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Bulletproof Fashion Plate

In any disaster, you can expect to get dirty. Volcano erupts? Everyone gets covered in ash. Trudging through the jungle? Yeah, you're gonna get hot and sweaty. Plane crash? Your clothing is gonna get messed up, right?

Not this guy. Most potential Clothing Damage seems to actively avoid him. A tornado doesn't even muss his hair. He laughs as he gleefully skips through The End of the World as We Know It, confident that if he dies, he will die with perfectly creased pants.

In other words, the trope is the Spear Counterpart of Beauty Is Never Tarnished. Compare Improbable Hairstyle and Magic Pants. Such people are often a Badass in a Nice Suit.

Variation: This guy's tidiness may become a barometer of how completely to hell the situation has gotten. If he looks good, we'll be okay. His hair is messed up? We're all BONED.


Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • Uryuu Ishida in Bleach. Possibly justified in that he's a ranged fighter, but NOTHING TOUCHES THIS GUY in a series where male characters suffer Clothing Damage all the time. Justified by him keeping spare capes and cloaks on his person and likely uses his Super Speed to sneak in some stitching/pinning.
  • Justified in The Five Star Stories. The fashions worn by Fatimas literally are bulletproof, being made of several layers of space-age polymers & alloy mesh over silk or cotton. When they suffer Clothing Damage you know things are getting serious.
  • Hellsing plays with this trope with Alucard. His clothes always appear to take damage, but they regenerate when he does.
  • In an episode of Pokémon Jessie, James, and Meowth find Giovanni after Mewtwo destroys Team Rocket headquarters, which Giovanni was inside at the time. Giovanni was covered in rubble, but when he gets up he's totally clean. Even his Persian is fine.
  • Noticed and is a plot point in Hunter × Hunter: Hisoka becomes suspicious that his opponent, Kastro, never seems to suffer any damage. Hisoka correctly deduces that what he's fighting is just a projection of Kastro and not the real thing—Hisoka figuring it out ultimately leads to the end of Kastro's long winning streak of battles.

Comic Books
  • This is actually one of Superman's many powers; any clothing that touches his skin is as impervious as he is (and in an episode of Lois and Clark, shrinks with him). Only the part that actually touches, though, which is why his cape always gets shredded. In the comics this is a result of a nearly skin tight forcefield. During the Silver Age it was because everything from Krypton was as invulnerable as Superman.
  • Samuel Steele from Hearts of the Yukon by Don Rosa. A superintendent of the North-Western Mounted Police does not get... 'Muddy'. Nor, for that matter, 'blown-up'. Sam Steele was a real person, incidentally, and would probably have given his right arm for this ability.

Film
  • Most old westerns did this. The Lone Ranger never got mussed, despite the fact that his shirt was light blue and his pants were tan. Neither did Gene Autrey or Roy Rogers. John Wayne never got mussed, either. In fact, it was so pervasive in westerns that it was parodied in The VillainArnold Schwarzenegger is dressed all in white and he still never gets dirty.
  • The Blues Brothers have full black suits and crisp white shirts that NEVER get dirty or damaged. Until they become coated in mud. That's when you know they're in trouble.
  • Most action heroes also fall into this trope to a large degree: the fight isn't serious until they start to bleed slightly or get a tear in their shirt.
  • Steven Seagal used this rather often - it's most noticeable in Under Siege 2, where he kills dozens of armed terrorists and escaped an exploding train, without ever getting a stain on his suit. Despite the fact that at one point he actually gets shot by a sniper rifle.
  • In the olden days, James Bond also fell into this more often than not - but not so much anymore.
  • This is parodied in the Jackie Chan movie The Tuxedo. The tuxedo not only can fight, but it's impossible to damage.
  • Legolas in the The Lord of the Rings films. This is brought up in Martin Pearson's comedy show The Unfinished Spelling Errors Of Bolkien:
    Legolas, meanwhile, still has perfect hair- still braided- and appears remarkably clean, yet he has no backpack. Where does he keep his brush?
  • Played with in Men In Black. They get dirty a couple of times but are always fresh as a daisy in the next scene.
  • Played with and lampshaded in Last Action Hero, in a scene where Jack Slater falls into a tar pit and emerges completely covered. The camera cuts away briefly as he begins wiping himself off, and when it cuts back a few seconds later he is completely clean. His sidekick remarks that tar sticks to some people.
  • Semi-subverted in Twister - clothing sometimes gets dirty, only to appear clean again in the next scene even though the characters have no time or opportunity to clean their clothing.
  • Occurs at the end of Ghostbusters. After the explosion of the marshmallow man, three of the Ghostbusters struggle back to consciousness absolutely COVERED head to toe in marshmallow. Enter Venkman, stage left, almost pristine with a couple small marshmallow spots.

