"I'm Tamera, and I'm the one with the mole."Being identical twins is awesome! You have an identical best friend and worst enemy. (...wait, there's a difference?) Best of all? No one can tell you apart! ... except you are not one person, and having everyone constantly confuse the two of you can get grating very quickly. So the twins will develop different clothing styles, hair styles, and mannerisms to help differentiate themselves. They now have two identities rather than one... though they may ensure the superficial changes are small/impermanent enough to allow for future Twin Switches just to keep messing with people. If one twin is absolutely sick of the prospect of their twin and them being confused, or has a falling out with their sibling and no longer trusts them with casual impersonation, they might make permanent alterations such as tattoos, scars, piercings, very deep tans, or even cosmetic surgery to really avoid confusion. This also works as a visual aide in tv and film. If the twins were exactly alike, it could grow confusing for the audience to constantly keep track of which twin is doing what. This is almost always Truth in Television — usually either because there's a biological distinction (e.g., a mole on one's cheek that the other doesn't have, a widow's peak in one's hairline, etc.) or because they like to do something to differentiate themselves (like a different hair style — even a different hair colour, sometimes). This usually happens naturally over time as the twins reach adolescence and older, and grow out of the cute dressing-alike phase and seek something to differentiate themselves from each other. Yet more Truth in Television: even identical twins can be told apart by their fingerprints. See also/compare Twin Desynch and Uniformity Exception. Tareme Eyes and Tsurime Eyes are a common way to tell twins apart.
"And I'm Tia, and I'm the one without the mole."
"And I'm Tia, and I'm the one without the mole."
— Tia and Tamera Mowry, Sister Sister
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Anime and Manga
- Mahou Sensei Negima!:
- Ouran High School Host Club, where the twins can be told apart from how they comb their hair. This is later taken to its expected conclusion when the twins finally do change enough emotionally that they want to look different and be individuals; they achieve this by one dying his hair black.
- Subverted in the anime, when Hikaru and Kaoru get fed up with being identical and dye their hair pink and blue. It ended up being another game to mess with everyone. In the anime they also have different voice actors.
- Eyeshield 21: Unsui is bald and Agon wears his hair in dreads.
- In Fushigi Yuugi, Amiboshi wears blue and carries a flute. Suboshi wears orange and wields a Killer Yo-Yo. Remember that now.
- In the first Cardcaptor Sakura movie, we are introduced to a set of enthusiastic teenage quadruplets, Syaoran's sisters. It's not mentioned in the movie, but according to some related promo material, each of the girls wears a different color dress, and two of them have different hairstyles. (Fuutie = yellow, Fanren = green, Feimei = blue, Xiefa = red)
- In A Certain Magical Index, Touma distinguishes Mikoto from her clones by the fact that most of the time, the clones are wearing goggles to help them see electrical fields, something Mikoto can do naturally. Mikoto also wears Modesty Shorts under her skirt, while her clones don't. After a while he realizes that waiting for a strong breeze and looking up a girl's skirt is going to get him into trouble eventually, so he decides to buy a ring for Misaka 10032 to help identify her from Mikoto and the other clones. He quickly realizes that a ring might be too small to be easily spotted, so he decides to get her a necklace instead. But Misaka has been told that a ring is a gift from a boy who likes you, so she insists on it.
- Despite not being twins, most characters in K-On! can only physically tell the Hirasawa sisters Yui and Ui apart by hairstyle, Ui wearing hers in a ponytail. When Ui pulls a Twin Switch though, Sawako-sensei can still tell who she really is by her bust size being slightly bigger than Yui.
- In Armored Trooper VOTOMS, Arron Schmittel wears a brown uniform while his brother Gurran is dressed in blue.
- In Axis Powers Hetalia, America and Canada are almost completely identical, except that America has a short, straight Idiot Hair in the middle of his part and Canada has a long, curly Idiot Hair on the left side of his head, not that it matters - everyone else just resolves the issue by pretending Canada doesn't exist.
- In Horitsuba Gakuen (the official omake of Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE-), Fai-sensei and Yuui-sensei have different hair lengths; the former has relatively short hair, while the latter's hair is long enough to tie in a ponytail (other than his bangs). Their voices are slightly different, too; Yuui-sensei's is slightly lower and calmer, though in the fourth voice drama they mention that their voices were the same when they were kids.
- In Pandora Hearts, Alice and her twin sister the Will of the Abyss are identical aside of their hair colors and clothing colors; Alice has dark hair and likes to wear dark dresses, while the Will of the Abyss has white hair and wears a white dress.
- Invoked in Castle Town Dandelion. Haruka stated he wears Purely Aesthetic Glasses to distinguish him with his Half Identical Twin Misaki and her clones.
- While the sextuplets of Osomatsu-kun were identical in terms of both appearance and personality, the 2015 revival series tosses in color-coded outfits and few unique characteristics to let the viewers separate each brother from the primary Osomatsu — Karamatsu has thick eyebrows, Ichimatsu has messy hair, half-closed eyes, and a tendency to wear surgical masks, Jyuushimatsu is always smiling and has large pupils, Todomatsu has a Cat Smile and shinier eyes, and Choromatsu doesn't have an Idiot Hair like the others do.
- In Aruosumente, the twins Lante and Dante have adopted light and dark clothing colours respectively to allow others to tell them apart more easily. Lante also wears flowers in his hair in contrast to Dante's spikier hair ornaments.
- In RDG: Red Data Girl, Masumi and Manatsu (who technically have a triplet sister) are pretty much identical except for their skin tones. Manatsu is darker, presumably because of all the time that he spends outside with horses, while Masumi's gets relatively little sun, what with being a ghost and all. Also, Masumi likes to wear women's clothing.
- The Nishigori triplets from Yuri!!! on Ice can be told apart by their differently-colored outfits and hairstyles; Axel wears purple and has Girlish Pigtails, Lutz wears blue and has her hair in a bun, and Loop wears pink and has a ponytail. However, they're all identical in personality.
- The twins from Yandere No Onna No Ko volume 2 are identified by their hair length, outfit and weapons. Nana has long hair, wears a dress and carries an axe while Nono has short hair, wears shorts and carries a knife.
