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The 32 best sci-fi movie uniforms and costumes

 Starship Troopers.
Starship Troopers.

In space, no one can hear you scream. But they can see how great you look. In the long history of sci-fi movies, some costumes are more memorable than others.

When it comes to the expansive canon of science fiction movies, there are recurring ideas and motifs. One of them is the uniform, or sometimes a space suit. After all, space travel is full of hazards, dangers, and harsh environments. It only makes sense if characters can survive the elements in something protective. Many times, these uniforms tend to look pretty great, too.

Whether they represent shadowy agencies, indicate explorers, or designate unity in superhero teams, these are the 32 greatest uniforms and costumes in sci-fi movies.

32. The Last Suit They'll Ever Wear (Men in Black, 1997)

Men in Black
Men in Black

You’ve seen black suits with white shirts and ties before. And that’s exactly the point. For a shadowy organization meant to slip in and out of places without drawing suspicion or being memorable, a plain but remarkably well-tailored black suit is the first, last, and only uniform that agents of the MIB ever need. Though they provide barely any protection from alien threats, and the dry cleaning bill to maintain them must be out of this world, there’s no denying that the Men in Black are the sharpest-dressed agency in the entire science fiction multiverse.

31. Jack Harper’s White Uniform (Oblivion, 2013)

Oblivion
Oblivion

There’s just something about the textured gray-white jacket and pants worn by Tom Cruise’s Jack, a futuristic repair technician in a desolate Earth, that scream “main character energy.” While his work uniform simultaneously implies both the grit of specialized manual labor and action hero adventures, it’s his vintage New York Yankees hat that tops the look off. It reminds us that even the most impossible occupation of the future can still be a blue collar lifestyle.

30. NSEA Protector Crew Uniforms (Galaxy Quest, 1999)

Galaxy Quest
Galaxy Quest

The crew uniforms of the NSEA Protector are a bit dull in terms of color, but they seem to be exceedingly comfortable while maintaining form. That’s a good thing for the characters in Galaxy Quest, who not only wear them for the show-within-a-show called “Galaxy Quest,” but in actual space! In the roaring ‘90s comedy Galaxy Quest, a cast of TV actors who once starred in a Star Trek-like television show get whisked off into space by a desperate alien society who need their help. Their uniforms are intentionally uninspired, being an amalgamated homage to classic sci-fi pop culture. But that doesn’t mean they can’t still look great in their own right.

29. USS Enterprise Crew Uniforms (Star Trek, 2009)

Star Trek
Star Trek

When Star Trek made its journey to the final frontier of 21st century summer tentpoles, it did so in modern, minimalist fashion. In J.J. Abrams’ blockbuster film version of the original 1960s TV series, the tight, heavy fabric outfits of Starfleet were reimagined into airy, moisture-wicking tops – almost reminiscent of sports jerseys – and simple black bottoms. It was the right look for the right time, to subtly tell audiences that what you’re watching ain’t your daddy’s Star Trek.

28. Steampunk Superheroes (The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, 2003)

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

While the movie adaptation of Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill’s genre-bending graphic novel was terribly unpopular with critics and audiences alike, it doesn’t keep the movie from looking stylish. In this alternate vision of the late 1890s, steampunk flavors are cranked to the highest volume with pretty much every character looking like Pinterest inspo for adults hanging out at DragonCon. From Sean Connery’s drool-worthy trenchcoat to Peta Wilson’s black corset that doubles as chest armor, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen represent a look that modern superheroes should take notes from.

27. Klaatu’s Silver Suit (The Day the Earth Stood Still, 1951)

The Day the Earth Stood Still
The Day the Earth Stood Still

It would be careless to dismiss the all-silver jumpsuit of Klaatu, played by Michael Rennie in the 1951 original movie. While to modern eyes it may look like just a cheap Halloween costume, Klaatu’s silver suit is actually foundational for the science fiction genre; it’s also quite fitting, foreshadowing in just a few years the Silver Age of comics, an era where comic book storytellers absorbed Cold War paranoia and a cultural obsession with science. In the context of The Day the Earth Stood Still, Klaatu’s otherworldly look successfully sows doubt as to his true intentions. Of course, Klaatu is the movie’s protagonist, and his troublesome ordeal on Earth proves just how unprepared humans are to receive visitors from beyond.

