If you could be any superhero, who would you be?
Growing up, I identified more with the X-Men and thought Jean Grey’s telepathic/telekinetic abilities were the perfect one-two punch. But after seeing Wonder Woman‘s first solo live-action film this summer, something about her character spoke to me. It wasn’t just her power and strength. It was her heart.
For the most part, the movie was enjoyable but I was holding out for that one special moment to ‘wow’ me. Then came Diana’s line: “It’s not about deserve; it’s about what you believe. And I believe in love.”
That’s what made me truly identify with Wonder Woman / Diana Prince. She wasn’t just strong because she was a goddess trained as a warrior. She was strong because she was vulnerable. It took experiencing the beauty of love and the devastation of loss to unleash her true power, see the good in mankind, and save the world.
Diana’s growth from a naive girl to a woman fully understanding the world was a beautiful reminder to always keep our hearts and our minds open — no matter how much we get disappointed along the way — to help others and ourselves. We might not have Amazonian combat training, but we all have the capacity to love.
Patty Jenkins directed a movie that made me feel proud to be a woman who isn’t afraid let her heart rule her head. That’s why I made it my mission this summer to recreate the Wonder Woman costume for Fan Expo Canada, down to every accurate detail.
Meet the officially licensed DC Comics Dawn of Justice Wonder Woman boots. Definitely a collector’s item.
When these boots were initially released via Hot Topic they sold out fast! Hot Topic promised that they’d come back in stock sometime in July, so I refreshed that product page once every hour, every day for almost a month.
— jes tongio (@exitghost) July 13, 2017
With August fast approaching and no sign of the promised restock, it became clear that not everyone who wanted these boots would get their hands on them. So I caved and paid a little extra to get them off Amazon and ensure I’d have them in time for Fan Expo.
Not only do these boots look super legit and right out of the Batman v Superman and Wonder Woman movies, they’re also surprisingly light and comfortable. Another cool feature: they’re actually three-piece boots. The knee guards, chin guards, and wedges all snap into place to form one boot, but can be worn separately as over-the-knee boots, knee-highs, or regular wedge shoes!
When early images and footage of the rebooted Wonder Woman costume were released, Diana got so much unnecessary flack for wearing wedge boots. People deemed them unrealistic footwear for combat. I have to say, speak for yourselves! As a flat-footed girl who finds most low footwear uncomfortable (even with custom orthotics!) I embrace and totally relate to wearing wedges as stable, functional battle gear. I can run in wedges more comfortably than I can walk in most flats. I definitely need that extra arch support, especially being on my feet all day at a convention.
The boots were the one element of Wonder Woman’s costume that I couldn’t take my eyes off in the film. I had never wanted anything more than I’ve wanted these boots. OK, actually, that’s only second to badly wanting a spot in my Grade 10 jazz dance recital. I worked my butt off for that and prayed to the goddess of dance, Paula Abdul, every night to land one of those five spots.
THE BODY ARMOUR
It took a lot of combing through the Internet to find an attractive yet realistic yet practical option for the main pieces of this costume: the breastplate and skirt. A hard-shell, custom-sized breastplate would have cost me anywhere between $500 and over $1,000. Meanwhile, a standard Halloween costume version would have looked too flimsy and less movie-like.
Then a friend recommended CosplayMagic.com and they had the best Wonder Woman costume for my needs. For $189, their version of the costume was the most cost-friendly and the most movie-accurate looking (for a soft build).
As someone who is not quite adept at physical arts and crafts, I was lucky that my extremely creative best friend Katie was so willing to help me texturize the gold detailing of the breastplate to look more authentic. She’s always been awesome with paint, as well as making her own costumes. For this project, I was impressed by her taping skills alone. I feel like she was on to something with the newspaper-covered armour. Maybe in a special issue of the Wonder Woman comics, Diana saves journalism?!
— jes tongio (@exitghost) August 22, 2017
Katie applied a coat of metallic gold spray paint on the chest emblem and belt and then gave a few coats of a metallic espresso acrylic paint for a more weathered look. After that, I added in the lighter-toned champagne highlights and blackened iron shadowing for added depth, dimension, and a bronzier feel.
As for the skirt, one really important detail to me was to make sure the gold trim was on there. Since the costume from CosplayMagic.com didn’t come with it, I used some of the champagne gold paint to add that on myself. I wanted to make sure that this gold looked crackled and not solid, again for accuracy.
*Sizing tip: If you’re going to order this Wonder Woman costume from CosplayMagic.com, order a size smaller than what’s offered in the dropdown menu. I originally ordered a size Small but when it arrived, it had four extra inches of material and would not stay up. Luckily, CosplayMagic.com offers fast, free shipping (two weeks from China to Canada) and hassle-free returns/exchanges. Their customer service was really helpful with this.
