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Wonder Woman Costume History

Updated on September 21, 2016

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Wonder Woman Costume History
Wonder Woman Costume History

When a hero has been around for as long as Wonder Woman, there are going to be some fashion changes. A girl has to stay with the times. Artists are going to put their own little touches to the character. Some of these changes will be huge and others more subtle. While one outfit might be cheered, drastic changes usually bring on jeers.

Original Wonder Woman Costume
Original Wonder Woman Costume

Original

When she was first introduced and for a very short time, Wonder Woman was wearing a skirt. This element would come back every now and then but it never lasts very long. In the 1950’s they played around with her having red roman sandals instead boots, to play up the Greek Amazonian part of her character. However, boots are a lot more functional to fight in than sandals. Not sure why they keep adding heels.
Other than the sandals and skirt, the rest of the most recognized costume elements were present in her Golden Age roots. She had the tiara to represent her royal status, not because she was winning beauty pageants. Of course, she could and has won these as well. The Lasso of Truth was at her side and ready to use. Her bracelets were on her wrist not only to accessorize but also to deflect bullets. Let’s not forget the patriotic color pattern of red shoes, blue shorts with starts and red top with a gold emblem.

Classic

The most recognizable costume has had slight adjustments made to it over the years but remained relatively constant.

As Princess of the Amazons, she wears her tiara with a red star on the front and it can be used as a boomerang to attack her fleeing opponents. She also has a pair of indestructible bracelets, which she uses to deflect bullets. Both the tiara and bracelets change in thickness and prominence but for the most part are left rather simple. She also wears a pair of red earrings. Who knows, maybe they will make them into cherry bombs someday but for now they are purely for decoration.

The biggest changes to her costume are often made to the shorts and top. The shorts are colored in different shades of blue with white stars. The most noticeable changes are made to their length. They have varied in size from almost touching her knees to practically being a thong. The belt holding her Lasso of Truth and connecting her top and bottom will vary in its height but kept a basic white or gold color. Wonder Woman’s top is where the most changes happen. The fabric stays a shade of red but the amount of skin being shown changes based on the artist interpretation of both the amount of fabric and the size of Wonder Woman’s curves. She started out fighting with the Americans to take out the evil Nazis during WW2. This is why despite her being Greek she has a very American patriotic costume. Over the years this has gradually changed. The American eagle emblem on her bust has slowly transformed less into an eagle and more into the letter W.

The boots have remained red with a white trim but the size of the heel changes. They can be nice and short so she can quickly run to the rescue or so long she could easily impale a vampire through the heart... if needed.

It is the image below that is most often used when Wonder Woman crosses over into other forms of media. Cartoons, movies, television and even video games frequently use some form of this costume style.

Classic Wonder Woman Costume
Classic Wonder Woman Costume

The 1960s

The 60’s were not a good time in fashion history. It was a time of bell-bottoms and disco. Even our Amazonian goddess wasn’t impervious to its effects. In 1968 Wonder Woman issue #178 had Diana Prince go Mod. She wore a variety of “hip” clothing. That’s right go-go boots, jumpers, mini skirts, shift dresses, rain trench coats and the superhero classic, tights. Fans of Wonder Woman call it the white jumpsuit era. Thankfully it was short lived.

Wonder Woman Mod Costume
Wonder Woman Mod Costume
Wonder Woman Biker Shorts
Wonder Woman Biker Shorts

Early 1990s

The 1990s were a dark time for Wonder Woman. This is not a reference to the color of the costume she donned for a brief moment in history but the whole ensemble. The comics were attempting to take on the grim-and-gritty tone of the times. This was an epic fail and angered comic fans everywhere. Even wearing biker shorts and a jacket, she still managed to show off more skin than when in her star spangled swimsuit. At least she held onto her red earrings and indestructible bracelets. Most people are trying to forget about this phase of her life.

Wonder Woman in Pants
Wonder Woman in Pants

Wonder Woman #600 Makeover

This revamp of the costume has come with some mixed reviews. That is to be expected with any major change. Jim Lee was the brave artist who took on the challenge of designing this new outfit. The creators were going for more of a street fighter look and move away from the living American flag image.

To keep it a Wonder Woman costume the tiara, bracelets and Lasso of Truth are still present. However, the rest was a major overhaul. She now has black leggings or pants and the red boots are gone. Her top looks more like a tight fitting, low cut shirt but they did include the old color scheme. She is wearing a lot more jewelry. I imagine that is because she is not worried about getting mugged. Once again a black jacket has been reintroduced. This time around it is more appropriate with the overall wardrobe. She no longer looks like she should be working a corner.

