Created By: DennisDunjinmanFebruary 24, 2013 Last Edited By: DennisDunjinmanSeptember 21, 2013
Troped

Differently Dressed Duplicates

When duplicates of a person run around, they wear different costumes. May cause confusion.

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Trope
When creating a Mes A Crowd, Literal Split Personality, an Evil Twin or any kind of Doppelganger, or averting Only One Me Allowed Right Now in a time-travel based story, the duplicates will wear different clothes when forced into doing more than one task at once to ensure they remain apart. Sometimes it's a matter of wearing a similar outfit that's Color Coded For Your Convenience, or they could be wearing different clothes entirely based on what they have available. After all, when you're Opening A Can Of Clones, clothes may not be duplicated with the extra bodies, or an error in the cloning process could be introduced to help the audience tell the two apart.

When encountered by other characters unaware of the duplication factor, they may be mystified on how they changed their clothes so fast, averting Changing Clothes Is A Free Action.

Compare the Identical Twin ID Tag, where the characters are both individuals who look alike and use a significant feature to distinguish between the two, and Palette Swap, where a duplicate is colored differently to make it appear unique.

See also Color Coded Multiplayer, for when this trope is enforced in video games.

Examples!!

Anime And Manga
  • In 3x3Eyes Pai is cloned. The clone almost immediately gets a different hairstyle to distinguish her from the original Pai.

Comic Books
  • The Amazing Story Of Superman Red And Superman Blue - Superman's two halves dress in exactly those colors.
  • In some reboots of the Legion Of Super Heroes, Triplicate/Duplicate Girl wears a multi-colored costume that her split versions wear one color of each.

Film

  • Happens to both Doc and Marty in Back To The Future Part II. When they return to 1955 and encounter themselves from the first film, each is dressed differently to help the audience tell them apart. Biff's gang even uses the "how'd he change his clothes so fast?" line when they see both Martys one right after the other.
  • In Multiplicity Doug, out to dinner with his wife, runs into Two (his clone) out on a date. Doug takes Two into the men's room to berate him; after they leave the men's room they're mistaken for each other by their respective dates who notice that they're wearing different clothes. "I switched with a guy in the men's room. We traded. Men do that all the time."
  • In Spy Kids, Floop builds several Spy Kid robots, including a pair who look exactly like Carmen and Juni, except wearing a mass-produced outfit. When the real Carmen and Juni meet their duplicates, they get confused about it at first as the robots are much stronger and more hostile.
    • In Spy Kids 3: Game Over, the Toymaker is trapped in cyberspace and talks with three artificial copies of himself, each one with a different personality and outfit. The real Toymaker gets mad when they bicker with each other and leave him out, but quickly realizes he can just turn them off.

Live Action TV
  • In a late fourth-season episode of Sabrina The Teenage Witch, Sabrina is pressured by her two friends Harvey and Josh and her two aunts Hilda and Zelda to make different plans after high school. Sabrina ends up involuntary splitting herself into four to please all of them and each duplicate attends a formal with each respective character wearing a different colored dress. At the end, she pulls herself together and wears one dress with all four colors and decides to go to the college of her choice, Adams.
    • A seventh-season episode had Sabrina create a Cyrano to help her express her love to Aaron; Cyrano looked exactly like her but with a comically-long nose. During the episode, a jealous Sabrina uses a spell to swap noses, and Aaron confusedly looks at both and asks if they changed outfits.
  • In the Doctor Who episode "The Rebel Flesh"/"The Almost People", the Doctor and his doppelganger are wearing different shoes. While offscreen together, they swap shoes, causing Amy to reveal secret information to the Doctor thinking it's the doppelganger.
    • In the classic Doctor Who Serial, The Android Invasion, androids impersonate the Doctor and Sarah in each other's presence on two separate occasions. The Doctor realizes that the Sarah duplicate is not real because she was wearing a scarf that the real Sarah lost.
    • In the episode The Big Bang, the Doctor meets himself. One of the two Doctors wears a fez and holds a mop.
  • Farscape: When John Crichton was "twinned," one wore a green shirt most of the time while the other wore black. "Green John" was notably perturbed that he couldn't wear black, as well as that the John who escaped on Talyn with Aeryn had taken his favorite pulse pistol, Wynona.
  • In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Second Chances", "Thomas" Riker, a duplicate William Riker created in a transporter accident, wears a gold "Ops" uniform instead of Will's red Command uniform. Both Rikers also grew a beard in the years since the accident, although Thomas' beard is fuller.
  • In an episode of Charmed, Prue creates two clones of herself which are distinguished by wearing different coloured shirts. Later in the episode one of the clones is killed by a demon and ends up at the morgue. Prue's Cop Boyfriend turns up to break the bad news and ends up very confused when Piper mutters "thank god" on hearing what colour shirt she was wearing.

