July 29, 2016: Examining the Superman Costume for “Supergirl”

Supergirl and SupermanBy Steve Younis

In this article I’m going to be examining, in detail, the Superman costume for the “Supergirl” TV series. I’ve previously written similar articles for when the costumes for “Superman Returns”, “Man of Steel” and Supergirl’s own costume for this TV series were revealed.

Initial Reaction: At this point in time we’ve only seen the one photograph of Tyler Hoechlin in the Superman costume, standing next to Melissa Benoist in her familiar Supergirl costume. I don’t know what it is about these initial photographs that the studios release, but they always seem to fall short in one area or another. The lighting, angle and shadows don’t help Tyler’s cause here… Especially when it comes to his body shape.


Cape Seeing as how we can’t really see the cape in full in this photo, I’m going to assume that it’s the same material and color as Supergirl’s cape, which looked just fine in Season 1.

The length of the cape is fine. It sits just around ankle height, which I think is great for a Superman costume. It seems a little longer than Supergirl’s, but I’m fine with that.

We don’t know if there’s a yellow version of the “S” emblem on the back… But, as always with this feature, I’m not too fussed either way. I’d prefer to see it there, but it’s not essential.

As with any cape for a Super-family member, the most controversy seems to be about how the cape attaches to the costume. Unfortunately, I think this is the weakest design element of this costume. I’d much prefer to see the cape tuck into the top of Superman’s costume the way it does for Supergirl. That looks much more natural. The gold “clasps” attaching the cape to the front of Superman’s shoulders doesn’t look natural at all.


BodyOnce again, due to the lighting in the photo it is very difficult to tell just how blue the main part of the costume really is. The color doesn’t seem to be too different to the blue in Kara’s costume, which looked good in Season 1.

The neckline is fine, but does seem a little low or exposed, but I think that’s mainly due to the fact that the cape doesn’t tuck into it as explained above.

As with all recent Superman costumes, the material appears to have a small repeating pattern throughout the blue material. It looks very similar to Kara’s costume.

Where Supergirl’s costume has red seam lines that extend throughout the design, Superman’s “seams” blend more with this costume, but there do appear to be more of them. This design feature may be inspired by the New 52 costume, which had similar design elements. It does break up the blue fabric and gives form to the bodice of the costume without being distracting. Unlike Supergirl’s sleeves, Superman’s end at the wrist.


ShieldThe shape and design of the “S” shield is the best thing about the costume. Period! The size is just right. The “S” is probably the best one I’ve seen on any Superman costume. It has the rounder end to the tail of the “S” (unlike Supergirl’s straigher design), and has the yellow background rather than just a yellow border.

Once again the “S” has been given a solid presence rather than just being part of the fabric of the costume. The “S” has a softer texture than the fabric/material.


TrunksThere are no trunks once again in this costume design. I think that will likely be the standard for many years to come. With Supergirl sporting a red skirt I did think that the red trunks may make a return of this version of the Superman costume… but no.

Having become used to this look for a number of years now, I don’t really mind that there are no red trunks. They don’t even seem to hint at them with a seam or line as they do in other Superman costumes (especially in the comic books). Yet it doesn’t look odd at all.


BeltNext to the way the cape connects at the shoulders, the belt is the other element I like least about this costume. While the belt serves no practical function without trunks, the costume as a whole does need something in this area to break up the solid blue. The mostly red belt, with black and gold elements at the front, just looks “bulky”. There’s no “buckle” as such, and the over all appearance of it just looks odd to me. I actually prefer to non-belt design in Henry Cavill’s costumes over this.


BootsAs I’ve said before, I’ve always preferred that Superman’s boots be of a similar material to the rest of his costume, however here, they appear to be a leather boot.

The boots don’t have the classic “V” design at the top just below the knee, but the height of them does seem just right. I’m not sure that I like all the extra design lines and Roman Soldier “armor” feel they’ve been given. But the boots as a whole aren’t a problem. They look fine.


Tyler HoechlinNow for the man wearing the costume…

I only really know Tyler Hoechlin from his role in the TV series “Teen Wolf”. I was happy with the casting announcement and think he’ll do well playing the part of Superman in the “Supergirl” TV series.

He looks the part. He has the strong jaw, the straight nose and over all good looks. The way they’ve heightened his hair doesn’t suit him though. His more natural look, with the fringe more on his forehead would probably be more suitable. His hair here just elongates his face, making him look skinnier than he already does.