Wonder Woman 52 Costume
Wonder Woman 52 Costume

Wonder Woman 52

For the New 52 Wonder Woman would get another costume upgrade. It would once again be a variation of her classic look. The major difference would be replacing the gold colors with silver and incorporating slimmer accents. The silver tiara was thinned and she is now wearing a thick silver choker. Both of these pieces of jewelry have a small red star on them. In addition to her silver bracelets there is a slim arm band around her left upper arm. The eagle/W emblem is still on her chest but it has been moved much higher and now accentuates the curves on top. The red bodice is back and tighter than ever. This is one of the few costumes that I worry she might experience a wardrobe malfunction. A slim silver line separates the bikini bottoms from her top. These bottoms cover up just enough to pass sensor codes and not much else. The two stars on the front and two on her back cheeks do not add a lot of class. Her boots now match the bottom of her costume instead of the red top.

Wonder Woman Amazonian Battle Armor
Wonder Woman Amazonian Battle Armor

Amazonian Battle Armor

Wonder Woman may be tough but she is not indestructible. When the threat is serious enough, she will suit up in her Amazonian battle armor. This armor made its first appearance in the 1987 storyline Challenge of the Gods.

It was made to look like an eagle but this golden metal suit has left fans with mixed emotions. Some think it looks amazing and others have dubbed it the Flying Chicken Armor.

Real Life Interpretations

Television

Cathy Lee Crosby was the first woman to portray a live action Wonder Woman on television. The 1974 pilot was deemed one of the hundred dumbest events in television. Not hard to believe since she was a blond, did not wear the costume, and had no super powers.

Lynda Carter is the most recognized actress to have played the Amazonian Princess. For three seasons people watched Diana Prince transform into Wonder Woman. Over 3 decades later she is still the standard for who Wonder Woman is.

Adrianne Palicki was cast in a 2011 Wonder Woman pilot that did not get picked up. Despite never airing on television, the show still has a huge following. Her costume was the subject of much debate. Originally there was an outcry at having her wear the revealing blue shorts/underwear. The network quickly changed it to pants and people shouted that Wonder Woman doesn’t wear pants. Even Wonder Woman can’t win them all.

Cathy Lee Crosby, Lynda Carter, Adrianne Palicki as Wonder Woman
Cathy Lee Crosby, Lynda Carter, Adrianne Palicki as Wonder Woman

Halloween Costumes

There is no end to the different Wonder Woman costumes that come out every Halloween. Some are similar to what has appeared in the comic books and others are more liberal in their interpretations. For some reason it is often made into a bikini instead of one piece.

Wonder Woman Halloween Costumes
Wonder Woman Halloween Costumes

Models

Models, actresses, and fans have been dressing up as Wonder Woman for years.

Wonder Woman Cosplay Costume Models
Wonder Woman Cosplay Costume Models

1967 Woner Woman Comedy Test Pilot

This pilot was shot and never picked up. It was meant to be more comedic, much like the popular Adam West, Batman television show.

Sources

Google Images (Images appeared on several sites and was unsure of original)

www.comicvine.com

www.wikipedia.com

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    • rabbit75 profile image

      rabbit75 4 years ago

      Great hub about the ever changing look of my favorite female hero from the DC Camp. Her best costume is still the one that Lynda Carter wore, and the worst one is the 60s version. Great hub!

    • Tonyx35 profile image

      J Antonio Marcelino 4 years ago from Illinois, USA

      This is the first time I've ever noticed the other changes around the chest design. Always thought it was just the two. The Live Action TV series and the (W-looking one) Justice League Animated series.

      Nice work Geekdom. +1 Interesting and Awesome

    • Geekdom profile image
      Author

      Geekdom 4 years ago

      I agree with Lynda Carter's costume being thee Wonder Woman design. It is great when a fan of the hero being discussed enjoys the article. Thanks for commenting.

    • Geekdom profile image
      Author

      Geekdom 4 years ago

      Thank you for the Awesome and Interesting Votes.

      Sometime the small tweaks, like the eagle/W design can be more interesting than the drastic makeovers. It is attention to those kind of details that bring a character to life.