- The Saionji brothers from Yandere Heaven have distinctive hair styles and outfits. Ran has short hair and wears a vest over a green shirt while Wakasa has long hair and wears a green jacket over a dark top.
- Although not technically twins, Thompson and Thomson from Tintin have slightly different mustache styles. To be precise, Thompson's mustache curls in while Thomson's flares out. In the licensed game based on the Jackson/Spielberg film, one also wears a white suit in co-op, while the other keeps his black one.
- Disney Ducks Comic Universe:
- Huey, Dewey, and Louie from the Classic Disney Shorts and Disney Ducks Comic Universe dress in a Chromatic Arrangement of hats and shirts (Huey being red, Dewey being blue, and Louie being green — usually). In the Disney Ducks Comic Universe they wear black shirts and frequently go hatless — and when they do wear hats it's not a given that the colorist will follow the "official" colors, leaving it impossible at times to tell who's who. In one comic story from Don Rosa, Huey, Dewey, and Louie are shown to actually differences... It's just that they're subtle enough that only themselves and Donald (who is revealed to be able to see details as subtle as flea prints on a donut) can tell them apart without the hats. That doesn't prevent the triplets from taking offense by anyone else's inability to tell them apart. By Quack Pack, Divergent Character Evolution has given them different hairstyles and fashion choices (as well as more unique personality traits). They still keep the color scheme, though.
- Their Distaff Counterparts April, May and June vary wildly whether they wear different colors or not — or which colors they wear. Sometimes they follow the red/blue/green Chromatic Arrangement of Huey, Dewey and Louie, sometimes they'll go for a yellow/magenta/cyan theme instead. However, in later years Dutch comics featuring the girls gives them more individual clothes and different hairstyles (yes, hair on ducks, just go with it): April has a ponytail, May has short hair and generally wears a headband, and June has twin pigtails.
- The Mauler Twins of Invincible are a mutated mad scientist and his clone — they don't remember and can't agree on which is which. One of them has a nose ring and a tattoo on his face. Both of them cite this as evidence that they're the original and the other is the clone.
- Zipi y Zape: The twins' hair colours.
- More like identical triplet id tag, but in the Marvel 100th Anniversary Special, the adult Stepford Cuckoos all have different hair colors and hairstyles, although we're never told which one is which.
- In regular continuity, Irma dyes her hair black, which inspires Phoebe to dye hers red. Celeste is upset by this because she liked them all being the same.
- In Silver Surfer, Dawn Greenwood always wears red with black polka dots. Her sister Eve always wears yellow with black stripes.
- In The Little Cherub series Raven and Beast Boy have identical twins as their third and fourth child. One of them does have a birthmark, but they are still mixed up by their dad so often that Raven says at one point "I swear, I'm going to get them monogrammed clothes.". BB's response if an enthusiastic "Can we"?
- In the WWE fanfic, ''The Return - Remixed", the Bella Twins got one from DEAR after nearly beating them in a tag team match via Twin Magic. To make sure it didn't happen again, the other members of DEAR held them still while Victoria punched them in the face with a set of brass knuckles, giving them mismatching black eyes. Brie got it in the left eye, Nikki in the right.
- In Reflections, a Tales of the Abyss fanfic where Asch returns and grows up alongside Luke, the only way to tell those two apart is with their clothing choices, which makes their favourite trick of switching ridiculously easy to pull of (if you aren't Jade). Later it turns out Asch has a scar hidden by his hair from when he tried to escape his captors when Luke was made/born, which lets the villains tell them apart which is truer to the trope.
- In Empath: The Luckiest Smurf, Vanity and his Mirror Self Century wear their single flower in their hats on the opposite sides.
Films — Animation
- Scardelita of The Adelita Twins from The Book of Life, wears an Eyepatch of Power.
- Tangled: The Stabbington brothers (pictured above) are only differentiated by: sideburns, the Eyepatch of Power one of them wears, clothes, and weapons.
- A variation in My Little Pony: Equestria Girls. Twilight Sparkle crosses from Equestria into the human world and assumes a human form. Later a Twilight who actually is native to the human world surfaces. We tell the difference between the two because human!Twilight has glasses and wears her hair tied back in a bun.
Films — Live-Action
- Dead Ringers: Elliot and Beverly Mantle are identical twins who begin the film as nearly inseparable partners in a gynecological practice. As the story progresses, Beverly and Elliot personalities diverge due to one of the twin's advancing mental instability. This is reflected in their appearance, with Elliot maintaining a healthy, well-tanned look while Beverly develops bags under his eyes, a sickly pallor, and a nervous twitch. Guess which one's losing his marbles?
- Parodied & Inverted in The Great Muppet Caper where Kermit (a frog) and Fozzie (a bear) play identical twins.
Editor: You two guys don't look anything alike!
Kermit: That's 'cause Fozzie's not wearing his hat. Fozzie, put your hat back on.
Fozzie: Yes sir. *puts hat on* See?
Editor: Oh, yeah, I can see it now.
- This trope is inverted in both versions of The Parent Trap, with the identical twins starting out easily identifiable by hairstyle, choice of clothing, and accents. When they decide to do the swap to try to get their parents back together, they make adjustments so that they are indistinguishable.
- In Scott Pilgrim vs. The World Kyle & Ken Katayanagi,◊ Evil Exes 5 and 6 respectively, have very different outfits and Ken has bleached his hair. In the movie at least they lack individual characterizations as a result of their actors not speaking English.
- In some of the scenes of The Social Network the Winklevoss twins are differentiated through hairstyle: Cameron wears his nomrally and Tyler has his slicked back. Other features, such as differing ties, are sometimes used as well.
- In Serenity the Rample twins are always impressed that Mal can tell who's who. When they question him, he simply says "Fanty's prettier" than Mingo. Explained in the novelization by Mal knowing Mingo's voice is slightly higher than Fanty's.
- Clone example, in Oblivion (2013) Jack Harper 49 acquires a cut across the bridge of his nose, while 52 wears a gray bandanna.
