Any space suit or environment suit, but especially one worn by a woman, will be exceptionally tight, form fitting, and flatteringly cut. Also applies to pilot's g-suits (which admittedly are tight, but not flattering), Powered Armor, and futuristic military uniforms. The wearer will have no difficulty putting it on quickly. Helmets will often be either clear bubbles or be motorcycle-like helmets that follow head movement, with large transparent and nonreflective faceplates.
Spacesuits in use today are bulky and inflexible, with many layers to contain pressure, protect against puncture from fast moving space junk with ballistic fibers, protect against changes in temperature, shield the wearer from the glare of a sun undimmed by atmosphere, and dispose of excess body heat, excretions and moisture. Astronauts accessorize with the extremely unsexy (for most), yet practical, adult diaper.
Because existing spacesuit designs have so many drawbacks, and are so expensive (each custom-fitted suit costs over a million dollars and can only be constructed by subsidised industries), there are a number of (similarly subsidised) research projects trying to make skin-tight spacesuits Truth in Television. The proponents of such projects as the Space Activity Suit and MIT Biosuitclaim that they could be built by wet-suit manufacturers at a cost of only a few hundred dollars. They also suggest that these flexible skintight suits would permit the occupant to regulate body temperature simply by sweating, and that while they might not be terribly protective, armor is less of an issue when it doesn't have to be pressurized - Bullet Proof Vests can be worn over the suitsnote That does introduce a new problem, namely that anything worn over the suit will make it harder to find and patch any leaks. On the other hand, a small leak in such a suit will generally cause a frostbitten hickey, rather than rapid death.. So far however, practical spacesuits based on Space Activity Suit/Biosuit technology have yet to be tested in spacenote Although the original SAS was successfully tested in a vacuum chamber, so currently they remain Vapor Wear— erm, sorry, Vaporware.
The Latex Spacesuit is essentially a way to be semi-Stripperific, and display the chest without actually showing skin. A lot of the time it will be sheer enough to see the navel through.
It is a very frequent trope in Humongous Mecha shows.
See also Space Clothes, Green-Skinned Space Babe, Bridge Bunnies, Spy Catsuit, Chrome Champion and Future Spandex. Compare its 19th century counterpart, the Adventurer Outfit.
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Anime and Manga
Star Blazers (or, if one prefers, Space Battleship Yamato) from 1972 is one of the earliest appearances in anime of this trope. Nurse Yuki Mori, the only recurring female character, provides continuous Fanservice and is very fetching indeed in a yellow space suit that leaves so little to the imagination that it's hard to imagine it providing any protection against a stiff breeze, much less the vacuum of space.
Space Battleship Yamato 2199: 40 years later, Yuki returns to the remake with her uniform unaltered with more girls dressed in a similar manner.
Mazinger Z: Unsurprisingly, one of the earliest examples (but not the first one, for once). Kouji began to wear a Latex Space Suit in the third episode, and Sayaka always wore one while piloting Aphrodite A. Sayaka's was one-piece and tighter than Kouji's though.
Justified Trope <=> Unbuilt Trope: Kouji did not wear one in the first chapters, and often he got badly hurt, bruised or wounded. So a skinsuit was made for him in order to protect his body.
Great Mazinger: Tetsuya and Jun (again, the female character's suit was tighter)
UFO Robo Grendizer: Duke, Kouji, Hikaru and Maria. Duke's suit was a completely literal example, since he wore it to travel across space in his spaceship/Humongous Mecha.
Getter Robo: Ryoma, Hayato and Michiru wore one. Musashi and Benkei's uniforms were subversions. It was reinforced in later manga seasons: if a pilot does not wear a protective uniform, his or her body can get seriously harmed due to the enormous strain the body suffers.
ALL Gundam series since the first one. However, Amuro, Camille, Juudau's suits were less ornate and more practical than the ones Super Robot Genre pilots wore, and female suits were not tightier and sexier than the male ones.
Heavy Metal L Gaim: The pilots carried them during interplanetary travel and space battles.
