Since her 1941 debut in All-Star Comics, Wonder Woman has both fascinated and inspired the masses. Her brand of heroism, which primarily focuses on compassion and justice, drives many of her most iconic appearances in comics and other media. This, along with her once being one of the few women at the forefront of DC’s universe, ensures her a place in the DC Trinity next to Batman and Superman. As an icon, Wonder Woman continues to grow in popularity. She possesses everything a character who transcends comics usually features -- a compelling origin story (of which she has more than one), an enthralling cast of supporting characters, and defining character traits capable of informing audiences’ real world perspectives.
Another facet of Wonder Woman’s long history that is especially worthy of note is her costume. The classic look of Americana in a super-suit remains the character’s most memorable design. However, since then, she’s had innumerable updates and redesigns. Of course, some are subjectively superior to others. Therefore, Wonder Woman’s most interesting costume designs over her nearly 80 year history warrants deeper examination. In the list below, we take a look at and rank 20 costumes from the Amazonian Princess’ extensive appearances in comics, animation, and live action.
Wonder Woman: Amazonia is a little known one-shot under DC’s Elseworlds imprint. Published in 1997, Amazonia was written by William Messner-Loebs with art from Phil Winslade. Set in early 20th Century Britain, the premise for this alternate history tale is rather simple: What happens if Queen Victoria is murdered several years before her reign ends in the historical timeline? In 1888, the Queen dies in an explosion, and a supposed heir from America takes the throne. This heir is essentially Jack the Ripper, who becomes King Jack and rules tyrannically. Diana Prince enters into the picture as an Amazon kidnapped by Steve Trevor. She eventually stars as a performer at a theatre in London, prior to escaping and adopting her role as Wonder Woman.
The design of the character is fitting for the time period.
She wears big hair, her suit is more corset-like than it’s ever been, and her bottoms have frills attached to them that flow outward. This suit is highly stylized, but maintains the core design aspects that make Wonder Woman’s look iconic. For instance, a large golden eagle is emblazoned on her red corset. Despite her Amazonia garb’s appeal, it’s hard to place the design any higher on this list as its uniquely Victorian style doesn’t cater to the hero beyond this setting.
19 CRIME SYNDICATE
For some reason, evil Wonder Woman has proven a fascinating concept. Perhaps we are enthralled by the paragon of goodness being reduced to a horrific form of villainy. Regardless, the Amazon’s depiction as a rogue isn’t a novel idea. One seldom mentioned version of her casting as a miscreant is found in Forever Evil’s Crime Syndicate. In this story, the character is referred to as Superwoman; she even wears the “S” sigil on her bosom. Instead of Diana Prince, this iteration of the character is Lois Lane. However, Forever Evil still depicts her as an Amazon. The key difference rears its ugly head when Superwoman’s backstory reveals that she bears responsibility for the death of Earth-3’s Amazons.
Admittedly, from a design perspective, this version of Wonder Woman looks incredible. Her all black attire consists of a top with an “S” emblem, which acts as a brooch-like ornament of sorts, pants, boots, and the magic lasso. One way of looking at it is to consider that her evil counterpart shouldn’t don Wonder Woman’s classic red, white, and blue garb. Yet, the absence of this color scheme seems a missed opportunity. What would it mean for those colors to be representative of something inherently cruel? How does that affect the audience’s perception of her actions? Fans have to turn to other evil incarnations to find out.
Wonder Woman in the Flashpoint timeline is particularly harsh. After having an affair with Aquaman, she’s confronted by the King of Atlantis’ wife, Mera. The confrontation ends in the Amazon’s beheading of Mera and sending her remains to Atlantis. Inevitably, this sparks a conflict between the Amazons and Atlanteans, which eventually leads to a war that spans the world over. Wonder Woman and Aquaman lead their respective forces with iron fists. Neither display any regard for the innocent lives that are affected by their warfare.
Because of the warring subplot that permeates Flashpoint, Wonder Woman is primarily seen in her battle attire.
This version of the character wears heavily armored garb from head to toe. A golden helm sits atop her head and bulky red and black armor with gold accents covers her chest. Emblazoned on the chest piece is a golden eagle. She protects her bottom half with black pants and silver waist armor, the latter of which matches her silver shoulder-guards. Overall, Flashpoint, from a design perspective at least, doesn’t look half bad on the Amazonian Princess. But the over-armored aspect is jarring and not in the best of ways. It could be that some things take getting used to; thankfully, this is one version that didn’t stick around for long.
