Created By: lakingsif on January 10, 2013 Last Edited By: lakingsif on May 27, 2015
Troped

The Rich Have White Stuff

Wealthier people or those meant to represent middle classes will generally surround themselves with white items.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
This goes back millenia to the times when only rich people could afford 'clean' white bread, something which was still happening only last century, and the lower classes had to suffice with the bog standard 'dirty' brown bread.

Throughout history, the 'richer' people were more likely to wear white clothes as they could have them cleaned more frequently, had more of them to wear, and did not partake in tasks which were more likely to dirty them, the 'poorer' wearing predominantly darker clothing as these items do not show stains as much and retain heat.

More modernly, sleek and white homes (especially kitchens) and workplace lobbies or laboratories are very expensive to keep aseptically or professionally clean and also, because of the jobs they are required for, associated with financial and career success. Stereotypically it is also shown that rich and 'preppy' children are outfitted in tennis or cricket whites and polo shirts, even when not in the vicinity of the sport so potentially parents showcasing their wealth through their children and how pristine they can keep easily-grass stained clothes.

In reality this is almost a Forgotten Trope, with white objects commonplace so no longer solely a form of Conspicuous Consumption, but they were so in the past. The trope is specifically averted in the "white goods" market (fridges, freezers, washing machines, tumble dryers etc). The standard models are white, with upmarket models and makes now being black, burnished metal in the case of fridges, or other more exotic colours. Fiction doesn't seem to have caught up yet, or - as per the nature of tropes - still finds it convenient to use white stuff as a signifier of wealth.

Related to Ascetic Aesthetic and The Aesthetics of Technology, also Gold and White Are Divine. People dressed accordingly will be the Man in White and Woman in White, or a Fat, Sweaty Southerner in a White Suit. They may own a White Stallion and commit White Collar Crime.

Compare Crystal Spires and Togas. See also Everything Is an iPod in the Future. Is a Luxury Trope.


Examples:

Advertising
  • In a mobile phone advert, there is a man dressed completely in white; sunglasses, cycle - everything - and the advert continues on to how the phone is available in white, but this version costs more.
  • The location of some De Beers diamonds commercials is a seaside mansion that's mostly white. Justified, since the couple shilling the diamond jewellery is rarely shown: it's their shadows that are seen, necessitating a contrasting backdrop.

Anime and Manga
  • In Code Geass, the protagonist Lelouch spends most of the story as the leader of La Résistance, decked out in the darkest of dark outfits and motifs—fitting for an organization called the Black Knights. When he becomes the Emperor of Britannia, though, he switches out the dark costumes in favor of a white-and-gold outfit.
  • Kaiba Seto in Yu-Gi-Oh! is made of this: white suits, white Badass Longcoats, white dragons, white jets based on dragons, white blimps, white mansion...
  • Sesshoumaru in InuYashanote  has white hair, white clothing, a white sword... and his mother takes it a step further by living in a castle made of (white, naturally) clouds.
  • In Speed Grapher, Suitengu is currently on the way to collecting all of the money in Japan, and only ever seems to dress in white suits or Badass Longcoats.
  • Satsuki Kiryuin in Kill la Kill has a Kamui called Junketsu, which is so white it's referred to as a wedding dress. She is also the heiress of the REVOVS Mega Corp. (though she'd rather try to end the plans of the current CEO, her mother Ragyo). The white Kamui contrasts with Senketsu, who is the Kamui of the apparently poor Ryuko Matoi and is colored a blueish-black.

Film
  • The Twilight Saga
    • The Cullens are shocking white vampires, in contrast to everyone but most startlingly to the Quileutes, who are dark tan with black hair. The Quileutes are obviously natives, and at one point Edward Cullen is referred to as "the freaky pale skinned boy". This may also play on the expectations of immortal vampires being wealthy and native peoples not.
    • The Twilight film Breaking Dawn pt. II has the Cullen vampire family, who are obscenely wealthy thanks to their sire Carlisle being a talented doctor and (apparently) good with money. At one point in the movie they casually gift newlywed vampires Edward and Bella with a fully furnished, decorated and wardrobed cottage. Where this trope comes in? The baby room is pure white. While lovely to look at, anyone who is remotely familiar with a baby's tendency to make messes would instinctively cringe at the "gift." There may be some Fridge Brilliance in there when you consider that the Cullens would have been massively ignorant of childrearing so it may not have seemed impractical. Then again, maybe they consider the added workload of keeping the baby room pristine a worthwhile way to kill time?
    • When the Cullens are first introduced in the first film, they are all dressed all in white. Jacob Black is introduced in a dark hoodie and jeans.
  • In Tom Cruise's Oblivion everything. Everything. Is white.
  • Most everything is white (even the people) on the titular space station in Elysium

Literature
  • A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court makes mention of well-to-do eating white bread a few times - "true wheaten bread," as opposed to black bread made with horse-feed, which the huddled masses make do with, if they can even get that.
  • The Raiths from The Dresden Files own a lot of white high-price cars and clothing. Played with in that it looks like this trope in action to vanilla-mortals, but is actually the Raiths' way of flaunting their status as the ruling family in the White Court of vampires.
  • Lucius Malfoy owns albino peacocks in Harry Potter.
  • In the Earth's Children series Ayla's second adoptive mother makes her a pure white outfit for her wedding. When she finally wears it the people watching are impressed. She's marrying a man whose family has much status in their group (the non-monetary version of wealth) but they don't know her so they aren't sure if she's worthy. But when they see her white dress they know that anyone who can have something like that is also of high status.
  • In the backstory of The Belgariad, Vo Wacune, the wealthiest city in Arendia, was made of white marble, whereas its rivals Vo Mimbre and Vo Astur were yellow and grey, respectively.

