‘Game of Thrones’: 15 Secrets and Details That the Costumes Reveal

Kelly Woo
Writer, Yahoo Entertainment

Season 7 of Game of Thrones will see worlds collide, as Daenerys Targaryen arrives in Westeros to stake a claim to the Iron Throne. She’ll have to wrest it from Cersei Lannister’s cold, scheming fingers, though. And then there are the Starks, who have finally returned to and regained their family seat in Winterfell. Of course, the greatest threat of all is waiting on the other side of the Wall — the Night King and his army of White Walkers.

As viewers count down the days until the HBO drama’s seventh-season premiere on July 16, Yahoo TV is launching our official countdown: #GoTIsComing. Check back here every day as we give updates on all of your favorite characters, details on an important new location, and a travel guide to the locations of Westeros. So pull on a thick coat and get ready for a long and brutal winter.

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Clothes really do make the man (or woman) on Game of Thrones.

The epic drama has a lot going on, from political alliances to emotional betrayals to Red Weddings. And there are a ton of characters, in many different locations, engaged in battles, court intrigue, and even assassin training. So, what they wear and why they wear it can be very revealing details.

Costume designer Michele Clapton created the looks for the first five seasons, several statement outfits for the end of Season 6, and returned to craft the garments to be seen in Season 7.

Over that time, the characters have undergone huge transformations, internally and externally. Click through this slideshow to see what Clapton has said throughout the seasons about the secrets that the costumes of Game of Thrones can tell us.

Game of Thrones Season 7 premieres Sunday, July 16, at 9 p.m. on HBO.

Read more of our #GoTIsComing coverage:

Jon Snow, Season 7

Toward the end of Season 6, after leaving the Night’s Watch, Jon (Kit Harington) began to wear clothing more reminiscent of his father, Ned Stark, with a lot of fur and a big cape. Whether or not he wears the cape in certain scenes is something Michele Clapton and the crew have big discussions about. “There are times when we removed it because we wanted him to be more vulnerable,” she told Uproxx. “Especially I think, when he saw Dany, and he went to see her for the first time in her chamber. We decided to remove it, but then when he went to see Cersei, we put it on.”

(Credit: HBO)

Daenerys Targaryen, Season 7

Now that Daenerys is arriving in Westeros, she’s taking on the colors of her house, red and black. And gone are the flowing fabrics; she sports stiffer, armor-like outfits. “She’s this figurehead of her army,” Clapton told Uproxx. “I wanted her to be able to stand in front of the Unsullied and be their leader.” Her accessories are changing, too. “She can’t have a crown, she hasn’t conquered yet. But I loved this [idea] of this chain of intent.”

(Photo Credit: HBO)

Cersei Lannister, Season 6

The showrunners called in Clapton to create several outfits for the final two episodes of Season 6, including Cersei’s (Lena Headey) coronation gown. The designer wanted to link it visually to Tywin Lannister, with a “distinct, strong silhouette.” The silver shoulders echo Jaime’s gold hand. “Black was the obvious choice,” Clapton told Vanity Fair of the gown. “Yes, it is for mourning her children, her father… but it’s more than that. To me, it represents a deadness inside her — the overwhelming desire for power at any cost.”

(Photo Credit: HBO)

Sansa Stark, Season 6

Clapton told Buzzfeed that Sansa (Sophie Turner) “expresses herself through her ability to embroider and stitch.” After her reunion with half-brother Jon, Sansa crafts herself a dress with a direwolf, the sigil of House Stark, embroidered on the chest. She also gives him a cloak with a direwolf etched into the leather straps. “I made it like the one father used to wear,” she tells Jon. It’s a clear and proud statement that she and Jon are Starks and they’re sticking together.

(Credit: HBO)

Daenerys Targaryen, Season 5

Previously, Daenerys was wearing a lot of white and light grey during her sojourn in Meereen. “She’s got this sense of power and also a sense of immortality,” Clapton explained to Fashionista. It also makes her appear even more regal and untouchable. “The idea behind the white and pale grey is the sense of removal, a removal from reality.”

