49

Within the Jedi Order, it seemed to be that the brown robe over the lighter coloured tunic, pants and belt was more uniform than merely a customary wardrobe for Jedi Knights and Jedi Masters. I can't recall any other Jedi who wore any kind of variation from this outfit (I can only think of the Jocasta Nu who was the librarian in Episode II in the Jedi Archives, but she was at that time a Jedi Knight of some standing).

And then there was Anakin in Episode III, in his black robe and tunic, looking very different from any other Jedi. I realise that he was a big war hero, but he wasn't even a Jedi Master so it seems unlikely that his choice of attire would be welcomed by the Jedi Council.

So my question is this: Why was Anakin Skywalker, as a mere Jedi Knight, allowed to wear his black robes instead of the typical Jedi brown?

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  • 23
    He was allowed to wear all black so even the laziest viewer could easily pick out the guy who would eventually turn evil and wear all black body armour even amongst other Jedi. ;) Plus his kid wore a black jump suit in his third movie too, so, what choice did he have.... :D As for a real (in-universe) answer: my only guess is that since he was in the midst of fighting a war, he just kept wearing his flight (jump)suit, which happened to be black. He was also forced to wear a glove. The tunic just completed the image, so the Council thought it fitting the Chosen One contrasted from the rest?
    – BMWurm
    Jan 14, 2016 at 12:37
  • 27
    Do the words "emo" and "goth" not mean anything to people anymore? :) Expressing his unique snowflake individuality, young Ani tried. Jan 14, 2016 at 12:39
  • 9
    The "uniform" seems to be more of a guideline anyway. Mace is dressed very differently from the other masters and had a fancy pink sabre too.
    – Valorum
    Jan 14, 2016 at 12:44
  • 7
    @Richard It was purple! :D
    – Jane S
    Jan 14, 2016 at 12:45
  • 6
    Jedi Robes were not even an absolute requirement to begin with. See Aayla Secura and Ahsoka Tano.
    – phantom42
    Jan 14, 2016 at 13:10

6 Answers 6

31

You do see a lot of brown robes in the Jedi Order, but there are several exceptions that no one seems bothered about. It seems like Anakin was just another exception that everyone was okay with.

The padawan Ahsoka Tano did not wear "typical" Jedi robes:

Ahsoka Tano wearing a brown sleeveless tunic, brown arm guards and grey leggings

Neither did the Jedi Master Luminara Unduli and her padawan Barriss Offee:

Luminara Unduli wearing a loose floor-length black dress that has an embroidered gold panel hanging down from the waist in front and a black wimple and Barriss Offee wearing a black dress that is fitted down to the waist and gathered below, dropping to the floor, with a half cape and cowl

And Jedi Master Aayla Secura definitely did not wear "typical" Jedi robes:

Aayla Secura wearing a midriff-baring tight-fitting long-sleeved brown top

The Jedi Master Quinlan Vos was close to traditional, but he preferred to go sleeveless:

Quinlan Vos wearing a brown and beige tank top with a yoke-style collar and a single shoulder plate on the right side.  He has his forearms wrapped.

The Jedi Master Rig Nema (a doctor in the Jedi Temple) did not wear traditional robes:

Rig Nema wearing a shoulder-baring long grey dress with long sleeves loose at the wrists and a grey belt

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  • 39
    Hmm. The Jedi seem to have a very relaxed policy about skin-tight, midriff-exposing outfits for female Jedi. Are there any male equivalents?
    – Valorum
    Jan 14, 2016 at 15:51
  • 4
    There was also that Jedi from The Clone Wars that didn't wear a shirt. The hunter guy. Jan 14, 2016 at 16:18
  • 11
    @Richard A long time ago... female Jedi back then didn't have the same rights as female Jedi today. Skin tight belly tops were mandatory for hot ones.
    – Daft
    Jan 14, 2016 at 16:39
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    @BMWurm we're very close to searching the web for half naked Jedi men...
    – Daft
    Jan 14, 2016 at 16:51
  • 19
    @Daft we're very close to searching the web for half naked Jedi men... Not seeing a problem here... ;)
    – Jane S
    Jan 14, 2016 at 20:27
23

The Jedi apparel was generally based on their almost monastic lifestyle, however there weren't guidelines to say what color this needed to be. From Padawan and above, they had the freedom to choose their own style, however their choice could be judged by the elders as an indication of their personality. Take for instance Obi-Wan, who is very much studious and lives by the Jedi code of honor in everything he does:

Obi-Wan wearing a beige tunic with a dark brown belt and the brown collar of an undergarment showing at the neck, brown boots and a loose floor-length cloak over top.  The sleeves of his cloak are long enough to cover his hands, his cowl is thrown back and his lightsaber in his right hand is lit and pointed forward and down

Anakin is shown to wear brown robes too:

Anakin and Padme on Tatooine with Owen and Beru; Anakin is wearing a brown tunic over brown and beige underlayers, with a brown belt and brown cloak.

However, the contrasting black robes were an indication of his personality. He was different, over-confident, brash, and sometimes reckless. He most likely wanted to feel like he was special, and wearing a color which makes his figure stand out seems befitting.

