Created By: surgoshan on July 25, 2012 Last Edited By: CrypticMirror on December 3, 2013
Troped

Her Boyfriend's Jacket

Girls like to wear their boyfriends' coats.

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Trope
Jewelry is small and hard to see, and a bit beyond the typical high-schooler's budget. So how's a TV show to demonstrate that Bob and Alice are a couple? Well, making mad passionate sex would probably do it, but would probably get the show booted from prime time. Also, the FCC frowns upon even simulated underage sex. So instead, Alice wears Bob's jacket. If Bob's some kind of athlete, expect it to be his letterman jacket.

This is Truth in Television, and not limited to jackets. Women like stealing men's clothing. A little research indicates that the reason girls do this is fourfold. First, they're big and comfy. Second, it marks both of them as taken. Third, it's like a day-long hug. Finally, it smells like him.

This can be more than just an "I like this and I like you" gesture. It can be a symbol of commitment. Sometimes it's a class ring, or a necklace, or a favorite hat. The point is that one partner is wearing something that until then was always seen on the other, so that the world knows they're a couple.

And it need not only be women wearing something of their men's collection. A man is less likely to wear his girlfriend's clothing, but a token is often passed in that direction, as in Chivalric Romance when a knight takes a lady's scarf with him into battle.

Related to You Must Be Cold, which is a one-time romantic gesture (often as part of a Ship Tease). This is a long term appropriation of clothing to demonstrate a relationship. Also related to Sexy Shirt Switch, where she appropriates other articles of clothing after sex. These are all signs of intimacy. Sexy Shirt Switch is sexual intimacy, Her Boyfriends Jacket is emotional intimacy (slash ownership).

Examples

Advertising
  • There's a style of clothing in fashion known as "boyfriend clothing". It's clothing that was designed for men and redesigned for women. It looks like typical men's fashion, but with a looser fit more comfortable for women. From the other wiki, "The origin of boyfriend fashion is literally borrowing and wearing a boyfriend's clothes—his distressed jeans, his band tees, his dress shirts, his blazers, his cardigan. The trend expanded in 2009 when actress Katie Holmes was spotted in public wearing Tom Cruise's slouchy jeans after a Broadway rehearsal; other celebrities such as Reese Witherspoon, Rachel Bilson, Sarah Jessica Parker, and others began to follow the trend. From there, many brands such as Gap, Forever 21 and H&M began to create boyfriend fashion products or men's-inspired fashion."

Anime
  • In Last Exile after Claus and Tatiana crash land in the desert, at one point he offers her some spare coveralls as a change of clothes. When they get back to the Silvana, Claus' old friend Lavie sees Tatiana wearing his clothes and she begins to fear this is happening.
  • At the beginning of Episode 17 of Digimon Frontier, Koji offers his jacket to Zoe for her to wear when she's feeling cold, which leaves JP feeling rather jealous.

Comic Books
  • In the X-Wing Series, the first indication of a relationship starting between Corran and Mirax is her walking into the fighter bay wearing his flight jacket. She even pulls it closer around her when she notices one of the female pilots glaring at her.

Fan Fiction
  • Discworld Why And Were has a scene where Assassin Johanna dons Wizard Ponder Stibbons' wizarding robes. Partly because they're warm, comfortable and smell slightly of Ponder. (a big plus in the early stages of a relationship). But mainly because she'd otherwise have had to answer the door naked.
  • The magnificently funny Ranma ˝ fanfic Crossed Wires spoofs this trope when Ranma in girl mode has to borrow Ryouga's clothes, including his distinctive shirt, and everyone immediately assumes this trope is now in play. Hilarity Ensues.

Film
  • Shelly in Sin City wears Dwight's shirt when Jackie Boy arrives at her apartment. He is not amused.
  • In Jarhead, the girlfriend of one of the marines keeps sending him sexy photos of her wearing his uniform jackets (and nothing else). One of the other marines eventually asks if she has any clothing of her own.
  • Cyberthriller The Net has Angela Bennett wrap herself with Jack Devlin's sport coat while aboard his boat. When she finds a gun with a silencer in one pocket, she begins to suspect that Jack intends to murder her.
  • Cherry in Planet Terror wears El Ray's leather jacket, much to his chargrin since she left him and he was searching for it for months.

