In the future, swimsuits with shoulder pads and shiny pyjamas shall display your wealth and status.
"Captain, get out your spandex suit. We're sending you on a space journey.
There are a few types of clothes people wear when they are traveling in space:
- Military style outfits (much loved by the Stargate crews). Usually bordering on Putting on the Reich for dictatures.
- Standard overalls with a plethora of badges (real astronauts, and quite a few characters in Used Future science-fiction).
- 21st century stuff (or, in a humorous version, 20th century (1960-1980s) stuff).
- Stripperiffic items most universally worn by the female members of the Green-Skinned Space Babe race.
- Just Space Clothes - stuff that is just unbelievably silly. Huge shoulder pads, pocketless spandex, clashing colors, jackets that look like couch covers, reflective foil, long trailing skirts, capes, daft hair (or even dafter hats).
- Ermine Cape Effect: Usually worn by a civilization of aliens who have a fondness for Crystal Spires and Togas.
Today, Space Clothes
seem to be largely a thing of the past, as everyone goes military-style or contemporary
. The problem with the latter is that people may well not wear those sorts of things in the future.
See also Future Spandex
and Rummage Sale Reject
. Compare Spandex, Latex, or Leather
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Anime and Manga
- In Dragon Ball Z, all the aliens are initially shown wearing what look like Spandex bodysuits, with various degrees of actual coverage, under their armor. Later, Bulma figures out how to replicate the Saiyan armor for Goku, Gohan, Vegeta, & Trunks to wear during their trip to the Room of Spirit & Time, & the spandex is again part of the outfit.
- After acquiring the final ship in the last arc of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, the cast upgrades from contemporary clothing to hilarious Space Clothes, including the super Stripperific kind for resident Ms. Fanservice, Yoko. This is actually a homage to Super Robot anime of the past set in space, such as Getter Robo.
- Simon's outfit is just a recoloured and Stripperiffic version of Captain Harlock's, another classic anime set in space.
- It also resembles what he wore pre-timeskip to a degree.
- Last Exile has the Guild, who fit a great deal of "alien" stereotypes (live in space/the upper atmosphere, pointy ears, Anime Hair in a setting where everyone else's hair is relatively normal, etc.). Naturally, they have odd clothes to match; Delphine's bodysuit has to be seen to be believed.
- The aliens in DearS dress in what could be considered space clothes. All of them are ornate, outlandish, brightly colored and clearly collared. They also have much more hair than your average human character.
- Sora Wo Kakeru Shoujo seems to be made of nothing but space clothes.
- Super Dimension Fortress Macross uses space clothes for all its military forces — check out the oh-so-'70s giant lapels on the pilot's uniforms, for instance. Especially Do You Remember Love?, where the Valkyrie pilots get a suit that includes Awesome, but Impractical glowing shoulderpads and a chest-monitor-thingy when they're in full flying kit.
- The Principality of Zeon in Mobile Suit Gundam have almost Prisoner-of-Zenda-style ornate uniforms. Impractical capes, swords and epaulets and lots of gold decoration abound on officer uniforms. Other Alternate Universe works have taken this to even more ridiculous extremes.
- Neo Zeon of Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ falls into stripperific territory, with sleeveless jackets being popular for the (muscular) male soldiers while the (well endowed) female officers tend to go around in short skirts and tops that leave the upper chest and midriffs bare. One notices many a similarity to the Terran Empire uniforms from the Star Trek episode Mirror, Mirror.
- Kryptonians in flashbacks to Krypton in the Superman comics usually wear some variation of space clothes, especially in Golden Age and Silver Age depictions of Krypton.
- In one The Flash storyline, Wally thinks his cousins, who grew up in the 30th century, have followed in the family tradition, since they're wearing superhero costumes. Nope - that's just how people in the 30th century dress.
- Dune the movie managed to come up with one set of strange clothes, thanks to the really weird mind of David Lynch, along with particular distinctive physical quirks (Mentats have giant eyebrows, the Spacing Guild are all bald and have weird voices, Harkonnens are red-haired and have terrible acne). The miniseries reveals its low budget by distinguishing people...by their hats. Children of Dune was slightly better about this, as the budget was a mote higher. The Atreides and the Emperor seem to constantly wear military uniforms in the film. Justified with the Emperor, whose fetish for uniforms was mentioned in the books.