Of course, out-of-universe, he wears black robes because Lucas was setting the scene for his turn to the dark side, and among other more important things (like some decent acting), it probably wouldn't have seemed to have the same dark-side-like impact, had he not been wearing black.

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  • He was still a padawan in the picture with brown robes :) Do you have any canon to back up the statement "The Jedi apparel was generally based on their almost monastic lifestyle, however there weren't guidelines to say what color this needed to be. From Padawan and above, they had the freedom to choose their own style..."?
    – Jane S
    Jan 14, 2016 at 13:10
  • (For the record, there's nothing wrong with your answer, I was looking if there was any canon about their robes, that's all :) )
    – Jane S
    Jan 14, 2016 at 13:12
  • Well the basic answer is no, there isn't that I can find. The brown robes were a tradition, not a must. It's also of interest to note that Palpatine wears a brown robe when dueling with Yoda. I think there might be a misconception here that because most Jedi wear brown, the few that don't must have some kind of special pardon. It's an easy thing to think though I have to admit.
    – John Bell
    Jan 14, 2016 at 13:44
  • While I do like your answer, I'm afraid that William Jackson's answer shows more exceptions to the wearing of the traditional brown robes, which gives more evidence that it is indeed merely a convention rather than a rule. Thanks for your answer!
    – Jane S
    Jan 14, 2016 at 21:35
  • 1
    Agreed. I'm happy to receive upvotes anyway, and I'll leave the answer here along with the other answer, as it displays further aspects of Jedi attire.
    – John Bell
    Jan 15, 2016 at 10:59
18

This is discussed (and answered) in the Star Wars: Episode II - Visual Dictionary. In short, brown Jedi robes are traditional but not mandatory for anyone of Padawan rank or above. Anakin's choice of outfit "draws concern", but evidently only in private.

Part of a page from the Visual Dictionary; the text, under the heading "Dark Knight," is below

The tunic, robes, and cloaks worn by Jedi are honored traditions, but not uniforms. From the time they become Padawans, Jedi are free to dress as they choose. Anakin Skywalker breaks with tradition in his garments, both in their color and material. His distinctive dark clothing makes him stand out at the Jedi Temple and draws concern from Jedi elders.

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  • Nice! I thought that while he obviously got away with it, his choice or attire would not have exactly been a favourite :)
    – Jane S
    Jan 17, 2016 at 11:37
  • Don't worry, I had thought of that. It's just really late in my part of the galaxy so I was going to look at it again in the morning :)
    – Jane S
    Jan 17, 2016 at 12:38
  • I've accepted this answer as it is the only one that provided a canon source, not just empirical evidence. Having said that, both the existing answers are very good, but I really was looking for an actual quoted source :)
    – Jane S
    Jan 17, 2016 at 21:10
  • @Richard What are the Jedi elders' concerns? That he is too tryhard to stand out, or that dark is evil? Jan 20, 2016 at 20:01
  • @thegreatjedi - They seem to be very worried that he really doesn't act like a Jedi. He was never indoctrinated in childhood and is far too individualistic.
    – Valorum
    Jan 20, 2016 at 20:04
-1

An idea I don't see here is somewhat more simple (to me at least). I assume automatically that Jedi were allowed to wear what they wanted, but most kept with traditional clothes to

  1. Identify themselves as Jedi easily and
  2. Because most of them were raised around and with that style that it was natural to them.

A reason for Anakin to wear dark clothes, besides foreshadowing, was because it was more practical. Anakin was a mechanic and a pilot before he was a Jedi and this never stopped. Working with mechanics would have left him with grease and/or oil stains, no matter how careful he was being and dark clothes can (mostly) cover them.

It may also have to do with growing up on Tatooine, where everything was glaringly bright and no one wore dark clothing because it would absorb all the light and therefore the heat. Wearing darker clothes may have been a way to remind himself that he wasn't there anymore.

Another option: it is easier to hide (generally) if you are wearing dark clothes. If it gets dark enough at night, or they can get light shut down on a ship, it will be easier to spot light clothes then it would dark. I personally think he wears darker clothes to hide stains in case he's called away before he can get cleaned up.

2
  • This could do with a bit of formatting and referencing sources. How about taking the tour?
    – SQB
    Mar 18, 2017 at 9:56
  • and yet...when we see Anakin doing the most mechanic work, he's wearing sand / tan colored clothes :)
    – NKCampbell
    Aug 28, 2018 at 19:34
-1

Any reason could include his mourning after his mother's passing? It marked his anger, sorrow and avenging which pushed him down the dark path.

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  • Whilst a nice theory do you have any evidence that this is indeed why he wore black and was allowed to that you could edit in?
    – TheLethalCarrot
    May 29, 2020 at 14:40
-1

I am not satisfied with Anakin wearing dark clothes solely because of foreshadowing and personality. It makes great sense that he wore them to hide grease stains, blend in with his surroundings, and to distance himself from his childhood. I'd like to add, along those lines, that he mentioned in Episode I that he was cold when he got to space, being used to Tatooine's climate. Black would absorb heat and keep him warmer.

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