X-Men Fashion Friday: Jean Grey



It’s X-Men Fashion Friday and our panel of fashion judges are evaluating Jean Grey’s many costumes.

Since their debut in 1963, the X-Men have sworn to protect a world that hates and fears them. But you know what? Here at AiPT!, we’ve got nothing but love for Marvel’s mighty mutants! To celebrate the long-awaited return of Uncanny X-Men, AiPT! Brings you UNCANNY X-MONTH: 30 days of original X-Men content. Hope you survive the experience…If there’s one thing superheroes usually aren’t, it’s ordinary. Their over-the-top flair extends not only to their powers and morals, but to their fashions as well. There are few super teams where this is more the case than the X-Men. Each Friday during Uncanny X-Month, we’ll be discussing the best and worst fashion moments of one of Marvel’s merry mutants. This week we’re turning our style judgments to fire, and life incarnate–that’s right, it’s Phoenix–Marvel Girl–Jean Grey. Which of her looks is the best? Our panel of fashion judges, Manga Editor Eric Cline, Uncanny X-Month Curator Chris Hassan and special guest judge–and Jean Grey cosplayer–Katrina Fox decide.

The Marvel Girl costume

Art by Werner Roth

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

Eric: I actually like this outfit. Sure, on one hand, it’s so simple that it doesn’t convey anything specific to Jean or her powers. Plus, the mask is a little silly. On the other hand, it’s simple and the color combination works. The mask is silly, but in a fun way. I’m a sucker for super long gloves, too. Score: 8/10

Chris: While this costume is better suited for a cocktail party than a battle with Magneto, it’s hard not to love it. The bright colors, the high boots, the pointy mask–it’s all so retro cool and just another reason why Jean Grey is such a comic book icon. Score: 9/10

Kat: I am not the biggest fan of this costume actually… It’s okay. But dresses aren’t exactly what I would call practical when it comes to fighting crime. It’s cute, but not really my cup of tea and as Eric said… well, that mask is kinda silly. Sorry, guys. Score: 6/10

Overall score: 7.66/10

The Phoenix costumes (green and red)

Art by Dave Cockrum and John Byrne

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

Eric: These are probably her most classic looks. Again, I like long gloves, and her boots go up almost to her waist. The sash is a nice touch, too. I’m just not sure if I like the black surrounding the Phoenix emblem. It doesn’t feel quite at place with the other brighter colors of the outfits. Nonetheless, these are sleek classics. Score: 7/10

Chris: Green Phoenix over Red Phoenix any day of the week. With that said, a red and gold costume certainly makes more sense than green and gold, what with the fire bird’s flaming form. Anyways, it’s comics–nothing has to make sense! Green Phoenix is without a doubt the best Jean Grey costume. There’s a real elegance to this look that complements Jean’s personality and status as the first X-Woman. The sash doesn’t really make much sense to me (what’s the deal with all the sashes on Marvel costumes?), but under the pen of a talented artist, this costume always stands out. Score: 10/10

Kat: Man, I actually love when she has the black added to the Phoenix emblem… It’s so sleek and classy! These suits are probably my favorite when it comes to her outfits truthfully, and I don’t have a favorite of them. I love them both!! I am a big fan of the boots and the full body coverage of it all as well. The sash doesn’t really bother me. But I will be honest and say I never really thought about it until now. I DO think, however, that it is a nice addition since it does the job of breaking up the color, and it’s a nice touch with the other gold areas of the costume. Score: 10/10

Overall score: 9/10

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

The red X-Factor costume

Art by Rob Liefeld

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

Eric: Boring. I appreciate it when X-costumes that are basically just giant “X”s stray away from the old black and yellow, but the design itself still isn’t all that great. It works as part of an ensemble where everyone has similar looks, but on it’s own its forgettable. And what’s with the weirdly thick trim at the tops of her gloves? Score: 6/10

Chris: Interesting that Jean would keep the Dark Phoenix color scheme going with this X-Factor costume. I’ve always preferred green as a contrast to her red hair, as red on red is too much of the same. With that said, this is a nice change of pace for Jean and, in my opinion, just screams “’80s X-Men” alongside such looks as Wolverine’s brown costume and Storm’s mohwak. Score: 6/10

Kat: This is okay? I don’t mind it really but I also don’t like it and find it very forgettable. The red and yellow look nice together but that’s about all this costume does for me. Score: 6/10

Overall score: 6/10

The ’90s costume

Art by John Romita Jr.

