The Star Wars saga covers a huge cross section of the beings of the galaxy, from those in the upper strata of society, the nobility and political elites, all the way to the folks scraping by on the bottom, and nearly all these people wear clothes that tell their story. From scavengers and farmers dressed in simple homemade clothes of reused and mended material to the luxurious outfits a queen might wear for a single occasion and the significance (or cost) of a single ornament might be discussed across star systems, garments help mark one’s place in the galaxy. But when it comes to best dressed in the galaxy, there’s really only one person that deserves the title. Or two.
It is Lando Calrissian. In the series, he owns the Star Wars runway, figuratively.
Lando Calrissian knows how important appearance is to being successful. Whether he’s a con man trying to impress a mark, or a general hoping to inspire confidence and loyalty into battle, Lando recognizes that you need to dress for success. Though he is only spotted in a handful of outfits through his appearances in the saga, each of them exudes style. Let’s take a look.
In his appearances on Star Wars Rebels, Lando dresses more as a smuggler than a legitimate upstanding member of the community, but still shows a certain flair. His suit is more practical but with his fingerless gloves, extra striping, twin shoulder holsters, and exposed chest with a golden medallion showing underneath, he cuts a more rakish look—the charming scoundrel trying to look more skillful as a businessman, ladies’ man, and gunman than he may actually be.
At the end of The Empire Strikes Back, he slides back into this more practical garb, ditching his administrator robes for something that looks more out of Han Solo’s wardrobe, but it serves a purpose: who wears a cape while sitting in a pilot’s chair?
His smuggler garb is more muted, as he has now joined something bigger as a team player and as someone with probably an Imperial price on his head and not trying to draw attention to himself, he isn’t going for flash.
In Return of the Jedi, Lando sports two distinctive looks: undercover as a guard in Jabba’s palace and general of the Rebel Alliance. Posing as a guard, he needs to look intimidating, but he again adds his own style: looking clean and neat in a crime den filled with drooling slobs. With his light pants tucked into his boots, lightweight but clean armor, he cuts dashing but not dirty, and his helmet definitely conveys danger while protecting his identity.
With the darker colors, he’s more able to blend into the shadows as he infiltrates Jabba’s organization, looking for an opportunity to be in the right place when it’s time to rescue Han Solo. With this outfit, he’s among the best dressed in Jabba’s palace without drawing much attention to himself.
Then as a general, he takes a generic military uniform and spices it up. With a cape, he adds a touch of class while also showing he may not completely conform to official standards—once a scoundrel, always a scoundrel. The shoulder holster is back, showing that he’s ready for action and is not a desk-jockey military type.
This combination, along with his winning smile, emanates confidence and calm, which probably helps to inspire those under his command in the biggest gamble for the Rebel Alliance yet: taking down the second Death Star with the Emperor aboard. (And notice he takes the cape off when piloting the Falcon)—best dressed even when wearing a uniform!
And that brings us to the iconic look for Lando Calrissian; when we first meet him in The Empire Strikes Back, the suave baron administrator of a city in the clouds. From head to toe, he is every bit the man all eyes will be on. Heeled black boots give him a little extra height, dark pants provide some slimming, and that belt—some folks wear utility belts filled with things they need to carry, others wear belts to keep their pants up, but this belt is neither.
It’s a statement. It’s a combination of formal cummerbund and the art deco keystone equivalent of a wrestler’s championship belt, which sells Lando as the respectable leader of Bespin: a formal, classy gentleman and a winner. The soft shirt with the neckline cut down the chest highlights his suave nature and natural handsome good looks. And to top it all off: there’s THE cape.
Plenty of Star Wars characters wear capes: Darth Vader, Director Krennic, Bail Organa, Captain Phasma, Biggs Darklighter, just to name a few. But their capes are insignificant next to the power of the cape worn by the one and only Lando Calrissian. It is essentially a continuation of his own being, solid blue on the outside, matching his shirt, with golden lining on the inside with a stylish brocade, and a dark high collar that brings your focus back on the centerpiece of Lando’s appearance: that gambler’s smile.
