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Lara Croft's least practical outfits

Maybe you should change

There comes a time in every adventurer's life when they have to value function over form. You might get a boost of confidence when showing off selections from your expansive wardrobe, but there typically aren't too many people around an archeological dig site to appreciate your effort. Also, the many dangerous animals and thuggish mercenaries you're sure to encounter couldn't care less what you look like - they ultimately just want you dead.

Lara Croft has always rocked a wide variety of fashionable outfits throughout the Tomb Raider series, changing into new duds over the course of the campaign or unlocking more dress-up options when it's all over. But some of her clothing choices are blatantly incompatible with her tomb-raiding profession, despite the fact that you can enable them at any time (non-canonically, of course). What follows are the least practical costumes Lara's got in her closet, which - while certainly fetching - are in no way appropriate attire for her many heroic exploits.

Thanks to Lara Croft Cosplay (opens in new tab) and TombRaiderGirl for the images!

Cream Suit

As seen in: Tomb Raider: Legend

No, it's not an outfit of the furry female rabbit from Sonic the Hedgehog's entourage (but hey, no judgment here if Lara happens to own one of those as well). This is form-fitting formal attire, akin to what an executive might wear when she's absolutely crushing a meeting with the board of trustees. Of course, Lara has to know that within seconds of running and flipping through dank caves or dilapidated temples, that suit's pleasant cream color will be forever tarnished by grime and grease. No amount of careful dry cleaning could restore the suit to its former glory.

Any bikini

As seen in: Tomb Raider: Underworld

The wetsuit is one of Lara's most iconic alternate looks, handy for those times when she has to do some deep-sea diving and maybe slay one or two sharks along the way. Bikinis serve a somewhat similar purpose, giving Lara the same freedom of movement underwater, but the trade-off for showing off more skin would be severe. Just imagine how many tomb-dwelling mosquitoes and other nasty insects would feast on Lara's blood the moment she left the water, or how many scrapes she'd suffer on her almost completely unprotected body by brushing past thorny vines and stepping barefoot atop craggy rocks. You're exploring subterranean catacombs that haven't been exposed to sunlight in centuries, Lara - this is literally the worst possible time to be working on your tan.

Evening Dress

As seen in: Tomb Raider: Legend

Being the respectful, well-mannered guest that she is, Lara makes sure to dress up nice for a party held by her close friend and Japanese playboy Toru Nishimura. But if you insist that Lara stay dressed to the nines long after the party's over, you're damning her to a tortuous journey. I've never tried to scale rock faces or sprint up cliffs before, let alone while wearing high heels, but I can only imagine it ending in severe pain and repeatedly twisted ankles. And that dress looks like it affords about ten degrees of movement for Lara's legs, which probably makes backflips just a wee bit more difficult.


As seen in: Tomb Raider: Legend

Look, plenty of us have gone through that goth phase fueled by teenage angst, black nail polish, and copious eyeshadow; Lara's just decided to bring a little Hot Topic flair to the world of archaeology. Yes, that flimsy lace shirt and leather jacket can only be a hindrance to her flexibility, and yes, Lara will need to spend 20 minutes reapplying her mascara whenever she's forced to take an unexpected dip to survive a cave-in. But it's all worth it when Lara can express her inner darkness through her outer appearance, even when there's absolutely nobody around to appreciate her killer style.

Agent 47's suit and tie

As seen in: Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris

Even if you were butt-naked, the subterranean coves that Lara's constantly spelunking through would be almost unbearably hot and muggy. The air down there must be stuffy as all hell, and it's not uncommon that Lara has to jump mere feet above giant pits of liquid hot magma. So I shudder to imagine what those conditions must be like for her (and her co-op associates) when she's wearing a fitted suit and tie, all in a clever nod to Square Enix's Hitman series (minus Agent 47's bald head). At the very least, Lara, feel free to loosen that red tie even a little bit. There's really no need to be incognito when you're plundering relics from the depths of an underground tomb.

Golden Lara

As seen in: Tomb Raider: Anniversary

This outfit is just a fun way to reuse the texture from the death scene when Lara jumps into the unassuming hand of a giant Midas statue. Of course, if Lara really did decide to cover herself in gold paint, from the tips of her boots to the lids of her eyes, the results would be disastrous. On one hand, you get the distinct pleasure of being a golden treasure hunter hunting golden treasure. On the other hand, you're going to be severely weighed down - and if the classic James Bond flick Goldfinger is to be believed, coating yourself in precious metals can only result in death by skin-suffocation (which isn't a real thing).

Her classic outfit

As seen in: Tomb Raider

Let's bring it all home by taking a hard look at Lara's original, '90s-tastic outfit, and the one that helped vault her to video game fame: a tremendously tight, teal tank-top, ridiculously short shorts, a belt that's three times bigger than it needs to be, and gun holster straps wrapped around her thighs. Those gun straps are actually the worst part: they'd no doubt chafe like the dickens, carving a permanent ring of ruined skin into Lara's legs. Meanwhile, those shorts would leave Lara absolutely freezing during her trips to Tibet, and a top that tight would probably rip instantly after a single acrobatic leap. Lara's boots are really the only part of her default look that make any logical sense for what she does on a daily basis. But hey, nobody seemed to care about realism in 1996, judging from the dinosaur fights that kick off the game.

Lucas Sullivan
Lucas Sullivan

Lucas Sullivan is the former US Managing Editor of GamesRadar+. Lucas spent seven years working for GR, starting as an Associate Editor in 2012 before climbing the ranks. He left us in 2019 to pursue a career path on the other side of the fence, joining 2K Games as a Global Content Manager. Lucas doesn't get to write about games like Borderlands and Mafia anymore, but he does get to help make and market them.