    • M. T. Dremer profile image

      M. T. Dremer 4 years ago from United States

      I had no idea wonder woman had so many different costume variations. Personally, I like the #600 makeover with the jacket and pants. I feel like it's the most realistic, yet still recognizable. Also, that storyline seems the most sensible to do on television, if she ever does get picked up in some form. Although, I would also be fine with them taking the Smallville approach and having her do the majority of the series without the trademark costume. Either way, I hope she gets some screen representation soon. Great article!

    • Geekdom profile image
      Author

      Geekdom 4 years ago

      Thanks for reading and commenting. When I was writing the article I was also surprised on how many costumes I had no idea about before hand. It would be nice to see a live action Wonder Woman soon, especially with all the great superhero films coming out.

    • limpet profile image

      Ian Stuart Robertson 2 years ago from London England

      The movie released showing the new Wonder Woman garbed in all leather outfit seems to 'do the trick' as far as creating a superheroine battling malevolent forces. Gone are the metal bracelets and replaced by leather wrist protection. Missing also is the coil of rope which was one of her more useful acoutrements in the past however Wonder Woman lives on!

    • Geekdom profile image
      Author

      Geekdom 2 years ago

      I do like the promo shots that were released of Wonder Woman's costume. I will be updating this article after the movie is released. I want to make sure no changes are made, before entering it in. Thanks for sharing!

    • limpet profile image

      Ian Stuart Robertson 2 years ago from London England

      Wonder Woman should never be conceived as a sex object but rather as an exceptional personna. The main superhero genre in my heyday were Superman and Batman followed by an assortment of their peer group all expertise different expertise some having girlfriends, some a side kick or even a manservant. Wonder Woman would undertake each mission as a challenge and had to adapt to any inevitable obstructions. One of W.W.'s attibutes is that she is not vain or narcistist so keeping the trend in ladies fashions would not be a priority. High heeled boots would be a hindrance in combat situations as footwork to maintain balance is essential.

    • Geekdom profile image
      Author

      Geekdom 2 years ago

      I completely agree. Sadly, Wonder Woman's early history has a lot of female subjugation built into it. Early versions had her being powerless if bound by a man.

    • limpet profile image

      Ian Stuart Robertson 2 years ago from London England

      There were quite a few times where Wonder Woman got tied up, bound and gagged by some evil fiend. Trapped or put in a cage but W.W. always managed to escape and then it was the turn for her adversary to get tied up with the magick lasoo.

    • Geekdom profile image
      Author

      Geekdom 2 years ago

      Thanks for the comments. It is great when fans of the heroes help add to the history of these fantastic characters.

    • limpet profile image

      Ian Stuart Robertson 2 years ago from London England

      Just a few thoughts on symbolism in the W.W. collection of garments. The tiara which also functioned as a throwing weapon bore a single star in the middle to represent faith, perfection and protection from evil. The eagle embroidered on W.W.'s brassiere symbolised strength, leadership and vision. In the colour comics the eagle was yellow for physical or sexual energy, later vairiations had that eagle become gold or brass.

    • Geekdom profile image
      Author

      Geekdom 2 years ago

      I like it! Great thoughts.

    • Charming2020 2 years ago

      The metal bracelets have a history. Hercules defeated the Amazons by trickery and put them in chains. Aphrodite, who rescued them, requires them to wear the bracelets as a reminder of their defeat. If the metal bracelets are chained together by a man, the Amazon loses her powers until the chain is removed. They have their upside though - the Amazons can deflect arrows and bullets with them.

      Being tied up has no effect unless it is with her own lasso.

      The only costume I really hate is the thong. It looks stupid and uncomfortable (and the accompanying top defies the laws of physics). I don't mind skimpy - she is from a tropical island and they all dress that way, even in battle and athletic contests. Not requiring armor to keep from being injured is part of the skill. Yeah, it is fan service too, but it makes sense and is traditional.

    • limpet profile image

      Ian Stuart Robertson 2 years ago from London England

      Funny how i was thinking about all the W.W. hubs prior to my 'logging on' here, and what more can be offered on this topic and lo and behold there's a notification. I commenced reading Wonder Woman comics during the 1950s but there was nothing comparable on film until the 70's television series. That is not to say that there weren't any female action heroines, there was, but in a secondary or superficial role. Personally i always view my W.W. character either in her original costume or modified to a 21st century type outfit. Naturally, the tiara, bracelets and magick lasoo must never change!