Newspaper Comics
  • In Calvin And Hobbes, Calvin's duplication of his "good" half is immediately distinguishable for combing his hair flat.

Video Games
  • Most multiplayer video games in general have two characters with the same model colored differently to distinguish them.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords games are all about this. Link can divide himself into four copies, each one wearing a different color-coded tunic.
  • Metroid does this twice with Samus. In Fusion, a parasite takes over Samus's suit and becomes her duplicate, but the real Samus had her appearance changed to a sleeker, more organic suit due to her radical surgery. Metroid Prime 2 had a Dark Samus duplicate, which confused and terrified the Space Pirates when they found out there were two Samuses out to get them. Believing it to be this trope, they named the black one the "Dark Hunter" and the original just "The Hunter", until they realized the two were enemies.

Web Original
  • In He Himself And Him, this is invoked by Chris A to minimize the freak out factor (he's still quite surprised that Chris B even exists). It's later played straight with Chris C.

Western Animation
  • In Sabrina: The Animated Series, Sabrina enthusiastically signs up for more extracurricular activities than she can handle. She uses magic to conjure up two copies of herself and coordinates her three selves through a schedule and colored jerseys.
  • In Atomic Betty, Maximus makes three copies of Betty with different superpowers to commit crimes and frame the real Betty. Each of the three copies wears a different color than the real one.
  • In the Gravity Falls episode "Double Dipper", the photocopies of Dipper have blank spots on their hats where Dipper has a pine tree. They Sharpie in numbers on the hats so they can tell each other apart.
  • In Scooby Doo And The Cyber Chase, the cyber versions of Mystery Inc. wear the gang's classic 70's outfits, as opposed to the real Mystery Inc. who had since had their outfits updated.
  • An episode of The Legend Of Zelda cartoon show had Ganon's magic creating an evil twin of Zelda. The Dark Zelda looks identical to the real Zelda, except she wears a black outfit and openly flirts with Link.
  • In Futurama, Leela decides to look inside Professor Farnsworth's secret box that she's guarding due to the outcome of a coin flip. Once inside, palette-swapped versions of her friends appear and remark how she dyed her hair purple, since the Leela in the alternate universe contained within the box is a red-head.
  • Danny Phantom once decided he didn't have enough time to be a superhero and enjoy a weekend with his friends, so he divided himself in half to split his responsibilities. The result was a heroic Danny Phantom and a slacker with a mullet Danny Fenton. After his friends chew him out on how bad this idea panned out, Danny does the split again, except now there are two half ghosts with half the ghost powers each. The slacker Danny has human blue eyes but the heroic Danny has the ghostly green ones.
Community Feedback Replies: 39
  • February 25, 2013
    Arivne
    OP/Dennis Dunjinman: When you use a Wiki Word you don't need to put square brackets around it. Doing so causes it to appear like this: [1].
  • February 27, 2013
    grenekni3t
    • In the Doctor Who episode "The Rebel Flesh"/"The Almost People", the Doctor and his doppelganger are wearing different shoes. While offscreen together, they swap shoes, causing Amy to reveal secret information to the Doctor thinking it's the doppelganger.
    • In the Gravity Falls episode "Double Dipper", the photocopies of Dipper have blank spots on their hats where Dipper has a pine tree. They Sharpie in numbers on the hats so they can tell each other apart.
  • February 27, 2013
    grapesandmilk
  • February 28, 2013
    Chabal2
    Enforced in most multiplayer video games (fighting, RTS, shooters...), where two characters with the same model are generally colored differently to distinguish them. Averted in the first Dawn Of War, where any faction used the same colors regardless of owner.

