Magnus Bane can be described as many things: powerful, compassionate, kind-hearted, badass. Apart from that, he is clearly the best-dressed character on the show. SDN took a closer look at the many different styles Magnus has worn in the past two seasons, and eyed up some of our favorites.

Magnus has lived through more centuries than he likes to admit and has seen even more fashion trends come and go during that time. The costume designers on the show have made use of that fact several times during the past two seasons and included elements from many different eras into Magnus’ wardrobe. What’s also very interesting about Magnus’ style is that he seems to express himself through his wardrobe – and quite literally wears his heart on his sleeve more often than not.

With the help of our graphic designer and very own fashion expert Isabela, we took a trip down memory lane and examined some of the best creations worn by the High Warlock of Brooklyn.

1x01: Party at Pandemonium

If Magnus knows one thing, it’s how to make a first impression. This was the outfit he wore during his very first appearance on the show and saying he owned the moment would be the understatement of the century. The combination of suit jacket, half unbuttoned shirt and necklaces radiates confidence. As with many of Magnus’ outfits, there seems to be a hidden message in this supposedly random mixture of styles and patterns. The rough, almost reptile pattern of his pants poses a stark contrast to the soft shirt and the chains on his belt and jacket. The open buttons of that shirt could be interpreted as Magnus being open to new experiences and acquaintances, while his bare chest underneath shows some kind of vulnerability. At the same time, the chains around his neck represent that something is holding him back from becoming the open-hearted man we see him evolving into as the show progresses.

2x02: Black and white to travel the world

We first got to see this beauty of a shirt in episode 2×02, when Magnus and Simon travelled to India in order to find Camille and turn her in to the Clave – also known as the episode, where we learned that we probably don’t want to be on Magnus’ christmas gift list.

It’s a pretty casual outfit for Magnus, less elaborate than we are used to, but still very stylish. We are in love with the light fabric and the nice black and white pattern. Once Magnus arrives in India, we see him wear a matching jacket as well, which seems to be inspired by the so-called “justacorps” coats, a knee-length piece worn by men in the late 1700s. The high collar and the many buttons along the seams resemble those jackets quite a lot. Add a few necklaces and subtle eyeliner to that and you got yourself a toned down, yet very classy Magnus Bane look.

1x12: Army colors to fight for his love

In episode 12 of season 1, Magnus goes on a “business trip” with Clary and Jace in order to find his old friend Ragnor Fell. For this occasion he chooses a military green jacket alongside black pants, boots, gloves and a matching shirt. The green jacket was inspired by reefer jackets, which were popular in the late 1900s but ultimately have a much longer history. Originally worn by officers of the European and US navy, the reefer jacket was considered an outside type of coat until it eventually became very popular for business looks.

There are two possible interpretations for this particular choice of jacket: The first one would be a little act of rebellion, as Magnus didn’t approve at all of Alec’s engagement to Lydia. Showing up at the Institute dressed in something that was once considered unprofessional might be his own way of expressing that disapproval. On the other hand, the green jacket might also be an attempt of looking bold and detached – even though he clearly loosened his attire up a bit by adding the chains and spikes to the plain green jacket. Despite all his personal ties to Clary, her friends and the emotional turmoil they might be causing him, Magnus came to the Institute to do business, after all.

Obviously we like the first explanation better, which is partly due to a little detail we have left out so far: the color of the jacket. It’s a military green, commonly used for uniforms worn by people who were going into battle for something they believed to be right. And we sure love the idea that Magnus picked this particular color since he was also getting ready to fight – for Alec.

1x12: Epic outfits for epic moments

For one of the most memorable moments on the show so far, Magnus picked a suit with black pants, a shirt of the same color and a burgundy jacket made of velvet. While the suit per se is a classic cut and one of the most common types of suits, it’s the jacket that catches all the attention and brings the unique “Magnus factor” to this outfit. For the second time in episode 1×12, Magnus’ choice of color says a lot about how he feels. Burgundy can be associated with sophistication, power and ambition, which fits to the confident, powerful entrance he made in the middle of the ceremony. Apart from that, burgundy is also on the red color scheme, which is generally associated with passion and adrenaline, two emotions that describe the entire wedding scene oh so perfectly.

1x07: Gorgeous in gold

This outfit was worn during another two pretty significant episodes for Alec and Magnus: 1×06 and 1×07, when Alec stayed overnight after Magnus had exhausted himself too much trying to heal Luke. It seems that before the shadowhunters arrived and all hell broke loose, it was a pretty chill day at the Bane household – both the pants and the shirt seem to be made of very light, comfortable fabric, which is a perfect choice for just staying in and taking some time off.

