- "On a certain island, it became customary to garb boys in green when they came of age."
- — The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker Prologue
The Hero's Clothes (勇者の服 Yūsha no Fuku?) is a recurring garb in the Legend of Zelda series. Specifically, it is the name given to the iconic outfit worn by Link in nearly all games in the series. Over the lifespan of the franchise, some design elements have shifted, but Link's famous green tunic and hat are features common to all of the outfit's incarnations. While earlier games imply little or no significance to these clothes, their recurrence has caused later games to explore their history and meaning behind them.
As they are Link's signature clothing, whenever he makes a cameo or playable appearance in game another franchise, he will likely be wearing these clothes.
History and design
The early version of the Hero's Clothes are characterized by little or no mention of their significance within each Legend of Zelda game. Because the technology of the time limited Link to a fairly small sprite, the games themselves could display few details of Link's clothes (aside from the fact they are green) and Link's outfit and character design is seen only in accompanying art as well as early animated productions. During this period, the brown portions of Link's sprite were interpreted as the long sleeves of a brown undershirt, and in most art from around the time, brown leggings as well. Some of the colors used were also not set in their modern forms. The early version of Link's clothes gradually evolved into the "Modern" version and disappeared after The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages and The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons.
Owing to the powerful mechanics of the Nintendo 64, the modern version of the Hero's Clothes was introduced in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, the first 3-dimensional Legend of Zelda game. This version is characterized by a set of white leggings and undershirt beneath the green tunic, and a three-point belt where the scabbard of the Master Sword is strapped to Link's back. The brown sleeves are replaced by brown gauntlets. Along with the "Toon" version, more emphasis began to be placed into explaining the significance of the green outfit.
The "Toon" version of the Hero's Clothes debuted with the distinctive cel-shaded graphics of the The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker and is an alternative style to Link's outfit in more "realistic" Legend of Zelda games in the series. This style accounts for the majority of newer Legend of Zelda games, such as The Wind Waker, The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords, The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, and so on. Aside from the obvious "Toon" style, it is characterised by white leggings, light green undershirt, and a spiral design on the belt buckle. There are no gloves or three-point belt, and the anime chibi style of the character design causes Link's boots to become quite minimized.
The design of the Hero's Clothes are no longer considered unique; all Kokiri wear green tunics with green hats, and so, Link, who had been raised among them, wore them as well. This was the first appearance of the "Modern" version of the Hero's Clothes. While the Kokiri Tunic that Link wears as a child is similar to the "Early" version, the brown sleeves seen on extra-game art of the latter are not included in the game. Adult Link's outfit however, introduces numerous new features such as white leggings, white undershirt sleeves, brown gauntlets, and expands the tunic's belt into a three-point belt for the scabbard of the Master Sword (which did not appear on his in-game model, only appearing in official artwork) to be strapped to his back (leaving the question as to how the Kokiri Sword or Master Sword stayed in the same position without it). This was later rectified in Ocarina of Time 3D as both Child and Adult Link forms wear a three-point belt just as he did in the original artwork for Ocarina of Time. In Majora's Mask, the Child Link continues his adventures and continues to wear the same clothing, though now with the three-point belt. When Link transforms into another creature with one of the masks, he wears brown gauntlets, which could be a reference to Adult Link wearing brown gauntlets in Ocarina of Time.
The final appearance of the early version. Link's outfit includes the white leggings introduced in Ocarina of Time but retains the brown sleeves of the early version.
During the beginning of The Wind Waker, Link is wearing blue islander-style clothing with a recognizable crawfish design and khaki pants. It is considered tradition on Outset Island to dress boys in a green tunic and hat like the Hero of Time when they come of age, and the apparel is given to him by his grandmother. Link is still wearing the clothing when he suddenly finds himself forced to go out to sea to save his sister, Aryll. During the Second Quest, Link receives the Hero's New Clothes instead, a set of invisible clothes that can only be seen by those who are honest; for the duration of this playthrough, Link is thus seen wearing the default islander clothing.
Link starts with green clothes but has no cap. He eventually finds Ezlo, a Minish sage who has been transformed into a shape similar to a hat. The two team up, and Ezlo positions himself on top of Link's head; effectively a make-shift cap. After Link has defeated Vaati, Ezlo, now having been returned to his true shape, presents Link with a hat similar to what he looked like when he served as Link's hat.
