Sometimes Clothes Make the Legend
. However if you look at some of the earlier material you'll notice the character didn't wear their now signature outfits.
A subtrope of Early Installment Weirdness
Anime and Manga
- Several characters from Hourou Musuko had different hair colors early on. Takatsuki is the most noticeable, as he had brown for the first two volumes but changed to black from thereon.
- Naruto wore goggles in the proto-chapter and first few chapters before switching to a Ninja Headband.
- Several characters from K-On!. Yui wore Zettai Ryouiki early on in the manga before the author switched her over to Proper Tights with a Skirt. Ritsu's bangs, which spill out from the side of her hair-band, weren't drawn as prominently in first chapters of the manga and Mugi's distinctive eyebrows were drawn noticeably thinner in the earliest manga chapters.
- In the first chapters of Yu-Gi-Oh! had some differences in character design:
- Jono-Uchi's hairstyle was different, with normal bangs rather the outrageous pompadour we all know.
- Anzu wore loose socks with her school uniform, while in later chapters her socks are normal.
- And the Pharaoh had shark teeth and ankhs on his wrists.
- Pikachu from Pocket Monsters originally had Green Eyes. By the Pokemon Ruby And Sapphire adaptation he had the standard Pikachu Black Bead Eyes.
- In the early Superman stories the art had Supes occasionally have an additional S on his cape, the S symbol be smaller, and be on a more yellow background.
- During Steve Ditko's run on Spider-Man, Spider-Man had noticeable, dramatic webs under his armpits. These mostly disappeared over time as other artists took over, to the point most people don't know they were ever part of the costume.
- In Raumschiff Game Star, the eponymous starship crew's iconic "garbageman" uniforms didn't make an appearance until the second season. Ditto the bad guys' black hooded cloaks.
- This happened on Bonanza as the clothing choices of the Cartwrights got changed to Limited Wardrobe so more Stock Footage could be used.
- The uniforms in both pilot episodes of Star Trek were different, both from each other, and from those in the regular episodes.
- The first two seasons of Red Dwarf have Rimmer in a khaki Space Corps uniform and Lister in a stained, shabby version of the same uniform, as opposed to Lister's leathers and Rimmer's shiny outfits in later seasons. The Space Corps uniform itself is changed retrospectively in flashbacks.
- Throughout the first season of Sesame Street, there was a noticeable variation in Ernie's sweater, rather than being strictly red and blue striped, it also had orange, yellow, and pink stripes in it as well.
- Many Muppets had different designs early on and even throughout the years their designs have evolved. Kermit originally wasn't a frog, he was a Cartoon Creature until 1968 when Sesame Street aired. Big Bird originally had less feathers on his head and the character that would become Cookie Monster had teeth prior to appearing on Sesame Street.
- Reimu and Marisa from Touhou, especially in the PC-98 era. Reimu started out wearing a much more plain and basic miko outfit, without the ribbons and her memetic armpits. She also had purple hair. Marisa, famous for her black-white witch dress, started out wearing purple. She also had red hair instead of blonde, although only in her first appearance.
- Red in Pokemon Red, Blue, and Green is depicted with bone straight hair in his sprites but has Anime Hair in his official design. This is likely because the prototypical version of him from "Capsule Monsters" had this hairstyle and the sprites didn't change when his design did. Blue's sprite also has a hairstyle not seen in any artwork when he's a Champion.
- Many Pokémon monsters looked different in the sprites for the first two generations. For example Charmander had spikes according to most adaptations (excluding the anime), the original sprites, and early official art but they were removed by Gold and Silver.
- Mario from Super Mario Bros. had a blue shirt and red overalls until the colors were swapped around for the second title. Luigi had a brown shirt-green overall combo in his first appearance, and green shirt and white overalls (resembling the fire flower form) in Super Mario Bros. (Both of the remakes gave him back said brown shirt-green overall combo (or, in the case of the Super Mario All Stars version, the blue shirt-green overalls) , and made this costume his fire flower form instead).
- In the very first Street Fighter game - which is often forgotten - Ryu has reddish hair and wears a pair of red shoes. Odd considering that in the games chronologically after it, he Does Not Like Shoes and he has it pointed out numerous times.
- In the very first Street Fighter game, Birdie is a fair-skinned light-toned man. In his next chronological appearance (Street Fighter Alpha), he's Black and slightly bulkier. He explains: "I was pale because I was sick!"
- Mega Man X: In his first appearance (in the first game), Zero has circular shoulders and lacks his Z-saber. In the second game, where he was rebuilt after he was destroyed one game before, he gets a new square shoulders with his signature Z on it, and his Z-saber as well, which is retained throughout the rest of the series. His design also becomes a bit pointier.
- In the Rayman series, the titular character started out with separated eyes and a red handkerchief on his neck, but starting with Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc, Rayman gained Conjoined Eyes and a red hoodie in place of the handkerchief.
- Tommy from Rugrats wore a red shirt in both the unaired pilot and the actual pilot for the show. After that his signature color became blue, and his main outfit became a blue shirt.
- In the "All Growed Up" Special, the ten-years-older versions of the Rugrats had clothes that had similar color schemes to the clothes they wore as infants. When All Grown Up!! was spun off into its own series, the characters had outfits that were very different to the ones in the special, especially in the later seasons of the show.
- The titular character from Caillou wore a grey shirt in the early episodes but once he turned four he began wearing a yellow version.
- In the first The Simpsons shorts appearing on The Tracey Ullman Show Bart wore a blue shirt, but as of the switch to their own show he wears orange.
- Several Arthur characters. Arthur didn't even wear pants in the first book nor did he wear his iconic cardigan. Francine didn't wear her signature red sweatshirt or blue jeans in the early books. Instead she wore a dresses, which is a sharp contrast from her current version.
- Several times in The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius. The most noticeable differences are that in Jimmy Neutron Cindy had Girlish Pigtails instead of a ponytail and a pink shirt instead of a green one while Jimmy had shorts, instead of jeans, and different shoes. In the series proper, Libby originally wore a green dress and had straight hair with Peek-a-Bangs. Starting with episode 21 she switched to cornrows and starting with episode 25 she began wearing jeans and a pink shirt.
- In the first episode of The Transformers, Shockwave was shown with both hands. Later he got his signature laser gun replacing his left hand.
- Similarly, the first episode of Transformers Animated have some design differences: Sentinel Prime is shown with a white face rather than grey, a longer head with a smaller chin and smokestacks on his shoulders, while Blackarachnia had the spider abdomen on her back splitted in two coattails, lacked two of the spider eyes on her chest and an extra pair of spider legs on her shoulders.
- In My Little Pony: Rescue from Midnight Castle Megan is depicted with cowboy boots, an orange shirt, a brown vest, and jeans. In the sequel she receives a Girliness Upgrade in terms of colors but keeps the general design. Come My Little Pony N Friends and her design is given a total rehaul. She now wears somewhat frilly overalls with a heart in the middle.
- Donald Duck's iconic sailor suit changed considerably over the years. In his first appearance in Wise Little Hen, the hat had a stiff brim, rather than the floppy hat he now has. Also, the hat was white until the early forties, and the bow on his collar changed from black to red. And for a brief period in the 1950s, the buttons on his shirt disappeared.
- For his first appearance in Mickey's Revue, Goofy (then known as Dippy Dawg) wore only a vest, glasses and no pants; only the hat is recognizable. This look (sans glasses) was revived for the Disney Channel Mickey Mouse shorts.