The biggest eye catcher with this outfit is certainly the burgundy shirt with its intricate gold details. While it is really hard to tell what those details are made of, we narrowed it down to two possibilities. It could be either devoré, which is a French technique that uses chemicals in order to burn parts of the fabric to create patterns, or some kind of embroidery. Magnus combined the outfit with gold eyeliner, highlights in the same color and matching jewelry. Gold is usually associated with luxury and richness, but also with knowledge and light. Both interpretations suit the circumstances the outfit was seen in, as Magnus has both the skills to save Luke and to enlighten Clary about her family. And let’s face it – after hundreds of years on earth, he’s probably super rich as well.

2x20: High fashion upgraded

As much history as Magnus’ outfits may have sometimes, for the season finale, the costume designers went for something more recent. The gray jacket he wears while hunting down the dragon demons alongside Alec and Isabelle is from a recent John Varvatos collection. In order to fit Magnus’ taste, the jacket has been altered a bit and got new buttons and a few more details on the shoulders in order to give the jacket a tad of an army look. By the way, did we mention that we love the idea of Magnus altering his clothes as soon as he doesn’t like them anymore?

Due to the season 2 finale being such a fast, exciting episode, it was difficult to get a good look at Magnus’ outfit altogether. But the jacket in combination with the dark shirt and the layers gave us some serious 1700s vibes, and we are so here for it.

1x11: Chalk stripes for defending Izzy

In episode 1×11, Magnus was Izzy’s defense attorney when the Clave accused her of treason for saving Meliorn from the City of Bones. For that occasion, Magnus put on another one of his professional outfits: a well-cut, classic chalk stripe suit. Historically, this particular suit model was highly popular with businessmen and gangsters from the 1920 to 1940s. On the show, Magnus put it on to make the impression of a competent attorney who knows what he’s doing (not that we would ever doubt that) and maybe also to intimidate the Clave representatives along the way. And even though he ended up losing the case, as Izzy said – at least he lost it with style.

2x09: Stylish by the light of dawn

In the two-part winter finale of season 2, Magnus stunned with a combination of one of his signature band collar shirts and a black vest. The outfit got introduced to us in one of the first scenes of episode 2×09, where Alec and Magnus talk on the balcony of the loft (Remember the “They are not all your responsibility” – “But you are” dialogue? Yeah, that scene). Again, Magnus is not afraid to mix various patterns and combines a striped vest with a dotted shirt. The band collar of the shirt reminds us a bit of the Victorian style shirts worn by men in the 1800s. Another highlight is the subtle black handkerchief – a nice, formal contrast to the otherwise very fun and modern look. Definitely one of our favorites of season 2A.

2x15: Textile armor

2×15 was easily one of the most emotional episodes so far, especially for Magnus. We got to a deep look into his past and have yet to see him more vulnerable as we do in this episode. He has a lot of different emotions going through him, which he once again represents through his choice of clothes. The way his shirt is buttoned up all the way to the top can be interpreted as Magnus closing himself off to people as a consequence from the traumatic experiences he suffered through at the beginning of season 2B. If you pay attention to the previous episodes, Magnus doesn’t cover himself up that much prior to the body swap in episode 2×10. The first time we see him back with loose, open shirts is in 2×17, which is after he talked with Alec about his past. It seems like that conversation brought him some sort of closure for what he had to endure and helped him get back to his normal self. The white streak in his hair also points towards that theory, as the color is normally associated with cleanliness, so it might have been a way for Magnus to clear his mind of the bad memories from his past.

2x18: Purple and painful

Episode 2×18 continued the heavy, emotional theme that started in 2×15, which is also represented in Magnus’ outfit. Compared to 2×15, this episode is even more difficult on an emotional level, since it takes place right in the aftermath of his fight with Alec, Max being so terribly injured and all the flashbacks to when Alec and him were a lot happier and more carefree. On top of that, there’s the ever lurking threat of Valentine and Jonathan eradicating the entire downworld. It’s only understandable that Magnus tries to shield himself from all of this. The many layers used for this outfit – the shirt, the vest, the scarf and the heavy black jacket can be interpreted as a step in that direction. The dark purple that can be found in all of the pieces is associated with sadness and frustration, which is a perfect summary of Magnus’ emotions during that episode. Also, we know that Magnus likes to hide his emotions behind fancy clothes whenever they are getting too much to bear. This purple ensemble can be considered as an attempt to do just that, which makes it certainly more painful to look at, but no less beautiful.


Journalism student with a soft spot for fantasy novels and dark chocolate. I’ve always loved to write and hope to make a living from it one day. On ShumDario News, I write articles for the website and help with updating and projects.