The CW’s Arrowverse has grown immensely since its inception in 2012. Then, Arrow was the network’s lone wolf superhero series, starring an Oliver Queen whose Green Arrow had more in common with Batman than the Emerald Archer’s comic book past. Early in the show’s second season, Barry Allen debuted. Out of his introduction came the arrival of The Flash and this is when costumes in the Arrowverse first drew greater interest. Of course, characters like Deathstroke and Canary both have suits worthy of applause. The Hood’s suit design in Arrow’s pilot season isn’t anything to scoff at, either. But the Scarlet Speedster brought something new to the table, a flair of style the then nascent franchise had yet to explore. Several more live-action shows and a host of new characters later, it’s only right that the Arrowverse’s many costumes get a closer look.
In the following list, 30 costume designs from The CW’s still expanding universe will be ranked, with the subjectively best design appearing at number one. Barring two exceptions, which absolutely had to be made, each character only features once. Therefore, just one of Green Arrow’s costumes made the list. Also worthy of note is that not every Arrowverse hero and villain could be placed on a list of 30. Thus, it’s arguably the most important figures who receive the bulk of the attention here. Unfortunately, this results in side characters such as Nyssa al Ghul and The Ray not being mentioned. Yet, that doesn’t mean their respective suit designs are any less impressive.
Steel’s comic book costume isn’t easily made practical. The suit for Steel’s counterpart in the comics, Citizen Steel, is composed entirely of metal. Therefore, it’s skin tight and readily adapts to whatever form his body takes. On Legends of Tomorrow, however, the only time Steel “steels up,” as he calls it, is when his body takes on metallic properties to protect him from harm.
In the field, he dons attire that seemingly incorporates leather and hard plastic into the design. It’s not the materials that land Steel this low on the list, though. Rather, the look of the suit is quite jarring -- the red, white, and blue color scheme doesn’t work with the suit’s current design. But at least Steel has rid himself of the helmet.
There’s nothing wrong with Guardian’s suit, per se. From the outset, it appears to be fancy tactical gear, which seems perfect for his exploits as National City’s vigilante. The helmet takes some getting used to, and arguably still needs work. This is especially true as anyone who knows James Olsen can look into the massive slit for his eyes and tell that he’s Guardian.
Secret identity issues aside, the plainness of the suit also fails to hold any aesthetic appeal. Does his garb require the flashiness of Supergirl’s? Absolutely not. However, it’s a little tough to believe that Winn Schott designed both the Girl of Steel’s attire and that of Guardian.
Floyd Lawton may at times seem a bit of a flamboyant figure. However, the attire he wears while in the field shows no evidence of it. Apart from his technologically advanced eye patch/scope, Deadshot’s garb is nothing to write home about. In fact, his suit is as practical as it gets. Plus, it looks nothing like the attire the famous villain dons in the comics.
Deadshot’s gear appears to be standard tactical fare. Typically, he dons a jacket beneath a bulletproof vest. He dresses his bottom half in cargo pants. Would a comic accurate version have worked on Arrow? Probably. Yet, as a hitman for hire, Deadshot requires nothing more than what he wears during his small screen adventures in the Arrowverse.
27 THE ATOM
Since his debut in Arrow’s third season, Ray Palmer has continuously improved upon his Atom suit. Sometimes he even gets help from The Flash’s very own tech genius, Cisco Ramon. More pieces have been added to the suit, and the visor on Atom’s helmet has undergone a few upgrades as well. And the moving parts, such as the circular devices that spin near his shoulder, never ceases to impress. In short, it’s continuously getting better.
However, the Atom still looks like the odd man out, even while standing next to his fellow Legends. He’s akin to an Iron Man that’s rough around the edges, in terms of suit design. But, similar to issues with Steel’s suit, it can’t be easy making Atom’s attire practical.
Reign represents an evil version of Supergirl. Like the Girl of Steel, a strong sense of justice motivates her actions. Unlike Supergirl, however, Reign takes lives and spreads fear to achieve her goals. Additionally, this also comes through in the villain’s suit design.
