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Sith apparel was the term given to the armor, robes, and general attire of members of the Sith Order in all its forms. As the dark side counterparts to the Jedi the Sith were traditionally garbed in shades of black, Sith black being the very symbol of the ancient threat they represented. However, unlike the Jedi who did not believe in material possession, the position of Sith Lord was highly individualized and the personal attire of each Dark Lord reflected this. Although similar to the armor worn by the Jedi Knights of the Galactic Republic, Sith apparel was in fact much more personalized to the wearer than its Jedi counterparts; for many Sith, their armor was an integral part of their identity. For users of the dark side, though, this armor usually involves some measure of physical protection, such as traditional armor plates, cortosis weave materials, or even self-contained life support systems. Many Sith are most easily recognized by their distinctive armor, and often use this to further intimidate or impress their foes and allies alike.
The Old Sith EmpireEdit
Unlike their Jedi predecessors, the Sith Lords decided there was no place for modesty and humility, and many of them seemed to appreciate flaunting rich and outstanding signs of their wealth. As the first Sith Lords derived from fallen Jedi that enslaved the Sith species, the style of their clothes reflected aspects of both those cultures. They thus adopted a fatuous fashion full of bright colors (such as green, gold, light red or purple), with golden and ornamented parts of armor. They also favored extravagant headdresses, war helmets and capes eccentric with necklines. Naga Sadow and Ludo Kressh were good examples of it. Most Sith lords would feel pleasure and a sensation of power through the jealousy and greed their material possession aroused among their peers; this might explain the riot of colors and wealth they used to display, just like master Qordis did with his luxurious apartments on Korriban. On the contrary, notable exceptions included Ajunta Pall. Despite being a well known Sith Lord, his clothing suggested no individuality, but this could be attributed to the fact he probably kept more human habits, being one of the human Dark Jedi who discovered the Sith species.
It seems many Sith robes were Force-imbued in the making, so that they could be used to enhance or assist the ability to channel the Dark Side of the Force. By the mean of those, the wearer could call upon more strength or wisdom than they naturally would. Some of those artifacts were still intact and usable at the time of such as Aleema Keto's or Crado's robes, and the dreaded Helm of Dathka Graush.
The Sith Lords of the old empire each wore personalized battle armor designed to strike fear into their enemies. The Sith armor traditionally consisted of bronzium plates worn over dark red--or more often, blue--robes, the plates were usually covered in sharp spines to be used as weapons. Each Sith Lord's armor was unique. When Darth Vader needed to get his famous survival armor, Darth Sidious insisted on creating an intimidating look and completed the design with a cape and tabard reminiscent of the more usual Sith garb.
The Old Sith WarsEdit
After the Dark Lords Exar Kun and Ulic Qel-Droma established their Brotherhood of the Sith, the first order to their new students was the Jedi pogrom, in which the apprentices were commanded to strike down their Jedi masters as such very few of them had chance to change their Jedi garments and this led to a still less uniformed Sith order. Kun went on with the tradition of the battle armor, as he himself wore one. Sith warriors wore Sith Robes designed with a hood, which could conceal the wearer's face, keeping he or she from being identified. Some Sith Robes also came fitted with basic armor, made from cortosis.
Revan's Sith EmpireEdit
At the time where Revan founded this new empire, the Sith likely chose to get more practical dresses. The technology itself had known fundamental improvements in the last decades, and it gave fairly quickly a more austere and high-tech look to the whole Galaxy. This is probably why individuals such as Darth Bandon, Darth Malak or even Revan himself wore such unadorned set of clothes. Darth Revan himself owned a special set of armored robes including a full face mask. The many renegade Dark Jedi who joined Revan simply clung to Jedi garment style, adapted to the dark shades of their new allegiance. The Sith Empire also had huge numbers of minions at its command, including the Sith assault troopers and the Sith Assassins, whose outfits were highly specialized.
In the aftermath of the Mandalorian War, the Republic officers who served under Revan turned traitor and joined the new Sith empire. They replaced their red and yellow uniforms with azure blue/gray jumpsuits. The higher ranking officers wore caps. This uniform was also worn by the trainees at the Sith Academy.
The Great WarEdit
Sometime after the Great War, a Sith garment was a popular choice of robes for Sith serving the Sith Empire and the Sith Emperor during the Cold War between the Sith and the Republic. It was more heavy duty than what Sith tended to wear before and after the events of the Great War and the Cold War. The Jedi developed a similar garment which was equipped by their military forces.
