%% Image selected per Image Pickin' thread: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/posts.php?discussion=1509758832033135100
%% Please do not replace or remove without starting a new thread.
[[quoteright:240:[[Webcomic/LoadingArtist http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/banana_death.jpg]]]]

->'''Jay:''' Oh look, when these guys were put to death in the electric chair, their ''chairs'' died with them.\\
'''Rich:''' If ghosts can wear clothes, they can have electric chairs.
-->-- ''WebVideo/HalfInTheBag'' riffs ''Film/GhostbustersII''

One of the ways that OurGhostsAreDifferent: Contrary to popular belief, when you die, you ''can'' take it with you. Unfortunately, this only extends to whatever you had on your person at the time.

In scenes with ghosts, the ghost in question will most often be wearing the clothes in which they died. Generally, this takes the form of some sort of [[GorgeousPeriodDress gaudy period piece]], making them look interesting and giving an obvious visual clue as to what time they were from. A ghost in slacks and a T-shirt just isn't very dramatic -- unless you want to show that [[ErmineCapeEffect they were relaxed]] or a slacker in life. The ghost is usually stuck in that particular costume for the rest of eternity, [[OutdatedOutfit unable to change their clothes.]] Which makes sense -- there probably aren't that many Ghostly Gaps around. It must be a drag, if you got shot wearing [[HomemadeSweaterFromHell Grandma's old knit sweater that you secretly hate]].

A female ghost in her wedding dress and veil is particularly poignant, since it is an unmistakable reminder that she died on what was meant to be the happiest day of her life.

Most movies and television shows that use this also agree that, when you take that last train to Spiritville, you get to keep whatever grievous bodily injuries you incurred along the way. Burned to death? You'll be a charred and smoky corpse for the rest of your afterlife, we're afraid. Drowned? Soggy and covered in seaweed, regardless of whether or not you were actually anywhere near the sea. Stabbed multiple times in the chest? You get to keep the knife! Decapitated? Enjoy your new detachable head! Hanged? Hey, free necktie. If you're unlucky enough to die in a way that doesn't leave you horribly mutilated, sometimes you'll get a special symbolic makeover just for giggles.

Trope named for Jacob Marley, the old dead business partner of Scrooge in ''Literature/AChristmasCarol'', whose ghost wore the clothes he was wearing at the time of his death, along with chains composed partly of money boxes to symbolize his greed and selfishness. (Though it should be noted that Marley didn't literally have all those chains on him at the time of death.)

Compare with the BedsheetGhost, ChainedByFashion and MonochromeApparition. If a ghost wears something intended to be amusingly-ironic, that's a spectral version of IncongruouslyDressedZombie. Contrast OutOfClothesExperience.

Not to be confused with JacobMarleyWarning.



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* Averted in ''Anime/JubeiChan'': the ghost of Yagyu Jubei is ''younger'' in the second season than he appears in the first, in addition to wearing different clothes. Presumably this is because of how Koinosuke and Freesia remember him from different periods of his life.
* Sayo Aisaka in ''Manga/MahouSenseiNegima'' has been wearing the same SailorFuku for 60 years.
* Might have drawn some inspiration from Kogane of ''Manga/RanmaOneHalf'', the StringyHairedGhostGirl from Furinkan High, who also wore a sailor fuku even when the school didn't use it as its uniform.
* Tomoharu in ''LightNovel/AsuraCryin'' questions his ghost girl follower Misao on why this trope doesn't apply to her. Misao responds in turn that it "would be boring." While it's not entirely clear how a ghost girl can change her clothes, Misao can.
* ''Anime/GhostSweeperMikami'':
** It's mentioned that a ghost usually wears the clothes they were wearing in the time of their death. Okinu Himuro, in example, is a [[{{Miko}} Shinto priestess]] who was [[HumanSacrifice sacrificed]] to a Mountain God, so she wears her red and white {{Miko}} robes.
** There's a ''youkai'' who can make special clothes for ghosts, and an episode of the anime has Yokoshima searching for her so he can give some modern outfits to Okinu as a gift.
* Another ghost from ''Manga/RanmaOneHalf'' was a former headmistress for an extremely old, dilapidated all-girls school and dormitory. Until her GhostlyGoals are fulfilled, she's dressed in period clothes and wears her hair in a bun, as well as thin and pointy sunglasses. When she's finally allowed to move on, she trades the clothes for an angel's robe and wings, but keeps the bun and sunglasses.
* In ''Manga/HellTeacherNube'', naturally, ghosts subscribe to this rule. Which is especially bad for those who died after being horribly mutilated, because they'll spend their days trying to replace their missing body parts. But most notably: when Hiroshi found himself on the verge of death, his soul wore the hospital gown during his brief adventure in the afterlife. The cute girl whose soul he saved from demons ''also'' wore a hospital gown in the afterlife, but it turned out that [[spoiler:she was an incredibly ancient old woman who became hopelessly smitten with her savior]].
* Averted in ''Manga/DuskMaidenOfAmnesia''. Yuuko died 50 or 60 years ago, but when Teiichi first meets her, she's wearing the modern school uniform. She liked the new design when she saw it, so she ''somehow'' got one of her own. She's still got her old uniform, too, and changes into that to show Teiichi... embarrassing him, because she doesn't change clothes by ''magic'', she does it just as an ordinary girl would -- except [[InnocentFanserviceGirl right in front of him]].
* Also averted in ''Bakekano'' where Alice first appears naked and has to concentrate to create the clothes she wears although the clothes she normally wears are those which she's most familiar with. When first seen she's wearing thighhighs and a backpack because they're her favorite socks and her backpack was one she kept bugging her mother for. She can apparently also share the clothes with others so long as she can concentrate.
* In ''Manga/CardcaptorSakura'', Nadeshiko has her wedding ring, because she was HappilyMarried to Fujitaka (who for his part follows TheMourningAfter trope), sometimes bordering on SickeninglySweethearts (at least according to [[UnreliableNarrator Sonomi]]).
** Also, Touya described seeing all manner of ghosts, sometimes with remnants of injuries inflicted upon them (such as missing limbs). His descriptions of what he was able to see [[spoiler: until he gave up his clairvoyant powers to save his boyfriend's life]] were the reason for Sakura's fear of ghosts.
* Meiko "Menma" Honma in ''Anime/AnoHanaTheFlowerWeSawThatDay'' wears the same [[WomanInWhite white and blue sundress]] she wore when she drowned, although it is larger since her ghost is older and taller than she was at death and wears no shoes (which were presumably washed away by the river).
* An interesting case occurs in ''Manga/JojosBizarreAdventure''. Reimi Sugimoto's ghost looks exactly as she did on death, as does her dog. On the occasion we see someone die, their soul floats through her alley, bearing all the wounds of their deaths. However, when [[spoiler:Yoshikage Kira]] dies, he still looks like [[spoiler:Kosaku Kawajiri]], which would fit this trope - but when he ''realizes'' he's dead, he changes into his original body.
* In the ''Manga/{{Area 88}}'' manga, the late Hoover visits Shin in his dreams wearing his flight suit.

