Clothing referred to garments made from various types of materials and taking several forms used by sentient beings to cover their body. In addition to their protective functions, clothes were also worn for the socialization: on worlds such as Naboo, Coruscant or Alderaan, styles of clothes reflected all the strata of society. Beings would also wear such coverings out of modesty, hiding parts of their bodies that were considered private. From very early times, many sentient and semi-sentient species used to wear clothes, including the Humans or the Kaminoans. Conversely, other species like the Tchuukthai or the Oswaft usually did not, either for natural or cultural reasons.
Pragmatically, clothes would protect from various kind of damage—including heat, cold, wind or dirt. On sun-scorched and arid planets such as Tatooine, the inhabitants wore rough-spun tunics that could withstand the hostile weather, and often added leg and wrist bindings that kept out sand and dust. Such garments would protect them from sunburns and wind scars. The amphibian Gungans from Naboo chose stretchy trousers with tight ends that allowed them to swim easily and kept out swamp crawling creatures. Those who needed to protect themselves against the cold would simply put on heavy clothes and animal skins, or rely on technological garments such as insulated jumpsuits, self-warming headgears and heated parkas. During the Galactic Civil War that pitted the Galactic Empire against the Rebel Alliance, both belligerents used garments adapted to intense cold, with those garments coming in handy during the events surrounding the Battle of Hoth. Certain types of clothes were specifically designed to protect the wearer from traumatic injuries. Heavy cloth woven with energy-absorbing fibers could serve as a shield against blaster fire, and various parts of a suit—notably the collar—could contain blast-absorbing paddings.
While some species generally covered all or most of their body parts, others only wore what was functionally required. Crystalline or gas-based sentients had no need for clothes, and most furry species like the Trianii never wore anything more than armor or utility belts. On their native world, Togorians seldom wore clothing, as the weather was mostly clement. The Wookiees from Kashyyyk, who were known for their thick uniform coat of water-shedding hair, only wore clothes on special occasions, including the Life Day celebration, which required the use of a ritual red robe. The S'kytri, a race of winged Near-Humans from Skye, usually had few clothes due to their world's permanently warm temperature. Additionally, too much material could generate wind resistance and hinder their flight, which is why S'kryti of both genders wore little else than slight coverings to protect their genitalia.
- "There's more to the galaxy than elaborate dresses and fancy parties."
- ―Princess Leia Organa
Clothing was also used as an indicator of social status, gender or individual preferences. This was particularly true in societies based on individual competition; amongst the Neimoidians, elaborate clothes would strongly assert their wearer's wealth and social position over others. Even more precisely, the shapes of their cloaks, hats, drapes and collars each had a specific symbolic meaning, together with the fabric types and the color choices. High-ranking Neimoidians placed huge value on their headgears, and it was thought they would never be seen without one unless they were dead. In fact, the Neimoidian clothing etiquette was so elaborated that the Republic Xenosociological Database contained a whole subdirectory dedicated to it.
On Coruscant, a world that remained the galactic capital throughout many successive regimes, numerous extravagant fashion styles were displayed. Among the ambassadors and senators, luxurious versions of the traditional costumes of hundreds of planets could be seen, as well as many styles particular to Coruscant. Patrons of the Galaxies Opera House often wore excessive dresses that had nothing to envy to the actors' stage costumes. Expensive outfit displayed a wide array of high-priced materials such as Tomuon wool, shimmersilk, and crosh-hide.
Despite the numerous cultural differences, many species throughout the galaxy shared a basic design of simple, loose-fitting robes, which inspired the humble Jedi apparel. However, although the Jedi Order rejected materialist preoccupations, their clothes were not considered uniforms, and the wearers were left some freedom to personalize them. As such, the Jedi Lord Valenthyne Farfalla donned elaborate attires with gold and precious gems. In the three-year time span of the Clone Wars, the notorious Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi had used only six robes. By adopting the traditional trappings of the Order, Jedi Master Tyvokka was one of the few Wookiees who would wear clothes on a regular basis. The Sith Order used similar robes, but in shades of black rather than brown.
On highly cultured planets such as Naboo, clothing was often used a form of social communication. For example, during the Trade Federation invasion, the citizens of Theed made subtle use of Naboo color and fashion symbolism to express their support or opposition to the Queen Padmé Amidala's policies. The Education Regent of Naboo Lufta Shif wore gentle and flowing teaching robes, reflecting the belief that learning was best encouraged by inspiration rather brute force or threat. The Queen herself wore clothes that made her look taller and larger through the use of wide shoulders and massive headpieces. In fact, the use of Naboo royal costume was highly codified and one of the most intricate in the galaxy. On Alderaan, one of the oldest colonies of Humans, the design and style of the clothes were much simpler, with a predominance of white in the ambassadorial milieu. Among many humanoid species, including the Humans of Serenno, wearing a cape was associated with power and nobility.
