Previously, I shared my favorite Skyrim clothing mods for mages and Akaviri gear. Below are nice mods fit for rangers, rogues, spellswords, and some suited for those playing dark characters. Armor that improves by feeding on blood sounds cool, doesn’t it?
on “lore-friendly” and my preference
When “realistic” armor is mentioned in regard to Skyrim, I assume this refers to protection in combat and from the elements within context of The Elder Scrolls. Removing dragons and magic would leave Skryim as a civil war game with bandit and item-collecting quests. TES is a fantasy series which includes unrealistic fantasy gear such as Golden Saint, Dark Seducer, and some unwieldy oversized weapons. Daedric armors are imbued with dark powers, and are highly decorative to cause fear. Our history is full of armor decorations to confuse the enemy or inspire confidence among the citizens. Practical is nice, but looking cool has its place.
No matter the armor, direct hits hurt. Armor may be simple padded hides or layered with chain and plates. Real chainmale would hurt flesh without padding, but decorative chain can make an ordinary garment look nice. Coverage is more about flak and incidental contact. The warrior’s skill at wearing a particular armor matters, and more important is the skillset at avoiding combat. Speech, stealth, distraction, and fleeing help one stay alive better than any particular outfit. And there are enchantments to consider in this fantasy world. Coverage may be more important for heavy armors, and light armors need to allow for more movement or stealth.
How decorative, revealing, or practical outfit choice is comes down to my character’s taste. My retired mage, Reisha, always prefered normal clothing, the mourner’s dress and “Blades Hakama” her favorites. She blended in better than wearing mage robes or Dark Brotherhood outfits around town. Another character likes intimidating (decorative) armors.
I give preference to original work. Styles should be similar to or inspired by outfits found throughout Tamriel, which is very diverse in style and cultural background. Historical recreation or realistic gear is great, but I prefer a touch of fantasy suitable for Skyrim.