While Tyler is in good shape, I think we’ve been spoilt with the more muscular look Henry Cavill has brought to the part. The shadows falling in this photo, especially the one under his left arm, don’t help. They hide the fullness of his torso, making him look too slim in this photo. He may have been better served doing the same pose as Melissa.

It would have been nice to show them both smiling. They’ve been hyping the “hope” symbolism of this show for some time now… Would it hurt to see them looking happy in one another’s presence?


As with any costume reveal for an iconic character, Superman’s costume for the “Supergirl” TV series has created a lot of debate amongst fans. While reactions haven’t been overly positive on this first look, I think fans were expecting more simply due to the fact that the creators of the “Supergirl” TV series displayed a willingness to embrace a more classic design for Supergirl’s costume.

All in all, I’m not as impressed with the Superman costume here as I was with Supergirl’s costume reveal. I will reserve my final judgment until I see Tyler in the costume in action.

Steve Younis

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July 29, 2016 12:35 am

All good points Steve. The costume reminds me of the one used in Injustice.

July 29, 2016 8:07 am
Reply to  doomsday745

Yeah I’d say the Injustice costume was clearly on of their inspirations for this.

July 29, 2016 12:59 pm
Reply to  doomsday745

I noticed the Injustice influence too in how the cape connects (like Thor’s) and the little designs in the fabric.

Still, the suit needs the red trunks, yellow belt, and “M” for “man” boots. There will never be a better design that balances the colors and looks good on Superman than that.

The “S” symbol design is definitely the best thing on the suit though, in its shape and size, like Steve said.

August 1, 2016 2:26 am
Reply to 

So, it is alright for Supergirl to have a RED skirt but Superman can’t have RED trunks? The illogic on this topic is simply fascinating.

Superman’s costume was changed for NO “legit” Reason (nor need updating) and all of these changes (substitution of a red belt for trunks) just don’t work, and you are making a pure mockery of the situation.

Superman had the perfect costume for all time and DC you let “juvenile attitudes” ruin a timeless look for the rest of us.

Steve Wright
August 1, 2016 9:43 am
Reply to  jer2

I don’t have a direct link, but I think I remember that they changed it due to the lawsuit. I could be wrong though, and I am only remembering what I’ve read as theories instead of fact.

August 1, 2016 1:20 pm
Reply to  Steve Wright

Although, in the legal documents – the description of the character of Superman, including costume, is mentioned for identification purposes – The trunks – being the lynch pin for the law suit was sheer internet rumor…. This rumor worked in DC’s favor, as it gave cover for the real reason and that continues to be that the current regime (2011 – 2016) of DC, capitulated and gave into pressure to a vocal few that have a fashion and personal “ bias” against “trunks” on Superman (and hero(s) in general it would seem)….. However, the true funny thing is; that without… Read more »

August 4, 2016 1:40 am
Reply to  jer2

Right on, Jer! Without the red trunks, it’s not the Superman suit, and is incredibly bland looking! Also makes him look exposed!

August 4, 2016 1:41 am
Reply to  Steve Wright

The removal of the red trunks has absolutely nothing to do with the lawsuit (as DC still publishes Superman material featuring the proper costume like Dark Knight Returns 3, Neal Adams’ The Coming Of The Supermen, and Max Landis’ American Alien, these are all recent books that featured Superman in his proper red trunks costume), and everything to do with Didio and Jim Lee thinking Superman needed to be “fixed” with their “better” costumes.

July 29, 2016 3:36 am

IT will be a little weird that Jimmy Olsen is taller and more muscular than Superman

Kal L
July 29, 2016 4:05 am

I agree with all the points Steve made.. I have the same problem with it. But it may look better in motion, so it will be a “wait and see” scenario.
Its really close to the New 52 look, sans collar. The design on the boots is very close to New 52.
If they had given him the same belt as Supergirl’s, I think may have looked better…

July 29, 2016 4:06 am

Oh God no…the only perfect aspect of the costume is the emblem/ the ‘S’.
Tyler is basically Edward Cullen in a Halloween Superman Costume.

Kal L
July 29, 2016 4:10 am

I think the costume designer for this suit is Colleen Atwood… She did the suits for both Arrow and Flash, as well as being the costume designer on “Superman Lives”.

July 29, 2016 2:22 pm
Reply to  Kal L

The suit is designed by Kiersten Ronning. Not Coleen Atwood. Had she had a hand in it, maybe we would have a different result.

