The costume designers of Game of Thrones series often took inspiration from the traditional garments of different countries – African tribes, India, medieval Europe, Persia, etc. Maybe that’s why the wardrobe of most characters looks so stylish, charming, strikingly beautiful, and skillfully made. Let’s see which costumes were inspired by the folk clothing and, meanwhile, analyze the best 20 men’s outfits used in Game of Thrones. Maybe your favorite character won this top-20… Or the character you hate most…
This article is based on the video from a YouTube channel “Costume CO”. The costume designers Aaron Le Fay and Tatiana Melendez helped to create this analysis.
So, let’s get down to business.
#20 Tragic irony
In the Season 3 Episode “The Rains of Castamere”, Robb Stark is dressed in Stark finery – a black tunic with brocade sleeves.
The coordinating cape made from a kind of wool boucle has a sort of claw-like feature made from the sleeve brocade, with two silver Stark clasps holding the cape in place. These silver Stark direwolf cape closures are the standout feature.
It's especially tragic that the most elegant Robb Stark ever look is at his worst point.
#19 Victim of the harpy
Hizdahr’s gorgeous fully lined brocade robe looks North African. It's not quite the same construction – this one appears to have a collar or hood, but it has the appearance of the agbada, a traditional dress of the Yoruba people, living in Southwest Nigeria.
You might also notice that Hizdahr wears this silver ring with a blue stone. Given the color, we can assume it was a gift from Danny.
Tatiana Melendez says that what she loves about Hizdahr’s robes is the exotic regality it has and its flowing elegance. You can believe that he could be a decent King or Prince Consort. Placed next to Daenerys, it's easy to see who the domestic power is and who is the foreign power. Yet, they still look like a power couple with good potential.
The robes contrast very well with Danny's pure white dress. The earthly tones among the cream making it look like he could ground Danny's near godlike loftiness down to reality. And the purple in the robes denotes his would-be royal status perfectly.
#18 Baby Oberyn
Oberyn's nephew Prince Trystane can rival Oberyn's noble presence.
Costume designer Michele Clapton said in an interview with Fashionista that Tristane's outfit has a definite Indian inspiration. The fabrics actually came from India and the costume design team dyed them the vibrant colors seen here. And then, the large leather belt and chain come from Clapton's personal collection.
Tatiana Melendez says, “Well, I really like Tristane's pink&gold robes. I love this more in part because, with Myrcella at his side, it makes them look so much like a young Oberyn and a golden-haired Ellaria when we first saw them in Season 4”.
We don't often see Paisley in film or TV, especially on men. And the fabric matching between it and the sunburst silk brocade of the hem is so strikingly beautiful, giving the handsome prince the vibrantly roguish look. Tristane lends so much masculine youth to the fabric with his good looks that you can easily see in him a teenage Oberyn, even if he would have been much more impetuous than his nephew.
#17 False fairytale
All of Loras Tyrell costumes are luscious, but this particular one caught our eye and complements senses so well. Loras typically wears this silhouette of a long vest with a stand-up collar over a billowy-sleeved shirt and fitted trousers.
Aaron Le Fay says, “I've always found this look and others of Loras’s to be full of secrets. Like how he wears traditional outer garments but always wears his iconic poet's shirts with honeycomb pleats. In my personal belief, this is a representation of his homosexuality. Like any other gay man, myself included, he wears what is expected of him. However, he always adds his personal flair to the garment”.
And as a fashionable rich young man who is not afraid of peacocking (as Tatiana Melendez would say) in front of Sansa or any young man who passes his fancy.
#16 I'm bringing sexy back
It's sassy, it's sexy, and it's leather. And it's also in keeping with Jaime's one-handed swashbuckling maneuvers. And the red, of course, says, “Lannister through and through”.
While Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, as Jamie, always cuts a very fine figure in anything he wore, even rags, this is the sexiest we have ever seen him, say Tatiana and Aaron. They also add that, while simple, the mahogany red leather coat gives him a rugged charm and an action-oriented vitality. It also brings forth a certain boyish quality, like the clothes would be something he'd wear as a dashing squire in his youth.
And, finally, they say that, ironically, he looks more like a hero in this outfit than he does in his own armor. Stripped of all the Lannister's superficial glamour, he looks more handsome than ever in his journey to become his best self.
Here are some close-ups of the details. On the left, are the fabulous leather buckles, and then on the right, are these long straight stitches detail.