* Several saints from the Art/SistineChapel's ''The Last Judgement'' surrounding the risen Christ are holding objects that were used to execute them for their faith.
** Saint Andrew is seen holding an X-shaped cross, which Christian tradition says the Romans used to kill him.
** Saint Bartholomew pops out because he's seen holding a man's skin while holding a knife in the other hand. This may look like Bartholomew skinned someone, but closer inspection of the skin makes it obvious he's holding ''his own flayed skin''.
** Saint Blaise is holding the iron combs used to rip his flesh apart.
** Saint Catherine is sitting next to a broken wheel of spikes, which legends says the Roman Emperor tried to use to slowly torture and kill her, only for it to miraculously fall apart as soon as she touched it. Unable to elaborately torture her, the Emperor had her swiftly beheaded.
** Saint Lawrence holds a ladder, referencing the legend that he died while being burnt over hot coils, only to snark that "It's cooked enough now," before his death.
** Saint Sebastian holds the arrows he was pierced with before being beaten to death.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* In ''Proposition Player'' (wherein the protagonist Joey Martin accidentally becomes owner of a number of people's souls) this is considered a "default setting" until a soul's caretaker specifies otherwise, to avoid blocking up the celestial mechanics. Hugin and Munin tells Joey he can "have them come back as cows or ducks or angels of light" but until he decides to do so, this trope is in effect, and changes aren't retroactive. Naturally, before he even knows what to do, a competitive archangel kills off most of the contractees in a massive and complex accident, resulting in his makeshift afterlife (aka apartment) filling up with, among others, a waitress with her head on a platter, a guy with rebar through his face, a guy crushed flat, a pile of ashes, and a pile of crocodile feces. And they're still sentient. Also again, not retroactive.
* One ''ComicStrip/FoxTrot'' series parodying ''Literature/AChristmasCarol'' had Jason-as-Scrooge being visited by "Jacob Marcusly", chained to the video game controllers that dominated his life. He tells Jason to learn from his example... and not buy this particular brand of joystick, because the fire button is sluggish.
* Emily of ''ComicBook/AnyasGhost'' wears the same jumper dress and floofy hairdo she had when she died in the 1910s. She later learns to change her [[ExpositoryHairstyleChange hairstyle]], however.
* Recurring Creator/DCComics supervillain Gentleman Ghost always appears in the clothes of his time period; as that's the nineteenth century, he's depicted with a top hat, full suit, gloves, monocle, and ruffled jabot.
* In ''ComicBook/ZombiesChristmasCarol'' Jacob Marley's chains were designed to keep his zombified form in check, including a muzzle so he couldn't bite people.

[[folder:Fan Fiction]]
* In ''FanFic/BeingDeadAintEasy'' Joey was wearing his school uniform when he died, and later notes he'll probably be stuck in it forever.

