The character always wears the same outfit, regardless of the setting or season. Winter (or at least a Christmas Episode) may sometimes see the addition of a heavy coat, but circumstances will conspire to put the character in a situation where they must shed the coat, at which point it is never seen again. A more likely choice is a hat, scarf, and perhaps mittens, which imply colder weather without obscuring the character's trademark wardrobe. Sometimes, they'll even be shown to have a coat with the exact same color and patterns as whatever is being covered by it.
Even characters whose very nature should prevent them from having such a Limited Wardrobe (read: fashion nuts) may still have one. A common Lampshade Hanging is revealing the character's wardrobe to consist entirely of multiple copies of the same outfit (see page image), doubly so if another character points to an arbitrary item and explains, "That's their favorite".
Sometimes there is good reason for this, such as the following cases which are generally considered exempt from this trope:
Stories set in a limited time-frame, i.e. close to Real Time, and there is no reason for a character to change clothes and sometimes doing so is just wasted time.
Supernatural characters, like ghosts or possessed humans who can't or just don't feel the need to change clothes.
One benefit to this trope is that characters are recognized by their clothing. Their clothing becomes just as much identified with them as their hairstyle and personality. Always wearing a plain T-shirt, shorts and sneakers can indicate a relaxed personality; an expensive business suit is the hallmark of any Corrupt Corporate Executive. A more logistical reason is that whether something is filmed or animated it is rarely done in a sequential order. Even though character models are rather simple to produce and alter and in live action rather easy to change clothing, making such changes on a regular basis requires a great deal more effort to maintain continuity from scene to scene. This is kind of the same reason main characters have a Dirt Forcefield and have little Clothing Damage unless dramatically necessary.
This trope is especially prevalent in shows with heavy merchandising tie-ins, where it is considered important to maximize the resemblance between the characters and their action figure counterparts. A rotating and varied wardrobe would counter that. In animated works, this can be the mark of cheap animation, and is deliberately done so as to allow the studio to recycle as much Stock Footage as it possibly can (See Filmation). It happens with broadcast TV anime, due to having smaller budgets than movie/OVA works. This also cuts time, since many series are produced on a deadline, too.
This is also not seen as odd if the person is attending a school with a dress code. In many Asian and South American countries, conformity is enforced and all the schools have uniforms. And in most Catholic schools, they're all required to wear uniforms anyway. For characters who always wear their school uniforms no matter what the occasion (in or out of school), see School Uniforms are the New Black.
This trope is extremely common in video games, RPG's especially, to the point of having its own sub-trope, Informed Equipment. Often, characters will wear only one primary outfit throughout the entire course of the game, sometimes with one or two secondary outfits that serve the purpose of giving the player some sort of special ability when they're worn. Some games instead offer one or more Palette Swaps of the primary outfit, although this was more in older games with limited graphics and is very rare in "modern" games; either way they rarely serve any purpose beyond aesthetic appeal.
A variation in Live Action is to have variations on the same outfit scheme, such as Hawaiian shirts, polo shirts, the color mauve, etc.
Compare Same Clothes, Different Year. See Clingy Costume if the character actually cannot change their clothes. Also see Iconic Outfit. Compare Plot Pants, Hairstyle Inertia.
Contrast Unlimited Wardrobe. Compare 24-Hour Armor and Clothes Make the Legend, where the marketability and recognition factor of an iconic outfit outweighs any desire to vary it on the part of a show's production staff. Also compare Only Six Faces, which involves character designs instead of clothing.
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Billy Mays, who seemed to don his blue shirt/tan pants ensemble for everything he was in. When he died in June 2009, He was buried in this outfit and all of his pallbearers wore it as well.
Anime & Manga
All the main characters of Cowboy Bebop have signature outfits that they always wear. Perhaps explained by their being dirt poor.
In Durarara!! Shizuo Heiwajima is always seen in his bartender uniforms even though he no longer works as a bartender
Justified: His brother Kasuka gave him boxes and boxes and boxes of uniforms when he did work as a bartender. And Shizuo pretty much adores his kid brother.
Unless he has to disguise himself, Lupin III always wears that suit of his, though the color of the jacket changes from work to work. It's common for fans to refer to certain arcs and remakes of the show simply by the color of the jacket Lupin wore in them (green, red, or — rarely — pink). Likewise, his allies (Jigen and Goemon) and Inspector Zenigata never change outfits. The one exception is Fujiko, whose entire style (including her hair color) is subject to change.
It is in fact the case that Lupin has several copies of each suit. Also, there are two different colour schemes for the suit, sans the jacket. Yellow tie with black shirt and black or navy blue pants, or pink tie with blue shirt and white pants. In some of the films he wears a blue jacket. As for Fujiko, she not only dyes or undyes her hair, but also evidently makes use of breast implants on occasion and has them removed later.
While Lina Inverse of Slayers has a multitude of sorceress outfits (and variations of her most well-known one in the novels), her True Companions, and the rest of the characters for that matter, have either one or two outfits in their entire repertoire. The princess Amelia even wears the same frilly pink dress and accessories every single time she's performing a diplomatic duty.
While Misato and Asuka in Neon Genesis Evangelion have pretty varied wardrobes, most of the other characters seem to have about two changes of clothes in their respective wardrobes. Granted, most of the following examples are justified (given that most of the character's clothes are uniforms, and many are only ever seen at NERV, but still.
Rei has her plugsuit and her school uniform, and is rarely ever seen wearing anything other than these two costumes. Any moment when she's not seen wearing one or the other is when she's switching between them. Her lack of wardrobe might be tied to her lot as the Emotionless Girl, with clothing serving nothing more than a plain function.
Shinji seems to be in a similar boat, having only his plugsuit and uniform, plus a few shirts and such.
Ritsuko is usually seen with a few combinations of the same articles of clothing, plus or minus her labcoat (of which she has several). She does have a few formal dresses for weddings, though.
Gendo and Fuyutsuki are pretty much always seen in their uniforms. Same goes for the command crew at NERV HQ, although at least they have a few different items of clothing.
Noir is sort of halfway there — when not wearing other clothes for the purpose of their work, Kirika and Mirielle wear the same outfits day in and day out. While Mirielle does look good in a black miniskirt and boots, there are limits...
Especially noticeable when they're doing a hit in a Muslim country, where wearing a face-concealing veil (or at least not wearing an attention-grabbing Western miniskirt) would make sense.
They do sometimes wear more practical outfits for an assassination-job, along with occasional disguises, but this is done very inconsistently. Sometimes Mireille does her work in top, miniskirt and high heels, even though she would have had plenty of time for switching to a better outfit.
Chloe from the same series takes the opposite tack. While she occasionally is seen in tunics at the Soldats' headquarters her entire closet at her Paris apartment is filled with identical green cloaks. Another episode has her closet filled with colourful, frilly dresses - that she never, ever wears. Supposedly it's a reference to her seiyuu's previous role as Tomoyo of Cardcaptor Sakura.
Zero no Tsukaima: Saito wears his jersey almost all the 3 seasons, partially justified that he was summoned out of the blue and didn't really have time to prepare. In the novels however, it is constantly damaged and someone (usually Louise) tries to mend it.
Similarly, Maia in Daphne in the Brilliant Blue wears the same fancy party dress every day, when she's not in agency "uniform" or a disguise — and sometimes as part of a disguise.
Ishida Uryuu in Bleach: after his mantle is destroyed, he pulls out an identical spare. Other than this, however, the anime is known for providing its characters with a very wide variety of unique casual wear when not in their school uniforms.
Dragon Ball: Each character has a preferred fighting outfit (mostly orange karate uniforms for the humans and Saiyan battle armor for the Saiyans). Piccolo not only always wears the same outfit, but one of his powers is the ability to spontaneously conjure a new one whenever needed.
Note that it's the same kind of outfit, but not the same outfit throughout. DBZ characters change clothes very frequently, often because of Clothing Damage.
Dragon Ball Z hung a lampshade on this in one episode, where Goku opens up a closet on his spaceship to find... nothing but the orange gi that he wears every day.