Reign’s wearing black and a skull emblem's replacing the House of El sigil ensures that though she shares Supergirl’s powers, no one can mistake her with National City’s beloved hero. The suit alone looks great, despite the mismatching materials not being particularly pleasing to the eye. However, her mask is mostly what sets Reign’s costume so low on the list. For narrative purposes, her identity must be concealed. Unfortunately, the mask’s ornate design doesn’t do her overall look any favors.
Compared to the suit he designs for The Flash, Vibe’s costume is pretty straightforward. Other than his special goggles, everything he dons looks as though it may have come off of a clothing store rack. The black, red, and gold design for his jacket works wonders; this combination of colors truly pops on-screen. Could anyone else pull it off? Probably not. Cisco Ramon makes the Vibe costume look cool.
Vibe’s garb appearing lower on the list isn’t reflective of its high quality. In comparison to other Arrowverse costumes, this one just doesn’t measure up. With this in mind, we’re left to wonder if and when Cisco will update the design. The Scarlet Speedster isn’t the only Team Flash member in need of a makeover every so often.
24 DARK ARCHER
As the Dark Archer, Malcolm Merlyn wears garb traditionally donned by the Arrowverse’s League of Assassins. His suit bears a simple design, an all-black tunic/robe with a hood and face cover to match. The simplicity fits the character’s role as an international criminal. Furthermore, it ensures he is the imposing figure that puts fear in the heart of Starling City’s typically fearless vigilante.
Because it’s all black, and he’s typically seen at night or in dark settings, audiences rarely get to appreciate the Dark Archer’s suit in its full glory. When the right lighting permits, though, this villain can often stand out among the rest.
23 BLACK CANARY (DINAH DRAKE)
Dinah Drake’s Black Canary arrived in Season 5, adapting a different look for Arrow’s legacy crimefighter. The overall design of the suit differs from that of Sara Lance’s Canary and Laurel’s Black Canary. Most notably, Dinah’s version of the character wears much shorter sleeves. Additionally, there are yellow accents that outline portions of the suit.
Compared to Laurel’s Black Canary costume, the newer iteration also seems streamlined with its design. For one, Dinah’s suit doesn’t have the numerous zippers and buckles that cover much of Laurel’s costume. Does it mean the garb Dinah wears looks any better than what Laurel once donned? That’s debatable. However, Dinah’s suit is undeniably far more practical for stealth and combat situations.
Thus far, the Arrowverse has debuted two versions of Firestorm: Ronnie Raymond/Martin Stein and Jefferson Jackson/Martin Stein. Both duos have their own specific suit design, but the one being counted for this list is the Jax and Professor Stein combo. The suit itself appears to be standard CW superhero fare, thanks to its full on leather look. Regardless of the materials used in translating the hero to live-action, the costume’s design is a sight to behold.
The red and yellow color scheme helps Firestorm stand out on-screen, whether they’re hurling fireballs or standing alongside fellow Legends. This marks another suit that probably could’ve used an update. For roughly three seasons, it did more than get the job done, though.
21 MR. TERRIFIC
Truth be told, Mr. Terrific’s costume looks like little more than a stylish biker outfit. This takes nothing away from its appeal, however. In fact, it seems to work in the vigilante’s favor. Since Mr. Terrific’s jacket and mask act as the heart and soul of his disguise, they are all that’s worth discussing.
Amongst fans, the T-shaped mask is hit or miss. It doesn't do a good job of concealing his identity, but the comic book accurate design couldn’t be any more remarkable. The jacket Mr. Terrific dons also deserves praise. Red, white, and black as the color scheme and “Fairplay” stitched down the sleeves makes this suit both comic accurate and aesthetically pleasing.
The design for Thea Queen’s Speedy garb is heavily inspired by Roy Harper’s Arsenal costume. In fact, barring a few details on the torso, her suit could essentially be considered a more form fitting version of his. Both suits are special in their own way, though. As if black and red didn’t already mesh well together, the two colors colliding on Speedy’s suit is nothing short of an awesome touch.
