Tite Kubo used little elements on the Soul Reapers' uniforms to provide a sense of individuality in Bleach, which is recognized for its huge but fascinating character designs. The original Gotei 13 Captains wore their regular Shihakusho and Haoris with the fewest modifications: Byakuya Kuchiki wore his noble scarf, Shunsui Kyraku's Haori was covered with his kimono coat, and Sajin Komamura carried armor along with his outfit. Aside from these and a few small alterations, the most of the captains maintained a consistent and traditional approach.
This variety of clothing grew slightly after the brief time jump. Shinji Hirako, Kensei Muguruma, and Rjrtoribashi joined the ranks, and it looked that their individuality from being sent out into the real world had followed them. Nonetheless, the uniform alterations were slight. The Zero Division made their debut in Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War, demonstrating to the Gotei 13 how to truly bring flair to the classic Shihakusho and Haori. A few members of the gang took their outfit to a whole new level of distinctiveness.
Bleach's Zero Division's Style
Putting Tenjirō Kirinji’s audacious hairstyle to one side, his uniform is greatly altered to the point of almost being unrecognizable as a Soul Reaper captain’s uniform. His Haori is cut in half, appearing more like a short jacket, as is his Shihakusho from the waist up. This casual and rougher appearance is likely to symbolize a Yakuza style, similar to the inspiration of Tetsuzaemon Iba, but with far more commitment to the part. Senjumaru Shutara has less alterations but more added to her uniform. Her additions appear regal, offering an impression of royal grace with her golden finery.
The real winner of style and modernization is Ōetsu Nimaiya. He has cast away the standard uniform and adapted a long puffer coat in place of his Haori, including slippers or sliders instead of the sandals most others wear. Ōetsu’s style is one of, if not the most, adapted uniforms seen to date, showing just how individualistic it can be if the Soul Reaper desires it so. It is likely that the Zero Division being able to adapt their appearance more than the Gotei 13 is due to the former's positions. However, it is still an interesting change to see Bleach characters with such outrageous and uncontainable personalities portray this through their attire.
Bleach's Uniform Evolution Throughout the Series
It could be argued that Kubo became more experimental with his characters' uniforms as Bleach progressed. While the Soul Reapers originally were fairly similar in their clothes, the newer groups that appeared in the series got more and more original within the umbrella of their organization's chosen uniform -- including the developing of the Soul Reapers as a whole. With a new Soul Reaper group joining the series so far into its run, Thousand-Year Blood War offered Kubo an opportunity to really push the boat out with their style.
Regardless, the Zero Division’s arrival put the Gotei 13 to shame with their elaborate style and interesting designs. These uniform adaptations are a nice change to make their appearances entertaining, but they also help portray a character’s personality visually. Since the Zero Division's arrival is quite close to the end of the series, establishing a personality quickly is far more vital than it was for the original Gotei 13, who had far longer for fans to learn about them through their actions. Clothes can be quite an effective expression of personality.