Is Wonder Woman's New Look The Pinnacle Of Female Superhero Costumes?

Tall, statuesque, and pulsing with Amazonian blood, Diana (Gal Gadot) doesn't easily blend in with the outside world in the film Wonder Woman. Her human guide, Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), recognizes that she desperately needs a disguise. So, their first destination in London is a department store.
While Diana is confounded by many aspects of the human world, what puzzles her the most is women's fashion. In the dressing room, she itches her way out of constraining corsets, pouffy skirts, and tight necks, destroying many an outfit in the process. A girl can't fight in a period piece costume.
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The costume Diana eventually does fight in is perhaps the ultimate superhero getup. Channeling the aesthetics of ancient Greek armor, Diana's costume is forged at the intersection of form and function. Her metallic sleeves block bullets, and harness electricity. Her shield can withstand the force of machine guns. When caught in the clutches of her golden lasso, a person is forced to tell the truth. No wonder Diana hates the clothing in the London department store.
So, compared to Diana's tremendous and practical outfit, how do other women superheroes and supervillains' costumes stack up? Spoiler: not so great.
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The Flashy Outfits

Broadly, superpowered women's outfits can be sorted into those that have color, and those that don't.

Before delving into the absolutely astounding quantity of black leather, let's take a look at the more unique costumes. Typically, the color palette is limited to red and blue.
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Gal Gadot As Wonder Woman
Featured In: Wonder Woman (2017)

In the past, Wonder Woman's costume has been star-spangled, patriotic, and slightly resembling a leotard. No longer. For her first feature film, costume designers applied Wonder Woman's historic red and blue color palette an ancient Greek-inspired set of armor.

Let's get something out of the way: Diana's costume is undeniably revealing, and designed to show her body. In fact, that's what director Patty Jenkins intended. Jenkins told Entertainment Weekly, "I, as a woman, want Wonder Woman to be hot as hell, fight badass, and look great at the same time...And my hero, in my head, has really long legs."

More than sexy, though, Wonder Woman's costume is also practical. The armor on her torso, shins, and arms protect her from stray bullets. There are designated spots for her lasso, sword, and shield.

Diana's uniform is an essential component of her ability to fight on the front lines of WWI, and not an excuse to show off her figure.
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Warner Bros TV/DC Comics/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock
Lynda Carter As Wonder Woman
Featured In: Wonder Woman (1975-1979)

While in London, Gadot's Wonder Woman has to cover up her Amazonian apparel with a pouffy, long black dress.

On the other hand, Lynda Carter's Wonder Woman doesn't need to worry about disguising her costume. When Wonder Woman spins around, her civilian clothes are replaced by her superhero outfit. In under three circular steps, Diana Prince becomes Wonder Woman.

But compared to Gadot's armored outfit, Carter's Wonder Woman appears to be a scantily clad marcher in a Memorial Day parade. Her breastplate won't be stopping bullets anytime soon. This Wonder Woman costume is patriotic, but not practical.
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Mca TV/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock
Lindsay Wagner As Jaime Sommers/The Bionic Woman
Featured In: The Bionic Woman (1976–1978)

In addition to having technologically enhanced body parts, the world's first cyborg has style.

Jamie Sommers and Lynda Carter's Diana Prince both rock outfits of the disco era. Unlike Wonder Woman, the Bionic Woman doesn't need a costume to enhance her superpowers. Her powers are embedded into her cybernetic body. Clothing is superfluous.
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Moviestore Collection/REX/Shutterstock
Jessica Alba As The Susan Storm/The Invisible Woman
Featured In: Fantastic Four (2005), Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007)

The Invisible Woman and her crime-fighting buddies wear the same skin-tight blue outfits, and for good reason. Made of "unstable molecules," their costumes can adapt to each of their unique powers. When Susan becomes invisible, so does her costume. Like Wonder Woman's, this costume has purpose beyond aesthetics.
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Tri-Star/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock
Helen Slater As Kara Zor-El/Supergirl
Featured In: Supergirl (1984)

Poor Supergirl never had a chance at a truly unique costume. Kara Zor-El, Clark Kent's female counterpart, wears a feminized version of Superman's red, white, and tight outfit. It must get cold flying around in a mini skirt.
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Snap Stills/REX/Shutterstock
Jennifer Garner As Elektra Natchios
Featured In: Daredevil (2003), Elektra (2005)

Elektra and Wonder Woman are both of Greek descent, but that's about where the resemblance stops. Compare the satin snaking up Eletkra's arms to Wonder Woman's metallic forearm shields. Does Elektra hire someone to tie those every the morning? Essentially, Elektra's fighting in Victoria's Secret lingerie.

