People in the World of Avatar wear many different styles of clothing and accessories, depending on the nation from which they hail and their social status. Styles range from the humble attire worn by Air Nomads to the elaborate robes worn by the Fire Lord. Many fashion designs and accessories—particularly those of the Earth Kingdom and Fire Nation—are inspired by real-life East Asian styles of clothing.
By the time the United Republic of Nations was founded, fashion began to diversify as new elements—inspired by European and North American aesthetics—were incorporated into traditional designs. Nevertheless, these unique styles still partly carried the appearance of traditional East Asian dress.
A notable fact of fashion in general is that each nation wears the color that symbolizes their native element: The Air Nomads dress in orange and yellow; the people of the Water Tribe wear blue, purple, and white clothing; the people of the Earth Kingdom wear brown, yellow, and green attire, and the people of the Fire Nation wear various hues of red, brown, black, pink, and gold.
Air Nomad attire is as simple as the lifestyle of the people who wear it. Staples include an assortment of loose apparel, such as cloaks, robes, and shawls. Monks may also wear a set of beads, depending on their position in the council. Generally, it appears that the clothing becomes more layered as a monk increases in position and improves in skill.
Senior monks who have become master airbenders wear layered robes much longer than those seen on children. The under-robes are designed with a yellow collar, while the flowing over-robes are brown. The armlets are loose and opened wide at the wrist. Women of the same rank generally sport the same style, but there is usually a yellow lining that extends over the bust and meets a long underskirt of the same yellow color.
Senior monks wear necklaces made of wood, signifying their rank and superior skill. The necklaces usually consist of wooden beads and a number of round, wooden disks carved with the Air Nomad emblem. In addition to these basic components, necklaces may also include small knots of leather tassels.
After the conclusion of the Hundred Year War, Avatar Aang wore a similarly-fashioned wooden necklace, but with four round disks, each carved with a different elemental symbol. To contact his past lives, he meditated on the disk bearing the previous Avatar's native element. At one point, disagreeing with advice given to him by Roku, Aang removed the fire disk from the necklace. Later, when needing Roku's advice in the midst of an emergency, he used earthbending to fashion a small rock into a new disc, which he attached to the necklace and re-established contact with his previous incarnation.
Young Air Nomads
Young Air Nomads in training wear long-sleeved yellow shirts, loose orange shawls, brown pants, and tall red boots. The front of the shirts falls to the knees but is cut at the crotch to leave the material draping only over the outside of the legs. The shirt is held in place by an orange, belt-like wrap, and the end of the leg draping is tucked securely into the top of the knee-high boots. Both the leg draping and the shawls can act as a parachute, catching air as the young bender falls to slow their descent.
Shaving one's head is a tradition in Air Nomad society. Both young nomads who are in training and master airbenders shave their heads, while elders grow beards and mustaches. Female master Air Nomads shave the front portion of their heads in order to reveal their tattooed arrow and identify themselves as nuns. Air Nomads utilize shaving tools, which can be curved blue and white razors decorated with the symbol of the nomads. Much like washing, shaving is considered part of the morning ritual to prepare for the day ahead.
Shaving one's head was for practical reasons as well as aesthetic ones; having a shaved head allowed for increased sensitivity to surrounding air currents, which helped the Air Nomads to anticipate their opponent's movements and counter attack more effectively.
The arrow tattoos that run down an Air Nomad's chi paths signify their mastery of airbending. The design is an emulation of the natural arrows on the heads of flying bisons, the original airbenders and animals revered by the Air Nomads. Apprentice airbenders have no tattoos, as they receive their markings after passing the thirty-six levels of airbending, or slightly earlier if they create a new airbending technique. Their tattoos are revealed during a public ceremony.
The wearing of these tattoos was taken very seriously: When members of the Yu Dao chapter of the Avatar Aang Fan Club tattooed themselves in a similar matter, they intended it as a sign of homage and respect for Air Nomad culture. However, Aang himself saw the gesture as a great insult, as the tattoos were sacred to his people and had to be earned through rigorous dedication and training, not worn as a "costume".
As the cultural successors of the Air Nomads, the people of the Air Nation largely follow the same fashion trends as the extinct nation, though with some differences.
The outfits of the Air Nomads and Air Acolytes have stayed more or less the same as what the Air Nomads traditionally wore, although the Air Acolytes wear fewer bright colors, reflecting their less prominent role in Air Nomad society. The young airbenders—Jinora, Ikki, and Meelo—wear clothing similar to that of the young Aang, while elder airbenders incorporate layers in their clothing, most noticeably the long capes which Tenzin and the elder Aang wear in addition to their shawls, and both are a vivid shade of scarlet.