Link is magically separated into four pieces by the Four Sword, and the four go on an adventure to find the six maidens and Zelda. They wear a two dimensional style of the "Toon" tunic. There are four colors of the tunic; they are green, red, blue, and violet.
During the beginning of the game, Link is wearing simple Ranch Clothes, very similar to the clothes used by everyone else in Ordon. Further in the game, Link is transformed into a wolf by the power of Twilight. The only thing keeping him from turning into a wandering spirit, like nearly everyone else when Twilight appears, is the Triforce of Courage. After a short while, Link meets Faron, one of the Light Spirits. Faron tells him that the only way for him to return to his normal form, is to fill a Vessel of Light with Tears of Light, effectively dissipating the Twilight infesting the Faron Province. Once he has completed this, the Faron Province is returned to the light, and Link is returned to his human form; however, he now wears the green clothes once worn by his ancestor who was the Hero of Time. Faron explains that since Link is a successor to the ancient Hero he also granted him the clothes. These clothes were noted by it's original wearer when he first encountered his descendant. Interestingly, these clothes look different to the ones Link wears in Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask, in terms of size and design.
The most significant development of the Hero's Clothes in Twilight Princess is the inclusion of a layer of chain-mail between the tunic and the undershirt. This actually gives the Hero's Clothes a significant defensive advantage over Link's Ordon clothing or his wolf form, halving all damage taken.
The Hero's Clothes make an appearance. They are actually one version of the uniform worn by the Knights of Skyloft, and Link's peers at the Knight Academy can be seen wearing alternate versions of the outfit. While Link's version of the uniform closely resembles the Hero's Clothes worn by Link in Twilight Princess, in terms of style and design, it does feature some noticeable changes: Firstly, the belt buckle is now silver colored rather than brass, and has a slightly more circular shape than the rectangular brass buckles. Secondly, the chain mail worn between the tunic and undershirt is now also of a silver color, as opposed to a golden color in Twilight Princess. Lastly, Link's leggings are a darker brown color instead of almost pure white, and are noticeably baggier than previously, which were often seen as being skintight or slim-fitting.
A version of Link's Hero's Clothes appears in Hyrule Warriors. It is first seen on a table near Zelda bed in her bedchamber after being woken up by a prophetic vision of darkness descending on Hyrule. After a young Hyrulean Forces trainee named Link helps the Hyrulean Forces defeat Volga and King Dodongo, Impa recognizing Link as the reborn Hero of Legend, gives him the Hero's Clothes hoping he proves to be a Hero worthy of wearing them. This version of Link's outfit features chainmail underneath his green tunic and a metal pauldron armor covering his left shoulder (likely to protect his sword wielding arm).
Its most recognizable addition however is a long blue scarf that features the seal of the Royal Family of Hyrule at the end. This serves as Link's Standard outfit and replacing his Trainee Tunic (which acts as a selectable alternate costume from then on) and wears them for the rest of the story. There are also several recolors of this outfit that can be unlocked which for the most part change the overall coloration of the Tunic. Interestingly, Link's Scarf and Link's Boots which are worn as parts of his Hero's Clothes, also appear as Link's Gold and Silver Material drops. The DLC Hero's Tunics from Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword appear under the names Era of Twilight Tunic and Knight of Skyloft Tunic respectively. The Hero of Time DLC Hero's Clothes appear under the name Kokiri Tunic. Young Link also wears his Kokiri Tunic from Majora's Mask as his default outfit. Link's original tunic from the first three Legend of Zelda games, appears under the name Classic Tunic.
The Hero's Clothes also appears as a Fairy Clothing option for Companion Fairies. There are five versions of the Hero's Clothes:
- Hero's Clothes (Red) - Fire Elemental Attribute
- Hero's Clothes (Blue) - Water Elemental Attribute
- Hero's Clothes (Yellow) - Lightning Elemental Attribute
- Hero's Clothes (Green) - Light Elemental Attribute
- Hero's Clothes (Purple) - Darkness Elemental Attribute
Because the Link in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword was the first hero chosen by the Gods, and the knights are seen wearing the Hero's Clothes, it is possible that this is where they originated from, and from this Link they have been passed down. It is more likely however, that the Hero of Time was the one who passed down the idea as shown in Wind Waker and Twilight Princess.