Live-Action TV
  • 2 Broke Girls
    • Max Black has dark hair while rich-girl counterpart Caroline is a platinum blonde. Max can also often be seen, when the two are out of their work clothes, in black outfits while Caroline is dressed all in white.
    • When they're dressed as cupcakes Caroline is vanilla and Max chocolate.
  • In Breaking Bad, the more rich (and evil) the Villain Protagonist and his wife become, the whiter their wardrobe gets. His long-time 'rivals', who are millionaires, are shown in the final episode to live in a very white household.
  • In the promotional images for Revenge the only person not dressed in white is Jack, the only character considered to be of the working class.
  • On Friends when Joey lands a high paying gig on Days of Our Lives he buys a bunch of pointless expensive knickknacks, and when he loses the job it all gets repossessed. Ross offers to buy him one of his purchases back, and he picks a white dog statue.
  • In the fifth season of Mad Men, Don and Megan Draper are shown to have a white carpet in their luxury penthouse apartment, that is constantly subject to abuse from children with ink pens, from party goers, and from general wear and tear. Don the ad man actually does point out that there is a reason white carpets appear mostly just in ads: they are almost impossible to keep clean.
  • In Secret Garden at least one of the male lead's houses (he has several) has all white decor.
  • The Tarr family in Defiance own a mansion with white walls. They also happen to be part of an alien race that has truly white (as opposed to European-descent "white") skin.
  • Boss Hogg from The Dukes of Hazzard wears an immaculate white outfit and is driven about in a white Cadillac, part of his facade as a legitimate entrepreneur. In fact, Hogg has his grubby fingers in every crooked racket in Hazzard County, more deserving of a Satan-red outfit.
  • Daredevil: Wilson Fisk spends an absurd amount of money on an all-white painting called "Rabbit in a Snowstorm" in the episode of the same name.
  • The Beverly Hills mansion that housed The Beverly Hillbillies had an interior of whites and muted greys, the better to offset the characters. Coupled with the Spartan furnishings, it conveyed an air of opulence succinctly.
  • Paying guests arriving at Fantasy Island are always welcomed by Mister Roarke and his servant Tattoo, both wearing immaculate white dinner jackets. Since Fantasy Island can make anyone's fondest dream come true, Roarke's whiteness suggests carte blanche resources at his disposal.

Music
  • Mentioned in the song Uptown Girl by Billy Joel:
    "Uptown girl/ She's been living in her white-bread world".
  • In Sam Smith's "I'm Not The Only One" music video there is a stark contrast between the literally everything is white-ness (including Dianna Agron's hair) of the cheater's idealised home life and the darkness of his late night (lower-class) rendezvous.
  • Norway's entry in the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest was Mørland and Debrah Scarlett. The commentary before they began singing said "They're dressed all in white... like they work in a posh, private, hospital. In the future."

Western Animation
  • One episode of Family Guy has a Show Within a Show named That black guy must be doing well because everything he owns is white.
  • In Motorcity almost everything in the futuristic Detroit Deluxe is white and blue.

Real Life
  • Apple products, which are notoriously more expensive than their Windows or Android-based counterparts, tend to be initially available only in white. Other colors are generally added to the lineup only later, after the price has dropped. The white iPhone is still, after this drop, more expensive than the black one.
  • The tradition of the white wedding gown began with Queen Victoria. In those days, white dresses were very hard to keep clean, so only the rich wore them.

