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WandaVision was more than just a Marvel slug-fest for powerful witches. The Disney+ series was a meditation on grief and love in the face of incalculable loss, wrapped in the escapist artifice of one of our favorite mediums, television, and all its eras of sitcom storytelling. Fans were perplexed by the earliest episodes, which leaned heavily into the recreation of shows like The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Brady Bunch. But by the time Wanda’s backstory was revealed, and her love of TV escapism confirmed, her escapades in Bewitched and Malcolm in the Middle-style stories felt not only understandable but relatable. Even the town name fit: Westview, her childhood dream of what it must be like to live in an American sitcom.
By hiding the mystery of WandaVision's story within this visual medium, one of its best storytelling devices was costuming. The outfits were at once visual sight gags while also unsettling — after all, when was the last time someone in the Marvel Cinematic Universe wore extreme period clothing? (Outside of Captain America: The First Avenger and the occasional case of time travel, never.) The outfit choices also told Wanda's story while never forgetting her signature red color of the Scarlet Witch.
Let's run down a ranking of all the outfits Wanda wears and how they tell her story.
16. HYDRA Lab Rat Look, Episode 8
Listen, no one looks good when they're dressed to be experimented on by HYDRA. Nor did the show have much to work with, since Wanda's "Hydra Lab Rat" look was already pre-defined in the Captain America: The Winter Soldier post-credits scene. That being said, this look is super dreary compared to everything else Wanda wears, to the point where it stuck out like a sore thumb.
15. Tie: "Marvel Compound," Episode 8 & "Lakehouse PJs," Episode 9
Compare the above look with Wanda's other "bland" outfits from the show. Both of these are supposed to be unnoticeable, a blank slate of cotton for a woman attempting to disappear. But they're also flattering yet realistic, the kind of things women watching at home own, grounding Wanda in the real world in a way nearly nothing else in the series does. (You know, Marvel could have done this in the HYDRA scene too... Just saying. Let a girl be comfy!)
14. '80s Hair & Vest Look, Episode 5
Of all the profoundly era-specific looks, this is the most unflattering. It's not just the top ponytail wig either (which recalls the hairdo her toddler sisters sported in their own ‘80s sitcom), though that doesn't help. The balloon of the pink-tinged pants, the floral vest design over the cream turtleneck, all of it is nearly as bad as Vision's hairdo in this episode. (The show skips 1980s hair for "Human Vision," going "early ‘90s center part" on Bettany here. It's sweetly dorky, which is the point, but also technically incorrect.)
This is meant to be an outfit of a woman who isn't quite in control of her world right now — note this is the scene where "Agnes" breaks character. In that, it works, but boy is it ugly.
13. Alternate That '70s Show Outfits, Episode 3
The 1970s episode had a surfeit of ideas but unfortunately couldn't use them all. I love both these looks. I love them more than the workhorse dress Wanda spends 99 percent of this episode in. (More on that later on.) But sadly, both rank low because they spend too little time on screen. Sorry to these pants. (On the other hand, this is where fans get to see the hideous ‘70s alternate outfits for Vision. Bettany got the better end of the deal on this one.)
12. Boudoir Look, Episode 1
Three versions precede the eventual Scarlet Witch costume reveal, each filtered through the era in which they appear. Wanda's first, which is notably referred to as a "traditional Sokovian dress," put her in the "1950s bedroom bombshell" look. (It's the only time in Episode 1 she wears a shade of red, as the behind-the-scenes Assembled documentary shows the boudoir outfit is a very light pink.) After all, the old joke is that superhero costumes make someone look like they are running around in their PJs. This is what a 1950s housewife wore on her way to the bedroom.
11. Modern PJs, Episode 7
Speaking of PJs, Wanda's confessional pajamas from the Episode 7 opener are the best sleepwear she gets all season while also serving as a reminder of how far women's fashion has come from Episode 1's 1950s era. Like all the Episode 7 Modern Family-esque outfits, it's the glamorous version of a real-life look, the aspirational "I woke up like this." This is also notably the only era where we never get a Vision counterpart because he's on the run with Darcy all episode, and I'm sorry for that; I would have liked to have seen what his bathrobe would look like.
10. Wanda's IRL Outfit, Episodes 4, 8, & 9
Like the Hydra look, this one was not a place where the show had a lot of input. The timeline of WandaVision puts Wanda's trip to see Vision's body only a day or so after Tony's funeral. As a result, the series went with putting her in something very close to her final look from Endgame, which just so happened to also be her final look from Infinity War.
The point was to visually emphasize how little time has passed for her since that night in Edinburgh. But it also feels out of place because it's an outfit designed by a different team. On the one hand that works, because it disrupts the WandaVision looks by not fitting in. On the other, we're happy she's got a new look down the line...
9. Gray Goodbye Look, Episode 9
Wanda's softest look is her final moment of artifice, even within her accepting it's over. It's understated but perhaps also one of her prettiest. It's also an outfit that steps back to Vision because it's not about her for once. It's about him. Vision is practically bursting out of a turtleneck, The Rock-style, in this final scene. For once, he's the one wearing a meme-able outfit instead of her because it's about his last moments on screen.
She'll live on, leave Westview, find a new life. He'll stay this way forever in our memories, or until the franchise finds a way to bring him back.
