The Ten Best Costumes from a Galaxy Far, Far Away
One of the most important aspects of any visual media is character design. How a character is styled gives viewers a wealth of information about who that character is, where they come from, what they do, and more. A great costume can transcend its film and become a pop cultural icon.
Ever since Star Wars exploded onto movie screens 40 years ago, there’s been no shortage of iconic costumes from a galaxy far, far away. The ten costumes below are, in my opinion, the best of the best, based on a combination of craftsmanship, thematic significance, and just plain ol’ cool factor.
Note: In the interest of giving everyone in the Star Wars galaxy a fair chance, I restricted myself to only one entry per character. Otherwise let’s be real, at least half this list would be Padmé Amidala.
10. Orson Krennic (Rogue One)
Starting off with one of the most recent additions to the Star Wars universe, we’ve got Director Orson Krennic from Rogue One. Krennic is a man who understands you should never underestimate the power of a good cape. The impeccably tailored Imperial uniform is a routine aspect of the overall Star Wars aesthetic at this point, so props to Krennic for elevating his uniform with a cape for any and every environment (seriously, I think he’s got one for every weather situation imaginable). It might not be part of the standard Imperial dress code, but when you’re in charge of building the biggest superweapon the galaxy has ever seen then I’m sure you get a bit of leeway. After all, it’s hard to deny how intimidating a properly swooshed cape can be.
9. Captain Phasma (The Force Awakens)
Phasma made an immediate impression from the moment we first saw her in the marketing leading up to the release of The Force Awakens. While she sadly ended up not having much of a presence in the final film, that doesn’t lessen the cool factor. We’ve seen plenty of variations on the classic stormtrooper armor over the years, but it’s hard to deny that Phasma does it the best. Her one-of-a-kind uniform is covered in chrome scavenged from one of Palpatine’s yachts and topped off with a flowing black cape. Sure, chrome might not be the most effective material to make armor out of, but who cares when it looks that awesome?
8. Ahsoka Tano (Star Wars: The Clone Wars)
While most Jedi wear dun-colored robes, it’s not unusual for some members of the order to forego traditional robes in favor of something different. Ahsoka’s Padawan outfit, introduced in season 3 of The Clone Wars, is definitely an excellent example of a non-traditional Jedi outfit. Fitting, considering she becomes something of a non-traditional Jedi. The outfit is a great mix of functional and fashionable; Ahsoka has great maneuverability and basic armor protection, while details like her purple tabard and diamond cutouts keep the outfit fun. And best of all, her lack of hair means she was able to avoid that tragic Padawan rattail.
7. Lando Calrissian (The Empire Strikes Back)
Lando isn’t the first character in Star Wars to rock a cape (that honor goes to Vader), but he undeniably makes it the most fashionable. As the dapper administrator of Cloud City, Lando’s blue caped ensemble brings a dash of style and completely fits his persona as a smooth-talking, semi-reformed scoundrel. Sure the loose blouse, bell bottoms, and mustache might look a bit dated nowadays, but the cape is timeless and that’s really all that matters, right?
6. Rey (The Force Awakens)
It’s simple and utilitarian and instantly took its place in the pantheon of iconic Star Wars costumes. It’s perfectly suited to her environment and yet still stylish (seriously, Luke wishes his Tatooine clothing looked this good). Not to mention her practical three-bun hairstyle that has become instantly recognizable in the year and half since the movie premiered. And considering Jakku is basically a collection of dirt-poor villages in the galactic backwoods, you have to admire Rey’s ingenuity in creating a versatile outfit to protect her from the elements, from a shirt to keep her warm at night that also doubles as a hood during the day to her sunglasses scavenged from an old Stormtrooper helmet.
5. Sabine Wren (Star Wars Rebels)
I’ve always had a soft spot for Mandalorian armor but Sabine Wren from Rebels takes it to new (and fashionable) heights. For one, she’s the most colorful Mando we’ve seen in the GFFA; while there’s definitely something to be said for Jango’s sleek silver and blue ensemble, Sabine’s ever changing colors and customizations take her to the next level. Sabine’s artistry shines through in the drawings and patterns she paints onto her armor and gives it a unique personality that we really don’t see in other Mandalorian armor.
4. Jedi Robes (Various)
Earthen-colored layered tunics, tall boots, and long hooded cloaks are the staple look of our favorite telekinetic warrior monks. It’s another look that is instantly recognizable, even among non-fans. Their simplicity underscores the ascetic nature of the Jedi Order while still allowing for easy maneuverability in a fight. Plus, while they all follow a general broad style, no two Jedi robes are alike and showcase the individuality of each member of the Order. They’re a classic staple of the Star Wars universe, and hearken back to the samurai films that served as inspiration for George Lucas
3. Padmé Amidala (The Phantom Menace)
Honestly this entire list could have consisted only of Padmé outfits because that girl was serving #looks like no one else in the galaxy. However, after a long and painful consideration, her entry on this list has to go to her red throne room gown from The Phantom Menace. It’s big, it’s larger than life, and it immediately commands attention, just as any good royal outfit should. It’s a gown that says “I am a queen and you will listen to me.” Plus, it’s a refreshing burst of vibrant color into a galaxy whose costumes up until that point had generally been muted and utilitarian. And the matching ombre handmaiden gowns? Perfection.
2. Luke Skywalker (Return of the Jedi)
This dashing ensemble is almost singlehandedly the reason why Return of the Jedi is my favorite of the Star Wars movies. While we typically think of black as being associated with the dark side, in Luke’s case it represents his maturity and growth since his days as a naive youth on Tatooine. The sleek, all-black outfit says “I’ve been through a lot and it’s been hard, but I made it through in one piece and I’m here to kick some dark side ass.” The only downside to this outfit is that halfway through the movie he ditches his Jedi-like tunic, which is my favorite part of the costume.
1. Princess Leia Organa (A New Hope)
Sure, her classic white dress and cinnamon buns are possibly the most iconic outfit from the entire franchise, but I’ve always been a bigger fan of her ceremonial dress from the end of A New Hope. It’s by far the most regal looking of Leia’s ensembles but still maintains the elegant simplicity of her wardrobe. The draped wings on the sleeves elevates the entire look, and the coiled braid, while far more elaborate than her buns, still looks effortless. This outfit truly puts the “princess” in “Princess Leia” and for that reason it deserves to top this list.