26. Power Rangers Reborn (Saban’s Power Rangers, 2017)

Power Rangers
Power Rangers

While the memorable 1995 film Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie gave the spandex costumes of the TV show some delicious armor upgrades, the 2017 reboot went above and beyond to remake Angel Grove’s resident superheroes as alien guardians. These new Power Rangers are protected in ornate armor seemingly formed out of stardust, with the energy of space itself flowing in their veins. Smooth marble textures reminiscent of bowling balls, glowing diamond patterns, and elaborate helmets that mix dinosaur silhouettes and Roman battle helmets altogether create the most unusual costumes in cinema’s superhero era.

25. Valerian and Laureline’s Armors (Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, 2017)

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Luc Besson’s dream project, a movie adaptation of the French comic series, brought to the silver screen some of the finest space armor ever made for a movie. Layered protective padding miraculously does not betray the slender silhouettes of Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Laureline (Cara Delevigne). While their muted gunmetal gray colors look derivative of characters in shooter video games, they act as a blank canvas for both Valerian and Laureline personalities to bleed through, such as in Laureline’s custom belt. There’s also a unique outline of yellow dotted lights that not only illuminate their faces in dark spaces, but provide a remarkable visual contrast. These costumes are infinitely more memorable than the movie they appear in.

24. Arrakis Stillsuits (Dune, 2021)

Dune
Dune

To survive the parched planet Arrakis, the Fremen manufactured suits that filter and recycle the body’s own fluids like sweat into drinkable water. They’re a key part of Frank Herbert’s Dune saga. And in Denis Villeneuve’s revered big screen version, the suits look almost superheroic. That’s unsurprising given the lineage they hail from; the costumes were created for the screen by Ironhead Studios, a popular boutique studio previously involved with cinematic superhero brands like Marvel, DC, and other franchises like Transformers and G.I. Joe. But Dune is a different beast. Not only do the suits have to be practical for the fictional world, but the real world too, given that the movie’s actors are also filming in extreme temperatures. In a 2021 interview with Vanity Fair, costume designer Bob Morgan said: “The [stillsuits] are essentially survival gear for the harsh environment on Arrakis, [but] we were also filming in extreme temperatures … So they have to look like a functioning water distillery while allowing the actors to move and do their choreography.”

23. Rylan Star League Uniforms (The Last Starfighter, 1984)

The Last Starfighter
The Last Starfighter

“What if Luke Skywalker looked cozier?” That seems to be the central idea behind the uniforms of the Rylan Star League, who recruit prospective pilots with an arcade video game disguised as a training module. In The Last Starfighter, trailer park teenager Alex (Lance Guest) becomes the hero of the galaxy when he blasts through the Starfighter game and is immediately recruited into the Rylan Star League to fight their war against the K-Dan Empire. While the Star League’s uniforms may feel like rip-offs of Star Wars’ Luke and his X-Wing pilot suit, their unique vanilla cream color palette and padded trimming foster a look unique to The Last Starfighter.

22. Pluto Nash (The Adventures of Pluto Nash, 2002)

The Adventures of Pluto Nash
The Adventures of Pluto Nash

There’s no one on Earth who would declare Pluto Nash as their favorite movie. But in this sci-fi comedy led by Eddie Murphy, who plays a nightclub owner on the Moon, the title character sports a pretty neat and wholly unique space suit that comes in a metallic brick red and yellow color scheme. Pluto Nash’s suit stands in defiance of sci-fi’s overabundance of silver, black, and white. Even if the movie isn’t good, and it isn’t, it at least lets Eddie Murphy’s movie star charisma shine through.

21. Prometheus Explorer Suits (Prometheus, 2012)

Prometheus
Prometheus

In Ridley Scott’s surprise prequel to his Alien series, the filmmaker opted for a more modern look than the unshakably ‘70s stylings of his futuristic 1979 horror classic. In a 2012 interview, costume designer Janty Yates told Clothes on Film that the creators sought a look that was not traditional for the genre, and to “avoid the sort of Michelin Man look” of NASA suits. Blue and orange colorways were chosen simply because they looked great on camera, and because they looked nothing like audiences had seen before in big sci-fi movies. While these unintentionally resemble the uniforms of the Fallout games, they work to give Prometheus identity.