Community Feedback Replies: 88
  • January 10, 2013
    m8e
  • January 10, 2013
    KZN02
    Motorcity: Almost everything in the futuristic Detroit Deluxe is white and blue.
  • January 10, 2013
    TonyG
  • January 10, 2013
    justanotherrandomlurker
    Middle classes are hardly rich. Trust me.
  • January 10, 2013
    lakingsif
    ^ They're the 'better offs', the ones who pay off their mortgages straight up and buy expensive items on a whim for no particular reason. They're richer, at least.
  • January 11, 2013
    WeAreAllKosh
    Actually white bread is probably more a staple of poorer people, as it's generally cheaper than "whole grain" or more flavorful breads.
  • January 12, 2013
    lakingsif
    ^ In history, though, it was more expensive and only obtainable by the rich. They thought it was healthier, now that we know better the prices have changed. That's one theory as to where the idea of white stuff showing your wealth comes from.
  • January 15, 2013
    randomsurfer
    • On Friends when Joey lands a high paying gig on Days of Our Lives he buys a bunch of pointless expensive knickknacks, and when he loses the job it all gets reposessed. Ross offers to buy him one of his purchases back, and he picks a white dog statue.
    • A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthurs Court makes mention of well-to-do eating white bread a few times - "true wheaten bread," as opposed to black bread made with horse-feed, which the huddled masses make do with, if they can even get that.
  • January 15, 2013
    Earnest
    • The Twilight film Breaking Dawn pt. II has the Cullen vampire family, who are obsecenly wealthy thanks to their sire Carlisle being a talented doctor and (apparently) good with money. At one point in the movie they casually gift newlywed vampires Edward and Bella with a fully furnished, decorated and wardrobed cottage. Where this trope comes in? The baby room is pure white. While lovely to look at, anyone who is remotely familiar with a baby's tendency to make messes would instinctively cringe at the "gift."
      • There may be some Fridge Brilliance in there when you consider that, as vampires, the Cullens would have been massively ignorant of childrearing both from their centuries of un-life and childless pre-vampirism lives, so it may not have seemed impractical. Then again, since vampires are immortal and don't need to sleep, and neither Bella nor Edward have to work, maybe they consider the added workload of keeping the baby room pristine a worthwhile way to kill time?
  • January 21, 2013
    FastEddie
    I removed the racial stuff. It is more clearly about settings and wardrobe selections, now.
  • January 21, 2013
    shimaspawn
    The Harry Potter example makes no sense as both Harry and Sirius are filthy rich. They just have fewer chances to spend it with Harry needing to live with the Dursley's and not caring about money much and Sirius being on the run. Remember Sirius bought the Firebolt like it was nothing.
  • January 21, 2013
    MetaFour
    I suspect another reason for white stuff being a sign of wealth is that any dirt on it will stick out like a sore thumb. Someone who knowingly buys a white whatever is tacitly declaring that they have enough money and/or free time to keep it clean.

    Which would make this trope a form of Conspicuous Consumption.
  • January 21, 2013
    Waterlily
    "The Harry Potter example makes no sense as both Harry and Sirius are filthy rich. They just have fewer chances to spend it with Harry needing to live with the Dursley's and not caring about money much and Sirius being on the run. Remember Sirius bought the Firebolt like it was nothing.'

    Exactly. The Blacks are a snobby pureblooded rich family just like the Malfoys. In fact, that's Draco's mother's maiden name. Sirius just rejected it.
  • January 24, 2013
    lakingsif
    ^^ There is "the 'richer' people were more likely to wear white clothes as they could clean them more frequently, had more of them to wear, and did not partake in tasks which were more likely to dirty them," in there.

    Yeah, okay, I'll get rid of the Harry Potter example.

    Thank you, @Fast Eddie, by the way.
  • March 6, 2013
    thewriter
    Lucius Malfoy did own Albino peacocks in the Harry Potter series though.
  • March 6, 2013
    SharleeD
    • The Raiths from The Dresden Files own a lot of white high-price cars and clothing. Played with in that it looks like this trope in action to vanilla-mortals, but is actually the Raiths' way of flaunting their status as the ruling family in the White Court of vampires.
  • March 6, 2013
    SharleeD
    ^^^ Note that it's not the rich people who do the cleaning; rather, keeping spotlessly-white stuff shows off how they're rich enough to hire other folks to keep them that way.
  • March 6, 2013
    lakingsif
    ^noted
  • March 6, 2013
    katiek
    In the fifth season of Mad Men, Don and Megan Draper are shown to have a white carpet in their luxury penthouse apartment, that is constantly subject to abuse from children with ink pens, from party goes, and from general wear and tear. Don the ad man actually does point out that there is a reason white carpets appear mostly just in ads: they are almost impossible to keep clean.
  • March 6, 2013
    StarSword
  • March 16, 2013
    bulmabriefs144
    In Secret Garden at least one of the male lead's houses (he has several) has all white decor.
  • November 23, 2014
    Pichu-kun
    Why mention hair and skin color when this is mainly a fashion and furniture trope?
  • November 23, 2014
    TheHandle
    • In Breaking Bad, the more rich (and evil) the Villain Protagonist and his wife become, the whiter their wardrobe gets. His long-time 'rivals', who are millionaires, are shown in the final episode live in a very white household.
  • November 23, 2014
    DAN004
  • December 14, 2014
    dalek955
  • December 14, 2014
    DAN004
    Related to Albinism Is Valuable ykttw
  • December 14, 2014
    Generality
    This is also related to the Ermine Cape Effect (white fur is expensive). And it's being redefined due to the current aesthetics of sleek minimalism in technology- thus it may be that Everything Is An Ipod In The Future, but in the present only the very affluent can surround themselves with elegantly curved, shiny white appliances. In fiction this means that any office or laboratory that is predominately white and clean is associated with financial success. The issue of cleaning also applies here.
  • December 19, 2014
    shiro_okami
    The Tarr family in Defiance own a mansion with white walls. They also happen to be part of an alien race that has truly white (as opposed to European-descent "white") skin.
  • December 19, 2014
    DragonQuestZ
    ^^ That trope is about regalia, not just the fur of the ermine (or else it would just be The Same But More Specific of Pretty In Mink). Plus fur is expensive depending on the source animal, not the color.
  • December 19, 2014
    JonnyB
    I can't think of any examples off the top of my head, but rich people, especially young preppies, are often dressed in tennis whites (or cricket whites, if they're in a Commonwealth country).
  • December 20, 2014
    DragonQuestZ
    So this could almost be a Forgotten Trope, since white objects aren't really a form of Conspicuous Consumption on their own anymore, but it was so in the past.
  • December 20, 2014
    randomsurfer
    In the Earths Children series Ayla's 2nd adoptive mother makes her a pure white outfit for her wedding. When she finally wears it the people watching are impressed. She's marrying a man whose family has much status in their group (the non-monetary version of wealth) but they don't know her so they aren't sure if she's worthy. But when they see her white dress they know that anyone who can have something like that is also of high status.
  • April 10, 2015
    Exxolon
    At least in the UK this is averted in the "white goods" market (fridges, freezers, washing machines, tumble dryers etc). The standard models are white, with upmarket models and makes being black, burnished metal in the case of fridges or other more exotic colours.
  • April 10, 2015
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ Similar thing in the US. Again, this seems to be a forgotten trope.
  • April 11, 2015
    Kartoonkid95
    Most everything is white (even the people) on the titular space station in Elysium
  • April 11, 2015
    Bisected8
    It's worth pointing out that smudges, fingerprints and dust show up more clearly on glossy black items, so they still show off that the owner can afford to maintain them, just in a different way.
  • April 11, 2015
    GiorgioDaneri
    Isn't the white iPhone more expensive than the black one??
  • April 11, 2015
    oneuglybunny
    Live Action TV
    • Boss Hogg from The Dukes Of Hazzard wears an immaculate white outfit and is driven about in a white Cadillac, part of his facade as a legitimate entrepreneur. In fact, Hogg has his grubby fingers in every crooked racket in Hazzard County, more deserving of a Satan-red outfit.