Air Nomad formal wear
A new phenomenon in Air Nomad attire is the appearance of formal wear, which incorporates rich, lavish colors such as dark red and gold. At the gala held by Tarrlok in honor of Avatar Korra, Tenzin is shown wearing scarlet robes which cover the shoulders and legs, and open at the front to reveal the dark red and gold dress shirt he wears underneath, while Pema wears a dark red dress with a scarlet cape and shawl. The young airbenders wear similar attire to their everyday dress, only their orange shawls are replaced with a scarlet shawl and cape. Pema, Jinora, and Ikki have their hair specially arranged for the occasion: Pema wears her hair down, while the girls wear ribbons in their hair.
Sometime between 171 AG and 174 AG, Asami Sato designed and had Future Industries develop wingsuits that enable airbenders to fly without the need of an airbender staff. With fabric attached to the legs and arms that flares open due to the wind, the airbender wearing the suit is allowed more maneuverability and aerodynamic movement, enabling the user to have greater control over their motions in the air. While unused, the wings are attached to the hips and torso with press snap buttons.
The citizens of the Northern and Southern Water Tribe wear blues, purples, and whites as their general palette, representing the nation's cultural heritage and the practice of waterbending. The attire in both the polar tribes usually incorporates furs and thick material.
When out in the cold, people of the Water Tribes wear heavy, hooded coats, lined and trimmed with soft fur to keep the wearer warm. The exteriors often bear designs resembling waves or other imagery that link the garments to waterbending and the general culture of the Water Tribes.
These coats can be found in an array of styles; although not universal, women's coats are usually shown with a fur or leather belt-like wrap tied just below the chest, while men's coats typically have no tie at the waist and display string-like fur hangings suspended from the collar. In general, men's coats also tend to be shorter than those worn by women. Coats worn by young children sometimes follow these aesthetics, but at other times consist of simple draped coverings that change little between the sexes.
Multiple styles of gloves can be found among the Water Tribes: One style, worn by Katara for example, has the index finger and thumb separate from the rest of the mitten. Another design is the classic five-fingered glove, such as the gloves worn by Princess Yue. Usually, men in the Water Tribes wear a three-hole mitten, keeping their index and middle fingers separate from the ring and pinkie fingers, and the thumb by itself.
This type of clothing is worn beneath the fur coats, the latter of which are not often used when traveling to warmer regions. Women typically wear long, kimono-like tunics that extend to the knees or ankles, often with split sides for leg movement. Men's tunics are similarly fashioned but boxier and less form-fitting. They are also shorter, usually extending only to the waist or, at most, to the knees. These tunics can consist of multiple layers and, depending on the season and location in which they are worn, may be long-sleeved, short-sleeved, or have no sleeves at all. Fur trimmed leggings or breeches, which can be close-fitting or baggy in style, are worn by both men and women.
Lighter clothing also comes in various styles: Princess Yue's lighter clothing is shown as a light purple dress covered by a kimono-like tunic in a darker shade of purple. Her attire also had no split sides, like those of Katara's and Sokka's. The tunic was lined with white trim, displaying the Water Tribe emblem in the lower corner. This purple coloring seems to be something of a trend in the Northern Tribe (more so than the South, at least), as Malina and Maliq were also seen wearing it during their time in the South Pole, though in a slightly lighter shade.
The lighter clothing worn by Avatar Korra, while unmistakably Water Tribe in style, is noticeably more masculine in its design; her tunics are often sleeveless and much shorter than those normally worn by women, and she typically eschews longer dresses and most ornaments, except during formal occasions.
These strips of cloth are wrapped around the woman's hips and chest and worn as undergarments or even as a swimsuit. Men can specially wrap a sarashi as a loincloth, worn in a similar fashion to briefs or boxers. The sarashi can also be used to wrap injuries and can be wrapped around one's arms or legs to prevent sprains.
- Main article: Hair loopies
Hair loopies are a traditional hairstyle worn by the women of the polar Water Tribes. Two locks of hair on either side of the head are fastened with clips onto the back of the head, hanging down more loosely than the rest of the hair. In the Southern Water Tribe, these loopies are usually plain, however, in the Northern Water Tribe, they are often braided into elaborate designs.
