Why do Jedi and Sith wear hoods?

Luke Skywalker in The Last Jedi

Force users in the Star Wars universe undeniably have a specific aesthetic. Whether it be the flowing robes, glowing laser swords, or oversized hoods, there’s no mistaking a Jedi or Sith when they make an appearance. But what exactly drives this fashion sense, and why do the Jedi and Sith wear hoods in the first place?

It may go without saying, but hoods are mysterious items of clothing. Hood down, we know exactly who’s headed our way. Hood up, and suddenly the person strutting about is a stranger. From a totally empirical perspective, a hood can conceal identity and provide the anonymity necessary for Jedi or Sith to go about their business unbothered. 

However, there’s a big distinction to make between most Jedi and Sith hoods: the color. Jedi often don brown robes and brown hoods, which makes for a mysterious figure but not necessarily a frightening one. Sith, on the other hand, rock out in their traditional black duds, which aren’t just mysterious, they’re creepy. Black is an eerie color for a hooded figure to don, both dark and unwavering in its appearance. DARKness, dark hood, dark side ⏤ are we sensing a pattern here?

From a visual standpoint, robes and hoods help communicate the larger religious overtones that Star Wars applies to the Jedi and Sith. In this way, their clothing reflects that of real-world monks or priests who use hoods to maintain their focus and block out distractions. 

Look no further than Obi-Wan Kenobi’s reveal in A New Hope to understand the true significance of hoods in the Star Wars universe. That clip can be viewed below. 

In the end, the hoods of Star Wars have many meanings. They conceal identity, convey mystery, and may even hold religious significance. They also just look really cool, and that’s okay, too.