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

Eric: If this costume weren’t used for the television series, would anyone remember it? It has the same issue that a lot of Jean’s other costumes do, where it conveys nothing about her as a character. Unlike the Marvel Girl and X-Factor looks, however, it doesn’t even work via nice simplicity or status as part of a group of matching outfits. It’s just weird. What the hell are those giant panels stuck to the side of her ass and upper leg? I don’t outright hate this, but I don’t know what on Earth I’m supposed to get from it, either. It also doesn’t look like there’s any sort of additional support on the bottom of those…tights?! She’s almost barefoot! Score: 5/10

Chris: Ah yes, this costume that ruined Jean Grey for an entire generation. There was just so much about this iteration of Jean that makes no sense to me. Why did she decide pointed shoulder pads were a good look? Why do her legs need padding? Why did she choose to go by her real name instead of having a codename? Why did the X-Men animated series animators change the color scheme so Jean looked half-nude on TV? And why did they give her a ponytail? Clearly, this costume just elicits a bad reaction, which is the opposite effect of her green Phoenix costume. It’s a shame Marvel went this route, and recently used it as inspiration for her current look (more on that soon). Score: 5/10

Kat: Guys… I’m sorry but you’re wrong. I love this costume. I love the blue and yellow and I love her little half face mask thing. This costume is one of my favorites of hers!! I am a little offended you both hate it so much. And for the record, shoulder pads are dope, okay? Don’t knock ’em, ’til you try ’em, okay! And I am not at all super biased and this is so not the costume I am literally working on right now… no, not at all. Score: 9/10

Overall score: 6.33

The New X-Men costume

Art by Frank Quitely

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

Eric: I’m a sucker for this era’s fashions. Like the X-Factor costume, it’s aided by the fact that it matches the general style the whole team was wearing. Besides that, it just looks a lot better than the red and yellow full-body stocking. From the bold leather pants to the open X-jacket with the grey shirt underneath that helps add some less intense color, this just works. She also sometimes wore this with a body-length jacket as opposed to the standard short black and yellow one, and it looked ever cooler then. Score: 8/10

Chris: Very boring, Jean. And my god, that costume must be hot. And uncomfortable. Look, I didn’t like the X-Men’s movie costumes and I always hate it when the comics try to be the movies. I read comics for colorful costumes, not matching leather costumes and ribbed turtlenecks. The real reason Scott and Jean’s marriage fell apart during Morrison’s run… it wasn’t Emma, it was these atrocious costumes. Score: 3/10

Kat: Jean looks like a total badass in this outfit. I love the black and the vest. And as you probably noticed by now I am a fan of yellow (and black for that matter), so this really does it for me. I also like that it’s not super sexualized, and that it looks comfy and practical. Also, why you hating on the turtleneck? Turtlenecks are cute and also warm. Also, did I say cute? Score: 8/10

Overall score: 6.33/10

The future Phoenix costume

Art by Marc Silvestri

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

Eric: I’m not sure how I feel about this one. As I’ve said before, I love a long glove, and the spiky texture all over her clothing adds a nice touch of violence (if that oxymoronic phrase makes any sense). With that said, they still just stuck a phoenix to her titties and called it a day. I could see half-naked women with long-flowing hair and barely covered boobs in any number of fantasy and sci-fi illustrations, and this costume doesn’t do much to stand out from others of its kind. Score: 6/10