Clothing and modesty issues
In many species, wearing clothes was also a question of modesty, and appearing in the nude was considered indecent. In the majority of the galactic community, it was customary to cover at least certain intimate body parts. Once, when Princess Leia Organa was forced to wear a dress that left the right side of her body exposed, the people attending the ceremony in which she took part stared at her in embarrassment. Among the Miraluka, a people of Near-Humans who lacked physical eyes, it was customary to hide their vestigial, empty sockets by wearing some kind of concealing headwear. Those headgears often took the form of a decorative veil, a mask or a simple leather band. An extreme case of modesty, the Sand People of Tatooine were wrapped in strips of cloth and robe from head to foot, and the removal of clothing was strictly forbidden outside of intimacy with one's mate or certain rituals. Because they had developed a strong exoskeleton, the Givin of Yag'Dhul had a phobia of exposed skin, and would avoid seeing it in others whenever possible.
By contrast, some indigenous cultures were more relaxed on issues of modesty and clothing. The Icarii Queen Selestrine was virtually nude, which would have been unthinkable on worlds like Naboo or Alderaan. Similarly, Aron Peacebringer and his wife Alisande, the planetary leaders of Shiva IV, wore clothes that covered little more than their private parts. Among the Fallanassi, adepts of the White Current, it was uncontroversial for a woman to wear only a sarong, leaving her chest exposed. Revealing clothes were common among Twi'lek females, even individuals of respectable stations in life such as Jedi Masters or senatorial aides. The Witches of Dathomir would strip and bathe in front of strangers in a detached, businesslike way, without the slightest intent to entice.
For many furry species, nudity was no issue. The Yuzzems of Ragna III, the Dralls of Drall, the Sneevels from Sneeve and the Yuzzums of Endor, to name only a few, usually remained naked. Among the Chadra-Fan, it was equally common to move about fully clothed or completely naked, even in the presence of other races. As similar observation could be made about the Defels and the Eloms. Although reptilian, the Anx would go about their business unclothed on their homeworld of Gravlex Med, while their representatives on Coruscant wore flowing robes.
Sometimes, clothes were even specifically conceived to accentuate certain body parts, in order to seduce and to appeal to carnal desire. Slave girls, masseuses, dancers and prostitutes were often dressed in such provocative clothes, which included sensua bindings, form-fitting szona body gloves and Tromin unigarments. Microgarments, articles of clothing which were normally worn next to the skin and under other clothing for support, were also considered sexually appealing when worn alone.
For fashion's sake
- "Keep your chin up, Leia. Maybe no one will notice."
- ―Han Solo and Leia Organa, when the Princess was forced to wear a revealing robe
All species and conditions considered, certain individuals attached a great deal of importance to the ever-changing concept of "fashion," a popular way of dressing restricted to a particular time or area. The Zeltrons, who were often stereotyped as frivolous pleasure-seekers, were highly fashion-sensitive. They would not only dress in revealing apparel and bright shades, but they were also willing to share their gusto with strangers. The Princess Leia Organa learned that lesson the hard way when a foursome of enthusiastic male Zeltrons transformed one of her sober Alderaanian white gown into a much more gaudy attire, much to her dismay.
Even among the species who normally wore no clothes at all, some individuals did it for mere fashion purpose. Such was the case, for example, of the Hutts, a species of large gastropods. Individuals such as Malta and Embra were known to don short capes. Many others distinguished themselves by wearing various types of headgear, including bell-shaped hats, berets, cylinder-shaped hats with a hanging tassel or skullcaps. Some also used clothes to hide their infirmities, such as Oruba, who wrapped himself in an expansive shawl to conceal his diseased, cracking skin. Jool, a Hutt with a female personality, used to squeeze her wide torso into a laced corset to make it appear slimmer.
At the other end of the spectrum, some individuals had a complete lack of fashion acumen. The famous Corellian smuggler Han Solo, although a legendary womanizer, never stood out as a stylish dresser. He rarely wore anything other than his trademark white shirt, black waistcoat, and brown pants, and he considered dressing up a chore.
Droids and clothing
As droids were made to be resistant to higher or lower temperatures, they didn't need to wear clothes. However, some of them adopted clothing, either because of a personality quirk in their programming, or because it was ordered by their masters.
During the Clone Wars, the cyborg General Grievous had his IG-100 MagnaGuards wear cloaks and headcloth made of mumuu hides. These clothes paid tribute to the ones worn by Grievous' former Izvoshra elite warriors, when the general served as a warlord on his homeworld of Kalee.
F8GN, a droid owned by Garris Shrike, would don Corellian street clothes in order to train Shrike's "rescued" children how to pickpocket. Han Solo, who was once one of Shrike's orphans, used to think the spindly robot looked funny in clothes.
Some owners would have their droid servants wear a kerchief emblazoned with their emblem or that of an organization, like the Rebel agent Wyl Tarson did on his protocol unit T-2H4 when he infiltrated the organization of the crime lord Raze.
During his service on Kalarba, C-3PO once served as a clothes horse for his mistress Meg Pitareeze, while R2-D2 was tending to her party dress. Unbeknownst to him, the golden droid was in fact striking a blow for droid rights: his donning Human clothes was interpreted as a voluntary fashion statement and became a pivotal moment in droid history. Later on, he was regarded as something of a hero in some droid circles, as he proved that machines too had an identity that could be expressed by clothing.