  • March 1, 2013
    Guyven
    I suppose clones that become characters in their own right don't count? I'm thinking Spiderman and his various clones: Scarlet-spider and Kain notably.
  • March 1, 2013
    DennisDunjinman
    I think this trope is supposed to cover situations involving the same person being in two places at once. The line gets blurry when the clones are considered unique individuals.
  • May 3, 2013
    WeAreAllKosh
    Not sure if this fits:

    Western Animation

    Roger on American Dad assumes many, many different personas, each with a particular disguise and outfit. Although he is one being and not cloned, some episodes have sight gags where he's playing more than one character at a time and the scene flashes from one in one place to another in another place instantaneously--which was Lampshaded in at least one episode ("wait, how'd I get here?").
  • May 24, 2013
    thewriter
    For titles: Color Coded Cloning?
  • May 24, 2013
    DennisDunjinman
    That's only one of the ways this trope is represented. It could also be represented when the duplicate is wearing a different shirt or hat or extreme hairstyle. Something to say "it's the exact same guy, but a different incarnation".
  • May 25, 2013
    Arivne
  • May 25, 2013
    DennisDunjinman
    I'll stick with the current title for now.
  • May 25, 2013
    SuperJedi224
    In He Himself And Him, this is invoked by Chris A to minimize the freak out factor (he's still quite surprised that Chris B even exists). It's later played straight with Chris C.
  • May 27, 2013
    randomsurfer
    In Multiplicity Doug, out to dinner with his wife, runs into Two (his clone) out on a date. Doug takes Two into the men's room to berate him; after they leave the men's room they're mistaken for each other by their respective dates who notice that they're wearing different clothes. "I switched with a guy in the men's room. We traded. Men do that all the time."
  • May 28, 2013
    robinjohnson
    • Dario Fo's stage farce Trumpets And Raspberries features two lead characters played by the same actor, after one character is mistaken for the other after a car accident and has his face reconstructed to look like the other. One character is a super-rich captain of industry and the other is a common worker who has been hiding out in a basement for weeks, so their costumes are very different - but the actor often has only seconds to run off one wing, change, and emerge as the other character from the fridge.
  • May 28, 2013
    Duncan
    Happens in most of Big Business (with Lily Tomlin and Bette Midler playing two sets of twins in a Distaff Counterpart Setting Update of The Comedy Of Errors) until Midler's characters both see the same dress in the hotel store and, having the same taste, buy it, putting them in a Suspiciously Similar Outfit.
  • May 28, 2013
    DennisDunjinman
    ^ That's an inversion. And twins don't quite count unless someone is convinced that both twins are the same person.
  • May 28, 2013
    KZN02
    Resident Evil 6: Ada Wong and her doppleganger Carla Ramdes wear red and blue respectively. Regardless, Carla pins her crimes on Ada.
  • May 28, 2013
    arromdee
    In 3x3Eyes Pai is cloned. The clone almost immediately gets a different hairstyle to distinguish her from Pai. This is notably not done for Haan, whose clone (unlike Pai's) has his memories and replaces the original for much of the story. (Spoiler warning because this happens after the ends of the anime and the American release, which is how most people see this series.)
  • May 28, 2013
    batgirl1
  • June 30, 2013
    Kayube
    Kamen Rider Wizard zigzags it. When Wizard uses the Drago Timer, he splits himself into up to four copies of himself, each one using a different Dragon Style. However, occasionally Wizard will use the Copy Ring to copy himself instead and use multiples of the same form, so they'll all look the same.
  • July 7, 2013
    GuyIncog
    Film
    • Happens to both Doc and Marty in Back To The Future Part II. When they return to 1955 and encounter themselves from the first film, each is dressed differently to help the audience tell them apart. Biff's gang even uses the "how'd he change his clothes so fast?" line when they see both Martys one right after the other.
  • July 7, 2013
    tachyonTrail
    Shorter Name: Alt Costume Shenanigans, as we've literally seen the term Alt Costume appear on a ton of fighting game pages, and this trope always appears alongside shenanigans which exploit them.
  • July 7, 2013
    DennisDunjinman
    But it's not a fighting game trope. And I feel it's not perfectly clear.
  • July 7, 2013
    tachyonTrail
    Oh, I see what you mean. Too bad Costume Copycat is a supers-specific trope, it'd make a great name for this. Assuming of course that color was the only difference.
  • July 7, 2013
    thewriter
  • July 7, 2013
    tachyonTrail
    I submit to the appeal of Alliterative Name whenever possible. Seconding Differently Dressed Duplicates.
  • July 7, 2013
    DennisDunjinman
    ^ Better.
  • July 14, 2013
    paycheckgurl
    In The Spectacular Spider Man Peter wears the black suit while his impersonator The Chameleon wears the traditional red and blue suit. It's how Captain Stacy is able to Spot The Imposter (well that and The Cameleon is taller...Teens Are Short and Spidey's a Kid Hero after all).
  • July 28, 2013
    arromdee
    It turns out we basically have this: Identical Twin ID Tag.
  • July 28, 2013
    DennisDunjinman
    The laconic difference between this and Identical Twin ID Tag is that trope is about two different people who look exactly the same but have one distinguishing feature to tell them apart. This trope is that both are copies of the same character, but they aren't exactly alike because they can't all be wearing the same clothes at the same time.