- Played With in A Monsterous Holiday twins April and May have a single pigtail, sometimes highlighted in different colors, which oddly enough made them seem more like Single-Minded Twins that happened to have divided Girlish Pigtails given their tendency for Twin Banter.
- Although not twins, the principle is used in Sliding Doors, to make it easy to tell which dimension we are in. First one version of Helen Quilley has a head injury, and once that heals, the other version has changed her hair style.
- In The Pretty One, everyone knows that Laurel was the one who died, because Audrey is the one with short hair...
- Played with in It Takes Two, in that Amanda and Alyssa (played by real-life twins Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen) are Identical Strangers. They are wearing very similar outfits when they first meet. Later, after their Twin Switch plan causes Alyssa to be taken by the family that was trying to adopt Amanda, Amanda uses the various scars she's gotten over the years to convince the butler Vincenzo that she isn't Alyssa so he'll help get her back.
- In most versions of Alice in Wonderland, Tweedledum and Tweedledee have their names embroidered in their collars.
- In Tenniel's illustrations, they are mirror images of each other, which was probably Carroll's intention.
- In Harry Potter, Fred and George Weasley are identical enough that they're seen pulling a Twin Switch on their own mother. Mrs. Weasley will routinely make them jumpers with F and G on them ("For Gred and Forge" the twins joke). In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, George loses his ear getting Harry to safety. One of the first things the twins tell their mother is now she can tell them apart. ...And then Fred dies in the final battle at Hogwarts which, while tragic, probably makes telling the difference even easier.
- There're also Padma and Parvati Patil. In the books, Padma is in Ravenclaw and Parvati in Gryffindor. Goblet of Fire states the two could usually only be told apart by their uniforms; both are in Gryffindor in the films and are played by two non-sibling actresses and made fraternal.
- In Ngaio Marsh's Death of a Peer (UK title A Surfeit of Lampreys), A pair of near-identical twins both claimed to have taken the elevator with their uncle just before he was found dead in it. Only one of them did, and Alleyn points out that the twins can't cover for each other since he can tell which twin is which.
- The Midnight Twins is a book about seer twins, one who can see into the future and one into the past. Meredith, aka Merry, is cheerful and girly. Her hair is parted on the right, she's right-handed, and she has two piercings in her right ear. Mallory, aka Mally, is a tomboyish loner with all of the aforementioned characteristics on her left side.
- In The Stainless Steel Rat books, Jim's sons James and Bolivar are distinguished only by a small scar behind James's ear, from when Bolivar bit him when they were four.
- In the Vorkosigan Saga, Mark deliberately gains huge amounts of weight so that "not even a one-eyed sniper in a rainstorm at midnight a kilometer away" could mistake him for his clone-brother Miles.
- The St John twins from David Weber and John Ringo's Prince Roger series have opposite sides of their heads shaved, due to one of their old COs being unable to differentiate them.
- In The Truth-Teller's Tale by Sharon Shinn, Eleda and Adele are "mirror" twins, able to be told apart by which of their mismatched eyes is on which side, their handedness, and the way they part their hair. However, since Eleda is a Truth-Teller and Adele is a Safe-Keeper and the consequences of them pulling a twin-switch on you are very serious, the townspeople have worked out a question to tell them apart: "Is it safe to tell you a secret?" Eleda will always say "no" and Adele will always say "yes."
- In the Garrett, P.I. novels, Garrett makes the groll brothers, Doris and Marsha, wear different hats so he can tell which is which.
- The Calendar Mysteries features twins Bradley and Brian Pinto. Brian is the twin missing a tooth.
- The All For The Game series plays with this with the Minyard twins. Most of the Foxes can tell them apart based on interactions, but visually they are distinguished by the black arm bands Andrew always wears. The twins even jokingly claim that he wears them specifically so that people can tell them apart. In reality they are knife sheaths and he wears them to hide his scars. They do make a world of difference, though. If Andrew is sober and they both wear long sleeves, few people can tell them apart.
- In the Aunt Dimity series:
- Identical twins Ruth and Louise Pym are difficult to tell apart and always dress alike. Eventually, Lori realizes that Ruth (the elder) always speaks first, and that Louise is slightly more soft-spoken than her sister.
- Lori doesn't explicitly state how she can tell her sons apart, but in Aunt Dimity Digs In young Rainey Dawson claims to be able to see the difference in their souls by looking in their eyes, even citing a difference in colour.
- In an early Sweet Valley High novel, Jessica gets fed up with people mistaking her for Elizabeth and gets herself a makeover, including dying her hair black. She rapidly switches back when it turns her original look is what a modeling agent is looking for.
- Also, when describing the girls, the mole on Elizabeth's shoulder (which Jessica doesn't have) is always mentioned. And it's repeatedly established that Elizabeth dresses and styles her hair more conservatively than Jessica, making it easy to tell them apart this way.
- From the Baby Sitters Club: Initially, Marilyn and Carolyn Arnold can only be told apart when wearing their name bracelets, though later, the sitters wise up and notice that the girls both have moles under different eyes. Later still, Carolyn gets a haircut and a more stylish wardrobe, while Marilyn wears her hair long and prefers more conservative clothes. Abby and Anna Stevenson are shown in Abby's Book to be impossible to tell apart and are initially afraid of developing separate, non-identical interests, even if they're afraid of growing up to be completely identical. After they get frustrated by their teacher asking their parents to color-code them for school and their classmates' habit of referring to them collectively as "Abby-Anna," their father suggests one of them cut their hair. So Anna does.
- One of the Alice, Girl from the Future books features two twins who were told by some seer to always wear only one boot each - one on them on the left foot, the other on the right.
- Invoked in Nine Goblins. When the twins Mishkin and Mushkin tell Nessilka even their mother can't tell them apart, she decides to fix that and has The Big Guy punch one in the face, giving him a black eye.
- Although canonically, Beyond Birthday dresses exactly the same as L in Another Note, Fanon will usually either depict him as splattered with blood and/or wearing a black shirt, particularly in Cosplay, or works where he and L will appear together.