#15 Lion King
Tywin really rocks the leather.
Viewer Larissa Jay says that the black punctured leather looks like he is trying to be fierce and look as though he's got armor on all the time.
This is one of the first introductions of laser-cut leather to the series. This coat is made from a top layer of punched leather from leather suppliers D'Alessio Galliano, and it's lined with brocade. And the final detail are these brass line fasteners.
Aaron Le Fay says, “The skillfully laser-cut leather that makes up his costume adds to his prestige and imposing nature. His daughter, later on, would wear and try to emulate his power and spirit for her new wardrobe”.
#14 Master of the brothel
In the Season 1 Episode “The Wolf and the Lion”, Littlefinger ditches the surcoat in favor of this chocolate-brown brocade cassock-style coat. Tatiana Melendez and Aaron Le Fay say that, while we had already seen the brocaded over cassock during his scene with Sansa at the “Tourney of the Hand”, it brings up peculiarly disheveled elegance once he's within the safety of his brothel.
Tatiana and Aaron continue by saying, “He is relaxed, he is in his element, and these facts coalesce to bring a different aura about him. His underrobe is silky soft and luxurious, which offers the audience a deceptive glimpse into his vulnerability when he reveals his past with Catelyn and Brandon Stark. This makes the viewer trust him a little before realizing how much of a traitorous, backstabbing snake he really is”.
#13 Forced testimony
What makes this Varys’s costume worn during Tyrion’s trial is the combination of textures from both the rich oversized brocade in contrast with the quilted sleeves and facings.
Of this costume, viewer Larissa Jay says, “No matter what, my vote would have been this quilted chocolate-brown”.
Here's a close-up of the fabulous textures. In the natural light, like we see here, the brown almost leans toward the purple.
Tatiana Melendez says, “I absolutely adore this quilted texture of these robes, as well as the handsome quality. Together with the rough and texture of the embroidery, the plum&golden colors give him a warmth previously lacking – almost as if he's slowly and subtly revealing his true face, which truly comes to light with his aid in rescuing Tyrion. The way the light hits the costume transforms the quilted texture into almost scales, turning the spider into a snake or dragon and further cementing where his true loyalties lie”.
#12 Happily ever after
Joffrey's wedding attire, like all of the members of the wedding party, is suitably decadent. He wears a gold brocade coat with a crimson cravat – the Lannister colors.
Michele Clapton says, “This is Joffrey's wedding, it's meant to be this huge celebration of Joffrey. Remember, when he took over from his father, he re-designed the whole hall. So this wedding had to be more opulent, over the top”.
Tatiana and Aaron say, “You may hate Joffrey but you can't deny he has a great fashion sense. What is interesting about this particular garment is the hidden secrets within it. For starters, unlike Joffrey's other coats, which boasts strong and garish brocades, this pattern is delicate to near invisibility, unless one takes a closer look”.
Here's a close-up of the delicate brocade from the Rubelli Venice collection.
Tatiana and Aaron add that another point of interest is the symbolic union of the Lannister and Tyrell Houses in the colors of the coat. While both Houses have gold in their sigils, the mix of red and blue is seen in the mold of the brocade. This, along with a silver in his antler-rose crown, complete the symbolic picture of Margaery's increasing influence over him above that of his mother Cersei. This is even more interesting when we notice that Margaery doesn't wear any red or gold in her costume. Joffrey may think that he'll dominate his wife, but in reality, he has already been dominated.
#11 Poisonous snake
Before we ever visit Dorne, we meet Prince Oberyn Martell, sometimes called “The Red Viper”. Oberyn brings his Dornish flair to King's Landing, dressing in a series of vividly-colored Persian-inspired coats, like the one worn in the Episode “The Laws of Gods and Men”.
Michele Clapton says of his costumes, “Despite the substantial nature of some of the fabrics and the inclusion of metal sigils, Oberyn's costumes were in some ways quite feminine. There is something about the way that Pedro Pascal wore it, his masculinity, his total lack of fear of the feminine element, that made it so strong and deeply masculine on him”.
Aaron Le Fay says, “When first seeing Oberyn in this look, I could already tell that this character had masculinity in an elegant way, but also great amounts of sex appeal. The way the overcoat hangs off his shoulders and is barely secured with a belt, with a half-carelessly open shirt that makes his chest nearly bare, just shows how effortlessly sexy and at comfort he is with himself and his surroundings”.