17 DIANA'S BIKER OUTFIT
Imagine this: It’s the '90s and you want your leading lady to sell more books. What do you do? Without question, the first step is to strip her of the high honor that was bestowed upon her decades ago. The next logical move in this initiative is to redesign her look, give this character an outfit that no one could even dream of seeing her don. You give her a biker uniform. All jokes aside, the work of writer William Messner-Loebs and artist Mike Deodato Jr. is some of the most transformative in Wonder Woman’s extensive history. Their run, after all, gave life to Artemis and put her in a Wonder Woman costume. This character, regardless of whether she’s Wonder Woman, remains a staple in DC comics today.
Diana’s biker look is still contentious, though. A blue leather jacket with yellow accents and white stars covers her otherwise revealing top half. A seemingly leather brassier is the sole garment on her torso, if we discount the odd strappings that cover her belly button. These strappings appear to act as a belt for her thigh-high leather shorts, which has the yellow Wonder Woman symbol emblazoned on the waistband. It’s not bad by any means. This look just doesn’t befit the attire of a retired Wonder Woman still in want of a fight for justice.
16 SUPERMAN: RED SON
Superman: Red Son may primarily focus its attention on the possibility of Kal-El's pod crash-landing in the Soviet Union. However, the acclaimed Mark Millar tale does feature a fair amount of ancillary characters from DC’s regular continuity. Some of the most notable guest stars include Batman, Lex Luthor, and, of course, Wonder Woman. Diana acts as an ally to Superman as he inherits the Communist regime. This iteration of her embarks on a compelling character arc, but its Millar’s art that is arguably most striking.
Just as he does with the Man of Steel, Millar upends Wonder Woman’s America-laden color palette.
Gone is the stark white, bright red, and bold blue. In the classic color scheme's stead are blacks, a dull gray, and a dark red tone. Yet, she still dons the golden tiara and silver bracelets. Admittedly, the familiar accessories clash with the Soviet-inspired color selection. Perhaps, that is the point, though. These ideas themselves inherently clash. This is especially true when considering what Wonder Woman stands for and the historical context of the Soviet Union. Despite this, the design itself cannot help but feel somewhat appealing. Remove the Soviet undertones and the Superman iconography that’s representative of his regime, and there exists an awesome Elseworlds version of Wonder Woman.
15 SUPER FRIENDS
Simplicity often wins out. Such is the case with regards to all of the designs for the Justice League members in Super Friends… except Aquaman. For 13 years the ABC series ran, giving audiences adventure after adventure to go on with their favorite superheroes. The team’s main cast includes Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and Robin. Other characters, such as Cyborg, Hawkman, and Hawkgirl, sometimes lend a helping hand. All wear attire heavily inspired by the comics in which they featured at the time.
Wonder Woman’s Super Friends garb consists of her gold tiara with a red star, blue bracelets, red corset with a golden eagle, and blue star-spangled shorts. It’s a straightforward design that does not in any way, shape, or form stray from the precedent set in the comics. An adherence to the character’s simpler appearance may single it out from other looks previously listed. However, that’s what makes it so effective. Wonder Woman doesn’t need fancy bells and whistles to sell her as a hero. The core tenets of her characterization do the work well enough, allowing the costume she wears to simply elevate those tenets. Anything more, to a certain extent, can become distracting and do little else.
14 INJUSTICE: GODS AMONG US
NetherRealm’s Injustice series, which has spawned into an acclaimed series of comics, took many liberties with regards to the DC Universe. Of course, the biggest change is that Superman establishes tyrannical rule across the world following the murder of Lois and their unborn child, a deed he performs himself while under the influence of a strain of Joker toxin. Wonder Woman’s role is essentially that of his right hand; she’s loyal to both him and the regime.
However, the uniform she wears still harkens back to a time when she was the paragon of peace and a stalwart protector of life.
The bottom of her costume is plain in appearance as she dons blue pants and red boots. A star-spangled belt is wrapped around her waist and situated over her red top. Wonder Woman’s top garment, too, could be considered modest in design, but the eagle overlay keeps things interesting. It’s not just an emblazoned or embossed image; the gold eagle is a physical attachment that acts as an armor piece. Needless to say, its appearance is nothing if not ornate. Injustice’s Wonder Woman also wears her signature tiara and bracers, which, again, doubles down on her classic look despite the character herself drifting from those ideals.