Warrior's wolf tail
- Main article: Warrior's wolf tail
A warrior's wolf tail is a hairstyle used by male Water Tribe warriors. This style requires younger warriors, like Sokka, to shave the sides of their head, only growing the top. The hair is pulled back and tied in a short queue, resembling a wolf's tail. As the warrior gets older, the sides of his hair grow and remain uncut. The hair grows out with age, eventually reaching a length to the warrior's mid-back. Sokka and the rest of the Southern Water Tribe warriors can be seen sporting the style in the invasion of the Fire Nation.
- Main article: Headpieces
Princess Yue was one of the few members of the Water Tribe known to wear hair ornaments: she wore blue bands decorated with lighter blue medallions bearing the Water Tribe insignia, and they were used to hold up, tie, and decorate her hair.
Other members of the Water Tribes generally wear a variety of hair ties, hats, and beads rather than full-on ornaments: Katara and other female tribe members, for example, used ties to hold their hairstyles in place, while Tarrlok wore his hair in three narrow queues decorated with small blue beads.
- Main article: Body markings in the World of Avatar
Water Tribe warriors wear face paint during battles. It is believed that the purpose of the face paint is to allow other warriors in the tribe to distinguish their own members as well as serve as a type of camouflage in the ice-filled tundra of the poles.
In the Northern Water Tribe, women also employ cosmetics; Princess Yue, for example, wore makeup of various pink/peach shades on a regular basis, and Eska wore subtle touches of purple eyeshadow when attending the Glacier Spirits Festival with her family.
- Main article: Betrothal necklace
In the Water Tribes, it is traditional for a man to give a special necklace to the woman whom he wishes to marry. This betrothal necklace—often crafted by the prospective groom himself—typically takes the form of a blue medallion on a choker, through there is no one standard design. The necklace signifies the engagement of the couple and tells other men that the woman is spoken for. Both Princess Yue and Katara wore these necklaces, though Katara's was a family heirloom passed down from her grandmother.
Other necklaces serve purely aesthetic purposes, such as the chokers worn by Sokka and many other male tribesmen, often made of white material.
Foggy Swamp Tribe
The members of the Foggy Swamp Tribe utilize natural materials from the swamp to craft their clothing and accessories, including leaves, tree bark, and possibly animal skins. These are fashioned into a variety of simple garments, including skirts, loincloths, hats made from single large leaves, and shirts. Due to the use of these natural elements, the people of the Foggy Swamp Tribe sport various greens and browns, rather than the blues and whites of their polar cousins. It should be noted, though, that the water in the swamp is green, due to the abundance of plant life, so the Foggy Swamp Tribe follows the consistent model for clothing in the Avatar World by wearing the color of their element.
Men of the Foggy Swamp Tribe often wear their hair in long, braided queues, somewhat similar to men in the Upper Ring of Ba Sing Se. The main exception is Hue, who wears his hair short and rough-cut.
The Tribe also utilizes wood to create necklaces and a crude form of body armor (breastplates, bracers, and greaves), the latter of which was worn during the attempted invasion of the Fire Nation on the Day of Black Sun.
A great diversity of clothing exists within the Earth Kingdom, reflecting its vast size and varied climates. Citizens typically dress in an array of greens, browns, golds, yellows, and other “earthy” colors; Kyoshi Islanders, who usually dress in blue attire, are an exception. Particular styles of clothing can indicate wealth, social status, and even local customs: In general, people residing in rural areas or from modest backgrounds, such as Haru and his family, wear relatively simple clothing, while royalty and other wealthy citizens, such as the residents of the Upper Ring of Ba Sing Se, usually wear fancier attire.
Ba Sing Se
More than anywhere else in the Earth Kingdom, Ba Sing Se demonstrates how fashion can reflect social status. The city is divided into three different socioeconomic rings, each housing people of specific classes and backgrounds, so there are great variations in attire. Generally, however, lower class citizens wear darker colors, while the middle and higher classes wear lighter colors.
The Lower Ring is poorest, dirtiest, and most crime-ridden area of the city. People here tend to wear clothing in shades of brown and dark green, emphasizing their low position in society. The style of these clothes is anything but elaborate; most wear raggedy kimono-like tunics and, if lucky, a reasonable pair of shoes.
Hair is not usually styled in the Lower Ring. Women tie their hair back or style it in some form of bun though not to an extravagant degree, and men almost universally wear queues. Some exceptions can be found, however, due to the large number of refugees from other parts of the Earth Kingdom that have settled in the Lower Ring.
In the Middle Ring, clothing is fashioned in more elaborate styles, usually in lighter shades of green. Women wear dresses accented with gold and yellow, and men sport more extravagant tunics. In the Middle Ring, clothing is fashioned in more elaborate styles, usually in various shades of light green. Women have dresses lined with hints of gold and yellow, and men sport more extravagant tunics.