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/CorpseBride'' fits this to a tee, with Emily's (wedding) dress being the most noticeable. All the other characters wear the clothes they died in as well. Of course they are reanimated corpses, instead of entirely spiritual beings, so they wear what they were buried in.
* In ''WesternAnimation/BarbieInAChristmasCarol'', Eden's Aunt Marie wears chains with mirrors on the end instead of money boxes, fitting vanity instead of greed.
* In ''WesternAnimation/AllDogsGoToHeaven'''s sequel, new arrivals to Dog Heaven arrive in this fashion. The dog that died from eating chocolate arrives with a box of chocolates in tow, the dog that died from biting/getting electrocuted by the vacuum cord arrives with the vacuum cord in its mouth, the dog that got strangled to death by a mailman's mailbag arrives with the strap still around its neck, and the dog that died from getting run over has the car's bumper in its jaws.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* The film ''Film/{{Beetlejuice}}'' had this for every ghost except, oddly enough, for the two leads, who drowned but were only a bit damp when they got home (though, at the very least, they remained in the same clothes). And they dried out, too (likely because it would have been impractical to keep the actors damp for the whole of shooting, but still). The other obviously wrong-looking ghosts were the ones who died in disfiguring ways or, as in the case of the headhunter and showgirl/receptionist, were explicitly in costume at death. And, if you look closely, Juno has smoke coming out the holes in her throat when she smokes. The title character himself does not have this feature, being more like a demonic ghost than a disfigured human. But then, he likely hasn't been human for a ''long'' time.
* In ''Film/TheFrighteners'', one of the ghosts complains about his ridiculous 1970s outfit (complete with big bushy afro), and another points out that he must wear it because he was dressed like that when he died. After his ghostly form is destroyed by the big bad, he is seen in Heaven at the end of the film, wearing far more fashionable clothes and much shorter hair.
* In ''Film/HushHushSweetCharlotte'' the fake ghosts appear this way to Charlotte as part of a DrivenToMadness ploy.
* ''Film/TheSixthSense''. [[spoiler:All the clothes that Dr. Crowe wore throughout the entire movie were clothes that he wore at some point during the night he died.]]
* Clarence from ''Film/ItsAWonderfulLife'' spends the entire film in a nightgown, a gift from his wife, having passed away in it.
** Actually somewhat averted in that Clarence is wearing somewhat "modern" clothing on top of his old-fashioned underwear. He even complained about not having time to get any "stylish underwear."
* In ''Film/{{Stardust}}'', the dead princes are all wearing what they had on when they died, and their bodies are in whatever state they expired in: One who died in the tub spent the rest of his ghostly life naked, and one who fell out of a window had his face flattened, and his hair is in a permanent windblown style.
* In ''Franchise/StarWars'', Force ghosts follow this rule, looking as old or young as they did upon the time of death, and wearing the same clothes. The exception is Anakin Skywalker, who despite dying in full Darth Vader regalia, missing limbs, and with a disfigured head, reverts to what he would have looked like in more benign circumstances.
** He was later changed to Hayden Christiansen's Anakin, so maybe that was supposed to be his appearance when he was [[ThatManIsDead killed]] [[FromACertainPointOfView by Darth Vader.]] The robes are still different though.
** One of the novels mentions that you appear how you think of yourself. Thus, the Jedi are all in their customary robes, the Sith are in their armor, and Skywalker views himself as the young man before he fell.
* In the 2008 film ''Film/GhostTown'', Bertram Pincus is followed around by ghosts who are dressed in whatever they were wearing when they died, except for one nude ghost (who presumably wasn't wearing anything when he died). One of the ghosts, Frank, is wearing a tuxedo and carrying around his cell phone, as he was right before he was killed. He lampshades this trope by saying how grateful he is that he downloaded some games to his phone before he died.
* Semi-averted in ''Film/TheLovelyBones'' in that Susie can change clothes when she wants, but her default clothes are the ones she wore when she died.
* ''Film/Thir13enGhosts'' (2001): Even after death, the titular 13 ghosts carry various individual objects relating to their persona.
* The ''Film/TowerOfTerror'' film is similar to the ''Lovely Bones'' example above. The ghosts' default clothes are the ones they died in, but one of the ghosts appears in other clothes twice. Her other outfits also look 1930s, so apparently she can wear other clothes as long as they're from the time period when she died. Whatever.
* In the movie ''Film/{{Ghost}}'', Sam (and apparently all other ghosts) wear what they were wearing at the time of death, though without any damage they took in dying, and the ghosts themselves have no visible wounds.
* In ''Film/AnAmericanWerewolfInLondon'', David's friend Jack is still wearing the parka that he died in, complete with the slash-across-the-face marks of the werewolf attack. While his clothes remain the same, his body decays into a near-skeleton by the end of the movie.
* In ''Film/TheGhostGoesWest'', Murdoch Glourie died with his Jacobite outfit, and itís the only thing heís got while haunting his castle.
* While not actually ghosts, most of the souls living in the unnamed [[CrapsackWorld suicide]] [[MundaneAfterlife afterlife]] in ''Film/WristcuttersALoveStory'' all keep the injuries that they sustained when they killed themselves, although the wounds are empty of any blood or other gibs. They are able to change clothes, however, and this being a MundaneAfterlife, there are even stores that sell them. Also, this only really seems to apply if you killed yourself by a method that resulted in an open wound, such as blowing your brains out or slitting your wrists, as supposed to things like poison, hanging, drug overdose, or electrocuting yourself by dumping beer on your electric guitar while it was plugged in (yes, really), which don't seem to effect the soul's appearance noticeably.
* In ''Film/PiratesOfTheCaribbeanDeadMenTellNoTales'', Salazar and the rest of ''Silent Mary'''s ghostly crew appear in the clothing and condition in which they died. This is particularly unfortunate for the sailor who's reduced to nothing but a floating, independently-moving arm and boots - implying everything else of him was destroyed by a cannonball - and [[UncannyValley particularly disturbing]] with Salazar himself, who drowned underwater and whose hair constantly drifts around his head in nonexistent currents.
* In ''Film/AChristmasCarolGoesWrong'' this creates problems when Marley's chains are so heavy they drag him out the window and smash through the floor.

