With iconic outfits like Yuna’s robe or Vincent Valentine’s tattered red cape, fashion has a very special place in Final Fantasy. The character design in the Final Fantasy games has always been a mainstay in the series.
With characters whose outfits transcend their intended medium, there are some characters who surpass their peers. Not by the ridiculous sizes of their impractical weapons but by the sheer power of the clothes on their backs and how good they look wearing them.
Updated on March 28, 2023 by Quinton O’COnnor: We’ve added five more characters to our list. You know what that means – five more chances to disagree with us! Regardless, we hope you enjoy the read!
15 Rinoa Heartilly
Final Fantasy fashion is known for its ridiculous outfits, elaborate armor sets, giant weapons, and zippers. Lots and lots of zippers. Rinoa is the exception – except for the zippers, she does have two of them.
Rinoa’s outfits do what most Final Fantasy characters’ outfits can’t, and that is simplicity. Fantasy outfits don’t need a million bells and whistles to show that they are fictional. They can be toned down and still be tasteful outfits. Especially when the setting requires them to be, like in Final Fantasy 8.
14 Warrior Of Light
The Warrior of Light embodies everything that retro Final Fantasy stands for. His unique armor is recognizable to any JRPG fan from a mile away. The contrasting blue and yellow of the cuirass and the cape respectively, make the iconic armor regal, yet subtle.
The Warrior of Light’s armor has seen many redesigns over the years to better match the game it’s being included in, but it is nailed every single time. Not only because character designers at Square Enix are very talented, but because the Warrior of Light’s outfit design is timeless. Whether the horns are up or forward, the Warrior of Light is here to bring fashion and fantasy together.
Yuna certainly didn’t set off on her Pilgrimage to wow the world with her keen fashion sense. In fact, her gorgeous garb is easily the most traditional on the list. But the traditional elements are precisely the charm; the elegant sashes, the humble purple skirt, the back bow.
In Final Fantasy X, Yuna’s flower-patterned hakama and obidome cord-clinchers all depict a woman proud of her heritage – and of her duty. It’s a striking look, an accidental piece of timeless Final Fantasy glam. (And if you prefer Yuna’s X-2 getup, hey, you do you.)
12 Genesis Rhapsodos
Love him, hate him, or hate him a lot, Genesis Rhapsodos is the starriest star in an FF7 prequel filled with pretty-boy stars. Crisis Core: Final Fantasy 7 is like a nonstop glam show of male models (and the occasional gal). But could it have been anything else, when its antagonist is modeled after Japanese rock icon Gackt himself?
There are lots of valid picks for stylish devils in the FF7 canon. The red-coated menace wields his garb as well as any sword, however, and eclipses those Shinra-uniformed good boys with ease.
11 Locke Cole
He’s not a thief, he’s a treasure hunter. That’s why Locke’s outfit is so loud. He’s not trying to blend in, but quite the contrary – he is seeking adventure, and he wants everyone to know it.
Every outfit needs a statement piece and Locke’s outfit is tied together by the Doc Martens-inspired white and blue boots. With a feathered bandana, the zebra-striped shirt, plus the surplus of necklaces and accessories, Locke is ready to start a hair metal band. He’s making a statement, and it is working.
10 Kain Highwind
This man’s attire birthed one of Final Fantasy’s most iconic looks. From the dragon’s-head helmet to the precise angles on his form-fitting amaranthine-hued armor, Kain Highwind’s design has withstood the test of time. It’s made him eminently marketable, and his overall aesthetic has been reused several times throughout the series, to its greatest effect perhaps with Estinien Wyrmblood in Final Fantasy 14.
9 Thancred Waters
The Scions’ silver-tongued heartthrob is not only sneaky, but he is also a man of refined taste. His story in the fashion world begins a bit rocky, with his outfits from A Realm Reborn and Stormblood being acceptable at best and hastily put together – but once he is revealed in Shadowbringers, it is all uphill from there.
