A Brief History of Space Fashion in Pop Culture

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We landed on the moon way back in 1969, but our obsession with space didn’t end as soon as we shoved an American flag into a celestial body. No, our cultural curiosity about all things silver or jumpsuited or tentacled has worked its way into our hearts, closets, and aesthetic (probably in that order, too) and camped out there for almost half a decade. From Ziggy Stardust to Lady Gaga, the cosmos have driven what’s equal parts edgy and out there in the fashion world in a very consistent way. Check out our chronology of space fashion in pop culture after the jump.

The Jetsons

Coinciding with the dawn of the Space Race were America’s favorite futuristic family — and perhaps one of the chicest cartoon ladies of all time, Jane Jetson. She single handedly made the oversized white triangular collar happen, and on a bright purple futuristic cocktail dress, no less. Normally we’d feel weird about calling a drawing a babe, but Jane, you totally were.

1965 Astronaut Barbie

We knew astronaut style wasn’t going anywhere once Barbie traded in her bikini for a space suit. The box came complete with a thought bubble out of Barbie’s head reading, “Yes, I am a rocket scientist!” Good to know! (And so much better than 1992’s “Math class is tough!” Barbie.) Very useful in distinguishing her from 1970 Space Stripper Barbie.

Ziggy Stardust

David Bowie took glam rock to the next level with the introduction of his alter ego, Ziggy Stardust, in the early 1970s. Out of a cloud of glitter and facepaint, Ziggy emerged and introduced us to the magic that was futuristic samurai robes and geometric body suits, making the future look roughly one million shades of awesome.

Devo and “Whip It” Hats

Devo were one of the many bands that saw the 1980s New Wave movement as an electronic, experimental look at the future. Donning space suits and ridiculous red plastic pyramid hats in “Whip it,” Devo never half-assed their go at space fashion, even on the above recent Jimmy Kimmel appearance, 30 years after the song’s release.

Sigourney Weaver in Alien

Space wasn’t really sexy until Sigourney Weaver stripped down into a loose tanktop and skimpy panties in Alien . Sure, she rocked the space gear, too, but the infamous Alien scene was definitely one giant step for mankind’s openness to space fantasies.

Ghostbusters

Ghostbusters made its protagonists cultural icons, in that they were both funny and able to summon up that rustic hunkiness of firefighters and channel it to the space age. Dan Akroyd, Bill Murray, and the gang were no male Sigourney Weavers, but they definitely got the job done.

Marvin the Martian

The men of the world answered women’s horrible early ’90s Tweety Bird craze — an icon that we emblazoned on denim jackets and big, white sweatshirts alike — with one of their own: angry space villain Marvin the Martian. From skateboards to hoodies to gigantic T-shirts, Marvin ruled as a symbol of mass culture rebellion and outsider teen angst for boys who never let go of their fascination with aliens. Well, eventually they did, and Marvin went in the trash with those horrible JNCO jeans.

Daft Punk

Kings of house and synthpop (yes, both!) Daft Punk didn’t just throw on some awesome space helmets and call it a day for their cool style statement. No, their look has evolved over the years, and is a pretty cool benchmark of how our vision of the future has constantly changed.

Lance Bass, Astronaut

Remember when N*SYNC’s Lance Bass covered every tabloid in space gear as a part of some poorly-planned out scheme to get him on a spaceship? Sure, you make a pretty adorable astronaut, Lance, but really? Really? You thought we’d want you to be up in space on behalf of the USA, running space tests and meeting aliens? Maybe Ziggy, but not you, Lance. BSB for life.

Lady Gaga

Gaga sure knows how to play the forward-looking card. Always fully dressed in shiny silver or spikes or even with rings orbiting her body and/or head, Lady Gaga wants her loving earthling fans to know one thing: she is dictating the future of fashion. Sorry, Ke$ha. Glitter trash was so 30 years ago.