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.
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.
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.
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.
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 #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
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.
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
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.
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.
Models, actresses, and fans have been dressing up as Wonder Woman for years.
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.
Google Images (Images appeared on several sites and was unsure of original)