Costume Test Montage
Someone is trying to look good for something, a date, a meeting, long-lost relative, whatever. He decides he needs to wear something special, but what? So the character goes through a dozen different costumes in front of the mirror. He or she will often try a funny one-liner matching the costume's persona, or just as often dismiss it with a quip, usually "too butch" or "too much" (in which case the next one is "too little"). Someone else might be giving out the running commentary. The Shopping Montage and the Makeover Montage may include or consist of a scene like this. See also Fashion-Shop Fashion Show, which draws on the "models on the catwalk" presentation.
ExamplesAnime and Manga
- Done in SoltyRei while picking an outfit for Solty. The trick in this case is that the outfits are all holographic overlays, so the changes in outfit really are that instantaneous.
- One appears in Quantum and Woody when the titular duo are trying on costumes for their new crime-fighting identities.
- Herr Starr from Preacher has a rather hilarious montage across three pages - and two issues - as he tries to find something to cover up his new "urethra scalp" scar, before settling on a Panama hat.
- Used in Arana, with an array of other people's costumes altered just enough to not get sued, in the case of things like a Wonder Woman costume (with a spider instead of a W).
- A flashback shows Deadpool trying on a variety of costumes at a local shop that caters to the superhero crowd. He eventually settles on a black and red number with a note attached saying something along the lines of, "Thanks, but not what I'm looking for. —Your Friendly neighborhood S.M."
- Peter Parker briefly retires as Spider-Man, and Ben Reilly, the Scarlet Spider, decides to adopt the Spider-Man identity. He wants his own unique costume, so after a costume montage, complete with gauntlets and leg belts and capes, his unique costume looks exactly the same as Peter's, with the blue being replaced by black.
- Madman did this early in his ongoing series when he switched from his initial mini-series' costume (with a full-head cowl and a sewn-shut mouth) to his more iconic look, with amusing comments about them (one covered with multi-colored circles of various sizes earned a "Wonderbread? Wunderbar!").
- In The Smurfs comic book story "The Reporter Smurf", Reporter goes through panels trying on different costumes created by Tailor Smurf in order to find something appropriate to wear so he can stand out as a reporter Smurf.
- Opening scene in "Flushed Away": Roddy decides between different outfits, one of which is Wolverine's X-Men costume; this is significant because they share the same actor, Hugh Jackman.
- Ken does this for Barbie in Toy Story 3.
- Eva from Igor has one trying on different wigs.
- Au Pair
- Daniel Hillard (Robin Williams) in Mrs. Doubtfire.
- Robin William's character in Father's Day.
- Tank Girl. After sneaking into a Liquid Silver dressing room, the heroine tries on a variety of outfits in an attempt at Dressing as the Enemy (nurse, dominatrix and one other).
- Educating Rita: It happen in the film, nut not in the book.
- Four Weddings and a Funeral: Carrie trying on wedding dresses.
- In Intouchables, Philippe, before going to his date.
- Arguably, since the idea is to look like someone from society rather than a prostitute, the shopping montage from Pretty Woman is an example of this trope.
- The titular character in Larry The Cable Guy: Health Inspector does this, trying to find a proper disguise for his investigation.
- Fatal Instinct. Ned Ravine takes his secretary Laura Lincolnberry to a store to buy her a gift and they both end up trying on women's clothes to the tune Brown Eyed Girl.
- Xanadu. Sonny Malone takes Danny McGuire to the mall to get some new clothes and they have a long song and dance number in which Danny tries them on.
- The 90s film Airborne, with Wiley trying on outfits for a date in front of his cousin to the tune of "I'm Too Sexy" by Right Said Fred.
- While he doesn't actually wear any of the costumes he designs, Peter Parker goes through a costume desigining montage in the first Spider-Man movie.
- Tough Guys (1986). Archie Long (Kirk Douglas) is invited to a disco by a much younger woman, who tells him to wear something "hot". As he's been in prison for the past thirty years he doesn't know what to wear, so Archie goes to a clothing store where the Camp Gay owner, watching from a monitor screen, makes Archie wear a series of outfits until he's satisfied.
Archie: Well? Am I hot?
Owner: You're positively on fire, darling!
