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The 10 best-dressed deities on film and TV

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Apr 6, 2019

When Oz (Seth Green) dresses up as God for Halloween in Season 4 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, he simply adds a "Hello my name is" tag with "God" as his write-in moniker to the outfit he is wearing. It's the ultimate low-key, minimum-effort costume for this “come as you aren’t” holiday, which also thematically pairs with Willow’s (Alyson Hannigan) Joan of Arc ensemble. Oz is playing with the notion of a divine being that resembles a regular human, conjuring up images from the classic mid-'90s song “One of Us,” in which Joan Osborne suggests God could be "a slob like one of us" or “a stranger on the bus.”

Representations of God on film and television can’t be boiled down to one image — burning bushes and disembodied voices are on this long list — but one popular direction, much like Oz's costume, has God taking human form when popping down to Earth. Casting an actor as the Creator is always fun, but it also opens up many sartorial questions. What is the dress code for someone who is all-seeing and all-knowing? All-white is the styling stereotype, so hopefully God isn’t visiting after Labor Day; however, this is not the only clothing constant when dressing a deity. For both good and evil, suits are a staple, from the Supreme Being (Ralph Richardson) in Time Bandits to Al Pacino as John Milton, aka the Devil, in The Devil’s Advocate. A well-tailored garment isn’t just for businessmen or fancy parties.

There are of course gods, goddesses, and demigods of mythology, which deliver toga chic, as well as the more recent Marvel and DC entries into divine being and mythology territory. New gods also make the cut in various recognizable outfits; there is more than one interpretation of worship.

Good, evil, and morally ambiguous all feature, but one attribute they have in common is knowing what style works for them. Considering the powers they possess and the boundless resources at their disposal, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. Below are an array of dapper deities.

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Clash of the Titans

Clash of the Titans (1981)

Starting with a classic story that also leans hard into the kind of godly clothing you might expect from Greek mythology and Christian iconography, the cast of Clash of the Titans are draped in the finest all-white garments by costume designer Emma Porteous. Laurence Olivier, Ursula Andress, and Maggie Smith are picture perfect as Zeus, Aphrodite, and Thetis. If you’re going to go for the traditional aesthetic then you better nail it and Porteous does just this. Meanwhile, Harry Hamlin as Zeus’ son Perseus is less demure, showing a whole lot of chest and indulging in some crimson threads as he faces a number of terrifying obstacles.  

Legend

Darkness (Tim Curry) - Legend (1986)

If white is God’s signature clothing choice, then Tim Curry as Darkness (aka Satan) is going all in on his devilish ensemble. Say it big and say it proud in a black cape, complete with embellished shoulders and gold pants courtesy of costume designer Caroline Harris. He is the rock star of Dark Lords, making an enticing and flamboyant fashion statement that is hard to turn down. Who needs hooved shoes when you have actual hooves?  

Dogma

God (Alanis Morissette) - Dogma (1999)

Alanis Morrisette in Kevin Smith’s Dogma features perhaps the most ‘90s portrayal of God (aside from that Joan Osborne song). Nose bops and the ability to make heads explode are all part of her whimsical yet deadly arsenal. Not only is God a woman, but she quickly changes from what would be considered a quintessential draped frock look into poofy skirt, silver PVC bodice and cropped jacket, fit for strutting around on stage belting out “You Oughta Know.” Christian Lacroix provided the latter ensemble, which pairs rather funkily with plaid boxer shorts (her underwear is revealed while God does a celebratory handstand).

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Glory (Clare Kramer) - Buffy the Vampire Slayer (2000-2002)

Glorificus — Glory for short — looks like she could step onto the set of an early-'00s courtroom show in a red sleeveless power dress. Instead, she is the Big Bad of Buffy Season 5, raising the villain game from vampires and monsters to an actual god from a hell dimension. She is also upping the fashion stakes in signature crimson frocks with matching cardigans, throwing on a leather dress for when she wants to embrace an edgy vibe. Bouncy blonde curls, red lipstick, and gold jewelry show that femininity and being Buffy’s greatest foe (at this point in the series) are not mutually exclusive.

It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas

Daniel's 'Boss' (Whoopi Goldberg) - It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas (2002)

Whoopi Goldberg has played God on two occasions — the other is A Little Bit of Heaven — both of which embrace the classic all-white outfit interpretation of celestial attire. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it; this is a godly signature style for a reason, as there’s no way an immortal being is going to have to worry about staining their shirt with wine or coffee. That's an issue for mere mortals.

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Chuck Shurley / God / Carver Edlund (Rob Benedict) - Supernatural (2009-2016)

Again, this is a God-walks-among-mere-mortals incarnation with Rob Benedict in Supernatural going by the name of Chuck Shurley rather than his more formal title. Chuck’s style can be classified as “omnipotent casual,” opting for a Silicon Valley type wardrobe; he’s more hoodies, army jackets, and raglan tees than the annual Fourth of July Diddy White party, all the better for remaining incognito and blending in with the humans he wants to observe. God is often pictured with a beard, but thankfully this is less flowing white and more Captain America before he shaved it off (RIP).

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Diana Prince/Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) - Wonder Woman (2016)

Diana is a demigod, but this still gives her deity status — her half-brother Ares (David Thewlis) also wears the suits of man in Patty Jenkins’ recent film. Despite a department store makeover, it is hard to keep her warrior attire under wraps for long. Whether it is the traditional red, blue and gold fighting garb, flowing gowns that conceal swords or contemporary outfits that wouldn’t look out of place in Vogue (not to mention whatever treats 1984 will have on offer) costume designer Lindy Hemming ensures that Diana is prepared for any style or fighting scenario. She might only be a demigod, but she is a full style icon.  

Preacher

God (Mark Harelik) - Preacher (2016-2018)

God departs his post in Preacher for another case of hiding in plain sight, but instead of opting for the usual “everyman” attire, this God has other plans. Jazz and sex clubs are this omnipotent beings' choice of earthly hangouts, the latter is why he spends his time in a dalmatian suit. Even after he has left New Orleans, he sticks to his newfound dog ensemble pairing it with motorcycle boots and gloves. Tulip (Ruth Negga) calls him out, suggesting he lacks a plan; it is only then that we see him in traditional garb before he returns to his doggo costume. Hey, to each their own; no judgment from us.

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Hela (Cate Blanchett) - Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

Thor (Chris Hemsworth) got a new haircut in Ragnarok, but it is his half-sister Hela who is serving up true headwear goals. Antlers are not an easy accessory to pull off, but this is not anyone we’re talking about. She’s also working the cold-shoulder trend with aplomb and goes full smoky eye goth. Bow down to the goddess of death.

Media from American Gods

Media (Gillian Anderson) - American Gods (2017)

Media is one of the New Gods in American Gods representing mass media and entertainment. In the first season of this adaptation of Neil Gaiman's novel, Gillian Anderson takes on the form of a number of pop culture style icons, including David Bowie during the Ziggy Stardust era, Marilyn Monroe in her legendary white Seven Year Itch gown and I Love Lucy polka dots. This is further proof that Gillian Anderson can make any style bend to her will while showcasing those that we bow down to in the modern age.  

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