Averted in the case of Bulma, who usually not only had a different outfit whenever possible, but usually changed her hair just as often.
Also averted for various characters (including Vegeta and his infamous pink shirt) when they're not fighting, anticipating a fight, or training to fight somebody. Being DBZ, this isn't all that often though.
InuYasha's Kagome is almost constantly in her school uniform, and in one of the movie serials is actually presented with the outfit by her mother so she can change into it before going to the past. This made sense initially as she fell into the well on the way to school and was stuck in the feudal era without a change of clothes (and was initially averted as on the second trip there she had different clothes). Afterward this was entirely for the sake of recognition as while she wears casual clothes when she is in the present outside of school, she wears the uniform exclusively when in the past despite the impracticality of hiking for miles in a skirt and school shoes.
Word of God states that Kagome prefers to wear her school uniform when she travels to the past because it's durable and it's easy to wash the blood out of it. Think about that. (One assumes she bleaches that white blouse a lot.)
Played with in Kujibiki Unbalance: Komaki wears her trademark scarf everywhere — even in the sauna, when wearing a skimpy bathing suit. Likewise Izumi with her hat and goggles. The cast attend an Elaborate University High with the usual Japanese school uniforms, but do have street clothes and other clothing that they wear out of school... but Komaki always has her scarf, and Izumi her goggles.
Lampshaded in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. When Rude, a powerful bruiser sort wearing a suit-and-tie uniform and known for always wearing sunglasses, has his sunglasses broken, he looks outraged, produces another identical pair from his pocket, straightens his tie, and seems to be reinvigorated, despite just having had a billboard dropped on his head.
Each Kanon girl has her own signature outfit, even those who don't go to school. In the Toei version, they seemed to only wear these outfits, except when the plot called for something else. Ayu has an excuse; the others do not. However, see below.
Yuuichi and Kitagawa lampshade the trope by pointing out that while their clothes always look exactly the same, they're not! Really! They don't believe each other.
On Golion/Voltron, each main character has a single set of civilian clothes that they wear at all times when not in uniform. They are wearing these clothes when they arrive on Planet Altea/Arus, and they apparently never see the need to expand their wardrobe for the rest of the series. The only exception is the Princess, who has two or three outfits: the pink dress she wears before she joins the team, and the pink jumpsuit afterwards. Plus her uniform is pink. Princesses Prefer Pink, after all.
Every Digimon character has a trademark outfit. In Digimon Adventure and Digimon Frontier, this made sense, because they were Trapped in Another World (although they didn't bother to change after they came back). Digimon Adventure 02 immediately zapped them back to the outfits they wore in the first episode every time they entered the Digital World, and Digimon Savers was a Cop Show, so they were technically in uniform. Digimon Tamers is the least likely to happen in real life; except for Ruki, the kids attend a no-uniform school, yet they wear the same thing every day. Ruki is the only exception; besides her "broken heart" outfit, she also has a school uniform, and once she repairs her relationship with her mother, the broken heart is replaced by a new and otherwise identical "healed heart" shirt.
Digimon Adventure and Digimon Frontier can be excused. The creators said in the Digital World, your appearance is based on your picture of yourself. That's why the Digidestined's clothes automatically changed when they entered the Digital World and why the Chosen Children's clothes revert back to normal after demorphing.
Digimon Adventure is less excused in the fact that they're on earth for roughly three days without ever changing their outfits. Mimi is in her pajamas at one point but that's about it.
Digimon Adventure 02 is on middle ground: they each have a new outfit to reflect the change in seasons while in the real world.
Shingetsutan Tsukihime provides a particularly painful example, due to Arcueid's outfit being simultaneously extremely plain and extremely characteristic. She never changes it; even being literally chopped to pieces doesn't stop her from wearing the same clothes later.
To be fair, it's much the same case in the games, and the clothes themselves are magically formed. Not to mention she has at least one other outfit (the "vampire princess" dress).
Misaki in Welcome to the NHK almost always wears the same sweater and miniskirt, even under freezing conditions.
The creators of Samurai 7 even remarked on none of the samurai ever changed outfits, justifying it by saying that they had to carry everything they owned with them. Though Katsushiro seemed to have a change between his red-riding-hood-esque purple rain coat and something a little more mature for the last episodes.
That doesn't explain Ukyo's outfit, though. As the son of a wealthy magistrate and later as the Emperor, he should have more than that one outfit. And no, throwing on a coat doesn't count.
The undines and their apprentices from ARIA are almost always in their uniforms, also when they are not working or training. This is especially strange since the uniforms don't seem particularly comfortable and make them stick out like a sore thumb. Then again, the gondolier business seems to be by far the most important thing in their lives.
Part 3 of Jojos Bizarre Adventure plays with this when Jotaro's school uniform is burned during the Wheel of Fortune fight. The next chapter has Joseph note that Jotaro had a tailor in Pakistan make an exact replica out of sheep wool.
Lampshaded when Kakyoin was being impersonated by Yellow Temperance. As Anne is hurriedly calling Badass Grandpa Joseph about Kakyoin apparently fighting with Jojo, Kakyoin then bursts into the room.
Kakyoin: "Jojo left me behind so I was sunbathing by the pool.
All the characters in Jojo's Bizarre Adventure: Stone Ocean — granted, they are prisoners (and one priest).
Most of the characters in Naruto: Naruto's orange tracksuit, Sasuke's blue shirt and white shorts, Sakura's red dress...
Sasuke wears a different, black outfit for a short period of time, before quickly reverting back to the old outfit.
Word of God said the change was due to the outfit being hard to draw. He has a few different versions of his Shippuden outfit.
The Sand Siblings get new outfits in the Sasuke Retrieval Arc and filler, partly to symbolize their alliance with the Konoha, and partly because the old ones were hard to draw.
And despite appearing less than any of the other teams they have all have new outfits by their second appearance post-Time Skip. And as a side note Kankuro's Facial Markings change pretty much every time he reappears.
Likewise, Sasuke's outfit undergoes various changes in wardrobe after fighting Deidara and later Itachi, which seem to result from both a change of attitude and Clothing Damage.
Many of the Leaf Ninja who lost in the preliminaries of the Chunin Exams — Ino, Tenten, Kiba, Hinata, Lee and Choji — wear casual clothing while coming to watch. In Shippuden, Sakura and Hinata do the same when they're not on missions.
Most Chuunin and Jounin wear nearly the exact same outfit as each other. Justified however given that it's a uniform that they personalize (i.e. Kakashi's mask and Asuma's sash).
In the manga, pre-timeskip, Hinata and Ino have a different outfit every time they appear, even in flashbacks.
Played straight with the first arc of Initial D, averted from Initial D Second Stage onwards.
Arguably, this was more of a budgetary concern than a stylistic one (at least as far as the anime was concerned). While the First Stage's characters wore uniforms of sorts, they did reflect the kind of clothing that was popular with Japanese youth in the early to mid 90s. Although Ryouske's Miami Vice-esque white structured sports coat and white loafers always seemed a bit exaggerated. From the Second Stage onwards, all the characters, even secondary characters in rival teams, have a changing wardrobe which also reflects Japanese fashion amongst tuners and auto enthusiasts. The anime production teams apparently put quite a bit of effort into making the people in the galleries as well as the racers look authentic.
While his friends varied things up a little bit, Yugi almost always wore his school uniform.
Yugi had just two things to wear in the show, his school uniform and an outfit that made it look like he was heading for an S&M club. But if you look at this outfit, he still wears the pants from his school uniform.
For the couple of episodes with Yugi playing Dungeon Dice Monsters, he wore a unique outfit that consisted of jeans, a black shirt, and a gray vest-jacket. Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series lampshaded it with Yugi doing an internal monologue wondering if anyone noticed he is wearing something different.