July 29, 2016 2:32 pm
Reply to  Kal L

The costume is designed by Kiersten Ronning. Not Coleen Atwood. Had she had a hand, we would have had a different result.

Kal L
July 29, 2016 8:42 pm
Reply to  Kal-Ed

Thanks for clearing that up.
I agree, Coleen has a little better design sense, thats why I was so thrown by this design! Maybe it will evolve in future seasons like Arrows suit

July 30, 2016 12:17 pm
Reply to  Kal L

Don’t mention it.
Here’s hoping but till then, we shall see.

New Roosterman
July 29, 2016 7:27 am

Agree regarding the belt. Looks rather poor.

July 29, 2016 7:53 am

I’m not too picky but I do agree the “S” is the best part of the suit. I agree the shoulder part of the cape doesn’t look natural. But it’s only one photo so I won’t judge it. I would save my final judgement til I see the action in the tv show. By the way the cape over the shoulders reminds me of the design in Injustice 1 and 2. For the Cavill costume, even with the gold design on the wrist, the suit feels bland. They could have made the belt a little thinner and be more like… Read more »

July 29, 2016 8:06 am

No arguments with anything mentioned in the article. I’m not too crazy about the cape attachment either and they did a number on the guy’s face with that piss-poor photojob, but the belt’s the thing that’s killing me. It needs a shape and it needs color. Red belts are a bad idea.

The S is wonderful, though. I like how it’s Byrne-era big. The shape itself is pretty forgettable, but the size is spot-on.

Steve Wright
July 29, 2016 8:46 am
Reply to  NeoRanger

The S is gorgeous on this suit

July 29, 2016 8:13 am

Obviously, until I see it in motion and after a few episodes I’ll be able to make a final call… but compared to Kara’s costume (which I like a lot), right now this looks really poor, and mostly because of that collar set up. Why they didn’t attach the cape like Kara’s makes no sense. I love how that is attached. Especially when partnered with a very wide collar, it comes off very sloppy. If they gave him a very tight collar and then attached the cape like that (sort of like the New52 look), I think that would’ve worked… Read more »

July 29, 2016 1:07 pm
Reply to 

Meh. That’s Tom Welling in the Singer suit.



July 30, 2016 7:42 am
Reply to 

That’s just a drawing by Alex Ross…silly!

July 31, 2016 6:40 pm
Reply to 

Yes, of Superman. ..and technically that’s painting.

July 29, 2016 1:09 pm
Reply to 

Meh. That’s Tom Welling in the Singer suit.



July 29, 2016 4:02 pm
Reply to 

Actually, it’s Tom Welling in a blue T-Shirt with the S sewn on it. Just a fun little tidbit.

July 30, 2016 7:57 am
Reply to  NeoRanger

Well Tom has the ideal height, built gentlemen. the only actor that played the character longest. Well at least no one towers Tom.

James Olsen (Mehcad Brooks) from Supergirl, he is the same height as Tom. He towers Tyler Hoechlin by 3 inches.

July 30, 2016 4:33 pm
Reply to 

You can say correctly that Welling played Clark Kent for 10 years, but he never wore the suit. (The shirt rip doesn’t count) We didn’t get a full on, hands on hips Superman pose. Metroville was a show with some Supermanish elements in it, but no Superman in costume. In the end I for one felt cheated.

July 30, 2016 8:00 am
Reply to  NeoRanger

Height Comparison:
1) Christopher Reeve 6’4″
Tallest Superman

2) Tom Welling 6’3″
Ideal Superman

3) Brandon Routh 6’2″
Close to Ideal Superman

4) Henry Cavill 6’1″
Short but Buff Superman

5) Dean Cain 6’0″
Short but Broad Superman

6) Tyler Hoechlin 6’0″
Short but Edward Cullen-like Superman

I know…I have too much time on my hands….but I love Superman.

Steve Wright
August 1, 2016 9:44 am
Reply to 

I admire your tenacity, and trust me, I am probably the biggest TW supporter on the Admin team, but it’s not going to happen and you will enjoy life much better if you just let it go. 😉

July 31, 2016 6:42 pm
Reply to 

That is a t-shirt worn by an actor who did a great job but apparently had too many hang-ups about the suit to even wear it when it counted the most in the context of the story being told in a series that constantly bent that story over backwards to avoid it.Shame to because that show had a great Lois and I often wished she could be in a straight-up Superman production.

August 2, 2016 9:48 pm
Reply to  MattComics

I think his hangups with the suit had to do with the 30 pounds he put on over the course of the show.

