The Star Wars saga has some unforgettable costumes, from Princess Leia’s iconic buns to the menacing black armour of Darth Vader. These costumes don’t just define characters, they give us a glimpse into the fashion trends of distant worlds.
We’ve ranked the top 10 most iconic costumes in Star Wars, looking at the features, influences and impact on fans. Get ready to explore a galaxy far, far away… through the lens of costume design.
10. Kylo Ren’s armour
Kylo Ren’s armour draws heavy inspiration from medieval knights, with his flowing black robes, monk-like hood and helmet that conceals his face entirely. The red crossguard lightsaber makes him instantly recognisable as a villain, drawing obvious comparisons with his more famous grandfather, Darth Vader.
9. Rey’s scavenger outfit
Rey’s scavenger outfit takes inspiration from Bedouin desert clothing and samurai warriors. Designer Michael Kaplan even revealed that the arm wraps were based on a Japanese braiding technique used in samurai armour. The look helps to tie Rey into the bigger saga, reminding us a little of Jedi robes, topped with hair buns that are a nod to Princess Leia’s classic look.
8. Padmé Amidala’s gown
Padmé Amidala’s headdress and gown are intricate and colourful, inspired by traditional Japanese kimonos and provocative, avant-garde fashion. It’s easily the most striking and memorable costume of the prequel trilogy, adding depth and flavour to the Star Wars universe and its exciting, often dangerous politics.
7. Chewbacca’s fur suit
Chewbacca’s towering height and famous growl have made him a fan-favourite, but it’s his remarkable costume that makes the biggest impact. The shaggy fur suit was inspired by designer Stuart Freeborn’s dog, crossed with George Lucas’ request for a “space ape”. The unique textures of the suit, created from yak and mohair, make it instantly recognisable.
6. Han Solo’s smuggler’s costume
It’s hard to imagine Han Solo without his classic Star Wars costume – the white shirt and black vest, paired with dark pants and rugged boots. The vest fits in with the military-style clothing of the rebels, while the boots help to complete the look of a ‘space cowboy’.
5. Jedi robes
The Jedi Order’s robes combine medieval monk cloaks and eastern martial arts uniforms, like the judogi worn for Judo. Obi-Wan Kenobi’s weathered robes reflect his years of experience, while Luke Skywalker’s smarter look in Return of the Jedi shows his growth as a warrior. These simple and practical clothes say a lot about the hard lives of discipline that Jedi are expected to lead.
4. Stormtrooper armour
The clean white armour of the Stormtroopers is instantly recognisable to any Star Wars fan. It’s a brilliant example of minimalist design, with smooth lines and simple details that allow the characters’ movements to stand out clearly… which makes the constant laser battles all the more satisfying to watch.
3. Boba Fett’s armour
The galaxy’s most notorious bounty hunter, Boba Fett, is easily recognised by battle-scarred Mandalorian armour. The costume combines a medieval T-shape helmet, samurai-inspired body armour and a cowboy gun belt. The dull greens and browns hint at practicality and stealth, perfectly suited to Fett’s dangerous line of work. Given his tiny amount of screen time in the original trilogy, the costume may be more memorable than the character himself!
2. Princess Leia’s dress and hairstyle
Princess Leia’s white dress and famous hair buns are a beloved part of Star Wars fashion, recreated by cosplayers all over the world. The simple, 1930s inspired dress stands out against the more sci-fi heavy costumes in the movies, giving Leia a regal, elegant look. Though it may not be the most practical choice for an active military leader, Leia’s other more combat ready outfits take heavy inspiration from the original dress.
1. Darth Vader’s armour
Darkness falls, and the unmistakable sound of mechanical breathing fills the air – Darth Vader has arrived! Vader’s imposing set of black armour is one of the most memorable costumes in cinematic history, so we couldn’t deny it the top spot on this list. Designers John Mollo and Ralph McQuarrie drew inspiration from samurai armour, German WW2 uniforms and, of course, gas masks. The result is an intimidating villain, whose last traces of humanity hide behind layers of slick dark metal.