It's an unwritten rule that the lead character of Yu-Gi-Oh! would have the least amount of clothing variety amongst the characters, and the rival usually has the most. To point, Yugi had around three distinctly different outfits, whilst Kaiba had the Domino high school uniform, a white variant with gold trim, the three variants of Trenchcoat, and a white business suit. In Yu-Gi-Oh! GX it's a Justified Trope since it's a boarding school, but Judai only had to change jackets and pants. Jun/Chazz wore blue Obelisk coat, a black coat, the Society of Light coat, and in a daydream a fancy white tuxedo. Even Sho/Syrus had more since he's the only character seen wearing all three uniforms. Likewise its successor Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds with Jack and Yusei. The former, even when he was growing up in the slums, wore a hoodie jacket in his youth, which then turned into a duster coat, which then got traded out into the obligatory trenchcoat. All Yusei ever wore was his blue jacket, black shirt with red design and blue pants(the orange 'bubble' guards were only added when he got his D-wheel). Even his tracksuit was designed after it, and he even wore it to a gala event.
Edo Phoenix of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX is specifically shown to have a vast closet full of identical white suits.
One of the Blue Seed's omake has Matsudaira wondering why Kusanagi always wears the same clothes and if he ever takes them to be cleaned. This is even more amusing when you consider that Kusanagi's trademark red coat tends to get literally torn into small pieces during his transformations, yet in the next episode it is usually seen again, undamaged.
In the earlier part of Detective Conan, Conan nearly exclusively wear a blue suit, a white shirt, and a red bow tie. Later he was seen with a better variety of clothes.
Then again, since Conan was originally Shinichi, it could be that his old school uniform was the only outfit he still owned from back the, and some parts of them are actually devices to help him as a detective.
In portions of the manga that take place during the summer seasons, he primarily wears either a turquoise vest or red suspenders rather than his blue coat, but other than that the outfit is the same.
The anime of Ranma ˝, compared to the manga, has a much smaller wardrobe for the characters, and for more secondary characters like Ryoga and Mousse, changes in costume were usually reserved for special episodes. While special outfits still showed up (for example, a Chinese "Red Guard" uniform that Ranma used for fancy attire, or various forms of dress for disguising his female form), they were often used repeatedly. Ranma Saotome, himself, was almost always seen in a sleeveless Chinese shirt and bracers, undershirt and long Chinese pants in the everyday anime (with pre-curse flashbacks invariably showing him in a gi like his father), whereas manga-Ranma almost never wore the same thing twice. Part of the reason for this might have been budget issues, which actually got the anime canceled briefly (a second company picked it up after the end of season 1, hence why it ends on a Recap Episode).
In both canons, Ukyo wears either her business uniform or her previous boy's uniform (the latter mainly in the manga) almost all the time. The only times she doesn't are when it's related to the plot or otherwise inappropriate — a pretty dress in "The Great Girly-Girl Gambit", a Hadaka Apron on a desert island, female gym uniform on those rare occasions where she's shown taking part in it, a Miko's robes...
Meanwhile, in the manga, Mousse only ever wears his one long robe and pants; Ryoga has two outfits (the yellow, screentoned shirt with long sleeves, and a black and tattered shirt;) Shampoo's Chinese blouses and pants are always the same style, although she does wear different prints; the adult men (Genma, Soun, Happosai) always wear their gis; and Kasumi's apron tends to obscure any variance in wardrobe. Nabiki and Akane, on the other hand, are huge clotheshorses, and Nodoka never wears the same kimono twice. Unfortunately for Ranma, when he settled into his long-sleeved tunic around halfway through the manga, he almost never wore anything else unless it was part of a plot.
By StrikerS, where they didn't use the Transformation Sequences that often, the characters were allowed to have multiple sets of casual clothes (okay, maybe only one or two), but of course they'd almost always be seen in either their Barrier Jackets or their uniforms anyway. Which is completely justified.
The various Zoids anime are particularly grievous examples. In all four seasons, most of the characters have one or two outfits each, their "day" wear and what they wear when driving their Zoid - and even then, the latter seems optional. The only time a character will wear something else is if the plot needs it.
Maru and Moro of xxxHOLiC have two similar dresses each; they also seem to each have a kimono, though we never see those. This is made all the more noticeable by the fact that mistress Yuko has an Unlimited Wardrobe
Justified in that they're just animated dolls.
Just about every character in Soul Eater has a trademark outfit, and with recent chapters, sometimes even two or more.
One episode of Soul Eater Late Show revealed that Excalibur has numerous copies of his trademark outfit, including the cane.
It is interesting to note that just about every single character in FLCL are examples of this trope except for Eri Ninamori.
Almost every human in Transformers has no more than two outfits, but Jean in Victory really takes the cake - he always wears that hoodie, suspenders, red shoes, and jacket, even while attending school, despite the fact that his classmates all wear uniforms.
The entire family March in the Little Women adaption from Nippon Animation.
Touma from A Certain Magical Index Season Two, in episode 14, while packing for his trip to Italy, he stacks 2 of the same t-shirt he's wearing neatly folded on top of one another, so it's confirmed he has at least 3 identical t-shirts, which he was planning on taking with him.
Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple: Played straight with Ryozanpaku masters and most Yami masters. (Which clearly underlines their being badasses.) A notable exception to this was when the Ryozanpaku masters put on some normal civilian clothes when pretending to be Miu's relatives so that they could attend Miu's School Play performance. On the other hand, this trope is averted with most of the teenage characters, if not for any other reason then for the fact that they must have some normal outfit when attending school. Kenichi didn't even have a field battle outfit until the chapter 145.
Ash and Brock from Pokémon have one outfit per arc (except for a short time during Diamond & Pearl where they got winter clothes for a few episodes when traveling to Snowpoint City, though they've already switched back despite being at the equally frigid Lake Acuity). The female companions, however, get slightly larger wardrobes.
The characters from Pokémon Special only wear one outfit each (with slight variations between arcs) until their game counterparts get updated clothing. This sucks for Yellow as she is a Canon Foreigner; when the Kanto gang got new threads in the FRLG chapter, she still had the same outfit. Emerald is a CF too, but he hasn't been around enough for it to be much of an issue. It can be argued that they can't change clothes because they're out Walking the Earth. Which is great and all, until we see Ruby's closet, which is full of the exact same outfit he always wears.
Played straight with Banjō, Toppo and Garrison in Daitarn 3; averted for the two female sidekicks. Also, defied in episode 20: Koros captures both Beauty and Reika, turns them into Meganoids and sics them on Banjō. Banjō kills them both, then explains that he noticed "Beauty" and "Reika" are wearing different clothes than the ones they left home with, and therefore are two female Meganoids disguised as Beauty and Reika, who indeed are still being held captive by Koros.)
The characters of Eureka Seven have one favorite outfit each, and almost never change out of them. Possibly justified with Renton, because joining Gekko State was sort of a spur-of-the-moment decision and he might actually only own that one set of clothes, plus a too-small sweat suit he gets later on. It's particularly glaring with Eureka, because her character design changes a bit throughout the series, but she's almost always seen in her blue mini dress, sometimes plus a hat. Even when it gets ruined or torn up, she produces a new one out of nowhere. Anemone we see in three outfits: her signature ridiculously-shaped red dress, the skin-tight suit she wears to pilot theEND, and a fancier dress she wears to a ball. Talho upgrades to a new wardrobe about half way in, but otherwise plays it straight. The only one who really seems to avoid this is Dominic, who wears different outfits according to what his rank is at the time. It gets particularly weird when characters are shown doing laundry.
Eureka does have a bit of variance. She wears a hat for a while after her scarring, plus white pants and a dark blue blouse when she goes looking for Renton. She also wears a sleeveless variant of her typical outfit on one occasion, as well as sandals instead of her usual boots. Though it could be that the sleeves are just detachable and she rarely makes use of that.
In Code Geass Lelouch is almost always seen wearing his Ashford Academy school uniform even when it makes him stick out like a sore thumb like in a war torn ghetto or the Britannia royal court. This has lead to him being nicknamed the schoolboy by solders that see him enter and exit the area when he is not dressed as Zero.
Subverted though by Suzaku who has several outfits like a military uniform, battle suit, formal wear, street clothing and of course his own school uniform.