On the whole, this costume seems like a big inconvenience.
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Moviestore Collection/REX/Shutterstock
Famke Janssen As Dr. Jean Grey
Featured In: X-Men (2000), X2: X-Men United (2003), X-Men: The Last Stand (2006), X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

Grey's signature look is "color-coordinated hair blowing in the wind." As you can see, her red hair is almost the precise shade as her red outfit. Sophie Turner plays a young Dr. Jean Grey, and perfects the same look when battling Apocalypse.
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20th Century Fox/Marvel Entertainment
Jennifer Lawrence As Mystique
Featured In: X-Men: First Class (2011), X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

Let's be honest: Mystique's costume is not a costume. Jennifer Lawrence spent eight hours having body paint applied to her naked body, and then traipsed around the film, still naked.

For the shape-shifting mutant Mystique, clothing is a hindrance. For Lawrence on her fifth layer of airbrush indigo paint, this "costume" is a hindrance.
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The Identical Outfits

Comic-book superheroes are literally more colorful than movie counterparts. In the comic book Watchmen, Ozymandias wears a purple and gold royal get-up. In the film, he wears black. In the upcoming movie Aquaman, Jason Momoa will trade in Aquaman's signature green leggings for — you guessed it! — black.

The same phenomenon applies to women superheroes. As part of their transition to the screen, these women are given skin-tight black clothes and a leather jacket.

Here are the anti-Wonder Women outfits.
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Alicia Silverstone As Batgirl
Featured In: Batman and Robin (1997)

Yes, yes, yes: This happened. Silverstone's Batgirl follows the code that characterizes most women superhero and supervillain costumes. The costume is black, leather, skin-tight, and paired with a terrifically inconvenient cape.
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20th Century Fox/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock
Ellen Page As Kitty Pryde
Featured In: X-Men: The Last Stand (2006), X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

In the comics, Kitty Pryde's torso is covered by a swath of bright yellow. In the films, though, she's been "modernized" by a black leather jacket, black pants, black boots, and...you get the drift.
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20th Century Fox/Greenway/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock
Julie Newmar As Catwoman
Featured In: Batman (1966–1967)

In this '60s-era incarnation of Catwoman, Newmar wears cat ears straight out of the year-round Halloween section of Ricky's.
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20th Century Fox/Greenway/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock
Eartha Kitt As Catwoman
Featured In: Batman (1967–1968)

Kitt's Catwoman wears largely the same costume as Newmar's, but with one signature addition: Kitt introduces the "hiss" to the Catwoman role. Years later, Halle Berry echoed Kitt's performance with her own purrs. Overall, though, Kitt is yet another drop in the "black leather costume" bucket.
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Halle Berry As Catwoman
Featured In: Catwoman (2004)

Of the many iterations of Catwoman, Berry's costume is the most confounding. There's no way fighting Batman was easy with all-leather pants and a completely exposed stomach.
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Warner Bros/DC Comics/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock
Michelle Pfeiffer As Catwoman
Featured In: Batman Returns (1992)

There's never been a shinier supervillain than Michelle Pfeiffer's Catwoman, who wears long claws and frequently licks her arms (or pelt?) with vigor.
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Halle Berry As Storm
Featured In: X-Men (2000), X2: X-Men United (2003), X-Men: The Last Stand (2006), X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

Like Silverstone's Batgirl, Storm also wears an all-black suit and a long cape.
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Marvel Enterprises/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock
Scarlett Johansson As The Black Widow
Featured In: Iron Man 2 (2010), The Avengers (2012), Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), Avengers 2: Age of Ultron (2015)

The Black Widow also wears all black in the comic books. Second to an invisibility cloak, black is the most convenient color garment for spies prone to frequent acts of hand-to-hand combat.
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Chloe Bennett As Daisy Johnson
Featured In: Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013–present)

Like the rest of the Marvel agents', Daisy Johnson's wardrobe is largely relegated to black.
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Zoe Saldana As Gamora
Featured In: Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

Aside from her green extraterrestrial skin, Gamora's outfit is as standard monochrome as they come.
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