Steve Wright
July 29, 2016 8:45 am

The more I look at it the more important convinced the suit comes out of the belt like the new 52. The way the suit looks sectioned off avery few inches and the clasps for the Cape is better explained to me if it’s a suit that he doesn’t wear but is triggered. The boots look very bulky and only make sense if the aren’t actually worn under his clothes..

I think it will look good in action though. I was meh on the SG suit at first but soon grew to really like it…even the no yellow S.

July 29, 2016 12:13 pm
Reply to  Steve Wright

I think the problem with the belt is that it is too bulky and busy in design. The belt has an appearance of some sort of utility belt which does not belong in a Superman costume; the belt should be slim and simple. Anyway, they can always make tweaks to it if they do another season.

July 29, 2016 4:10 pm
Reply to  doomsday745

The size and the shape are definitely a problem. I maintain that red is a bad idea, too and I will keep repeating it, because it feels like such an amateur mistake to make. Superheroes, from their genesis, classically wore three-color-patterned costumes and it was for a good reason. It maintained a good balance between colorful-yet-not-entirely-an-eyesore. A red belt doesn’t mesh with the blue suit as well as goldish-yellow and it makes the yellow on the S look out of place (since it’s nowhere else in costume). It’s like wearing a black tie, a black belt and brown shoes. Cat… Read more »

July 29, 2016 1:42 pm

No arguments about the article and I too concur the S looks fantastic on the chest. Still…I dunno about the suit. Maybe a better shot under better lighting would ease things a bit. No problems with the Cape’s length for it is absolutely fitting. A thinner belt would work a wee bit better.
We should get used to a trunkless Superman. As much As I like the old look, he needs to fit with the times.

July 29, 2016 4:58 pm

I find the belt is very complicated in design, especially when compared to Supergirl’s simple yellow belt. I was wondering, with the belt the way it is, is it possible it is actually more than a stylistic choice? Is it possible it contains maybe a few small gadgets or something small he could use? Maybe an anti-kryptonite pill? Maybe a tracking device that lets the Fortress and/or Lois track him?

It’s something that just popped in my mind as I looked at the hexagonal shape on his belt. I’m probably just seeing things that aren’t there. 🙂

July 29, 2016 6:49 pm

The boots are the New 52 boots

Steve Wright
July 29, 2016 7:09 pm

There are pics online of him filming…in the natural light it looks MUCH MUCH better and there is one picture of him where all I see is Superman.

July 29, 2016 7:23 pm

First of all, death to filters. I’ve seen the colors for this suit from on-set photos and this picture doesn’t really represent them.

I don’t really like the Injustice influence but that may a simple case of guilt-by-association because evil-Superman stories and imagery is a trend I’m disgusted with.

The use of the Reeve style \S/ seems a little strange to me since they established the one Supergirl wears as being the one used by the House of El. Just seems incongruous in that respect even though I have a fondness for that particular version of the symbol.

July 29, 2016 7:55 pm

There’s a better image of Hoechlin, but I just can’t post the image here. Bloody newfangled Homepage! 😉

July 31, 2016 5:56 pm

The costume reflects the Supergirl series & only for 2 episodes & I rather like it. I’m not one for big change, the 1978 version is my favourite along with Salkinds Superboy. I feel it is better than Carvell costume but then it wasn’t great nor was Brandon Rouths.

August 1, 2016 1:05 am

Wow, so many complaints.

I think it looks pretty decent.

August 1, 2016 11:16 am

I’ve seen some concern about how tall or muscular this guy is, and how he doesn’t necessarily match expectations. I have to say that I am okay with his build and such, because it reminds of me of the Geoff Johns/Gary Frank run of Action Comics a few years back. His build is irrelevant to his abilities, and I think it works to make it possible for Superman to disappear into Clark more easily. Not wild and crazy about the collar myself… seems to “open” for my tastes, but the suit looks alright in the brighter light. Seems Superman-y enough… Read more »

August 11, 2016 9:52 pm

I agree 100% with Steve, I’m not impressed with the costume, this style has already been dine in many adaptation of Superman. It is the new 52 style, with a few tweaks maybe they could make it so that it stands alone far from the 52 style and more like Christopher Reeves or even Brandon Rouths. Bring back the yellow S on the cape, make the cape so that it tucks into the collar of his costume, make the belt yellow and most importantly bring the red trunks back. Man of Steels version has been done on the big screen… Read more »