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In HBO's Game of Thrones TV Show, the depiction of the Kingsguard has had various, minor changes throughout the show, but was always relatively consistent and faithful to the books, up until Season 7.

The general description of the Kingsguard's equipment seems to be: a long white cloak and white armour, usually with enamelled scales.

Lannister’s men were everywhere. Jaime wore the white cloak of the Kingsguard over his golden armor. I can see him still.
A Game of Thrones, Chapter 12, Eddard

When she got closer, she saw two knights kneeling before the queen, in armor so fine and gorgeous that it made her blink. One knight wore an intricate suit of white enameled scales, brilliant as a field of newfallen snow, with silver chasings and clasps that glittered in the sun. When he removed his helm, Sansa saw that he was an old man with hair as pale as his armor, yet he seemed strong and graceful for all that. From his shoulders hung the pure white cloak of the Kingsguard.
A Game of Thrones, Chapter 15, Sansa

The seven knights of the Kingsguard took the field, all but Jaime Lannister in scaled armor the color of milk, their cloaks as white as freshfallen snow. Ser Jaime wore the white cloak as well, but beneath it he was shining gold from head to foot, with a lion’shead helm and a golden sword.
A Game of Thrones, Chapter 29, Sansa

“A paper shield,” the eunuch said. “Try not to look so shocked, Lord Stark. Jaime Lannister is himself a Sworn Brother of the White Swords, and we all know what his oath is worth. The days when men like Ryam Redwyne and Prince Aemon the Dragonknight wore the white cloak are gone to dust and song.
A Game of Thrones, Chapter 30, Eddard

The closing of the door behind him silenced the voices. Ser Boros Blount was stationed outside the chamber, wearing the long white cloak and armor of the Kingsguard. He gave Ned a quick, curious glance from the corner of his eye, but asked no questions.
A Game of Thrones, Chapter 33, Eddard

In the books, Jaime likes to differentiate himself and departs from the traditional white armour, opting for a Lannister gold armour, instead. While this is an exception, it may be relevant and important for answering the question.

The show has depicted them faithfully, with some minor changes throughout the seasons which reflected the political changes in King's Landing:

  • Season 1 has the most faithful versions of the Kingsguard armour, with the white frosted decorations, white cloak and the scales, even though Jaime is technically supposed to wear a distinct Lannister gold armour, they probably went with this choice to make it easier on the audience to understand he is part of a Royal bodyguard brotherhood:

    Season 1 Kingsguard

  • Season 4 we start seeing more gold creeping in, as the white frosting was phased out, and Jaime starts to show some wine-red in the collar of his under-garment. Still faithful with the white cloak, and in-line with the original armour from Season 1 - this was probably done to subtly show the Lannister's growing boldness and control over the throne, despite the Baratheon's technically being the royal house:

    Season 4 Kingsguard

  • Season 6 reflects the political affiliation that the crown has made with the Faith of the Seven's Sparrows, so we see that the show's version of the Kingsguard's standard (the three swords) has been replaced with the symbol of the Seven-Pointed Star representing the church's Faith of the Seven:

    Season 6 Kingsguard

  • The Tower of Joy flashback, set decades prior to the show's beginning, during the reign of the Mad King Aerys II Targaryen, features a Kingsguard armour that is more silver, and boasts a Targaryen sigil (three-headed dragon), most likely the showrunner's attempt to differentiate these Kingsguard, and very clearly indicate who is on who's side.

    Kingsguard in Tower of Joy flashback


Season 7 begins and we are introduced to a depiction that is nearly irreconcilable with the source material. Black armour with silver accents, including an embroidered sigil (symbol corresponds with Queen Cersei's crown) on the chest piece, and more importantly no cloaks(!!!).

Season 7 Kingsguard ArmorAnother Season 7 Kingsguard

Why are the Queensguard in Season 7 wearing this black armour?

I can presume a meta/out-of-universe reason (Cersei is wearing a stunning black, but in order for the creators to convey even more of an effect that she is in control, they match the Queensguard costumes with her outfit's colours), but I don't know whether it is justified in-universe, or what the reason could be.

Yes, Dark is Evil, but are we supposed to believe the Queensguard/Queen got together and decided to ditch the centuries old tradition of white cloaks (something they are even nicknamed as), and replace white/gold armour with pitch black armour, because they decided "It's more evil"? I'm looking for in-universe justification. The out-of-universe reasoning is obvious enough, it just makes almost no logical sense in-universe.