- Star Trek
- Star Trek The Motion Picture. One set of Space Clothes was the most expensive costume worn by a film extra up to then. Behold it in all its horrifying glory. They look like Starfleet knocked off a kid's pajama warehouse. The "uniforms" even had footees instead of real shoes or boots.
- The later movies have multi-layered uniforms with turtleneck sweater undershirts. Doesn't it get hot in those things? (One of the jokes of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home was how well the crew blended in to the San Francisco crowds by merely removing their emblem pins.)
- Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
- Semi-averted. The badass maroon jacket and department-colored turtleneck combo is a million steps up from TMP's Starfleet pastel pajamas.
- The production had no choice but to change the costumes. Nick Meyer wanted something more Prisoner of Zenda or Horatio Hornblower, but more importantly, the entire cast threatened to not do any more Trek unless the extremely-overengineered outfits were jettisoned — the TMP costumes were constructed in such a way that the cast needed assistance donning the outfits, even unto having assistants standing by while using the restroom. So in effect, a mutiny brought about the second-most iconic costumes in Trek history.
- Averted outside the Enterprise in Star Trek: Into Darkness. Fashions from dress uniforms to suits are shown as having developed from their modern-day equivalents.
- The Next Generation's pajama jumpsuits. Word Of Sulu says that the uniforms were really impractical to the point that the cast threatened not to do another Star Trek film until they redesigned the outfits for the next movie. Elizabeth Dennehy once said in an interview that the main cast of Next Generation made it a requirement that whenever a guest star first put on their uniform, they had to stand in front of the cast and proclaim, "I hate my space suit." Afterwards, they were officially one of the family.
- Star Wars
- Everybody in the galaxy far, far away has a fantastical design to their clothing. Upper class citizens dress in primary colors, and often some sort of robe. Middle to lower class dress in contemporary clothes, but often bulkier (or just dull robes similar to Jedi). Han Solo dresses like a gunslinger, and then of course we have the Jedi Robes, which are based on monks. Most species belonging that can be called a Green-Skinned Space Babe wear Stripperific clothing, or just generally skimpy.
- Padme Amidala wears particularly improbable clothing, though it's influenced by actual Mongolian and Russian royal fashion.
- In Space Mutiny, the men have space clothes, most women wear stripperiffic outfits.
- Starship Invasions features quite a few variations of Space Clothes, from tinfoil bikinis to the bad guys' goofy shapeless hat/hood things.
- The Fifth Element has a plethora of clothing made out of plastic and rubber. Luc Besson and Milla Jovovich have connections to the fashion industry, so the costumes were designed by Jean-Paul Gaultier and worn by a number of runway models, including Jovovich herself.
- In Project Moonbase, United States Space Force astronauts dress casually in shorts, tops and tight-fitting skullcaps (presumably to stop one's hair floating about in zero-gravity).
- Parodied in Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey, where people from Rufus's time wear ridiculously huge boots made of what looks like foam packing material. Yes, the Big Bad even dresses his Mooks like this, but all in black so they'll look scary.
- Played for laughs in Dude Wheres My Car with the followers of Zoltan, whose "interstellar jumpsuits" are hoodies made of bubble wrap. The aliens, though, wear tight-fitting leather.
- Future fashion in Back to the Future Part II tended towards ridiculously silly. Two neckties?
- The original Flash Gordon serials set the standard for "Space Clothes" back in the '30s. The Movie turned it Up to Eleven.
- A more realistic version in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Though early on we see Dr. Floyd travelling through space in a casual suit as well as a few people on the space station dressed similarly, the Stewardesses are seen wearing a strange white suit which includes a round hat and magnetic shoes; it looks odd but the design is somewhat practical (the shoes are designed so they can walk down aisles in zero-gravity, while the hats are probably to keep their hair from floating all over the place). However, on board Discovery, Dave and Frank are simply wearing gray jumpsuits like you'd expect from real astronauts.
- Guaranteeing that his Adept series will never be ruined by Hollywood, Piers Anthony averted this trope by having almost everyone on Planet Proton walk around naked.
