Supergirl’s New Clothes

By Cassie, AP Contributor

There’s a lot to like about the new Supergirl TV show – it’s funny, it’s warm, it’s unashamedly feminist, and there are lots of cool explosions. But my favorite part so far has to be her revamped costume, and what it says about the type of Supergirl the show intends to portray.

Like most comic characters, Supergirl has been through approximately fifty billion costume changes. Some of them have been pretty hard to imagine on a real flesh and blood person…

Supergirl_Vol_6_1

I mean, why do these boots have big holes in the knees? How do they even stay on? It’s hard to take a superhero seriously when it looks like the artist just started with a nude outline and scribbled lines over it at random.

Some other outfits haven’t been too bad, if a little bare around the middle.

Kara_Zor-El_003

This is probably the outfit most non-comic nerds will be familiar with, since it’s pretty much the same one as used in the Justice League Saturday morning cartoon, and the Supergirl movie. I dig the long sleeves and covered cleavage (such a rarity in comics!), but there’s something about the bare midriff that bugs me. Being bulletproof, it’s not like Supergirl has to worry about practicality, but it feels almost too casual for someone who’s supposed to be saving the world.

In a move that delighted Supergirl nerds like me, the new TV show actually did a callback to Supergirl’s less practical outfits in a delightful montage in the pilot episode.

Supergirl Skimpy

Supergirl goes through a number of outfit changes, finally settling on this perfect one.

Supergirl Final

Unlike previous incarnations, this outfit features a covered midriff, which is a refreshing change. I’m not against skimpy outfits entirely, but they are WELL over-represented in the world of superheroes so it’s nice to see something different.

Supergirl has a reasonable length skirt – not so short as to be considered skimpy, but not long enough to be considered impractical when kicking bad guys in the face. And a cape! I love a good cape, and this one is long, swishy, and downright regal. Previous Supergirl costumes have usually had a much shorter capelet, and they just make me think of a little girl with a towel around her shoulders playing Superman. This one is a cape to be taken seriously.

The material of the suit itself is tight fitting enough to be “aerodynamic” (ie. suitable for TV) but heavy enough that it looks like it would actually offer some sort of protection in a fight. It’s an outfit that, to my mind, screams “hero.” Previously Supergirl has pretty consistently been portrayed as a Superman-lite – his kid cousin in some timelines, just a younger Kryptonian in others, but always somehow lesser than Superman. This outfit tells me that the Supergirl show wants to give us a Supergirl who’s a hero in her own right, and I am so on board for that.

What do you think of the new Supergirl?

Image Credits
Supergirl New 52 Cover from Wikipedia
Kara Zor-El Portrait from DC Wikia
Screencaps by author

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The author of Reluctant Femme, Cassie is a queer thirty-something Australian who thinks too much, reads too much, and has way too many pretty things. Her writing revolves around exploring concepts of femme and femininity, feminism, and just how much glitter you really can fit into a polish before it’s unusable. You can catch up with her in shorter bursts on Twitter , look at pictures of her favourite pretty things on her Tumblr, and browse her handmade accessories at her Etsy store

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3 Responses to “Supergirl’s New Clothes”

  1. QuahogHedgehog

    I really love that there is not a big emphasis on her breasts/cleavage, I always hate when comic book and video game heroines have impossibly large breasts, like that is their defining characteristic.

  2. KryptoBunny

    I love that the costume has stockings. They’re old-fashioned, which I think is very in-character (at least for this iteration). And they work to solve that “you look up and see her underwear” thing I’ve seen comic writers play around with in some gross ways.