    Advertising
    • The location of some De Beers diamonds commercials is a seaside mansion that's mostly white. Justified, since the couple shilling the diamond jewelry is rarely shown: its their shadows that are seen, necessitating a contrasting backdrop.
  • April 11, 2015
    NateTheGreat
    In the movie Mazes and Monsters J.J.'s insane mother covers all of the surfaces of his room with white tile and replaces all the furniture with white equivalents. J.J. is dismayed. I'll give the dialogue along with Spoony's commentary from his review of the film:
    Spoony: J.J.'s mom is clearly a raving lunatic who obsessively and disturbingly redecorates his bedroom on a random basis. Check out this horror show!
    J.J.: What have you done? It looks like a hospital!
    Spoony: No, it looks like a hospital bathroom, or the inside of a See's Candies store.
  • April 11, 2015
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ The colors are what matters in the example, so it's not this trope.
  • April 14, 2015
    StrixObscuro
    Literature
    • In the backstory of The Belgariad, Vo Wacune, the wealthiest city in Arendia, was made of white marble, whereas its rivals Vo Mimbre and Vo Astur were yellow and grey, respectively.
  • April 15, 2015
    SolipSchism
    This one has more to do with increasing his political power and gaining legitimate authority, but it can probably be assumed that he's also much wealthier:

    Anime:
    • In Code Geass, the protagonist Lelouch spends most of the story as the leader of La Resistance, decked out in the darkest of dark outfits and motifs—fitting for an organization called the Black Knights. When he becomes the Emperor of Britannia, though, he switches out the dark costumes in favor of a white-and-gold outfit.
  • May 12, 2015
    Lythande
    Anime
    • Kaiba Seto in Yu Gi Oh is made of this: white suits, white BadassLongcoats, white dragons, white jets based on dragons, white blimps, white mansion...
    • Sesshoumaru in Inu Yashanote  has white hair, white clothing, a white sword... and his mother takes it a step further by living in a castle made of (white, naturally) clouds.
    • In Speed Grapher, Suitengu is currently on the way to collecting all of the money in Japan, and only ever seems to dress in white suits or BadassLongcoats.

    White Collar Crime - The rich even have white crimes. White Stallion - And white horses.
  • May 13, 2015
    DragonQuestZ
    How come a forgotten trope is getting examples from recent works, where the factors that made this trope no longer apply?
  • May 13, 2015
    hbi2k
    Real Life
    • Apple products, which are notoriously more expensive than their Windows- or Android-based counterparts, tend to be initially available only in white. Other colors are generally added to the lineup only later, after the price has dropped.
  • May 13, 2015
    SolipSchism
    ^^ That is a good point, I didn't notice that. I think it's safe to say that this is not a forgotten trope.