- Also, BB is usually (though not always) depicted with neater hair than L, for the same reason.
- In Regina's Song, Regina and Renata Greenleaf are given different color hair ribbon by their mother to tell them apart. The girls switch ribbons when their parents aren't watching on a regular basis. Their tendency to swap any identifying marks back and forth ultimately results in nobody being able to tell them apart, and when one of them gets raped and murdered, nobody is able to conclusively tell which girl is the dead one and which is the traumatized and insane survivor.
- In Michael Connelly novel The Poet, Jack and Sean McEvoy "had always gone to great lengths to forge separate identities".
- In Lottie and Lisa, Luise's hair is curly, Lotte's is braided. Since this is the only difference in looks between them, it's very easy for them to switch roles for much of the book. By the end, they have gone back to their preferred hairstyles.
- Farideh and Havilar, protagonists of Brimstone Angels, are twins who are completely identical save for their eyes - both of Havilar's are gold, but Farideh has heterochromia giving her one gold eye and one silver eye. People who don't know them well and haven't bothered to learn which twin has the weird eye still mix them up sometimes.
Live Action TV
- The Suite Life of Zack and Cody:
- Invoked in an episode. Cody decides to dye his hair "Honey Mist Auburn" so that people would be able to tell him from Zack. To quote the episode: "Honey, you missed auburn big-time." He ended up as a redhead, and ironically was forced to do a Twin Switch for an interview. In Real Life, you could tell Dylan Sprouse from his brother because Cole (Cody) has a more gaunt face than Dylan. This also meant that as time progressed, it got much less difficult to tell the two apart.
- When Zack and Cody play basketball for their school, Cody wears a sash on his head.
- In Arrested Development, the Bluth twins can be told apart easily because George is bald and Oscar has hair. Oh, that hair.
- Siobhan on Ringer has a burn scar on her wrist, which her twin sister Bridget finds handy when she has to convince someone she's not her sister.
- Kamen Rider: Though they're not related, this appears with the first two Riders. Takeshi Hongo (Kamen Rider #1) and Hayato Ichimonji (Kamen Rider #2) have nigh-identical suits, with few distinguishing factors. Originally, Rider #1's suit was more blue-ish, but in modern times both their base suits are the same color; the main differences are their gloves and boots and the stripes that run down their sides (Hongo has silvery-white boots and gloves and two stripes, Ichimonji has red boots and gloves and one thick stripe). Rider #2 is occasionally given a dark green (bordering on black) helmet to further distinguish him, but this doesn't even remain consistent between movies.
- The reboot movie Kamen Rider: The First gets around this, by making Hongo's suit have dark blue parts compared to Ichimonji's green parts. Then the sequel undoes this by having Hongo's suit change to dark green for no given reason, while Ichimonji's is more yellowish-green (and both are faded due to three years' worth of wear and tear).
- In the Law & Order: Special Victims Unit episode "Double Strands", a serial rapist tries to pin his crimes on his twin brother. The twin, not knowing that he had any siblings, protests his innocence, even against DNA evidence. The real culprit is eventually identified by his chipped tooth and a scar on his stomach.
- One episode featured a pair of opposite-sex fraternal-twin teenagers who look similar enough to pull this off. Near the end of the episode, one of them sneaks out of a movie theater (while the other claimed to have fallen asleep) and commits a revenge murder for which they both had motive. The police realize the twins are using this trope deliberately (having dressed to match each other on that day) to create reasonable doubt, but can't prove that they conspired together or which one actually committed the murder, so they have to let them go.
- This was also used in the original series, when an ex-con was the prime suspect in a murder until they found out he had a twin brother. A witness, who happened to be a nurse, was able to determine the difference between the two, however, noticing the ex-con had several signs of being a long time hard drinker, which the other brother did not.
- In the pilot movie for Out of Jimmys Head, Crocco says that he can tell Golly and Dolly apart because Dolly wears a bow. This received a Call Back in a later episode, where Dolly loses her bow and Crocco mistakes her for Golly.
- In later seasons of Sister Sister, the twins played up the fact that Tamera has a mole on her cheek where Tia doesn't. Interestingly, in earlier seasons, producers put a mole on Tia's cheek to make them "exactly" identical. This was actually one of the aims from the fifth season onwards as producers wished to properly distinguish the sisters' personalities.
- In the 80s sitcom Double Trouble, the main characters were twins Kate and Alison Foster. Alison (the studious one) regularly wore her hair in a ponytail while Kate (the outgoing one) wore hers loose.
- Identical twins Katie and Emily in Skins have fringes cut to opposite sides when they're introduced, as well as fake moles by opposite eyes (Emily switches hers while pretending to be Katie). They also develop different styles of dress, with Katie preferring leopard print and Katie leaning to plaid. By season four, Katie dyes her hair a dark shade of almost maroon, while Emily keeps her hair cherry red. In Real Life, they're actually played by fraternal twins, and Megan Prescott (Katie) has a rounder face than Kathryn (Emily) and a bit of a lisp.
- Played with on Orphan Black, though with clones and not twins. Even though they're all genetically identical, they all are easily distinguishable. Beth looks the closest to the clones' actor Tatiana Maslany, with long dark hair, and no other distinguishable features. Sarah◊ wears really heavy makeup, messy dark hair with blond streaks, dresses punk, and has a British accent. Allison◊ wears preppy clothes and lots of pink and has hair with bangs. Cosima◊ wears glasses, a nose ring, tattoos, and has dreadlocks and wears boho hipster clothes (or a lab coat). Helena◊ has bleach blond fizzy curly hair and a Ukrainian accent and is usually wearing whatever she could find. Katja◊ has pinkish red hair and is German. Rachel◊ has short blond hair and a British accent and is usually wearing a business suit. Tony is a transman and has a beard and long hair.
- Once Upon a Time has twins James and David. James was raised as royalty and so has short hair and wears armour. David was raised as a farm boy, so has long hair and wears peasant clothes. Oh and James is dead, which makes telling them apart really easy. Until Season 5's trip to the underworld, by which time David looks exactly like James, having been his Backup Twin for years.