Played with in Fairy Tail: Natsu generally wears the same outfit all the time unless his clothes get ruined, probably because he can't be bothered to change clothes; Erza has both this andUnlimited Wardrobe, given her penchant for wearing the same suit of armor all the time until she gets in a fight, at which point she can switch outfits at will; many background characters are always depicted wearing the same outfit; and Visitor Echo is said to have 100 different copies of the same suit. At the same time, several of the main characters (most notably Lucy) wear different outfits every day, sometimes several in one day. A Special chapter has Cana take Wendy clothes-shopping, and one of Lucy's Celestial Spirits provides a new change of clothes whenever hers get too damaged in a fight.
A lot of characters in A Certain Magical Index. This is usually justified. They are wearing a school uniform or a nuns habit. It is only rarely that we see them in casual clothes. Tokiwada in particular insists their students wear the uniform at all times. Then there are people like Kanzaki and Styl who have a ... unique outfit they always seem to wear.
Touma in particular has three or four outfits he wears.
Averted for Uiharu and Saten of Railgun who have many different outfits that they wear over the series.
There is official artwork with them in clothing, but in-series they don't wear clothing.
In Future Boy Conan this is dealt with in a realistic manner: Conan and Jimsy lived in very poor areas cut off from the rest of the world, so it's the only set of clothes they have. Lana was abducted, hence she has only one outfit. Once they get to Lana's hometown however, the kids get their clothes washed and change into different outfits. Conan still prefers his old clothes though.
A weird example in Sengoku Basara. The cast seem to spend all their time wearing their combat outfits; in other words they go around their house in full armour (some of them even keep their helmets on indoors, including Motonari and his 3-foot tall hat). This made sense in the games, where you only saw them in battle, but in the anime it just looks impractical and strange. The only characters who get to change are Masamune, who wears a kimono and no shoes at home as would be expected, Kojuro when gardening, and Keiji who changes outfits once for a formal occasion (but it was an awful outfit that the fans would rather forget).
Midori no Hibi for the most part has Seiji wearing his high school outfit during school and several different kinds of clothes outside school, with other characters having various sets of clothing to wear as well excluding Midori who, for practical purposes, wears a series of handmade dresses out of white fabric. In one instance during the anime during an episode not portrayed in the manga, Midori wakes up to find her and Seiji have switched places, her being the body and him being the hand, and she is seen wearing the same outfit and pajamas several days in a row despite her noticing Seiji's dresser had gained a large size of her wardrobe. This of course could be subverted however, as it turned out to be a dream sequence.
Holo and Lawrence from Spice and Wolf. Holo changes outfits after her original one is destroyed in the first arc; there is in fact an entire episode about them buying new clothes for her. From then on, she always wears the dark pants/violet blouse combo underneath. On top of it, she wears a hoodedcloak while traveling, but ties the cloak around her waist and puts on a hat and a shoulder cape when in towns. Lawrence has only one outfit, though he takes off his jacket indoors.
Semi-Averted in Axis Powers Hetalia. While the central cast tend to have many different outfits that they wear depending on both the situation and historical era, they always retain some distinguishing features/pieces of clothing. However, played straight with the supporting characters who tend to wear the same outfits all the time.
The cast of Puella Magi Madoka Magica has, at very best, three outfits apiece: Their Magical Girl outfit, their school uniform (casual clothes in Kyouko's case), and pajamas or hospital clothing for a lucky few (well, not really lucky for those that ended up in the hospital).
Super Atragon: All the main characters wear the same clothes for everything; Go flies a Diesel Punk seaplane in his Navy utility whites, Captain Hayate wears his dress black uniform even while going into combat. Annette and Avatar both wear their blue & red suit with white cape also while going into combat.
While most of the characters have something of a limited wardrobe, Tiger & Bunny lampshades Barnaby's by noting that it is yet another one of his numerous eccentricities — it turns out he's been wearing that red leather jacket of his nearly every day for five years straight.
Father Garai from MW is almost always seen wearing an outfit as a priest.
While most of the characters in Death Note have realistic wardrobes (except Mello and Misa), L is always seen wearing the same baggy white shirt and blue jeans (no shoes). Though in this case, it's justified: L is an extremely messy and neurotic person. It makes perfect sense that he wouldn't ever bother to by more than one outfit, or even change/clean said outfit often.
Kodomo no Jikan uses both this and Unlimited Wardrobe, depending on the character. More specifically it's a subversion: The teachers are discussing the problem of parents who spoil their kids with lots of clothes, and one of the more experienced teachers says that the real worry are the children who always wear the same outfit every day (implying parental neglect). Description Cut to Mimi, the shy girl with good grades who makes no problems for anyone. Suddenly the reader realizes that every other child changes outfits, but not Mimi. She always wears the same thing. You just never noticed it before because of this trope.
Each of the Haibane in Haibane Renmei have one outfit each. Justified because they're only allowed to own used or cast-off items, so none of them have many belongings. At one point Rakka worries about getting a stain on her only dress, and when seasons change she and the younger Haibane visit the one thrift store in town allowed to serve them to get winter clothes (Rakka wears the winter dress for the rest of the series).
Fullmetal Alchemist: Semi-justified in the military characters, (though most of them are seen in some form of civvies), but Ed? Does that boy transmute himself new clothes out of the old ones?
Yeah, probably. Note that when he goes into hiding, his wardrobe does change. Slightly.
Given that he's shown transmuting a new coat at one point, yes.
Justified in Kill la Kill, as Senketsu is literally the only set of clothes Ryuko owns, being an orphan who lives in abject poverty.
FoxTrot oddly plays this straight with some characters, but averts it with others. Peter Fox almost always wears jeans, the same sweatshirt and a baseball cap with the letter "A" on it. Likewise, Eileen Jacobson always seems to wear the same shirt and skirt.
Lampshaded in a strip where Jason got hand-me-downs from Peter. In the final frame, Jason is wearing a miniature version of Peter's regular outfit.
Jason: It's high time someone asked you a question... Peter: Lookin' good!
Paige's friend Nicole often appears in a white shirt with a black vest, although this is averted about as frequently as it's played straight. In the comic's early days in the '80s, Paige usually appeared wearing pearls.
Doonesbury: B.D. always wore his football helmet 24/7. Then when he was in the First Gulf War he switched to a "Fritz" helmet. He wore the helmet until he was wounded and discharged from the army. Lampshaded when they had to have a special operation to remove his helmet. B.D.'s helmet was a slowly-changing icon. He switched to an army helmet for the first time when he went to Vietnam. Since then, he's also sported an NFL helmet, a CHP helmet, and a riotgear helmet (following the Rodney King verdict), among others.
Pretty much all the characters in Peanuts. There's a discussion on the Depending on the Artist page where someone listed Charlie Brown's shirt sometimes being red instead of yellow; someone brought up the possibility that good old Chuck might actually have two zigzag-striped shirts of different colors.
Calvin, of Calvin and Hobbes, has his trademark ensemble of red striped t-shirt, black pants, and white-and-red sneakers. As it happens, he does have a dresser full of other clothes—unless said clothes are strewn about his room—but is never seen choosing to wear them. He also has pajamas and winter wear.
In the X-Wing Series, Wedge Antilles basically wears only three outfits: orange Republic flightsuit when flying, white-and-black formal uniform in formal occasions, and his civilian clothes, which consist of black boots, blue pants, brown jacket, and a vertically-striped turtlenecked shirt. Anything else, and he needs a plot reason to wear it.
While most supervillains have actual costumes and can thus be a little justified in this, Ox of Marvel Comics' Enforcers just wears a distinctive set of normal clothes that serves the same function but without the justification. Apparently he just likes turtlenecks, vests, and khaki slacks. The other Enforcers have a similar deal going on but tend to mix it up a little more often.
A similar case is the Sandman, who is iconically associated with his brown slacks and green horizontally striped shirt; an early attempt to give him a more traditional supervillain costume never caught on. In this case, it really is justified - that's part of his body after the accident that gave him his powers.
