Dork in a Sweater
Wearing a sweater makes a character look nerdy or harmless

(permanent link) added: 2012-05-02 20:42:54 sponsor: Floria edited by: willthiswork (last reply: 2013-04-26 15:10:27)

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A character who wants to look dangerous has several choices in outerwear - long swishy coats if you want to look dashing and mysterious, leather jackets appeal to the James Dean wannabe in all of us, stylish dark suits look aloof and professional - but not sweaters. Whether because of their fuzzy texture or sweaters' association with gifts from one's grandmother, sweaters do not look intimidating. In fiction, a character who wears sweaters frequently is often some variety of nerd, otherwise Adorkable, or at least approachable and non-threatening. Sweater vests, in particular, are normally a sign of extreme nerdiness. Keep in mind, however, that while Dorks In Sweaters don't look dangerous, that does not mean they are necessarily harmless. The various Hidden Badass tropes may apply. This trope can overlap with Sweater Girl if the lady in question is more of a Hot Librarian than a conventional bombshell.


  • Charles Xavier in X-Men: First Class is definitely of the Hidden Badass variety. The fandom loves to affectionately mock his "old man cardigans," but the man can melt your brain.
  • Neville wears a pretty goofy jumper in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, probably as a way to remind the viewer of the dork that he used to be, because in this film he acts like a badass more often than not.

  • Harry Potter:
    • Ron is afraid that the sweaters his mum knits him for Christmas will make him look like one of these but Harry, Fred and George can pull them off because they have a sense of humour about it.
    • In the same series, Dolores Umbridge, who wears a pink cardigan as part of her sickeningly cutesy persona, manages to be both far less harmless than she initially appears, and actively evil.
  • In Bridget Jones the Love Interest is introduced wearing a cheesy Christmas jumper with a reindeer's head on it.
  • In the non-fiction book "Stitch and Bitch", Debbie Stoller invokes this in her explanation for the superstition that knitting your boyfriend or girlfriend a sweater dooms the relationship: if you put all that work into a sweater but your special someone never wears it because it looks wrong, you could end up resenting each other.

Live Action TV

Western Animation
  • The Simpsons, Ned Flanders.
    Homer: OK, OK, don't panic. To find Flanders, I just have to think like Flanders! [thinking in an impression of Ned's voice] I'm a big four-eyed lame-o, and I wear the same stupid sweater every day and - [aloud] The Springfield River!
  • The Venture Bros.: Dean Venture typically wears a sweater vest. He can be a formidable character even though he's easily terrified.

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