When you picture Harley Quinn you probably have a pretty clear image of who she is. Everyone knows her classic jester's outfit that she debuted in Batman: The Animated Series. For a long time all Harley wore was her signature red and black duds with her white face paint. Or when she wasn't committing crime you could find he in a doctor's coat and her hair pulled back to practice some psychiatry as Dr. Harleen Quinzel.
A lot has changed since those days, though. Harley has left and returned to the Joker numerous times, she's joined up with the Suicide Squad, and she's explored other romantic options like her relationship with Poison Ivy. It's not just a change in personality, though. With a new outlook has often come new gear, and some of it quite strange. Her cinematic debut in the DCEU's Suicide Squad introduced a new, iconic interpretation of Harley with Margot Robbie's portrayal.
Everyone's used to insanity around this villain, so here are the 15 Craziest Harley Quinn Costume Changes, Ranked.
15 SUICIDE SQUAD (2016)
Yeah, this is the outfit everyone knows at this point, but there is still no denying it is quite a deviation from what we had seen previously from Harley Quinn. When the Suicide Squad movie was first announced a number of fans were holding out hope that Harley's cinematic debut would showcase her classic jester's outfit. Fans of the New 52's Suicide Squad comics were probably expecting her more modern outfit, but instead we got something totally new to all fans.
Harley had the colored pigtails of her modern comic look, but her face paint was also much more minimalist. Harley's new style surprised people, with her now sporting tattoos scattered across her body, and her infamous shirt declaring she was "daddy's lil monster." Many were critical of the change, feeling it played up Harley's sex appeal and edginess at the expense of what made the character popular in the first place.
Her jester's outfit did make a couple appearances however - she pulls it out of her trunk in the "gearing up" scene near the start of the movie, and she also wears it in a brief dream sequence where she dancers with Joker.
14 PUNK HARLEY
It can be hard to find ways to do something new with characters who have been around a while. Even though Harley only debuted in the '90s, she's had so many looks already that you may wonder what's left to cover. When DC shook up its comics with the “Rebirth” storyline, you might have figured Harley would remain the same. Instead, she soon debuted a drastically different hairstyle.
Harley ditched the signature pigtails in favor of a blonde mohawk. She kept the blue and red color scheme in her hair thanks to some highlights, but otherwise it was a totally new look from what fans were used to. It's hard to picture Dr. Harleen Quinzel having a mohawk while treating patients, but then Harley has strayed pretty far from her professional life long before this.
This isn’t a look she has made permanent, but at this point Harley’s hair is one of the few things she can still change to shock people.
13 EYELESS HARLEY QUINN FROM 2004 THE BATMAN CARTOON
There are plenty of heroes who have had costumes that give them purely white eyes. In addition to the likes of Wolverine and Deadpool, many of the members of the Bat family helped popularize the look. It's not that white eyes are unusual or anything, but it's definitely not something fans were used to seeing on someone like Harley Quinn. It made for a dramatic change in the 2004 The Batman cartoon, which experimented with the appearances of numerous characters.
Seeing Harley with the classic cartoon Batman eyes makes her look a lot more deranged than normal. Part of why Harley has transitioned away from being an outright villain is she just doesn't typically look as twisted and ugly as the Joker. This look changed that, though, making her seem less human and more like the monster the Joker is. It’s honestly not a bad look on her, though, and could be something cool to see in future cartoons.
12 ARKHAM ASYLUM NURSE OUTFIT
This was the outfit that marked a huge turning point in Harley Quinn's appearance. Before this she was always known for her jester's outfit, but Arkham Asylum showed her in a whole new light with this nurse's outfit. This wasn't really supposed to revolutionize her character since she only had on the nurse outfit to go with the mental hospital theme. But it turned out fans really liked how Harley looked without the jester costume.
This nurse outfit isn't crazy for looking that weird, but for how much of an impact it had. Harley's popularity truly skyrocketed from this point on, with the pigtails look becoming a standard part of her outfits after this. It's also likely no coincidence that this outfit that started to sexualize Harley began getting her more attention. So it's crazy how much of a change one video game could make for her character going forward.