13 FIRST APPEARANCE
First impressions are everything; therefore, when the first impression goes exceptionally well, it’s hard to top. As such, finding a place on the list for Wonder Woman’s first appearance in 1941’s All-Star Comics issue eight is no small task. In fact, difficult would be an understatement. For now, though, this positioning feels just right, particularly when considering all that follows. Wonder Woman’s initial costume represents many things -- a relatively simpler time in comics, a desperate need for progress, and the future of said progress in action. She was the epitome of the change that would come in media representation. And Wonder Woman continues flying that banner given the success of her solo film in 2017.
To think, it all started with a tiara, bracelets capable of deflecting projectiles, a flowing, star-spangled skirt, a lasso, red and white boots, and a decorative red and gold top. Here, the skirt is an actual skirt and not waist armor nor bikini shorts. This Wonder Woman lets her words do the fighting, and saves her super-heroics for a last resort or in case of emergencies. She needs little else and this uniform reflects just that. Could this work in the modern era? Probably not, but this particular design is owed much laudation.
12 THE GEORGE PÉREZ DESIGN
In the mid '80s Wonder Woman underwent an overhaul. DC put George Pérez of The New Teen Titans fame at the helm to illustrate and later write the character’s adventures. Admittedly, Pérez did not alter too much about Wonder Woman’s look. The core design remained in place, for sure. For instance, the the red boots with white stripes, that had become especially popular because of the Lynda Carter-starring television series, kept their place. Her star-spangle shorts and red top with the golden eagle did not undergo much of a redesign either.
The key difference is in the eagle’s real estate on her torso being limited to her chest area, as opposed to reaching her belt.
What makes Pérez’s additions, minimal though they may be, worthy of attention? They helped elevate the character’s presence. Sometimes, sticking to what works proves far more fruitful than transitioning in a new direction. This has been the case for nearly all of DC’s main cast of characters, Batman and the Man of Steel included. Thus, Pérez’ work ushered in a new age of Wonder Woman stories, stories that audiences were probably willing to accept because of proven talent and a familiar character design.
11 EARTH ONE
Grant Morrison’s Wonder Woman: Earth One graphic novel upended everything we know about the beloved Amazon. For instance, Steve Trevor is an African American and not a love interest and the nuances of the Amazons’ sexuality receive much needed exploration. Yet, all Earth One stories maintain at least a few of the subject character’s key attributes. For Wonder Woman, apart from some of her abilities and status amongst the Amazons, one aspect that remains intact is her overall look.
Nothing about the color scheme is changed, a tiara still sits atop her head, and her bracelets are positioned as always. In this design, Wonder Woman also wears star-spangled bottoms and the expected red top with an intricately crafted eagle situated across her chest. The ornate design of the eagle transfers to her belt, since it appears to mimic the look of bird wings. Here, the straightforward depiction of her costume is mixed with intricacy, making for one of the character’s more aesthetically pleasing designs. Of course, this is thanks in large part to the beautiful illustrations of Yanick Paquette, whose worked on Swamp Thing books and Marvel’s Civil War event. The story told within the pages of Earth One may be divisive amongst critics and fans, but there’s no denying this costume its due praise.
10 NEW 52 ARMOR
DC’s New 52 initiative in 2011 brought with it a slew of changes to the rebooted continuity. Among such changes were redesigned looks for a countless number of heroes, villains, and supporting characters. Some alterations were far more favorable than others. Because of the divide, DC redesigned the costumes of certain characters yet again in 2015. This rebranding gave new threads to Batman, Flash, Green Arrow, Green Lantern, Superman, and Wonder Woman. Opinions on these, too, were divisive.
Rarely does Wonder Woman part with the red, white, and blue scheme, but the New 52 redesign doubles down on it.
The blues and reds that adorn her suit are darker in tone, while white accents are more prevalent than almost any other iteration. She’s fully covered, as well, as her red and white-striped boots reach her thighs that are enveloped in blue pants. Her top half is similarly shielded; gold guards protect her shoulders, matching her gold tiara, gold belt, and gold bracers. The latter accessory is weaponized, with blades jutting out from the backs of her hands. This design incorporates the right amount of armor and manages to maintain Wonder Woman’s most noted costume basics, while effectively trying something new. It could be worth revisiting for future iterations of the character.
9 NEW 52
Wonder Woman’s first New 52 costume marks a big departure from her classic attire. The red and blue overtones remain a consistent aspect of the suit, though, they are noticeably darker in color. However, in place of the usual uses of gold or yellow is silver. A near complete overhaul of her design certainly fits the character’s New 52 arc, as the 2011 reboot does more than alter the hero’s outward appearance. Wonder Woman undergoes a backstory shift; no longer is she birthed from clay -- the relaunch establishes Zeus as her biological father.
