Supergirl's sartorial ways
Supergirl: apart from the fact that DC loves re-interpreting this superheroine almost as much as Marvel loves re-interpreting the Phoenix, they also really love revising her wardrobe, though most of her incarnations share in common with other super-females a preference for dressing like a table dancer. At least she has avoided the standard super-feature of breasts the size of her head.
Supergirl, created by Otto Binder, started her life as Kara Zor-El, Superman's cousin. She originally lived in Argo City, a segment of the planet Krypton that had temporarily survived Krypton's destruction thanks to completely implausible circumstances, even by comic book standards. Her original outfit looked like Superman's costume modified to resemble a girl's ice-skating outfit, circa 1959.
In 1970, the Mightiest Girl on Earth appeared on the cover of Adventure Comics looking at alternate costumes and very much the blonde cheerleader saying, "the readers have sent in so many great ideas for a new costume, that I just don’t know which one to pick!"
In fact, she picked an already somewhat dated look: go-go boots, beady belt, and micro mini-skirt. That costume did not last long, and she (or rather, her artists) then experimented with a range of reader’s designs, including a backless version of her original outfit and a practical jumpsuit, this latter number leaps and bounds away from the usual garb of female superheroes. The Girl of Steel finally finished the 70s in the Disco Hooker outfit, complete with short shorts, plunging neckline, and the big red "s" over one of her breasts.
The 1980s saw her wearing an aerobics-inspired cheerleader outfit, complete with headband and pleated miniskirt. She permed her hair, and modified the costume’s insignia to look slightly different than Superman’s. She was wearing that one when she died.
Then she retroactively never existed, thanks to a post Crisis on Infinite Earths retcon based on the notion that Superman should be the last and only survivor of Krypton.
Later, she was re-introduced anyway, as the alien Matrix Supergirl from another universe. That version of the character wore a modified cross between the original and the 80s outfit, though she occasionally took on a more Xena-inspired butch look and once, while under some generic evil influence, leather fetish gear. This version of Supergirl also died.
Fortunately, death rarely takes in comic books, and so her spirit fused with a fifteen year old girl named Linda Lee Danvers, which had been the secret identity of the original Supergirl, Kara Zor-El. This version dressed like Britney Spears, with a super blue micro-skirt and a white belly top. The outfit also appeared on an animated variation of the character (a survivor of Krypton's hitherto unknown sister-world) who featured in a television cartoon.
The turn-of-the-millennium Supergirl comic book ended its run in 2003 with issue #80. A drawn-out conflict involving various supernatural beings left the Maid of Might depressed over her failure to save the life of the original Supergirl (the doomed character who never existed. Don’t ask). Linda Danvers chose to disappear, sending her most valuable possessions to Clark Kent and Lois Lane.
Around the same time, another version of the character turned up in the DC universe, in Superman: 10 Cent Adventure. She claimed to be the timewarped future daughter of Clark Kent and Lois Lane. Fans were unimpressed with "Cir-El," and many saw her as a pretender who would not last long. They were correct; possibly in response to fan feelings, DC revealed that she was not Superman's daughter, after all. In any case, she wore the standard "bathing suit as costume," but in black, reflecting less mainstream fashion than the gothic outfits worn by many contemporaneous super-doers, such as the heroes of The Matrix and Angel.
With Cir-El's established as a fraud and dispatched, the poptart Supergirl presumably still alive, and occasional hints that Power Girl confirmed as a Kryptonian after all, yet another Girl of Steel showed up in Superman/Batman #8 (2004), claiming to be Superman's cousin. Since that series was dedicated to re-establishing as much of the Silver Age mythos as possible, this Supergirl turned out to be who she claimed. She adopted a belly-top variation of the original blue outfit. The low-slung skirt, belly top, and anorexic look had brief widespread popularity in the early 2000s among teen girls. Supergirl carried the look long after it vanished from the mainstream.
In September 2011, DC once again rebooted their universe, even setting all issues back to #1. The revamped Supergirl went with a designer-looking "S" and the "no-pants" look trendy among pop stars such as Victoria Beckham, Lady Gaga, and Katie Perry. Whatever becomes of this incarnation, we can be reasonably certain that a Supergirl of some description will be around for some time, battling crime, trendily dressed.