Literature
  • The dress of the Mother Confessor in Sword of Truth is long and white and trails behind the wearer. And can be worn while running for your life through the woods without smudging it.
  • The cape of a warden cannot be stained with blood in The Dresden Files, and Clothing Damage is far rarer than direct injury (particularly in the case of Harry's magically armored leather duster). Muck, bruises, cuts, and any gunge on the skin itself, on the other hand, tends to avert this with a vengeance for anyone who's not a high-level magical being (especially Harry). For said high-level magical beings, the rule that "if his/her hair is mussed, we're all boned" still holds, and thus plays the entire trope straight for them. One of the less-well-known properties of putting spell defense on clothes is that if they get muddy or gunked up, you can throw them in the fire and then scrape off the dried gunk.
  • Rachel from Animorphs appears to have superpowers along these lines. Other characters frequently comment on it in their narration.
  • Explored in the Coldfire Trilogy. Smug Snake Gerald Tarrant is always impeccably neat in beautiful clothes, no matter how much mud or char or fire they have to slog through. It soon becomes obvious that he is using magic to maintain his appearance, as he's incredibly vain. There's even one instance in the second book where he's half-dead from overextending his powers, but he still pauses in the middle of enemy territory to use his almost-drained powers to clean himself up.

Live-Action TV
  • Miami Vice was so egregious in this respect that it was parodied by both The Simpsons and Doonesbury.
  • Fraser from Due South. Vecchio once ranted to him: "Does dirt not stick to you? Were you Scotchgarded at birth?!?"
  • This is kind of how Power Rangers works, for both men and women. The rangers will go through hideous looking fights, either in street clothes or in very thin spandex bodysuits. There are usually guns, swords, lasers, and every other weapon imaginable. Yet, they never get scratched, bruised, or end up limping. Hell, half of the time, after a fight, they're not even sweating or breathing hard. There are aversions for dramatic effect though; the Lost Galaxy and Time Force Red Rangers both had their visors shattered, for instance.
  • Real Life Example: Jamie Hyneman. The man regularly works with oily, greasy, filthy machines in a white shirt and beret, and ends each episode spotless.
    • Episodes are shot over the course of weeks...And there's several instances where he's shown taking off his shirt to do strenuous work, like when they were making the tree cannon.
    • There's an amusing Adam-rant about this in the DVD of "Jet Taxi". (Presumably in the non-US broadcast versions as well, most of the DVD extra footage is stuff cut in the US for more commercials.)
    • Adam once noted how Jamie's hands were completely covered in oil and grease, right up to his rolled-up sleeves, which were completely immaculate.
      • Adam also pointed this out during a build when Jamie was painting their ramp black, using a paint roller. (Which, for those who haven't repainted their house recently, tends to splatter.) The shirt was pristine afterwards.
    • Averted a few times, like the "when [it] hits the fan" myth. Adam was wearing protective gear; Jamie was in his usual outfit. Both got spattered by the fake fecal matter in the final test.
  • In the original Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased), Hopkirk (Deceased) had the standard in-universe ghost's outfit, a pristine white suit. Since it had to be kept clean to indicate his ghostly nature, the actor - Kenneth Cope - was forever having to change suits when he got marks on them; at the end of the series, he apparently amused himself by jumping, in-costume, into a pool of dirty water, changing, and then doing it again, and again, and again, until he'd messed up every last one. Trash the Set is an established trope; but is this the only case of Trash The Costume?
  • In The Sarah Connor Chronicles Catherine Weaver always looks composed, even when a warehouse has just exploded on her. This is mostly because her hair and clothing are made of shapeshifting liquid metal.
  • The host of The Quiz Broadcast (remain indoors) in Series 4 of That Mitchell and Webb Look is sharply-suited and impeccably groomed despite the show's post-apocalyptic setting in a world destroyed by "the Event." By the sixth and last sketch his hair is ruined and his suit is more or less rags, showing how desperate his situation has become.
  • In the Supernatural episode "All Hell Breaks Loose, Part One" (S02, Ep21), Ava has been in a ghost town, presumably without a change of clothes or running water, for 5 months, but her clothes appear clean and undamaged.