- The only way to tell the twins apart in Supergirl2015 is that Astra has a Skunk Stripe in her hair while Allura didn't. This one is semi justified by Astra explaining that twins were rare on their planet, so they looked alike to deliberately Troll everyone. Even so, Kara immediately recognises the woman she's confronted with as her aunt rather than her mother.
- The Killer Bees: Early example of this trope in wrestling. B. Brian Blair and "Jumping" Jim Brunzell were nearly identical height and similar build, making their ability to don their masks at the end of the match and swap places without using a tag behind the referee's back – it created "Mask Confusion" – a big success. It was a twist on similar tactics heels used (albeit the bad guys were never smart enough to realize they could pull it off with masks), although it never won them the Tag Team Championship.
- While The Usos in WWE are not identical, they look similar enough that it can be difficult to tell them apart. Initially, they could only be told apart by a tattoo on Jey's left pec. note Then Jimmy started wearing long tights and Jey wore shorts. Despite both wearing the same attire now, they're a lot easier to tell apart thanks to the face paint (Jey paints the left half of his face, Jimmy paints the right half of his face), Jimmy's weight gain, and Jey growing a thicker beard.
- Don Harris is an inch taller than his twin brother, Ron.
- The Bella Twins initially avoided this and usually the only way to reliably tell them apart was when they spoke - Brie has a much deeper voice than Nikki - or if their hemline was low enough to reveal Brie's tattoo. Otherwise the Twins never looked exactly alike, as there are subtle differences between their facial structures that a very good eye could spot such as Nikki having a square jawline, a thinner, more pronounced chin and thinner lips with Brie having smaller eyes, a slightly larger nose, a warmer smile and a higher brow but this is mostly only noticeable in stills, not on TV. But then in 2012 Nikki got breast implants and has developed a much curvier figure while Brie is noticeably skinnier. They've played it straight since turning face in 2013. Nikki wrestles wearing a t-shirt and baseball cap and has lightened her hair. Brie wears ruffled boot covers and typically wears her hair back with an Alice band.
- When they made their video game debut in Smackdown vs Raw 2010 one twin wore red and the other wore blue.
- The Owens Twins can be distinguished by the different tattoos - Kasey has them on her left shoulder and down her left hip while Leah has one on her right shoulder. Kasey also often favours additional colours such as red and blue in her hair.
- The Blossom Twins can only be told apart by slightly differing hairstyles. Holly usually has a fringe while Hannah doesn't.
- Kodama and Obariyon of the Batiri in CHIKARA aren't twins, and aren't even related, but look close to identical due to having the same height, build, skin tone, hair, gear, etc., along with similar facepaint and tattoos. Commentary tends to have trouble distinguishing between them, but there are differences: their facepaint designs are distinct, Kodama has some tattoos in places Obariyon doesn't, Obariyon has a slightly softer physique, and in late 2015 Obariyon got a shorter haircut.
- Dungeons & Dragons module EX2 The Land Beyond the Magic Mirror, which was inspired by Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland stories. T. Deeous and T. Diumm (a Shout-Out to Tweedledee and Tweedledum) look exactly alike, except for the ties that secure their jackets: one is russet-red, one is plum colored.
- Ravenloft's wererat darklord, Jacqueline Renier, got so sick of people confusing her with her sister Louise that she went in for the body-alteration version of this trope. Not by changing herself, but by tearing off her sister's earlobe in a fight.
- Gauche and Droite from Tales of Vesperia. They look the same for the most part, but are easy to distinguish due to the color of their hair and eyes, as well as having distinct voices. Furthermore, Gauche uses her left hand, while Droite is right-handed.
- Tales of Vesperia also has Hisca and Chastel from the OVA The First Strike. They are distinguishable by the fact that Chastel is "more developed" than her sister.
- Dante and Vergil of the Devil May Cry series. Dante has a relatively simple red longcoat in all his appearances and wears his hair loose. Vergil wears a far more elaborate blue coat and keeps his hair slicked back, though occasionally (such as toward the end of their first fight in Devil May Cry 3) it falls out of place, making it look identical to Dante's.
- Custom Robo for the Gamecube has Eliza and Isabella, twins in the employ of the villainous Z Syndicate. They are completely identical in all respects except for the fact that they are literally mirror images of the other: Eliza's ponytail is styled to the right while she holds her fan in her left hand, while Isabella styles her hair to the left and holds her fan in her right hand.
- This is further referenced with their Custom Robos, who have side oriented gun and bomb parts matching the hand they hold their fans in. Eliza using Waxing parts, and Isabella using Waning parts.
- Luciana and Aegina in Yggdra Union are distinguishable because of their different hairstyles, different clothing colors, and the fact that Luciana is a lefty. Unfortunately, they still have to dress similarly because the Imperial Army would lose a huge tactical advantage if their enemies actually wised up, not to mention that there's still people in Fantasinia who are trying to kill the two of them—and this means that even most of their allies have trouble telling them apart at times. This is a plot point in the Yggdra Unison drama CD, where Luciana tries to establish her individuality much more clearly. Out of the whole cast, only Gulcasa and Emilia can reliably tell the twins apart.
- Aforementioned tactical advantage is used to great effect against player, even. It's possible to confuse the second "Aegina's" distinguishing marks for dodgy spritework at first.
- In Gloria Union, twin brothers Ishut and Ashley are very easy to tell apart—they have different hairstyles (Shonen Hair versus a ponytail), different taste in clothing, and diametrically opposite personalities. Having lived completely separate lives for about ten years tends to do that.
- Ami and Mami Futami in The iDOLM@STER. One has a side ponytail on the right (Ami) the other on the left (Mami). Becomes even more pronounced when Mami grows her hair out for the second game and anime.
- About midway through the second year in Tokimeki Memorial 2 Maho Shirayuki's breasts grow significantly more than her twin sister Miho's. Thereafter it becomes very easy to distinguish which one just showed up for your date.
