Unless how have a huge budget then your going to be buying a modern crinoline, which to be honest will be a lot more comfortable than a traditional garment. A modern crinoline is more pliable and soft an flows with your dress rather than the ridged feel a traditional crinoline brings. If you are looking for the "uber" authentic feel then traditional may be for you, but bear in mind thins such as sitting down, how long your going to be wearing it and lets face it, using the loo :) The right crinoline can give your steampunk dress or skirt a fantastic feminine look, and can actually make wearing the garment more comfortable. If your adding a crinoline to an already existing dress there are a few things you need to consider.
Firstly the size will matter, you don't have to be wearing a full flowing ball gown to wear a crinoline, the are some fantastic shorter crinoline underskirts on the market that will make your A-line or skater skirts and dresses look awesome.
Secondly consider the shape your looking for. most modern crinolines come in hoop shape, but with a little adjusting you can shape them to achieve a much more period appropriate affect for your steampunk outfit, you may be looking for a more egg shape with large volume at the back. Check out the video below for some handy tips on achieving this.
Thirdly, Closure and comfort. check the waist closure on your crinoline to see if it will fit snugly under your dress. closures range from a simple drawstring to more elaborate garments with hook and eye or zipper closures. You need to be comfortable in your crinoline to get the most out of it and making sure that the closure sits well with your dress or skirt with ensure that you don't have any awkward pressure points at the small of your back.
Your other option is to but a garment with a crinoline already attached such as our "A Window To My Heart Circle Skirt" these garments come ready made so you can slip them on and look fantastic right away and can take the stress out of choosing the right crinoline. Crinolines are a great addition to any steampunk wardrobe so take a look round to find one that works for your own personal look.