20. Shotaro Kaneda's Red Leather (Akira, 1988)

Akira
Akira

Shotaro Kaneda’s red monochrome outfit is simply one of the coolest and most striking in all of science fiction movies, bar none. As the hot-blooded passionate leader of a vigilante bosozoku gang, Kaneda is fittingly dressed in varying shades of red – which all match his stolen, tricked out motorcycle – with his scarlet leather jacket a standout piece. A singular blend of World War II aviation, 1980s streetwear, and speculative cyberpunk aesthetics, Shotaro Kaneda alone represents the haunted heart of Katsuhiro Otomo’s sci-fi classic feature.

19. Jedi Robes (The Star Wars series)

Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

It’s frankly hard to categorize the costumes of the Star Wars series. The expansive, multi-decade saga is teeming with deeply iconic costumes and uniforms. But narrowing things down a bit, the samurai-inspired robes of the Jedi are deserving of special recognition. While practical in hot, arid climates – like, say, the deserts of Tatooine – they are also versatile, comfortable but appropriate for just about any environment. They’re also dignified, ensuring that the noble members of the Jedi are not merely soldiers, but negotiators of peace throughout a galaxy far, far away.

18. Outlaws in Space (Serenity, 2005)

Serenity
Serenity

While the costumes of Joss Whedon’s 2005 sci-fi epic Serenity are more or less recycled from the cult television series Firefly, that doesn’t make their costuming any less special. As a Western adventure set in the future, the characters of Serenity are comfortably dressed in a loose, flowing wardrobe reminiscent of those who lived in America’s old frontier, albeit with some futuristic elements flavored in. No one in Serenity wears a “uniform,” but there’s an undeniable uniformity in how they all dress aboard the Serenity.

17. Jaeger Pilot Suits (Pacific Rim, 2013)

Pacific Rim
Pacific Rim

The protective suits of jaeger pilots, also called “rangers,” are just among the most eye-catching sci-fi uniforms around. Whether they’re in distressed white, cool gray, or shiny black (which beautifully reflect light to create a pleasing sense of depth and texture), jaeger pilots walk around looking like plastic action figures blown up to life size proportions. Their transparent helmets are also cleverly designed with cinema in mind, to allow these pilots – and the actors playing them – to have expressive faces while behind the wheels of giant-size mecha.

16. Sky Captain’s Nostalgic Threads (Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, 2004)

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow

Jude Law’s Sky Captain, a dashing bomber pilot in an alternate, fantastical World War II, simply looks the part of a hero in a top-heavy outfit that looks ripped right out of a Golden Age comic book. While the underrated sci-fi quite obviously takes inspiration from 1940s-era wartime fashions, Law’s Sky Captain is awe-inspiring in a drool-worthy aviator coat with shearling fur. There just aren’t enough classic dieselpunk movies, but thankfully Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow is strong enough to shoulder the slack.

15. USS Enterprise Crew Uniforms, Redux (Star Trek Beyond, 2016)

Star Trek Beyond
Star Trek Beyond

For the third movie in Star Trek’s “Kelvin Timeline” series, Star Trek Beyond from director Justin Lin, the USS Enterprise crew don new uniforms that skew a little closer to their TV ancestors. No longer resembling pieces of Under Armor layers, the uniforms of Star Trek Beyond look heavier and fuller, allowing the crew to appear more dignified as space explorers than space triathlon competitors. Later in the movie, characters like Chris Pine’s Captain Kirk, don more protective outfits that allow them to kick more butt like they never have before.