- Angela and Lilith Pleasant in the The Sims 2. To distinguish themselves from one another in their mutual antipathy, Angela is a stereotypically preppy-looking girl in a light summer dress and sparse, natural-toned make-up, while Lilith is a full-on goth girl complete with spiked leather collar, entirely black clothing, black lipstick and white face powder. Despite this, they wear their hair in identical fashion and have remarkably similar personalities and life goals.
- Redmond and Blutarch Mann, founders of RED and BLU respectively, in Team Fortress 2. They both wear identical suits with bowler hats, dressed completely in their respective colors. Although they look identical, the family portraits hanging in each of their respective mansions portray the respective brother as tall and handsome, with the other as a short, weasel-y gremlin. Time will tell if their long-lost triplet, Gray Mann, follows suit.
- Turns out he doesn't. He looks almost nothing like them, and considers both of them morons and so far, not even worthy of recognizing in any form, let alone demeaning them in paitings. The person he really has a beef with is Saxton Hale.
- Dr. Ned, the twin brother of Dr. Zed from Borderlands, has a mustache, while his brother lacks facial hair.
- The Dewynter Sisters in Saints Row: The Third are identical twins that look alike and dress alike but can be told apart from the colors of their sunglasses. Kiki wears pink glasses and Viola wears white glasses. After Kiki is killed, Voila will start wearing Kiki's pink glasses in memory of her sister.
- Having trouble with the Half-Identical Twins Liza and Tate in Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire? Liza has sidetails. She's also a girl while Tate is a boy, though that can be missed.
- The Neptunia games have the twins Rom and Ram, Rom has short hair and a mostly blue outfit while Ram has longer hair and a mostly pink outfit.
- Though not actually twins, Undertale's Frisk and Chara are only differentiated by facial features (Frisk has a neutral expression with Eyes Always Closed, while Chara has a smile and rosy cheeks), outfit (Frisk has a blue shirt with two purple stripes, Chara has a green shirt with one yellow stripe), and talkativeness (Frisk doesn't speak unless spoken to, Chara literally monologues the entire narration). Whenever facial features aren't different in a fan-comic, especially if there is a camera angle in a greyscale comic that won't show stripes, Frisk is typically shown with curly hair that manifests in clumps, while Chara is usually shown having straight, messy hair.
- Used as an important plot factor in one of Hitman (2016)'s elusive target contracts: "The Twin". The mission's target was one of a pair of identical twin brothers who look, dress and act exactly the same, the only difference being that the target wore an expensive, one-of-a-kind wristwatch. Since the mission would automatically fail if the wrong twin was harmed in any way, keen observation skills were a necessity here.
- Similarly, two of the "new art" characters in SpyParty are a pair of Asian twins wearing identical suits with blue blazers, with the only difference being that one of them wears jewelry (ear studs, a tie clip and a ring) and the other doesn't. Fans have dubbed them "Bling Twin" and "Plain Twin", respectively.
- In Tsukihime, the twins Kohaku and Hisui are (physically) identical apart from their different outfits and their eye color, which also matches their names (kohaku and hisui translate to "amber" and "jade" respectively). This is also a major plot point in the twins' respectively routes of the story, since the flashback is deliberately shown in monochrome to hide which twin Shiki met and when. Personality wise it's a whole 'nother matter, a Kohaku is a Genki Girl and Hisui is a stoic and withdrawn Shrinking Violet. At least at first, and then Kohaku puts in colored contacts and starts pretending to be her sister.
- Used to the Sonozaki sisters' advantage in Higurashi: When They Cry. From an early age, Mion wore a Tomboyish Ponytail and dressed more boyishly, while Shion tied only half her hair back and wore more feminine attire. They frequently pulled twin switches when they were younger with one permanent switch and a full back tattoo thrown in, and can often only be told apart by the way that each styles her hair.
- Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials & Tribulations: Dahlia Hawthorne has red hair and her twin sister Iris has black. It's likely Dahlia dyes her hair, since her mother, Morgan, has jetblack hair as well. To the point where changing one's physical form to Dahlia will instead give the appearance of Iris.
- CLANNAD: Invoked in Fujibayashi Kyou route, when the overflowing agony of characters denying their real feelings becomes obvious. By elimination of distinctive long hair and lacy ribbon accessory, the protagonist is set up to mistake the person he think he talks to, revving up the effect of the misplaced confession.
- Minami and Yukari from Liar Liar are not twins however they look very similar. Yukari wears her hair in Girlish Pigtails and has purple eyes while Minami wears her hair down in a bob haircut and has golden-brown eyes. Minami is also a Perpetual Frowner and is somewhat taller than Yukari.
- Natalya and Sofiya from Missing Stars are actually fraternal twins however they have an extremely strong resemblance nevertheless. Natalya is slightly taller than Sofiya, has heterochromia eyes, has a bigger chest, and wears her hair short with red highlights.
- In the Dating Sim spin-off Sunrider Academy, Chigara wears a hair ribbon to distinguish herself from her physically identical twin sister Lynn. Apart from that, their personalities are very different: Chigara is shy, nervous and friendly, while Lynn is sullen, moody, and quick to anger. Then they pull a Twin Switch in her route, and pull it off so well that Kayto ends up losing his virginity to Lynn while thinking that she’s Chigara, leaving him confused and angry for the rest of the route.
- In Sunrider: Liberation Day, the various narratively-important Prototypes can be distinguished from the rank-and-file ones this way. Chigara still has her hair ribbon; Alpha has her hair done up in a wavier hairstyle than the rest; and Alice has darker hair, keeps it slicked back and has prominent facial scars.
- Lifty and Shifty in Happy Tree Friends. Shifty wears a hat.
- In a Cheat Commandos short, the Blue Laser Commander gets fed up with the fact that the two minions he's spending Thanksgiving with look identical. So he stabs one in the face with a fork. There, now they're much easier to tell apart!
- Red vs. Blue the Dakota Twins of Project Freelancer. An interesting example in that they are fraternal male/female twins. It's when they're suited up that they need the distinction. Like all Freelancers, they are given a codename based on a US state, both are named Dakota but one is given the North prefix while the other is given South. Both twins also wear purple armour with green accents, although they use different shades so they can be told apart while fully suited.
