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Supergirl’s Ever-Evolving Costume

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Small town critic
October 17, 2019

Watching Supergirl on your favorite device, it might be hard to tell that the character has been around for at least 60 years, battling crime with her larger-than-life cousin, the Man of Steel himself, Superman. With such a lengthy history, Supergirl has gone through many costume changes over the years.


Created by Otto Binder and Al Plastino for 1959 Action Comic number 252, Supergirl first appeared as Superman’s teenage cousin from Argo City which is a piece of their home planet Krypton that survived the planet’s destruction. In her first appearance, she wore a costume that was almost identical to Superman’s. The biggest difference being that she wore a short mini skirt, rather than Superman’s blue leggings and red trunks.


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'Supergirl' on The CW


In the 70s, her costume evolved as the character evolved. She became a firm supporter of the feminist movement, and this was reflected in her costume. The blue skirt was replaced with red shorts and a plunging V-neck shirt; and the iconic Superman “S”, known as the Crest of El, was moved over her heart.


This costume lasted only until the 80s where the plunging V-neck would be replaced with the traditional Crest of El. The only additional element to be added to her costume during this time was a headband to hold back her permed hair. This would be the costume she would wear when she would be killed saving the universe from the Anti-Monitor in the Crisis on Infinite Earths series.


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The next big change for Supergirl’s costume occurred in Superman: The Animated Series. Supergirl in this show was a new version of the character who was a member from Argos, a sister planet to Kyrpton. Her costume for this show is very different from previous iterations in that she wears a white t-shirt with the Superman logo, while wearing blue shorts with a red cape.


The most controversial of Supergirl’s costume came in 2004 when Jeph Loeb and Michael Turner would bring her back into the comic book continuum. In this version of the comics, she is introduced (again) as teenager. Turner’s redesign bared her entire midriff and brought back the short skirt we remember from her first appearance in the comics.


Over the intervening years, her costume has continued to evolve from the color of the skirt, to adding shorts underneath, and finally bringing back the midriff part of the costume.


Melissa Benoist costume in Supergirl the TV series is an amalgamation of several of the comic book costumes, which features the red cape, blue suit, Superman’s symbol across the chest, and red knee-high boots, as well as a bright red skirt.In a further nod to her current comic counterpart, the sleeves of her costume come down to her hands, and then loop around each thumb.


Which version of Supergirl’s costume is your favorite? How could they improve it?


As always this is the start of a conversation. Please let us hear your thoughts in the comments below!


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