%% Launched per YKTTW http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=j552xazjr9t42dcesuw6gv0i
This trope is all about creatures (humanoid or otherwise) who are denoted as "people" by their use of accessories such as tools, regardless of the characters being otherwise nude.

A pet animal might commonly wear a collar, but would not normally wear a coin pouch, tools, a weapon or a timepiece. Accessories of that kind would normally be a clear indication of "personhood" for the wearer, regardless of the character being otherwise nude.

The heroic space explorer is on an alien planet which seems to at least be able to sustain life as we know it. Perhaps the explorer is a scientist examining a soil sample outside her space tent. Suddenly there's a noise and the explorer looks up to behold one of the weird native lifeforms staring at her from the edge of the clearing.

"I wonder what that animal wants?" thinks the explorer. Then she realises: The creature, although otherwise nude, is wearing a belt holding a small sack, a hammer and a dagger!

The heroic space explorer is about to make FirstContact!

If the character uses the accessories for their intended purpose, this would be an even more decisive indicator that the character is a person and not an animal.

This is a subtrope of FunnyAnimal but this trope occurs when the being is initially presumed to be non-sapient by both protagonists and audience and the being's sapience is revealed by its artifacts.

Related to both HalfDressedCartoonAnimal and AccessoryWearingCartoonAnimal but this trope is not limited to cartoon characters and is limited to non-clothing accessories.

[[folder: Film - Live Action]]
* Chewbacca of the ''Franchise/StarWars'' franchise wears a bandolier over his shoulder and handles various repair tools and weapons, which helps visually affirm that he's a technology-using alien and not some sort of bipedal beast in spite of his only vocal sounds being grunts, growls and roars.
* Averted in ''Film/TheCatFromOuterSpace'' (1978). An alien that looks like a cat is stranded on Earth. His super-computer/communication device looks like a glowing cat collar, so he is mistaken for a common house cat.

[[folder: Film - Western Animation]]
* In ''Disney/LiloAndStitch'', Stitch is mistaken for a dog after he loses his laser guns (despite having six limbs) and then Lilo later realizes that Stitch is intelligent when he does things like riding a bike and building elaborate models of San Francisco.

[[folder: Literature]]
* In the Literature/HonorHarrington universe, the Treecats of Sphinx (small, six-limbed arboreals) were originally thought to be nonsentient. It began to dawn on the human colonists that they were wrong when they were seen to use stone-age tools (chipped stone hand-axes and woven nets).
* In ''Literature/AliceInWonderland'', the main story begins when Alice sees a rabbit with a pocketwatch and waistcoat and follows to investigate.
* In Creator/ABertramChandler's short story "The Cage", survivors from a crashed starship (on a planet where clothes don't survive due to some aggressive fungus) are captured by aliens and put in a zoo. Attempts to convince the aliens they are sentient by making baskets or demonstrating mathematics fail. But when they build a cage and put an [[CallASmeerpARabbit alien mouse]] into it... well, only sentient beings are bastards enough for that.
* In the ''Literature/LittleFuzzy'' novels, the first indication that the Fuzzies were sentient was their use of sharpened sticks to kill invertebrate prey.
* One of the countless hominids on Literature/{{Ringworld}} was a borderline-sentient species which, while unable to use fire in their aquatic habitat, did use flaked stone tools (a borderline example since it is never stated whether or not the species wears clothes).
* In ''Tarnsman of Literature/{{Gor}}'', Tarl meets a Nar, a member of the Spider People, who wears only a UniversalTranslator strapped to his thorax.
* {{Inverted}} in David Brin's ''Literature/{{Uplift}}'' series when humans are considered inferior to whales and dolphins because we are unable to do things without using tools.
* In Creator/AnneMcCaffrey's ''Decision at Doona'', human settlers on a new world encounter a village of intelligent cats. Both species assume the other is pre-sentient due to the primitive living conditions in each other's colonies. The aliens decide the humans are intelligent based on a child's ability to play games.
* In L. Neil Smith's Confederacy novels, there is an uplifted coyote named G. Howell Nuahuatl (the G. stands for Greenriver). He wears a vocoder collar, synced to the impulses in his cybernetically augmented brain, and a custom motile collar equipped with twin guns and ear pads to protect his hearing. In later stories, he uses a backpack that has a cybernetically controlled hand
* Discussed in Creator/JanetKagan's ''Literature/{{Hellspark}}'', in which a survey team are trying to figure out if the local birdlike aliens, which have never been seen using tools, are sapient. The protagonist points out that on some planets she's visited, the surveyors themselves might not necessarily be recognised as sapient tool-users because the nature of their tools would not be apparent -- for instance, an observer might note that they don't build fires for warmth, not knowing that their clothes have integrated heating elements. [[spoiler:This turns out to be the case with the birdlike aliens, which have a highly advanced technology they control by means not apparent to the survey team.]]
* In the fantasy trilogy ''Literature/TheBalancedSword'', one of the main characters is an Intelligent Toad who doesn't wear clothes but does wear a sword belt and a pack with his equipment in. Both are actually spelled to prevent people noticing them if he doesn't want them to, because in his line of work there are times when it's useful for people to ''not'' realize he's sapient.
* The so-called Beagles in ''Literature/TheLongEarth'' series are basically a race of WolfMen. Because they're furry, they don't need clothing, and because they lack opposable thumbs, they have a limited ability to use tools, but they still wear belts containing basic implements and weapons.

[[folder: Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/DoctorWho'': In the Fifth Doctor story "[[Recap/DoctorWhos19E3Kinda Kinda]]", the titular beings are initially thought to be non-sentient--but the human scientist points out that their necklaces look remarkably like DNA double-helices.
* In ''Series/KamenRiderGaim'', one of the story's many NothingIsTheSameAnymore moments is triggered by the appearance of a blurry photo that seems to depict an [[HordeOfAlienLocusts Invess]] carrying a sword. [[spoiler:[[EvilutionaryBiologist Dr. Sengoku]] immediately has all records of the photo erased while he conducts his own investigation, fearing that if the Invess have [[MonsterLord "Overlords"]] smart enough to negotiate with humans, then this could ruin his plans to use their invasion for his own benefit.]]

[[folder: Tabletop Games]]
* The Shantor, [[IntelligentGerbil horse-like aliens]] from ''TabletopGame/FadingSuns'', were not thought sentient until they were seen wielding spears.

[[folder: Real Life]]
* Conventional paleoanthropology divides prehistoric hominins between "pre-human" australopithecines and the early members of ''Homo'', the "human genus" by the employment of stone tools, although since skeletons of both have been found in association with stone tools, it's rather up in the air if australopithecines used tools too.