    Sister tropes, I'd say. The difference is based on the relationship of the two characters: same person duplicated, or separate individuals?
  • July 29, 2013
    fulltimeD
    Farscape- When John Crichton was "twinned," one wore a green shirt most of the time while the other wore black. "Green John" was notably perturbed that he couldn't wear black... and that the John who escaped on Talyn with Aeryn had taken his favorite pulse pistol, Wynona.
  • July 29, 2013
    eowynjedi
    • In Calvin And Hobbes, Calvin's duplication of his "good" half is immediately distinguishable for combing his hair flat.
  • August 3, 2013
    DaisyChainsaw
    In the classic Doctor Who Serial, The Android Invasion, androids impersonate the Doctor and Sarah in each other's presence on two separate occasions. The Doctor realises that the Sarah duplicate is not real because she was wearing a scarf that the real Sarah lost.
  • August 3, 2013
    DaisyChainsaw
    In A Certain Scientific Railgun S, Misaka's clones are all dressed in the same school uniform she wears, but with the addition of some kind of visor to distinguish them from her, but not each other. Which works because the clones are all networked together and share a consciousness.
  • August 31, 2013
    Snicka
    Another Doctor Who example: In the episode The Big Bang, the Doctor meets himself. One of the two Doctors wears a fez and holds a mop.
  • August 31, 2013
    Lumpenprole
    In some reboots of the Legion Of Super Heroes, Triplicate/Duplicate Girl wears a multi-colored costume that her split versions wear one color of each.
  • August 31, 2013
    KTera
    • The alternate universe Elizabeths in the ending of Bioshock Infinite are all dressed differently.
  • August 31, 2013
    Bisected8
    • In an episode of Charmed, Prue creates two clones of herself which are distinguished by wearing different coloured shirts. Later in the episode one of the clones is killed by a demon and ends up at the morgue. Prue's Cop Boyfriend turns up to break the bad news and ends up very confused when Piper mutters "thank god" on hearing what colour shirt she was wearing.
  • September 21, 2013
    DennisDunjinman
    I'd like to launch this already, but it appears my editing privileges have been suspended. If anyone wants to do this, feel free.

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable