When “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” was coming out, Wonder Woman’s inclusion was one of the most talked about aspects of the movie. People had divisive views about Gal Gadot taking the part, particularly the outfit she was wearing. Fans bemoaned the loss of Diana’s classic outfit, but plenty were in favor of the update for giving her a more warrior-like appearance.
Updates to superhero costumes are always contentious, and Wonder Woman has been the subject of a lot of those conversations for over 75 years. There have definitely been some major missteps in Wonder Woman’s outfits, but also some incredible costumes ones. That’s why we decided to look at some of the most notable costumes, even if they’re memorable for the wrong reasons.
15. ‘90S BIKER LOOK
The ’90s were an interesting time in comics, with the stories trying to reflect the discontent that the decade as a whole was known for. So, someone like Wonder Woman as we knew her, clothed in the colors of the American flag and standing up for all that was good, wasn’t considered cool. That’s why, like Batman and Superman, Wonder Woman got a questionable makeover during this period that has certainly been remembered, albeit not fondly.
Wonder Woman was forced to relinquish her title and outfit to fellow Amazon Artemis after a new contest was held to determine who should bear the superhero name. This forced Diana to take on a new look, and it’s one we’re glad did not stick around. Diana’s hair was cut shorter, the colors of her outfit were more drab, and her clothes were simultaneously more revealing and bizarre. She wore a leather bra paired with matching biker shorts, as well as a jacket. It looked more like some Russian spy than Diana. The costume of this era does have its fans, but we rank it right alongside the ridiculous Batsuit worn by Azrael, and Superman’s black suit / mullet days.
14. CATHY LEE CROSBY
This is the kind of outfit where if someone had shown up wearing this at a Halloween party before it appeared on TV, you wouldn’t have even known they were trying to dress as Wonder Woman. We’re not against designers experimenting with new things to see if they can find something better, but this just loses too much of the original outfit while simultaneously retaining the wrong elements. The star spangled sleeves are especially hideous.
Wonder Woman is a difficult character to translate to live-action because her classic outfit would look silly when worn in real life, so it has to be altered to a certain extent. The Cathy Lee Crosby version of the outfit just doesn’t even look like a superhero, though. She looks more like a pilot in the air force. It also doesn’t help that she’s blonde instead of having the classic black hair. We can’t say we’re surprised this costume wasn’t brought back.
13. 1994 SUPERBOY ANNUAL
This outfit is odd to say the least. For starters, it’s already a combination of several different outfits. It looks like the classic silver age Wonder Woman outfit, but then it also combines the high-waisted thong variant of that outfit (which we’ll get to shortly) into this costume. If you’re going to change a character’s costume, that’s cool, but this just takes a preexisting costume and makes it worse with so much unnecessary leather.
Basically, this costume, which comes from the 1994 “Superboy Annual,” has Diana wearing a leather body suit with her classic star spangled outfit on top of that. And just to make the costume a bit worse, it also has silver knee guards and black knee pads thrown in. To be fair, none of the Justice League members looked good in this story, since they all got excessive leather slapped onto them. The only good thing about this outfit is that, unlike the previous entries, you can look at it and know it’s actually supposed to be Wonder Woman.
12. MOD WONDER WOMAN
We go from three entries ago, where we had a Wonder Woman outfit that seemed to be missing a few articles, to this costume from the ‘60s, which is so plain and covered up that it makes Diana almost indistinguishable from a civilian. Diana wore a lot of different casual outfits during this time, but the thing they all had in common was downplaying her former “All-American” side and making her blend in more. It was a smart strategy in the context of the storyline since Diana was trying to spy around to figure out who was framing Steve Trevor for murder. So she gave up her powers and her signature outfit for fashionable ‘60s duds.
The most famous look she had from this era was a kind of white jumpsuit, which admittedly looks sleek and comfortable, but doesn’t look heroic or memorable. That’s the real issue we have with this one. Part of what makes a hero’s costume work is that it’s symbolic and enduring and it stands for something. Would Batman be as effective a crime fighter if he was just some guy in a black hoodie and a ski mask? Sure, but Bruce knows theatrics are important for instilling fear. Mod Wonder Woman is fine in terms of practicality, but it’s just a boring series of outfits for her.
11. AMAZONIAN BATTLE ARMOR
This outfit certainly makes sense in theory, but its execution leaves something to be desired. Several different heroes encounter foes so powerful that they need to suit up in some battle armor. Batman, of course, has his famous suit that he uses to challenge Superman in “The Dark Knight Returns,” as well as in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.” And Iron Man has his massive Hulk Buster suit to help him withstand the power of the Hulk. So, why shouldn’t Wonder Woman have some cool super protective armor, as well?
The idea is good, with the armor designed to look like the gold American eagle that is often emblazoned on her outfit. But the finished product is pretty goofy, honestly. It’s big, bulky, has totally unnecessary wings, and the helmet places Diana’s face in the beak of the bird. Yet, for some bizarre reason, she also leaves her arms and legs uncovered. Honestly, it could have looked cool if it was just the golden breastplate and boots, plus some proper extremity protection. But the silly wings and helmet have led to fans dubbing this one the “golden chicken” armor.