- Everyone's nekkid in the John Carter of Mars series by Edgar Rice Burroughs... Understandably, this aspect never came up in the film adaptation.
- Toyed with in an HP Lovecraft story taking place in the wet jungles of a pulp Venus. The planet-hopping protagonist grouses in his diary about his sturdy leather suit, wishing for something made of indestructible shiny metal foil instead.
- Known Space has its own fashions: from the very popular nudists (since everything is climatized in the future - obviously they also found a way of getting around the hygiene problems) to full-body pigment changes in weird-ass colours, and the Belter fashion of individualized spacesuits - and LARPers.
- Robert A. Heinlein describes some pretty amazing future fashion in his books. Aside from removing all social taboos about nudity, his female clothes got skimpier and skimpier. In I Will Fear No Evil, he describes an entire fashion trend made of nothing but see through skirts and body paint. Men's fashions frequently included kilts, and occasionally mentioned jewelry and even cosmetics. In The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, Manny asserts that tights and a bare upper torso smeared with body paint is formal attire.
- Asimov's The Bicentennial Man, each new time period that protagonist lives through is introduced with a description of the current fashion. Most of the new clothing styles looks pretty silly to modern eyes (transparent clothing for women and tube top for men, really?).
- Jumpsuits seem to be the default garment of choice for humans in the Humanx Commonwealth series.
- Edmond Hamilton may have pulled out all the stops with his descriptions of Shining Cities and weird alien planets but the clothing worn in his Space Operas are simple and comfortable tunics and leggings or sleeveless shirts, trousers and capes, emblazoned in the case of Star Kings with suitable heraldic symbols in jewels.
- The illustrations of old pulp science fiction stories are a combination of this and a bunch of other tropes, depending on who was drawing it. This image, for example, is a cross between 1950s ideas of space clothes with women wearing pseudo-medieval witch clothes.◊
- Deconstructed in the Kim Newman short story Tomorrow Town. The protagonists are sent to investigate a testbed "community-of-the-future" and change into the unisex one-size-fits-all plastic suits, finding them difficult to adjust, prone to overheating even in a climate-controlled environment, difficult to remove for toilet purposes and stripperiffic because their designer was a sexist lecher.
- * Lampshaded in John Varley's Steel Beach when Hildy complains that 25th century lunar civilisation actually does contain people who advocate just this sort of "futuristic" clothing "with no pockets and no obvious way to make water". They'd be amusing if they didn't keep introducing legislation intended to enforce their views on the rest of society.
Live Action TV
- During the "Time Capsule" Showcases on The Price Is Right, the models would wear this type of costume as they revealed prizes to the theme songs of Star Trek The Motion Picture and the disco version of Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
- Blakes Seven. Just watch Jenna and Cally go down to rescue the boys in 'Star One' clad in floor length skirts and six inch heels. And then there was Avon's fondness for leather and studs...
- Zaphod Beeblebrox in the TV version of The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy wears a suit apparently made of dayglo circuit boards.
- Well, he was voted "Worst Dressed Sentient Being in the Universe" seven times running...
- It's good to know they paid such attention to detail.
- An interesting aversion comes from the fact that Douglas Adams originally scripted a scene where the Heart of Gold ship creates a jump-suit for Arthur. The producer, however, realised that he would have been in his pyjamas until this point and kept him in them.
- Babylon 5 had its humans wearing military uniforms - proper uniforms with pockets, not pyjamas - or things like suit jackets with the lapels missing or oddly-cut and collarless shirts (it looks kind of contemporary, but at the same time kind of foreign—particularly with the odd shirt in a sort of mottled-brown printed pattern). Women's fashions in particular trended to the timeless (if occasionally a bit low-cut). The Minbari and the Narn, on the other hand, play this to the hilt.
- In the 1970's British Series UFO (set in the future world of 1980) silver bodysuits are standard wear for space personnel (though interceptor pilots wear blue, with white plastic belts and boots). The Moonbase Bridge Bunnies also wore their trademark purple wigs, elaborate make-up, and cosmetic belt-kits (as seen in this famous scene which seems like a lot of trouble to go to for a ten minute coffee break... A non-canon explanation for the purple wigs was that they prevented static electricity on Moonbase, but that didn't explain why the men didn't wear them. But that wasn't as strange as the Skydiver personnel who wore fishnet shirts that showed off their nipples. Even the women!