* The {{Trope Namer|s}} is Charles Dickens' ''Literature/AChristmasCarol'' where the ghost of - who else? - Jacob Marley is dressed not only in the clothes he died in, but is wrapped in chains and lugs around safes and cashboxes for all eternity to symbolically represent his avarice in life. It's not played entirely straight, however, as he also wears a cloth that was tied in place after death to bind his jaw shut.
* {{Lampshaded}} in the third ''Literature/{{Silverwing}}'' book, ''Firewing''. Three ghostly bats, named Java, Nemo, and Yorick, discuss their deaths. Java, who died of old age, and Nemo, who was eaten (leaving no body behind and the resulting ghost being made wholesale), have fully equipped and working ghost bodies. Yorick, who died smashed against a tree by a sudden turn of wind, gets to spend his afterlife with a perpetually broken wing, and demands to know where the justice is.
* In the novel ''Haunted'' David's dead sister, Juliet, still appears as a child from when she drowned in their pond.
* Similarly lampshaded in ''Literature/HarryPotter'' with the Hogwarts ghosts; Nearly Headless Nick laments that he can't join the Headless Hunt, as he wasn't ''quite'' decapitated enough.
** Played straight with the Bloody Baron, who's still caked in the blood of [[spoiler:the Grey Lady]] and wears chains out of penance.
** Interestingly, one of the ghosts at the "deathday party" in the second book is "a ragged man wearing chains" -- a possible reference to Jacob Marley himself.
** Averted by the magically animated portraits of deceased Hogwarts headmasters and others, which apparently have whatever clothes are painted onto them. It's unclear how these painting are created and whether they can be categorized as "ghosts," but for story purposes they are functionally the same.
* Mocked by Creator/AmbroseBierce in ''Literature/TheDevilsDictionary'' (and used as an unattributed quote passed off as an original insight by Penn Gillette on ''Series/PennAndTellerBullshit'') who asked why ghosts aren't naked. Is the immortal soul of a person dressed in the immortal soul of ''textiles''?
** Another [[http://books.google.com/books?id=ghtX84t1WC8C&printsec=toc&source=gbs_summary_r&cad=0 author]], thirty years earlier, similarly mocks: "But what does the ghost represent? That is, what is it the ghost of? A man or a woman to be sure. But does it appear as a man or a woman only? Is it nude? Oh no! Oh shocking! This is contrary to all the rules. It always appears dressed! ... So then, we have the ghost of the clothes also - the ghost of the coat and unmentionables - the ghost of the cocked hat and wig. How is this?"
* Used straight in ''Literature/ShamanOfTheUndead''. Until you get to the Land of the Dead, you get to keep all the clothes and wounds you had when you died. Notably, Ida nicknames [[spoiler:Mikołaj's]] ghost "One-eyed Cannibal" before she learns his name precisely because of this trope.
* Used straight in Dian Curtis Regan's series ''Ghost Twins''. The pair of pre-teens (and their dog) who drowned in a lake haunt that same lake, not wet, but wearing those same clothes (and the girl ''hates'' the jumper she was, is, and will forever until the end of Time be wearing).
* Ghosts in the ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' novel ''Discworld/WyrdSisters'' wear the clothes they died in (until they lose cohesion to the point where this can't be made out any more), and King Champot, who claims to have been beheaded by his nephew after building Lancre Castle, has his head under his arm. Subverted in the ''Discworld Companion'' which claims no-one knows ''why'' Champot has his head under his arm, since he actually died of gout.
** There's also a nicely subtle LampshadeHanging (if that's not a contradiction) in the TV version, when King Verence recognises the Crown of Lancre and takes off the ghost crown he's wearing to compare them.
* Averted in ''Literature/{{Tamsin}}'' by Creator/PeterSBeagle, in which the ghost Tamsin can appear in different clothes and hair styles that she had worn in her life, provided she can remember them enough.
* In E. W. Hildick's juvenile mystery series ''The Ghost Squad'', ghosts always appear in the clothes they died in, but explicitly not the ''condition'' they died in. This is mostly used for opening sequences about how inappropriate the ghost's attire is for their surroundings, before [[TheReveal revealing the reason]].
* In ''Literature/{{Everlost}}'' by Neal Shusterman, Afterlights, the spirits of children who died but who became trapped between the world of the living and "where they were going" enter the realm of Everlost appearing as they did when they died. Thus, Nick, one of the main characters, is dressed in a suit and his face is smeared with chocolate. One boy is stuck in a speedo and is constantly wet. However, one can accidentally change his or her appearance if he or she forgets what he or she looks like or what people look like.
* This is played straight in the ''Literature/OddThomas'' series for most ghosts. Music/ElvisPresley is the exception to the rule, capable of appearing in whatever he feels like wearing. The main character speculates that because Elvis ignored the rules when he was alive, he continues to do so in death. (The ghost of Music/FrankSinatra is later shown to have the same ability.)
* In ''Literature/TheBlueGirl'', Adrian learns from the ghost of a rebellious teenager that he can return to the mortal coil one night per year. Said ghost died in a car crash with a pack of cigarettes on him, which retains the same number of cigs, no matter how many he smokes, and he also keeps his Creator/JamesDean style clothing.
* In ''The Night Tourist'' by Katherine Marsh, pretty much every ghost is like this, and one of the main characters, Euri, is teased about dying in her school uniform.
* Ghosts in ''Literature/SeptimusHeap'' always look like they did when they were killed. For example, Queen Cerys and Alther Mella have visible wounds from the shots that killed them.
* The titular spirit of ''Literature/GalaxyOfFear: Ghost of the Jedi'' still bears the tattered robes and gaping wounds given to him by Darth Vader. Since he was killed and Vader burned the library he was guarding, he feels like too much of a failure to move on, and the wounds are part of his penance. When Tash helps him and he helps her back, his wounds close and he reunites with the Force.
* The three ghosts in Chris Bohjalian's ''The Night Strangers,'' who died when their plane crashed during a water landing. All three are dripping wet and have parts of the plane still protruding through their bodies.
* Averted with Sadie's ghost in ''Twenties Girl'' by Sophie Kinsella. Sadie is wearing a different twenties-style dress and different accessories every time she materializes. Some of them are dresses she wore during her lifetime, others are friends' dresses that she used to envy. Also, she was 105 when she died, but her ghost appears as a 23-year-old.
* In the ''GhostsOfFearStreet'' book ''Why I'm Not Afraid of Ghosts,'' the [=POV=] switches between a boy living in a haunted house and the two ghost children who are haunting it. The ghost boy, Robbie, is wearing a sailor suit, which he hates, but unfortunately is stuck with it because of this trope.
* In ''Literature/ShamanBlues'', this is usually not the case, which is why when "gutsies" - ghosts whose bodies are ripped open and whose bones and innards stick out - appear, everyone in death magic business gets worried.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* [[TheParody Parodied]]/{{Lampshaded}} in the short-lived series, ''The 100 Lives of Black Jack Savage'', about a ghost pirate who gets a human to impersonate him for purposes of redemption. At one point, the hero is in danger (and dressed in a ridiculous pirate getup), and the ghost tells him that whatever he's wearing when he dies, that's what he'll be wearing for eternity.