    Also, the Twilight examples: The baby room one is good I guess, but the other two bullets don't say anything about wealth, they just say "Hey the Cullens are super-white and the the Quileutes/Jacob are super-not." More to the point, those bullets are basically duplicates of each other. :/
  • May 13, 2015
    LadyEvil
    • The tradition of the white wedding gown began with Queen Victoria. In those days, white dresses were very hard to keep clean, so only the very rich wore them.
  • May 13, 2015
    DragonQuestZ
    ^^ But again, the things that make this trope don't apply. So does media simply have a holdover (which would make sense), or to help show a still applying trope that rich areas are cleaner than poor ones?
  • May 13, 2015
    SolipSchism
    ^ My brain can't parse that post. Please rephrase your query and try again.

    EDIT: Oh, are you talking about the trope in general? I thought you were saying something about Twilight.

    It is possible for X to be a thing, which causes Y to be a thing, and then Y becomes a habit, and then X is no longer a thing, but Y is a habit so we keep doing it. I think there's a name for that but it's not coming to mind at the moment. But in any case, Y is not a Forgotten Trope. It's just... orphaned.
  • May 13, 2015
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ Simply having things white these days doesn't mean as much, so the trope doesn't apply. Perhaps media is following their famous act of being slow to catch on to trope shifts, but it's been too long for that to make sense.

    Now the rich living in cleaner places is still a trope, but the colors don't matter anymore.
  • May 13, 2015
    Lythande
    I don't think the reasons the rich have white things necessarily matters so much. It is a definite theme, though; at the very least it's easy shorthand. It normally indicates some form of snobbishness or aristocratic feelings on the part of the rich person. If (an abundance of) white != purity, then white usually == aristocracy.
  • May 14, 2015
    lakingsif
    do we want a picture? I think one of the houses from Revenge or the Sam Smith music video are very obvious: Revenge 1, Revenge 2, Sam Smith video
  • May 14, 2015
    Arivne
  • May 14, 2015
    DragonQuestZ
    ^^^ "I don't think the reasons the rich have white things necessarily matters so much... It normally indicates some form of snobbishness or aristocratic feelings on the part of the rich person"

    The latter IS a reason. Plus you claiming it doesn't matter is wrong, since the mods have made it clear tropes can't just be things that happen. There has to be a reason, either in or out of universe (usually in-universe).
  • May 14, 2015
    Lythande
    ^ That's true, maybe I meant the in-universe reason doesn't matter as much as it being intentional character design. It doesn't have to signify anything culturally in-story to have character design subtext.
  • May 14, 2015
    SolipSchism
    ^ It's not about reasons, it's about the fact that tropes have to convey information, often as some kind of shorthand (i.e., instead of explaining that these people are super rich, just show that all their stuff is super-white, which tells the audience "Hey, these people are super rich" without actually showing them rolling around in a pile of gold like Scrooge McDuck). If it fits that criteria and it's common enough to show numerous examples, that's good enough to call it a trope.
  • May 14, 2015
    SolipSchism
    ^ It's not about reasons, it's about the fact that tropes have to convey information, often as some kind of shorthand (i.e., instead of explaining that these people are super rich, just show that all their stuff is super-white, which tells the audience "Hey, these people are super rich" without actually showing them rolling around in a pile of gold like Scrooge McDuck). That's good enough to call it a trope.
  • May 14, 2015
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ But how does having white stuff show it these days, when even middle class people can have white stuff?

    EDIT: Wait, let me rephrase. Where in modern media is this treated as a luxury?
  • May 15, 2015
    SolipSchism
    It's when the white stuff is played up. Most middle-class people in media still do not have white houses with white walls and white furniture and white knicknacks and white art and white clothes.

    Yes, middle class people can have white things, but this trope (despite the name) is not just "Only rich people have any white things," it's more "Rich people have a lot of prominent white things that mark the person as being affluent."
  • May 15, 2015
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ The problem is that doesn't apply anymore. It's more the make and material than the color.

    And in the past, it really was that most things colored white were owned almost exclusively by the rich or middle class. See the rule about wearing white after labor day, which is just archaic these days, and was just something rich people made up about a century and a half ago.
  • May 16, 2015
    calmestofdoves
    No, I'd say it's still the color: the only people who can afford to have tons of white stuff are people who can afford effective regular cleaning services. Prominent furniture that's susceptible to staining and yet is still spotlessly clean is a sign that either (a) you're so well-bred that you never spill (b) you're rich enough to pay to have the stains professionally removed or (c) you just buy new ones when the old ones gets stained.

    Minimalism in and of itself is a kind of opulence. The poorer you are, the more you're forced to hang on to everything you have in case you need to use it twice and the less storage space you've got: ugly, ugly clutter. Paring things down to the essentials (possibly by purchasing expensive multi-function pieces instead of several cheaper single-function pieces) and luxuriating in blank white space takes a decent amount of financial security. So apartments that are very bare and minimalist - modern art on big blank white walls - also very effectively convey that modernist nouveau riche look, without needing the old-money look of, say, somewhere like Downton Abbey.