- No, not the women. They women seemed to be wearing flesh-coloured undershirts under the fishnet tops. Showing women's nipples on British TV in 1970 just wasn't done (though men's nipples were apparently OK).
- The trope was averted for civilian clothing, which didn't look too different from what people would wear in 1970.
- The original Battlestar Galactica generally averted this, with a muted beige colour scheme and some pretty spiffing Wild West-style jackets, complete with cowboy-style ammo belts. The capes and thigh boots were much harder to take seriously, however.
- Farscape costumes started out pretty racy already, and eventually evolved into All Fetish Fuel All The Time.
- Civilian clothes in Next Gen-era Star Trek are mostly Space Clothes done right — easy on contemporary eyes, but clearly not contemporary. In particular, waistcoats/vests are back in a big way, men's jackets tend to be made of patterned fabric and often lack lapels, and women wear opaque tights that match their skirts. However, it's worth pointing out that Star Trek really only developed a decent non-uniform clothing style after several years of the TNG/DS9 era had passed. Up until then civilian clothing tended to consist of all-too-obvious jumpsuits (Jake Sisko in the first season of Deep Space Nine is a particularly bad example, as he's supposed to be a 14-year-old but goes around wearing what look like giant baby-gros).
- Deep Space Nine often continues the "done right" trend, though it's hard to tell whether Voyager meant to play this straight or not - Neelix is usually the worst-dressed being imaginable, with complicated cuts and folds of an eye-hurting blend of colours, but that also feeds his Alternate Character Interpretation as an irritating sociopath. Guest aliens include people who appear to wear strings of LEDs and wrap themselves in shower curtains.
- The Ferengi civilian clothes are done quite notably well. Civilian Ferengi males typically wear clothing that is styled similarly to the uniforms of starship crew, but also different and more expensive-looking, in much the same manner that contemporary business attire resembles (usually older) military uniforms. (Until Quark and company came along, we didn't see any Ferengi that weren't crew on a ship.)
- Their females are never seen, but this doesn't limit the ability to critique their clothes... as until the very end of DS9 they didn't wear any.
- While "Done Right" seems to apply generally to races we're meant to like, "bad guy" races tend to fall pretty hard into the Space Clothes trap. The Romulan Star Empire and its epic love affair with insanely large shoulder pads leads the charge, followed up by the Cardassian military and their horrendously uncomfortable-looking work uniforms, apparently made from hard plastic.
- On the rare occasions when Federation civilians were seen the original series, they tended to wear either the aforementioned jumpsuits (the standard outfit for non-Starfleet adult men, even when it makes no sense) or 1960s mod fashions (more-or-less reserved for women and children). In fact, the eventual look of Federation civilian clothes seems to have evolved from the mod fashions used in the original series. You can see the transition throughout Star Trek: The Next Generation (mostly with children's costumes, since the adults tended wear uniforms, jumpsuits, or character-specific outfits).
- In Stargate Atlantis, the civilian personnel wear completely plausible uniforms (aside from fitting a bit too well), but you can see the Space Clothes inspiration. The military personnel, being normal modern Earth soldiers, wear normal modern Earth military gear. Some of the alien societies, on the other hand, go much further.
- The Wraith have the coolest clothing. While normal drones wear what looks like chitin and queens have gowns, officers are clad in black leather from neck to feet. Considering they are really pale and have white hair, this makes for a nice contrast. Travelers have a black & red version while Ancients and Asurans usually wear a futuristic white and cream-colored suit. Regarding the Vanir, they always tank around in copper-colored powered armor except in one case when they revealed their true nature: as Asgards, they are completely naked. And needless to say, Tau'ri wear BDUs. Genii clothing looks like WW 2-era Soviet uniforms.
- While Firefly is intentionally devoid of this for the most part due to its Space Western feel, with most of the characters dressing as according to the frontier concept or in ways related to American or Chinese culture in general, Jubal Early, the Operative and several other characters wear straight-up Space Clothes. In the two named characters' cases, this is said to be body armor rather than regular clothing, though... but damn do they just look like jumpsuits.