14.  Hacker Chic (The Matrix, 1999)

The Matrix
The Matrix

The plentiful scholarship surrounding The Matrix and its queer subtexts allows the all-black stylings of its characters to be read in multiple ways. On the surface, it’s simply speaking to the times, with the late ‘90s and its newfound obsession with the internet and technology trying to rebel against the bright colors of decades past. On deeper levels, these costumes are reminiscent of forbidden fetishes; see the way their gun straps and holsters call to mind the buckles and straps of BDSM. However you choose to understand The Matrix and its flavor of wardrobing, the fact remains that The Matrix simply owns black leather, and that no one can wear long coats and sunglasses without looking like they’re trying to be “The One.”

13. Mutant Flight Suits (X-Men: First Class, 2011)

X-Men: First Class
X-Men: First Class

While the X-Men movies were bizarrely allergic to outfitting the X-Men in their actual costumes, the 2011 prequel X-Men: First Class finally gave Marvel’s mutants some much-needed color. In homage to their original comic book designs of blue and yellow spandex, X-Men: First Class outfits the X-Men in tactical flight suits that retain the blue/yellow color scheme. If only Cyclops, who once joked with Wolverine about wearing yellow spandex, could have seen it for himself.

12. EVA Space Suit (Sunshine, 2007)

Sunshine
Sunshine

Looking as if Iron Fist Alexander from Elden Ring had his own space suit, the golden EVA space suit from Danny Boyle’s 2007 sci-fi Sunshine is easily one of the most unusual sci-fi costumes. A bulky gold monstrosity, the costume boasts a reflective gold surface and low-visibility via funnel-shaped helmets, designed to protect the characters from the sun’s overwhelming radiation. In a YouTube video uploaded on Adam Savage’s channel in March 2023, the screen-used costume was highlighted as part of a collection, which revealed the numerous technical problems the costume posed during production. Stunt actors wearing the suit sometimes passed out, due to the dangerously hot temperatures the suit generated inside.

11. Barbarella’s Beautiful Kitsch (Barbarella, 1968)

Barbarella
Barbarella

Barbarella, a gorgeous adventurer from the future (played by Jane Fonda), doesn’t have just one memorable costume. But all of her different looks form a unified idea of Barbarella, a being of extreme feminine sexuality and what that looks like in the outer reaches of space. Barbarella’s costumes are the antithesis of functionality, being so brazenly campy and kitschy to the point that the movie might be mocking the sci-fi genre just as much as it’s paying affectionate homage. But who cares about all that when Jane Fonda looks so good as she does?

10. 75th Hunger Games Arena Wear (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, 2013)

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

While the 74th Hunger Games seen in the original 2012 movie had its youthful competitors in what is basically camping gear, the sequel outfitted the characters – all of them veteran adults forced back into competition – in comparatively sophisticated athletic wear. A tight-fitting black wetsuit with silver trimming is not only comfortable for extreme physicality, but evokes a speculative future that resembles our own present – where televised competition is ruled by capital and commercialism. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire tells a very dark story about exploitation, but the characters’ Arena Wear is ironically attractive and simple enough to inspire dedicated cosplayers to easily emulate.

9. Ghostbusters Overalls (Ghostbusters, 1984)

Ghostbusters
Ghostbusters

To enter the unusual business of ghost extermination, the characters in the horror-comedy classic Ghostbusters, from director Ivan Reitman, don military flight overalls – practical, versatile, and easy to layer over normal clothes – to hunt down plasma-spewing specters across New York City. The ensemble really comes together taken as a whole: the gray elbow pads, the black combat boots, and the utility belt of gadgets and gizmos. The official Ghostbusters uniform is without question one of the best movie costumes, and most iconic Halloween costumes, ever put together.

8. The Guardians Uniforms (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, 2023)

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

It took several movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but finally in 2023, the Guardians of the Galaxy dressed up in similar fashion to their comic book counterparts. In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, the title heroes suit up in padded navy blue tactical suits outfitted with brick red trimmings. Introduced in the movie to a Flaming Lips needledrop (the song “Do You Realize?”) the Guardians’ illustrate their unbreakable bond through dress. They’re no longer a found family of A-holes. They’re a team. Superheroes, even. And now they look the part.