Literature
  • In The Dark Side of Nowhere, there's a gender reversal of this. Girls wearing their boyfriend's letter-jacket to signify that they are together is a custom in their high-school, but where protagonist Jason gets together with his athletic tomboy love interest, he wears her letter-jacket.
  • In his book Couplehood Paul Reiser complains about this practice (Link!)...
    And of course, later, it's freezing, and she's huddled in my jacket, and I, who knew to bring a jacket, am wearing no jacket. And the kicker is: It's not like my jacket looks so good on her anyway. It certainly looks worse than whatever jacket of her own she would have put on.

Live Action TV
  • Amy Pond from Doctor Who disconsolate after the death of the Doctor in the Wedding of River Song, is shown consoling herself by drinking wine on her patio, wearing the letterman jacket Rory was sporting in Let's Kill Hitler.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Angel gives Buffy his leather jacket in the fourth episode, Teacher's Pet, she wears it for the rest of the first season, albeit with the sleeves rolled up. They're not a couple yet, but when he says, at the end of the episode, that "it looks better on you", she knows she's fallen for him.
    • Tara wears Willow's sweater in the fourth season episode "New Moon Rising", which precipitates the episode's trouble.
  • Glee:
    • Discussed and subverted in the second season. Finn and Rachel think that Sam is dating Kurt after they see him wearing Kurt's jacket, specifically citing the common practice among girls of wearing their boyfriend's jackets. It later turns out that Sam's dad lost his job, with the result of the Evans family becoming so poor that they're staying in a hotel room. The jacket in question was part of a handout package consisting of Kurt's old clothes given specifically with the intent of helping out Sam's family.
    • In the fourth season, a Betty and Veronica Love Triangle is established between Marley, Kitty, and Jake when Marley spends a few days wearing Jake's coat (from a You Must Be Cold moment) and Kitty demands it as this trope when she and Jake start dating (though he doesn't like labels).
  • An episode of My Family involves Janey being given her boyfriend's jacket and taking a liking to it so much she tries to avoid giving it back even after dumping him. Eventually he tricks her into giving it back, though she manages to coax it out of him by dating him again.
  • This becomes a plot device in an episode of Leave It to Beaver, in which Mary-Ellen Rogers wants to impress her friends, and charms Wally into letting her wear his letterman sweater.
  • In "The Little Kicks" episode of Seinfeld, Anna returns to work at the J. Peterman Catalog at one point, wearing George's Yankees jacket, after Elaine warned her to stay away from him on the grounds that he's "a bad seed".

Video Games
  • Blue Mary in Fatal Fury. The boyfriend in question is deceased, though how was not elaborated on by much.

Web Original
  • In the fourth season of The Guild, after Codex and Fawkes sleep together and he accidentally leaves his jacket at her place, she assumes they're totally dating and wears said jacket on what she thinks is a date... and he sends someone else to pick it up.

Webcomic
  • Gunnerkrigg Court: In Chapter 14 Kat can be seen wearing the T-shirt of her brief love interest, Alistair, who left her his personal belongings after he had to turn into a bird and leave.
  • In Questionable Content, Hannelore and Sven go on a fake date (because she never has), a the end of which she looks 'absolutely adorable wearing his hoodie against the cold.