8. Magic Act, Episode 2
The outfit Wanda wears during her magic act — the first time she uses her abilities in public — is the second direct foreshadowing of her eventual Scarlet Witch costume. She’ll wear her third "classic" Scarlet Witch costume the next time she uses her powers in public, when she expands the Hex on Halloween.
The magic act costume ranks lower than the Halloween one because it's so subtle in its design that fans may have missed it. It also is still trapped in the era as the boudoir outfit, despite moving from feathers and chiffon to sequins and a top hat. But the real genius of this outfit is that it's foreshadowing hiding in plain sight. Despite the black-and-white nature of the episode, only viewers familiar with greyscale works will recognize this look isn't black: it's Scarlet Witch red. Vision's traditional magician's tux helps hide that reality because it draws the viewers to assume Wanda is in black too.
7. Mom Hoodie, Episodes 7 & 8
Wanda's most realistic look is going to be a lazy cosplayer’s dream. It's "modern mom gear," the glamour version of what every member of the Minivan Majority wears when stopping at Starbucks before picking up the kids from school and heading to soccer practice. It's also one of the only outfits that has to work in multiple episodes. On that note, it achieves a tremendous visual balance against Agatha’s witch costume when she goes straight to Old School Salem Stylings for Episode 8.
6. '80s Suspenders, Episode 5
The more flattering of the two 1980s outfits works far better because it calls on the more timeless aspects of the era. The wig is far less in your face, for one thing, and the pegleg pants have come back twice since their heyday of 1986. The plaid shirt is loud, but in a "red, white, and blue" American way when paired with the denim, contrasting with Vision's suspenders look of grey suit pants and cream shirt. (This is one place where the couple's outfits match spectacularly.) And seriously, for their first face-off flying around the house, Wanda launched off some cute old school keds. #BringBackKeds
5. Tie: Two A-line Dresses, Episode 1
There are two A-line dresses in the opening episode, but you could be forgiven for not noticing the difference. (Though the first one reappears at the end of Episode 8.) In a radical departure from most of the rest of the show, this is a world of green and blue tones to read properly under the period lighting and grayscale camera work. The day dress with the high collar and evening dress with the off-the-shoulder neckline are both in the same shades of blue-green. (Both are paired with the series' second-best wig. The second outfit also gets paired with her best accessory, the daisy necklace.)
It is absolutely everything one doesn't imagine when they think of the Scarlet Witch, so it adds to the utter bafflement of Episode 1.
4. Scarlet Witch Halloween (aka 'Sokovian Fortune Teller'), Episode 6
The most obvious forerunner outfit to the finale’s reveal of the Scarlet Witch costume, the production went almost all the way for her "Sokovian Fortune Teller" outfit. (Think of it as "what TV would have put the Scarlet Witch in, circa 1999.") But it was the correct choice, as it works as a foreshadowing of the show's finally giving Wanda a full-scale updated Scarlet Witch look in the finale.
It's also a great sight gag alongside "Pietro's" Halloween Quicksilver getup and Vision in traditional Visionwear (aka, a wrestler).
3. '70s Maternity, Episodes 3 & 4
This outfit is a miracle worker. Think about all the boxes it checks. The pregnancy happens in 22 minutes, so the dress has to be ready at three, six, and nine months. It has to make the pillows strapped to Olsen look just fake enough to be questionable, but also not too artificial. It has to both work as a backdrop for various props to pop against it, as Wanda keeps holding things in front of her belly, plus pop against the loud 1970s decor of the house. And! It has to allow easy access to deliver the babies. All that, and (like the Mom Hoodie) it's an outfit that spans two episodes. So it has to contrast with the outside world and yet not be so garish as to be tiresome. All this and great boots too!
Sorry, Vision's '70s outfit: I love the jacket and tie and the hairstyling (this is the best "Human Vision's" hair looks the entire series), but nothing he wears could never compete with how hard this outfit is working.
2. Pedal Pushers, Episode 2
This is the best of Wanda's period outfits and the best wig of the show, in my personal opinion. Though this episode is closest to a straight Bewitched parody, Wanda's look is pure Laura Petrie. The adorable pedal pusher pants, the cute bolero sweater, the ballet flats, and the not-too-big bouffant.
Also, and perhaps most importantly, as viewers discover at the very end of the episode, unlike her Episode 1 outfits, she's wearing her signature red color. It's a sign she's getting more comfortable in this world, though she's still fully and deeply committed to playing the role. It's the moment of perfect visual balance between her reality and her sitcom selves before it all begins to go off the rails in Episode 3.
1. MCU Scarlet Witch Renewed, Episode 9
In the Assembled documentary, Elizabeth Olsen says when she was originally hired, the production told her not to worry about the outfits she saw in the comics. Whatever they would give her to wear, it wouldn't include a crown and spandex. But by the time the franchise reached 20 movies, Wanda not being in something that looked like her traditional costume started to stick out when contrasted against her fellow heroes.
More importantly, after Phase 3 ended, Disney and Fox merged, making it possible for the franchise to give her a look closer to her X-Men character. Hardcore fans have been speculating wildly when and how the franchise would start working in hints of mutant-kind. Turning WandaVision into what is essentially a reinvention origin story for Wanda Maximoff to properly become the Scarlet Witch brings her character in line with her fellow superheroes. It also gives fans their first step toward the coming mutant revival. That makes this ending, and this outfit, the best the show could have ended on.