The Black Catsuit Is the Most Wonderful and Impractical Costume in Cinematic History
An ode to our favorite latex, leather and PVC-bound heroines
When you work out, what do you wear?
Clothing that offers unrestricted movement. So why on Spielberg’s green earth do Hollywood’s ass-kicking-est women put on skin-tight catsuits — the single most restricting article of clothing this side of a straightjacket?
For that answer, take a gander at Kate Beckinsale’s Selene in Underworld. It’s not her vampiric fangs that’ll turn you white — it’s that classic black bodysuit, an article that says, “Even though a normal human being cannot reach their full range of motion in this absurd garment, I’m going to defy its limitations (and then kill you in it) to appease the prurient desires of the male moviegoing public.”
Since Underworld: Blood Wars is in theaters, we thought, what better time to pause and appreciate the latex, leather and PVC-bound history of our favorite bodysuited heroines?
We’ve pared it down to our five favorites.
You tell us, does this look comfortable to you?
Kate Beckinsale as Selene in the Underworld series
Beckinsale’s signature move in this franchise seems to be jumping from ridiculous heights. While we’ll accept that vampires can survive 10-story leaps, this latex suit cannot.
Carrie-Anne Moss as Trinity in The Matrix
Slow-motion jump kick? Torn thighs. Hurdle a building? Ripped crotch. Leap through the world’s smallest window? That plastic suit is getting sliced like a salami. But somehow she rolls down a flight of rickety wooden stairs and draws her guns with nothing but a few hairs out of place.
Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman in Batman Returns
“I don’t know whether to open fire or fall in love.” Us either, bumbling cop. Sorry, Christopher Nolan, but Anne Hathaway’s catsuit in The Dark Knight Returns pales in comparison to the lustrous stitched latex of Pfeiffer’s feline queen. It looks like it could rip at any second, but turns out the catsuit has nine lives, too.
Halle Berry as Storm in X-Men
Here’s a contender for one of the worst lines in movie history: “Do you know what happens to a toad when it’s struck by lightning? The same thing that happens to everything else.” But when you’ve got the catsuit, the cape and the ability to manipulate weather systems, who needs quips?
Honorable mention: Berry’s take on Catwoman.
Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow in The Avengers series
Ok, so her catsuit here is technically blue, but it changes to black in the other films, and her name is Black Widow, so let’s count it.
If we missed your favorite, feel free to send it our way. We’ll be glad to review it.
This article was featured in the InsideHook newsletter. Sign up now.
Suggested for you