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas!: The Grinch deciding what to wear for the Whobilation. "Stupid... ugly... out of DATE..."
- What Women Want: Nick's daughter goes to a prom, so naturally they have to choose the right dress and they go shopping together.
- In About Time, Tim watches Mary try lots of different dresses for her dinner with the bestselling author. The very first dress turns out to be the winner. The whole scene could be seen as an allegory for the revisions Tim is going through with his life.
- In The Best Offer, the hero intends to buy a dress for his love interest. Cue the montage in which models try different dresses for him at a boutique.
- Sabrina the Teenage Witch: In the opening theme.
- Doctor Who did this with the Fourth, Sixth and Seventh Doctor immediately after their regenerations. In the serial Destiny of the Daleks, Romana controversially does this with bodies, apparently wasting several regenerations! (Douglas Adams apparently didn't know that an earlier story had established that Time Lords had a finite number of regenerations, and a scene in "The Christmas Invasion" has been widely interpreted as a Fan Wank to "solve" the problem.)
- LazyTown - "LazyTown's New Superhero", Stephanie trying new superhero costumes, uncle's commentary
- In Friends, Rachel tries to choose the perfect outfit in "The One Where No One's Ready". She frustrates Ross to no ends, because there really is no time, and the others are just as unhelpful.
- Top Gear, of all things, when Jeremy Clarkson is preparing to test the new Audi TT.
- Lois and Clark:
- In one episode, Clark is trying on different suits for a date. In a reference to The Mask, Clark simply spins at superspeed to change into them to Cuban music and once satisfied, he notes "Smokin'!" before he darts off.
- The Superman costume test parade in the pilot episode, set to "I Need a Hero". One of them is Captain America's costume, only with yellow and red stripes and no star.
- One episode of The Mighty Boosh starts out with Vince putting on an impromptu fashion show for Bollo, all trying to pick out which fashionable clothes to wear camping. He takes them all.
- During the intro of one of MTV's Movie Award Shows, Jack Black spoofs the Peter Parker "Costume Design Montage" from the first Spider-Man movie.
"Too Gay..." "Not Gay Enough..." "Just the Right Amount of Gay"
- One scene in The Big Bang Theory's "The Pants Alternative" involved Penny helping Sheldon pick out a new suit for an awards banquet.
- Penny has her own go at this, trying to decide what to wear for her first date with Leonard after they had broken up the prior season.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Buffy's considering what to wear to the Bronze in the pilot. She holds a shiny black outfit up to the mirror.
Buffy: Hi! I'm an enormous slut!
[holds up a blue floral dress]
Hello! Would you like a copy of 'The Watchtower'?
[lowers the dress]
I used to be so good at this.
- During a segment of "The Nerdist - Year in Review" there is a hilarious with bit Simon Pegg and Chris Hardwick when they are trying to find something to wear to the Mission: Impossible premiere.
- In the Sherlock episode "A Scandal in Belgravia", Sherlock Holmes and Irene Adler prepare to confront each other for the first time with a joint Costume Test Montage. He ends up dressed as a priest while she simply goes naked.
- Castle: Alexis goes shopping with Castle and Martha when she has a high school prom to attend, and tries on several dresses.
- Something similar happens in the Frasier episode "The Great Crane Robbery" in which Frasier, horrified that the station's new owner has exactly copied the look of his apartment, goes through a montage of different combinations of furniture and flooring, with the only constant being Martin's chair.
- Pink's music video for "Get the Party Started".
- Calvin and Hobbes - A Sunday strip had an "all funny sunglasses" variant. Because it was Calvin's POV, the panels were tinted the matching color and just showed Hobbes' reactions. We only see the pair he settles on in the end - which, in a case of Hilarious in Hindsight, look just like those of a certain mecha pilot.
- Garfield uses this in a Sunday strip on April 17, 2011, with Jon trying on several clownish pants that he thinks he can wear for a date and Liz reacting to them sarcastically.
- DMFA starting here, including copious amounts of Shout Outs. None to Harry Potter on explicit demand by Dan.
- Legend Of Bill starting here. Bonus points for every costume borrowed from other webcomics.
- Wapsi Square once featured a sequence with Monica and Shelly trying on various Halloween costumes starting here.
