1984 may not have been the dystopian landscape George Orwell envisioned — but it was still a time of extreme contradictions as people dared to dream in an unstable world. Relations between the Soviet Union and the United States were so bad that the USSR did not compete at the Olympics (Team USA had boycotted the Moscow-hosted event four years prior) and a number of high-profile assassinations, bombings, and other acts of extreme violence occurred. In pop culture, Madonna performed "Like a Virgin" at the first MTV VMAs dressed in white, Jane Fonda's workout videos made bodysuits and leg warmers fashionable, and Ghostbusters was the second-highest grossing film of the year.
Many other big genre films hit theaters in 1984, including The Terminator, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Gremlins, Splash, Romancing the Stone, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and Dune. This was also the year that Supergirl made cinematic history as the first English language female-fronted superhero movie (though it is a rather bleak fact that there hasn’t been more than a handful made over the last 35 years).
With less than a year until Wonder Woman 1984 is released, let's look back to the fashion and movies from that year for potential sources of inspiration.
As Diana learned in the first movie, sometimes it is better to blend in and her Themyscira armor is not exactly incognito. This is also something Kara (Helen Slater) discovers in Supergirl when she goes undercover at an all-girls school. Supergirl was a box office and critical bomb; however, Kara’s school blazer look does score high on the '80s preppy trend. Popped collars, pastels and a closet full of Ralph Lauren could all be in Diana’s future, although she'd definitely put her own spin on this particular uniform of the wealthy.
A Nightmare on Elm Street
For something casual without a dose of snobbery, the teens of A Nightmare on Elm Street have got Diana and Steve all set. Just look at these high-waisted jeans and shorts, not to mention an excellent array of patterned shirts. Thankfully this is pre-Freddy, as blood stains have a way of ruining a wardrobe.
The shadow cast by the Cold War stretched far and wide with a number of movies reflecting the anxiety of this period including Red Dawn. Set in an alternate timeline, the Soviet Union invades the United States, making camo attire the number one trend. Diana balked at wearing contemporary military garb in the first movie, so this one is more suited for Steve.
Before the iconic tank top and aviators, Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor wore pink tie-dye while sporting a shag cut — then the Terminator walked into her life and everything changed. Arnie’s leather jacket and shades are a classic look that works in pretty much any decade: perfect for the person who is far older than they appear.
The ‘80s included fashion as oversized silhouettes that also managed to be incredibly provocative. This contradiction was very much on display when Dana (Sigourney Weaver) switched out her regular office attire for an off-the-shoulder iridescent gown in Ghostbusters when she became possessed by Zuul. Diana has worn a number of fancy gowns before, so there is a good chance she will again in Wonder Woman 1984.
Diana isn’t a mermaid, but she did have a fish-out-of-water experience when she first arrived in London, so she actually has a lot in common with Madison (Daryl Hannah). An oversized I Heart New York tee worn as a dress will likely turn a lot of heads and Diana has spent enough time in this world to blend in. However, the teal sweater dress and gold cumberbund-style belt are ideal for both this period and Diana’s aesthetic.
Romancing the Stone
From what we have seen so far from the Wonder Woman 1984 set shots, Diana is definitely favoring pants. She's even got rid of her Themyscira skirt. In Romancing the Stone, Joan Wilder (Kathleen Turner) hasn't exactly dressed for the task at hand, a mistake Diana is less likely to make. In the case of Wonder Woman 1984, it is more likely that Steve will be the one in ripped attire.