Me, late at night: you ever notice how the Paladins’ outfit designs serve to visually group them together?
Me: OKAY SO –
First up we have the Garrison Trio:
They all have similar palettes in their outfits, and they all match up really well. They all have orange highlights - consistent with the Galaxy Garrison colour scheme, which incorporates orange highlights too. Pidge and Hunk (aka the Nerd Squad) both have green in their outfits; Hunk and Lance (who are good friends) both have elements of brown. Visually, they match up and tie together into a nice cohesive trio.
Now we have Shiro and Keith, who are canonically close on the show:
Their underlying colour schemes are similar: black and dark greys, and in terms of design, their boots and belts both match. However, whilst Keith has colour in his outfit - red boot trim and jacket - Shiro is entirely monochrome (except for a tiny patch of yellow on each collar).
It’s interesting to note that Keith’s outfit clashes with almost every other character except Shiro - his red features clash with the orange of the Garrison trio, and the pink on Allura’s outfit, and he’s not a great match with Coran either. The only person he doesn’t clash with completely is Shiro. So his outfit serves to emphasise the fact that Keith is a loner and an outsider who doesn’t fit in well with the rest of the group - and it also ties back into the fact that he’s revealed to be part-Galra, putting him at a further distance from the others.
Shiro is a bit of an anomaly among the Paladins as well, because he’s the only character whose outfit is monochrome. Whilst every other Paladin has some element of their outfit design that matches the colour of their Lion (yellow/green t-shirts; blue trousers; red jacket) their outfits also contain other colours. Shiro’s entire outfit is black/dark grey. He’s a perfect match for his Lion - right down to the yellow collar buttons that resemble glowing eyes.
It’s also worth noting that in terms of the actual design/style of their clothes, Shiro is the only Paladin whose clothes are form-fitting and tight (THANK YOU FOR MY LIFE DREAMWORKS *ahem*). The others all have a very casual, utilitarian style that’s quite baggy and slouchy. Even Keith’s t-shirt under his jacket isn’t tight. In terms of clothing style, Keith fits in better with the other Paladins (even if his colours clash), whereas Shiro’s overall look is very different.
And now we get to the part where I wheel out a conspiracy board and stick Shiro next to the Alteans:
The Altean outfits are much more form-fitting and tailored… just like Shiro’s. It’s really interesting to look at Shiro and Coran’s outfits when they’re standing next to each other, because the similarities are everywhere. The grey in Coran’s outfit matches Shiro’s boots and sleeves. The lighter bands on the edge of Shiro’s vest are very similar to the edging on Coran’s jacket. Their trousers are virtually identical, save for the colour. The side pockets on their jackets are similar too. The yellow on Shiro’s collar matches the yellow in both Coran and Allura’s outfits - and you’ll notice that all three outfits have a similar closed collar with buttons. In terms of overall aesthetic, all three of their outfits have a very neat and segmented look that’s much more tailored to the body than the baggy clothes worn by the other Paladins.
In terms of outfit design, Shiro matches really really well with the Alteans.
I mean I’m not saying Shiro’s entire character design reinforces his identity as the only true Black Paladin on the show whilst also hinting at the fact that he might have some kind of Altean connection… wait, no, THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT I’M SAYING.