#10 Roaring victory
Tywin is clearly one of the best-dressed men in Westeros. This is the only coat he wears, cut in this asymmetrical fashion. A silhouette, particular to the Lannisters.
Tatiana Melendez says, “Before this, we've seen Tywin only wear either his suit of armor or severe, plain black clothes, closed all the way to the neck. However, this outfit marks a subtle yet welcomed departure from his usual closet. I like to think that this is the closest Tywin will ever get to peacocking. Seeing that he has just secured a major win by marrying Sansa to Tyrion and gaining control of the North, he's very justified in doing so”.
Tatiana adds, “He can take this time to show his smug confidence through his clothing. He cuts an impressive figure – as always, the leather fabric and the cuts still retaining Tywin's ever-present power over the rest of the congregation, especially the bride and groom. Meanwhile, the open lapel and the golden swirls give his attire a more relaxed elegance than we've seen in any of his other costumes, without detracting from his intimidating presence”.
#9 Chaos is a pit
Tatiana Melendez and Aaron Le Fay say, “When people think of Varys, this outfit is most likely what people will visualize him in, and with good reason. The pale yellow and blue robes brighten up the otherwise dim throne room and their simple elegance”.
They continue by saying, “They also provide a lovely contrast against the dark extravagance of Littlefinger's cassock, while bringing out the golden accents in it. Maybe, it is an unspoken symbol of their true allegiances and their rivalry”.
#8 Siege of Meereen
Tatiana Melendez says, “This is easily Tyrion’s best post-King's Landing costume. The Banaras brocade jerkin is gorgeous. The intricate detail of the harp-shaped design being some of the best fabric the costume department has acquired. The chocolate-brown shirt and tan pants not only perfectly complement the jerkin, their simplicity enhance its intricacy. The earthly tones give him a warmth, that was often suffocated in King's Landing, in favor of his emotional mask”.
This stunning brocade fabric is from the Tamise Carlotta collection at Henry Bertrand.
#7 A mockingbird amongst wolves
We first see Peter wearing this houppelande, which is a type of medieval outer garment, upon his arrival to the Vale in the Season 5 Episode “The First of His Name”.
Of his cloak, Michele Clapton says, “He just becomes more opulent, it's his look but it just gets bigger and grander, and he carries himself – actually his cloak is incredibly heavy, and it sort of gives him this bearing”.
Of this costume, viewer Sarah Scott says, “The battle one for sure is the best. I also have always loved his sigil bird pin. Littlefinger, in my opinion, has been one of the best-dressed men in Game of Thrones”.
And then Aaron Le Fay says, “With this look, Littlefinger is rocking his iconic houppelande, which has gold woven into the black tweed, while wearing a tarnished gold brocade underneath it, which is almost hidden until he makes a move. Within this look, we have seen him do a great many things in his rise to power and, in this scene, he is sweeping in like an unwanted but needed antihero to try and gain even more power in the North by using Sansa as his pawn. However, we all know how it turns out for him”.
#6 The thornless rose
Aaron Le Fay says, “With this look, we see Loras’s full blown out in his Tyrell duds standing with his sister and grandmother. Together they – if I may steal a quote from Heidi – mirror the fictional family the Montagues, with their brilliant blues against the horde of red Lannisters”.
Aaron adds, “His costume also reminds me of an elegant watercolor painting. He himself no less gorgeous in it. The marriage of the actor and the costume give him the appearance of a fairy-tale prince”.
#5 A meeting of opposites
Tatiana Melendez says, “It's almost funny how much Oberyn stood out amongst the otherwise drab surroundings of the throne room during his talk with Varys in this outfit. My headcanon is that he got prettied up to go flirt with a spider and find out what being with a eunuch was like. In any case, Varys is probably the only person to ever reject his advances”.
Tatiana adds, “I have a weakness for pretty brocade and the brocade in these robes are just exquisite in their lustrous detail. It's made ever better by this simple masculine cut of the robes, which Pedro Pascal wears with effortless manliness. The open sunburst-orange shirt and the hidden bling of his medallion finish the ensemble and give it an undeniable careless sensuality. Like he had just rolled out of a sexual encounter before coming to the throne room, which, knowing Oberyn, is the most likely scenario”.