Tabletop Games
  • The "Never Look Mussed" talent in Pulp Hero (5th edition Hero System) lets your character stay pristine even when you've just been pulled out of quicksand or fought an entire gang.
  • GURPS has a few ways a character can have the trait they prevent a character from looking messy but not much else.
    • One of the examples for what the Shtick Perk can do.
    • In higher tech worlds a character can also buy special fabrics that shed dirt and sweat instantly.
    • There is also the No Visible Damage perk, which lets a character appear unharmed no matter what happens to her body. Combined with Supersuit perk its possible for a person with no other powers to stand at ground zero from a nuclear blast and leave an immaculate corpse fifteen miles away.
  • In the Diana Warrior Princess universe, one of the powers of royalty is that they never get dirty.
  • Tales From The Floating Vagabond has this as a trainable skill, 'Look Good at All Times'.
  • Exalted brings us the Dreaming Pearl Courtesan Style, a fighting style that allows you to look refined and dignified at all times, even in the midst of combat. There's also an artifact that makes it so dirt never clings to you and you stay perfectly groomed. It gives a bonus both to social rolls and to rolls to resist disease and the like.
  • Space Marines in Warhammer 40,000 almost always have immaculately clean armor. Justified, as they regularly have legions of chapter serfs polish it so that their heraldry is easily visible.
  • Adventure has an implacable trait that the Badass Normal can take; it makes him immune to clothing damage, mud, dirt, and stumbling or looking foolish. It gives him Bond's level of never looking foolish.

Video Games
  • The Suffering series uses this as part of the moral barometer. Good Torque stays clean and his family photograph he was carrying perfectly intact despite the lack of any carrying case and the fighting he's involved in. Neutral Torque which is still pretty bastardy but not psychopathic given the backstory ends up dirty with some photograph damage. Evil Torque looks less healthy on top of that and the photograph majorly degraded.
  • Leon S. Kennedy from Resident Evil maintains his hair to pretty boy perfection even in the midst of a desperate struggle for survival against hordes of zombies.
  • Yo-Jin-Bo has you and your team of bodyguards running through a forest and fighting ninja. Both Sayori/Hatsuhime and the guys remain equally clean, with untattered clothes, despite the amount of bloodshed the guys cause. Shoot, even when they're said to be injured in text, it never shows up in the art.
  • The Rocketeer in Red Alert 3: Paradox fights in full dress uniform and flawless hair, yet is considerably tougher than most other infantry.

Webcomics

Web Original
  • Apparently Vulcans know the secret too.

Western Animation
  • Justified Trope in The Incredibles. Edna, the FABULOUS fashion designer for supers, made the costumes for each superhero bulletproof, rocketproof, fireproof, and adapt to each user's superpower (for example, Violet's costume became invisible when she did).


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