Emily S. Whitten: Amazonians Unite! Wonder Woman and Geek Fashion

Five years ago almost to the day I wrote this column about the abysmal state of geek fashion and marketing for women. In 2015 I wrote this column, lauding the advances that had been made in that area and highlighting some great finds.

Now I write to celebrate the fact that there are currently cool women’s fashion options for so many geek properties that you could basically throw a dart at a list of fandoms and be assured of knowing that there’s a cute branded dress, piece of jewelry, pair of shoes, or at least women’s-fit tee for that property out there somewhere.

That. Is. Awesome.

I’m glad to note that there are a number of good companies out there that consistently pay attention to women’s fashion for geeks. One of my favorite geek tee companies, TeeTurtle, has sold comfy and flattering women’s tees for some time; and recently advertised that they have three fits available for men and women – recognizing that we all have different bodies and preferences for fit. (And OMG, their new Groot and Guardians of the Galaxy tees! Want!!) And ThinkGeek, a general favorite for geek merchandise of all sorts, has a solid rotating roster of women’s fashions, including this Twinkling Stars Skirt and this Glow-in-the-Dark Constellation Dress, which I surely should own.

But to me, the juggernaut of women’s geek fashion at present is Hot Topic, in large part thanks to Ashley Eckstein and Her Universe.

I’ve spoken to Ashley before about the pioneering role she’s played in this industry, and I can’t overstate the effect the Her Universe Fashion Show held at SDCC has had on it, either. Bringing in aspiring high-fashion designers who are both passionately immersed in the fandoms and are designing specifically for women has resulted in some of the most brilliantly unique fashions I have seen – both genuinely fashionable enough to walk down any runway, and better than regular runway clothes because of the layered fandom meanings behind the designs. And taking the winning designers to the next level by giving them the opportunity to design collections for Hot Topic was the next step in bringing women solid geek chic options with a lot of thought and tailoring for our gender behind them. I’m looking forward to seeing what new designers bring to the table at this year’s fashion show, and hope the show is around for a long time.

I also can’t imagine what the state of my convention-attending (and general) wardrobe would be these days without these designs. From cute dresses to wear when doing my interviews, moderating panels, or going to amazing geek parties to stealth geekery  I wear to my daily work, to jackets to cosplay pieces to pajama pants, when it comes to Hot Topic fandom fashions (and especially when new collections are announced) I pretty much just say, “Shut up and take my money!”

And that brings us to their latest new release, the Wonder Woman collection. It seems weirdly appropriate that exactly five years after my column bemoaning the lack of marketing and design recognition of the female contingent of fandom, we’re getting both a movie in which Wonder Woman, arguably the most prominent female character in comics, has first billing in her own big budget movie that also ties into the larger DC movie universe, and a beautifully designed collection of women’s fashion celebrating the movie’s release.

I’m eagerly anticipating seeing the movie as soon as I get a spare moment (I’ve seen enough good reviews already to be more optimistic than I’ve been about previous modern DC movies). And I’ve already managed to get my hot little hands on several items from the Hot Topic/Her Universe Wonder Woman collection.

Of the pieces offered, I was most interested in the Lasso Dress, the Reversible Dress, the Ombre Skirt, the Faux Leather Jacket, and the 3-piece Cosplay Wedge Boots and managed to snag the first three. (These collections go super-fast. I couldn’t land the shoes because they were already out of my size.)

All of my wardrobe pieces are fantastic. I already love them and I’ve barely even worn them out yet! I have, however, modeled them all for you so you can see how they fit on a regular non-model-type person.

I tried the Ombre Skirt first. It is very comfortable, with an elastic waist that keeps it snug but not too tight. It feels airy but also not flimsy, with a lining and a translucent outer layer. The high-low gradient design is charming, with stars sprinkled over it, and it twirls nicely (always fun!). It’s a very summery-feeling skirt, which is why it’s extra-cool that it also has a special Wonder Woman logo that appears in UV light.

(I tested it, and it appears boldly and almost immediately, and disappears again on leaving sunlight. It’s amazingly cool.) Overall, I love it.

Next up was the Lasso Dress. This one is great in that it looks fairly dressy but is made of a comfortable fabric (with pockets). The combination of the intricate gold neckline and the elegant lasso belt made me feel like a true Amazonian princess when I put it on. Add a pair of gladiator sandals or gold heels and you’re 100% ready to join the Themyscirans for their evening revels.

Last up was the Reversible Wonder Woman Cosplay Dress. This dress is definitely going on the convention circuit with me! It’s light, comfortable, and flattering. The Wonder Woman design side hits in all the right places so that you really do look almost like you’re wearing her costume. And the brown-and-gold logo side is appealing and oddly elegant considering the design is logos. This side is also more subtle, so it can be worn out and about when you’re feeling like being a little bit stealth about your Geekness. (And it’s made with tear-away tags so it’s easy to wear both sides.) I’m excited to find places to wear it!

All three items are excellent unique designs that look good, fit well, and feel comfortable. From the pieces I’ve tried, this collection gets an A+ from me.

So have we reached the zenith of geek fashion for women thanks to Her Universe and Hot Topic? Much as I love their items (clearly!) I hope not! There’s still plenty of room out there for other companies and designers to bring their unique fandom fashion visions to life – and I hope to see even more successes like the Her Universe/Hot Topic collaboration come to pass.

But in the meantime, I’m going to revel in my new Wonder Woman fashions and keep an eye out for the latest from Hot Topic. And until next time, Servo Lectio!