7. Matt Damon’s Martian Suit (The Martian, 2015)

The Martian
The Martian

As if absorbing his Martian surroundings, the left-behind botanist Dr. Mark Watney survives his time on Mars wearing a custom space suit colored in bright orange and white. It’s a terrific, modern-looking survival suit that still allows some contrast between Matt Damon and his desolate environment. For Ridley Scott’s movie, the suit was imagined to be as close to realistic as possible, based on what astronauts on Mars might actually have to wear given our neighboring planet’s unique ecosystem.

6. Star Wars Stormtroopers (The Star Wars series)

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

6. Stormtrooper Armor (The Star Wars series)

They’re the most iconic foot soldiers in movie history, even if nothing about their costuming makes any practical sense. (All white? Really?) Resembling marching ghosts whose fearsome masks render their identities anonymous, the Stormtroopers exert the will of the Empire all throughout the galaxy – and they look amazing doing it. Even if Stormtroopers are individually inept and maybe stupid, seeing their pearly white armors in a mass horde is enough to send even the bravest members of the Rebellion retreating to escape.

With the sequel series starting with 2015’s The Force Awakens, the First Order’s welcome modernized improvements included more robust armors and textures that were lacking in the Empire’s original armies.

5. Armored Marines (Starship Troopers, 1997)

Starship Troopers
Starship Troopers

It’s a uniform so good, it’s been reused by other universes. In Paul Verhoven’s Starship Troopers, an adaptation of Robert A. Heinlein’s 1959 novel that satirizes fascism, marines of the United Citizen Federation are outfitted in dark gray fatigues layered with shell-like body armor. In this war against sentient bugs, camouflage doesn’t really matter – all that matters is survival and willpower. For some reason, these uniforms have been reused by other productions, including TV shows like Power Rangers and Firefly. Can you blame them? When a movie has pretty much perfected the look of a sci-fi soldier, there’s no choice but to borrow it outright.

4. Starfleet Runs Red (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, 1982)

Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan
Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan

Director Nicholas Myer was not a fan of the original Star Trek uniforms, so during production of his sequel Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, he wanted the crew to have completely different uniforms. This was a tall order, considering the movie’s limited budget. Long story short, the old uniforms were re-dyed into a dark red, being one of the few colors that the costumes took to very well and looked impressive on camera. The result isare just the most attractive uniforms ever designed for a feature film, and arguably one of the best uniforms in all of Star Trek history.

3. Officer K’s Coat (Blade Runner 2049)

Blade Runner 2049
Blade Runner 2049

It’s an impressive feat to out-style the original Blade Runner. But Ryan Gosling’s Officer K, who spends the majority of the movie dressed in a dark gray long coat with shearling fur, comes across like a superhero’s cape draped over this tortured synthetic soul. In an IndieWire interview from 2017, costume designer Renée April said she intentionally avoided typical sci-fi costuming of “zippers and plastic,” instead leaning on the brutality of director Denis Villeneuve’s imagination of a wet, cold, and futuristic Los Angeles.

2. Light Suits 2.0 (Tron: Legacy, 2010)

Tron: Legacy
Tron: Legacy

Building over the foundations of a sci-fi classic like Tron is a tall order. But boy, did the people behind the 2010 sequel Tron: Legacy really nail it. Appropriately indicative of technological advancements made since the release of the 1982 original film, the “Light Suits” of Tron: Legacy boast features like on-body lighting and various latex materials that the original Light Suits didn’t have. With a sleek and sexy black as a base contrast, the Light Suits of Tron: Legacy are memorable, gorgeous, and dazzling to see in virtual motion.

1. The Space Suits (2001: A Space Odyssey)

2001: A Space Odyssey
2001: A Space Odyssey

Either they’re amazing because they’re iconic, or they’re iconic because they’re amazing. Whatever the case may be, the colorful space suits in Stanley Kubrick’s godlike classic 2001: A Space Odyssey sport the most iconic space uniforms ever designed. Released an entire year before mankind actually landed on the Moon, the multi-colored space suits of 2001 – all of them referring to specialized missions – didn’t just reboot conventional thinking about space travel but brought it to dazzling life. With Kubrick’s abundance of sterile white backgrounds, his characters’ space suits of vivid and deep reds, blues, yellows, and silvers created remarkable contrast that still inspires sci-fi filmmakers to this day.