Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Style Icon: Sansa Stark from Game of Thrones

This post contains minor spoilers from HBO's Game of Thrones, but no book spoilers.

Game of Thrones has some of the most beautiful costuming I have ever seen. Each outfit tells the story of the character and the characters' wardrobes evolve as their stories do.

Sansa Stark is a character who has transformed tremendously through the first four seasons of Game of Thrones. In the beginning, Sansa is a young girl, full of dreams and naivety, but by season four, she has learned to play the political games in King's Landing. She's a somewhat controversial character among fans, especially since she begins the series as an annoying, bratty teenager. Through the seasons, she learns quickly that her former dreams for the future are simply fantasy and she must adapt. Her wardrobe reflects her constantly changing status and the careful way she must portray herself to survive. For more on Sansa's sartorial symbolism, this article is definitely worth a read (but beware spoilers!).

I interpreted four of Sansa's looks into modern outfits. With each look, I'll also analyze Sansa's state and what her wardrobe reveals about her own struggles.

Sansa Stark - Little Dove
Necklace | Dress | Belt | Vest | Boots

In the very beginning, Sansa is very much a young lady from Winterfell. She wears her hair the Northern way, had hopes of knights and romance, and wears clothing that is utilitarian, not frivolous. She dresses in simple dresses with warm detailing to protect her from the chill of Winterfell. At this point in the series, her clothing reflects her homeland. The Hound teases Sansa early on by calling her a "pretty talking bird, repeating all the pretty little words they taught [her] to recite."

To bring this look to life, I chose a simple boho-style dress with a floral print, reminiscent of the floral design on Sansa's gown. To accessorize, boots and a faux fur vest are ladylike while still hinting at a colder climate. This outfit is inspired by nature, so top the look off with a replica of Sansa's own dragonfly necklace.

In King's Landing, Sansa learns that words are her armor. She chooses her words and appearance carefully, blending in at first by choice and then by necessity. Her clothing and hairstyles become more ornate -- she is seen wearing this beautiful purple gown several times. At this point, Sansa is becoming disenchanted with reality, quickly realizing that "There are no heroes... In life, the monsters win."

To reflect the ornateness of the dresses Sansa wears in King's Landing, I chose a delicate plum dress with lace and chiffon detailing. Accessorize with subtle wolf jewelry as an ode to the Stark family and a reminder to keep your family close to your heart. A braided updo ties the look together as an homage to the elaborate braided styles of King's Landing.

This is the point in the series where I just want to give Sansa a million hugs. She's played the game of thrones as carefully as possible, somehow surviving through all sorts of twists and turns, but winds up in a nightmarish scenario. Without giving away too many details, the dress Sansa is wearing at this point has embroidery that tells her story in great detail -- a lion slashing at a wolf. At this point, despite her best efforts, she cannot escape the Lannister family.

To recreate this look, I settled on a formal cream and champagne ensemble. A unique, gold hair piece and glittery heels are party-worthy, but the monochromatic, grown-up color pallet is a dramatic shift from Sansa's previously girlish wardrobe. Finish the look with a lion necklace -- at this point, Sansa cannot afford to be loyal to her own family and must wear the banner of her hostages.

Sansa undergoes a major makeover at the end of season four, complete with a dramatic hair change. I like to think of this Sansa as "goth Sansa." After all the hardships she has been through, this Sansa is made of stone. She is cunning and calculated and seeks her own survival. Sansa herself thinks, "My skin has gone from porcelain, to ivory, to steel."

The original dress is floor-length with feathered sleeves and a corset; I chose a little black dress with a beaded neckline for the modern interpretation. Accessories are bold choices for a bold Sansa -- try a a chunky bracelet similar to her necklace and a statement ring with wolf fangs to reflect Sansa's own ferocity.

Who is your favorite Game of Thrones character?

Looking for more Game of Thrones style? Learn how to get Margaery Tyrell's look.

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