- In Transmission identical twins Russell and Reggie wear green and orange tops respectively to tell them apart.
- While not technically twins, Bob and George's Author Avatar put name tags on the alternate future and alternate far-future Megaman and Bass to differentiate themselves from each other, because he knew things would become confusing shortly. Not long after, the far-far-future versions of the alternates appeared with the appropriate tags... And then they took them off, revealing themselves to be the present day alternate Mega Man and Bass.
- In the Order of the Stick, Nale is distinguishable from his twin brother Elan by his goatee and (initially) by his tendency to wear a similar outfit with the color scheme inverted. When Nale pulls a Twin Switch by shaving off the goatee and stealing Elan's clothes, readers can still tell the difference by a darker spot on his face where the goatee once was. The other characters don't notice, except for Belkar who can identify Nale by scent (and only after he ditches the clothes).
- In The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob! furry creatures Molly and Golly are distinguishable mostly by the fact that Golly likes to wear clothes, while Molly relies on her furriness to let her run around in the buff.
- In Alice and the Nightmare, the Vena twins are mirror reflections of each other - all that Dee has on the right side (purple streaks, Traumen mark, open eye), Dum has on the left side. In addition, Dee has a scar on her cheek while Dum has it across her mouth.
- In Stand Still, Stay Silent, The author drew a picture of main character Mikkel with his twin brother Michael. Michael doesn't wear Mikkel's sideburns, is much better at the whole smiling thing (the corners of Mikkel's mouth tend to come across as physically unable to bend upwards in th comic proper) and is technically the oldest according to the picture's description.
- This◊ poster demonstrates the reliability of such things when applied to twin teenage girls. (specifically, the Von Helson sisters)
- From Killerbunnies, we have Duranta and Belladonna Reaping who look the same and there isn't much difference between them, aside from the moles under their eyes being on different sides (Right for Duranta and left for Belladonna), different weapon, accessories, and sidetail, along with length in dresses. Aside from those things, they can be confused for one another.
- Tomax and Xamot, the twin COBRA agents from G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, can be distinguished because Xamot has a facial scar and Tomax does not. They also wear costumes that mirror each other.
- The Oracle Twins in American Dragon: Jake Long dress exceedingly differently. In the first season, before the animation style changed, it's easy to tell that they were just dressing differently. One dresses in a "punk" fashion while the other has a green dress and Flower in Her Hair. In the second season, their entire appearances, hair color included, are altered so one was a stereotypical goth with black hair and the other was a blonde, blue-eyed prep.
- Ingrid and Latoyah from Slacker Cats have different colour eyeshadow - purple and green - though which one is which is another matter.
- Susan and Mary Test, from Johnny Test, have different hairstyles, different hair clips (a star or moon) different shirt colors and designs, different shoes, and differently-shaped glasses (square for Susan, half-moon for Mary). The clincher though is that one has green eyes and the other blue, a Twin Switch would probably require them to wear contacts.
- Phil and Lil De Vil are identical fraternal twins. They can be distinguished in several ways: Lil wears a bow in her hair while Phil does not, Lil's shoes are pink and Phil's are blue, Phil's sleeves are tight, while Lil's are flared, Lil's overalls are flared like a skirt, and Phil wears blue shorts under his while Lil wears only her diaper. Also, in the pre-uncancelation episodes, Lil had earlobes and Phil did not (they both have them in the subsequent episodes). However, the bow is all that their oblivious parents ever notice; on several occasions they're able to confuse the grown-ups by putting Lil's bow on Phil. One episode has Lil give herself pigtails and Phil mess up his hair so they can be told apart.
- Angelica invoked this trope when she pretended to have a twin sister named "Ballina". To portray Ballina, she tied up her Girlish Pigtails and rolled up the sleeves of her shirt. She also spoke in a higher pitched voice.
- Patty and Selma Bouvier on The Simpsons. Selma's hair is parted, Patty's is not. Patty parted hers in one episode as part of a plan to break Selma and Abe apart. It failed when the real Selma showed up while Patty was tricking Abe.
- Thomas the Tank Engine:
- Bert has stubble, while his twin brother 'Arry does not.
- The Brendham Bay Twins and Scottish Twins both wear actual name tags. In the case of the Scottish Twins, the names are painted on because they pulled one too many twin switches in in their backstory.
- Bill and Ben looking nearly identical to each other was played with in the Season 2 episode, "The Diseasel", in which their drivers removed their name tags so they could play a trick on BoCo, who had mistakenly taken their freight cars. In the Season 17 episode, "Bill or Ben?", Sir Topham Hatt sent Bill to the Steamworks to get a blue coat of paint so Connor would be able to tell him and Ben apart after they played a trick on him. This plan didn't work because Ben tricked Kevin into thinking he was Bill and giving him a blue coat of paint as well.
- This is actually commented on in The Venture Bros. episode "Dr. Quymn, Medicine Woman", where Dr. Quymn's daughters Nancy and Drew explain that they're technically semiidentical. Which is to say that Drew has freckles on her nose and Nancy doesn't. Hank can't tell them apart even after he hears about this.
- Subverted with Sam and Dave, the Diggers, on Recess, as they were identical best friends (though in the Japanese dub, they are twins). The way you could tell them apart was that Sam wore a red bandana around his neck, and Dave wears a white mouth cover around his neck.
- Played with Bender and Flexo. As both are bending units, they were designed with identical looks... except for Flexo having a detachable metal goatee.
- In "The Farnsworth Paradox" the Planet Express crew visit a an alternate universe; each of their alternate twins has some differentiating feature, usually differently-colored hair, although the bald Professor has a "stylish" ring of stitches around his head.
- The Trishas from Rated "A" for Awesome are nearly identical, except they're mirror images of each other. Trisha #1 has an earring on her left ear and her hair parts to the right, while Trisha #2 has an earring on her right ear and her hair parts to the left. Also, whenever they wear different clothes, Trisha #1 is usually wearing a darker shade of pink than Trisha #2. Their cousin, also named Trisha, is identical to Trisha #2 except her hair is strawberry blonde instead of regular blonde.
