Supergirl: The Biggest Redesigns in the DC Hero's History

With this year marking the 60th anniversary of Supergirl's comic book debut, Superman's high-flying cousin has seen her fair share of costume changes over the years. Her classic costume has most notably been a Superman-esque blue and red outfit with Kryptonian symbol for hope and her family crest. She frequently wears a red skirt instead of Superman's usual red trunks and blue leggings,

Although her costumes always evoke Superman's timeless look to some extent, Supergirl has seen more drastic redesigns than her cousin. Now, CBR is taking a look back at some of  biggest visual changes for the Girl of Steel from both her comic book history and appearances in the Arrowverse.

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The 1970s Uniform

Supergirl 70s costume

After over a decade of wearing the original costume with its red skirt and full shirt, Supergirl received her first major redesign in the 70s. With her first solo series launching in 1972, the Girl of Steel swapped out the skirt for red short shorts while her form-fitting blue top was given puffy sleeves and a plunging neckline. To accommodate the pronounced v-neck, the Kryptonian logo was shrunk and moved above her heart rather than directly in the center of the top. The cape itself was retained but attached to a red choker around her neck rather than directly to the main costume itself.

Supergirl would wear a variation of this costume for much of the 70s but, by 1983, would receive a redesign much closer to the classic costume while sporting an '80s-appropriate red headband that she would wear until meeting her untimely end during the Crisis on Infinite Earths.

The DC Animated Universe Suit

Supergirl The Animated Series

The DC Animated Universe show Superman: The Animated Series introduced Supergirl in a two-part episode during the show's second season. Originally planned to be Kara Zor-El, the show was denied access to the character by DC Comics due to its internal edict that Superman was the only surviving Kryptonian at the time. As such, the creators introduced the character as Kara In-Ze, a teenage superhero from Krypton's sister planet Argos.

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The animated series took inspiration from the visual design of the current comic book Supergirl Linda Danvers, while introducing a backstory closer to the Silver Age Supergirl as the sole survivor of her doomed planet. The character's costume included a white cut-off t-shirt with the Superman logo, as well as a red cape and blue skirt. In both versions, the midriff was exposed while the shirt carried a black border all the way around. In the late '90s, this look was popular enough to jump over to comics, where it remained Supergirl's primary look for a few years. Even after Supergirl returned to a more traditional costume, she continued the bare midriff from this look.


Supergirl feature

For the majority of the first four seasons of Supergirl, the DC TV series had its eponymous superhero wearing her iconic, classic costume from the comics. The Season 4 finale had Kara Zor-El don a powered exosuit to battle a similarly powered Lex Luthor and that full-body outfit may be an inspiration for her upcoming costume change in Season 5.

The latest Arrowverse suit for Kara is visibly more textured than its predecessor, with lined sections across the entire outfit, more pronounced shoulders, and an embossed logo rather than the smoother incarnation on the classic costume. Most notably, the skirt has been replaced by blue leggings in the same color and fabric as the torso. The belt is more metallic as is what appears to be a gold top at the collar. While the cape appears relatively unchanged, it is now fastened into the suit's shoulders rather than hemmed into the collar.

Returning Sunday, October 9 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on The CW, Supergirl stars Melissa Benoist as Kara Danvers, David Harewood as Martian Manhunter, Mehcad Brooks as Jimmy Olsen and Chyler Leigh as Alex Danvers.

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