So, you want to be the very best like no one ever was? Well kid, if you wanna get anywhere in this Poké-World - you better dress the part! No-one knows how to pair their Pokémon typing to their attire better than the gym leaders you encounter along the way.
We’ve traveled across the land searching far and wide; wading through all 78 gym leaders, spanning eight generations and 25 years of games (in the mainline franchise), to curate our personal favourite looks from the series.
Come along with us, as the time is right and there’s no better team! Let’s appraise ‘em all!™
Elesa - Pokémon Black 2 and White 2
Never one to be caught wearing the same outfit twice, Supermodel Superstar and Gym Leader Elesa’s Black 2/White 2 ensemble speaks volumes on who and what she is. Her striking style is a clear homage to contemporary music and streetwear aesthetics through the extravagant lens of high-fashion.
The sky blue & Venetian red flourishes found on her headset, nails, and ballet pumps are a nod to colour-coded headphone markers representing the left & right sides (of which can be seen on the Nintendo Switch’s Joy-Cons too!).
Linking the musical motifs together is another nostalgic staple that takes influence from hip-hop culture: the oversized puffer jacket. The fusion of streetwear and athletic-wear is a staple in the modern fashion model’s wardrobe, so it’s not shocking to see Elesa sporting a matching blue cropped tank top and shorts. Tying the outfit together is a loose-fitting fabric harness, fastened with a chunky silver buckle at the navel.
The complete look is dripping in designer ostentatiousness. Head to toe in primarily pastel primary colours make for an extremely loud yet palatable piece that compliments as much as it clashes and contradicts - and I love it. - Danielle
Gardenia - Pokémon Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum
For most Grass-type Gym Leaders, green is a staple colour and it's hard to argue with results. With a quick glance at the outfit, any trainer that wants their next badge will know that they’re in for a fight against foliage. So how does one stand out amongst the crowd and make sure no one misses their tree for the forest?
For Gardenia, the answer is a bright orange to compliment the green. Including her hair, a bob cut somewhat reminiscent of a bug, this Gym Leader’s ensemble alternates between an eye-catching orange and a soothing forest green. This draws the eye along her whole outfit, allowing the green boots and cloak to stand out in their own right. Furthermore, with the black accents of the shoes’ laces and the cloak’s cross in the center of her pose, our eyes are given clear roots to return to if they should wander. Not to mention the fact that both accents share simple cross visuals to further boost their symmetry.
Altogether, this outfit presents Gardenia as a capable traveler, with boots made for walking and shorts that not only have large pockets but are comfortable and easy to wear. Notably, considering the tears at the bottom of her shorts, one might consider the outfit to be an older one that has gone through some wear. However, considering the good condition of the rest of the outfit, it might be more likely that the shorts used to be part of a longer pair of pants, later torn down to shorts both to present a more “rugged” appearance to the apparel and to make the ensemble work better in a warm climate. - Erin
Roxie - Pokémon Black 2 and White 2
“Your cruel device
Your blood, like ice
One look, could kill
My pain, your thrill”
Alice Cooper’s appropriately named “Poison” sums up precisely the feeling embodied by Roxie, who specialises in - you guessed it - Poison-type Pokémon. If you are accessorising with massively oversized bass guitars (of course she’s a bassist) then you know the outfit is full of edge.
Roxie keeps it simple with a striped teal and mauve off-the-shoulder dress (if Golbat was a dress). It is given character though, with massive flared sleeves that cover her hands, and a jagged hem that looks like it was hacked into place in a moment of rebellious teenage angst.
The bold colours are offset by black, of course, coming from the hint of a tank top, through to her calf-length, chunky AF platform boots (Pokémon’s answer to New Rocks?) and topped off by her aforementioned beast of a bass. The colours from the dress are accented throughout her accessories, tying everything together in a very nice, cohesive look. The jagged edges of her dress are mirrored with the pointy edges on her bass with its clear reference to Roxie’s Scolipede, and even in her spiky hairdo - you’ll find no soft curves here.
The outfit manages to show the tough side that a Poison-type trainer is expected to have whilst also being fun and girly - showing her young age. The whole ensemble gives you the vibe that Roxie might either share her Pick & Mix with you or punch you in the face. It could go either way. - Emsey
Valerie – Pokémon X and Y
When it comes to the fashion choices of Gym Leaders, few stand out as much as the Fairy-type Gym Leader of Laverre City, Valerie. While at first glance you may think you have walked into a fashion show, you will in fact be up against a skilled and graceful trainer. Her look is a stunning, if somewhat extravagant, mix of a kimono mixed with elements of gothic-lolita for a truly unique outfit.
Starting with the long sleeves that when spread out resemble the wings of a butterfly or moth, a pattern of pink and yellow dance across the sleeves with a black trim. This leads back to the center of the outfit which features a yellow corset with purple strings hanging down from it. The short skirt is the start of the gothic-lolita influence featuring a purple, pink, and black design that finishes with frilly ends.
The gothic-lolita inspiration of this outfit continues with a pair of black high-heel shoes, with pink soles and ribbons, along with black thigh-high socks that feature lace frill detailing. To complete the look, Valerie wears her black hair down straight past her knees with purple antennae-like hair clips and choker that add that finishing touch.
Valerie accomplishes something outstanding with this outfit. Not only is it simply gorgeous, but it’s a careful mix of a traditional garment, gothic-lolita style, and her love for Fairy-type Pokémon. Truly, this is a breath-taking outfit. - Judgemental Waifu
Those were but four of our favourites out of the 78 gym leaders we choose from! Let us know down in the comments below if there are any outstanding outfits worth discussing, and who knows; maybe they’ll be featured in the future!