In this series…
- Before season 8 starts, read our guide to where every character left off.
- The most beautiful shots of Game of Thrones, curated by One Perfect Shot.
- Every episode of Game of Thrones, ranked by our own resident Maester.
- Read our in-depth breakdown of the Game of Thrones season 8 trailer.
- We rank the best duels in Game of Thrones.
- Explore our guide to the best Game of Thrones scenes by season.
- We rank the 50 most important props from Game of Thrones.
- We also ranked the villains on Game of Thrones.
- Brush up on who’s left on Arya’s kill list.
- We try to answer the unanswered questions of Game of Thrones season 8.
As costume designer Michele Clapton, the mastermind behind Game of Thrones fashion, has said, “you use costumes to tell a story.” From everyday wear to uniforms to wedding dresses and burial robes, the series’ intricate costumes have a whole lot to say. With that in mind, the following list tracks some of the biggest character and plot developments throughout the first seven seasons as depicted in costumes—everything from wants and desires to fears and betrayals, spelled out in fabrics and furs.
Sansa’s Royal Party Welcoming Feast Dress
Of all the characters in Game of Thrones, Sansa Stark’s evolution has been one of the ones most explicitly reflected in her clothes over the seasons—which makes a lot of sense, considering she makes so many of her own dresses, including this one, worn to greet the royal party upon arrival in Winterfell. The knotting at the neckline, which can also be seen on the dress Arya wears, is intended to symbolize pre-pubescence—a Northern custom unfamiliar to the south, which explains why Sansa is particularly confused when Queen Cersei asks her if she’s started menstruating yet. It also shows Sansa still fully immersed in Northern style, something that will begin to change very soon.
Khal Drogo’s Wedding Outfit
The wedding of Khal Drogo to Daenerys Targaryen gives viewers their first taste of Dothraki fashion that will continue to influence the future Dragon Queen’s aesthetic for seasons to come, but it’s the groom’s outfit that is most noteworthy, if for no other reason than the fact it features the gold belt that will ultimately feature in what remains one of Game of Thrones’ most iconic deaths to date. And also, of course, it shows off Jason Momoa’s pecs, which remain unmatched in the GoT universe. Rest in peace, Drogo.
The Kingsguard Uniform
Perhaps the most iconic uniform in Westeros, the golden armor of the king’s bodyguards—an elite group of the most skilled warriors from across the seven kingdoms—symbolizes excellence, integrity, valor, and commitment, considering joining the Kingsguard is a lifelong deal. Members of the Kingsguard swear to inherit no lands, father no children, and protect whoever holds the Iron Throne with their life. In exchange for this sacrifice, they are celebrated as paragons of knightly virtue. Over the Game of Thrones, much ado has been made over who does and does not wear the uniform, from Joffrey’s dismissal of the legendary Ser Barristan the Bold to the appointment of human scum Meryn Trant to the current tenure of the semi-undead Gregor Clegane.
Sansa’s Tourney Dress
Michele Clapton herself has commented, “costume is important to Sansa—she sees it as a way of communicating with people, to show her aspirations.” And by the time the Starks attend their first tourney following their arrival at the Red Keep, Sansa’s dress reveals her pursuit of a more Southron aesthetic. While the fabric of her dress still looks a little heavier than the norm for King’s Landing, the lower neckline and flower embellishments indicate a significant shift towards Southron style.
The Lannister Army Uniform
The Lannisters are known for their wealth and, similarly, the size of their army. And considering their wealth, it’s hardly a surprise that their army uniform is both ornate and impeccable, featuring detailed metal work and bright colors. The Lannisters are never ones for subtlety when opulence will do.
Sansa Embraces King’s Landing Couture
By the time Sansa pleads to the newly crowned King Joffrey on her father’s behalf, she has fully turned to a Southron aesthetic from her hair to the silkier fabrics and the deeper neckline. The style of wrap dress she wears is also a particular favorite of Cersei’s.
Shae Wears Tyrion’s Doublet
After Bronn steals Shae from another Lannister tent the night before Tyrion is scheduled to fight in the Vanguard against Robb Stark’s forces, it quickly becomes clear that Tyrion’s lady for the night is going to stick around. The most obvious clue to this fact comes through clothing, as Shae puts on Tyrion’s doublet, wearing his clothes in a none-too-subtle allusion to how she is quickly working her way under his skin, so to speak.
Cersei Goes Full Lannister
While always full of Lannister pride, Cersei at least somewhat tried to keep up an appearance of being a Baratheon queen while Robert still lived, wearing a variety of colors, and quite often softer shades. But by season 2, she goes full Lannister—red with gold accents and very few exceptions—until black begins to dominate her wardrobe by the end of season 4.
The Robes of Xaro Xhoan Daxos
Long before Daenerys comes to realize the full weirdness of Pyat Pree or discovers Xaro’s deceptions, Qarth comes across as a little… off. And not just because the walls of the city are surrounded by the bones of the unfortunate travelers they refused to allow inside and a mysterious masked sorceress pops up every now and then. Qarth’s superficial opulence and underlying strangeness are both evident in the city’s fashion as typified by Xaro, featuring vibrantly colored fabrics, ornate metalwork, and decorated with insects.
No, seriously. If you haven’t noticed it before, basically everyone in Qarth but Pyat Pree and Qaithe adorn themselves with insects. Sure, butterflies and such are cute and pretty popular adornments, but here we’re talking beetles. BEETLES. This is how you know you’ve found yourself in a very strange place and should move on post-haste.
The City Watch Uniform
The City Watch of King’s Landing, more commonly known as “gold cloaks,” for hopefully obvious reasons, are the law enforcement institution responsible for the security of Westeros’s capital. In early season 2, they develop a terrible reputation after the newly crowned King Joffrey orders them to hunt down and kill all of King Robert’s bastard children. They do so with considerable aplomb, even traveling beyond King’s Landing to track down Gendry, who only escapes with his life thanks to some quick thinking from Arya Stark. As Hand of the King to Joffrey, Tyrion puts sellsword pal Bronn in charge of the gold cloaks. His harsh but clever methods make his brief tenure arguably the most effective period of actual peacekeeping for the institution in Game of Thrones history, though the man himself refuses to wear the actual gold cloak uniform. As he tells Tyrion, his reasons are twofold: for one thing, as Edna Mode so famously demonstrated, capes are bad news, and for another, it’s a whole lot harder to catch troublemakers when they can spot you coming from a mile away. So, in sum, an effective uniform? Perhaps not. Iconic? Definitely.