No, the rebranding of her origin story doesn’t make up for the costume redesign, nor does it elevate her new story further for those who do like the blue, red, and silver garb. Yet, this works to put things into perspective. If DC was going to revisit one aspect of her lore, why not simultaneously tackle another? The new look represents a bold step forward, a fresh coat of paint on a familiar mainstay. In addition, it evidently informed the crafting of her live-action costume. The similarities are particularly noticeable when looking at the textured design of the torso piece and the cut of her waist armor.
8 JUSTICE LEAGUE: WAR
The Justice League: War animated film adapts Geoff Johns’ and Jim Lee’s Justice League: Origins, the first arc in the New 52 that sees the members of the League formally meet. Yet not everything is adapted exactly. Though a minor change, it is worth noting that one difference is present in Wonder Woman’s costume. Her New 52 threads do not make the jump to the 2014 animated adaptation. What does maintain consistence, though, is the absence of gold in favor of a silver color.
In Justice League: War, Wonder Woman’s garb for the 2011 relaunch mostly appears to have been expanded upon.
Her chest armor is still the textured red, but blue fabric sits beneath it to form a turtle neck. On her arms, she wears sleeves that do not connect to her shoulders; they, too, are dark blue. Again, these changes are small, but the difference they make in Wonder Woman’s design is huge. She has never worn anything quite like it, which is why this particular uniform has landed this high up on the list. The simplicity of her classic attire perfectly merges with a new design to make her Justice League: War look that much more appealing.
DC’s Bombshells is a line of collectible figurines wherein DC heroines are reimagined in a style reminiscent of '40s pinup images. These characters include Batwoman, Black Canary, Supergirl, Wonder Woman, and several more. The figurines were instantly a commercial success and the cultural impact was evident. It did not take long for DC to capitalize on their unique idea. In late 2015, DC Bombshells received a comic adaptation called DC Comics Bombshells. This comic run follows the women of DC during World War II, as they fight on the front lines and on the home front in a manner women were not allowed to during the real second world war.
Without question, this inventive concept makes for an incredible Wonder Woman design. This version of the characters is dressed in fashion that befits Rosie the Riveter. The hero dons a red button-up shirt with a white collared shirt beneath it, blue jean shorts, a yellow bandana that eloquently resembles her usual tiara, and has a rope strapped to her hip. It makes one ponder what would have become of Wonder Woman had she initially been designed in such a way upon her 1941 debut. Such curiosities are unanswerable, but we’re happy to have been given a tease of the possibilities.
6 LYNDA CARTER
Lynda Carter’s contribution to Wonder Woman is universally venerated. For four years on a live action television series, she played the role of the world’s greatest superheroine. In many respects, Carter continues to embody the message of the famed Amazon. When recalling the series itself, there are a few facets in particular that continue to stand out. For one, the theme song could not be anymore infectious. And her launching into a magical spin is forever ingrained in the tapestry of American nostalgia. Make no mistake, the costume design enjoys just as much fond remembrance.
The suits Carter wears are nearly enough in number that she deserves her own list of ranked Wonder Woman looks.
But the costume pictured above is the Wonder Woman suit. Because this counts as her first, it’s worthy of special consideration. However, it’s also, subjectively, the best. The eagle on her torso is bright gold and streamlined in its design, as opposed to the one that would appear on a later costume where the wings mimic the look of drooping leaves. Another tweak that allows the original suit to stand above the rest are the number of stars plastered across her blue shorts. Does the original suit having more stars make it any better than other Carter costumes? Not necessarily, but it certainly counts for something.
5 JUSTICE LEAGUE: THE NEW FRONTIER
Darwyn Cooke’s seminal and award-winning miniseries, DC: The New Frontier was adapted into an animated feature film. The film, Justice League: The New Frontier, hit store shelves in 2008, three years removed from the series’ 2005 publication. Set in the '50s as the Cold War is brewing, The New Frontier acts as a meeting of two brands of hero. Golden Age figures such as Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman must work alongside the new Silver Age characters, Green Lantern and the Flash. This premise is at the core of the comic series and the film adaptation.
Wonder Woman’s role is that of a peacekeeper and vigilante. She fights in World War II and continues offering humanitarian aid afterwards. Her uniform is fitting, then. Wonder Woman dons the gold tiara, silver bracelets, bright red boots, and her golden eagle-covered top. Nothing new here; however, one noted change is in the design of the character’s skirt. It’s blue, but has a pattern that makes it appear to be plated. In the comic, several stars adorn the skirt; the film’s design features a sole star, centered just below her waist. Both looks capture the spirit of the character’s ventures in this alternate world’s 20th century conflicts. They also manage to seem ripped right from the Silver Age, as though they should’ve been her actual character model.
To be fair, Wonder Woman’s overall character design in DC’s Animated Universe is what ensures this version a spot in the top five. Animated Wonder Woman is hard to beat. All of DC’s animated series boil the heroes and villains down to their basic forms, visually. Meanwhile, the characters themselves and the stories in which they take part are intricately written. It’s a fine balance that the WB Animation team continuously masters thanks to all involved. In this regard, Wonder Woman isn’t a special case as this holds true for every one of the characters.
But, in the pantheon of incredible designs for the Amazon, this one certainly stands out.
Everything this iteration of the hero wears is standard in appearance. Her star-spangled shorts are donned, so, too, is her red top with the gold eagle. The gold tiara sits atop her head and silver bracelets help to deflect projectiles as usual. Even the white-striped, red boots make a come back. Classic Wonder Woman indeed. The beauty rests in the fact that this highly stylized look can stand the test of time, and translate to modern animation. Perhaps, that explains the appeal -- this animation style elevates what visually works for Wonder Woman.
3 KINGDOM COME
Few comic stories are as universally beloved as Mark Waid’s Kingdom Come. His tale imagines a world beyond the age of superheroes that we know and love. Superman retires to a Kansas farm, Batman, crippled by years of vigilantism, retreats from the spotlight as well. Meanwhile, Wonder Woman is stripped of many of her roles, specifically in relation to Themyscira, but continues the fight for justice. This reality, on Earth-22, is a harsh one. At the start of Waid’s story, published in 1996, the cruelty of the world the League knew has only escalated. Thus, the heroes must return as a new threat arises, a threat that only they can eliminate.
Wonder Woman wears many costumes during Kingdom Come; thanks to Alex Ross’ impeccable artwork, all of them look great. It’s the first suit she’s seen in that earns a spot on this list, though. Her uniform is constructed in an all too familiar fashion. What does receive a different design, however, is the cut of her skirt. She doesn’t don shorts, a bikini-like undergarment, or a waist armor-inspired skirt. Two long pieces of cloth cover her bottom half, front and back, and are connected to her waist by a belt, which appears larger than usual. On paper, these changes seem minor, but they make a world of difference aesthetically.
2 DC REBIRTH
DC Rebirth acts as a soft reboot for the DC Universe. This post-New 52 continuity essentially repositions the DCU back to the shape it had taken prior to the events of Flashpoint. Of course, this comes with some confusion and further requests for audiences to suspend their disbelief. There are presently two Wally Wests! Regardless, the Rebirth initiative is getting a lot right. By many accounts, it’s actively restoring fans’ faith in the future of the beloved superhero franchise. Naturally, you cannot have a relaunch of any kind without characters receiving redesigns and uniforms earning updates.
Wonder Woman’s new threads, as always, recall her classic attire while also pushing things forward.
There’s no star-spangled anything and the skirt she wears is waist armor befitting a warrior. The bright red and blue color scheme remain at the fore, so, too, does the golden accents and her silver bracelets. DC’s effort to move Wonder Woman away from representing Americana and position her as an international icon removes her tiara’s red star in some costumes, but it’s on display in others. In either version, the suit itself is a sight to behold. Disregarding some of her heavily armored looks in the past, Wonder Woman has never looked like more of a warrior.
To say that the DCEU’s Wonder Woman has been mired in controversy is an understatement. There existed contention about the casting of Gal Gadot for myriad reasons. Additional concerns were raised about the costume’s sculpt, color, and the way Gadot looks in it. Her brief, but show-stealing, performance in Batman v Superman alleviated most of the trouble. Which is great, but the focus of this entry is entirely on her Wonder Woman/Justice League uniform. It is arguably the best Wonder Woman suit yet.
A cursory glance makes it appear to be the Rebirth outfit brought to life. The color schemes are identical, the sculpt of the textured chest armor bear a striking resemblance, and the eagle emblems seem identically crafted. The same can be said of the waist armors’ cut. One key difference is in the star on Wonder Woman’s tiara. While usually red, the DCEU version has the star matching the golden hue of her tiara. This small touch and others set the suit apart from its counterparts in other media and the comics. In truth, especially when considering DC Rebirth’s design, placing Gadot’s uniform in the top spot seems an arbitrary choice. But that a live-action version of her more warrior-like attire has finally made it to the big screen is worthy of even higher praise.