* Used in ''Series/DeadLikeMe'', often for comedic effect. If the reaper doesn't remove the soon-to-be-killed person's soul before they die, the ghost ends up looking like their corpse. Considering the main cast dealt exclusively in [[JustForFun/HowToKillACharacter accidental deaths]], the results could be pretty extreme.
* Subverted in ''Series/AmericanHorrorStoryMurderHouse'', while some ghosts are stuck in their ghostly attire, such as the nurses or the twins, other ghosts are able to change clothes, such as [[spoiler: Tate, Violet and the rest of the Harmon family]]. This may also be affected by whether or not they remember dying. Also, some of the ghosts carry their wounds with them, such as Nora, who maintains a gaping wound on the back of her head, and Moira who has a ghostly eye where she was shot, but again, this does not apply to all the ghosts in the house.
* The series ''Series/DeadLast'' had the main characters able to see ghosts, and unwillingly help them leave the earthly plane. One ghost had killed himself while naked, and had to walk around like that.
* Ezekiel Stone, the protagonist of ''Series/{{Brimstone}}'', always has exactly what he died with on him -- including his handgun, whose bullets instantly replenish themselves as they're fired, and the $36.27 US he had in his pockets, which reappears in his pockets every single time he reaches in for it.
* An infirm Promicin-powered old woman on ''Series/TheFortyFourHundred'' had the power to astrally project. Because the astral projection was powered by her thoughts and imagination, it was her when she was at the full flower of her youth, clad in a hot dress. When she was killed with an overdose, the astral projection simply changed into a ghost that resembled her at the full flower of her youth still wearing a hot dress, rather than becoming an infirm old woman.
* The first episode of ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' had Buffy identify a vampire by his outdated clothing, suggesting that this applies in some ways to vampires. Vampires aren't required to dress like they did when they were alive, as evidenced by Angel's leather jacket, but it might be hard for them to adjust to changes in fashion. Or maybe they just don't bother to find new clothes. This seems largely [[EarlyInstallmentWeirdness forgotten about]] after the first episode.
** Also, in another episode "I Only Have Eyes For You", James and Grace wear 1950s attire when they met their demises. James had a rotting face instead of a bullet wound he shot himself with to scare Buffy.
** Appropriately enough, in the ChristmasEpisode "Amends", Angel is haunted by the First Evil, who appears to him as Jenny Calendar, wearing the same dress she had on when Angel killed her. (Presumably also the case with other victims the First manifests itself as.)
** In "Where The Wild Things Are", the apparitions, who are other than ghosts, of the orphans wear late 1940s-early 1960s uniforms manifest in their forms staring eerily like [[CreepyChild creepy children]] during Willow, Tara and Giles' exorcism.
* ''Series/{{Angel}}'':
** Wesley decapitates Lilah after her death to ensure she won't become a vampire. When Lilah turns up later, she's wearing a scarf to cover the wound (or possibly, as implied, because her head isn't on securely.)
** In the comic, Wesley is permanently-bound to one of his old ''Buffy''-era suits. Wesley surmises the Senior Partners are just finding new ways to torment him some more, since the suit and glasses are a reminder of his past self that he left behind.
** Maude Pearson wears the same clothes she died in a heart attack in, but somehow she was all aged.
* ''Series/AreYouAfraidOfTheDark'': subverted in ''The Tale of the Prom Queen'': Judy was buried in a prom dress, but appears in a casual outfit (to look like an ordinary person) until TheReveal at the end of the episode.
* Somewhat justified in ''Series/SixFeetUnder'', where the "ghosts" are implied to be manifestations of the living characters' states of mind rather than actual spirits. Since they're mostly clients of the funeral home, it makes sense that the characters would visualise them dressed in whatever they died in.
* Subverted/averted in ''Series/{{Hex}}'': Thelma, the ghost girl, is only seen in the clothes she died in for the first few episodes. Then she discovers that she can only wear clothes of other dead people. So she visits the morgue like ordinary girls visit the mall.
** Though that doesn't explain how she can get bags of crisps from the vending machine. And eat them. In crowded rooms. While having a two-way conversation with her still-living best friend without said friend being carted off to a nice padded room.
* ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'': Although it turns out they've only been rendered {{intangib|ility}}le, "The Next Phase" has Geordi and Ro confronting the possibility that an accident killed them, and the reason they're invisible to the crew is that they're ghosts. The skeptical Geordi runs headlong into this very trope...
-->'''Geordi:''' But my uniform, my visor... are you saying I'm some blind ghost with clothes?
-->'''Ro:''' I don't have all the answers! I've never been dead before!
** In "Tapestry", when Picard dies from his injuries in the opening scene, he's still wearing his uniform with his injuries showing when he is greeted by Q in what he claims is the afterlife.
* Ghosts in ''Series/BeingHumanUK'' wear whatever clothes they died in, but they can mentally make minor alterations to the clothes depending on their mood.
* Ghosts in ''Series/BeingHumanUS'' wear the clothes they died in and ''don't'' seem to have any ability to change it. One ghost comes back to life through sorcery; when she's about to die, she takes particular care in what she's wearing, since she'll be stuck in it.
* ''Series/GhostWhisperer'': Melinda's Ghosts appear as they did at their death. As they slowly realize they are dead and come to terms with what happened to them, they lose the disfigurements and traumas to their physical bodies as their souls heal. However, they always stay in the same outfit they wore at the time of their death.
** This is a important plot point at several times since some ghosts forget who they had been, forcing Melinda to research their identity based on what they have and how they look, such as with the Clown she finds in a basement [[spoiler: who can't remember why he looks like one because he actually was a private detective]].
* Back in the day, Creator/StephenColbert and Creator/AmySedaris appeared in a sketch together where she brought him back from the dead using a store-bought magic kit [[MundaneUtility (just to find out if he could remember the title of that one song they sang in chorus in high school)]], and after returning whence he came, he reappeared saying he'd lost his chains somewhere. When, after retracing his steps, he hadn't found them, he stole her keys to achieve the jangling sound.
* In ''Series/TheXFiles'' episode "Elegy", people report [[ISeeDeadPeople seeing injured women]] in strange places where they never were while alive. As it turns out, the women were actually dead already. They appeared exactly as they died, and most prominent were their gruesome injuries.
* The [[Characters/SupernaturalGhosts ghosts]] in ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'' are usually dressed in the same clothes they died in and many sport ghastly lethal wounds.
* ''Series/SlingsAndArrows'' has a bit of a variation: the ghost of Oliver almost always appears wearing the same suit he was cremated in. In the second half of Season 2, we find out that he can change his outfit at will. [[spoiler: In the Season 2 finale, he uses this ability to play the role of [[Theatre/MacBeth Banquo's ghost]] on stage.]]
* ''Series/DeadtimeStories'' has the ghost girl in "A Grave Secret" wearing the same dress she wore when she was little and had gotten hit by a car.
* In ''[[Series/BlackAdder The Black Adder]]'', UsefulNotes/RichardIII, after being decapitated by Edmund, reappears to him as a ghost with a bloodstained head that floats off his own body at times.