Middle-class families are adequately secure, financially. Therefore, men can afford to braid their hair or pull it back in a top-knot, often wrapped with a green band. Women too have more elaborate and decorated hairdos.
Due to the great wealth of the Upper Ring, its inhabitants wear the most extravagant styles of all. Their clothing is fashioned in various shades of light green with gold trimmings, worked into elaborate designs and patterns. Women wear full-length dresses, and men longer and more heavily embroidered tunics.
Accessories and cosmetics
Women in the Upper Ring are often seen with accessories, such as elaborate headpieces, often gold-colored and adorned with flowers, dark green fans bordered with gold in a wooden frame, and chartreuse parasols made of a similar wood. Higher class women also wear cosmetics, varying from applying white powder as foundation, to accentuating their cheeks with pink or red blush, and wearing variously colored eyeshadows.
Women in the Upper Ring typically sport an elaborate hairstyle known as a qitou. The hair is worn long, often with bangs, and collected in a bun at the base of the neck. Generally, the most noticeable feature of this hairstyle is the large hair piece, the shape of which can range from thin and straight to broad and fan-shaped. This hairpiece is usually accessorized with beads, pins, tassels, and large fresh flowers. Men, as in the Lower Ring, almost universally wear a queue or long braid, and keep the front of their head shaved. A few exceptions do exist, however, as the generals on the Council of Five wear the more typical Earth Kingdom fashion of a top-knot and coronet.
The Earth King wears a formal green and yellow robe known as a chaofu, with distinctive horse-hoof cuffs and a green ceremonial collar, known as a piling. On his head he wears a black hat with red trim, a gold finial on the top, and the Earth Kingdom symbol on the front. Around his waist he wears a green sash, fastened with a buckle shaped like the Earth Kingdom symbol. The ensemble is completed by a set of court beads fashioned from jade.
After the palace coup spearheaded by Princess Azula, Earth King Kuei fled Ba Sing Se along with Team Avatar. Deciding to travel the world incognito, Kuei adopted extremely ragged, mismatched garments in shades of dark brown and black. Even Kuei's pet bear, Bosco, removed his ceremonial green and yellow jacket to accompany his disguised master.
Outside Ba Sing Se
Outside of Ba Sing Se, clothing becomes much more varied. The general Earth Kingdom palate of greens, browns, and yellows still predominates, but styles can be significantly different from region to region. There are certain exceptions to this color palate, however: Chong and his group of nomads wore multicolored clothing in eccentric styles, reflecting their carefree and non-conformist nature. Jet and his Freedom Fighters, due to their "off-the-grid" lifestyle, wore clothing that was cobbled together from a variety of sources, including discarded pieces of Fire Nation armor.
Depending on the location, social divisions may also be much less rigid than in Ba Sing Se, and clothing may not change significantly in style between people of different classes. Different kinds of clothing may also be adopted for specific tasks, regardless of the wearer's status.
As a large and prosperous town, Gaoling was home to a broad range of people of various classes. The clothing and hairstyles worn in the town, especially by the Beifong family, were based on Tang Dynasty China. While remaining secluded on her parent’s estate, Toph Beifong wore an elegant dress with a white skirt, yellow sleeves, and bodice decorated with a floral motif. During the Earth Rumble VI tournament, and later when she ran away with Team Avatar, Toph opted for much simpler garb; a short green dress cut like a tunic, a pale yellow overdress shaped like an apron, a wide black belt, and a green and yellow headband. Toph’s parents, Lao and Poppy Beifong, wore long, flowing robes in shades of olive green.
The Kyoshi Islanders are unusual in that they wear blue clothing, as opposed to the greens, yellows, and browns found in most of the Earth Kingdom. Because of its relative proximity to the South Pole, with an economy based largely on fishing and agriculture, clothing on the island tends to be multi-layered against the cold, and fairly simple in design.
The major exception to this scheme is the Kyoshi Warriors, the island’s famed corps of all-female fighters. Modeled after the island’s namesake Avatar, these warriors clad themselves in armored green kimonos, metal headdresses, and elaborate makeup (makeup in any form is not seen on any other islanders).
