Any cosplayer knows that creating the perfect, screen-accurate costume is not easy. Attention to detail is vital, and some costumes can be extremely expensive or difficult to make. Jedi costumes in particular are fan favorites, a staple at any cosplay event. A Jedi cosplay can be an easily recognizable and strangely comfortable outfit to put together.
However, this doesn’t mean that you can be lazy. There’s more to cosplaying than throwing on some Jedi robes, grabbing a toy lightsaber and leaving it there. The last thing you want is to get embarrassed at a Star Wars convention by other cosplayers pointing out what’s wrong with your outfit!
Jedis don’t wear uniforms, but there are still rules and guidelines that made a Jedi immediately stand out from the crowd. If you’re cosplaying a specific character, you’ll need to research their outfits. If you’re cosplaying a generic Jedi, that gives you a lot more freedom. What style of tunic will you wear? Does it matter what color your lightsaber is? And a belt is just a belt, right?
So, in this article we’re going to talk about the five basic items that make up a good Jedi costume: Tunic, robes, belt, boots, and of course, the all-important lightsaber.
1. Jedi Tunic
The tunic is the first place to start with a Jedi costume. It’s the traditional centerpiece of the outfit, and you can wear the same styles whether you’re a male or female cosplayer. With a few notable exceptions, all Jedis and Padawans wore the same tunics.
You do have some variety with the color. While beiges and cream colors are the norm, Jedis like Anakin Skywalker chose darker colors. If your Jedi cosplay is leaning more towards the dark side, this is something you could play around with.
For a basic, entry-level tunic, you might not need to create a proper tunic at all. If you’re wearing the tunic under a robe (which we’ll discuss later) you can criss-cross material around your chest. This means you don’t have to do much sewing. Use long, rectangular bolts of material to wrap over each shoulder, going across your abdomen to the opposite hip. Use the belt (and sash, if you’re wearing one) to hold the fake tunic in place. This should create the famous v-shaped pattern, indicating a tunic. So long as you’re wearing the robe, it will look good.
Of course, if you want a more accurate cosplay, you’ll need to make a real tunic. For a screen-accurate garment, remember that the tunics always need to allow for free movement. You want swirling fabric, with a Jedi-like sense of drama!
A Jedi tunic requires more than one garment; there’s an under tunic and over tunic. The under tunic usually has a slightly higher neckline, which is what creates the v-shaped layers of fabric.
The belt can cinch in around your waist, and the tunic should reach the top of your thighs at least. Obi-Won Kenobi’s tunic reaches almost to his knees, with lots of extra fabric. You don’t want tight sleeve cuffs or fitted material.
For a screen-accurate cosplay, you need sleeves. The outer tunic can be sleeveless if the inner tunic is sleeved, and the cuff should be flared and reach your knuckles. The collar needs to be at least two inches wide.
Some outer tunics can be longer, even reaching down to the floor. This is something you’ll need to research – what era of Jedi are you cosplaying? Are you cosplaying a face character? If you’re going for a generic Jedi look, this gives you a lot more stylistic freedom, but there are still rules as to what counts as a proper Jedi costume.
You will also need an Obi, or a sash to wrap around the middle, underneath the belt. It should be at least three times wider than the belt, and while the fastenings shouldn’t be visible, you do have some freedom in the design of the obi. For example, you could add a border. It should match well with the rest of your costume.
While you can easily find an online pattern to create a tunic, you can also buy them online. If you’re buying a full Jedi cosplay, make sure you’re getting a proper tunic and not just a V-neck collar.
Female Jedis have the option of wearing a skirt under their tunic. If a cosplayer prefers wearing trousers, they should be of a similar color to the tunic and tucked into the boots.
Tip: A light, breathable cotton is the best choice for material. A Jedi cosplay requires a lot of layers, and this can get hot and uncomfortable.
2. Jedi Robes
Making your own set of Jedi robes is a little simpler than the tunic. Traditionally, the material calls for wool, but if you’re not going for a completely screen-accurate cosplay, you can probably get away with cotton.
The shape is straightforward: you want flowing robes, a large hood, and wide sleeves. The color should be the traditional dark brown.
Lengthwise, the hem should reach the ankles, and the sleeves should reach your knuckles when your arm is relaxed. When the hood is pulled over your head, there should be enough spare material to droop over your shoulders a little. You don’t want a tight-fitted hood.
For a properly screen-accurate robe, you will also want a lining. However, if you’re going for a cheap, simple option, you can just use one layer of material.
Jedi robes are the same for male and female Jedis.
Tip: If it’s cold, a properly made set of wool Jedi robes will keep you very warm. The robes are probably the most distinctive part of a Jedi cosplay (except for the lightsaber, of course) and can hide less screen-accurate parts of your cosplay.
3. Jedi Belt
The belt is an important part of any Jedi cosplay. It stands out, so it’s important to choose the right kind of belt.
For a simple, entry level cosplay, you can get away with a dark leather belt with a silver buckle in the center. Worn over the tunic, it should fit well and pull your outfit together.
A properly screen-accurate jedi belt is a little more complicated. A Jedi’s belt isn’t just a fashion accessory, it’s a utility belt.
A basic belt is a thick strip of leather, at least two inches wide, with a thinner strip of leather running around the center. Use button studs to fix this thinner strip to the main belt. The buckle goes in the center, and depending on your cosplay, you can choose different patterns and styles here.
Pouches should be attached to the utility belt, as well as your lightsaber. You can also get screen-accurate food and water capsules to attach to the belt. If you’re looking to be accepted as a proper cosplayer, there are some important details you should notice here. You need at least two pouches, possibly more. They should be made of leather or pleather, and the colors should match up with the rest of your outfit.
You need at least four food and water pouches. They should be metallic colored, but only certain colors, like gold or silver.
If you’re going for an original trilogy-styled belt, like Luke Skywalker’s belt, use a single wide belt with a simple buckle.
Tip: Your leather utility belt should look worn and well-used.
4. Jedi Boots
No Jedi costume is complete without the traditional tall boots. You can use motorcycle boots, riding boots, or other similar styles. Dark colors are best, ideally black or dark brown. If you’re going for a simple, entry-level cosplay, boots in these colors will be fine, presuming they’re not above the knee.
Higher quality costumes need higher quality boots. No zippers or laces should be visible, and only leather or pleather is permitted. You should also go for low-heeled boots. You can use buckles, but make sure it fits in well with the rest of your cosplay and is appropriate (no modern buckles, or something that fits in with a different genre or historical period).
Tip: Always match your belt and your boots. Black and brown combinations are never a good idea.
5. Jedi Lightsaber
Now it’s time to talk about everyone’s favorite part of a Jedi cosplay – the lightsaber.
If you’re cosplaying a generic Jedi, you can choose from a wide variety of colors and hilt styles. Of course, if you’re cosplaying a particular Jedi (Luke Skywalker, for example) you’ll need to use their color and style of lightsaber.
If you’re going for a simple Jedi look, you might even go for a hilt only, to strap onto your belt for the “look” of a lightsaber.
However, most cosplayers are going to want a proper lightsaber. You can build your own custom lightsaber, even going for a double blade if you’d prefer! Metal hilts are most common.
You can choose from the usual Jedi blade colors. For a properly screen-accurate lightsaber, Hasbro’s Black Series Force FX lightsabers are of very high quality and will more than do a good job.
Of course, for a proper Jedi cosplay, you need a proper lightsaber. This means no toy or short lightsabers.
And just like that, you’re ready! Off you go, and may the Force be with you!