After spending any amount of time exploring Skyrim you'll quickly realize how dangerous the land is. When having to make decisions of how to protect yourself it seems to me that wearing armor is a much stronger choice than wearing robes which offer no protection.

The robes I find are often enchanted, which is a big boon, but the articles of clothing can easily be disenchanted and the enchantment can be copied over to armor instead. When thinking about this, the only utility I can see enchanted robes having is a naturally high sell value compared to armor.

What benefits do robes have over armor? What would make me sacrifice my armor in favor of cloth?


Robes have very few advantages over armor. They are completely silent so it is easier to sneak in them and if you are using an alteration spell for armor rating that is affected by the perk Mage Armor then the alteration spells will provide much more defense as long as you are only wearing robes/clothes. It is much easier to have armor buffed with smithing that provides more defense than even the most powerful alteration armor spells though so if you want damage resistance you need to have armor.

  • The wiki seems to contradict this (Look at section "Damage Reduction"). Can you elaborate and/or cite references? – Cássio Renan Oct 18 '19 at 20:25
  • @CássioRenan I don't see what it contradicts - do you mean that the highest possible AR is available through spells? (By the way, you can link to specific sections of wiki's by appending a hashtag + the exact title (including capitals) and substituting spaces for underscores, e.g. elderscrolls.fandom.com/wiki/Armor_(Skyrim)#Damage_reduction)). – Joachim Oct 18 '19 at 21:47
  • Yes, @Joachim, the wiki basically says that it doesn't matter for max defense if you use armor or not (since it's capped anyway). Not only that, but even if there was no cap, highest defense is possible without armor, rather than with. – Cássio Renan Oct 18 '19 at 22:09

Long comment short, there's no real gain stat wise, only in terms of RP and all advantages that come with making it viable can be applied to armor.

To make robes/clothes more viable it kind of pushes you towards using Enchanting, but more so Alteration. Robes themselves have no inherit advantage over armor, but with the use of Alteration you can get yourself some good protection without needing to invest into Light/Heavy Armor, Smithing and Enchanting as Alteration to some degree covers all of that. Early game I'd say it's useful if you get Mage Armor(Alt 30, 3 perks) early on as it will beat out most(I think all and without smithing armor on it's own even with a high Heavy Armor skill ends weaker than Mage Armor) early armors and in terms of weight to defense pretty much always wins until you get to Heavy Armor 70 and grab Conditioning(4 perks) or Light Armor 50 for Unhindered(3 perks). It's easier to raise as well in comparison to the armor skills as it has other uses. The Magic Resistance and Atronach perks also help but these can go with armor and Enchantments making Mage Armor worth skipping for better stats.

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