It’s unfortunate the character does not get a costume unique to her time as a vigilante. Still, it works for the purpose of honoring Roy’s stint on Team Arrow and her love for him. A suit this finely crafted, regardless of it being derivative of another, deserves a spot on this list.
It's a shame Tyler Hoechlin’s Superman can’t appear on Supergirl more often. Thus far, this iteration of the Man of Steel is so beloved that much of the contention surrounding him is leveled at his suit design. The look of the suit itself couldn’t be anymore perfect. Its stitching design mimics Supergirl’s, accentuating the fact that Winn crafted hers with Superman in mind. His “S” sigil appears weathered and worn, which indicates this Superman has been active for years.
Many issues regarding the suit’s design hinge on the additional pieces. No one has issues with Superman’s cape, but the gold pieces that attach it to his costume are bulky. The boots and belt are uncharacteristically bulky, too.
18 BLACK SIREN
Because Black Siren only appeared in animation in a minimum capacity, Arrowverse creatives had to think outside of the box for Earth-2 Laurel Lance’s garb. Akin to her Earth-1 counterpart, the villainous version of Laurel is fitted in all black. For her top garment, she dons what appears to be a long coat with the front section below the waist cut out. In a way, it gives the illusion that she wears a low-hanging cape.
Not concerned with being seen, Black Siren does not wear a mask. It’s no surprise, then, that during Arrow’s sixth season, she adopts Earth-1 Laurel’s identity. Black Siren may not hold a candle to the original Laurel’s heroism, but she has her beat in the costume department.
Slade Wilson’s Deathstroke costume is probably as close to comic accurate as it could get on the small screen. Admittedly, his gear brings nothing special to the table. Therein lines the brilliance of it, though. Like Deadshot, the attire made for Deathstroke is practical. Sure, there’s a bit of flair thanks to his mask and orange and blue color scheme. However, after several years and dozens of episodes, we would not want to have it any other way.
On his own, Slade is already an imposing figure. Put the mercenary in his Deathstroke garb and he’s all the more terrifying. For now, it seems we’ve seen the last of the character on Arrow for a while. Regardless, this represents one Arrowverse costume that won’t soon be forgotten.
Mon-El has had several costumes across his short stint on Supergirl. During Season 2, he dons a DEO uniform. For a short while in Season 3, he wears a black suit whose only distinctive characteristic is a red outline on his chest that homages the shield surrounding Supergirl’s “S” sigil. Roughly midway through the season, he finally dresses in his comic accurate uniform.
The red suit and blue cape are a big part of the character’s final arc on the show. Additionally worth noting is that the torso of Mon-El’s red suit also pays homage to Supergirl’s influence with an outline of her shield. It’s a subtle touch, but eloquently demonstrates that her heroics live on in the future.
15 CAPTAIN COLD
Should Leonard Snart’s Captain Cold costume even count? After all, the key component of his suit is a blue parka, which he wears regardless of the weather. The previously asked question warrants nothing other than a “yes” in response. Much like Cisco and his Vibe garb, Snart makes the Captain Cold outfit look far more awesome than it should be.
It’s not just the parka that sells the costume, either. His protective goggles and the Cold Gun add to his overall look -- these items effectively complete the package. Besides, anyone who can pull off a winter coat while committing acts of crime, or stopping them, with a blazing sun overhead deserves recognition.
14 WHITE CANARY
Sara Lance has donned three suits, two of which are from her current stint as White Canary. The White Canary costume worthy of acknowledgement on this list is the one she receives during Legends of Tomorrow’s third season. In Season 3, her suit loses its dingy look and employs a brighter shade of white.
The costume's design, especially the top half, also undergoes major changes. For one, the base layer for her torso is now long-sleeved, meaning she no longer has to wear a jacket to cover her arms. Additionally, a split in the top’s design exposes more of her bosom, similar to Sara’s original Canary suit. Whether White Canary 2.0 counts as her best suit is debatable. Nothing beats her Arrow Season 2 attire.