11 LIVE-ACTION HARLEY QUINN - BIRDS OF PREY
Did you think the Suicide Squad movie was Harley's first live-action appearance? That honor actually goes to 2002's Birds of Prey TV series, which ran for thirteen episodes. The show obviously did not have a lasting impression on fans since it was cancelled after one season, but it did have some fun ideas. For one thing, Harley was actually the primary villain in the series, functioning as the mastermind behind much of the trouble the Birds of Prey faced.
The weird part of this version of Harley was that she had none of her pageantry to her outfit. No jester costume, or wild hair colors, or white skin. What's crazy is Harley actually looked surprisingly normal for a change. A touch of her signature colors are part of her outfit, but otherwise she seems like an ordinary person. It worked well for the show's mystery plotline, but also missed out on a lot of what makes Harley so fun and captivating.
10 ARKHAM CITY MOURNING OUTFIT
In the main quest of Arkham City the costume that Harley wears is different than what we had seen before, but also nothing totally outside of the realm of what you might expect from her. But once the game's DLC came out we saw another new costume that changed up Harley's appearance a lot. After the main quest, the Joker is seemingly dead and Harley is left in mourning. That comes complete with Harley wearing an all-black costume.
Despite Harley's affiliation with the Joker, she had usually not seemed like a particularly dark character. But this look combined her clown aesthetic with a more goth aesthetic and made her a bit creepier. There was no joking around from Harley in this dramatic costume, and it showed off a seldom seen, sadistic side to her character. Harley is usually known as a fun and bubbly character, so this outfit showed her moods not only have huge peaks, but very low valleys.
9 NEW 52 SUICIDE SQUAD COMIC
By the time the New 52 rolled around Harley's popularity had risen to such heights that she no longer needed to be attached to the Joker for people to be interested in her. She was slotted into a whole new role as a member of the Suicide Squad, and was given an extremely different outfit for the occasion. This was a dramatic revamp of the character, changing almost everything fans knew about Harley's look.
Instead of a jester's hat, Harley now just had dyed pigtails. Instead of the red and black jester costume, she now sported a skimpy red and blue outfit that revealed her bleached white skin. No one ever would have imagined Harley wearing something like this when she debuted in the '90s, but this was a new generation and Harley had a new individualistic personality.
It might not be her most recognizable look, but this costume, or variants of it, is the one that has stuck around at this point.
8 HARLEY FROM EMPEROR JOKER
Admittedly when it comes to the “Emperor Joker” storyline, it was the antics of the Joker that truly made the story bizarre. Seeing the Joker finally take over the world and torture Batman as long as he wants was a pretty crazy spectacle.
The Joker took the occasion to update his wardrobe, changing into a much a more opulent robe for the rise in his status. Harley was lucky enough not to be one of the main targets of the Joker's wrath, so she got a wardrobe change as well.
Rather than get rid of her usual clown motif, Harley just incorporates royal themes into her new clothes. She trades out her typical gear for a dress fit for a queen, patterned in her iconic colors. Harley also ditches her typical pigtails for a much more elaborate and huge hair style that you'd find on some painting of a matriarch from centuries ago.
7 ASSAULT ON ARKHAM COSTUME
The Suicide Squad movie was far from the first time the members of that team have shown up on screen. In this case, it was in animated form in Assault on Arkham. The movie has other familiar Squad members like Deadshot and Captain Boomerang in it, and also some names that fans of the DCEU movie might not recognize, like Killer Frost. By now Harley has become one of the biggest names in the Suicide Squad, though, so naturally she is featured prominently in the film.
Harley's costume in this movie is kind of a halfway point between her classic attire and her more modern look. She keeps the jester's hat and the red and black color scheme, but also goes for a more revealing and less elaborate outfit. For fans who only knew Harley's original costume, Assault on Arkham began bringing out more of her menacing side as she distanced herself from being a sidekick.
6 REALITY STAR HARLEY
We're all pretty familiar with how characters like Batman and Superman look in public when they aren't dressed in their costumes, but we don't usually see villains out of their iconic gear. Unless they are captured in prison, you aren't likely to see what a lot of Gotham's criminals wear when they aren't endangering the city. So it was a rare thing to catch a glimpse of Harley's style when she wasn't dressed for battle, but instead a stroll down the street.
It seems Harley has the same fashion sense as a lot of reality stars since she almost looks like a more bizarre version of Paris Hilton. With her pet hyenas at her side, Harley struts down the sidewalk in her flashiest clothes. Maybe it's not a surprise someone who dresses like a clown would enjoy attention, but you wouldn't think Harley would have such expensive tastes. Still, she’s got to do something with all the money she gets from committing crimes, so why not buy the fancy dress and expensive hyena collars?