Western Animation
Community Feedback Replies: 40
  • July 26, 2012
    Rognik
    How exactly IS this different from You Must Be Cold?
  • July 26, 2012
    69BookWorM69
    You Must Be Cold seems to require the woman to be lightly dressed; most of the occasions I've seen it (including IRL) involve couples in evening wear. Her strapless/chiffon/satin/crepe dress is insufficient protection against the cold, and she doesn't wear an overcoat of her own, so his tux jacket is pressed into service. This trope would be for other occasions (when she more fully dressed), and as more of a long term demonstration of commitment rather than just a one night loan. Perhaps the OP should write, "Contrast with You Must Be Cold..."
  • July 30, 2012
    randomsurfer
    Truth In Television at some high schools - a girl wears her boyfriend's letterman or other jacket to show the world they're steadies.
  • September 1, 2012
    foxley
    In Jarhead, the girlfriend of one of the marines keeps sending him photos of herself wearing various items of his marine uniform (and nothing else). It eventually reaches the point where one of his squad mates asks if she actually owns any clothes of her own.
  • September 1, 2012
    surgoshan
    ^ I'm pretty sure that would be Sexy Shirt Switch.
  • September 1, 2012
    ThreeferFAQMinorityChick
    • Discussed and subverted in Glee. Finn and Rachel think that Sam is dating Kurt after they see him wearing Kurt's jacket, specifically citing the common practice among girls of wearing their boyfriend's jackets. It later turns out that Sam's dad lost his job, with the result of the Evans family becoming so poor that they're staying in a hotel room. The jacket in question was part of a handout package consisting of Kurt's old clothes given specifically with the intent of helping out Sam's family.
  • September 1, 2012
    MrRuano
    • Blue Mary in Fatal Fury. The boyfriend in question is deceased, though how was not elaborated on by much.
  • September 3, 2012
    norsicnumber2nd
    Also in Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Tara is wearing Willow's jacket/ jumper in 'New Moon Rising', which acts as a catalyst for another part of the storyline.
  • September 3, 2012
    KevinKlawitter
    Not sure if this would count, but a common variation is a girl wearing her boyfriend's hat. A memorable episode of Pepper Ann had the title character start wearing Milo's ever-present hat so it would look like they were dating, and to cope Milo started wearing continuously more ridiculous hats as the episode progressed.
  • September 14, 2012
    NimmerStill
    Wasn't/isn't there a an actual "boyfriend" clothing line, clothes marketed directly to women but intended to look like they wore their boyfriend's stuff? Could go in Advertising.
  • September 14, 2012
    surgoshan
    Holy crap! That's a thing! It's not a line, it's a style of clothing.
  • October 8, 2012
    norsicnumber2nd
    Yeh. Boyfriend jeans, designed for girls.