As a large, cosmopolitan center – second in size and importance only to Ba Sing Se – Omashu contains many distinctive styles of clothing. Earthbending soldiers, who guard the city gates and operate its famous internal delivery system, wear long (presumably armored) yellow tunics over grey pants, accompanied by hats, shawls, and lower-leg protection in strong green. Studded grey gauntlets provide lower arm protection, and the tunics are secured with a belt whose buckle is shaped like the Earth Kingdom symbol. As with many Earthbending soldiers, their feet are bare to create greater sensitivity with the earth. Non-bending soldiers wear longer, more layered tunics in shades of brown and olive green, the upper portion of which also bears the Earth Kingdom symbol, as well as heavy boots.
Ordinary citizens appear to dress in fairly simple but well-made garments in shades of bright green and yellow, somewhat similar to the Middle Ring of Ba Sing Se. Several citizens were also seen wearing green turbans. The clothing worn by the Omashu Resistance during the Fire Nation occupation was slightly more uniform in style, but not completely homogeneous: A under layer – either a tunic and pants or a dress – in yellow or pale green; a shorter, sleeveless over tunic in various shades of green, trimmed with a contrasting green stripe and belted with the left-hand lapel over the right.
Zaofu prides itself on being a center of technological and cultural innovation, and the clothing of the Metal Clan reflects this, being essentially a modern update on traditional Earth Kingdom garb: Dominated by shades of green, grey, and black, the designs are much more utilitarian than most other parts of the Earth Kingdom, with clean, simple lines and little embellishment apart from metal jewelry. Zaofu is also considerably more egalitarian than many regions, so there is not a significant difference between the clothing worn by ordinary citizens and by higher-ranking members of the Clan, including the Matriarch herself. Taking this notion further, the clothing worn by men and women is also similar, both following the long, streamlined aesthetic and not changing dramatically between the sexes. The citizens of Zaofu don their garments with a great sense of pride for their city-state.
Peasants and farmers tend to wear conical straw hats, developed to keep shade as large in area as possible, thus being practical for working in the sun. Thicker hats made from faux fur are sold in Kaya's town; one cap has a decorative striped raccoon tail attached to the back, and as such, it is mainly intended for use as an ornamental accessory. The upper class of the Earth Kingdom mainly wear coronets known as guan; these vary in style immensely and indicate social rank and wealth. Chin the Great wore an especially elaborate piece called the tongtian guan. Mayor Tong wore a fangjin, a rectangular hat for lower officials, while Pu-on Tim wore a putou, a rounded black hat used by scholars. The festival robes for male citizens of Chin Village include wushamao, large hats with two oval flaps protruding from the sides. The women of Ba Sing Se wrap their hair around elaborate supports and ornament them with flowers.
Select citizens wear glasses, such as Earth King Kuei. Some citizens also sport headpieces, mostly generals and military officials. Earth Kingdom necklaces can also be found worn by various people, often made of flowers, gold, jewels, or wood. Eloquent faux fur products, such as coats, scarves, and dead animal skins draped around the neck, are available at Kaya's town.
- Main article: Body markings in the World of Avatar
Fashion in the Fire Nation mimics traditional Asian elements. Layers of various colors, coats, and traditional pieces of armor are common elements in their style. Most outfits are colored red and accented with black, though colors ranging from yellow, gold, gray, brown, and white can also be seen. There is a major gap between the rich and poor, and the different social classes in society wear different clothes based on their wealth and power. One style popular with young women is midriff revealing tops. A common footwear is sandals.
Commoners and peasants
Commoners and peasants tend to wear fairly simple clothing, but even within this strata, styles can vary significantly depending on physical location and specific economic status. In rural or poverty ridden areas, clothing tends to be more basic in design and not as brightly colored. A prime example of this is the river village of Jang Hui, where extreme poverty has engulfed the town. In more "cosmopolitan" areas, such as Fire Fountain City, clothing becomes more layered and elaborate (though still not as fancy as what the aristocracy wears) and is colored in brighter shades of red, brown, and gold.
There are also locations where clothing is the same for everyone, regardless of status or social importance. At the Boiling Rock prison, all prisoners wear uniforms of simple reddish-brown tops and bottoms.
Fire Nation schools follow strict uniform guidelines: the Fire Nation school that Aang joined had a uniform consisting of brown pants for boys and a brown skirt for girls, a shirt, a black and red vest, and a red sash marked with the school's logo. The school also had a policy against wearing head coverings indoors, though Aang was allowed to keep the bandana he was wearing to cover his airbender tattoos after falsely informing his teacher, Ms. Kwan, that it was to cover an embarrassing scar.
