The best-dressed women of genre

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Dec 15, 2017

From the Mariabot's art deco burlesque outfit in 1927's Metropolis to the many space capes of Star Wars, sci-fi and fantasy have always been home to some out-of-this-world fashion. Below, your friendly neighborhood Fangrrls writers pay tribute to just some of the best-dressed women of genre properties past; feel free to share your own choices in the comments. Sometimes our sartorial heroines go elaborate, and sometimes their fashion sense is more terrestrial, but everyone on this list has one thing in common: They look damn good. And/or damn weird. Hey, sometimes it's the same thing.

Padmé Amidala, Star Wars

It would be easy to say that Padmé is obviously the best-dressed woman in the galaxy because of the sheer breadth of her wardrobe—over the course of the Star Wars prequel trilogy, she dons thirty different outfits. (For comparison’s sake, fellow early aughts genre queen Arwen only got twelve over the course of her trilogy.) But what makes Padmé so well-heeled is the sheer extra-ness she brings to the table. There is no occasion she cannot elevate. A casual dinner at your summer villa with a hunky Jedi bodyguard you probably shouldn’t hook up with but want to? A leather dress with a coy feathery capelet to capture the ambivalent mood. Concealing a pregnancy? Single-handedly make A-line hoop skirts a trend. And slip into something comfortable? Please, this is Padmé kriffing Amidala we’re talking about—you know that nightgown comes with beadwork and its own tiara. And lest you accuse Padmé of being a high maintenance high femme, she’s also got some more practical looks in her repertoire. Need to be ready for anything on a volcano planet while eight months pregnant? Just toss on a pair of leggings, a tasteful tunic, and a kicky little harness. Let me put it this way: at Padmé’s own funeral, the reigning Queen of Naboo shows up in a remix of a patented Padmé ensemble. That’s not just well-dressed; that’s iconic. - Clare

Fish Mooney, Gotham

I don't mean to be dramatic, but Fish Mooney is the only person who matters to me in the entire universe. When Gotham kicked off back in 2014, Jada Pinkett-Smith had a tough task ahead of her: taking an original character and making her stand out amidst a sea of already established DC Rogues Gallery heavy-hitters. Fortunately, she succeeded, because she's Jada Pinkett-Smith, and I'm not sure she's capable of anything else. Back when she was on Gotham (All three, four times now? What are we looking at? I've forgotten how many times Fish has been resurrected.), Pinkett-Smith was just about the only one who was tapped in to the level of high-key bonkosity the show should -- and only intermittently does -- achieve. I mean, she showed up to her audition with a man on a leash. Key to the d-r-a-m-a that mob boss Fish Mooney brings to every frame she's in is a delightfully dramatic wardrobe that provides the very best of cyberpunk-adjacent villainness chic. Furs: got it. Animal print: got it. Statement jewelry: got it.  Impeccable nails: Who do you think you're talking to? Even when she found herself captured by a ring of illegal organ thieves (it's Gotham, don't question it), she mustered up the ~*~high fashion~*~ version of mole people clothes. Right eye: optional. Shiny pants: required. --Rebecca

Misty Knight, Luke Cage & The Defenders

Misty Knight is a badass bionic private eye and superhero in the Marvel comics who is herself a Defender. In the Netflix Marvel TV shows, Misty is a detective, survivor of more than one should-be-fatal wound, and sometimes frenemy of the Defenders. Simone Missick destroys in the role, bringing classic Misty independence and strength to the screen, all while dressing to kill (when necessary). Missick’s Misty is ready to roll, whether the day’s activities call for evening wear or, in a teaser photo for season two of Luke Cage, her signature bionic arm. Misty is the bad ass, well-dressed hero we need. -- Sierra

