The Fashion of King’s Landing

As we head into the fourth season of Game of Thrones, I’ve been rewatching the earlier seasons to bring myself back up to speed. It struck me as I went through he seasons how much the fashions down in King’s Landing have changed in the course of a few short years. With Benioff and Weiss trying to cram character’s stories into only ten short episodes a season, they’ve let the clothes do the talking for our leading ladies in the Red Keep.

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Let’s start with Cersei Lannister, who is (in her own mind, at least) in charge when we first arrive.

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Note the very large crown of hair updos, and the tendency towards red to go with the gold of her hair.

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The assumption is that Cersei is based on Edward IV’s queen Elizabeth Woodville. One can certainly see the similarities in her early outfits.

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One can also see Cersei’s influence on those around her. Let’s look at the evolution of Sansa Stark.

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Here we see her in Winterfell fashions, lot of high collars and warm layers. The hair is not nearly as neat, and feels dated. No small feat considering this is the first episode, and we only have Cersei to go on.

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Note the instant adoption of the Cersei style here once she reaches King’s Landing. This is a girl who is no threat to Cersei, merely an admirer.

But then something changed.

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Note once the engagement is off we have a complete change of hair, a total change of style (with  sudden favoring of muted purple.) Sansa is no longer trying to be Cersei.

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But for the wedding she is re-done up as Cersei–the same hairstyle returns, and the dressing of her in gold and red, as befitting a Lannister. It also speaks to how not-in-charge of the situation she is. Though the TV show allowed her to know about the wedding ahead of time (unlike in the books), they made sure to emphasize how helpless she still was.

But even here Cersei is no longer quite as in charge. Remember, she has also been ordered to marry against her will. In fact, Sansa’s outfit is the last time we see this look.

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Even Cersei is not in Cersei style hair at Sansa’s wedding. Moreover, she’s wearing a dress we’ve already seen and associated with the new woman in charge at King’s Landing: Margaery.

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Margaery already wore that neckline, ages before, when Renly died. That is an established “her look.” Though the show has not delved much into how threatened Cersei feels by Margaery, they show it in her wardrobe.

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Margaery is a strong woman, and her costume reflect that.

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Note the strong shoulders in all her blue and gold outfits. I think of this as Margaery’s “Power Look.”

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There’s no question where she gets it from either–Grandmother Oleanna also has strong shoulders and carries the same blue and gold theme. She’s large and in charge even if she is covered up.

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Margaery will stay in control of her look when she marries a Lannister as well.

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At first glance her dress looks white, but it’s really a very light blue, again with very strong shoulders. The hairstyle is all her own, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw variations of it repeat afterwards. After all, she’s about to become “The Queen.” How long until Cersei starts sporting more of the Margaery inspired designs in a desperate attempt to keep up?

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3 thoughts

  1. Sansa gets away with “reverting” back to a more starklike hairstyle because she’s become unimportant.

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  2. I’d wonder if that high stiff boat/portrait neckline is supposed to be Barothean styles, given that Margary wears it when she is married to Renly, but then reverts to her more subtle strong shoulder look as soon as the marriage with Renly is off. When Cersi is confident, she goes Lannister kimono/wrap, but when she feels threatened she cloaks herself in a Barothean style but Lannister colors to emphasize her role as queen and female lead for both houses.

    And once Sansa is no longer engaged, she reverts to a look that echoes a lot of Catelyn’s shapes, minus the heavier layers of Winterfell. Mingled in with the purples are a return to the soft greys of the Starks as well.

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