10. THE WONDER-WEDGIE
We’ll get to the regular Wonder Woman tankini later on, but first we have to address this variation on that outfit. It’s pretty typical for female comic book characters to be sexualized regardless of how it fits their persona. We’re not saying sex appeal is automatically bad, since a character simply being depicted as attractive can be fine, hence why we’re separating this variation on the outfit from Wonder Woman’s original tankini. But there’s attractive, and then there’s just outright exploitive and trashy.
Wonder Woman is often talked of as an icon for feminism, but that message gets garbled when she’s shown wearing a costume that fits right in with the pages of Playboy. People should have the freedom to dress how they please, but why would someone who is trying to save the world ever wear something this impractical? It’s bad enough fearing that your life is in danger, do you really need to worry when your last bikini wax was, or accidentally flashing your opponent as well? Wonder Woman is going to be an icon for sexuality no matter what she’s wearing, so she really doesn’t need her butt hanging out and her genitals barely covered to try (and fail) at amplifying that. This is just the kind of embarrassing costume that alienates women in the fan base, and fuels the negative stereotypes about comics. The sex appeal might have boosted sales, but Wonder Woman has enough foes without having to battle a wedgie.
9. WONDER GIRL
The history of Wonder Girl is a confusing one, but initially Diana was the first Wonder Girl. Makes sense — before Wonder Woman she would have been Wonder Girl, right? But eventually Wonder Girl became a mantle for other women in DC so it became weird trying to distinguish them, especially since in some issues Wonder Woman would interact with younger versions of herself. Nowadays, Wonder Girl is pretty much totally separate from Diana, but we still have to look at the original outfit. Should the grown Wonder Woman have kept her childhood duds?
Honestly, the look isn’t not too different from the regular Wonder Woman outfit, so there’s not too much to complain about. The only significant change is that instead of a strapless top, Wonder Girl wore a tank top with a giant golden eagle emblazoned on it. This is pretty much the turning point in this list for where we’d say the outfits start getting good. This isn’t a great outfit, but there’s nothing embarrassing or corny about it, so we’d be willing to give this a pass if Diana decided to bust it out today.
8. THE ORIGINAL
The very first Wonder Woman outfit looks downright quaint by today’s standards. She debuted wearing a knee length skirt that would be extremely impractical for fighting in, but was mainly about letting readers know right off the bat that this was a woman who represented America and its values. One other contrast in this outfit compared to later years is that her top had a golden eagle on it rather than the double “W,” which she would adopt later on to represent her name.
All in all, this outfit really isn’t too bad. Part of what makes it look dated is simply the art style Diana was depicted in at the time. The golden age Wonder Woman doesn’t even look like the same person as the modern day Diana. Her face is different, her hair was shorter and curlier, and she was less curvaceous and muscular. Diana looked more ordinary here overall, which hurts the perception of her from this time, but the outfit really was iconic. If she wore it today, we’re sure it would look fine, even though the skirt is definitely going to be antiquated by modern standards of fashion. She later switched to a variant with shorts instead of a skirt, and it definitely made her look a bit more like a hero to be taken seriously.
7. STAR SPANGLED LOINCLOTH
Few superheroes seem to have as much difficulty deciding what cultural influences they want to include in their costume as Wonder Woman. She’s worn skirts, pants, bathing suits, and even variations on this loincloth outfit at times. The one on the left from “Wizard Magazine” is too silly for practical usage since Diana really does seem to be wearing it as a straight up loincloth, and that’s quickly going to become embarrassing in a fight.
The one on the right is actually pretty good, though, since the loincloth doesn’t seem to be all Diana is wearing, but is rather a decorative part of the rest of her outfit. There have actually been multiple outfits in Diana’s history that have featured the decorative loincloth, and while the longer versions are just begging to make her trip, they actually do look decent on her. It’s like a nice compromise between the old school skirt and the bathing suit bottom she typically wears. As long as Diana actually has something on underneath it, we’re actually pretty okay with the loincloth costume.
6. JUSTICE LEAGUE: WAR
Though this outfit was pretty short-lived, Wonder Woman’s costume in “Justice League: War” was actually a surprisingly good redesign. For one, the outfit actually having a neck to it is a lot more sensible than any of the costumes she wears with the plunging necklines and ample cleavage. Flying, or doing anything physically exerting, just seems like a recipe to lose your costume if you’re wearing a low cut shirt. But the costume from this movie has other nice details as well.
Stars feel like they work better on Wonder Woman’s outfit when they’re used sparingly, rather than the old routine of trying to include one for every state. So limiting the stars to just being on Diana’s gloves gives this costume more elegance. The consistency in her armor color is also good and feels better than her mismatched silver bracelets with a gold tiara that she normally wears. The only thing that brings it down a bit are the elbow length gloves that look rather silly, but otherwise this is a good costume that also has the benefit of being something that could work in live-action.