The other Sandman can wear pretty much anything he or whoever is looking at him can imagine, but when he's alone, he always wears the same emo ensemble of black t-shirt, black pants, and black boots. His sister is much the same, with a tank-top instead of a t-shirt and an ankh necklace.
In Dilbert, everyone wears the same clothes every day.
In some cases, even for casual day:
Wally: Well, well. It wouldn't be casual day without Alice wearing her one pair of tan pants.
The Tick. Sometimes he wears clothes over his blue (outfit? body?), such as a tuxedo at Dot and Neil's wedding, but he never takes it off. Possibly a Clingy Costume.
He seems to think it is. He's said at least once that it's not a costume, and he is "simply The Tick."
From the Shazam comics Billy Batson, the original Captain Marvel, is one of the few mainstream superheroes who embodies this trope in his secret identity. From the Golden Age through to the 21st century, Billy is almost always depicted as wearing the same blue jeans and red sweater with a yellow collar.
In issue 85 of The Simpsons comic, a pair of marketing experts decide that the Simpsons are the perfect indicator of popular culture, and model all of their company's products- including clothes- after their lifestyle. Cut to everyone in Springfield dressed like the Simpsons. After everything returns to normal, Marge reveals that she bought all of the duplicates of their normal wear. In the final panel, a small box with a Matt Groening pops up and Groening says, "And that's why the Simpsons always wear the same clothes!"
Steelgrip Starkey and his partner Flynn "Flyin'" Ryan almost always wear the same clothes — a red short-sleeve shirt and blue jeans for Steelgrip, and overalls and a white T-shirt for Flynn. Justified in Steelgrip's case because it's his company uniform.
In The Beano pretty much every character wears the same clothes all the times however their clothes have occasionally changed for example Dennis the Menace originally had a little tie back in 1951 but his clothes change to a stripy jumper and then to a Black and Red Jumper, once his strip gained the colour red, and his clothes have never changed since except for the occasional gag about how old fashioned his clothes are. This also true for a number of strips especially The Bash Street Kids where Teacher was worn an old fashioned Teacher's outfit complete with mortarboard since the 1950s which is frequently lampshaded.
Surprisingly averted in Red Hood and the Outlaws even in-costume by Arsenal, who has a lot of distinct baseball caps. So far, no civilian outfit has been used more than once by any of the cast, barring Red Hood's All Robes.
Lucky Luke is almost always dressed the same. Justified as he is perpetually Walking the Earth. Lampshaded on one occasion when he does find himself in an all-white outfit - and immediately goes into a store, demanding exactly the items he usually wears.
Astérix. Asterix gets a different hairstyle for a while in The Actress, Cacofonix gets a scarf all through The Roman Agent to indicate that he's lost his voice and occasionally Geriatrix's wife will try out a new fashion trend or Julius Caesar will be shown wearing some new piece of ceremonial dress, but for the most part this is completely followed. Taken to the point of ridiculousness in Obelix All At Sea, when Asterix asks the village seamstress for a new set of clothes for the magically de-aged Obelix, and she makes him kid-sized versions of his usual outfit, explaining that the child looks so much like Obelix that she couldn't resist making him striped breeches too.
Unless he makes a point of wearing a disguise, Iznogoud is always depicted in the same outfit.
Lampshaded in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series. When Yugi appears in a different outfit, he remarks, "Isn't anyone going to notice I'm not in my school uniform?"
Both John and Ringo in With Strings Attached. Not by choice, though. John's physiognomy is such that he really can't wear too much. And because they do a lot of universe shifting with little time to prepare, Ringo gets stuck in the same all-green outfit throughout the third part of the Third Movement and the entire Fourth Movement (he had a chance to buy a new outfit briefly but spent all his money on healing potions and gifts instead because he thought he was going home). His outfit ends up pretty grimy and smelly.
Escape from the Hokage's Hat: Tsunade's group (Tsunade, Shizune, Hinata and Naruto) is limited to the clothes on their back, because Tsunade gave them short notice before she dragged them out of the village, although it is pointed out that the clothes they're wearing are more durable than regular clothing. Naruto does bring up that they all need new clothes since their misadventures and Clothing Damage are catching up to them after 4 months.
Abe and Aaron spend the majority of Primer in black slacks, white oxfords, and neckties. In fact, the color of their ties is the only difference both their outfits.
The entire cast of Mary Poppins, including the presumably well-off Banks family.
Most of the Hogwarts faculty in Harry Potter. Amusingly, Richard Harris's Dumbledore had a different regular outfit than Michael Gambon's Dumbledore. As in the book Dumbledore wore "half moon" spectacles when the role was originated by Richard Harris in the first movie. When Michael Gambon took over the role of Dumbledore in the third movie he was given light blue silk robe and a smoking cap with a tassel and a string tied around his beard. It became his look for the rest of the series. Averted with Lockhart.
In both the books and the films, Snape pretty much never wears anything other than black, billowing robes. Professor McGonagall sometimes changes her regular outfit between films, although the basic form and color scheme remain constant.
Malcolm in The Sixth Sense wears the same shirt and pants in every scene, with the only difference being whether he wears a jacket or sweater over it. There is one exception to the rule, but only to the full (spoileriffic) version of the rule: until The Reveal, he always wears the jacket in scenes where camera angles alone can't hide his mortalwound. In the DVD Commentary, director M. Night Shyamalan says that Malcolm's limited wardrobe is a clue to his ghostly nature. After the shooting (and Malcolm's death) in the beginning, the only clothing he is seen wearing are the clothes he wore or interacted with in the scenes just before the shooting.
The Mystery Team seems to have a complete color-coded wardrobe.
In The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Mr. Nick always wears the same outfit (black suit, overcoat, and bowler, grey waistcoat, red bow tie), even in a flashback to his first meeting with Doctor Parnassus a thousand years in the past.
Up in the Air: Natalie only ever wears her business suit although there is a more relaxed version where she takes the jacket off and lets her hair down while partying. This is Truth in Television since she is fresh out of college and new to business. Presumably she wouldn't be able to afford several smart pieces of work attire yet.
Punch Drunk Love's main character Barry wears the same blue suit in every scene.
In Back to the Future III, even after Clara Clayton tears her dress on a speeding locomotive, marries Doc Brown, gives birth to two boys and raises them halfway to adulthood, travels to the future and back, she's still wearing the same dress!
Ed in Good Burger wears his Good Burger uniform everywhere. He sleeps in it. He goes on dates in it. He showers in it.
Jake and Elwood Blues don't have a limited wardrobe so much as they seem to only own one set of clothes each. The suits' slow destruction over the course of the film corresponds with just how much things have gotten out-of-hand until the end of the movie, when they're replaced with prison uniforms.
Harry Dresden, of The Dresden Files is almost never seen in anything other than a black duster, black jeans, and a grey T-shirt unless the plot call for a change in wardrobe.
Considering that someone is usually trying to kill Harry and that the duster is essentially magicproof and weaponproof enchanted leather armor, wearing the duster makes a LOT of sense.
Handwaved in that he's very set in his ways and doesn't like changing what he considers a working formula.
He attempts to get around this in Small Favor when running and hiding from Summer's goons. He ditches the black duster, and gives it to Thomas, along with a kind of Clone Form spell, thinking that Summer would hunt for Thomas, and make things easier for Harry. This comes around to bite Harry when Tiny Gruff shows up.
In Jurassic Park, Ian Malcolm only owns black and gray clothing, claiming that the only thing which bores him more than fashion is professional sports, and he prefers not having to think about what he has to wear every day.
Where's Wally?'s Wally/Waldo is contractually bound to enforce this trope, as are most members of his supporting cast.
Similar to the Jurassic Park example, Cayce Pollard in William Gibson'sPattern Recognition is allergic to brands (no, really, it's a condition) and dresses only in shades of grey with all logos or labels removed; her clothes are referred to as Cayce Pollard Units or... wait for it... CPUs.
In the new Foundation trilogy, this saves Hari Seldon's life when an assassin puts a time-delayed fire-starting compound in his shirt. His wife is able to swap in another of his shirts and reveal the assassin.
