I'm not expert in Star Wars nor in fencing. However, I think there is something not very logical in the way Jedi and Sith use their lightsabers.

I've always thought a proficient lightsaber user would not use robes nor cloaks in order to avoid being disturbed by large pieces of cloth. Some fencers used to have a "fencing cape" some centuries ago which added style and might help disguise the gestures made by the fencer, but these were to be maximum 80 - 90 cm long and not to weigh more than 1 - 1.5 kg.

Maybe I'm wrong, but in medieval times for instance, capes were to protect the owner (from cold, etc.), but I don't think they would use it on a battle field.

I understand there must be a "style reason" behind this, but aren't Jedi's Robe or Sith's cloaks a disturbance while fighting ? Isn't there useless weight added which would slow down their movements?

I don't see why they would not wear minimal gear to enhance their speed and freedom of movement since there is no real protection to a lightsaber hit.

  • 10
    Jedi aren't warriors, they're monks.
    – user8719
    Commented Jan 18, 2014 at 14:10
  • Sith didn't use to wear robes till Palpatine. See starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Sith_apparel Commented Jan 18, 2014 at 14:26
  • If the robes are closed in front, I'd always figured it was possible to take advantage of that to slightly disguise where in them the body was. No evidence/examples, though.
    – Izkata
    Commented Jan 18, 2014 at 17:03
  • 1
    In many martial arts, robes (although that is a horrible term for the clothing) are used to conceal movement and stances. During practice and training, such outerwear is either not worn or is lifted frequently.
    – joshbirk
    Commented Feb 18, 2014 at 18:16
  • 1
    The Sith probably use their robes for intimidation purposes.
    – Rogue Jedi
    Commented Sep 1, 2015 at 17:17

4 Answers 4


Both Jedi and Sith are primarily mystics, their main focus being the study/meditation on the Force and how to best serve it/ use it, thus their outfits take a cue from real-life mystical/monastical organizations.

A major reason for why monks, of both Western and Eastern orders, wear robes is that their orders at least nominally decry materialism thus a single item of clothing which is versatile (and you don't need a whole wardrobe) like the robe is a logical choice for a uniform.

Another real-life fact which influenced the costumes in Star Wars, is that in the popular conception mystical clergy and sages are often conflated with sorcerers and intellectuals (there is some truth to this in medieval Europe if you had the knowledge to attempt scholarly work or sorcery you were probably connected to the Church somehow).

This especially shows in Palpatine's outfit as he is the evil sorcerer type, and all Sith being both warriors and sorcerers will have their outfits take cue from both Palpatine and Vader (with the mention that it is much easier to portray Palaptine's clothing as a standard uniform than it is to do for Vader's armour+ mask combo)

Another way too look at it is that Jedi have only one set of clothes and since they will spend most of their time not in combat, it wouldn't make sense for it to be combat related.

Sith as I've said are heavily inspired by the image of the evil sorcerer from Earth fiction.

  • 4
    The only thing you left out was that Jedi do not, in general, fight with their robes on. As seen with Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon Jinn vs Darth Maul and Mace Windu on Geonosis as well as all the other jedi on Geonosis. They remove their robes before fighting.
    – Selonianth
    Commented Jan 21, 2014 at 19:01

Some reference materials say that one of the reasons for Jedi robes is to better fit in on many planets, since they're a classic style that has been around for millennia, so that their clothes don't necessarily draw unwanted attention. This explanation was created after the robe-like garments worn by Obi-Wan and Yoda in the original trilogy were solidified as standard Jedi wear in the prequels (look at older comics like the Marvel series or Tales of the Jedi to see earlier interpretations of what Jedi would wear). In practice, though, not a lot of other characters actually end up wearing robes, so this official explanation seems to fall a bit flat. To their credit, though, Qui-Gon and Obi-wan, at least, take off their heavier robes before fighting Darth Maul in The Phantom Menace.

  • I don't suppose you know these reference materials well enough to add quotes, do you?
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Mar 4, 2014 at 17:33
  • Unfortunately not (I don't have mine anymore), but I think it was in one of the Visual Dictionaries. Sorry, wish I had better evidence.
    – Milo P
    Commented Mar 4, 2014 at 18:40

As per Jimmy Shelter's email, fighting is not their primary concern so perhaps they don't regard it as an issue? Most of the time they do take their cloaks off to fight - if they have the time. Their ability to move is not really hampered by clothing as they use the Force which allows much greater ability in movement etc which probably makes clothing a minimal concern.

  • "Most of the time they do take their cloaks off to fight - if they have the time." - you need canon examples to prove that. Commented Jan 18, 2014 at 14:27
  • 2
    @DVK - like this? youtube.com/…
    – user8719
    Commented Jan 18, 2014 at 14:30
  • Just referring to examples from the films where Qui Gon and Obi Wan derobe as well as Darth Maul in the fight at the end of Ep 1 (sort of a ceremonial thing, they take their time), Mace Windu disposes of a cloak set on fire by Jango Fett (as he did not have time prior) and the Jedi which accompany him re mainly 'battle ready' without cloaks. It also seems reasonably logical not to have a cloak but wearing skin tight clothing doesn't seem very Jedi to me either!
    – Pompom78
    Commented Jan 18, 2014 at 14:31
  • 1
    Great example DVK!
    – Pompom78
    Commented Jan 18, 2014 at 14:34
  • Pompom78, drop the "comic book guy" act. He owned you.
    – Gelfamat
    Commented Mar 23, 2014 at 15:15

Jedi remove their robes before fighting like in Darth Maul vs Obi Wan and Qui Gon Jinn and in Obi Wan and Anakin vs Count Dooku (Clone Wars)

  • There is already an answer which covers this. Did you read through those? Do you have anything else to add?
    – AncientSwordRage
    Commented Apr 2, 2016 at 8:25

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