To me the annoyance with Mara+Catsuit isn’t just about inappropriately sexualizing a character who has lots of other, more employment-relevant attributes going for her. I’ve pretty much accepted that as a given in most kinds of entertainment media.
It’s this: I don’t care what your gender is or whether you’re conventionally attractive. Ever tried to wear leather as a next-to-skin garment and then do something physically challenging? It’s just. not. practical. Leather that’s pliable enough to fit around curves also rips very easily. Leather that’s strong enough to work as armor rubs and chafes, especially along seam lines (of which you will need many to get the kind of fit that’s depicted in comic/movie/illustration gear). Regardless of the gauge or fit, leather’s pretty seriously insulative, will cause you to sweat buckets, and can’t just be thrown in a washing machine when you’re done not looking at explosions.
For that matter, most of the “leather” gear you actually see on action hero characters in film/tv isn’t actual leather, because of the above reasons, plus that real leather in any quantity is becoming progressively more expensive to source. It’s vinyl or latex, which have their own design limitations, and have the added issue of being even less breathable, tending to be permanently marred when you expose them to fluids of any kind, et cetera.
Like the author mentions, I love the synth-composite gear you see on some of the female SHIELD agents in Avengers, because they obviously took this stuff into account.
I have a “generic action-hero, practical” costume in the works right now, so I was excited to find this article.
Practical considerations from a costumer, something which honestly wouldn’t have occurred to me.