In the Seekers of Truth, the Wizard always wears the same suit and hat (or appears to), and Specter and Shade have consistent outfits mainly because their abilities help protect them from temperature extremes.
In The Destroyer series Remo always wears a black t-shirt and black chinos, regardless of climate.
In Artemis Fowl series, Artemis always wears Armani suits regardless of the temperature. But remind you, he's 12.
"Honestly, Butler, the second we return to the hotel, I am disposing of this outfit. I miss my suits."
—The Opal Deception
Although in the graphic novel of the second book, he is shown to be wearing a fur coat. But that's just because it's -30 degrees Fahrenheit outside. Did I mention they were in the Arctic?
He also rolled up his sleeves for "the cake sale" in "The Atlantis Complex".
Mrs. Carillon in The Mysterious Disappearance of Leon (I Mean Noel) has been wearing a purple flowered-dress with purple high heels ever since the day she first met Leon/Noel as an adult, so he could recognize her if he ever saw her again. And instead of underwear, she always wears a purple-flowered bathing suit (she owns twenty-four identical ones), which is what she wore when she last saw him being swept overboard a boat. She wore purple flowers in the first place because that was what she had worn when they last saw each other, the occasion of their Childhood Marriage Promise.
In the Second and Third Books of The Saga of Darren Shan Darren Shan only ever wears an old suit the one in which he was buried in and a pirate outfit which he gains during the middle of the second book. The fact that he never changes his clothes is often lampshaded and the book gives no explanation as to why he doesn't change his clothes.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: Arthur spends twelve years in a dressing gown. It was one thing when he was stranded on prehistoric Earth, quite another on the multiple occasions he's on some sort of spaceship that ought to have other wardrobe options available. (Strictly speaking, no mention of Arthur's outfit is made after he arrives on the Heart of Gold, it's not until he's on prehistoric Earth that the dressing gown is mentioned again. Douglas Adams wrote a scene for the TV series in which he gets a new outfit, and the producer rejected it because it was funnier if he was still wearing a dressing gown. So from then on, he was retroactively always wearing the dressing gown.)
A central plot point in the children's story "Milly-Molly-Mandy has a New Dress" by Joyce Lankester Brisley. Milly-Molly-Mandy wants to exchange her pink-and-white striped dress for a new dress with flowers on it, but meets a girl named Bunchy who only wears flowery dresses and decides Bunchy should have it instead. Lampshaded by little-friend-Susan: "If Milly-Molly-Mandy didn't wear her pink-and-white stripes people might not know her at once. And that would be a pity!"
''Boy Meets World had a more realistic approach to this show especially with Shawn. He would wear, for a few seasons the same few shirts and jackets. Mostly justified as he's poor so he doesn't have the money for a lot of outfits.
Bonanza: The members of the Cartwright family (the series's main protagonists) and the other featured/main recurring characters wore the same outfit from Season 3 onward. This allowed the production staff to reuse stock footage of the characters riding, etc. The costumes were as follows:
Ben: Sandy shirt, tawny leather vest, gray pants, cream-colored hat, occasional green scarf.
Adam: Black Shirt, black or midnight blue pants, black hat. Elegant city wear. Cream-colored trail coat.
Hoss: White shirt, brown suede vest, brown pants, large beige flat-brimmed, ten-gallon hat.
Joe: Beige, light gray shirt, kelly-green corduroy jacket, tan pants, beige hat. Black leather gloves from 10th season on. During season 14, Joe occasionally wore blue jeans and at times went without his jacket. (This was due to new stock footage having to be reshot after Dan Blocker's death.)
Candy: Crimson shirt, black pants, black leather vest, black hat, green/grey scarf.
Jamie: Medium blue button down shirt, tan leather vest, blue jeans, black hat.
The Dukes of Hazzard: Most of the main characters – all except Daisy – wore the same outfits day in and day out, except for when the story called for something else:
Bo wore a yellow button-down long-sleeved shirt (cuffs rolled up) and jeans.
Luke's trademark was a blue plaid button-down shirt (cuffs rolled up) and jeans. (Early in the series, he also sometimes wore a Levi's jean jacket.)
Uncle Jesse was identified by his off-white long-sleeved button-down shirt, red kerchief and dirty bib overalls.
Cooter often had a khaki work shirt, jeans and a ballcap.
Boss Hogg was rarely seen without his white continental suit and cowboy hat.
The sheriff's department – Rosco, Enos and Cletus – were almost always seen in their sheriff's uniforms.
Much like the animated programs that aired on Saturday mornings, live action programs – usually of the fantasy and/or action/adventure genre, often produced by Sid and Marty Krofft – featured the main characters always wearing the same outfits. Since children were the primary audience, this trope's use helped them easily identify the characters (e.g., the leader wearing a yellow button-down shirt and a denim/brown leather-accented vest, with jeans and a cowboy hat); plus, it helped cut down on production costs, as certain Stock Footage inserts could be re-used. Programs airing more recently have gotten away from this, as the live-action shows are more sitcom based (with the characters changing wardrobe normally).
Fantasy Island: In the original 1978 series, Mr. Roarke and Tattoo were – with very rare exceptions – never seen in anything except their dapper white suits, white button down shirts and black bow ties.
In Dennis the Menace Jay North always wore a striped shirt and overalls like comic strip Dennis for the first three seasons. For the fourth he was allowed to wear regular pants, but they were the same color as the overalls and he still wore the striped shirts.
Steve from preschool show Blues Clues has the same outfit, including the green-striped shirt, in every episode while his "brother" Joe has a variety of different outfits.
Although all of Joe's outfits were the same design just with a different color.
It is understandable that they wear the same type of clothes because its a kids show and they want them to get familiar with the people
Their closets have been seen, showing multiple copies of the same shirt.
In the kids' science show Beakmans World, Beakman is always seen in his fluorescent green lab coat, and Lester is always seen in his rat suit. This, however, does not hold for the lovely young female assistant, who wears a different outfit for each segment.
Though even the assistants don't have an Unlimited Wardrobe, as you can see different pieces of clothing mixed and matched throughout the episodes. (Example: the jacket Phoebe wears in the flatulence segment is the same jacket Josie wears in the segment on finding answers.)
Dollhouse may be unique in using the Limited Wardrobe andUnlimited Wardrobe tropes at the same time. The Actives, while in the Dollhouse with their minds erased, wear the same few uniform designs in the same few colors... only to slip into a bottomless supply of fashions, appropriate to the innumerable personalities that are imprinted on them.
A visual sign of the dolls' eventual liberation is the abandonment of their Active uniforms. On receiving their original personalities late in season two, Echo, Victor and Sierra dress individually again (probably by drawing upon the Dollhouse's huge wardrobe).
Same for most of the humans in Pee-Wee's Playhouse. Pee-wee always wore the same suit with bowtie, Miss Yvonne always had the same layer-cake dress, Cowboy Curtis always had the cowboy getup complete with chaps, etc.
Doctor Who has this. Starting with the Fifth Doctor, each Doctor in the series has his own specific costume, as do most of the companions throughout the 80's. Before 1980 and the Fourth's regeneration into the Fifth, each Doctor typically wore costumes which were variations on a theme (in a way reflecting more of a "dress sense" than an actual costume). In the new series, the slight flexibility in wardrobe from earlier in the series is reintroduced; as the Ninth Doctor's sweater's colour often changes, as does the color of the Tenth Doctor's suit, the shirts and ties he wore under it, and his shoes. The Eleventh Doctor also has multiple different shirts, braces, jackets, and bow-ties which all mix and match into different outfits along one theme.
First Doctor: Old-fashioned Edwardian ensemble; typically white-and-black-checked or grey trousers, white wing-collar shirt, waistcoat, black frock coat, and occasionally an Astrakhan hat and a black cloak. Compared to later Doctors, he showed a much greater tendency to change into appropriate period dress for "historical" stories.
Second Doctor: Typical Cosmic Hobo apparel. Most often a rumpled frock coat, baggy checked trousers and bowtie.