Evil-Lyn, Masters of the Universe

When your boss is a skull-headed wizard, you need to have an equally strong look. And when you’re in an eighties fantasy movie, you go big or you go right back home to Eternia and think about what you did wrong. In 1987’s Masters of the Universe, Evil-Lyn takes dressing to theme to the next level. And no points for guessing what her favorite animal is; her armor is covered in them. Eat your heart out, Taylor Swift — here’s the real Queen of Snakes. Cobra gauntlets, snakes for a cape clasp, a metal sporran with a Gordian knot of snakes, all over a sheer purple body stocking covered in swirls to evoke snakes. Toss on a diadem (What? Skeletor doesn’t have a crown, so somebody has to), a chandelier necklace, and some shapely boots, and Evil-Lyn’s ready to take over the world. With a blue and purple smokey eye guaranteed to smoke all haters, a red lip visible from space, and an eternal (get it) smirk on her face, Evil-Lyn is the epitome of what a working eighties fantasy villainess should be: never leaving anything on the table in pursuit of galactic conquest—and one’s look. -- Clare

Veronica, The Fly

On the more, let’s say, realistic end of the genre fashion spectrum, you have Geena Davis in The Fly. It’s slouchy, casual, late ‘80s prep chic: bulky sweaters, oversized button-downs, and hair that goes on for miles in any given direction. Look at these trousers. You could fit a whole other Geena Davis inside each pant leg. And the blazers — my God, the blazers! But the coup de grace, as they are for any outfit lucky enough to have them, is the velvet pants. Optional accessory: weird insect Jeff Goldblum. -- Rebecca

Marla, Gremlins 2: The New Batch

Another fashion icon from ‘80s genre cinema is Marla Bloodstone (Havilland Morris) from Gremlins 2: The New Batch. You know: the movie that came about when the first Gremlins did so well that Warner Bros. threw money at Joe Dante to make whatever he wanted as a sequel, except “whatever he wanted” was basically a Looney Tunes movie where there’s a Busby Berkeley-esque dance number and a human man has sex with a female Gremlin. It’s unparalleled in its excellence. The film’s over-the-top attitude extended to Marla, adult Billy’s very, very Noo Yaw-kuh manager. Marla, with her bright red mane teased and curled to within an inch of its life, clearly ascribes to the “the bigger the hair, the closer to God” church of hair maintenance. She has the glasses and the blood-red nails with a smoking cig clutched at a rakish angle between them. Skirt suits with shoulder pads: Yes. God. But what truly elevates Marla to the rank of the greats has to be that giant face brooch. Who doesn’t want a giant face brooch? And Marla has two! -- Rebecca

Veronica Lodge, Riverdale

In every generation, there is a Chosen One: a teen-centric show where everyone wears completely over-the-top clothing. In years past, we had Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Nowadays, it’s Riverdale, in which everyone looks like they’re straight from a ModCloth shopping spree and no one would ever, ever be caught dead in sweatpants. But hey, they dress better in Riverdale than then ever did in Sunnydale. High up on the list of Riverdale’s snazzy dressers is newcomer Veronica Lodge (Camila Mendes), who perpetually looks kind of like the world’s youngest grieving widow — but, like, in a cool way. Who wears a string of pearls to cheerleading practice? Veronica Lodge, that’s who. And, though I’m tempted to give the Best Dressed nod to Cheryl Blossom on the strength of her near-ubiquitous spider pin alone, Veronica gets the edge thanks to The Cape. If anyone knows how to do a dramatic entrance, it’s our girl V. -- Rebecca

Raquel, Crazyhead

Crazyhead’s Raquel is a part-demon Seer (a person who can see the demons who have possessed humans) who teams up with another Seer (Amy) to fight demons and save humanity. Actress Susan Wokoma (who also appears in Chewing Gum) plays Raquel as a self-described “kick-ass hell bitch” who wields a telescopic baton to beat down her hellish adversary. She wears bright colors and wild prints under her signature purple letter jacket that bears a giant R on the chest. We can only assume she lettered in being Raquel. Her quirky style makes demons underestimate her, and her fearless attitude makes her one formidable foe. -- Sierra