Black Widow Costume History

Updated on October 28, 2019
Geekdom profile image

I'm an entertainment enthusiast with six years of experience as an online pop culture writer and an interest in superhero costumes.


The first woman to take on the role of Black Widow (who was not an agent of Satan) was Natalia "Natasha" Alianovna Romanova. Her first appearance would be as a villain in the 1964 issue Tales of Suspense #52. Stan Lee, Don Rico and Don Heck created her to be a Russian spy working against Iron Man. She was one of the greatest spies the KGB ever had and when she switched sides, she then became one of S.H.I.E.L.D’s greatest agents. Natasha has taken Red Room’s own version of the Super-Soldier Serum and although not to Captain America’s level, she is at peak physical condition and much older than she appears.

When we were first introduced to the Black Widow, she was not a costumed villain. Instead, she would dress in regular clothes to blend in with the local background. Okay, maybe she dressed more like the female spies in a James Bond film, but the point is the same: She wore the clothing people would wear while walking down the streets.

Original Black Widow Costume
Original Black Widow Costume

Original Costume

After a couple appearances, she was given a uniform to wear on her missions. Although uniform might be a bit of a stretch. She looks like a cross between a superhero and a streetwalker. I doubt very much that she was able to blend in and do much spying while wearing this getup. Black Widow was given a masquerade mask to hide her identity. Since capes were all the fashion in the comic book world, she had a small one that clasped together with a simple brooch. The brooch had the letter B on it, so her enemies knew who they were facing. She wore a tight black leather dress, that looked like something a dominatrix might have. This classy costume was topped off with a fishnet that covered the rest of her body. The dress would remain black but the rest of the costume would switch between solid blue or black. Sometimes the fishnet would be colored in and at other times the skin could be seen underneath.

Classic Black Widow Costume
Classic Black Widow Costume

Classic Costume

As classy as Natasha’s previous costume was, they decided to change it up in the 1970 issue of Amazing Spider-Man #86. This new costume would be much more popular and become her trademark look. Many of her future costumes will be variations of the one seen here. Gadgets and weaponry would be added, the colors of the clothes might fluctuate and they will often update her belt with the times but this is the look she continually goes back to.

Don’t let the skin-tight black bodysuit fool you. Just because there is not a curve on her body hidden in the outfit does not mean she is not well protected. It is made from a special fabric that protects her from extreme temperatures and small-arms fire. There are also suction cups to help her climb smooth surfaces. To add some color to this solid black costume, Natasha often wore a yellow belt (with hidden weapons) and bracelets that were actually formidable armaments.

Grey Black Widow Costume
Grey Black Widow Costume

Grey Widow

Most of our heroes in the Marvel Universe had their costumes redesigned in the ’80s. Natasha did not change much but did have some slight alterations made to her outfit. The biggest change would be going from an all-black costume to an all grey costume (HUGE). Since she was still the Black Widow, a black spider was put on the left side of her chest and a huge black widow was put on her back. For a while, all her accessories were removed. Rather than relying on gadgets, she used her amazing fighting skills.

This costume would be worn through the 80s and when the 90s came around they just threw a jacket over her regular costume. Personally, I think the jacket made her look like Scarlett from GI Joe. However, she did get her weapon bracelets back.

Black Widow Red and Black Spider Suit
Black Widow Red and Black Spider Suit


The jacket was not working so they came up with a new costume for Natasha to wear. This new Black Widow costume would be much more stylized. She went back to the black bodysuit but to stress the black widow part, she used red to accent the costume. There were eight red stripes that ran across her sides and legs to simulate spider legs. So as not to ruin the spider leg effect, she wore a weapon strap around her leg instead of a belt around her waist. To keep up with the red theme, her famous bracelets were sometimes painted red.