Thancred exchanges his trusty daggers for a hefty-looking gunblade and a stunning white trench coat fitting of a gunbreaker, ready to protect whomever he needs to. The change not only ups Thancred’s appearance, but also changes his story narrative from an untrustworthy fly on the wall to a slick action hero who is willing to sacrifice anything for those he needs to protect.
8 Vivi Ornitier
More so even than Kain, Vivi’s our ultimate pick for ‘the best fashion filled with old-school charm’. You’d probably refrain from going to the club dressed like a beloved Black Mage – though more power to you if you do – but there’s no denying Vivi knocks the classic archetypal design out of the park. Where this kid goes, his big straw hat goes. Where his big straw hat goes, style goes.
At times, developers create villains with an end goal of them looking menacing and having an aura to them that is viciously enchanting yet dangerous. And what is more threatening than a model straight out the runway from Paris fashion week? Ultimecia fills those shoes perfectly.
Ultimecia’s dress is borderline ridiculous and bold, with the extremely low cut on the front – but the horns and fur collar bring it all together to make a truly stylish appearance. She is the queen of time and space for a reason.
6 Ravus Nox Fleuret
Ravus’ big-collared wide white frock slashed with so much silver is the sort of thing someone might think to wear if they’re hoping the cameras will hog them at an awards ceremony, whether in jealous splendor or mildly disturbed irritation. Either way, it sends a message – we’re not quite sure what that message is, but it manages to be a stylish one.
Weirdly, it’s Ravus’ lack of a left arm that completes the look. His Magitek prosthetic, chromatic silver with purple swords painted upon it, transforms an odd costume into something oddly satisfying.
5 Y’shtola Rhul
Every one of the Scions of the Seventh Dawn in Final Fantasy 14 receives a makeover in every expansion. Some of them get them because they are in desperate need of one, and others just get one to better match the situation they are in, but still retain the essence of their original look. That is not the case for Y’shtola. She looks stunning in every single expansion.
Whether it is her simple robe and leggings combo during A Realm Reborn or her gaudy black dress in Shadowbringers, Y’shtola is ready to stop a calamity at any given time while still looking incredible.
4 Rufus Shinra
The president of Shinra himself cannot be afforded to be seen with rags akin to the citizens of the slums. A man of pure taste, Rufus dons a white-on-white suit, but it’s not only for business appearances.
The cut on his pants alone is ahead of its time. A baggy fit similar to the zoot suits of the 1940s ties up the whole layered double coat thing he has going on. Rufus Shinra does his dirty work when others cannot finish the job, and he’s not afraid to get a couple of stains on the suit.
3 Noctis Lucis Caelum
The crown prince himself has two jobs: Travel the world with his friends and look good while doing so. Noctis’ all-black outfit might seem boring to most, but focusing on the intricacies of the outfit show how well-designed it is. The crop on his pants is an excellent way to show off his military-like combat boots as an accent piece. Especially with the striking red sole popping on every step he takes along his journey.
Not only that, but Noctis is seen wearing many outfits, like his favorite fishing gear, a three-piece suit, or even a hat made of a cup of instant noodles. Even the prince himself is willing to have some fun once in a while.
2 Balthier Bunansa
Final Fantasy 12 was a hit or miss for a lot of people. Its take on active combat and its gambit system soured a lot of players who were fond of Final Fantasy’s turn-based ATB system. But one thing not up for discussion is the costume design.
Balthier’s swagger, paired with his high-class vest and frilly blouse, perfectly encapsulates what Final Fantasy 12 is all about. Regal tones, plundering sky pirates, and a politically infused story with twists and turns that any fan of JRPGs would love.
With a collaboration with industry giants like Louis Vuitton, it’s hard to not acknowledge the Final Fantasy 13 leading lady’s prowess in the fashion world. Lightning’s outfits in all of her games have never been anything short of incredible.
Whether it is for utility with a beautiful sword holster just off-set enough to catch a double-take, or her many DLC outfits in Lightning Returns ranging from Cloud Strife’s outfit to the starting Miqo’te attire from Final Fantasy 14, the brooding pink hair protagonist would slay the runway just as quick as she slays her enemies.
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