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    To be honest you answered this question in the question, and better and more concisely than any of the answers. Backed up by your many examples is the fact that the Kings/Queens-guard dress according to the whim of the monarch. Cersei, for whatever reason, bases her personal aesthetic around black, so - they now wear black too. Because they were told to. – Grimm The Opiner Oct 10 '18 at 13:17
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    Obviously Cersei is a Sephiroth fangirl. – Will Oct 11 '18 at 1:30
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In-universe answer: It's because Tommen killed himself and the queen is 'grieving'. Afterall, she did lose all three children.

That's my understanding of it, anyway.

  • This does seem pretty in character for Cersei. She'll say it's purely to grieve Tommen, and also, the many who so tragically died in that tragic accident in the sept. And who would argue with that? She'd also know that most will understand it to really mean, "Things have changed around here, don't mess with me" – user568458 Dec 6 '18 at 12:25
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Skooba is on the right track here, the Dark is Evil TV trope highlights the fact that the bad guy generally wears dark colors. From memory, there are many instances I can think of off the top of my head.

  • In Twister, the rivals (spearheaded by Cary Elwes) all drive black cars.
  • If you're a baddie in a western, you wear a black hat.
  • The Icelandic team, the rivals of the Mighty Ducks, had black outfits.

The list goes on and on, the TV tropes link is a veritable treasure trove.


However, in the comments replying to Skooba, you explicitly asked for an in universe reason. But this doesn't make logical sense.

When we label something as out-of-universe, we are often talking about something that does not make sense in-universe. If something makes sense in-universe, there's no reason to consider out-of-universe motives.

Why did the hero stop the villain?
IU: Because he was going to destroy the world and needed to be stopped.
OOU: Because audiences like it when good wins over evil.

The OOU reason is not in any way wrong, but the IU reason made sense without needing OOU justification. No one was questioning the resolution of the plot, because it made sense in-universe.

More often than not, we only consider a OOU reason in absence of a justified IU reason.

How did the hero manage to do [impossible thing] to stop the villain?
IU: This makes little sense. He shouldn't have been able to.
OOU: Because audiences like it when good wins over evil.

In this example, however, there is no IU justification to be found. There is no IU reason for the hero to have believed that he would succeed at doing the impossible thing.
However, the story reached that conclusion because its writers forced it to.

I feel like I'm defining things we already know here; so I'll stop with my pedantry of explaining the obvious. It does feel relevant to at least skim over the topic, because the rest of my answer is based on this.


Back to the topic at hand, Cersei's redesign of the Queensguard. Let's ignore the color itself for a second, and only look at why a change occurred.

Cersei's redesign of the Queensguard (who are the right hand of the Queen, in the sense that they enforce her political bidding), implies that Cersei has redesigned the Throne's approach. She's doing things her way, and this is notably different from before.

Because the show has already shown the in-depth politics of King's Landing in earlier seasons, due to the limited time until we hit the show finale, and because Cersei is well known to be (relatively) evil by the viewers, there is little purpose to explicitly showing Cersei making all these changes.

When Joffrey took the Throne from Robert, we saw how everything devolved, because that is how Joffrey's character was truly exposed. Before his coronation he was just a sniveling brat, but he could have turned out to at least be a somewhat competent ruler.
Robert Baratheon wasn't a shining knight either, but he did a decent enough job at ruling (except for the debt). The same could have been true for Joffrey, where he is a horrible person behind the scenes but is a decent king 90% of the time. This would be similar to Tywin, who also seemed like a reasonable person most of the time we saw him, and it took us a while to notice the underlying evil character traits that drove him (mostly exposed through his hate for Tyrion).

When Tommen took the throne, we had no idea who Tommen was. He hadn't really been in the picture, nor did he make much of an impression when we did see him. We've only started to know Tommen since his coronation.

Cersei's character, while it has been elaborated on since then, has been set in stone since the show's pilot episode. There is no question about her character, as it has been a driving force for a significant part of the plot.
The viewer knows Cersei. When the viewer sees Cersei's current state of mind (which gets revealed in Cersei's scenes in S7, she is angry and resentful and feels exposed and weak), it becomes obvious to deduce how she is ruling (through power and fear).

This is already reflected in many ways. Not just the changed Queensguard uniform, Cersei's short hair (for men, cutting your hair means going to war; and Cersei is currently in the same aggressive mindset), but also the appointment of Qyburn and the zombie Mountain very much highlight how Cersei's rule is not defined by honor, but by strength at all costs, forgoing etiquette or good form.