Yelena Belova as Black Widow
Yelena Belova as Black Widow

Yelena Belova

The second Black Widow to be trained after Natalia "Natasha" Romanova defected from Russia was Yelena Belova. She first appeared in the 1999 issue of Inhumans #5 and had her backstory explained in the three-issue miniseries Black Widow: Pale Little Spider released in 2002. Yelena was trained by Pyotr Starkovsky, who also originally trained Natasha. Yelena continually felt inferior to the famous Natalia Romanova and would become obsessed with defeating her.

Yelena’s costume is very similar to the classic Black Widow look. Except, her outfit comes in two distinct separate pieces. She wears a black, skin-tight, long sleeve shirt that fully exposes her midriff. She is obviously very proud of her abdominal workout routine. Her pants are just as skin tight as other Black Widow costumes but hers comes with belt loops, justifying her need to wear a belt. Yelena’s belt band is very plain and the buckle has a simple red hourglass to represent her codename. Belova wears a pair of weapon bracelets that have become identified with the Black Widow.

Classic Black Widow Costume
Classic Black Widow Costume

Back to the Basics

After trying out several different costumes Natasha decided to go back to her classic look. Some modern updates were put into the design without sacrificing the sleek black appearance. Rather than having this costume be a one piece of tight-fitting fabric, it would now appear to have sections that were put together seamlessly. In many interpretations, this costume actually shines as if it were made of a latex or rubber material. The belt had a clear red hourglass on the buckle to represent a black widow. This was a nice subtle touch for a spy, as opposed to her previously blatant spider suit. For the first time, we have been able to see how she is able to get into this outfit, with the placement of a zipper on the front. I am not sure if this was added because people were wondering how she changed or if she was competing with other heroines like Catwoman who prefer the partially zipped approach when getting dressed in a hurry.

Monica Chang

In the Ultimate Universe, Natasha ended up being a traitor and was eventually killed by Hawkeye, with an arrow between her eyes. The ex-wife of Nick Fury, Monica Chang, would become the next Black Widow and become the first Asian-American to take on the role of Black Widow. Working with the Avengers she decided to keep the codename despite the team's recent betrayal by Natasha.

Monica Chang’s Black Widow outfit is an advanced battle armor. It makes her much more capable of hanging with the heavy hitters like Thor, Iron Man and Captain America. This all-black costume is divided up into different plates. The only added color is a small red hourglass on the belt section. Unlike previous Black Widow costumes, Monica would have her head fully covered with only her eyes exposed. It gives her the appearance of a ninja, ready for battle.

Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow in Avengers and Iron Man
Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow in Avengers and Iron Man

Movie Appearances

Marvel is trying to create a movie universe in which characters from one movie exist and appear in other films related to the Marvel franchise. Actors now sign contracts to not only appear in their own movie title sequels but other movies based in the same Universe.

We were first introduced to Black Widow in Iron Man 2 when Scarlett Johansson came on screen to keep an eye on Robert Downey Jr.’s character, Tony Stark/Iron Man. Black Widow then had a bigger part in the Avengers movie released two years later. In Avengers we learn a lot more about this ex KGB agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Black Widow Halloween Costumes
Black Widow Halloween Costumes

Halloween Costumes

The Halloween Costumes are similar to the versions used in the movies and thus her classic look.

 Black Widow Cosplay Costumes
Black Widow Cosplay Costumes

Real-Life Portrayals

Even with Black Widow Costumes available in most halloween shops, fans and models will often make their own more detailed versions.

Yelena Belova Black Widow Cosplay Costume
Yelena Belova Black Widow Cosplay Costume


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

And of course: Reading way too many comic books.

Questions & Answers


      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment
      • profile image


        16 months ago

        i think black widow suit is cool

      • Geekdom profile imageAUTHOR


        4 years ago

        Yup, every team has their rough patch.

      • Mike Nolan profile image

        Michael Nolan 

        4 years ago from Sarasota, FL

        I hated that era when all the Avengers wore brown bomber jackets.

      • profile image


        6 years ago

        the morning fresh air is the best, i have asthma and i love to get some fresh air::

      • profile image


        6 years ago



      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

      Show Details
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
      ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)