[[folder:Myths & Religion]]
* Look up any martyred saint of the Roman Catholic tradition, you'll find them either outfitted with the instrument of their execution (St. Andrew with his X-shaped cross, St. Catherine leaning on her wheel) or perhaps holding their own body parts: St. Lucy will be holding an extra set of eyes on a plate (as will St. Agatha with a set of breasts -- look it up if you don't believe me), St. Bartholomew is sometimes shown holding his own skin, and St. Denis is always carrying around his own head. Guess Heaven doesn't come with health insurance...
** This is because each saint is depicted with a symbol that would identify them to the illiterate during that period of history where literacy was the exception. Not all symbols relate to their martyrdom (though many do) -- the gospel authors are depicted with one of the four familiar beasts, St Peter with the keys to heaven, St Jaques de Compostelle bears a scallop, etc.
** An interesting aversion of this also occurs in Revelation 6:11; the martyrs, those slain for God's sake, are specifically given new outfits (pure white robes).
* In Chinese culture, paper offerings are burnt so that dead family members might have them in the afterlife. Usually they're hell notes, paper tender recognized in the afterlife, but they can also be paper gifts, like paper stereos, food, clothes, and even paper servants. The paper offerings get updated with time -- at one point, people burnt regular old (paper) house phones. Later on they started burning those huge "brick" cellphones in paper form. They actually burn paper [=PSPs=], [=NDSes=], and [=PS3s=] along with the paper iPhones now. Not enough? Try an entire miniature paper mansion with tiny servants inside with a paper car in the garage.
* In a somewhat lesser-known piece of Hawaiian mythology made into a hula mu'u mu'u (Dance of the Wounded Spirit), there is a disembodied spirit named Manamanaiakaluea, who is missing both sets of limbs. While she is searching for shellfish and seaweed inside a tide pool to eat, [[PlayingWithFire Pele]] gets into [[{{Tsundere}} one of her moods]]. Pele's younger sister Hi'iaka sees Mana and decides she must help her. She holds out a lei filled with spiritual energy to Mana, who eagerly reaches for it. [[spoiler: After much struggle, she gets her arms and legs back, and [[BackFromTheDead gets back into her body.]] She is able to escape the lava.]]
* There is a legend that the tyrant Periander, after killing his wife in a fit of anger, buried her with her best clothes. Some time later, her spirit complained to him that she was cold because the clothing wasn't burned like herself. Periander took the clothes of every woman in the city and burned them as an offering to her.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* A common trope in ''TabletopGame/WraithTheOblivion'' from Creator/WhiteWolf, both in respect to clothes and cause-of-death - the explanation is that the wraith's psyche surrounds itself in a shell of corpus to anchor itself to the Shadowlands (if all corpus is destroyed, the psyche falls into the Tempest and is a ready target by the Shadow) and can look like anything, but often a familiar form. Interestingly, self-image can play a part; one woman who suffered frailty during a time of disease always felt as though her hands and arms were withered bones, so that's how she turned out on the other side. The appearance can change over time and often become more twisted as they amass Angst and lose Passions. Also subverted, as one of the specialties of the Masquers Guild is to alter the Corpus of customers via their knowledge of Moliate. They can provide a change of clothes, supermodel good looks, or skin as tough as armor, all if the price is fair.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Pathfinder}}'' has a variant: ghosts often show the wounds that killed them and gain abilities based on the manner of their death, and appear wearing incorporeal copies of items they particularly valued in life. They don't strictly need to have had them on the body when they died, but if anyone else takes the item the ghostly version disappears - which is fully functional, even if it's a powerful magical item. This also explains why ghosts get so mad at graverobbers; they're not just desecrating bodies, they're taking the ghost's stuff.