Chris: That time Zenescope got the rights to the X-Men. No, I kid. Sadly, though, this future Phoenix costume is no joke. Nothing about this look screams Jean Grey or Phoenix. If anything, it’s more Madylene Pryor in Goblin Queen mode. It’s like Jean saw all the attention Emma was getting with her initial New X-Men look and said, “Hey, I’ll give that a try.” Score: 1/10

Kat: Honestly, just why? I don’t understand. She’s not even wearing a bloody shirt for Christ’s sake. I have to agree that it looks super Zenescope-esque… which isn’t a bad thing, necessarily, but I like my women to be warm and comfortable–which this is not. The only thing I can say about this is that I like that it’s black. It’s just too much and I could never see Jean wearing this ever. Score: 2/10

Overall score: 3/10

The Teen Jean costume

Art by David Yardin

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

Eric: Blech. It looks a bit better with the jacket on, but in panels without it you could really see how bizarre the paneling of the colors on this outfit is. Black, green, and yellow follow strange, sharp lines that don’t actually form any larger motif or even successfully give off any unique flair. It’s just boring. Score: 5/10

Chris: This is basically Jean’s New X-Men look in green and yellow. I didn’t love it the first time and I like this look even less due to teen Jean’s unique bobcut. The bangs just didn’t work, and it didn’t help that multiple artists seemed to struggle with her haircut. There were some pretty extreme variations on it that just made me wish Jean would grow her hair out. Set it right, Kid Cable! Score: 2/10

Kat: Cute!!! I love this look so much, and I am starting to realize we have such different tastes here, boys. But yet again… I am a sucker for yellow. I just love it! And I love her little bob! Ugh, this one is so cute. *adds to cosplay list* Score: 8/10

Overall score: 5/10

The X-Men Red costume

Art by Travis Charest

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

Eric: The general layout of this outfit (from the emphasized shoulders to the division in detail between the top and bottom halves) is highly reminiscent of the early ’90s suit. With that said, I’m not sure which version I prefer. On one hand, this one has a better color scheme. On the other hand, the older suit, though busy with strange details, was at least doing something. What do all the lines on the upper blue chestplate on this newer design actually accomplish? This look is disappointingly simple yet manages to have needless details at the same time. I don’t hate it, but Jean continues to suffer from fashion faux pas when she’s not invoking the Phoenix or wearing what’s more or less a group uniform. Score: 5/10

Chris: Hearing that Jean Grey is finally returning from the dead? Amazing! Seeing what she’ll be wearing… heartbreaking. What this costume has going for it is that it looks like a second draft of her ’90s look. Remove the leg pads and ditch the metallic orange–much better! The red is a nice contrast to the blue, but the shoulder pads are bigger than ever. And oddly shaped. It’s like Jean wants to draw your attention to this terrible fashion choice. Her best friend Storm even called her out for it in X-Men Red #10! Jean doesn’t have to be Phoenix anymore, but she could at least get a new costume that’s just as striking as the classic green and gold suit. Score: 6/10

Kat: Man! Again! You hate what I love so dearly… this is also one of my favorites of her looks, next to her Phoenix Resurrection suit. I know I’ve said that a lot are my favorite, but honestly, she has great style, okay? I love the color combo, and the partial armor she’s wearing (as a cosplayer with an armor obsession I am quite pleased) and as noted… I am a fan of the half masks opposed to the full ones. I personally love this look and have ALREADY added it to my cosplay list. Score: 10/10

Overall score: 7/10

Final verdict: The Phoenix costumes (green and red)

Art by Greg Land

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

With an overall score of 9/10, Jean’s Phoenix costumes are our favorites. Is it any wonder given how classic they are? She is fire–and life incarnate–and fashionable as all get out in these looks.

What’s your favorite Jean Grey costume? Let us know in the comment space below! And, if you missed them the first time around, be sure to check out our other X-Men Fashion Friday features from Uncanny X-Month:

Fashion Friday: X-Man

Fashion Friday: Emma Frost

Fashion Friday: Magneto