When you're a legacy hero like Supergirl, it's not always easy to find your own style when you're stuck in an established theme. However, the "S" shield is not something to be worn lightly, and Supergirl has earned her use of the symbol and colors of Superman over the years.
That doesn't mean she hasn't experimented with her look every once in a while, especially given the repeated reboots of the DC Universe that have led to a few different versions of Supergirl in the DC universe. Today we are going to take a look at a few of Supergirl's costumes that we've loved, but in order to really appreciate them, we also have to show you the costumes we hated.
10 LOVE: SILVER AGE
While there were a few versions of Supergirl that appeared before her official arrival, it wasn't until Action Comics #252 that Superman's cousin first appeared. This version was the first Kara Zor-El, and she wore a costume very similar to Superman.
From the waist up there wasn't much difference between the two heroes costume, but unlike Superman's red trunks that broke up his outfit, Supergirl's blue tunic continued down into her skirt, separated only by her yellow belt. Supergirl would wear this costume for much of her early career until DC asked fans to send in designs for her new costumes.
9 HATE: 80S HEADBAND
Supergirl wore a number of crazy costumes during the 70s, most of which were designed by fans and only appeared in a single issue or as a pin-up or cover art. While she finally settled on an outfit in the 70s (more on that later) it was the 80s that Kara's costume took a further departure from her cousin.
Her "S" shield was extended, draping her shoulders in red which would extend into her cape. Her skirt was also colored red, as well as shortened quite a bit compared to her earlier costumes. The worst part of this entire look was Supergirl's red headband, which changed her outfit from superhero chic to super workout wear, despite its in-story Kryptonian explanation.
8 LOVE: MATRIX
When Kara died during the Crisis on Infinite Earths, DC Editorial decreed that Superman would remain the sole survivor of Krypton, meaning there was no place for Kara Zor-El in the new DC Universe. However, that didn't mean there wasn't a place for Supergirl.
Matrix was the genetically created survivor of a pocket dimension who fashioned her appearance on Superman, though she resembled the previous version of Supergirl that had been wiped from continuity. Matrix's Supergirl costume was an updated version of her original that was partially inspired by the Supergirl live-action film starring Helen Slater.
7 HATE: LINDA DANVERS
Matrix would eventually bond with a human woman named Linda Danvers and embark on a new adventure as Supergirl, adopting a new costume that had appeared in cartoon form first. The costume introduced the bare midriff to Supergirl and switched out the blue for white and short-sleeved with a dark blue skirt that was very short.
We have to admit to being torn on this costume, as while we are fond of its first appearance on the animated Justice League Unlimited, it's appeal did not translate as well to the comics. Although it is admittedly better than the costume that followed, which was her normal costume, with giant fiery wings. Yeah, Linda Danvers/Matrix was an interesting character.
6 LOVE: KARA ZOR-EL II
After Linda Danvers/Matrix had become a fiery angel (seriously), the DC Universe was without a Supergirl, and management had loosened on the sole-Kryptonian rule, so a new Kara Zor-El was introduced. She wore a similar costume as her cousin, though it followed the same midriff design as the animated series/Danvers costume, though the short skirt was now ruffled and flowing.
It's likely due to the love for the Jeph Loeb/Michael Turner storyline in Superman/Batman that we are able to look past our criticisms of the extreme midriff and incredibly short skirt, as we were also critical of Danvers' short skirt. Michael Turner just had a way of making this costume work for Kara that was hard to replicate.
5 HATE: 70S HOT PANTS
The 70s saw an interesting addition to the fashion world in the form of short shorts that became known as hot pants. Hot pants are still worn today, but in the 70s there was a hot pant boom that found itself represented by the Girl of Steel when she altered her costume for good after wearing a number of fan-made versions.
Supergirl's new costume featured red hot pants, red pixie boots, and a blue blouse. The blouse also featured a plunging neckline, leaving no room for the iconic "S" shield, which was reduced in size and placed over her heart. As much as we hated her 80s headband, we were still glad it replaced her hot pants.
4 LOVE: SPACE ROBES
Supergirl's newest new costume is actually a solar collector suit and looks like a cross between her Rebirth and Silver Age costumes. What's interesting is the other formations the costume makes, as Supergirl wore it during a mission in space and needed a suit that would adapt to different environments.
This allowed for a number of great options that kept her connection to her cousin while giving her a look all her own. The red and black version is the most appealing, though it does make us think about The Death of Superman. Supergirl's space robes were a temporary costume feature while in space, but we still dig the Rebirth/Silver Age blend costume.
3 HATE: CIR-EL
Kara and Matrix aren't the only in-continuity heroes to use the name Supergirl, though when Cir-El used the name, she didn't exactly look the part. You might not have heard of Cir-El before, as she only appeared a handful of times, which might be why she clearly phoned-in her costume.
It's not really her fault, as her existence as Superman's daughter from the future is a ruse by Brainiac, so the swimming suit and gloves with a cape look he hastily put together makes sense. The entire Superman family should have realized she wasn't really a member of the family considering her costume didn't even have the "S" shield.
2 LOVE: REBIRTH
The Rebirth-era saw quite a few characters return to more classic looks that the prior New 52 reboot had altered, though, with Supergirl's costume, Rebirth managed to combine various aspects of previous costumes to create one of her best comic costumes ever.
Supergirl's costume retained the seamed armor look of the New 52, as well as her updated "S" shield while fixing the boots and adding a non-ruffled short but (not too short) skirt, all tied together perfectly with the gold belt.
1 HATE: NEW 52
When the DC Universe was rebooted after the events of Flashpoint, the New 52 universe featured a shortened timeline and updated origins across the board. For Supergirl that meant she was again an alien on a new planet, and she had the Kryptonian battle armor to prove it.
This armor was form-fitting and featured the "S" shield, though Kara's logo was slightly different than her cousins who wore similar armor. However, his armor had pants whereas Kara had high boots and did away with the skirt completely. This version of the costume also got a Red Lantern makeover when Kara joined their rage-fueled Corps for a short time.