For people my age, the 1970s are the touchstone for bad fashion. We saw a rare confluence of bad fabrics (shimmery polyester for example), bad incidentals (huge collars, wide ties), and unfortunate color sense (paisley browns, electric orange shag carpeting, white shoes).
But with the benefit of hindsight, the 1990s mounted a serious challenge to the King of Bad Fashion Decades, at least for super hero costumes. This Wonder Woman ensemble from an issue of DC Comics' "Elseworlds" serves as a great example of that; allow me to give you a tour.
Let's start with that Fauxhawk, which tries to combine the long-haired Penthouse pinpup look (required of all female comics characters) with a Punk sensibility. But let's be honest, no Punk would ever go out in a tiara. It's just not done.
You then get to that staple of the Nineties Costume, the popped collar. On, of course, a short-waisted leather jacket with rolled-up sleeves. I can never figure out what it was about the climate in the 1990s that made people get cold only on their upper arms and shoulders. I keep watching "The Weather Channel" hoping to see some sort of explanation, but alas, I watch in vain.
The torso's fairly traditional Wonder Woman fare, though with a French-cut bikini line that would shame even the French. (I'm kidding, of course -- the French are shameless. And I should know, I'm one quarter French!)
Interestingly, though, she has on a short-sleeved turtleneck covering the swell of her Wonder Bosoms, which makes you kind of wonder why she's bothering with a bustier in the first place, since swelling Wonder Bosoms is kind of the point of that particular bit of fashion.
Hang on, though, while I reiterate -- she's wearing a short-sleeved turtleneck. Again, what is the temperature gradient that would result in such a thing?
Whatever it was, it also led to multiple boots, something I have never understood. She's got on leggings, thigh boots, kneepads, and regular super hero boots. That's some serious legwear, folks.
I'm forced to wonder at the puke-green eyepatch-wearing Mullet Man With Thigh Pouches she's accosting in this scene. Is he from the Fashion Police, sent out to arrest her for crimes against humanity? Does it take an alternate Elseworld to finally bring sanity to the fashion-challenged Nineties?
We can only hope.
(Image and characters ©1994, DC Comics.)