How to Dress Like a Superhero and Get Away with It!

As I've grown into my sense of style over the years and really come to realize what makes me tick or not, I have come across a startling discovery: I tend to dress like the characters in comic books and anime. Now, this doesn't have anything to do with the fact that I cosplay, as I was making these unconscious fashion decisions even when I was very young. In fact, I think that anime and comic books helped to shape the way that I dress today: I would use "normally" dressed characters to form outfits when I was in high school in an attempt to emulate the characters I so loved.

This habit of imitation grew into me realizing what I liked and didn't like: what felt good to wear, what looked good with my body style, what colours appealed to me or not. It made me learn about coordinating colours and patterns, cuts and shapes… because although most creators of anime/comic books are mega nerds, somehow they are all brilliant fashion designers. So I pulled inspiration from Mary Jane Watson and Chii from Chobits. I tried a lot of things that made people laugh at me, and from that I emerged like a Phoenix from the flames as an absolute fashionista.


Now I'm not sure how interested many of you are in fashion. I find that my melding of interests is a bit more unique than most, but I hope that you at least look in the mirror in the morning. Fashion is a fun adventure to me: every morning I wake up and am faced with a pile of possibilities. I dress for my mood, or I'm influenced by what I have been into lately. It's a great way to tell someone something about myself who sees me on the street, and that is exciting to me. I like to feel like I am my own comic book character, setting out well dressed and with a leap in my step. Fashion makes people FEEL GOOD.

There are several ways to draw inspiration from comic book characters – especially superheroes – and not be over the top. After my years of honing this particularly odd skillset and eye for things, I thought I'd share my fashion knowledge.

 

Capes

Capes are an absolute superhero staple… and lucky for us, they have made their wild come-back from the 60s/70s to the Runways this year. Not only are they a subtle nod to the characters we know and love, but they are also insanely warm and create a great silouette. They're also very fun to wear: I find myself pretending to zoom all around the city (complete with "whooosh" sounds in my head.)
 

  

Spandex

Spandex and comic books are kind of synonymous, aren't they? Well, American Apparel has made this trend of wearing underwear on the outside far too real, bringing brightly coloured spandex of every cut to the general populace. Now, I don't think there's anything wrong with spandex IF IT'S WORN RIGHT. One of my biggest fashion qualms is girls who wear leggings as pants: unless you are Kate Moss, you're not really going to pull this off, no matter how hot you are. Spandex has an uncanny ability to show those problem areas we'd just rather not show. So if you're suiting up, please, remember to cover up with a skirt or a long shirt. The rest of the world (and your butt's integrity!) will thank you.

 

  


Logos

I know it's tempting to just grab your nearest Batman, Green Lantern, or Superman shirt and throw it on with a pair of jeans. Sure it makes a statement, but you look like every other fantastic nerd at your local comic shop. So why not dress it up a bit?

Ladies: Wear your chosen shirt with a high waisted skirt with a cute belt and interesting tights. Or maybe try layering it over a longer tanktop and a pair of skinny jeans with a cool jacket?

Gentlemen: It's all about the layers when it comes to you. Put on a light hoodie, a vest, a cardigan… anything that makes you look more "put together" than your average joe.

 

  


Jewelry

Actually, one of my favourite ways to express my geekiness with a great outfit is the subtle addition of a geeky and unique piece of jewelry. I have quite the formidable collection of Star Wars necklaces and rings and my superhero logo jewelry stack is growing. Places to scout out unique pieces like this are etsy or ebay… sometimes more "teenage" stores have things like this, as well (see: hot topic).

If you're a guy who just doesn't feel comfortable wearing a leather bracelet with a Superman logo or a Spider-man pendant on a chord, not to fear. The answer to your geeky fashion dilemma is cufflinks. They are available in nearly every geek flavor you could think of… so next time you go to a wedding or just because you feel like it, throw on some sweet Doctor Who cufflinks and wow some closet nerds.

 

  


Suits

I can't really offer much of an explanation here, except that: Comic book men wear suits. Suits are hot. So are the fictional characters in the comics. Suits are classy. I like suits. Most women like suits. Wear suits = be as hot as Tony Stark.
 

