Created By: WulfJuly 19, 2009
Troped

Nonuniform Uniforms

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Trope
OP: Nate The Great

Wulf-- This has been Up For Grabs for awhile now, so I'm hijacking it. Launching tonight or Monday.

A character is forced to wear some form of uniform which they find repressive, so they try to act out and be an individual through wearing something distinctive. In Real Life this is a key reason why novelty neckties are so popular. Big earrings, watches laden down with gadgets, mismatched socks, you get the idea.
  • Robert Fulghum once decided to wear a propeller beanie on his way to work. Imagine seeing an older gentleman walking down the street wearing a full suit and a propeller beanie.
  • On Star Trek more than one officer has gotten into trouble for wearing jewelry on duty. Apparently religious ornamentation is still allowed, but similar stuff worn just for fun is banned.
  • On Friends Joey was reluctant to remove his jacket in a restaurant 'cause he was wearing a (illegal, oh so illegal) shirt of "Calvin doin' Hobbes."
  • School uniform modification abounds both in fiction and Real Life.
Community Feedback Replies: 35
  • April 23, 2009
    JP4490
  • April 23, 2009
    Ganondorfdude11
  • April 23, 2009
    Nate the Great
    Sister trope to Cutting the Electric Leash.
  • April 23, 2009
    Nate the Great
    Hmm. Coulda sworn we had that one.
  • April 23, 2009
    Recon5
    Special mention has to go to the Japanese school system, which actually began cracking down on uniform mods.
  • April 24, 2009
    Nate the Great
    Cutting The Electronic Leash. Ugh. Must be my local vernacular that cuts out syllables from words like that...
  • April 26, 2009
    Nate the Great
    Any more examples?
  • April 26, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    Will Smith wears his uniform blazer inside out on "Fresh Prince".
  • April 26, 2009
    Koveras
    How is this related to Custom Uniform?
  • April 26, 2009
    Chariset
    I'm pretty sure it IS Custom Uniform
  • April 26, 2009
    Nate the Great
    As I understand it, Custom Uniform is "I won't wear the real one, so I'll wear whatever I want." This is "I gotta wear a certain dress code, but nobody says I can't modify or accessorize it." There's undoubtedly overlap, and a few examples may need to be moved, but I think there's enough difference for a Sister Trope. Examples that would be moved over include Adama's cape, the Full Metal Jacket helmet, junior X-Men members, and so on.
  • April 27, 2009
    MasoTey
    In one of the Adrian Mole books, characters wear red socks under their black school uniform socks, as a kind of silent rebellion.
  • May 9, 2009
    Nate the Great
    Bump.
  • May 9, 2009
    Wulf
    If it's deemed separate from Custom Uniform, I vote Nonuniform Uniform as the title.
  • May 9, 2009
    Bisected8
    I remember one of the "Mr. Ben" books has him, as a prisoner, modify the black and white prison uniforms to use multiple colours (which is allowed as long as they're striped).
  • May 9, 2009
    random surfer
    On Bones Seeley Booth wears the standard FBI suit, but has wacky socks and belt buckle.
  • May 9, 2009
    Fanra
    Must mention the movie Office Space and Joanna's fight over her Flair.

    Joanna: You know what, Stan, if you want me to wear 37 pieces of flair, like your pretty boy over there, Brian, why don't you just make the minimum 37 pieces of flair?
    Stan, Chotchkie's Manager: Well, I thought I remembered you saying that you wanted to express yourself.
    Joanna: Yeah. You know what, yeah, I do. I do want to express myself, okay. And I don't need 37 pieces of flair to do it.
    [flips off Stan]
  • May 20, 2009
    Nate the Great
    Bump.
  • May 21, 2009
    foxley
    Daisy in MI High must be pushing the boundries of what's acceptable for a school uniform (although, to be fair, many teenage girls do this in real life).
  • July 11, 2009
    Nate the Great
    Bump.
  • July 11, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    A comic strip had a girl going to boarding school have to buy certain clothes that fit exact specifications, but the list didn't mention socks, so she wore knee-high socks with rainbow stripes.
    • This was April in a Sunday episode of For Better or For Worse
  • July 11, 2009
    ralphmerridew1
    IIRC, the uniforms in Star Trek TOS are all slightly different (one character's has a V-neck).

