Over the years, the Playboy Bunny has become even more iconic than the Playboy Clubs themselves. The Bunny Suit was the first commercial uniform to be registered by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The Smithsonian, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Fashion Institute of Technology all have a Bunny costume in their collection.
The high-cut, figure-hugging outfit includes ears, a fluffy cottontail, white cuffs, cuff links and a bow tie. Stockings and high-heeled shoes complete the official look. Each costume is custom-made and tailored to the woman who wears it.
Past Bunnies include popular singers Debbie Harry and Dale Bozzio, actress and model Lauren Hutton, actress Susan Sullivan, celebrated immunologist Polly Matzinger and even, for a short time, Gloria Steinem.
Early in her writing career, Steinem infiltrated the New York Playboy Club to get a Bunny’s-eye view of the experience. Her "exposé,” published in Show magazine, reported on the 11 days she spent there, focusing on the less glamorous aspects of being a Bunny: the tight costumes, sore feet, unwanted propositioning from customers and pay that fell short of what was advertised.
In contrast to Steinem’s account, Kathryn Leigh Scott offers a different perspective in her book The Bunny Years. Scott, along with several other former Club Bunnies, recalls her personal experience with great fondness and appreciation. The Club’s strict standards and regulations provided a safe and protective work environment.
For many early Bunnies, the money they earned was significantly more than most young women (or men) could make in a mid-entry-level job elsewhere. Being a Bunny gave these young women the financial freedom and flexibility to continue their education and pursue their desired profession.
Bunnies have gone on to have careers as doctors, lawyers, teachers, advertising executives, stockbrokers, art gallery owners, architects, actresses and even rock stars.
Their connection to Playboy and the Clubs has continued through the decades, and to this day many still gather for Bunny reunions that are held in various cities across the U.S. and abroad.