Throughout Game of Thrones’ eight seasons, Sansa Stark’s appearance has always mirrored that of the powerful people she’s tried to emulate but the style show chose to wear when she came into her own, spoke volumes.
According to Vox writer Cheryl Wischhover, Sansa’s style evolution signals her character development. Her outfits and hairstyles are fairly simple at the beginning of the series, a sign that Northerners are less concerned with flashy looks than the Westerosi farther south. When Sansa gets to King’s Landing, though, she begins trying to dress like the fashionable ladies she sees in court.
“You instantly know she’s trying to elevate herself,” Game of Thrones costume designer Michele Clapton told Wischhover. “She’s always had this idea that she’s better — she aspired to be a queen.”
Later in the series, Sansa wears her hair in ornate styles similar to Cersei Lannister’s, in an attempt to visually assimilate in with the family that is holding her hostage.
As Anthony Oliveira, a culture critic and Renaissance literature expert, points out, the ability to have elaborate hairstyles, in both the Game of Thrones universe and the Tudor period that inspired it, is a sign of power.
In a symbolic move, when Sansa was crowned queen in the North at the end of the series finale, her hair was styled straight, completely loose and with no ornamentation aside from a tiara. She could finally be herself.