The New Sith WarsEdit
Throughout the New Sith Wars, the style of the Sith apparel evolved into a more sober form, though it still had a touch of the old elaborate fashion of the ancient lords. Brighter colors were apparently left behind in favor of different shades of black, dark purple and gray. They would generally wear black capes with cuirasses and multi-pouched belts with buckles featuring symbols similar to later Darth Maul’s tattoos. Lord Kaan and Darth Bane himself were often seen dressed that way, and Bane even wore armored pauldron and vambrace to protect his left arm. Darth Bane later wore biological armor made from hard-shelled orbalisks that, through a symbiotic relationship, increased his Force abilities.
Order of the Sith LordsEdit
The Sith Lords that came after the establishment of the Rule of Two were in hiding and generally favored simpler black garments. Sith apprentices wore special training gear during their training to become Sith Lords. Sich training gear was worn by Darth Maul which consisted of an uniquely tailored vest. As his skills increased there was less need for this gear. Once Maul acquired the status of Sith Lord he was be robed in the black garb of the Sith Order. In a more elaborate way than the standard zeyd-cloth cloaks, Darth Maul wore black robes and loose-fitting desert-like garb, and collard coat belted at the waist. The very large hood would drape down the back, while the sleeves were elongated, and almost touched the ground. Where the sleeve attached to the main body of the robe, there are two slits cut, where Maul could put the arm through.
Darth Tyranus seemingly used his traditional garbs from Serenno, made of a sober black officer-style Vjun tunic and reddish or brown armorweave capes, the shape of which would visually enlarge the Count's silhouette. He would also wear black boots made of rare rancor leather.
Though Asajj Ventress wasn't a Sith per se, she wore "the trappings of the Sith", as Dooku himself noted. Her gear consisted of high-collared tight-fitting black and white dungarees which was covered at waist length with a wide black skirt. The skirt was easily removable by simply tucking the sash away.
Darth Sidious's (and apparently Darth Plagueis's) sense of fashion stuck to monk-like robes made of harsh zeyd-cloth. One of those was navy-blue with very long sleeves, and the other, which he worn in his late days, was definitely darker with a raised waffle pattern on it. It should be noted Palpatine also possessed at least two other Sith robes. One of them was made in a red, heavy and velvet-like fabric, ornamented with Sith symbols. Palpatine publicly wore it in front of the Senate when he addressed his Declaration of a New Order. Indeed, he knew nobody in the rotunda would recognize the origin of these clothes, and he estimated the time of hiding had come to an end for the Sith. The other garb was an elephant gray robe with a large hood, a black velvet capelet and puff sleeves. Palpatine was seen in it when he battled Yoda. When the reborn Sidious went on a trip to Korriban in 11 ABY, he adorned a shorter, more practical variant of his well-known black cape, complete with capelet and a long, straight walking stick.
Darth Vader provided his Secret Apprentice with an imperial uniform that he mended himself many times over his lifetime. Starkiller's training gear was both simple and versatile seeing as it survived numerous training sessions and volatile missions. Starkiller used numerous variants of his basic gear. One variant was the Heavy training gear which was homemade. It gave basic protection in toxic and polluted environments. Another variant was Light training gear which weighed less then the basic training gear. It also provided more comfort in humid environments.
Sith of the Darth Krayt's Order wore armor of various design. Darth Krayt himself wore an imposing form of armor designed to instill fear into the hearts of his enemies. Darth Wyyrlok wore a set of combat armor over his robes, while Darth Nihl wore a strange set of armor designed to intimidate enemies.
Behind the scenesEdit
Sith robes production design
As George Lucas envisioned the Sith as the dark counterpart of the Jedi, their robes were mainly designed as black versions of the Jedi apparel. The under robes for the costume of Palpatine as an Emperor were in fact a Japanese kimono of black raw silk, as revealed in Star Wars: The Magic of Myth book. Ben Kenobi's inner robes were also made of it, but in a beige version. Darth Maul's attire was sewn from a hand woven fabric called Indian Homespun which had been dyed black, by costume designer Trisha Biggar.
Tales of the Jedi design
Though the timespan covered by the Tales of the Jedi stories kind of fits "Star Wars' Middle Age", the style of the costumes rather reflects Antiquity. As for the Sith, they seem to be widely inspired of ancient Babylonian or Egyptian fashion; for example, Naga Sadow's and Darth Andeddu's headdress are quite similar to Pharaonic deshret and khepresh crowns.
- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords
- Bane of the Sith
- Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
- Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
- Star Wars: Clone Wars – "Chapter 6"
- Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
- Star Wars: The Force Unleashed video game
- Soulcalibur IV (Non-canonical appearance)
- Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (First appearance)
- Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
- Star Wars Episode VI: Return of The Jedi
- Dark Empire
- Dark Empire II
- Empire's End
- Star Wars: Legacy
- Episode I: The Visual Dictionary
- Attack of the Clones: The Visual Dictionary
- Revenge of the Sith: The Visual Dictionary
- Star Wars: The Magic of Myth
- The New Essential Guide to Weapons and Technology
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- Star Wars: Power of the Jedi