When we here at Team Revelist first saw the amazing outfits that made up the Hot Topic DC Bombshells line, we were smitten. After all, not only does the entire collection look exactly like the costumes worn in "DC Bombshells," the all-female comic series where your favorite superheroines fight in World War II, but they're also styled with a cool '40s flair that would probably be right at home in your average hipster neighborhood.
So we wondered: Just how obvious are these superhero outfits to the average person who doesn't hit up their local comic book store every week? If a bunch of us walked into a crowded bar all sporting retro Wonder Woman and Batwoman swag, would anybody notice? Even more importantly, would we actually feel like superheroes?
With some help from Hot Topic, we decided to do just that and took the streets of Williamsburg, Brooklyn for some investigative reporting and/or fashion modeling. Here are our key players, and what they thought of the outfits they wore that night:
Wonder Woman, Shaunna Murphy
How did you feel? I felt great wearing the Wonder Woman outfit. The shorts were flattering and also extremely comfortable, and while I don't NORMALLY pair high-waisted shorts with a belly-exposing top because I am way too old for that shit, it was ab day so all went well.
Would you wear it again? I've already worn the shorts to a gay bar in the French Quarter. Adding the top makes the look more comic book-y, so I'd save it for a Comic-Con or nerd-themed event. But the shorts will easily be a summer staple.
Were there any particular reactions that stuck out for you? There were people taking photos of Victoria's [Batwoman] hat and the back of her dress while she was turned around, and that got on my nerves. Though I'm not one to complain, because I've taken secret photos of funny-dressed people myself. Maybe I will think twice in the future. No I won't.
Harley Quinn, Mel Stanger
Would you wear it again? I've already worn the jacket since! I don't know if I'd go in the whole get-up at once though, especially the pigtails. It may be Harley Quinn's thing, but it's not mine.
Were there any particular reactions that stuck out for you? At the first bar, a guy came up behind Victoria and flicked the ear on her cap. Maybe it's because she didn't know about it until I told her it happened and gave the guy a dirty look, but I think it bothered me more than any reaction any person had to me. Non-consensual touching isn't OK, even if it's just a bat-ear-flick!
Poison Ivy, Liv McConnell
How did you feel? I felt like a fierce emerald vixen. Actually I felt pretty silly early in the night, because to truly pull off Poison Ivy's 'drobe I felt I needed to look appropriately seductive. And I'm too much of a dork to do that on camera (see: photo of me posing against chain-link fence). But after a good number of hours (and drinks) had gone by, I think I got more into character.
Would you wear it again? I would totally wear this swing dancing. I love that the dress comes with a sort of tulle petticoat attached. Very retro, and surprisingly un-itchy!
Were there any particular reactions that stuck out for you? I think we made this one bouncer's night, which was pretty cool. In that moment I felt almost like a celebrity. (Which will never happen again.) Also I loved that this one birthday party we crashed (ha) turned out to be a group of costume designers! What are the odds.
Batwoman, Victoria McNally
How did you feel? Out of the four of us I definitely had the most obviously comic-booky costume, so I did feel a bit out of place. Then I remembered that I was dressed as Batwoman and just leaned into it. Batwoman doesn’t care what anybody thinks.
Would you wear it again? To a convention or a Halloween party, certainly. The dress might take a little more experimentation with accessorizing before I wear it out casually, though. Same with the baseball cap, although of the two items it's certainly easier to incorporate into everyday wear.
Were there any particular reactions that stuck out for you? Personally I was just surprised that only one person mistook me for Batgirl — they're both redheaded Bat-family members so I figured it would happen constantly. Nice to know Batwoman has a wider fanbase than I thought!
So what did people think?
Sadly for this comic book-loving lady, every single person who approached us about our costumes were men. Which isn't to say that women couldn't have recognized our outfits, of course, and many of the men who spoke to us didn't; it's more likely that they were just looking for a way to chat up some fairly approachable-looking women.
We deliberately selected bars that would be crowded, with a hip and fairly gender-neutral clientele base — if we'd gone somewhere nerdier (like "The Way Station," which has a "Doctor Who" TARDIS for a bathroom) or more female-focused, I'm sure the gender make-up of responses would have been radically different.
When asked to guess who we were dressed as, every single person got Poison Ivy right, which surprised us given that her dress was the most abstract — our theory was that because the character is a sex symbol, she stuck in onlooker's minds a bit more. Wonder Woman was also an easy one thanks to her color scheme and the bright yellow "W" on Shaunna's chest. Of the four of us, Batwoman and Harley had to field the most incorrect guesses (and the most unwanted attention, strangely enough).
Only one person correctly identified all four outfits without being prompted: the super-cool bouncer Liv mentioned earlier, who was also kind enough to take pictures of and with us. Shoutout to Jeff, you rock!
Also yes, we might have crashed a birthday party.
Just for the picture (it's '40s baseball-playing Batwoman holding a bat, how could you not) and with permission, of course. A women there told us she might not have noticed the superhero theme if we hadn't told her about them, so score at least one point for subtlety!
Conclusion: being a superhero is pretty rad.
We don't know that we want to dress like them all the time, but it's definitely fun for a night on the town!
You can find all the outfits here at Hot Topic.