5. POST-NEW 52 REDESIGN
This is probably more covered up than most people would like to see Wonder Woman, but it’s actually a pretty good look once you get past the surprise of seeing such a drastic change for Diana. Batman, Superman, Green Lantern and the Flash all rock body suits and they look good in them, so why not Wonder Woman? It certainly makes her look more like she’s ready for a fight than a day at the beach like some of her other outfits seem to suggest. Batman straight up wears body armor in a lot of depictions now, so why not go the more practical route for all heroes?
You might say Wonder Woman has far more durability than Batman so she shouldn’t need armor, but that kind of goes out the window when she stops fighting petty criminals and gets into fighting supervillains. Who wouldn’t want a little more armor when tackling someone like Darkseid? Plus, it’s not like this outfit has no style. The traditional color scheme is still there, and those gold shoulder guards look pretty good with the bracelets. This might be a little too realistic for some people’s taste, but we could definitely get used to the look, especially for live-action movies.
4. THE NEW 52, SILVER EDITION
Once the controversial New 52 rolled around, a lot of characters had their outfits tweaked for the new era. Wonder Woman’s change wasn’t too drastic, mainly just altering the color scheme a bit to signify that this was a new story for Diana. It got her back to her roots in a way by essentially bringing back the tankini everyone knows and abandoning her more modernized outfits that included pants.
The red of her outfit looks like it has a bit more texture to it, and the typically star-spangled bottom now has just a few specifically placed stars for symmetry. This look also saw Diana more prone to wielding a sword, though her outfit oddly fluctuated on whether or not she wore a scabbard for it or not. All in all, the costume is solid, with nothing too significant changed from the classic look that would give fans much reason to complain. We’re a bit more partial to the gold accents on her costume rather than the silver, though, and the colors are a bit muted, but this is certainly a good outfit for her in the comics.
3. PANTS AND JACKET
This might just be the most divisive Wonder Woman outfit in this list. Some people view this outfit as emblematic of a bad point in Diana’s history, due to this being around the time that she was in a story where she had to relearn all of her powers in somewhat of a reboot. Regardless of your thoughts on that storyline, though, a lot of people really love this outfit — like, to the point that they would call this her best of the bunch. And really, we can’t find too much wrong with it either.
There’s still a bit of the classic Wonder Woman in there with the top, but it’s updated with a sensible pair of pants that suit her just fine. That jacket actually looks pretty good, too, despite being less fancy than a cape. Wonder Woman has worn a similar outfit to this , though with her star spangled skirt; still, we prefer this version. The outfit got a good amount of attention in the comic community, but it was basically all for nothing since Wonder Woman got rebooted again shortly after this outfit appeared, and she was back to the tankini. We can’t help noticing that after this outfit, Wonder Woman has donned pants more often in comics and video game adaptions. They’re a nice look for her, so we’re glad for that bit of an impact, but we really wouldn’t have minded if she had simply kept this practical and effective costume.
2. THE SILVER AGE TANKINI
With this being Wonder Woman’s most iconic costume, a lot of people will argue that it belongs at number one. But when considering what the best costume for Diana is, we think it should be something that not only looks great in the comics, but also translates well to live-action. The fact is, a hero wearing what is essentially a bathing suit to save the world looks pretty ridiculous in live action. Of course, there’s no denying that the outfit is iconic for a reason and looks quite good in the many comics and cartoons it’s been used in (at least when it isn’t transformed into the thong version we mentioned earlier). It also looks surprisingly good when she accessorizes it with a cape.
Though we don’t mind when the comics give Diana more realistic outfits, some things about comics stand out to make them larger than life. It’s like Batman’s white eyes, which don’t really make sense, but they look cool. The tankini is silly when thinking about it rationally, but it’s also sleek and classic. Much like Wolverine’s yellow costume with the big black bunny ears, it looks cool on the page, but we don’t blame directors for going in a different direction when bringing the comics to life. This will always be Diana’s trademark costume that all others are measured against, so we rate it highly for that.
1. BATMAN V SUPERMAN REDESIGN
Popularized by her appearance in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” this is an outfit that Wonder Woman has also adopted in the comics. Whatever your opinion of “Dawn of Justice” is, this outfit just looks good. It works in both live-action mediums and in the world of comics. It’s a great mixture of outfits that reflects so much of Diana’s history. It retains the classic red, white, and blue color scheme, but isn’t just Diana wearing a flag as clothes. This is battle armor, and it’s a great way to accentuate Diana’s Amazon roots as well.
This outfit also captures some good elements of her other iconic outfits. The top is basically just a more practical version of Wonder Woman’s tankini, while the bottom captures a bit of the skirt from her original costume. But this new leather skirt looks like what the Romans would have worn rather than something dainty and impractical. The only elements that are a little iffy are the inclusion of the sword and shield, since Wonder Woman’s powers should make weapons pretty superfluous, but we can live with it. Diana with a sword does look cool, and it makes for a good combo with her golden lasso. All in, this is an outfit we could happily live with if this became the default Wonder Woman costume, and since it’s what she’s wearing in the “Wonder Woman” movie, as well as the “Justice League” flick, that might just become the case.
Fashion is highly subjective, so tell us your thoughts in the comments! Which costume do you think looks best on the Amazon Princess?
“Wonder Woman” arrives on June 2, 2017. “Justice League” hits theaters on November 17, 2017.
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