Originally Posted by spidermanJLA!~
Okay, he wears his trunks on the outside because when he came to earth he grew up near the circus and was inspired by the strongmen. He knew about his strength by now,fyi. So, he goes home and dresses up like them and wears his trunks on the outside. When he grew up, he wanted to inspire and be almost an imaginative figure, so he kept this tradition.
While making his costume, Ma Kent puts his trunks on the outside based on the circus strongmen he used to look up to.
I wasn’t around in the 30s and 40s (
). But I assume that the circus was much more popular and the image of the circus “strong man” more familiar and normalized. Therefore, there was a certain rationale in S&S evoking a similar look. And textually, there was “logic” to a 1940s Clark or Ma Kent being inspired by the “strong man” (for the tights and trunks) and the dashing Errol Flynn (for the cape).
However, the tricky part for the Superman legend is that its origins are perpetually updated for new generations. So a Supes who first appears now would have come of age in the late 90s or early 00s. And it seems extremely implausible that Barnum & Bailey or Errol Flynn could have been much of a cultural or stylistic influence.
That's how the Kryptonians do things.
In a modern context, I think this is the only way you can “internally rationalize” the traditional (with trunks) costume - as alien fashion.