Wealth, class, status. It’s all those, plus a little functionality as it can protect from Bespin breezes and conceal whatever Lando’s wanting to hide behind his back or up his sleeves. Basically, who wouldn’t want to wear that cape if we could rock it as well as Billy Dee Williams?
The cape alone would cause many fans to declare Lando Calrissian the best dressed, but put it with the whole ensemble, and he’s far and away the sharpest dresser in the galaxy.
While the lavish, finely detailed wardrobe of Padmé Amidala is undeniably breathtaking, and sure, Lando can rock a cape, there is no more recognizable costume in all of Star Wars than Princess Leia’s hooded white dress and impeccably styled hair buns. Princess Leia Organa’s fashion reigns supreme.
Leia’s other clothing, hairstyles, and accessories throughout the original trilogy and the recent films are no less striking. Carrie Fisher’s iconic costumes are one of the few things that make Star Wars what it is, making Leia Organa the best dressed of a galaxy far, far away.
Combining beauty and duty, much like Leia herself, her simple white gown is one of the first things the audience sees when Star Wars opens. With just one look, we know immediately that while the dress may seem regal, simple, and clean, it hints at its wearer’s fortitude—especially paired with those boots and bold silver belt.
Leia is royalty, but she’s not stiff or dainty, and all of her fashion choices reflect that part of her personality. She may wear a clean white gown, but she’s not afraid to get it dirty, either by firing a blaster as she runs down the corridor of the Death Star or saving herself from a messy fate in a trash compactor.
The white hanging-sleeved gown she wears in A New Hope’s medal ceremony, similar to her other white dress, is just as beautiful, but with the addition of a flowing, gauzy cape. And as we see on the dapper Lando Calrissian and Director Orson Krennic, nothing says well-dressed like a cape. (Those two definitely deserve honorable mentions for the best dressed of Star Wars.
Have you ever noticed Lando’s leather belt? Pure panache. So I’ll give you that, James—Lando is good, but he’s the runner up.)
Most of Leia’s other outfits in the original trilogy emphasize function over fashion. (The metal bikini is the obvious exception.) Her all-white weather resistant Hoth jumpsuit and her camouflage poncho protect her from the elements, but she still looks flawless. Her Bespin dress, however, is likely her most underrated look in all of the original movies.
While staying in Cloud City, Leia has a moment to take a small breath and dress like the princess she is—thanks to Lando, of course. The maroon tunic, pants, and belt may seem simple, but when paired with the embellished cloak, the entire ensemble becomes unforgettable.
The cloak itself has gold trim and embroidery details that may have been easy to miss on your old VHS copy, but the next time you turn on your The Empire Strikes Back Blu-ray, be sure to check out the beautiful circle pattern that graces the entire length of the translucent fabric.
We can’t move to the current films without talking about Return of the Jedi’s gold bikini first. Is it fashionable? Of course. The gold metal bikini with two-piece skirt and ankle boots is almost as unforgettable as the original white gown and hair buns.
What’s even more memorable is how Carrie Fisher took ownership of the outfit, making sure it never lost Leia’s (or her own) strength and personality. In a 2015 interview with The Wall Street Journal, Carrie said, “[A] giant slug captured me and forced me to wear that stupid outfit, and then I killed him because I didn’t like it.”
General Organa’s style for most of The Force Awakens hints at her position and the serious nature of the conflict arising in the galaxy once again. Her vest, shirt, and pants are militaristic and muted, but like all of her fashion choices are worn with grace and dignity.
It’s Leia’s blue gown at the end of the film, along with the long dress we saw recently in the photo shoot for The Last Jedi, that solidify her position as the galaxy’s Best Dressed and remind us of her regal upbringing and ever-present charm.
The dress in The Force Awakens, like her up-do hairstyle, is simple but elegant. Its subtle design touches, especially the three arrowheads cut into the neckline, convey confidence and leadership, but also a humbleness. In other words, it’s pure Leia.
Who do you think is the best dressed in the galaxy?
First published in StarWars.com by James Floyd and Kelly Knox