#4 Framed dwarf
Tyrion wears a variety of brocades and leathers, but for us, this is his best look in the series so far. It's luscious, it's decadent, and it's beautifully made. Like Tywin's leathers, the textures are created by layering. This laser-cut leather on top of the dark red and gold fleck brocade. The same fabric as the sleeves, which allow the red to just peek through.
This jerkin is made from laser-cut lamb leather. This sample is from New York Fashion Center Fabrics. Unfortunately, it's no longer available.
Tatiana and Aaron say, “There is something so admirable about perfectly laser cutting leather. Unlike with embroidery where a mistake is fixable, one wrong move can irrevocably damage the fabric and ruin months of work. So, to achieve the level of intricacy found in both Tyrion’s wedding and purple wedding jerkins is nothing short of astounding – better than Daenerys’s laser-cut blue dress even”.
They go on to say that the purple wedding garment, in particular, is absolutely gorgeous, because the brownish-black leather strikingly stands out against his red silk shirt, letting the audience better see the details. When placed against the rest of his red&gold wearing family, Tyrion’s black sheep status is made manifest more than ever with that leather.
Tatiana and Aaron add, “It provokes a foreboding sense of dread, which reaches its climax with his arrest and death sentence, cementing his eternal condemnation by them”.
#3 The brat king
We first see Joffrey in this dandy ensemble in the Season 2 Episode “Garden of Bones”, where Joffrey orders Sansa brought to the throne room to answer for her brother's treason.
Viewer Larissa Jay says, “The brocade gets the nod from me. It's stylish, well-tailored, and superb fabric. It's so lovely with the intricate patterns. It's definitely the best he's worn in my opinion”.
It, however, does not reflect his character.
The coat is made from this rich, woven brocade, originally from Top Fabric of Soho. Like Oberyn’s costumes, the fabric is a heavy banaras brocade, a sort of red-purple color.
Aaron Le Fay says, “The little brat always got the best costumes, with intricately and breathtaking details. This beautiful golden-red silk brocade is wasted on that little pissant, but it does give the actor a real sense of regality and power that just feeds into his Emmy-worthy performance as the most hated character in TV history”.
He also wears this lustrous velvet sash with gold silk, mirroring how his grandfather Tywin wears his sash with his armor.
The sash in this choice is like an added layer of foppish arrogance, breaking the otherwise pretty, rigid, and sleek design of his outfits and mix him oddly decadent, along with his crown askew.
#2 Chaos is a ladder
In the throne room, Peter has words with Varys in the Season 3 Episode “The Climb”. This coat is fantastic. The fabric is a purple background with a slightly raised gold woodgrain motif on top. Because it was used so briefly, it didn't garner as much attention as some of his other costumes.
“This is by far Littlefinger's most luxuriously elegant costume”, Tatiana and Aaron say. “The way the light catches the golden accents in the fabric makes it look like a vein of gold amidst a dark cave”.
They add, “It is very reminiscent of the Tiger’s Eye, a stone ironically used to achieve harmony and balance. With this considered, the overall costume could be a subtle symbolism of the mask he usually wears when manipulating people for his own selfish ambition. The irregular pattern of the fabric could signify Littlefinger's dangerously unpredictable nature, as well as his aspiration for the throne in the royal colors”.
#1 Mocker of the bride
For Sansa's wedding to Tyrion in the Season 3 Episode “The Bear and the Maiden Fair”, Joffrey enjoys tormenting the bride and groom by asserting his role in giving away the bride.
Michele Clapton tones down the red and opts for this luxurious silvery-gray and gold brocade. The coat is cut exactly like his red&gold costume from Season 2, with the extended shoulders and cape-like hanging sleeves.
Tatiana and Aaron say, “There is an unnerving irony in the fact that the beautiful silvery-gray and gold silk brocade of Joffrey's coat make him look softer and more youthful, while he's being so irredeemably cruel to poor Sansa and Tyrion. It just makes his already deplorable actions to wear the couple that much more reprehensible, especially with how joyously he revels in their humiliating misery”.
And they add that he cast the Lannister red for a more bluish-gray color, particularly with his velvet sash. It could also speak of how Margaery has impacted his life. Perhaps, he is peacocking in front of his lovely fiancee – a puerile attempt to impress the pretty girl.
Do you agree with this top-20? What GOT costumes do you think are the best? If you have your favorite one, please let us know in the comments below.