    • Daredevil: Wilson Fisk spends an absurd amount of money on an all-white painting called "Rabbit in a Snowstorm" in the episode of the same name.
  • May 17, 2015
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ Where IN UNIVERSE does it state that about the color in works NOW?
  • May 17, 2015
    MorningStar1337
    I might as well post it now before the launch:

    • Satsuki Kiryuin in Kill La Kill has a Kamui called Junketsu, which is so white, its referred to as a wedding dress. She is also the heiress of the REVOVS Mega Corp ( thought she'd rather try to end the plans of the current CEO, her mother Ragyo). the white Kamui contrasts with Senketsu, who is the Kamui of the apparently poor Ryuko Matoi and is colored a blusih black.
  • May 17, 2015
    DragonQuestZ
    Okay I should rephrase my last question. Why does the color stand out other than it being hard to clean? So to most things the rich own.

    This is likely going to get cut, or perhaps just merged with another trope (like Conspicuous Consumption) if you can't answer that.
  • May 18, 2015
    SolipSchism
    Your complaint seems to hinge on the fact that every single example of the trope would need to state exactly why the rich people have a lot of white stuff in order for it to be an example, which is absurd. Just look at the example list and you will see exactly how this trope manifests, you'll see that it's hardly Too Rare To Trope, you'll see that it's a consistent pattern that is still prevalent today regardless of what social factors may have contributed to its inception however many centuries ago, and you'll see that it is a meaningful convention that conveys information to the audience—namely, telling them (or reinforcing an already-known idea) that the person or persons in question are affluent.

    This is not a complicated concept and it really, truly, does not matter what gave rise to the trope thousands of years ago or whether that factor is still a factor in its use today. A trope is a trope whether or not it is always used in the exact same context (in fact, explaining the unique context of a trope in each example and being able to identify the recurring patterns within that larger context is part of what makes it a trope in the first place) that it was used in a thousand years ago. Stop harping on about it.

    It's exactly like A Glass Of Chianti or White Hair Black Heart; it's an appearance/behavior trope that uses a very simple, quantifiable action or appearance to convey a very specific detail to the audience. It is very clean-cut and easy to understand. What is not easy to understand is exactly what you are complaining about.
  • May 18, 2015
    StrixObscuro
    Video Games
    • In Dragon Age II, if Merrill becomes Hawke's love interest and moves in with them, she gets upgraded from a forest-green outfit that looks like its made of fur and leaves to a fancy white outfit.
  • May 18, 2015
    SolipSchism
    ^ Looks like ya missed half the trope there; doesn't say anything about them being rich.
  • May 18, 2015
    DragonQuestZ
    ^^^ No, I'm not stating that each example needs to state why it stands out. I'm stating modern examples need to do that, to show why the color matters in times when the color isn't considered a luxury.

    Fur coats = still considered a luxury

    Big house = still considered a luxury

    Fancy jewelry = still considered a luxury

    Dress with lots of trimmings = still considered a luxury

    Personal servant = still considered a luxury

    Personal aircraft = still considered a luxury

    Merely being colored white = was considered a luxury in the past

    This is why I say it modern examples don't work. You could do a palette swap of them and it would still be stuff clearly only affordable by rich people. A century or so ago and it would have some social significance.
  • May 18, 2015
    calmestofdoves
    Using a big house or a personal servant to demonstrate a character's wealth is not a trope because it's so obvious why rich people have those things that it's not symbolic of anything, it's just literal. But using a plethora of white clothing, furniture, pets, etc., to visually reinforce a character's wealth IS a trope because rather than being merely a logical outcome of having a lot of money, "rich people have white stuff" draws on a shared cultural understanding - yes, white objects are expensive to clean and require frequent replacement, so they ARE still a luxury by a certain metric, but at this point it's just a memetic in-media thing. Which, again, is why it deserves a trope page!

    Seriously. We understand what you're trying to say, it just doesn't make any sense. There is no rule that tropes must have a demonstrable real-world basis. There could be zero history of white objects correlating with wealth and this would still be a perfectly reasonable trope page as long as the trope showed up regularly in media, WHICH IT OBVIOUSLY DOES.
  • May 18, 2015
    DragonQuestZ
    "Using a big house or a personal servant to demonstrate a character's wealth is not a trope"

    We have Big Fancy House and several Servant Tropes.

    "yes, white objects are expensive to clean and require frequent replacement"

    As if cleaners like bleach don't exist these days?

    Furthermore, you know how many mainstream products come in white, even as an option? The Xbox 360 originally came in white.
  • May 18, 2015
    calmestofdoves
    Big Fancy House is for ostentatiously fancy or exaggeratedly large houses used to demonstrate wealth. Most rich people do not actually have a Big Fancy House, they just have a big house. You wouldn't need to name a trope something like The Rich Have Larger Houses Than Average because that is just something that is literally true. By contrast, a Big Fancy House goes above and beyond as a visual reinforcement of vast wealth, so it gets a trope page.

    But I think this is all beside the point. Consider Heroes Want Redheads. Nobody has to prove that real heroes actually want redheads. It's just a thing that happens in media a lot, and it's remarkable and trope-worthy precisely BECAUSE it happens so much more often in media than it does in real life. Or Ominous Opera Cape - it's something that's used to visually emphasize villainy, not something that is demonstrably related to real-life villains. Having a lot of white stuff is a visual reinforcement of a character's wealth. Why? There's a vague historical reason and a questionable cleaning-difficulty reason, but come on. It's a trope. It is not actually necessary that it be grounded in reality, and, as I've been trying to say, it makes sense for us to pay more attention to its tropeyness if it shows up nowhere except media.

