We could go on and on about the theories, timelines, and questions in play during Westworld’s sophomore season, but if you’re in search of answers, don’t forget to look at your screen — specifically, at the costumes curated by seasoned designer Sharen Davis. Whether large or small, the changes made to each look are meant to say something about each character at a deeper level. “There are definitely rules for what a guest wears and what a host wears,” Davis tells Vulture. “The hosts are more authentic, and the guests are cleaner and a little more colorful.” Let’s learn what these costumes reveal for each major Westworld character, shall we?
At first glance, Dolores’s outfit appears different than what we saw in season one: She has a more formfitting white bodice as a top, flanked by a heavy bullet holder around her torso. (And cute lace details!) But if you look down at her flowing blue skirt, you might get some Sweetwater flashbacks: The outfit is entirely reconstructed from her iconic blue paisley dress to better fit her tough “Wyatt” persona. “She’s the best for the word deconstruction,” Davis said. “This is her more evolved, more human-thinking character for her rebel place in where she’s going with her anger.”
After Davis ripped the top off of Dolores’s blue dress to reveal the white bodice that was already underneath, she and Evan Rachel Wood agreed that the bullet-chain accessory would make Dolores look even more menacing. “I felt if we totally changed her clothes, there was no place where she would’ve done that, and it would’ve been strange,” Davis said. “So why don’t we deconstruct what she has on?”
Unlike Dolores’s noticeable change in appearance, it was never an option to change the Man in Black’s signature all-black look — even if it meant Ed Harris sweating profusely under those monochromatic layers for yet another season. (“He never complains!” Davis assured us.) This is due to the character’s unchanging motives and ideals in the second season, as he continues to search for the true meaning of the park, whatever the cost. “He knows that outfit inside and out,” Davis said about Harris. “It’s a cotton shirt underneath, and his ascot and ties are cotton. It’s very comfortable.”
The transformation of Angela has been the most striking in season two, since we previously saw her in chic, modern clothes. (Remember her white dress as she greeted young William?) But now, as Wyatt’s right-hand woman in pursuit of murderin’ justice, Davis wanted to give Angela completely different clothes, as opposed to deconstructed looks from her previous outfits. “I looked at all of season one and there are snippets of her in different types of Western clothing,” Davis said. “I pulled from all of her looks and developed her one look, and added a coat. The crown is made from bones.” The final look — complemented by Angela’s longer, flowing hair — is meant to convey how much autonomy she now has over herself. “It’s to represent her freedom,” Davis said. “It’s her free will and her choice of hair.”
Teddy’s outfit of choice, while unchanged since season one, is interesting is terms of narrative development. His simple, beige suit doesn’t indicate much of a personality due to its neutral color scheme, which is heightened even further after Dolores completely alters his emotional traits in episode five. Teddy remaining in the outfit after such a major change, Davis said, is meant to heighten this ambiguity. “He’s still Teddy, which says something,” she explained. “He’s a great sharpshooter, but you don’t know if he’s a good guy or a bad guy.”
Maeve is out of the Mariposa brothel business and focused on locating her daughter, so Davis reflected that newfound maternal instinct in Maeve’s clothing. “I wanted to calm down her sexuality for the season. She looked amazing in the first season, but it was so sexually charged,” she said. “I wanted everyone to see that she’s on a different mission now.” Yet, there was one part of Maeve’s Mariposa days that Westworld’s creative team insisted Davis incorporate in all of her outfits, whether she was in Sweetwater or wearing kimonos in Shogunworld: “The only notes I specifically got were if we could keep her red colors somewhere in whatever she wears.”
Lee’s fashion transformation has been the most comical, owing to the fact that he goes from a sharp, tailored dresser to Maeve’s submissive little farm boy. “He’s now under Maeve, so his status is completely gone,” Davis said. “She’s like, ‘Okay, I’m taking you around, but we can see you everywhere we go.’” Still, Simon Quarterman surprised the Westworld team by how good he made the outfit look, especially since they tried to block his handsomeness. “He rocked that look,” Davis added. “It’s like, Can’t you just look bad?”