    Where does Higurashi fall? The characters wear standard uniforms, but they all wear different styles of uniform.
  • July 11, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    Used in a whole lot of different situations (live-action TV, anime, real life, etc.) is the occurrence of a "calculated ankle". A calculated ankle occurs when a character is required to wear full-length pants (made for their height) as part of a uniform; having a "calculated ankle" is the practice of cuffing, rolling, or otherwise "wearing" one pant leg's ankle different than the other.

    • Ikki Minami of Air Gear is one such character who does this to his school uniform, cuffing one ankle so that it's visibly higher than the other.
  • July 11, 2009
    Wulf
    Noticed this in Reno911 last night. While most of the officers wear the same uniform, some wear variations on a theme. Dangle's shorts are the most noticable, but Junior wears his bulletproof vest and sunglasses at all times, and Cindy the sex slave wears a skirt and half-unbuttoned shirt.
  • July 11, 2009
    Jack Butler
    Luna Lovegood, from Harry Potter, wears her mandatory Hogwarts robes accessorized with bottlecap necklaces and radish earrings.
  • July 17, 2009
    Nate the Great
    Bump.
  • July 17, 2009
    Wulf
    I'll launch this one of you don't wanna.
  • July 17, 2009
    rjung
    In Terry Pratchett's Going Postal, when Moist Von Lipwig reviews The Order Of The Post for the first time, he notes that "since no two uniforms were exactly alike they were not, in fact, uniform and therefore not technically uniforms."
  • July 18, 2009
    sgamer82
    • Similar to the For Better or For Worse example, Tristan Stallings of Angel Moxie exploits a loophole in her school's dress code to wear striped stockings to school. When a teacher tries to call her on this she quotes the rule in full to prove her point.

    Could be a possible page quote:
    Tristan: Okashi City Junior High School's Dress Code Manual, Guideline #5A states, and I quote, "Ladies, if they elect to wear socks, must wear the appropriate school-provided socks or a comparable white or black store-bought version. Otherwise, ladies must wear stockings instead of socks." These, I feel I should point out once again, are stockings, and the manual says nothing about what type of stockings one is allowed to wear. So, as you can see, I am fully within the guidelines determined by the dress code.

    • Also, a sitcom USA High featured the main character (Jackson, I believe his name was) rebelling against his new school's uniforms by tie-dying his. It didn't work though.
    • In Hourou Musuko, a girl, Chizuru, wears the boy's uniform to her middle school's opening ceremony. She tends to do this kind of thing on a whim, and later wears the boy's necktie instead of the girl's ribbon on her uniform. Female lead Yoshino struggles over whether to do this herself and eventually starts wearing the necktie also.
    • The Guardians of Shugo Chara wear mantles on their shoulders, though this isn't out of rebellion but rather a symbol of their status. Amu, on the other hand, tends to wear her uniform in a slightly more disheveled fashion. Jacket unbuttoned, shirt un-tucked, and belt with a fanny pack on over the shirt.
  • July 18, 2009
    BlueHeel
    Will Smith on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. He always turned the jacket of his school uniform inside out, displaying a colorful silk liner instead of the single color shell.
  • July 18, 2009
    Zaxser
    Although Naruto has plenty of Custom Uniforms, some characters fit this trope as well, with headbands that are supposedly mean to be worn on the forehead, as a belt, eyepatch, bracelet, and bandanna.
  • July 19, 2009
    Nate the Great
    Huh? Does editing the initial post give a person credit for the whole thing? Weird.
  • July 19, 2009
    Wulf
    Yep. Weird ain't it? I should probably spell your name right though.
  • July 19, 2009
    Aruelle
    You're going to need a troper tales section for this one, because this troper alone has about five stories. No fictional examples I'm afraid...
  • July 19, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    In Resident Evil, none of the S.T.A.R.S. members wear uniforms that look remotely alike.

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