    And let me guess - you've never actually tried to clean an expensive material with bleach, have you.

    I can see I'm unlikely to win you over on the "white stuff needs more cleaning" thing, but I'll give it one more try: the idea is that white stuff you use frequently is going to show stains and therefore must be cleaned more often, which means spending more money to keep it looking clean, and not even repeated cleaning can prevent white things from greying and fading over time in a way that is far more noticeable and shabby-looking than it would be on colored objects. If you have a lot of truly pristine white stuff, you obviously have considerable resources.
  • May 19, 2015
    DragonQuestZ
    " Most rich people do not actually have a Big Fancy House"

    I didn't claim otherwise. I pointed out that it's still considered a luxury today.

    And Heroes Want Redheads works due to Tropes In Aggregate, but this isn't an aggregate thing. This is trying to pretend an old trope is still around.

    "And let me guess - you've never actually tried to clean an expensive material with bleach, have you. "

    I'm arguing about the color, not materials. ANY color of an expensive material would be hard to clean. But bleach is the major reason that white things can be cleaned these days, when in the past, even cheap materials would be hard to clean when they were white.
  • May 19, 2015
    calmestofdoves
    I only mentioned the difficulty of cleaning expensive stuff with bleach because you seemed to be proposing bleach as some kind of cure-all. How is it actually this hard to understand that keeping white things looking clean is more of a pain (and more of an expense!) than keeping colored things looking clean, expensive material or not? Pretty much the only thing this doesn't apply to is your bed linens. Ask literally any furniture salesperson or carpet salesperson or clothing salesperson or anyone who has ever owned a house. A small spill on colored or neutral carpet can be washed with a bit of soapy water and rubbed into the carpet; a small spill on bright white carpet can be washed with a bit of soapy water and a partially-bleach solution but will probably still be visible and may require professional cleaning. A small scuff on brown leather = hardly noticeable. A small scuff on white leather = HUGELY NOTICEABLE. Thus the white leather gets dirtied more easily and more effort must be taken to keep it looking clean. Repeat ad nauseam for white suits, white lampshades, white whatever. And repeated cleanings fade and wear down materials faster and thus material that must be cleaned more often must be replaced more often. This is not rocket science.

    But even if it were, isn't it obvious from the plethora of modern examples of this trope that it's still a trope even today, regardless of how closely it tracks with reality? White things do not have to be a luxury to be associated with richness, just like opera capes do not have to be evil to be associated with villainy.
  • May 19, 2015
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ You seem to think this is about white things being harder to clean. I would not deny that hard-to-clean stuff could be a trope (as I've seen it drive many plots and scenes), but it's not what this ykttw is about.

    It's about rich people using the color white alone to show off their wealth, where even the middle class in the past would see their white things stain over time. Even a white wedding dress, though popular after Queen Victoria introduced it, was still just a thing rich women wore until well into the 20th century.

    My only assertion is that modern examples do not apply, because socially the color white alone is no longer considered a signifier of wealth (as in it doesn't matter if a guy shows up in a white limo or black limo; he's rich because he owns a limo). The only real remnant these days is making jokes about wearing white after Labor Day, when in the past the rich in the US (if not elsewhere) considered that convention Serious Business.
  • May 19, 2015
    calmestofdoves
    I assure you that if you actually read my comments it should be clear that I have said multiple times that I do NOT think this trope is about white stuff being harder to clean - that happens to be TRUE, like really blatantly obviously true, so I still don't understand why you had to fight so hard on it, but that isn't why this is a trope. It is a trope because it shows up fairly often in modern media as a visual reinforcement of a character's wealth. That is literally all that matters.
  • May 19, 2015
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ You're just making an assertion without backing it up. Where does it show up these days, and in a way that cannot simply swap with other colors? I haven't seen that in any of the recent examples.
  • May 19, 2015
    DragonQuestZ
    "It is a trope because it shows up fairly often in modern media as a visual reinforcement of a character's wealth. That is literally all that matters. "

    That is literally describing Conspicuous Consumption, without stating why it would be a distinct Sub Trope.

    Furthermore you're not even stating how the color shows off wealth.
  • May 19, 2015
    calmestofdoves
    Argh, I give up. Several people that have explained this multiple times and it's not helping at all. If you really hate the trope that much then just kill it.
  • May 19, 2015
    SolipSchism
    Guys, please ease off on the All Caps. I'll admit I got aggressive with the italics in my last post but all caps is way more aggressive than anyone needs to get on a YKTTW.

    When the conversation gets around to remarks like "if you actually read my comments" then it's obvious something needs to change. Thus, I suggest a crowner. Maybe the options can be between allowing all examples and restricting it to, say, works 50 years or older, or something.