    • Geekdom profile image
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      Geekdom 2 years ago

      Thank you for the historical background and sharing your thoughts. I appreciate informative comments.

    • Geekdom profile image
      Author

      Geekdom 2 years ago

      @limpet Thanks for sharing your personal history with the character. It is amazing to see how these characters have become a part of our lives over the years.

    • limpet profile image

      Ian Stuart Robertson 21 months ago from London England

      Any more comments to keep the thread of this topic constant?

    • Geekdom profile image
      Author

      Geekdom 20 months ago

      I am currently debating if I will remain on hubpages. If I decide to keep writing here, I will be updating my hubs.

    • limpet profile image

      Ian Stuart Robertson 18 months ago from London England

      A question has arisen ' Where did the starry pants come in?' Initially W.W. wore a skirt whenever in costume. The white stars on a blue background may have been out of patriotism due to the war effort, both world war II and the cold war era. And on the subject of costumery, i'd thought W.W. should be garbed in a flight suit with helmet, oxygen respirator etc. when flying in her stealth plane.

    • limpet profile image

      Ian Stuart Robertson 18 months ago from London England

      No need for Wonder Woman to use oxygen mask when flying in her stealth plane. Her ear rings allow Wonder Woman to breath even in outer space. Don't ask me how, just another little oddity like her 'lassoo of truth' i suppose. Still think though W.W. should be kitted out in a flight suit on airborne missions.

    • limpet profile image

      Ian Stuart Robertson 14 months ago from London England

      We had disco by the mid 60's but not by such a name. They were phased in as 'discotheques' with music being Beatles or other Merseybeat bands, San Francisco flower power, L.A. hard rock and finally Motown when we started to call them disco's. It's a pity Wonder Woman ventured into 1970's style albeit to keep fashionable with the era. Emma Peel (played by the saucy actress Diana Rigg)the glamorous Avengers operative was the ultimate icon of the quintessential English girl about town. That was when there was a lull in W.W. activity however she probably needed to keep with the times and is now a part of the fantastic Wonder Woman saga.

    • limpet profile image

      Ian Stuart Robertson 12 months ago from London England

      Wonder Woman for ever !

    • limpet profile image

      Ian Stuart Robertson 10 months ago from London England

      Indeed!

    • limpet profile image

      Ian Stuart Robertson 10 months ago from London England

      Portraying the superhero/heroine her latest Wonder Woman and the anticipated next Wonder Woman movie, Actress Gal Gadot envisages an empowerment for women themed character. She has certainly gotten that down to a fine art!

    • Gadfly 8 months ago from Olde London Towne

      Greetings my little Darklings.

      Gadfly is the name, Lantokey my habitat in olde London towne. As an avid enthusiast of the Wonder Woman phenomena i regard the costumery as pivotal in her ventures. First and foremost W.W. is an Amazon warrior woman whose exploits are legendary. Their horse handling skills and the fact that they resented male intrusion unless consentual caused some consternation among the early civilizations. The modern Wonder Woman epoch began in 1941 as a crime fighter bring criminals to justice, capturing enemy spies and generally getting up to 'hi jinx' along the way. By the 1970's W.W. had become a Feminist icon.

    • Gadfly 8 months ago from Olde London Towne

      The two variants of the Wonder Woman costumery which 'stand out' strikingly to me anyway are in particular the flight suit. Functional yet feminine. At around that time there was a T.V. puppet series called Captain Starlite and he was backed by a team of glamorous female pilots flying the Angel interceptors. Their flight suits were quite similar to the one W.W. has on.The other W.W. costume that flatters her is the one with her wearing biker pants with a jacket, the outfit allows her to fit into any locale any scenario. Her boots here are ideal for a defensive stance when subduing a male adversary (or several males opponents for that matter as she kick singularly to his lower body parts or deliver high 'spin kicks' to their upper body. As Wonder Woman never carried handcuffs with her to restrain a prisoner, the lassoo could be useful for tying up more than one of them.

    • limpet profile image

      Ian Stuart Robertson 6 months ago from London England

      We are currently experiencing a re emergence of the Wonder Woman genre in the media these days possibly reflecting on the further advances women are making in many aspects of society. The fact that W.W. has in her wardrobe some costumes where she is 'more covered up' than in some of her more revealing ones is a credit to her enigmatic personna.

    • limpet profile image

      Ian Stuart Robertson 6 months ago from London England

      Be pleased to hear what 'the Fashionista' would say on Wonder Woman as a style icon.

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