- Jubal Early's jumpsuit thingy is a spacesuit, or doubles as one. He used it to float between his ship and Serenity.
- One does have to wonder, however, about how Pesephone's return to Regency fashions came about...
- Star Trek: The Original Series justified its famous miniskirts as being a symbol of Sixties liberation, but it's worth noting that spacewomen in 1950's TV sci-fi also had short skirts (e.g. Carol Carlisle in Space Patrol, and Vena Ray in Rocky Jones, Space Ranger).
- The 2007 Flash Gordon series averts this, for the most part. Ming the Benevolent Father almost always wears a military uniform and is only once seen in a ceremonial robe. Baylin, being a Bounty Hunter, wears rugged clothing reminiscent of Han Solo. If anything, most clothing seems old, which makes sense given that Mongo is a Crapsack World after their environment was poisoned and the old civilization destroyed. This was probably deliberate to make the show less campy than the original.
- An episode of SCTV involving a spaceflight to upgrade a TV satellite (It Makes Sense in Context) had the mission crew wearing jump suits with the shoulder seam rolls that show these are Space Clothes.
- Space: 1999 was obviously an influence on Star Trek The Motion Picture with its double knit uniforms in taupe. One standout design feature was the single colored sleeve that told the audience what department the character was in. Season Two added an orange parka that actually made them less Space Clothes-like.
- In Red Dwarf, Rimmer and Lister initially wore their Red Dwarf uniform of jacket, shirt with tie, trousers and boots (Rimmer kept his immaculate whilst Lister wore a Custom Uniform variation, minus tie.) By the third season, though, Lister's clothing stayed pretty much the same, but Rimmer wore a bright green (later red, then blue) lycra suit.
- Classic Doctor Who was a repeat offender, but the new series has mostly avoided silvery spandex.
- "Space Olympics". Also comes with Space Hair. Specifically, you've got shiny jumpsuits for the hapless space athletes, and froofy ceremonial "space ambassador" clothes for the incompetent olympic space impressario. . .
- Alternative metal band Powerman 5000, from Atom Punk jumpsuits to what appear to be clothes made out of microchips.
- Lumi, the fictional face of the Genki Rockets, born in space in the year 2037, is typically depicted wearing present-day dresses or 80's retro-future getup, as in the Heavenly Star and Star Line videos.
- Little Boots in "Remedy".
- Kerli wears a stripperific silver spandex outfit in "Zero Gravity" from 2:17 to 3:15, also including space hair.
- Lights wears a spacey minidress outfit in "Drive My Soul", in accordance with the video's Raygun Gothic theme.
- The stuff Earth, Wind, and Fire wears in "Let's Groove" might well qualify.
- The men in Atari's Middle Earth pinball are wearing white ball-shaped helmets and skintight suits, complete with utility belts.
- To tie into the then-upcoming release of The Motion Picture, Bally modified the backglass art for their Star Trek pinball to match the movie costumes. The end result has Kirk, Spock, and McCoy traversing an alien planet in silver full-body jumpsuits.
- Similarly, the futuristic society of Xenon shows everyone wearing one-piece unicolor jumpsuits.
- The warriors in Gottlieb's Gladiators wear full-body glowing orange Power Armor.
- Gottlieb's Target Alpha (a rethemed version of their earlier El Dorado) shows people in the future wearing garishly-colored jumpsuits and bright helmets with fins.
- In the National Wrestling Alliance in 1987, a tag team called The New Breed◊, who were billed as being from the year 2002 where Dusty Rhodes is president of the United States, made their debut. While their clothes weren't too out of place (aside from being very loud), their hairstyles (which you sadly don't get a good look at in this picture) were beyond absurd, looking not unlike a do-it-yourself cutjob. Supposedly this was how people did their hair in the future.
- The Gurps Traveller volume Interstellar Wars has the best art work of all the Gurps Traveller's (given that the others are all black and white, it's not a contest). It shows Terrans dressed in clothes that look reasonably similar to modern clothes (dark blue uniforms for Terran spacers for instance) and Vilani in exotic looking clothes (flowing robes and the like) that still look vaguely human. Both styles tend to be reasonably handsome.