*Quality tip: When the size Extra-Small arrived, the zipper on it was very weak and immediately split at my first zip. I ended up having to get the zipper replaced at a nearby dry cleaner’s for $28.
Accessories are what really elevate a costume. So I upgraded every prop I could to make this cosplay look as authentic as possible.
I ordered this gorgeous tiara from a Moscow-based Etsy shop, InspireProps. Here’s why Andrey Vorobev’s masterful work is so impressive:
- The tiara looks like metal but it’s actually made of PVC foam.
- Since it’s made of foam, it’s light and comfortable to wear.
- Somehow this tiara does not budge a millimetre when I’m wearing it. It stays perfectly still without any reinforcements, even under all my hair and through all my awkward posing.
- The detailing — ugh! So perfect. The two tones of gold, the dark shadowing, and the faux scratches all make the tiara look so authentic.
I ordered these silver and gold leather gauntlets from a Texas-based Etsy shop, EquipImagination.
There were so many options out there for custom-made Wonder Woman gauntlets. But I felt these ones looked the most realistic — shiny and metallic but also worn and scratched (in exactly the same places as you’d find in all the Wonder Woman posters).
Why didn’t I just opt for gauntlets made from actual metal? Well, that would’ve been too uncomfortable to wear for two straight days at Fan Expo. Leather was the most comfortable option.
Another reason why these specific gauntlets by Stina Glitters look authentic: it’s the inside that counts, too. The straps on these are a rich, dark brown leather, just like on Diana’s gauntlets.
- It’s over 20 feet long (just like in the movie) and the proper thickness.
- The accurate gold colouring (more of a muted gold-bronze than a yellow gold) and weathering.
- It has 3D modeled custom end tips.
Yes, if you look closely, that’s exactly how the end tips look on Diana’s lasso in the movie. This detail blew me away and I wasn’t going to settle for any other lasso.
Special thanks to my parents who made several trips to Fabricland to get all the materials necessary to secure my lasso to my harness. My mom took it upon herself to make a mini project out of creating a harness loop that looked just like Diana’s. She used a strip of leather, gave it a snap fastener, and cut out a pointed tip for me to paint gold.
I ordered this stunning armband from a California-based Etsy shop, ArmoryRasa.
Just like the tiara, the armband had to look weighted and metallic. Gabriel did such a good job recreating the movie version of Wonder Woman’s armband on this vegetable-tanned leather, “tooled and textured by hand to give it a realistic, lived-in look.”
He was also very accommodating with my rush order to make sure I’d have the armband in time for my August 30th Fan Expo deadline. These armbands are custom sized at no extra charge.
MY WONDER WOMAN EVOLUTION
I was first introduced to Wonder Woman when my mom called me over to the TV one day after school and said, “Sit down and watch this show with me. It’s called Wonder Woman and she’s the best.”
My mom loved Wonder Woman’s character, but she admired Lynda Carter even more. She told me the story of how she met Lynda at a ~hotel disco~ in the Philippines (I mean, where else would you find a celebrity in the ’80s, right?). My mom was a starstruck teen when she met Lynda on the dance floor and got to witness just how kind, beautiful, humble, and gracious she was to all her fans.
That story stuck with me, and watching the Wonder Woman TV series with my mom became an after-school tradition.
About 10 years later, I borrowed my cousin Jen’s Wonder Woman costume — a skirted version of Lynda’s classic costume — and wore it to Fan Expo 2012.
Look at how I held up those flimsy boot covers — WITH PACKING TAPE!!! 😂
Five years later, I was inspired again to go to Fan Expo as Wonder Woman. This time as Gal Gadot’s version. Gal, just like Lynda, perfectly embodies all that makes Wonder Woman, well, wonderful. I love the way she describes that, too:
What’s so lovely about Wonder Woman is yes, she has the strength and power of a goddess, but she has the heart and mind of a human. So I play her as I think a woman like me would act in the situations she’s going through. You treat her as a normal woman who happens to be fantastic and almighty … She’s amazing. I love everything that she represents and everything that she stands for. She’s all about love and compassion and truth and justice and equality, and she’s a whole lot of woman.
And as director Patty Jenkins puts it:
Gal is genuinely such a kind, lovely, thoughtful person. So she is what Wonder Woman stands for.
I realized that was why my mom introduced me to Wonder Woman. This was exactly the kind of person she always taught me to be. That’s why it’s important that she be a part of this experience with me — of course, in her favourite retro version of the costume — taking on Fan Expo as Wonder Woman of the past and present.
More photos of the costume below! Got any questions about it? Thinking of recreating the look? Message me in the comments or send me an e-mail, and let me know how I can help you put it all together!
Thanks for checking out my Wonder Woman cosplay! Which character have you always wanted to dress up as? Lets chat in the comments section below!
Photos by: Natalie Timperio / Jes Tongio
Photo assistant: Thanks for holding the lights up, mom!