Neon Genesis Evangelion has the sexy pilot suits variant. It is notably subverted in the episode "Magmadiver", where Asuka has to wear a special plugsuit that swells like a balloon. Lampshaded, too, as she complains about how unsexy it is.
Played with a bit early in the series, when, in an emergency, Shinji has to wear the female variant of the suit (Asuka's spare suit, to be precise). While male variants are also more or less skin-tight, the female version is tighter in the crotch and has vague sculpted breast elements and a curvier hip/waist ratio.
The anime Stellvia of the Universe outfits the cadets at the Space Academy with tight-fitting flightsuits. Two of the protagonists (one male, one female) are notably shy about the cut of their uniforms; they come down to the flight deck with towels wrapped around them.
Rocket Girls, which ranks surprisingly highly on the Mohs Scale of Sci-Fi Hardness, features skintight spacesuits are one of the technical advances developed by the Solomon Space Agency as part of its attempt to realize economical manned spaceflight, since such suits weigh much less then traditional spacesuits, and offer greater mobility. That being said, the show also plays the trope for laughs (several characters seem to find the suits rather scandalous) and fan service too.
One of the reporters present at a press conference sees it and asks, rather nervously, "Is it legal to show this?"
Both novels lampshade this a couple of times by having characters mention that the spacesuits look "just like the ones in anime".
Fafner in the Azure: Dead Aggressor gives a new twist to this trope. The suits that the pilots wear are remarkably tight and serve to avoid some of the pain that linking with the Fafner units entails. Another twist is the fact that upon linking the suits are ripped in some parts as the connection takes place, a process that is quite painful. Kazuki has no time to put on a suit upon piloting for the first time and the pain he undergoes is substantial.
Infinite Stratos: the so called Powered Armor of the series is better described as this trope plus some machinery covering the lower half of limbs and maybe some more machinery floating around them unattached to the suit. The handwave is they have Deflector Shields protecting them, all powered by cold fusion. It takes place in 2016 ...yeah.
The SMS pilots in wear form-fitting suits that are little more than longjohns with bulky shoulderpads, and a helmet. Although these are designed to interface with the exoskeleton control units in the cockpit, it's extremely jarring when they're forced to eject and float around in space during a nuclear exchange.
It shows an evolution of spacesuits seen in previous installments. Zero (1999) — normal modern piloting g-suits. SDF (2009) — not exactly bulky, but still somewhat baggy suits. Plus (2040) — leaner and slimmer version of the previous version. 7 (2045) — essentially, the same as in Plus. Frontier (2059) — glorified bodygloves. They are quite consistent there.
Suzaku's battle suit when piloting the Lancelot is a male example. The Black Knights' ace pilots end up receiving similar suits, whose creator insists they improve survival rates; in the second season, the Knights of the Round all wear designs similar to Suzaku's except personalized, making this trope apply to both men and women.
Whenever one of the Black Knights eject from their Knightmares, their "flight suits" can be seen inflating around their torso like a wearable airbag. Therefore they do improve survival rates, while also providing Fanservice in their normal skin-tight mode.
Justified, as none of the main characters are entirely human, can take a lot more punishment than a mere lack of pressure, and some don't really need to breathe anyway. If you're a QT-X, clothing is merely a fashion statement.
Also, technology has advanced far enough that such outfits are viable protection against vacuum.
Valerian. The skintight suits can be worn almost everywhere including outer space and Scottish pubs. Nobody pays any attention. Though Laureline will switch, often "on screen", to freshly shopped local garb, and will manage this even in the middle of a desert on a forsaken wartorn planet, while Valerian like as not will stick with his suit.
DC's Legion of Super-Heroes takes things a step further with the transuit, a skin-tight and completely transparent environment suit which enables characters to breathe in a vacuum or otherwise hostile environment without being perceptible as anything more than a white armband (despite being full-body and skin-tight, the transuits do not so much as flatten down the characters' hair). Unlike most Latex Space Suits, the transuit's skin-tightness is not a means of providing fanservice, since it is transparent and worn over normal clothing... but since most Legionnaires both male and female wear skin-tight superhero jumpsuits anyhow, it all comes out the same.
