Whether it’s Leia Organa’s unforgettable hair buns or Padmé Amidala’s decorative headdress, Star Wars is chock-full of iconic looks. While these hairstyles are no doubt unique and head-turning, many of them are also steeped in symbolism or cultural meaning. From Anakin’s over-the-shoulder braid to Rey’s hair knobs, they’re often associated with tradition and history.
Here are five of our favorite hairstyles from the Star Wars films:
1. The Alderaanian braid
In Claudia Gray’s book Star Wars: Leia, Princess of Alderaan, we learn that the residing Alderaanian monarch typically wears braids. While the book doesn’t dive into anything deeper than this, they seem to be associated with tradition, nobility, and family. And, despite the loss of Alderaan, Leia continues to honor her heritage (especially her adoptive mother) by wearing them.
2. The Padawan braid
The Padawan braid may not be my favorite look (hello there, rat tail), but it holds a deep meaning to the Jedi Order. Traditionally, a training Jedi wears a tight braid that stems from the neck and drapes over one shoulder. But it’s more than just a tangible representation of your rank; it’s a symbol of dedication and sacrifice. In addition to abstaining from romantic relationships, they’re forced to sever ties with their families, as well.
3. Rey’s three hair knobs
Rey’s signature three-knob hairstyle is very practical. Whether she’s scavenging for parts on Jakku, training on Ahch-To, or running away from stormtroopers, she needs to keep her hair out of her face.
While the film doesn’t specifically address the meaning behind her hairstyle, I want to believe it has something to do with her childhood. In The Force Awakens, we see her rocking the same hairstyle as a kid. Is this how she stays connected with her family?
4. Padmé Amidala’s headdresses
Not only is Padmé Amidala the Queen of Naboo, she’s also the queen of elaborate hairstyles and ensembles. Her ornate headdresses are so big, they look like they have their own gravitational pull. And don’t even get me started on the array of colorful dresses. Whether it’s a senate meeting or a fancy dinner, she must have one heck of a bedroom closet.
My favorite look is Padmé’s throne room ensemble. Between the lightbulb-like embellishments on her bell-shaped gown and the gold and red headpiece, this look stands out above the rest. It’s head-turning, for sure, but it also says a lot about her exalted status, as it’s a symbol of power and wealth. She may be a child queen, but this look leaves no doubt that she can command a room.
5. Chewbacca’s glorious mane
This list wouldn’t be complete without an entry dedicated to one character who’s covered in hair: Chewbacca. Long and silky, Chewie’s luxurious brown mane is really the stuff of legends. It’s not a hairstyle, per se, but it’s obvious he takes care of himself (and has even been known to borrow Lando’s hair products in a pinch). If he ever sells haircare routine secrets to the galaxy, he’ll be one rich Wookiee.
Ashley Barry-Biancuzzo is an editor at Reviewed, a division of USA TODAY. She also occasionally writes for Geek & Sundry and StarWars.com.