- Totally Spies!: Terry underwent surgery so he'd no longer look or sound like Jerry.
- That said, he is also capable of Latex Perfection.
- Street Football: One of the Tekno Twins (Tek and No) played with this trope in "Alter Ego" until he learned the four boys in the Scottish team are brothers of the one girl of their team.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987): In the 1987 series, the turtles were physically identical, the only visual difference between any of them being the color of their eyemasks.
- In Teen Titans Mas and Menos respectively wear a plus and minus on their clothes. The only other difference is that Menos has a gap between his front teeth.
- The Legend of Korra:
- Korra's cousins Desna and Eska, who are Half-Identical Twins so identical that the only visual clues are their clothes (Eska has a different hemline on her coat, slimmer leggings, eye makeup, and small hair decs). Othwerise you have to wait for them to start talking. And Desna is a boy.
- In the third season, there are twins Wei and Wing, both metalbending prodigies. Both of them have few visual cues (Wei parts his hair to the left, wears a bracelet on his left arm, and wears a rounded necklace and round belt buckle. Wing parts his hair to the right, wears a bracelet on his right arm, and wears a necklace that has a tapered point and a hexagonal belt buckle)
- In Gargoyles, the Weird Sisters take on many forms, but in all of them, they are identical but for hair colors (black, white, blond.)
- Woody Woodpecker's twin nephew and niece Knothead and Splinter can be told apart by Splinter wearing a bow and a skirt.
- Chip and Skip, the Dung Beetle twins from Camp Lazlo, can be distinguished because Skip wears a sash with badges over his shirt, while Chip does not.
- The Fairly OddParents!: Wanda and her "identical-yet-somewhat-hotter" twin sister Blonda. Wanda has pink hair while Blonda, obviously, is a blonde.
- Total Drama:
- Amy of Pahkitew Island has a beauty mark under her left eye; Samey...er, Sammy, does not.
- In the spin-off Total Drama Presents: The Ridonculous Race Mickey wears a helmet but Jay does not. The two also have slightly different hairdos (possibly because of the helmet) and jackets that are different shades of blue.
- Arthur has the Tibble Twins. Timmy wears a blue handkerchief, while Tommy wears a red one, but otherwise they look identical. Timmy even took advantage of this in one episode by swapping kerchiefs with Tommy while their preschool teacher wasn't looking, leading Tommy to actually have two time-outs in a row.
- In Gravity Falls, Ford has a cleft in his chin that his (actually fraternal, but similar-looking enough to pull a Twin Switch) twin brother Stan does not have, they have different voices (but can imitate each other pretty well), and most significantly of all, Ford has an extra finger on each hand.
- In The Adventures of Puss in Boots, Puss in Boots' magical clone does not have his trademark Nice Hat. Rather than find an identical hat, Puss Dos instead wears a paper hat so he isn't confused with Puss in Boots.
- The second season of M.A.S.K. gave V.E.N.O.M. leader Miles Mayhem a twin brother named Maximus, who could be told apart from his brother because his hair was a lighter shade of gray, he wore a monocle, and the stone on his mask was colored green instead of red.
- While actually magical clones instead of twins, the two Papa Smurfs in The Smurfs episode "Papa Smurf, Papa Smurf" are each given a different colored feather in their cap to distinguish between the two Papa Smurfs. When the two Papa Smurfs finally merge back into one near the end of the episode, the single Papa Smurf ends up wearing both feathers in his cap.
- The same episode also had Gargamel gaining a magical clone. They were distinguishable by different injuries and bandaged areas (one had bandages around his head and the other bandaged his nose). When the two merge, the single Gargamel had both bandages on his head and nose.
- Mary Kate Olsen tried this when she dyed her hair. Ironically the Olsen twins are actually fraternal. You'd never be able to guess it.
- During their time as "Michelle" you couldn't tell them apart. Now it's a lot easier, even without the dye job, and while both of the twins continue to collaborate on their fashion and business ventures, only Mary Kate has continued acting as well, making her more visible as a solo presence than Ashley.
- In their films Mary Kate typically played the Tomboy while Ashley played the Girly Girl - so the sisters were easily distinguished by what clothing they wore. The exception is Winning London where their roles were inverted.
- Bill and Tom Kaulitz's... everything. From a young age, Bill cut his hair short and spiked it, Tom got dreads, then Bill got an eyebrow piercing, Tom got a lip piercing, Bill got a tongue piercing, Tom starting dressing 'gangsta', Bill started wearing make-up...
- Twin comedians Randy and Jason Sklar of Cheap Seats fame: Jason wears glasses (and has a more receding hairline).
- Canadian singers Tegan and Sara Quin typically have differing hairstyles and have different tattoos, and only make an effort to look alike for artistic reasons (such as the video they did with Tiesto "Feel It In My Bones").
- The Turnley twins are award winning photojournalists, and identical twins who HATE being confused for one another. One decided to grow a goatee while the other remains clean-shaven, which helps.
- Some schools actually require this for identical twins placed in the same class. The easiest way to do this is to designate colors for each child for some article of clothing—shoes, a bracelet, etc.
- The Dahm Triplets (models and actresses) had tiny, barely noticeable dots tattooed so their parents could tell them apart when they were babies: Jacklyn has none, Nicole has one, and Ericka has two.
- Cesar and Constantin Faucher were two French generals from the Revolutionary Wars who wore differently coloured flowers on their coats so that others may tell them apart. (To make the resemblance worse, they fought in the same units, were always promoted on the same day and were even wounded on the same battlefields. Also, they were executed together.)
- Advice columnist Ann Landers had a nose job done so she would look less like her twin sister, Abigail Van Buren, aka Dear Abby.
- One way to tell miniature figure sculptors Alan and Michael Perry apart is the fact that Michael has a prosthetic right arm, having lost the limb in an accident while loading a reproduction cannon.
- The family and friends of identical twins—especially the parents—are usually able to tell the two apart by subtle cues that casual observers might miss, such as different laughs and speech patterns, or different clothing preferences even if the general style is the same.