In the Super Smash Bros. series, each character has a set of alternate costumes (officially known as color changes, color variations, or costumes). Alternate costumes are sometimes known as palette swaps, alternate colors, or just colors. In addition to changing the appearance of characters, they distinguish players from other players using the same character. For Team Battles in Super Smash Bros, Super Smash Bros. Melee, and Super Smash Bros. Brawl certain costumes also distinguish teams. In Super Smash Bros. and Melee, most characters have purely color-based alternate costumes, while Brawl, Super Smash Bros. 4, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate introduce a number of alternate costumes which change outfits and even swap out characters entirely.
In standard free-for-all matches, players can choose their character's costume on the character selection screen. Players cannot pick the same costume if they are using the same character. Every character has at least four costumes to choose from, one being their default costume and the rest being their alternate costumes. Starting from Brawl, randomly chosen characters may also have a random costume. Starting in SSB4, the standard amount of alternate costumes for each character is eight.
For Team Battles in Super Smash Bros., Melee, and Brawl, there are three teams: red, green, and blue. As such, each character has red, green, and blue costumes that double as team colors. Some characters' default costumes also represent a team color; for example, Mario's default costume is red, so he wears his default costume when fighting on a red team. In the original Super Smash Bros., some costumes are only usable in Team Battles, such as Samus and Captain Falcon's blue costumes and Mario, Kirby, Donkey Kong, and Captain Falcon's green costumes. Yoshi has six colors; green (default), red, light blue, and yellow are selectable normally, while dark blue and pink are only seen in the Yoshi Team. In Brawl, Wario has 12 alternate costumes with six color variations of his WarioWare costume and his classic overalls. Each variation has red, green, and blue colors usable for Team Battles, making Wario the only character in Brawl with two color choices when on a team.
If two or or more characters share the same alternate costume in Team Battles or online multiplayer, the second player will have a lighter tint in their appearance. A third player uses a darker tint, and in Melee, a fourth is completely black, while in Brawl, a fourth is a darker tint than the third player. In Melee, data suggests that a fifth player would be completely gray. This aspect was slightly altered in Ultimate, where if multiple players (up to a maximum of four) use the same color through Tourney Mode, their character will have a specific color filter depending on their port number: Player 1 has a red filter, Player 2 has a blue filter, Player 3 has a yellow filter, and Player 4 has a green filter.
In SSB4 and Ultimate, due to the increased number of possible players with introduction of 8-Player Smash, players can choose from four different teams. Teams are indicated by a red, green, blue, or yellow outline around the character (rather than using matching alternate colors for red, yellow, blue, or green), so players can choose whichever alternate costumes they like in Team Battles.
Mii Fighter colors match their colors chosen in Mii Maker. Players can unlock or download different outfits and headgear to select for their Mii Fighters to wear. Some outfits are only available for certain Mii Fighter types, and some outfits have minor differences depending on the gender of the Mii Fighter. Each Mii Swordfighter and Mii Gunner outfit comes with a differently designed sword or gun, though they all function the same. Identical Mii Fighters do not bear any visual differentiation.
The appearance of alternate costumes for the majority are simple change in hue, but some alternate costumes have more pronounced changes, like adding new patterns, textures, pictures, and text, and even the addition of accessories. Generally, alternate costumes reference the character's earlier or alternate renderings, such as Mario's "Jumpman" blue or Luigi's "Fire Flower" costume. They may also reference other characters, like Peach's "Daisy" alternate costume, Captain Falcon's "Blood Falcon" alternate costume, or Lucas's "Claus" alternate costume. A small number of costumes reference other costumes within in the Super Smash Bros. universe, such as Melee Jigglypuff's blue bow from the original Super Smash Bros., Pikachu's goggles previously worn by Pichu in Melee, and R.O.B.'s "R.O.B. Launcher" green.
Starting in SSB4, it has become more common for alternate costumes to use entirely unique models, which may include a different outfit, voice, sounds, and for some characters, gender. A few characters have alternate costumes that change the entire identity of the character, such as Olimar switching to Alph, although gameplay-wise, they are exactly identical to their base character. The Ice Climbers are a unique case in that their alternate costumes determine whether Popo or Nana is controlled by the player.
List of alternate costumes with model changes