Third Doctor: Very much a dandy. Tended towards black trousers and velvet smoking jackets of various colours, with ruffled shirts and a scarlet-lined black cape. In his first season, he wore a black jacket: the shift to coloured jackets came as his relationship with UNIT became cosier and the general tone of the show lighter.
Fourth Doctor: Mostly in earth tones. His most recognizable image was of a long brown, gray or burgundy coat (though for his first season he wore a short corduroy jacket), various waistcoats, a wide-brimmed felt fedora, buccaneer boots, and ridiculously long scarves (at least one of them knitted, according to the Doctor, by Madame Nostradamus). In the final season of his tenure, the variations ceased and he wore a much more stylized burgundy version of his traditional costume - still with the long scarf but now with breeches, a heavier, longer burgundy greatcoat, and the first appearance of stylized question marks on his shirt collar.
The later costume was supposed to emphasise the slightly 'darker' tone of the episodes.
Fifth Doctor: Wore a Panama hat, white tennis shoes, orange, cream and brown stripes trousers, a V-necked cricketing jumper, and a buff frock coat with red piping. And a stick of celery on his lapel.
In Planet of Fire he ditched the coat and jumper altogether whilst in the warmer climes of Lanzarote and wore an embroidered waistcoat instead.
During the early part of the Fifth Doctor's era this was extended to companions as well. Adric (yellow Alzarian rompers), Nyssa (burgundy velvet jacket and trousers) and Tegan (mauve flight attendant uniform) wear the same costumes in every single story in Season 19, except for the fancy-dress party in "Black Orchid". Poor Adric wore exactly the same clothes in every story he appeared in. Later on, Tegan got a few costume changes, but Turlough wears his school uniform shirt and suit in every story, apart from his last, "Planet of Fire".
Sixth Doctor: A garish, clashing outfit of black and yellow striped trousers, a multicoloured waistcoat, and a patchwork coat which defies description. The production notes for the series at the time specified a "totally tasteless costume". Newer webcasts and remakings of older episodes have replaced the amazing technicolor dreamcoat into a more muted (and more easily drawn) blue ensemble which has proven popular with fans who thought the striking colours distracting.
The Sixth Doctor was referred to as "The BBC Colour Test Man".
And Colin Baker himself described it as "an explosion in a rainbow factory".
Slightly averted in Colin's final season, in which he started using a few different waistcoats and ties. This was done to distinguish the different past, present, and future time periods in the stories and the season's Law Procedural framing story.
Further averted in the Expanded Universe. A much more tasteful, all-blue version of the Sixth Doctor's outfit was introduced in an animated webcast, and was enthusiastically adopted into novel and audio continuity and even made into an action figure.
BBC Video even used the expanded-universe blue outfit on the cover art for the DVD release of "Timelash" (an episode from 1985), rather than portraying the outfit that actually appears in that episode.
Seventh Doctor: Checked tweed trousers, a red, yellow and green pullover decorated in question marks, a cream colored coat with a paisley scarf, brown-and-cream brogues ("wingtips" to American tropers), a black umbrella with the handle in the shape of a red question mark, and a Panama hat. Later on in his tenure the colours of his costume became much darker; his jacket and hatband all became dark brown. In his final appearance he wore a more formal costume with a red velvet waistcoat and tweed jacket, but retained the checked trousers and Panama hat.
Eighth Doctor: Cream trousers, black boots, green velvet frock coat, silk cravat and double-breasted waistcoat. This was based on a stylized "Wild Bill Hickok" fancy dress costume he stole (though it doesn't seem to much resemble any genuine outfit worn by Wild Bill Hickok).
Ninth Doctor: Utilitarian garb with black shoes, black trousers, a brown/black leather jacket and a jumper (again, a pullover sweater for you Yanks out there) of varying colours. This trope was lampshaded when his companion complained about having to change into an elaborate dress for the time period while the Doctor only changed into another nearly identical jumper while wearing the same leather jacket.
Tenth Doctor: Converse trainers in various colours, a brown suit with blue pinstripes, and some combination of various shirts and ties or, less frequently, no tie and a T-shirt underneath. Often complemented with a long brown wool trench coat he claims to have been a present from Janis Joplin. In his second and third seasons, he gains a new suit with a reversed colour scheme - blue with red pinstripes. During these seasons he regularly switches back and forth between the two suits.
Lampshaded by Donna when she meets the Doctor for the second time :
Donna : You've even got the same suit! ...Don't you ever change?
The colour of suit he's wearing depends on whether the episode takes place in past or future. Brown in past episodes, and the blue in future episodes.
Eleventh Doctor: Tweed jacket with a dickie bow tie, braces, rolled up black trousers and black boots.
While these clothes are items he stole from the cloakroom of a hospital in order to look decent for his imminent showdown with the Atraxi (he had spent the episode up to that point wearing the badly stained, tattered and scorched blue dress shirt and tie worn under the Tenth Doctor's pinstripe suit when he regenerated....which became the Iconic Outfit of Amy's imaginary friend the "Raggedy Doctor"), and jokingly kept the new clothes as recompense for saving the earth.
He tends to swap his bow-tie and braces for either a red or blue herringbone set.
After alternating two differently-coloured but otherwise identical designer herringbone shirts for his first season, he switched to an assortment of white shirts with different patterns for his second.
As with the Tenth Doctor, the colour of his bowtie depends on whether the episode is past or future.
In series seven, Eleven switched to a much more elaborate victorian-style three-piece suit and overcoat (reminiscent of the second doctor's garb) during and after his self-imposed alone time. Although he still wore a bow tie.
Torchwood's Captain Jack Harkness: blue shirt, dark trousers with braces, and a rather iconic RAF greatcoat (apparently Ianto's first priority after breaking Jack out of jail is to find a replacement coat for the one that got blown up).
Ianto's wardrobe seems to entirely consist of impossibly well styled three-piece suits.
Carl Kolchak only ever seems to wear an old seersucker suit, tennis shoes, and a ratty porkpie hat. This is commented on several times during the series and at one point a co-working buys him a new hat that he promptly tries to dispose of. Word of God from Darren McGavin was that Carl deliberately chose to make that outfit his permanent wardrobe after being fired from a newspaper a decade or so prior to the series.
In Mighty Morphin, the background cast also didn't vary their dress much.
Some of the middle seasons though have teams that wear the same street clothes outfit for virtually every episode (unless the plot explicitly calls for a change of costume). Later seasons mix the two: varying street clothes in a color scheme that matches the ranger color and a uniform that they wear constantly.
Some seasons justify it by having some sort of team uniform they wear when not morphed anyway.
To mention Tommy again, he wasn't immune to this from the start, especially when he was in his "evil" phase. Apparently being mind-controlled makes you want to keep to a select wardrobe. Even afterwards, that one green flannel shirt showed up in a lot of his outfits.
While all of the characters of LazyTown have one default outfit, most of those can be excused because the character is either a puppet or a superhero. Stephanie has the most variable wardrobe for non-plot reasons, especially in season 2, but Robbie Rotten is only ever seen in a red-and-purple striped suit or red-and-purple striped pajamas except for plot-related disguises, despite an extremely large and apparently magical wardrobe.
At least Robbie has pajamas. Sportacus only ever wears his blue-and-white superhero outfit...even to bed!
On Lizzie McGuire, Tudgeman always appears wearing the same yellow polo shirt. That doesn't seem to be washed frequently (if at all).
Clark in Smallville wears a red jacket over a blue shirt 95% of the time, as an homage to his future superhero identity's colors. In fact, one of the dead giveaways to the viewer that an evil alien clone was masquerading as him was that the clone was wearing those colors inverted. It used to be one of many outfits he wore (he always did favor a blue shirt) but as the series went on he started wearing it more and more (perhaps a homage to him growing into his super hero role). Quite possibly the most extreme case was in the return of the shapeshifter episode where he was wearing a brown jacket when said shapeshifter paralyzed him with kryptonite, but apparently switched to his red one before confronting her (thus making it easy for us to tell them apart).