The show simply does not have the time to showcase all these changes that Cersei is making. The majority of viewers (especially the fans) know Cersei well enough that they can fill in the blanks by simply seeing Cersei' state of mind.
Even if these scenes were explicitly shown, you would still expect some changes to the environment to occur, simply because that's how cinematography works. The nuanced changes can quickly clue in a viewer who has missed an episode, or who has forgotten a previous scene. They are unobtrusive reminders of past events.

But because of the omission of these scenes, the changes that Cersei makes are painted more extremely. This is why the Queensguard are drastically changed, to a painfully obvious "evil uniform". It essentially boils down all omitted scenes of Cersei's rule into something that the viewer can understand in less than a second. Those are the bad guys.

You've linked pictures to the previous Kingsguard uniforms. Personally, I had not even noticed the change from Robert's KG to Joffrey's KG. Compared to Cersei's QG, the difference is very nuanced and somewhat subtle.
I think it's accurate enough to say that the severeness of the change in costume is inversely related to the screen time that the new regime is given.


Summary

  • Dark is Evil
  • Although you're expecting an in-universe answer, it's likely that no real in-universe answer exists. This is somewhat supported by the fact that no one in the show has explicitly addressed the change in uniform (as far as I can remember).
  • The out-of-universe (trope) reasoning is related to the lack of exposition on Cersei's rule. Because we see so little of it, we get blatant hints to the same effect. The black Queensguard uniforms are one of the main indicators of this.

edit One more thing to consider.

Notice that Jaime has not been wearing the new Queensguard outfit.

You're correct about the distinction about him not wearing the old Joffrey's KG armor and instead wear the Lannister armor, but the narrative point is the same regardless.

Jaime is not following Cersei's rule as much as he is following his own sense of what is right. In S7, this started off as Jaime sticking with his family, but the S7 finale has made it clear that Jaime is driven by his own moral compass (which up until then had pointed towards doing right by his family).

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    Daenerys Targaryen, Jon Snow, Tyrion Lannister, Sansa Stark, Bran Stark, Brienne of Tarth, etc. all wear predominantly black costumes. "Dark is Evil" is immediately discounted as a compelling in or out-of-universe. I like your reasoning that it's a shortcut into telling us about Cersei's rule without having to see much of it. – Ghoti and Chips Aug 29 '17 at 9:03
  • @GhotiandChips: I agree on Danaerys' current attire, but not her past attire. Currently, there have also been hints at Danaerys' evil traits (and explicit events, like burning the Tarlys). Tyrion rules with Danaerys (he himself implied in S07E07 that he has a guiding hand in her rule), and therefore his attire matches hers (that can also make sense in-universe). The Starks are excused from the dark colors due to them wearing fur and leather, which is thematically important to their heritage, and Brienne has only worn the dark colors since being around the Starks, IIRC. – Flater Aug 29 '17 at 9:10
  • Nah, I'm not buying any of those excuses, sorry – Ghoti and Chips Aug 29 '17 at 9:11
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    @GhotiandChips: Fair enough about the distinction between Joffrey's KG and the Lannister armor, but the narrative point still stands: Jaime is not following Cersei's rule as much as he is following his own sense of what is right, and his different outfit showcases that point. – Flater Aug 29 '17 at 9:24
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    The last edit - Did I miss Jaime being reinstated in the Kingsguard? Tommen removed him when the High Sparrow was manipulating things. I know Jaime became the commander of the armies, but I don't recall him being put back into the Kingsguard on the show. – PoloHoleSet Jan 8 '18 at 19:59
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As another answer suggests, although it may not be the "evil side", in this case, as much as it is an opposing side.

However, aesthetically speaking in terms of some of Lannister's changes, if look at Cersei as the preservation and perversion of the ideals of her father, then you can see that her more recant aesthetic (although she has worn black before) is closer to Tywin's over all appearance on the TV series.

I believe it's used as a motif, not just to change-up visuals for the audience's pleasure, but also to acknowledge "change" in the sociopolitical landscape.

Also Darker colors like black (darkness, the unknown) and silver (industrial = war time) are colors one might equate with "death" and "war" and now, "Winter's Coming" and death in this series is also not the end of something (What is dead may never die, only death pays for life), but rather the transformations and/or transitions of characters in both a realistic way (conditioning from trauma, abuse), but also often METAPHYSICAL level---this is a story about songs (generations stories passed down) and seasons (cycles in time) pointing to a cycle cosmology "ghost" story (think A Christmas Carol, but with war and an epic) about "dealing with the past" (the discretion of all of the dead: bad governing system, the abuses of magic (children of the forest and man = man vs nature), family secrets: such as the truth of Jon Snow's heritage, etc...

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