13 VIXEN (AMAYA)
Both Vixen suits, worn by Amaya and her granddaughter, Mari, are amazing. The differences are subtle and hardly noticeable without close study. However, the few distinguishing traits for each costume, minor though they may be, stand out the most for the garb Amaya wears on Legends of Tomorrow.
Amaya’s Vixen suit features a slightly more straightforward design, as hers doesn’t include some of the patch-like additions seen on Mari’s in Arrow. The collars of the two costumes also differ. The way Mari’s collar sits on her suit makes it seem as though she’s wearing a sports jacket. Meanwhile, the collar for Amaya’s top appears to have been designed with lapels in mind. Again, small touches, but the elder Vixen deserved mention in this regard.
The Overgirl suit from “Crisis on Earth-X” is a blessing and a curse for obvious reasons. Somehow, evil Supergirl always manages to steal the show and this time is no exception. Barring the “SS” emblem this version of the Kryptonian’s suit easily comes close to perfect. Unlike the suit redesign for Earth-X Green Arrow, Dark Arrow, Overgirl’s look sharply contrasts Supergirl’s.
Of course, the black and red color scheme constitutes the most notable change. In addition, Overgirl also dons pants and wears darker colored lip stick. The suit’s pattern, the placement of red amongst the primarily black design, couldn’t be anymore aesthetically pleasing to the eye.
11 KID FLASH
Yellow and red are forever a flawless match. On Kid Flash’s suit, the two colors have never looked any better. The suit itself is sleek in design, and arguably manages to outshine earlier versions of The Flash’s suit. Perhaps it’s the young Speedster’s top half being covered in yellow, while red overtakes the pant design that makes Kid Flash stand out. Surprisingly, the comic book accurate design of his cowl also translates well to live-action.
Simply put, Kid Flash is a marvel in both character and design. He's never received an updated suit; the likelihood of this changing is low. However, that’s perfectly fine. Kid Flash is one of the few characters in the Arrowverse that doesn’t require an improved look.
10 KILLER FROST
Like many other on this list, Killer Frost has worn more than one version of a suit. Thus far, the villain/sometimes hero has donned two. Her original suit consists of leather pants and a dark blue jacket with frost-like designs trailing across her shoulders and arms. The latest iteration of Killer Frost’s costume, featured in The Flash’s fourth run, counts as the best of the two.
The jacket for her Season 4 garb is a much brighter blue, but the pants she wears seem darker in color. Overall, the newer suit design is completely different from what Killer Frost has previously worn. Her jacket appears denim upon closer inspection and the zippers that run along it in places fits the design quite well.
9 MARTIAN MANHUNTER
Martian Manhunter’s suit seems like it could have been the easiest to get wrong. He’s a make-up heavy character and much of the action he features in incorporates a lot of CGI. The suit itself is practical, though, and looks great no matter what he’s doing while donning it.
It’s primarily black and blue in color, with red incorporated into the torso’s design. What’s especially impressive is the intricate details of Martian Manhunter’s suit. Fine lines and small indentions can be spotted upon a closer look. Even the Martian’s cape features small details in an interesting pattern. We only wish this version of the hero appeared more often.
Roy Harper’s Arsenal costume borrows a lot from Arrow’s suit. Barring the design of its torso, Arsenal’s suit primarily differs from Arrow’s in color. The bottom half of the suit is all black, but evolves into the color red around the costume’s midriff. This is an incredible blending of color that helps Arsenal stand out amongst the rest of Team Arrow.
What truly sells it, though, is the selection of red used. It’s a dark red that can often seem maroon when lit a certain way. Arsenal’s suit definitely counts as something worth gawking at. Besides paying homage to Roy’s legacy on Team Arrow, it’s easy to see why Speedy’s suit so closely resembles his.
7 THE FLASH
Across four seasons, the Scarlet Speedster has gone through numerous suits and suit upgrades. Interestingly, the hero will receive yet another new suit design during Season 5. Nothing that The Flash has donned, thus far, can hold a candle to the costume he wears throughout Season 4, however.
