Recycling Your Look: 8 Memorable Post-Apocalyptic Fashions From the Movies

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The end of the world doesn’t have to mean the start of a style slump. In fact, if the movies have taught us anything, it’s that fashionistas will endure an apocalypse in something much snazzier than army fatigues or shabby rags. Here are eight instances when a cinematic doomsday was survived with sartorial flair to spare.

1. Aunty Entity’s Chainmail Dress, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome
Director George Miller did us all a favor by casting total diva Tina Turner as Aunty Entity, the cold-blooded yet glamorous ruler of the tattered Bartertown community. Decked out in a chainmail dress, fierce earrings, ’80s-era shoulder pads and her signature wild hair, Aunty embodies the spirit of an Amazonian warrior while showing everyone who’s a true Desert Queen.

2. John Travolta’s Entire Ensemble, Battlefield Earth
John Travolta’s humanoid alien flick earned a record-setting nine Razzie Awards, including Worst Drama of Our First 25 Years. It’s his character’s costuming, though, that really deserves special accolades. That hair! Those eyebrows! Those fingernails! But perhaps the best part of Travolta’s look is how, despite all the makeup, it’s still clearly him. Nice try, Travolta, but we’ll never forget.

3. Katniss Everdeen’s “Girl on Fire” Costume, The Hunger Games
When Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) rides into the Capitol wearing a costume that looks like it’s being consumed by actual flames, she not only earns the nickname “Girl on Fire,” but also garners critical attention from the sponsors of the movie’s namesake televised death match. Her guise, designed by stylist Cinna (Lenny Kravitz), also turns into a propaganda tool used to rebel against the unjust President Snow (Donald Sutherland). That Cinna sure knows his stuff.

4. Tank Girl’s Signature Look, Tank Girl
Considering the punk-influenced visuals in the comic on which this movie is based, don’t be surprised that the titular Tank Girl (Lori Petty) flaunts a rather creative sense of fashion. From her cool goggles to her edgy haircut to the socks she wears on her arms, Tank Girl is like a walking work of art in the year 2033. We’re pretty sure she’s inspired some seriously fly cosplay outfits.

5. Neo and Trinity’s All-Weather Gear, The Matrix
The slick trenchcoat that Neo (Keanu Reeves) sports in this dystopian classic has become synonymous with dodging bullets in slow motion. Throw in his signature sunglasses and tight pants, plus that shiny catsuit worn by love interest and Agent-fighting partner Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss), and you’ve got yourself a stylishly futuristic hacker duo.

6. Sarah Conner’s New Outfit, Terminator 2: Judgment Day
Time can really alter your personal style…especially when a chiseled cyborg assassin (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is sent from the future to destroy you. When we first meet Sarah Conner (Linda Hamilton), she’s a wide-eyed and frazzled innocent; ten years later, when she’s ready to kick some serious butt in order to protect her son, her hair is slicked back into a ponytail, her black tank shows off her toned arms and she sports a badass pair of shades. #TeamSarah all the way.

7. The Gang Uniforms, 1990: The Bronx Warriors
In this sci-fi B-movie, laws are no longer upheld in the Bronx. In fact, the borough has become a no-holds-barred wasteland of nonstop gang battles. Sure, some people paint their faces à la KISS, wear cheesy top hats and ride around on roller skates calling themselves “The Zombies,” but which attire is most unique is anyone’s guess.

8. Tilda Swinton’s Fur Coat, Snowpiercer
When climate engineering fails to thwart the effects of global warming, a brutal ice age ensues killing everyone except the occupants of the Snowpiercer train. Clearly that calls for a fur coat so gaudy, PETA would ask for a moment of silence. Enter Tilda Swinton as Mason: Despite the poor, freezing residents at the back of the train, she only cares about staying warm and looking good.

Now read about 10 ways the world has ended in the movies.