    I would like to point out based on a few comments, though, DQZ, I want to make sure you understand this trope is not just a list of every time a character owns something white, even if they are rich. This is for prominently displayed fancy white things. A character simply owning the original white Xbox 360 is not an example, at least not as written there. Nobody is claiming it is. And as for your "palette swap" argument, that really only reinforces the trope—yes, you could do a palette swap on all this fancy white stuff. And in fact you would have to do such a swap to illustrate your point, because it's white. It's not a trope because white is significant in itself—no trope is self-explanatory, after all—it's a trope precisely because authors and designers choose white stuff more frequently than other colors. That's why the obnoxious wealthy Southern magnate and his less odious brethren dress in white. That's why white limos are a thing. That's why white living rooms with white furniture and white carpeting and white knicknacks are a thing. It doesn't need to signify something other than the owners being rich, because that's the whole reason its there—to say "Hey, look at me, I'm rich."

    But since I doubt that settles the issue one way or the other, I suggest a crowner.

    EDIT: Although to be absolutely fair, this complaint is a relatively recent one and the trope does have five hats. However, I tend to advocate at least addressing all complaints and settling them before launch to avoid burning bridges. It's up to the OP if they want to launch or continue addressing this issue. I suggest the latter.
  • May 21, 2015
    lakingsif
    ^ Yes. You'll see that there have been several examples in the comments that haven't made it, DQZ, because there has been objection that whilst perhaps someone who may be rich may own something white they are not examples where the creators have chosen to use the whiteness of something to signpost that this person represents wealth.

    In the past, white things were only for the ridiculously rich but now they are not - however, there doesn't need to be a reason as to why creators choose to use white things as shorthand for wealth, just that they do and they know they do.

    Additionally, something that may be useful to note, if anyone things it belongs in the description, is that this trope is often employed with contrasts (a technique taught in media and film) where the white represents goodness implicit with wealth as the people with blackness always end up poor.

    I'll add the new examples, and I want you to understand that there doesn't need to be a reason for the colour being white, just that it's used.
  • May 21, 2015
    oneuglybunny
    Live Action TV
    • The Beverly Hills mansion that housed The Beverly Hillbillies had an interior of whites and muted greys, the better to offset the characters. Coupled with the Spartan furnishings, it conveyed an air of opulence succinctly.
    • Paying guests arriving at Fantasy Island are always welcomed by Mister Roarke and his servant Tattoo, both wearing immaculate white dinner jackets. Since Fantasy Island can make anyone's fondest dream come true, Roarke's whiteness suggests carte blanche resources at his disposal.

    Possibly worth noting that whiteness is invariably the motif of Fluffy Cloud Heaven.
  • May 22, 2015
    DragonQuestZ
    "and I want you to understand that there doesn't need to be a reason for the colour being white, just that it's used"

    There does have to be a reason. Otherwise you have the actual definition of People Sit On Chairs (no purpose to the element, either meta or In Universe).
  • May 22, 2015
    SolipSchism
    ^ The reason is a meta reason: To convey to the audience the idea that the character or characters are rich.

    Look at Luxury Tropes. Like, almost all of them. The majority of them are just "Character has X, which shows off how rich they are."

    Incidentally, on that note, OP, you should make a note somewhere that this would be indexed under Luxury Tropes.
  • May 26, 2015
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ I was addressing the claim that there doesn't need to be a reason. I know the reason for this.

    But I still maintain it doesn't apply today. Luxury Tropes often have lesser versions for the non-rich to afford. Even if that isn't an option, such things are part of If I Were A Rich Man fantasies (these things are basically what I meant by "considered a luxury"). You don't see someone going "She's wearing white shoes; I wish I could afford those!". That person would just buy white shoes. But you would see such comments for a diamond necklace (and the person would just settle for low cost jewelry).
  • May 26, 2015
    SolipSchism
    The fact is that it's a recurring pattern in fiction which has a consistent narrative purpose. That makes it a trope. If you can't point to those modern-day examples and explain why you don't see a recurring pattern with a consistent narrative purpose, then I don't see the point in continuing this circular conversation and I would (respectfully) suggest that you have failed to make your point in any meaningful way.

    A trope does not have to be realistic to be a trope. If that were a requirement, many, many tropes would not be tropes. For example, I have never in my life encountered an All Knowing Singing Narrator.

    A trope does not have to have a "real-world meaning or connotation" to be a trope. Some (probably most, maybe even all) tropes convey information that would not be conveyed by the same thing happening in the real world. For example, I don't look at someone drinking A Glass Of Chianti and assume they are evil (or immoral, or rich, or cultured, or even mean, or anything other than "Oh, they probably like red wine").
  • May 27, 2015
    lakingsif
    So, launch?
  • May 27, 2015
    SolipSchism
    I think so. I would really like to come to an understanding with DQZ but I don't know if that's going to happen, and I don't think one person should hold up an otherwise good launch. If it was a group of tropers, sure. But yeah, I think this is ready.

    Incidentally, the description has been updated/rewritten/tweaked since the last time I read it, and I really like the changes.
  • May 27, 2015
    lakingsif
    ^ why, thank you :) I'll folder tag and launch
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=m5jmnbhkxj7hz4vsi3s7yeoh