From The Authority, The Engineer's skintight nanosuit, which doesn't look like clothes so much as making her look like a naked silver fembot (semi-justified due to her being a closet exhibitionist) can double (triple?) as body armor and a spacesuit in a pinch.
In Empowered, Mind*** wears one when she isn't in a hard vacuum. However she's forced to go out in space wearing her Latex Space Suit since the D10 was badly damaged and didn't have time to put the heavy suit on.
Emp's tattered bikini's worth of supersuit also qualifies.
Kree and Skrull uniforms are skintight. Kree uniforms are white and green with a ringed planet symbol on the chest. Skrull uniforms are purple and black with a zigzag-edged collar piece. Shi'ar outfits are a little more varied, but they're still usually skin-tight. Actually, most Marvel aliens wear skin-tight outfits, except for the more old-school ones like Fin Fang Foom who just wear Space Boxer Shorts.
The cryosuits in Lost in Space are like this, which is to be expected, given its source material's costume choices. Here they are less thin latex and more moulded, tight plastic. Not much emphasis is placed on them and they only worn during the first act. After that the crew wears more normal clothing. This might be due to how inevitably revealing they were on the three female characters.
The spacesuits in Silent Running are like this. Well, the one that we see, at any rate.
In Ivan Efremov's Hour of the Bull, Earth astronauts use skin-tight spacesuits, which however feature a panty-shaped "waste destructor" (basically, a diaper with unlimited capacity), which allows wearing those suits for weeks.
Sergei Pavlov's Moon Rainbow series feature in later installments the "spacesuit" that is literally secreted from the body, turning the wearer into a Chrome Champion. It's actually a layer of a symbiotic living nanomachines that could be psychically controlled by their host.
Peter F. Hamilton's Night's Dawn trilogy includes space-suits that are made of programmable silicon or somesuch- they hang around as a black blob until activated, at which point they spread over the body of the user (tightly enough to avoid decompression in hard vacuum).
In Larry Niven's Known Space stories, the state of the art is "skinsuits" similar to the real-life SAS described above. The suits must be specially constructed to fit each individual, and are usually painted with distinctive personal designs. Anyone wearing a bulky and generic "bubble suit" marks himself as a newbie (or an Earthling) and is not to be trusted on his own in vacuum.
In Kim Stanley Robinson's Red Mars Trilogy, the early colonists of Mars use "mesh" suits; this has the advantage of being very lightweight and flexible, but unfortunately does nothing to protect its user from the extreme cold. Thus the colonists often have to wear mundane cold-weather clothing over their pressure suits. They also must wear helmets with an independent air supply.
The Mote in God's Eye by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. Lady Sandra Bright "Sally" Fowler is specifically noted to be wearing a suit like this during her zero gravity training.
In Dan Simmons' Illium/Olympos books, the Old-style humans use Thermskins to protect them from all manner of hostile environments, space, extreme cold, low oxygen environments, underwater, etc. It's explained that the thermskins are a single molecule thin paint-like substance which is only functional if in direct contact with the skin. This creates a justified extreme of this trope, as all anatomical details are perfectly visible.
Jason Stoddard's short story "Winning Mars" lampshades the fetishistic overtones of this trope. TV executives involved with a reality-TV mission to Mars fund the creation of practical Space Activity Suits, referred to as "squeezesuits", for openly Fanservice-based reasons.
In Greg Bear's Moving Mars, some rebellious college students decide to go outside in the near-vacuum using "skin seal" (which isn't supposed to be used except in emergencies). It's sprayed onto the body, and requires its user to be naked.
One bit of pre-melding plague tech in Alastair Reynolds' Revelation Space universe is a membrane of nanomachines stretched over a hole in a spacecraft's hull. Replacing both airlock and spacesuit, all you have to do is pass through the membrane and it wraps you in a spacesuit, and removes it on your way back in.
Mesh spacesuits are used by the specialist SAS team in The Atrocity Archives, the first novel of The Laundry Series by Charles Stross. The point is made that the suit compresses you by its own elasticity, which generally ensures that any gas in your body outside of your lungs is squeezed out of the nearest orifice.