* In ''Theatre/AnneOfTheThousandDays'', Henry, during his concluding monologue, has a vision of Anne with her hair up, her fur collar turned down, and a ring of blood around her neck.
* In ''Theatre/Heathers'', all the "ghosts" appear wearing whatever they happened to be wearing at the time of death. In the case of Heather Chandler, this is her pajamas. Unfortunately for Kurt and Ram, it's their underpants.
* In ''Theatre/JacobMarleysChristmasCarol'', this is played straight in-story, but averted onstage due to the minimal setting, as Marley wears a few chains or none at all, pantomiming the suggestion of chains.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In ''VideoGame/{{Okami}}'', there's a ghost who died from being struck by lightning. He has a lightning bolt stuck in his head and gives off sparks.
* In the Maxis game, ''VideoGame/TheSims 2'', characters who died could come back as vengeful spirits if you disturbed their graves, and their appearance and powers changed depending on how they died. For example, dying by fire would bring people back as red ghosts, who could set fire to objects. Death by drowning would bring people back as blue ghosts, who would leave far less dangerous, but still slightly annoying puddles around the house for others to find. Death by starvation created mooching ghosts who perpetually stole from the fridge.
* Spirits in ''VideoGame/GhostTrick'' take the same appearance as their corpse (minus wounds), or at least they do once they remember what they look like. Before that they're little blue flames. [[spoiler:Notable in that this is a plot point - ghosts cannot remember anything about themselves until they correctly guess what corpse is theirs.]]
* During ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid3SnakeEater'''s "battle" against The Sorrow, Snake is forced to travel upstream through a river, meeting the ghosts of all the people he's killed over the course of the game. And, if you were a bit more creative than "shoot him in the head until he dies", many of them will bear signs of the way in which they died.
** If you ate a buzzard that fed on someone, they'll be attacked by the soul of the buzzard and wail that you fed on ''them''.
** Ghosts [[KillItWithFire killed by way of fire]] are still burning when you see them in the river, ones killed by way of SlashedThroat are still bleeding from the wound, etc.
* Ghosts in the ''VideoGame/FatalFrame'' series tend to display the manner by which they died, such as Broken Neck floating backwards, her head flopping upside-down; Blinded Demon with her gouged-out eyes; or the Rope Maiden's rope burns on her limbs and neck.
* ''VideoGame/TheBlackwellSeries'' takes this a step further. If a ghost was closely connected to an object when she/he lived, they will get a ghostly copy of that object. A death jazz player is therefore still able to play his saxophone (as well as hitting other ghosts with it) and the ghost of a depressed drunk still tries to drink from his whiskey bottle although it is empty.
* The Victims in ''VideoGame/SilentHill4: The Room'' are this, as well as displaying the manner in which they died; eg Jasper Gein is on fire, Andrew de Salvo is blue and bloated from drowning, and Richard Braintree twitches and gives off electric discharges. One exception is Cynthia, who becomes a StringyHairedGhostGirl for some reason.
* Played straight in YuriGenre VisualNovel ''VisualNovel/AkaiIto'' with the [[OurVampiresAreDifferent Nozomi]]. [[spoiler:{{Inverted}} with Yumei; it's not known whether she had that blue kimono when she became Ohashira, but when she comes BackFromTheDead --corporeal and all-- she remains wearing it.]]
* ''VideoGame/LegacyOfKain'': It seems to be the standard, with most of the exceptions falling under GameplayAndStorySegregation. ''Defiance'' takes this farther with Raziel and the revenants. Although far from standard, they both enter the material realm by possessing corpses and altering them to be (more or less) like them. Raziel still carries what little is left of his clothing, while the revenants materialize large swords.
* Deadly ghosts wear nooses around their necks in the bedroom in ''VideoGame/BrainDead13''.
* ''VideoGame/HauntingStarringPolterguy'': Poltergeist Polterguy is wearing his cool leather outfit from the moment he died. His skateboard is still gone for good.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* In ''Webcomic/SlightlyDamned'', damned souls look like they did when they died. It's stated by [[TheGrimReaper Death]] that thoses sent to hell to be tortured by demons [[AndIMustScream still suffer from their wounds (in addition to starvation and dehydration)]] while thoses sent to [[AHellOfATime the Ring of the Slightly Damned]] retain their injuries but [[MajorInjuryUnderreaction aren't pained by them]].
* ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'' plays with this [[http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0494.html here (Beware: major spoilers)]]: [[spoiler:Roy in the afterlife]] has trouble recognizing his own mother because she looks far younger than he ever saw her, yet his father still looks old. It's explained that the dead take on forms reflecting their inner state. Mom always thought of herself as she was before she was married, so in the afterlife she appears 19. Dad "always was a wrinkled old man in his heart." The spoilered character himself looks the same as at death because he only recently died, and his mind is still on the world of the living.
* ''Webcomic/GunnerkriggCourt'' tends towards this trope. Martin looks a little like a male [[StringyHairedGhostGirl onryo]] in casual wear (it's plausible this is how he looked while alive), but Annie's presence [[GlamourFailure reveals him]] to be [[spoiler:a burn victim]]. Mort is a ShapeShifting MasterOfIllusion whose standard appearance is a "[[BedsheetGhost bedsheet phantasm]]"; he chose the look shortly after his death [[spoiler:upon his recruitment into the Realm of the Dead]], and [[spoiler:when he finally [[GoIntoTheLight goes into the ether]], reverts briefly to the appearance and uniform he had when he died]]. The Ghost with the Sword has the same robe and sword she wore when [[spoiler:Jeanne was sacrificed]], though her face has been weathered away by age.
* {...} of ''Webcomic/HannaIsNotABoysName'' is an [[OurZombiesAreDifferent undead]] man who always wears the clothes he was buried in.
* ''Webcomic/{{Paranatural}}'' has P.J., the timid ghost boy that inhabits Max's house.
-->'''Max:''' Oh, P.J. I get it.\\
'''P.J.:''' That was my name ''before'' I died in pajamas...
* Ghosts in ''Webcomic/ChampionsOfFaraus'', have this, although it isn't clear if it doesn't apply to all the clothes a ghost had on when they died, or if it's a choice on the ghosts part.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Characters on ''WebVideo/DragonballZAbridged'' tend to have a LimitedWardrobe anyway, so appearing in the afterlife in the clothes they were wearing when they died isn't that much of a surprise. But when Vegeta's ghost appears to give Goku a pep talk, Goku interrupts him to ask why he's naked. Vegeta snaps that "You can't take it with you." Goku corrects him. When he died, he not only kept the clothes he was in, he arrived on King Kai's planet wearing the weighted training clothes he'd specifically removed before his death. Once Vegeta finishes his speech, he goes off to get his clothes back. Needless to say, the universe runs on RuleOfFunny and is drawing from a creator who was never overly concerned with continuity anyway.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* [[TheParody Parodied]] in ''WesternAnimation/TheVentureBrothers''. Dr Orpheus travels to the seventh layer of Hell itself [[spoiler: looking for the souls of his neighbor's deceased children]]. On his quest, he meets two damned souls frozen in ice, one of them dressed up like a Roman warrior, who tells him that he once served the mighty Caesar. The other then cuts him off, calling him a liar. Turns out they both died at a costume party.
* Averted in ''WesternAnimation/TheTransformers'', where the ghost of Starscream lacks the crown and cloak that he was killed in. However, his corpse was also blasted into oblivion with the exception of his feet and shins, so he seems to get the better half of things.
* ''WesternAnimation/DannyPhantom'''s ghost form always wears that jumpsuit he wore when he entered the Ghost Portal. It gets damaged or dirty sometimes in battle, but always ends up reverting back to form after a little while. He does generally have a LimitedWardrobe, even in human form, but it was also explicitly stated that he couldn't change the outfit he wore in ghost form. Arguable that he can if he practiced enough. Danny's ghost outfit is an invert of a white jumpsuit he wore as a human; it switched color when he transformed. [[BigBad Vlad]] got his ghost powers while he worn civilian clothes, yet he gains a white jumpsuit for his current ghostly appearance. THAT had to come from somewhere and considering ghosts are easily able to materialize a good number of things, clothes can arguably be it as well.
* Hilariously lampshaded as the source of [[Franchise/ANightmareOnElmStreet Freddy Krueger's]] strange sweater-fedora-claws combo in a ''WesternAnimation/RobotChicken'' skit.
* In ''WesternAnimation/GravityFalls'', the ghost of the dead lumberjack haunting the Northwest Mansion still has the axe that killed him lodged in his head. At the end [[spoiler:when he fades away, the axe remains and falls to the ground, showing that it was a real axe and not part of the ghostly apparition.]]
* Most of the ghosts in the ''WesternAnimation/TheRealGhostBusters'' that are the souls of dead people (and no, not all of them are, at least in the show) retain most of their clothing, including the zombie farmers in Ray's Farm (keep their farm attire), the ghosts of old Scotish soldiers in Ray's castle (including traditional Scotish cloth), the skeleton pirates (with pirate attire of course) and the ghost uncle in "Cry Uncle".
* ''WesternAnimation/MikeTysonMysteries'': Marquess of Queensberry wears the same clothing when he was alive and when he died.