They say not to judge a book by its cover— but if that were the case, would DC Comics routinely be coming up with new looks for their comic book superheroes? Take Supergirl, for instance. She rose to Kryptonian legacy around 1959 under Otto Binder and Al Plastino's pen. Initially, Kara Zor-El was perceived to be the female counterpart to her cousin, Superman. But over the years, creative writers have taken the liberty of branching out this heroine by creating her own unique storyline and character arcs. With each new installment, Supergirl has been fashioned with topical costumes, some even reflecting the era in which the comics were conceived.
From Earth-10 Supergirl to her captivating look as Power-Girl, Kara’s look has been reimagined across various forms of media for decades. Supergirl has been earning her modern legacy as Earth’s mightiest hero in the CW Supergirl television series. In this outlet alone, Supergirl’s look has changed numerous times. Her traditional skirt and cape remain the salient features of her superhero costume, though. And while some of Supergirl’s former costumes have been favored by fans, there are definitely a handful of unpopular suits in the bunch. So check out ten of Supergirl’s best and worst costumes.
10 Best: Supergirl No. 21
Not to be confused with her ‘80s persona (oh, but we’ll get to that in a minute). The 2018 Supergirl comic series—issue #21, to be precise—presents this new look for Kara. Jorge Jimenez designed a more somber look for the animated young hero. The storyline that runs alongside this look focuses on Kara’s cosmic quest to learn more about Rogol Zaar.
This look is taking on modern threads, with a pants-wearing Supergirl and a hoodie to top it off. The whole ensemble gives her a fierce veneer that alludes to the idea that maybe Supergirl isn’t as innocent as she has always been.
9 Worst: Supergirl #25
When it comes to comic book characters, no opinion is safe. Comic book readers seem to hold relatively dogmatic mindsets when it comes to critique (or even praise) around their comic book heroes. That being said, bear in mind that any conjectures that are made here are simply that. Let’s move on.
In 2018, DC Comics published Supergirl #25 with an almost new look on the cover. While the costume is somewhat modernized, it doesn’t hold any real differences between her traditional or past suits. In fact, it looks a little too similar to her animated series look—except it's blue, rather than white.
8 Best: Supergirl - The New 52
The New 52 Supergirl attire rose to action in October 2011. Kara’s ensemble in this collection of superhero events is comprised of a long-sleeved one-piece suit, with a structured gold-trimmed cape. This was the most altered look for Supergirl to date, as the comics came out with the female superhero sporting a much shorter haircut. Despite this potentially-damaging character alteration, fans seemed to be all about this more mature Supergirl.
Her attitude also took a swift change in this series. After finding her cousin was all grown-up and without the need of assistance from his older cousin, Supergirl felt ostracized on Earth, which left her full of grief and anger.
7 Worst: 1982 Supergirl
This one could use a pass as one of Supergirl’s worst costumes—if it weren’t for the hair. Admittedly, this look was contrived based on the fashion at the time, but everything about this 1980s Supergirl look is overdone.
From the hiked-up skirt to the sweatband, this version could be retitled as Jazzercise Supergirl. This 1982 Supergirl was designed by Jose Luis Garcia Lopez, who seemed to want to give Supergirl more leg to show than an actual superhero costume.
6 Best: Supergirl - Injustice II
This suit fits the bill for one of Supergirl’s best costumes due to its variety. The designers seemed to have taken bits and pieces from some of her former suits and fashioned them into a concurrent style. Her Injustice II costume is reminiscent of her New 52 haircut, her Elseworld pantsuit, and throws in a bit of armor for good measure.
This costume has all the makings of a great superhero costume, which shows in this series when Supergirl teams up with Superman, Wonder Woman, and other DC nobles. The gold details in this suit are also exceptionally well-configured and the whole costume still hoists Supergirl’s traditional colors.
5 Worst: Smallville
While Supergirl’s role in the early 2000s television series came late, the showrunners still could have done a better job at presenting the infamous Kara Zor-El. Played by Laura Vandervoort, Smallville’s rendition of Supergirl left fans of the dynamic heroine feeling underwhelmed.
Nothing about her attire alludes to her secret identity (save the frequent reds and blues), as she really only ever wore modern-day clothing. Shouldn’t superheroes want to mask their identity?
4 Best: Elseworld’s Finest
This one may not be for everyone, but seeing Supergirl in a pantsuit for the first time is something of a liberating victory. In Elseworld’s Finest, she’s no longer confined to restraints of a skirt (how realistic is a skirt for a superhero, anyway?).
While this costume is a bit redundant in comparison to Superman’s suit, the transformation is what makes this suit so powerful. It also doesn’t take away the sensual features, either. The suit shows off her physique, giving note to her strong arms, legs, and abs.
3 Worst: Animated Series
This one is all about knowing your audience. And while there is no age limit set at who watches shows like Superman: The Animated Series, it seems reasonable that the general audience falls under a younger age bracket. After all, this show did originally play on the Kids’ WB.
So it seems a bit peculiar that the show designers would choose this ensemble, of all the Supergirl comic book inspirations, to run off of. The garb seems a bit too mature for a younger audience, who, despite age conjectures, are surely watching the show. While her facial features are pleasant, her bare mid-riff kind of throws the whole look off.
2 Best: Supergirl - CW Season 4
If you want to talk about emanating girl power, take a look at the CW Supergirl season 4 work of art. Portrayed by Melissa Benoist, Kara officially becomes badass in this full-fledged armor suit, which is vastly different in comparison to her skirt and boot ensemble.
It also seems as though this suit was inspired by Supergirl’s Eradicator armor (which just barely missed the cut for this list for Supergirl’s best costumes). The CW’s Supergirl has mostly kept up her customary suit (blue ’S’ top, red skirt, cape, and boots with gold accessories), but it’s interesting to see Supergirl’s powers excel with the help of this ‘Man of Steel’ suit. And while it seems close to the work of Stark Industry’s, it was Lena Luther who devised the contraption to save Kara from her Kryptonite exposure.
1 Worst: 1970s Supergirl
In the 1970s, DC comic book readers had the privilege of being able to submit their recommendations to the editors. Unfortunately for future readers, someone took on the suggested look on the far right for Supergirl an early 1970s comic. To start, Supergirl's boots look like they are just makeshift socks. Then there are her gloves, which look like cleaning gloves.
To add to the reasoning why this is one of Supergirl's worst costumes are the shorts that are just barely protruding underneath her awful dress. And is that a cummerbund fashioned to her waist? This suit is not intimidating in the least, but designers seemed to think otherwise. But hey, at least this outfit has pockets.