As with all Fire Nation clothing, the style is linked back to their native element. Azula, Zuko, Mai, and Ty Lee were wearing the Fire Nation insignia on their bathing suits in Ember Island. Two-piece bikinis are popular with female Fire Nation citizens. While Azula, Zuko, and Mai wore red bathing suits, Ty Lee sported a white bathing suit. Zuko wore bathing shorts while on Ember Island. The beachwear that they later wore to Chan's party was similar to the clothes that they wore to the beach.
Nobility wear clothing similar to the Royal Family, with some exceptions. Mai's clothing, for example, is similar to a Vietnamese Ao Dai. Her outfit features a loose robe over wide pants allowing for increased mobility. Ty Lee's clothing also varies from the typical Fire Nation nobility to allow her to perform her acrobatic tricks. Ty Lee wears a short shirt similar to an Indian choli top that reveals her midriff and knee-length baggy pants covered with a split skirt.
The Fire Nation Royal Family is the richest and most powerful family in the Fire Nation. They wear the most elaborate clothing, which is usually a shade of red, and also sport royal armor. However, in times of mourning, white formal clothing is worn, white being the symbol of death in China. Ozai, Zuko, and Azula were seen wearing this attire at Azulon's funeral which was also Ozai's coronation as Fire Lord.
Prince and Princess
The clothing of the Prince and Princess of the Fire Nation is also elaborate. For military matters, such as war meetings and battles, Zuko and Azula wear formal armor that resembles traditional Thai armor. This armor is black and deep red with gold trimmings. Zuko and Azula both wear gold flame ornaments in their hair top-knots when they wear this armor. While not in public or in a war meeting, the Fire Nation royals usually wear more comfortable robes.
The Fire Lord is the ruler of the Fire Nation. He wears an ornate robe as a sign of his power and rank. The shape of his robes is quite distinctive, with spiked shoulders akin to Thai theatrical costumes and aids in making the Fire Lord look powerful and imposing. In addition to his unique robes, he also wears the Fire Lord headpiece, an ornament in the shape of the Fire Nation insignia.
When Ozai proclaimed himself the Phoenix King, he wore an elaborate helmet and armor. The helmet was gold and black, with a large jewel in the front. The armor Ozai wore was also decorative, resembling twin phoenixes with a cape that extended down to his feet.
- Main article: Top-knot
Along with their clothing, Fire Nation citizens also wear many accessories. Royalty and nobility wear elaborate headpieces and golden necklaces, while the less well-off wear headbands and less elaborate headpieces. There are also head-crafts available in the Fire Nation, different from the ones in the Earth Kingdom in the sense that they are mostly gold in color.
In the Fire Nation, cosmetics appear to be a luxury, as only royalty and nobility have been seen wearing it. Azula's cosmetics and lipstick have more of a reddish color.
The red and gold necklaces are common among women and men of the Fire Nation. Both Azula and Ty Lee wore necklaces to Chan's party, and Suki and Katara also donned Fire Nation styled necklaces while masquerading as Fire Nation citizens.
- Main article: Headpiece
Headpieces are worn by many people in the World of Avatar to adorn their otherwise bare top-knots. These headpieces range from the humble headpieces worn by normal citizens to the golden five-pronged headpiece worn by the Fire Lord, which resembles ancient Chinese fashion.
Fire Nation citizens often wear decorative headpieces in their top-knots. The headpieces are only decorative, however, and are in no way a rank of royalty. Zuko and Azula have both sported three-pronged headpieces in the traditional flame shape. While in the Earth Kingdom, however, Azula wore a simple red headpiece, but later replaced it with a golden one upon returning home.
Crown Prince headpiece
- Main article: Crown Prince headpiece
The Crown Prince headpiece is an ancient royal artifact of the Fire Nation, meant to be worn by Heir to the Fire Lord, who can be male or female. The crown has two prongs, as opposed to the five pronged headpiece of the Fire Lord. The headpiece is crafted into the shape of the Fire Nation insignia. The headpiece was passed down from generation to generation, until it was inherited by Prince Sozin, who gave it to his friend, Avatar Roku. Roku kept it and wore it for the rest of his life. Years later, it was shown to be kept by Iroh, who passed it on to Zuko. It is worn by placing it around the topknot, and it is held by a hairpin.
Fire Lord headpiece
- Main article: Fire Lord headpiece
The Fire Lord's headpiece is an ancient royal artifact of the Fire Nation, meant to be worn by the Fire Lord, the absolute ruler of the nation. The headpiece is shaped like the Fire Nation insignia, except it possesses two additional prongs to make it appear like a crown. It is worn in a top-knot. The royal headpiece has been passed down for many generations of the nation's history from each Fire Lord to the next. The Fire Sages initiate the crowning ceremony. The crown has been worn by at least seven Fire Lords: Sozin, Azulon, Ozai, Zuko, Izumi, and two whose names remain unknown.