(Photo Credit: HBO)

Daenerys Targaryen, Season 4

In leaving behind her Dothraki life, Daenerys also shed the earth-toned garb for the pale blue, whisper-thin frocks worn in Qarth and other cities of Slavers Bay. But she still always wore pants beneath these beautiful gowns. “There’s always a fear in her that she will have to leave so it gives her the freedom to always escape and run,” Clapton told the Telegraph.

(Photo Credit: HBO)

Daenerys Targaryen, Season 5

Clapton worked on a jewelry line inspired by Daenerys. In the show, she often sports elaborate, dragon-themed necklaces. In the Season 5 finale, she’s wearing a necklace with a plethora of dragon wings. And then the next time we see her, captured by the Dothraki, the wings are gone. As Clapton explained to USA Today, “she has to flee and I wanted the wings [on the necklace] to come off so she’d be left with less of a dragon.”

(Photo Credit: HBO)

Cersei Lannister, Season 2

Cersei has perhaps had the biggest fashion evolution over the course of the show. “As the story progresses, for instance, Cersei, when we first saw her, she was actually not terribly often in red,” Clapton noted to Buzzfeed. “And then as she asserts her power, she became very bright red, very Lannister. And then it went to more of a blood-red, and then it went to black, which shows she’s in mourning for her children.”

(Credit: HBO)

Arya Stark, Season 4

Maisie Williams had to wear the same outfit for three seasons since Arya was on the run from enemies and didn’t have time to change. Clapton told Fashionista, “Maisie was very, very keen to get rid of that last costume. She said, ‘Please can I burn it?'”

(Credit: HBO)

Euron Greyjoy, Season 6

If the Greyjoys always look a little oily and dirty, there’s a reason. As Clapton explained to the L.A. Times, “ If they live on a windy, rocky island, like the Greyjoys do, then they dress accordingly: They have costumes made of heavy, densely woven cloth that are waxed and painted with fish oil to help keep out the wind.”

(Photo Credit: HBO)

Sansa Stark, Season 5

Sansa’s heavy wedding dress is big on symbolism — fur to represent Starks, fish claps to represent her mother’s Tully background. But off screen, the dress was mostly a pain in the neck for the crew, Clapton told Fashionista. “The funniest thing was on the day of the rehearsal, they had set up this snowy path. [Sansa] walked up the path in the dress and it was like a snow plow. It cleared the whole path because it was so big and heavy,” Clapton said. “They had to reset the snow every take.”

(Photo Credit: HBO)

Myrcella Baratheon, Season 5

When Princess Myrcella left King’s Landing for Dorne, she was just a young girl. But in Season 5, she was all grown up — and her sexy, barely-there dresses showed it. “I wanted it to look like one little pull of a strap and it would just drop to the ground,” Clapton explained to Fashionista. “There was nothing to them. Just clouds.”

(Credit: HBO)

Margaery Tyrell, Season 2

Blue is a color of House Tyrell, so when Margaery (Natalie Dormer) came onto the scene, Clapton wanted to make sure the colors clashed, just as the characters themselves did. “You’d have all the reds and the rich colors of the Lannisters, and this sea of pale blue took over,” she noted to Buzzfeed.

(Credit: HBO)

Margaery Tyrell, Season 5

After several seasons of sporting blue, Margaery began wearing gold — a color of House Lannister — after she married Tommen. And the change was meant to highlight her transition to queen… and further her rivalry with Cersei. “It’s funny, I wanted her to be a bit more like Cersei, with the metal armor look,” Clapton told Fashionista.

(Photo Credit: HBO)

The Unsullied

Clapton’s inspirations come from a variety of sources, across centuries, spanning continents. For the Unsullied soldiers, she explained to the New York Daily News, “I designed [the headpieces] on some armor I saw on a trip to Florence, where I saw this lovely Indian armor that later influence how the Unsullieds should look. Sometimes it’s quite a bizarre past to get to where you need to be with any given outfit.”

(Credit: HBO)