It’s the first of the suits to truly adapt the bright red color of The Flash’s costume in the comics. Thick golden lightning bolts and thin lines of the same color also help to draw the show’s suit nearer to a comic accurate look. While it appears like his Season 5 suit will be even closer to designs seen in comics, the Season 4 garb remains a special edition to the Arrowverse.
6 GREEN ARROW
The Green Arrow may be the Arrowverse character with the most suit upgrades, which makes sense considering he has a two-season head start. His original suit will always be special, specifically for what it means to the franchise and, in Arrow’s mythology, its being an homage to Yao Fei. For this list, the vigilante’s suit for Seasons 5 and 6 wins the day.
Essentially, it acts as a culmination of all the suits that came before. His long sleeves return, the armor pieces are more defined than ever, and the hood sits perfectly atop his head. The latest iteration of the Green Arrow suit is a testament to how much he’s grown as a character over six seasons. Thus, it’s owed much praise.
5 JAY GARRICK
John Wesley Shipp donning a Flash suit again still induces chills. The former Flash actor stepping into frame at the end of The Flash’s sophomore season, donning Jay Garrick’s Speedster suit is a sight to both behold and cherish. He looks great. It’s fitting that his suit was the first of the show’s Flash uniforms to adopt the bright red color associated with the character in comics.
Flowing down the middle of Garrick’s brightly colored top is an expertly sized lightning bolt. Blue pants and red boots fill out the suit’s design, but the silver helmet he dons acts as the cherry on top of a well-crafted package. Needless to say, Jay Garrick’s costume will assuredly remain a fan-favorite.
The Arrowverse’s first Canary, Sara Lance, arrived in Season 2 and basically stole the show. As one of the few fighters who can dominate Oliver Queen in combat, Sara instantly stands out. What also helps her make a good impression is her original suit. It’s not like anything that’s been done in the comics, yet it still manages to reflect what Black Canary is expected to wear.
The costume is all black and mostly made of leather. Over the corset-esque top she wears, Canary dons a black leather jacket. A platinum blonde wig and finely made domino mask completes the now classic Arrowverse suit design. This is arguably the best iteration of any live-action Black Canary suit to date.
Zoom may be the single most terrifying figure in the Arrowverse. From the horror-inspired suit to Tony Todd’s iconic and demonic voice, everything about this Speedster is nightmarish. His movement also contributes to this. Even while standing still, Zoom gives the illusion of being in motion as blue lightning cascades across his body.
Zoom’s costume is all black; a lightning emblem of the same color sits backwards on his chest. The villainous Speedster’s cowl raises the scare factor to another level. The space where his mouth should appear on the cowl looks stitched shut. Creases and wrinkles complete the cowl’s design, ensuring all who gaze upon his horrifying visage won't soon forget it.
The Reverse-Flash’s suit is on the precipice of greatness. It’s perfect. Full stop. Whomever bears responsibility for the design choices behind his costume deserves recognition, an award even. Like a few other costumes in the Arrowverse, two colors clash to make something quite special. For this Flash rogue, yellow and black primarily fill out the suit. Red acts as a secondary color, making up the lightning bolts on his waist, the chest emblem he dons, and the lightning bolts on the villain’s cowl.
Whenever he appears on screen, he immediately commands attention. Of course, this is due in part to the wondrous performances of actors Matt Letscher and Tom Cavanagh. But the suit is undeniably instrumental to Reverse-Flash’s ongoing appeal.
Supergirl’s Arrowverse suit is so well done that the Kryptonian’s DC Rebirth run borrowed from the design. It should come as no surprise, but this version of the suit looks just as good on the page as it does in live-action. The simple design ensures its success. There exists no flair, no over the top addition that leaves fans scratching their heads.
Supergirl’s suit, with its red, blue, and yellow color scheme, vibrantly conveys the hope, help, and compassion the hero stands for. Her red skirt pairs brilliantly with a blue top that features the “S” emblem emblazoned across it. Other than Red K and Earth-X Supergirl, the Girl of Steel’s suit has remained the same for nearly four seasons. Here’s to hoping it never changes.