United Republic of Nations
As the United Republic of Nations and Republic City, its capital, grew, fashion shifted from the traditional clothing of the four nations to a trend that reflects modernity and the cosmopolitan nature of the new nation.
Both sexes wear a variety of hats and gloves, and scarves are often worn, such as Mako's trademark red scarf, which belonged to his dead father. Asami once bought him a new one, noticing that his was old and frayed, although the young firebender refused to wear it. Hiroshi Sato is seen with a pocket watch that contains a family picture taken before his wife's murder. Bracelets are worn by more wealthy members of Republic City such as Shady Shin. Necklaces are also worn by various people in Republic City.
Makeup seems to be worn mostly by wealthy associates such as Asami Sato. There are various colors of lipstick, from Asami's dark red to Lin Beifong's light pink shade, and eye shadow and makeup powder are also available.
Unlike most other citizens of the United Republic of Nations, whose outfits are inspired by 20th century clothing, the outfits of the Equalists take on more of a steampunk appearance. Nearly all members of the Equalists wear outfits that completely cover their bodies, albeit allowing for unencumbered movement while performing chi blocking. In addition, they all wear black gas masks with the Equalist insignia, red neck gaiters, and their iconic weapon, the electrified glove. Members of the Equalists who were not chi blockers yet or were under the guise of being a civilian wore neck gaiters that covered their mouth and nose, and during the Attack on the Pro-bending Arena, the Equalists in the audience also wore a black hood to further conceal their identity. The Lieutenant's outfit differs in that he wears shoulder pads, his mask only partially covers his face, revealing his mouth and distinctive mustache, and he wears brass goggles instead of a gas mask. He also carries an energy pack on his back with his trademark weapon, his electrified kali sticks. Their leader, Amon, wore a sleeveless gray trench coat with ornate shoulder pads, a black shirt and arm braces, ornate gaiters over his footwear, and the most distinctive aspects of his attire, his hood and distinctive mask. Introduced later in the revolution, Equalist airmen wear a leather skull cap with goggles to protect their eyes. Their uniform consists of a light gray shirt and gray pants, their footwear being a durable pilot's boot. They also have a parachute on their back at all times in case of being shot down.
The only seen factory workers were the laborers at Future Industries. Their outfits consist of a green shirt with a brown vest and brown pants. They wear white knee-breeches over brown shoes. Their final piece of clothing is a green hat with a yellow ring around the outside.
Like every day wear, men wear suits, although generally of a more elegant style than usual. Formal wear consists of either two-piece or three-piece suits, with the two-piece suits featuring a cummerbund or belt and either variety having a tangzhuang or a dress-shirt which is usually white, with ornate fastenings, such as knot buttons, and a mandarin collar. Cravats, neckties or scarves are worn, and trousers are always worn with knee-breeches and shoes. Women wear different varieties of ball gown, and hair is worn in varied styles. For both men and women, color and variation depends on the wearer's taste and heritage: for instance, perhaps reflecting his Water Tribe heritage, Tarrlok wore a sporran-like garment at his gala, while Korra's ball gown was sleeveless, and she covered her ponytail with a cap that matched her trademark armlet, and Mako and Bolin wore red and green respectively.
Male citizens of the United Republic often wear outfits closely resembling either a changshan or a tangzhuang, incorporating a jacket or longer coat with a wide variety of lapels, a shirt with a mandarin collar, and trousers, tucked into knee-high boots, as sported by Amon, as well as commanders in the United Forces, such as General Iroh and Commander Bumi. Another fashion is to wear knee-breeches over black shoes, such as those worn by Mako, Bolin, Yakone, and Tarrlok. These were available in various colors and styles, with the jackets of wealthier people, such as Hiroshi Sato and Tarrlok, featuring a round pattern on the shoulders. Waistcoats are also worn on occasion. Capes or duster-type jackets are seen being worn by Water Tribe members such as Yakone and Varrick. Hiroshi Sato wore a brown leather jacket during a speech to Equalist supporters in Republic City Park and while he observed his new weapons destroying the fleet of the United Forces' First Division. Men's hairstyles range in style, from normal short hair to having a swirling ribbon of hair hanging in the front like Tahno. Men with longer hair are rare, but those that do usually have it in a ponytail or other various styles.