When they see the SAS team that crosses over into Another Dimension wearing these, the protagonist realises they've made such journeys before.
In Robert Heinlein's Have Spacesuit Will Travel human spacesuits are typically bulky and high maintenance. However, it is revealed that aliens have developed sufficient technology that what amounts to a latex spacesuit is possible. When the lead character sees a young girl wearing one, he is understandably surprised it actually functions better than his own.
John Varley's stories take this to its (il)logical conclusion, admittedly with form-fitting force fields rather than physical spacesuits. Worn over the nude body, the force fields will protect their wearers from virtually any hostile environment, are one molecule thick, and perfectly reflective, making their wearers look like chrome robots or animated statues. (Oh, and when they come into contact the fields will merge, allowing their wearers to have sex in them.)
In John Ringo's East of the Sun, and West of the Moon, these suits are justified as being necessary for proper heat exchange, not to mention the importance of leaving no space for trapped air to inflate the suit in the low atmospheric pressures of space, rendering the suit too stiff to move. In this case, the suits are so skin tight that the wearers have to prepare themselves with a depilatory cream to remove all of the hair from their bodies, with the suits being made with molds made of the wearers' bodies.
The Honorverse has "Skinsuits", which are lightweight, reasonably comfortable for extended wear and don't restrict movement. It does take a bit of time to put one on, though...they come with catheters.
The various combat suits in Mass Effect 1, also known as hardsuits, are relatively form-fitting but can function in a vacuum. That being said, they do not provide significant protection against extreme temperatures, extreme pressure, or highly corrosive environments, unless you use models specifically designed for that purpose. Otherwise, the suits actually do look functional and realistic, being covered in plates of ceramic armor, compared with other examples of Latex Space Suits.
Quarians live nearly their entire lives inside latex space suits because of their atypical immune systems had atrophied due to the extended period aboard sterile environment spaceships due to their exile. Interestingly, they play this trope straight:
Ken: The whole suit is lovely; snug in all the right places...
The ballistic properties of space suits in Mass Effect are down-played due to relativistic speeds of projectiles. Since personal scale mass effect fields are used to slow/stop projectiles, the light armour suits they wear can focus more on environmental protection rather than being combat capable. Heavier armour features less "Latex Space Suit" and more "Awesome yet Practical" with bulky (yet fitted) armour plating.
Mass Effect 2 lets this slide, however, taking it almost to Batman Can Breathe in Space levels when most of your party goes around in hard vacuum in their usual clothes (in the case of Jack, Miranda, and Samara, very Stripperiffic clothes) and a breath mask. Miranda in particular has as one of her outfits a near-literal example of the trope. Mass Effect 3 swings back towards the 1 model.
Infinite Space, being a large sci-fi game with well over 100 characters to meet, has these in spades.
In Gunnerkrigg Court, the look of the "haptic feedback suits" — and their use in conjunction with a Hard Light-simulated space battle — is most likely a reference to this trope. The suits don't even have helmets: apparently creating a realistic simulation was the last thing on Dr. Disaster's mind.
General Karl Tagon during the call to his son implies these "carbonan crotch-huggers" were made after the standard issue uniform in human armed forces... and explains why this "armored underwear" is used there.
Worn (by men) in Starfighter. Unsurprising, what with it being a yaoi comic.
Once Upon a Time... Life. Technically these are not space suits but look close enough.
The quote at the top is from an episode of The Simpsons parodying Fantastic Voyage: Homer, Bart and Lisa wear relatively normal red jumpsuits with helmets, whereas Marge wears a legless, chest-baring red jumpsuit... with a helmet.
"White blood cells are eating my suit, but I have to admit they know where to stop."
Deliberately used by the makers of the Buzz Lightyear of Star Command cartoon, especially with the token Squadette, whose space suit is much more form-fitting than the others. Her long hair is kept under a hood similar to Buzz's own.
The Space Activity Suit and MIT Biosuit, as mentioned above. The idea is that you don't need a pressurised spacesuit, or even an airtight one if you can just use form fitting fabric to hold the body together against its own pressure. You don't even need heating because vacuum isolates very well. The only thing is that it needs to be form fitting all over, even in tricky areas, otherwise you will inflate to match the form of the suit. And naturally there is a female professor working on them.
To be fair, the helmets in Planetes are equipped with an opaque visor that incorporates a computer generated display. Most EVA is conducted with the visor closed. However when opened the helmets do lack the reflective coating standard on space helmets.
The Gundam franchise uses both the skintight version and the bulkier version. Mobile Suit pilots wear form-fitting flight suits which don't interfere with their movements but aren't meant to go out in space except in an emergency; regular space suits are worn by civilians and battleship crew. A few characters like Char Aznable and HamanKarn eschew any kind of suit entirely as a matter of preference, though in Char's case it actually became a plot pointnote the first time he takes Lalah Sune's advice and actually wears a flight suit is the time that doing without would have killed him. He wears pilot suits from then on in Zeta Gundam and Char's Counterattack. Not to mention, a few pilots actually do wear the standard space suit while piloting, including Judau Ashta and Heero Yuy (though Heero does get a pilot suit in the final arc of his show.
Crest of the Stars and its sequels have both the skin-tight version (worn by pilots), and the bulky version (used by mechanics, workers and damage control crews).
Abh's (that is, officers') uniforms double as enviro-suits in emergency only and aren't designed to function like that for extended periods of time, as in battle they sit on the bridge that is the most protected area of the ship. Rates, who work in more dangerous parts more often, routinely wear full-on spacesuits; so the brass simply don't bother with making their uniforms space-proof.
While the AS pilot suits in Full Metal Panic! are about as close to skintight as one can get while remaining functional, it's justified due to a) arm slaves are used on the ground, not in space, b) arm slave cockpits are tiny, as in smaller than a toilet cubicle mini cooper tiny, so you wouldn't want the pilots wearing something that could catch on anything, especially if you have to bail out in an emergency and c) the suits are designed to protect the pilot from being buffeted around from any hits the arm slave may receive; unfortunately they are far from bullet proof as Sousuke discovers in the novels..
Girl One of Top 10 appears to be wearing a color-changing version of this, but it's later revealed that really is her skin, and she'sa closet nudist been bio-engineered with an uncontrollable nudity compulsion by the fanboys that created her.
The characters in the film Sunshine wear suits that are not only large and bulky (at one stage a character falls over and is unable to raise himself to his feet again), but are also gold (to reflect the sun's rays) and have helmets that use a small slit for an eye-hole (explained as protecting the users' eyes from sunlight, but reputedly was requested by the director to increase the feeling of claustrophobia in the suits).
The suits that later will become the uniform of the Fantastic Four in the film adaptation of the comic, subverted as they are not space suits as shown by Ben, who used a normal space suit when recovering the samples.
The space suits worn by Picard et. al in Star Trek: First Contact look like somewhat sleeker versions of modern NASA suits. They're still pretty bulky, though they seem to offer a greater degree of movement, to judge by the scene where they get in a fight with the Borg outside the ship.
In the Star Wars Expanded Universe, the flight suits the Rebel pilots wear throughout the original trilogy, despite having helmets that leave their mouths uncovered, count as spacesuits. The suits generate a magnetic containment field to keep a small amount of atmosphere and heat in so a pilot who ejects survive for about fifteen minutes, long enough hopefully that someone can recover them.
Used and improved upon by the Empire; in fact, this is one of the few situations where a TIE pilot is actually better off than a Rebel. TIE fighters are not pressurized space ships, so TIE pilots have a full helmet and all of their life support is built into their suit instead of the ship. Assuming the TIE pilot actually survives the loss of his ship, he can continue to survive much longer.
In the X-Wing Series, the rebel pilots complain about having to change into sleek dress uniforms for a formal occasion, since they like the extra pockets in their flightsuits, as well as the baggier clothing - as fighter pilots, they can be a bit sensitive about the weight gain that can result from spending hours sitting in a cockpit.
The above stated survival time for a Rebel pilot can change depending on the species of the pilot. That a Gamorrean can last quite a bit longer due to his extra fat is a plot point.
In Honor Harrington, modern spacesuits (called "skinsuits") are form-fitting and rely on the body's own temperature regulation system, but older, less advanced spacefaring societies (like Grayson, pre-Alliance) still have conventional "bulky" spacesuits akin to those of the real world. Such suits are also available as emergency gear aboard some ships, as the skinsuits require specific fitting to accommodate individual users, so that the suit can keep the user's insides inside.
Skinsuits are also somewhat armored, but their main goal is emergency protection in case of a hull depressurisation, which happens quite often. Space Marines, when not wearing Power Armor, use a somewhat heavier armored version that even includes muscle fibers and is proof at least against small arms fire. Engineering personnel, on the other hand, often prefer bulkier suits, just short of a demilitarized Power Armors, for increased mechanical protection.
Live Action TV
The space suits used on Firefly were relatively realistic for the tech level of the show. Their design apparently references the suits in the original space-is-dirty movie, Alien.
The suit worn by the bounty hunter Jubal Early in Objects in Space looked like it was skin-tight leather.
Somewhat justified in that Jubal Early practically lives in his, so a more streamlined suit would be a must. He also presumably has more money than the crew, meaning he can buy nicer suits with newer tech.
In Star Trek: Voyageractual spacesuits are as bulky as today ones, as seen in "Day of Honor".
The remake of Battlestar Galactica features male and female military personnel wearing realistic-looking uniforms, that seem well suited for whatever the characters are doing. And men and women wear identical uniforms too.
Although it is worth noting that the flight suits that they wear are supposed to double as spacesuits but wouldn't actually work as such (or if they did they would balloon too much for the wearer to move).
The humanoid-Cylon flightsuits seen in a few late-season episodes are quite a bit closer to this trope. Of course, they're usually seen on Sixes and Eights.
The original had an episode where female shuttle pilots were being trained to fly the Viper fighters, and they tossed in a scene showing the skin tight "space suit" that the fighter pilots were supposedly all wearing under their cloth uniforms. Of course we were never shown any of the male pilots wearing them.
The web series Red vs. Blue not only has bulky, generic armor on its characters, but makes use of it, with a number of occasions of gender confusion. However, the makers were using the game Halo for all their animation and therefore had no choice in the matter, so they don't deserve much credit.
Samus has the Zero suit, a form-fitting blue suit that's implied to be an interface to her normal Power Suit, and she appears wearing it when unable to use her normal armor. The Galactic Federation troopers use something similar with their space suits, although Samus' is obviously one-of-a-kind.
Super Robot Wars Original Generation: Divine Wars has surprisingly realistic pilot and space suits - while Personal Trooper pilots wear fairly thin ones that might match the trope, they're not made for space combat and do not have great speeds. However, Armored Module pilots wear a very bulky combination of a g-suit and a space suit as they are main for high-speed assaults and space and air combat. Fighter pilots wear a modified g-suit that's a combination of both. The Playstation 2 remake of the Original Generation game series reuses the pilot suits portrayed in Divine Wars, mainly because few were even seen in the first two Original Generation games (not to mention the Super Robot Wars series in general).
There are a number of exceptions to that realism, the most shamelessly egregious of which being Aya's pilot suit, which has a large Cleavage Window that would completely nullify any utility it might have as space suit.
In Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and its sequel, space/environmental suits are worn on several occasions. Despite the games being set a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away and being rife with other space tropes, the suits look very much like current-day space suits. Actually, they look even clunkier than current-day space suits, which is interesting for a world of unending Applied Phlebotinum.
Isaac Clarke's R.I.G from Dead Space is bulky and creepy-looking. The military version has a skull like face.
Dead Space 2 take this further with the Vintage RIG which shows that all the other RIGs are far more streamlined than their predecessors.
However, both examples are meant for dangerous situations; it's bulky because it needs to protect the wearer from more than just horrible space death. Ellie in 2 plays this trope straight.
The original X-COM gave recruits basic uniforms and kevlar plating, until you researched better armor. "Personal Armor" wasn't quite skin-tight, what with all the plates of alien alloy, but came close. Powered Armor and Flying Armor were, well, Powered Armor. And somehow all of them were completely fine for use on Mars.