- An article in the website Freelance Traveller tells of a line of "smart clothes" touched up technologically with such perks as touch sensitivity (allowing you to wear it without feeling like you are wearing it), internal heating systems, variable color, variable transparency, and so on.
- In Warhammer 40,000, the only spaceship crew that actually have models are the Tau Air Caste. They wear odd alien jumpsuits and vests in the traditional style of Tau armor.
- Because the human elements are highly idiosyncratic, their attire varies greatly. Most commonly used uniforms are overalls, bodygloves (especially for high-ranking crew), and tattered rags (especially for low-ranking and press-ganged crews).
- Eldar and Space Marine pilots wear the same sort of armor as the ground troops, Imperial Guard pilots wear heavier armor and breath masks in the style of the Stormtroopers, and Chaos pilots are typically mutated into being a part of the vehicle.
- The illustrations in the Trinity rulebook tended to do Space Clothing Done Right, with unusual but generally not bizarre or impractical garments.
- In Eclipse Phase most illustrations show people wearing stuff that appears to be covered in neon lights, most likely made of smart materials.
- Mass Effect 2 and its future-blouse.
- Though humans and Asari have equal shares in the Stripperific department, there.
- Oddly enough, the first game plays the trope straight, with floor-length dresses for women and formal suits for men on the Citadel, while the second and third games introduce distinctively 21st-century clothing such as Shepard's hoodie and/or little black minidress. Maybe Shepard really likes going retro.
- Halo avoids this for the most part, though the working uniforms worn by UNSC Navy crewmen seem to have been inspired a bit by Star Trek, particularly the color-coded versions worn by specialized personnel. Still, even those are fairly sensible in appearance.
- This may also be related to the real life practice of crewmen on aircraft carriers wearing different colors on the flight deck to indicate their job from a distance.
- Killzone features, among other things, PAGST helmets, 21st Century ballistic vests, and... orange sweaters.
- Borderlands has Mordecai in what appears to be a cross between a Mexican luchador and male dominatrix outfit - with ski goggles.
- his outfit◊ is more of a gimp mask◊ with a sleeveless cropped motorcycle top. Still odd, but mainly the mask—if you're a sniper, why wear something that restricts your vision so?
- From the looks of the lenses, they actually provide decent peripheral vision, and the red tint would be helpful to his night vision, as long as the scope used some other color for the crosshairs and readouts. As for restricting his vision, some snipers use an eyepatch to block off their sight in one eye completely, to reduce the stereo vision affecting their aim, so darkly tinted goggles actually wouldn't be so bad there. Also, Pandora has a lot of dirt, dust, and sand, so he'd want to keep that stuff out of his eyes.
- Freelancer plays with this. There are people who wear clothes that would be normal today, such as suits and Trent's leather jacket. There are also those that wear clothes styles typically associated with Space Clothes. And then, there are Rheinland and Kusari clothes who mix old/traditional clothing with future fashions.
- The few articles of clothing worn by Shadow the Hedgehog are in line with this style.
- Space Channel 5 has everyone wearing crazy space outfits.
- Futurama! Occasionally unusual fashions are seen or mentioned—extras often wear censor bars, and military uniforms are like Star Trek without pants (and we do mean TOS miniskirts even on the guys)—but for the most part, everyone wears 20th/21st Century clothes... with peaked shoulder rings. Grimy denim jackets, janitor's cover-alls, even the wall-eyed old lady's old-lady-shirt.
- The Jetsons is probably one of the biggest examples of this trope.
- The stuff worn by ravers can easily be mistaken for space clothes. In fact, the labels of some rave-clothing producers such as Cyberdog even have small notes saying it is "Suitable for Terrestrial wear".
- Lady Gaga. Obviously.
- Ace Frehley, when performing— later Tommy Thayer.
- MIT is testing a form of spandex underwear called the Gravity Loading Countermeasure Skinsuit as a way to prevent bone decay when in space. Popular Science shows astronauts wearing it next to Richard Garriott.
- Some of the popular fashions of The Eighties could easily be mistaken for such by a time traveler from an earlier period. Maybe not the shoulder-padded power suits, but... the lycra... the jelly bracelets... the hair... all over the place... Getting too close to this trope may be why '90s fashion went in the complete opposite direction.