5 HARLEY QUINN IN JUSTICE LEAGUE: GODS AND MONSTERS
By the time the 2015 movie Justice League: Gods and Monsters was released, fans were already used to seeing Harley with her dyed pigtails. But this movie was set in an alternate universe where instead of Harley Quinn, there was the serial killer known as Harlequin. She did not actually appear in the movie, instead just featuring in a teaser for the film that showed her going up against Batman.
While Harlequin looked a lot like her counterpart, she was given a more extreme personality. In addition to being far more brutal (ie: attempting to hack up Batman with a chainsaw), her sexuality was also further emphasized. Harley basically fought in her underwear in this outfit, but she wouldn't be stuck in this bizarre costume long. By the end of the teaser, Batman seemingly killed her by drinking her blood - oh yeah, he's a vampire in this universe.
4 BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD
Seeing Harley not decked out in red is bizarre enough, but this costume from The Brave and the Bold is one of the most unusual looks she's ever had. It barely even looks like the same woman with this outfit. Even Harley's blonde hair was gone in this costume, and her outlandish jester attire was replaced with a simple black dress. With how hard it is to recognize Harley in this outfit, it only makes sense she wore it for a robbery.
Harley and the Joker went into the robbery dressed as characters from the early 1900s. Apparently Harley and the Joker are one of those couples that like to match outfits all the time. So that explains why Harley looks like she stepped right out of a black and white movie here. Of course, they still have to dress in style, which explains the string of pearls and the headdress that replaces Harley's usual jester's hat.
3 DC SUPER HERO GIRLS
While Harley’s outfit in DC Super Hero Girls isn’t too unusual compared to what she typically wears, what is weird is that she is wearing it at such a young age. The show puts some of DC’s most famous heroes and villains together in their high school days and reimagines them all as classmates. Rather than going with the origins of the characters we all know, the cartoon supposes that all the characters already had their famous identities even as teenagers.
Seeing Harley dressed up in her clown gear as a fashion statement rather than as a side effect of being tortured by the Joker is pretty bizarre. Teenagers definitely experiment with their fashion, but seeing Harley as a kid already in her villainous gear is pretty strange. But a school for super-powered people works pretty well for the X-Men, so apparently DC decided to give it a shot with some of their female heroes and villains.
2 INJUSTICE OUTFIT
In fighting games you don't really have too much time to stand around and admire how your character looks. If you're staying still, you're probably getting beaten up. But if you ever have stopped to look at what Harley wears in Injustice: Gods Among Us, her outfit really is quite bizarre. It captures all the signature notes of her appearance, like the two tone color scheme and the pigtails, but it's put together in such an odd manner.
Everyone's used to comic book characters wearing outfits that exaggerate their sexuality, but Harley's outfit here is just hard to even picture a person wearing. She has on thigh high stockings, a pair of underwear, and a coat that looks like there's nothing beneath it. Harley has certainly worn revealing outfits over the years, but whoever designed this really had a weird fashion sense.
It doesn’t even seem like something someone would wear to look sexy so much as it looks like Harley got challenged to a fight before she was done dressing.
1 GRANDMA HARLEY QUINN FROM BATMAN BEYOND: RETURN OF THE JOKER
With how often comic book characters get rebooted, it can be pretty difficult to picture the majority of them ever being old. Bruce Wayne is one of the more unusual cases where his ageing has become a common story in the Batman mythos, as seen in plots like The Dark Knight Returns. So in Batman Beyond, seeing an older Bruce Wayne isn't too weird since Bruce is constantly preparing for the day he'll need a successor. But it is definitely weird seeing an old Harley Quinn.
In Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker the twins known as Dee Dee become the new generation's Harley for Terry McGinnis to fight. But after Dee Dee are captured and imprisoned, their grandma comes to retrieve them. It's only after Dee Dee calls the woman "nana Harley" that it becomes clear this is Harley in her twilight years. It just goes to show no matter how much cool face paint and crazy outfits a character wears, they all have canes and gray hair to look forward to.
Which outfit do you think has been Harley Quinn's best? Share your thoughts in the Screen Rant comment section!