It seems like lately superhero-inspired clothing for women has been put in a pretty polarizing position. Fans can either pick up affordable logo tees and the like, or splurge for overpriced fashionista fare. No one can fault a publisher like DC for going to top designers, but even with Karl Lagerfeld involved I doubt many people will shell out six hundred bucks for unrecognizable "Green Lantern" bedazzled gloves. Even more recently, DC has introduced the nOir line of DC jewelry, also "inspired" by superheroes and also ready to take a chunk out of the monthly rent money.

These high fashion designs, whether they're good or bad, all seem to embrace superhero kitsch. Chunky jewelry, haphazardly sewn stars, lots of glitter; these things are over the top, and they drag their prices with them. Is there a possibility, though, of dialing down both the price and the concept of superhero costumes until they come into the reach of plebeians? If sell-able superhero clothes stop being 'inspired' by characters and start emulating actual costume designs more closely, it seems like there would be a lot of women who would line up to wear certain pieces.

Hit the jump to see a few choices for practical comic book character items worth paying for.

Wonder Woman

The first hero crying out for widely available public costuming is Wonder Woman. All incarnations of Wonder Woman's costume would be fair game for this. Spangled undies would be fun. Literal Wonder (Woman) Bras would also sell. Wonder bathing suits with all kinds of different hemlines from modest-near trunks to thongs would be appropriate. Wonder Woman boots are already on the market. All they need is higher quality, and a non-heeled model. And look at the above picture. Add shoulder straps to the old costume and they would make comfortable Wonder pajamas.

But the costume on the right really breaks into costumes that could be worn by any woman any day. Whatever people think of the redesign to Diana's traditional garb, there's a lot of potential in this costume. Dark denim slacks, a body-hugging tailored shirt in deep red and gold, the retro jacket with the padded shoulders, the gloves, and that chunky gold belt can be worn together or in pieces. Either way, it would look good on someone walking down the street. This is actual, practical, and attractive fashion.

Emma Frost

Another character who has stunning, if more limited, fashion is Emma Frost. Since she hasn't been around as long as Wonder Woman, and her clothing selection is limited to white, there's only one aspect of her costume that really stands out, and it's the cloak she wears. Sometimes she wears it piled up over her shoulders, and sometimes it's drawn around the neck, but in this panel it is part of her shirt and gloves, and it looks fantastic. Sleek, daring and eye-catching, it's not so outrageous that it couldn't be worn on the street. (Although I personally would only attach it to the gloves and not the shirt. If you were to step on it, you'd flash someone. Emma probably didn't worry about that, but you might.)


Catwoman is the money heroine. No, not because there should be a line of whip belts or leather pants or tops with an easy-to-use zipper. Not because there should be claw-gloves or boots. This character is valuable because 30 percent of the population needs glasses. And the rest want to wear sunglasses because they look cool. Fashion, since I started wearing glasses has swung to round, wire-rimmed John Lennon deals to thin black-rimmed hipster glasses to the huge square lenses that Gloria Steinem wore in the seventies. It's time for Catwoman glasses. A colleague of mine showed me a pair at work (the goggle-strap was replaced by regular pieces that rested on her ears) and I have been wildly envious of her ever since. These are fabulous frames, combining thirties movie star with sixties librarian, and they need to be made available to the public at large. It isn't even about fashion anymore. It's about civic responsibility.

What superhero costume pieces would you wear walking down the street?

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