Athletes in the sport of pro-bending wear clothing that protects them from hard hits, but is stylish as well. The uniform appears to be made of a cloth that is durable enough to take direct hits from the three playable elements. The footwear appears to be thin and lightweight, allowing increased agility. The helmet is made of a durable material to protect a player's head. It has a glass face mask to allow protection from debris during a match. However, only waterbending players can aim for the head, and any other element bent at the head is illegal.
Men wear one-piece bathing costumes, as worn in the early 20th century, a close-fitting waterproof garment which covered the entire body from the torso to the upper thighs, leaving the arms and legs bare, and decorated with broad black and white stripes. Women also wear one-piece bathing suits.
United Republic Council
The five members of the United Republic Council wore expensive clothing to indicate their prestige and dressed in the colors of the nation they represent. They all wore a badge bearing the insignia of the United Republic of Nations, indicating their position on the council.
Women and men dress rather similarly in the United Republic, sporting jackets similar to men, but often wear a dress with tights and leather stockings. Women will opt to wear more fancy dresses on more formal occasions. Additionally, women will tend to wear long overcoats in cold weather, such as those sported by Asami and Lin Beifong in the South Pole.
Women's hair is usually kept long and styled in a variety of ways; ponytails, braids, and other up-dos are common. Bobbed haircuts, however, are not unknown, as the captain of the Red Sands Rabaroos and the White Falls Wolfbats fangirls have donned them. A recent development has been the invention of hair dye by Varrick, leading to one of his employees, the actress and showgirl, Ginger, dying her hair a unique shade of red. Although the product was not yet on the market, Varrick anticipated that sales would escalate once Ginger was seen using the product in his weekly serial The Adventures of Nuktuk: Hero of the South.
Theater and film
Actors and entertainers in the Avatar world would often make use of distinctive costumes in their shows, like in the theater or in the movers. A key aspect of costumes in the entertainment industry is their comical and exaggerated appearance; for instance, the actors of Unalaq and Ozai were dressed in over-the-top parodies of the ordinary clothing of the people they were imitating, causing them to closely resemble pantomime villains. Sometimes these costumes are also sexualized to appeal to the crowd - for example, Katara's costume was low-cut and had a split skirt, revealing the actress' bare legs. Similarly, both Ginger and Bolin wore costumes that showed off their bodies, baring far more skin than would be comfortable in the climate of the South Pole.
Traditional theater employed many stagehands to move in the background, rearranging scenes or otherwise adding to the theatrics. To minimize the attention drawn to them, they dressed entirely in black.
The use of masks and face-paint was also prevalent in many performances; the popular tragedy Love amongst the Dragons, which had spirits among its characters, employed masks to make the actors resemble their supernatural roles better. Likewise, in The Boy in the Iceberg, makeup is used to a great extent to enhance the facial expressions of the characters, making them visible for every spectator in the theater.
- Clothing in the Avatar World is influenced by several real-life cultures, such as Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, Korean, Japanese, Native American and a few Indian clothing.
- Fashion of the Air Nomads closely resembles that of Tibetan Monks.
- Fashion in Republic City is reminiscent of Chinese styles found in the early 20th century especially from Shanghai, while incorporating extra articles of clothing to resemble western fashion, rather than some Asian styles and fashions of earlier dynasties in China that is observed in the other kingdoms in ATLA. With the exception to some attire such as fedora hats, pea coats, neckties, and the white 'stockings' often worn by Republic City dwellers are similar to the knee-breeches used in Europe from the late 16th century up to the early 19th century.
- The attire of the Ba Sing Se aristocracy is similar to the Manchurian-Chinese qipao, especially the clothing worn during parties and important public events. However, the nobles in Gaoling exemplify the hairstyle and clothing of the Chinese Tang Dynasty. Toph and Poppy Beifong are seen dressed in traditional robes called hanfu, also seen in many Fire Nation styles.
- Ursa's wedding dress was based on the styles of old-era Korean nobility.
- Song and her mother wore clothing derived from a traditional Korean garment known as a hanbok.
- Female hairdos in the Upper Ring of Ba Sing Se are reminiscent of wealthy women during China's Qing Dynasty. Women wrap their hair similar to the fashion of the Manchu Qing Dynasty of China.
- The Earth King's attire is based on real Chinese Manchurian emperors of the Qing Dynasty.
- Many hats, headdresses, and headgears found in the Fire Nation and Earth Kingdom are similar to topknot-held headpieces known as "guan".
- Pro-bending uniforms were based on early football equipment and uniforms according to the creators in Korra: Making of a Legend.
- The design of the gloves used by many members of the Water Tribe was inspired by the real world split mittens that are commonly used in snowboarding.