 

  

Coke Bottle Glasses

Thank goodness for hipsters bringing giant thick rimmed nerd glasses back into style (were they ever in style before? Hmmm. I feel some research coming on…) Seriously, throw a pair of these babies on and you're rockin' it Clark Kent style.
 

  

Odd Hats

Odd helms are a re-occurring theme in comic books, be it to prevent mind control or to keep one's powers at bay… or just to look "awesome" (see: totally ridiculous). Right now fashion has taken a rather strange turn to where very strange hats are not just readily available, they are also quite popular and trendy. I blame the Asian spillover, but I'm seeing more and more panda bears and cat ear hats on "normal" every day people. So, get out there, buy a ridiculous hat, and go wow the masses with how "fashionable" you are (even though comic books have been doing it for years).

Now go forth and be fashionable, minions.

 


Molly McIsaac's comic collection is only rivaled by her closet's contents. Follow her on twitter.

Comments

  1. JNewcomb JNewcomb says:

    I’m designing my own Green Lantern ring and having it custom made.

  2. fatespears fatespears says:

    Nice article.

  3. Kearstin Kearstin says:

    Suits are extremely sexy. In fact I think it’s safe to say it’s my Kryptonite. I lose all senses and get weak in the knees. Booya! Nice article, Molly. Definitely hit home on this one!

  4. MoniBolis MoniBolis says:

    I already have my super hero jewlery, now I need a cape.

    Good article

  5. r3v r3v says:

    Wear a spandex suit with a cape with a logo on it and a funny hat.  Got it!

  6. AmirCat AmirCat says:

    You can never go wrong with wearing a suit/tux. I found this out last year for a show I did, christmas party, and a NYE party.

  7. PraxJarvin PraxJarvin says:

    I have a 10th Doctor-esque pants and jacket that I’ve worn for real events and such. I’m also putting together an 11th Doctor inspired set too. I also have an all purpose vest I bought one year to go to a party as the Derek Jacobi master and have worn it since with my regular suit and to class up a black jacket and pants. To be honest, though, my “Superhero Chic” is often mistaken for Hipster.

    Full disclosure: I own a brown bomber jacket and tan shirt ala Indiana Jones but have so far resisted wearing them to class to nerd out on my students. 

  8. AlanRob AlanRob says:

    Please, please, please, only wear the coke bottle glasses if you have a prescription.  If I see one more hipster, ironically wearing fake HUGE horn rimmed glasses I’m going to lose it.

  9. j206 j206 says:

    You forgot underwear.

  10. kennyg kennyg says:

    So is this article about how to dresslike a hipster, or a superhero?

    Are hipsters really superheroes? I hope not. I hate hipsters.

  11. Molly McIsaac MollyMcIsaac (@MollyMcIsaac) says:

    Hipsters are surprisingly well dressed.

  12. @PraxJarvin: So the truth comes out!

    I guess you have some celery too just in case? :)  

  13. AmirCat AmirCat says:

    @MollyMcIsaac  I don’t mind hipsters, but they don’t always dress well …

  14. AAAAH! I love perry the platapus (i know i spelled that wrong).

  15. Asteraceae Asteraceae says:

    i’d like to throw in the name Catwoman at this point

  16. Vuk Vuk says:

    I’ve got Tardis wool socks and I’m waiting on my girl to finish the 4th Doctor Scarf that she’s making…

  17. CaeuZokul CaeuZokul says:

    I’ve started Billy Blanks’ Boot Camp as my New Year’s resolution to fit into my suits. ‘Cause I know I’ll be hot!

    Note to @PraxJarvin- Just wear a black or dark brown tie w/your tan shirt (hopefully the shirt has epaulettes). And don’t forget to doff your jacket when indoors and roll the shirt-sleeves. Es muy macho!

  18. lexid523 says:

    A friend of mine on tumblr designs superhero themed clothing sets on Polyvore.  They are awesome.

  19. Molly McIsaac MollyMcIsaac (@MollyMcIsaac) says:

    I do that too! I think I started the whole movement YEAARSSS ago.
    My polyvore account: http://www.polyvore.com/cgi/profile?id=196381