    Being normal, though, I just go to the lads' section and look around. Smells nicer, too. Less pink and bright lights and weird shop attendants.
  • October 8, 2012
    Tallens
    • In the X Wing Series, the first indication of a relationship starting between Corran and Mirax is her walking into the fighter bay wearing his flight jacket. She even pulls it closer around her when she notices one of the female pilots glaring at her.
  • October 10, 2012
    WeAreAllKosh
    As said above, this is (or at least was, when I was in high school) a common way for a girl to show that she was "taken", and to proudly show who her boyfriend was. Another way was by wearing her boyfriend's class ring on a necklace, although that latter, unlike a letter jacket, wouldn't indicate who the boyfriend was--but it sort of suggested a step before wearing a ring on her finger, perhaps.
  • October 11, 2012
    shimaspawn
    Honestly, I think you should expand it to all clothing and both sexes. Broader tropes are better. Have the focus be that one character wears an item of clothing that is tied to their lover as a token of their affection. It could be a coat, a hat, a necklace, a scarf, a pair of gloves, a barrette. The exact item doesn't change the trope nor does if the girl gives it to the man. After all, medieval knights used to wear tokens from their ladies into jousting matches. It's the same trope. Different time period.
  • October 11, 2012
    jatay3
    How about "the gentleman's favor" as a reference to The Ladys Favor?
  • January 10, 2013
    randomsurfer
    There is a series of ads for NFL officially licensed clothing which plays with this. We see a montage of women giving their boyfriends their "boyfriend clothes" back, implying that they're breaking up - but it's really because the NFL now has officially licensed clothing in women's sizes, so she no longer has to wear men's clothes to support the team.
  • January 10, 2013
    Duncan
    The song "The Sweater" by Meryn Cadell is about stealing a boy's sweater when a girl has a crush on him.
    You have just pulled over your head the worn, warm sweater belonging to a boy.
  • January 10, 2013
    MarqFJA
    I'm with Shimaspawn. Broaden this to Her Boyfriends Clothes and we could avoid at least one instance of the Missing Supertrope Syndrome.
  • January 11, 2013
    Tallens
    • In Last Exile after Claus and Tatiana crash land in the desert, at one point he offers her some spare coveralls as a change of clothes. When they get back to the Silvana, Claus' old friend Lavie sees Tatiana wearing his clothes and she begins to fear this is happening.
  • January 27, 2013
    Eddy1215
    You know, during the brief time they were dating in As Told By Ginger, Ginger did wear Darrin's jacket.
  • January 27, 2013
    Psi001
    • An episode of My Family involves Janey being given her boyfriend's jacket and taking a liking to it so much she tries to avoid giving it back even after dumping him. Eventually he tricks her into giving it back, though she manages to coax it out of him by dating him again.
  • January 28, 2013
    Chernoskill
    • Shelly in Sin City wears Dwight's shirt when Jackie Boy arrives at her apartment. He is not amused.
  • January 30, 2013
    IsaacSapphire
    In The Dark Side Of Nowhere, there's a gender reversal of this. Girls wearing their boyfriend's letter-jacket to signify that they are together is a custom in their high-school, but where protagonist Jason gets together with his athletic tomboy love interest, he wears her letter-jacket.
  • April 24, 2013
    Tallens
    Bump
  • April 28, 2013
    foxley
    In Jarhead, the girlfriend of one of the marines keeps sending him sexy photos of her wearing his uniform jackets (and nothing else). One of the other marines eventually asks if she has any clothing of her own.
  • April 29, 2013
    justanotherrandomlurker
    Live Action TV
    • This becomes a plot device in an episode of Leave It To Beaver, in which Mary-Ellen Rogers wants to impress her friends, and charms Wally into letting her wear his letterman sweater.
    • In "The Little Kicks" episode of Seinfeld, Anna returns to work at the J. Peterman Catalog at one point, wearing George's Yankees jacket, after Elaine warned her to stay away from him on the grounds that he's "a bad seed".
  • June 18, 2013
    Tallens
    Bump
  • June 18, 2013
    CaveCat
    • At the beginning of Episode 17 of Digimon Frontier, Koji offers his jacket to Zoe for her to wear when she's feeling cold, which leaves JP feeling rather jealous.
  • June 18, 2013
    oneuglybunny
    Film
    • Cyberthriller The Net has Angela Bennett wrap herself with Jack Devlin's sport coat while aboard his boat. When she finds a gun with a silencer in one pocket, she begins to suspect that Jack intends to murder her.
  • June 19, 2013
    Chernoskill
    • Cherry in Planet Terror wears El Ray's leather jacket, much to his chargrin since she left him and he was searching for it for months.
  • August 4, 2013
    Tallens
    Bump.
  • August 4, 2013
    NateTheGreat
    In his book Couplehood Paul Reiser complains about this practice (Link!)...

    And of course, later, it's freezing, and she's huddled in my jacket, and I, who knew to bring a jacket, am wearing no jacket. And the kicker is: It's not like my jacket looks so good on her anyway. It certainly looks worse than whatever jacket of her own she would have put on.
  • August 4, 2013
    Korodzik
    Webcomic

    Gunnerkrigg Court: In Chapter 14 Kat can be seen wearing the T-shirt of her brief love interest, Alistair, who left her his personal belongings after he had to turn into a bird and leave.
  • August 19, 2013
    kjnoren
    See also The Ladys Favour. Not sure how to exactly put the dividing lines here, though.
  • August 20, 2013
    AgProv
    Discworld Why And Were has a scene where Assassin Johanna dons Wizard Ponder Stibbons' wizarding robes. Partly because they're warm, comfortable and smell slightly of Ponder. (a big plus in the early stages of a relationship). But mainly because she'd otherwise have had to answer the door naked.
  • August 23, 2013
    CrypticMirror
    The magnificently funny Ranma One Half fanfic Crossed Wires spoofs this trope when Ranma in girl mode has to borrow Ryouga's clothes, including his distinctive shirt, and everyone immediately assumes this trope is now in play. Hilarity Ensues.
  • November 3, 2013
    Tallens
    One more hat?
  • November 4, 2013
    CrypticMirror
  • December 3, 2013
    kjnoren
    Webcomics:

    • In Girl Genius, Zeetha wears Higgs' striped shirt when we see them after they had hitched up. The comic.
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