- Whats Normal Anyway had this sequence where Mel was deciding which trans man persona to dress like as an effort to impress his new friend.
- Sun Wong in Rival Angels is subjected to one of these after her trainer tells her that she needs a gimmick and the attire to go with it. Look at it here, and decide whether you want to laugh, feel bad for her, or both.
- Supernormal Step has lead character Fiona trying on a variety of costumes (all of which are references to other things) before settling on a black and blue Civvie Spandex outfit
- Sunstone has a strip dedicated to Lisa and Ally spending an hour just trying on fetish wear costumes and earlier in the first chapter in a more conventional form where both are getting ready for their first meeting.
- Marten of Questionable Content, getting ready for a party. Most of the shirts are Continuity Nods of some sort.
- Girl Genius has a short-story between volumes featuring Agatha trying various methods to control her cowlick. Being a Spark, the methods she uses get extreme.
- Phelous, to accompany his running Doctor Who theme, does this after "regenerating" at the start of his House of the Dead 2 review; instead of seeing the changes, he simply appears in different outfits each time the camera cuts away from the movie footage and back to him.
- Phineas and Ferb: Candace in "Flop Stars", Stacy's commentary.
- Also from the episode "Boyfriend From 27000 B.C.", where Candace tries to find a costume for Stacy's costume party.
- Batman: The Brave and the Bold - episode "Legends of the Dark Mite!" Done by Bat-Mite to Batman. Each of the costumes is some manner of Mythology Gag.
- American Dad! - Suitably, Roger has a Costume Test Montage (multiple times throughout the series). Having a loose Fourth Wall, Rodger sometimes gleefully announces the trope he's invoking.
- Dexter's Laboratory - Dee Dee and her friends do this to Dexter after he crashes their slumber party in "A Tribe Called Girl".
- The Simpsons:
- Episode "Bart the Lover"
- In one episode, when Lisa feels that Maggie is now the smart one in the family, she feels insecure and decides she needs to find a new identity, and tries several outfits. Nothing feels right.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- In the first episode, Rarity does one of these to Twilight Sparkle. "Too green! Too yellow! Too poofy! Not poofy enough!"
- At the start of "One Bad Apple", Apple Bloom goes through one of these while trying to dress to impress her visiting cousin Babs Seed.
- In the episode "Clothes Minded", Kim Possible tried a bunch of different outfits after her original mission duds got ruined. At one point, we see a montage of Kim trying various options, none of which meet Ron or Rufus' approval.
- Clone High: Joan of Arc suffers through no less than two makeover costume montages by Abe and Cleo respectively, and Gandhi gets one courtesy of Kennedy. (The winning outfit is of course an exact duplicate of JFK's clothes, plus wig.)
- In the Tiny Toon Adventures short "Buster's Guide to Dating", Babs rejects her usual outfit and starts running in and out of her closet in different outfits. Finally, an animated animator's hand paints the scene yellow and Babs ends up in... her usual outfit! "Perfect! Thanks."
- In Real Monsters Ickis is mistaken for a human boy on Halloween and ends up spending the night at the human's house. The next morning the older brother teases "Nicky" for refusing to take off his costume, and the mother politely tells him that he has to wear something else. Ickis goes upstairs and tries on a few outfits (some of which make it very obvious he's a monster who doesn't completely understand human culture) before settling on a baseball cap and some baggy clothes.
- In one episode of Darkwing Duck, Drake Mallard does this when he is forced to abandon his Darkwing persona and tries to come up with a replacement super hero identity.
- One episode of Doug has this, in which Doug is in a shop and tries to find an alternative to his Limited Wardrobe outfit.
- While he doesn't try any of them on, in the first episode of Invader Zim, Zim cycles through several possible disguises ("Too ugly!" "Too smelly!") before settling on the one he uses throughout the series. One of the choices was the series' creator, Jhonen Vasquez.
- When Virgil is first deciding to be a superhero in the Static Shock cartoon, he has a montage like this with Richie as the arbitrating audience. One of his costume ideas (a dead ringer for Black Vulcan) "looks like a battery advertisement." Most of them are either stupid or too similar to someone else's look. It's a fascinating window on his character that he already had all this stuff in his closet.