a trip to a dollar-type store, as DarrenWasHere demonstrates.
  • Wear a Victorian-style  top-hat or pork
    pie hat.
  • Victorian accessories, like a fob watch
    or a carved walking stick, add to period authenticity.
  • Brown leather gloves, waistcoats, coats, boots and arm-guards look amazing with this kind of outfit.
  • Use clock cogs and gears as accents,
    for jewelry and your clothes. You can make them by tracing the cog shapes
    onto cardboard, cutting them out and coating them with metallic
    paint.

Retro Futuristic

Of course everyone has a different view of what the future might be like, but some versions seem to go in and out of fashion with the times. We do tend to fall back on the universal, solid-color jumpsuit, as Time notes. Aerials on hats and bubble helmets were predicted, as seen on The Jetsons. Other examples include the very human-like alien civilizations in the original Star Trek or the costumes used in Barbarella.

  • Any clothing that is silver or
    metallic, or made with shiny or plastic-looking fabric. A jumpsuit is ideal.
  • With Barbarella as your inspiration, the future is going to require go-go boots. 
  • Everyone wants a jetpack. With silver paint, tinfoil and empty bottles you can make your own.
  • Neon accessories, like plastic
    earrings, bracelets or bright gloves.
  • Paint a cheap plastic watergun with
    silver paint and it becomes a ray-gun.  Don't carry this in public, as it could be mistaken for a real gun. 

Cyberpunk

You can decide how grimy this costume should be, depending on your favorite style of cyberpunk. The inspiration for these could be the Tron movies with their one-piece black jumpsuits and neon accessories. Or you can channel a gothic vibe, like characters from The Matrix or Bladerunner.

  • Black is the rule for cyberpunk costumes. Leather, PVC and metallic fabrics are ideal.
  • Non-toxic glow-in-the-dark paint can be
    used in moderation. Slick it on your face, war-paint style, or use it
    to highlight parts of your costume. Glow-stick bracelets and necklaces also work well. 
  • Wear dark, reflective sunglasses. Even
    at night. Especially at night. 
  • Your hairstyle should be either extremely elaborate, using punk or tribal inspiration, or sleek and simple using a lot of hair gel.
  • Wires, circuit boards and plastic or
    rubber tubing can be used as accessories. Knot them into your hair or
    use them as belts.  

Opulent Future

This style is inspired by films like The Hunger Games and The Fifth Element. In a future with a lot of rich and bored people, hairstyles become more and more extravagant and fashion tends toward gaudy and even grotesque.

  • Dye your hair a bright color or wear a
    wig. A large and complex fascinator or hat can compliment the style.
  • Wear bright, over-the-top makeup. This
    applies to both men and women. Men may also want to shave their facial
    hair into intricate shapes. You want this costume to imply that you have a lot of time on your hands.
  • Wear clothing that sticks out, both
    literally and figuratively. Choosing a single color as a
    theme can help to unify your look if you experiment with bulky styles or fabrics. For example, Effie, from The Hunger Games, almost always wears clothes which take up a lot of space, but she always remains
    within a relatively narrow color scheme for each outfit.
  • Large, chunky accessories, using big,
    geometric shapes, are the key here. Big plastic earrings, bangles and glasses in bright colors work well. 

The future can't be predicted. There's no fate but what we make for ourselves. So the key thing with this costume is to be creative and have fun.

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