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Expressive Shirt

A character is wearing a piece of clothing, often a T-Shirt, which will have some phrase or logo on it that will alter for no explainable reason, so as to fit the mood or feeling of the person wearing. Presumably since these thoughts and emotions are so close to their heart that they rub off on a nearby surface.

Sometimes, the character's mood will spread to another close-by accessory or element. A Sub-Trope of Expressive Accessory. Related to Talking with Signs. Compare Fun T-Shirt.

Shirt Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • Takuto has gloves that have a happy face in silly lighthearted scenes and sad faces in more serious scenes.
  • Bantaro from Jubei-Chan had a shirt with a kanji on it that changed according to his mood: for example, it would become the character for "despair" if he was feeling down, "idiot" whenever he was doing or saying something silly, or "breasts" if he was thinking of Jiyu's chest.
  • Mitsu of Bizarre Uprising wears a shirt with a stick figure on it, whose mood and stance supplements his own.
  • In the anime Shaman King, the panda face on Tao Jun's dress smiles when she's feeling particularly bubbly.
  • The headdress of the Old Kita Kita Man in Mahoujin Guru Guru

Comic Books
  • Pajamaman from the comic book Amelia Rules!! wears a gray pair of foot pajamas with an ever-changing symbol on the front that reflects what he is currently thinking. Considering he's The Voiceless, this is very helpful.
  • During his second series, the Jared Stevens version of Doctor Fate wore a "Mood Shirt" whose slogan would comment on what was going on.
  • Johnny the Homicidal Maniac also wears a symbol changing shirt.
  • Larry Todd's classic underground comic Dr. Atomic used this as a running gag. The title character's next-door-neighbor/lab assistant, Billy Kropotkin, never seemed to be wearing the same T-shirt from one panel to the next, and the slogans/illustrations often reflected the ongoing plotline. (A skunk-sprayed Billy might be sporting a "Mickey Mercaptan Club" T-shirt, for example.)
  • Princess Luna is seen wearing one in issue 9 of the My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic comic book, explicitly confirmed by the artist as a reference to The Twilight Zone episode mentioned below.

Live-Action TV
  • An episode of The Twilight Zone, "I of Newton", where a supernatural character wears a T-shirt whose slogan changes whenever the camera's not looking; while the slogans are all appropriate in a general sense, they don't specifically track with the character's emotions.
  • In the final episode of The Wire, Dukie wears a t-shirt with bubbles on it. It is strongly suggested that he will go down the same path of heroin addiction and hardship that Bubbles spent the last five seasons pulling himself out of.

Newspaper Comics
  • Older Than Radio: The Yellow Kid wore a yellow nightshirt that had his speech written on it. The comic strip originated in the 1890s.
  • Shelf-Life, of Zippy The Pinhead.
  • Wade's innertube in U.S. Acres has a duck-head that matches his expression.
  • Knute from Luann wears t-shirts whose slogans inexplicably change from panel to panel.

Video Games
  • Travis from Killer7 has the shifting phrase variety. Though since it is Killer7, sometimes they don't make a lot of sense.
  • In Ace Attorney, the mouth on Moe's hat will have the same mood as his real mouth.
    • In the final case of Justice for All, the Professional Killer Shelly de Killer testifies via a radio, which has a variety of expressions such as sweating oil, hopping in anger, and exploding.
  • Touhou fanworks often give this treatment to Meiling's hat, Ran's dress and Yoshika's hat Ofuda.

Web Original
  • Riak from Chaos Fighters-Route of Earth wears an expressive armor which burns when he is angry and getting cold when he is nervous or scared.
    • Leon's shirt in The Secret Programs turns black if he suffers from damage.
  • This My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic lol has the figure's emotional state mirrored in the image of Pinkie Pie on his shirt.

Webcomics
  • Gunnerkrigg Court: One of the bullies who made a brief appearance had a 'Current Expression Smiley' T-shirt, which apparently mirrored whatever his present facial expression happened to be. It was only visible in one panel, though, which somewhat undermines the point.
  • The Wotch: Jason the character has a shirt that has the letters CMX inside a little yellow starburst. Editor Jason, the avatar of one of the authors (seen in filler strips), has it constantly in flux, often emoticons or 'net slang, but sometimes full (short) words (such as "OUCH" when he's getting bopped over the head by his assistant, Editor Ani.) When not written by Jason, Editor Jason's shirt is strictly limited to emoticons.
  • Sarin of The Dragon Doctors wore one of these in the first arc.
  • Jennie Breeden of The Devil's Panties draws her boyfriend Will with a smiley-face t-shirt that changes expression according to events or his mood.
  • In the second page of Homestuck, when John grimaces after the player tries to name him "Zoosmell Pooplord", his shirt does the same.
    • The picture of a record on Dave's shirt becomes broken after he gets his ass kicked and his katana broken by Bro. However, it stays that way afterwards.
  • When Howard Tayler, the writer and artist of Schlock Mercenary, appears in one of the arcs as a sort of Psychopomp for the currently-dead Commander Andreyasn, he wears a Schlock T-shirt with an ever-changing expression. It does not match Howard's own expression, however, but rather reacts to what's being said and done.
  • Ramon from Butternut Squash
  • In Misfile, Rumisiel's "Have a Day" shirt.
  • Violence Man is a character who wears a skull shirt in an obvious tribute to The Punisher; usually the skull has a blank expression, but in one comic ("Company Picnic") it looked enraged after Violence Man was double-crossed.
  • Eerie Cuties: Layla's skull hairclip. Seth, Brooke's Feather Boa Constrictor, also plays a similar role sometimes.
  • Starting here in Enjuhneer.
  • In Girl Genius, Zeetha's headband has a face on it that matches her current expression. It's small and hard to see, so many people miss it unless they look very closely.
  • Tiffany from Precocious wears a happy-face pin which will occasionally change its expression to match hers.
  • Thomas Millwood from Deer Me sometimes wears a smiley face shirt that reflects his mood.
  • Some fae in Roommates and its 'verse have such clothing like the minor villain "Odile", whose Leotard of Power has little feathers which go up and down with her mood, or Jareth, whose armor gets more and more imposing the angrier he is (especially in Girls Next Door).

Western Animation
  • The 1980s Saturday Morning Cartoon Shirt Tales featured animal characters whose tees proclaimed phrases like "Hug Me!". They were previously seen on Hallmark greeting cards.
  • As illustrated above, the skull on Yumi's shirt in the animated Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi changes to match her mood.
  • In one episode of Ed, Edd n Eddy, Eddy wears a barbeque apron whose slogan changes depending on what he's thinking about.
  • In the U.S. Acres segments on Garfield and Friends, the head on Wade's inner tube always matches his expressions.

Expressive MaskGraphical TropesEye Glasses
Expressive MaskCostume TropesEyepatch After Time Skip
Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumiImageSource/Western AnimationPacked Hero

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