Thelma Harper wears the same dress on most episodes of Mamas Family, and her daughter Eunice seems to have worn the same dress and hairstyle since childhood, while the other major characters wear different outfits, but of a similar color and style, like Naomi's off-the-shoulder yellow dresses and Iola's high-necked pink ones.
Even the male characters weren't exempt from the trope: Vint was always seen wearing tan or beige, and Bubba always wore green. It's also worth mentioning that in the Mama's Family reunion episode of Vicki Lawrence's talk show, Beverly Archer (who played Iola) said she never wanted to see pink again as long as she lived.
It's an incredibly rare event when one of the Supernatural boys gets a new piece of clothing. Sometimes they have to wear the same clothes for episodes at a time — Sam, for example, didn't change from Salvation to In My Time Of Dying. Word of God says that they tend to stink a bit. Justified in that they pretty much live in the Impala and with the trunk packed with their weaponry, there probably isn't a lot of room for many wardrobe changes other than their disguises.
Castiel has been wearing the same outfit since his introduction in Season 4. Even when he was temporarily human in season 5.
All the angels are like this. But then it's doubtful angels care much about fashion trends.
All hunters tend to favor a somewhat "blue-collar" style of dress. It involves lots of jeans and cotton, presumably because they're cheap, generic, and don't stand out in most settings. Crowley even refers to our heroes as "denim-wrapped nightmares".
Trailer Park Boys: Julian never wears anything other than a black t-shirt, black jeans, and an earring and choker. Ricky changes clothes literally once per series.
Lahey and Randy usually wear the same uniform in every episode, and Barb usually wears her denim-and-cowboy boots outfit.
Justified on LOST: Most of the characters are plane crash survivors living on a deserted island, and the only clothes they have access to are the ones in the luggage that survived the crash, and so they often wear the same outfit for several episodes at a time.
Further justified by the fact that multiple Lost episodes routinely took place over the course of a single day. For example the framing portions of "Dr. Linus", "Recon", "Ab Aeterno", and "The Package" all took place on the same day.
The most notable example is Ana Lucia, who wore the exact same clothes her entire time on the Island...even after they reunited with the main group. The only difference was that sometimes she had the jacket, and sometimes she didn't.
While most characters would change the wardrobe every few episodes, Frank Lapidus only got to change his clothes once over the course of three full seasons.
Contrajustified on Star Trek: Voyager: they're a zillion light-years from home, they have to make do with what they can scrape together, but the top priority is getting the rebels out of their leather trench coats and steampunk armor, and into the exact same Starfleet uniform as everyone else. Flag on the play.
Justifiable as they were seriously trying to integrate the Maquis crew into the Voyager one. There's a reason teams wear uniforms - keeping them in their markedly different outfits would've been counterproductive.
A slightly less extreme example of the straight version is Deanna Troi who (as one humorist put it) went from cheerleader to aerobics instructor after the first season typically wearing one of only two or three full body unitards throughout most of the series.
Horatio Caine of CSI: Miami regularly wears a black or dark blue suit with a tieless blue shirt and "The Sunglasses of Justice".
Mike from Burn Notice seems to pull something similar, except he prefers a wider range of colours. His favorite suit is pretty much a khaki version of Horatio's, which has been established to be Armani. He will generally wear whatever's appropriate to the job, otherwise. In season two, he started wearing thermal shirts. A lot.
Sam Axe uses the "theme" example. When his dress code isn't being dictated by a job or social function, he is reliably clothed in some kind of loose Hawaiian-style shirt and light colored pants. The outfit suits him for two reasons: One, it fits his laid-back, Mojito-sipping, rich-older-woman-seducing personality, and two, the loose shirt is good for concealing a handgun. This is possibly deliberate, as Sam is never shown making specific arrangements to arm himself, yet is always able to produce a weapon from somewhere on his person.
Played with in the Seinfeld episode "The Seven": Jerry's girlfriend wears the same dress every time they meet.
Jerry: What in God's name is going on here? Is she wearing the same thing over and over again? Or does she have a closet full of these, like Superman? I've got to unlock this mystery!
In Knight Rider (1982), Michael Knight always wore a polo shirt (often red, sometimes blue or pink... don't ask about the pink) underneath a leather jacket, with jeans. It helps a lot with stock footage.
The 2008 series has Michael Knight (Jr.) with a gray t-shirt and khakis. For cold weather, Michael wears a red long sleeved shirt underneath the gray t-shirt. Word of God says that the iconic leather jacket will come into play later in the season.
On Gilligan's Island, Gilligan, the Skipper, and the Professor almost always wore the same stuff outside of dream sequences and the like (though the Professor had a tweed jacket that he would wear from time to time). Mary Ann, by contrast, had a variety of outfits, and the wardrobes of both Ginger and the Howells were virtually unlimited (leading to Fridge Logic about why they would take so many clothes with them on a three-hour tour) note Because of the Nuclear War.
In Taxi Louie usually wears a pink shirt, a red tie and a gray suit note In an early publicity photo he wore a white shirt and in "Bobby's Big Break" he's seen with a dark grey shirt and a black tie, except for The Stinger while Jim would always wear a blue blazer, a blue shirt and blue jeans. Justified with Latka, as he's only seen with his mechanic outfit.
Justified in 24 where an entire season takes place in 24 hours, giving most characters no chance to change outfits between episodes.
Justified for Annie in Being Human: she's a ghost, and always wears the clothes she died in. However, there are subtle changes depending on her mood, etc. The benchmark seems to be her strength and confidence in herself; the stronger she is, the more form-fitting her outfit is, but when she's more scared and self-conscious, she develops more layers to hide in.
Even if the white shirt is taken off for whatever reason, Jamie tends to stick to the black/gray/white color scheme. It was almost shocking to see him in bright red Nomex for one test.
If he has to wear other clothes, he will usually still wear his black beret, if possible. When they met the president, he wore a suit and beret.
Lampshaded extensively in an episode where Adam and Jamie had to each pass themselves off as the other. They had a test to see how long it took for Kari and Grant to notice that "Jamie" was really Adam. To focus their attention on something besides his Jamie mask, they changed one piece of his standard outfit at a time and made them pick out what had changed (like a red beret instead of a black one).
Grant is very rarely seen in anything other than blue jeans and a black t-shirt.
Columbo wears a shabby raincoat, an odd asymmetrical haircut, and a tiny cheap cigar. Equally iconic was Peter Falk's real glass eye that caused him to constantly look at things crooked.
Get a Life had a particularly odd version of this: Chris's parents wore pajamas and robes at all times, in and out of the house.
Patrick Jane, The Mentalist, only seems to own the one set of clothes (brown shoes, dark blue suit, light blue shirt, no tie, blue waistcoat).
Understandable on Farscape, where the characters are refugees and former prisoners who are frequently on the run. However, over the course of the series their wardrobes did evolve, reflecting the levels of badass they were all accruing. The most obvious case was when Crichton gave up his IASA jumpsuit for Peacekeeper leather.
Ben Matlock on Matlock always wore the same light colored suit in court. One episode even made fun of this when his daughter tried to get him to wear more modern custom suits for an episode.
Justified in Battlestar Galactica. Most of the cast are military and wear uniforms, and the rest are pretty much stuck with whatever they happened to have in their suitcases when the Cylons attacked.
Justified in Stargate Universe, where, like in Battlestar Galactica, the occupants of the ship only have the clothes they escaped with. The limits are explicitly referenced when we see Young repairing socks by hand.
There are some inconsistencies, including both Chloe and Rush getting new outfits. From a production perspective this makes sense as the alternative would be them wandering around in alien jumpsuits for the rest of the series.
Justified in the reality shows Survivor and The Amazing Race. On the former, teams are dumped in a remote location with only the clothes on their back, while in the later teams have to carry their entire wardrobes on their back.
Degrassi doesn't use this for most characters, but Connor wears the same outfit every day. (He turns out to have Asperger's Syndrome.)
This included one of the few non-comedic closets (well, OK, a suitcase) full of identical clothes.
When in middle school, Clair wore a school uniform, and continued wearing it for a while in high school.
In Caprica, the first three or so episodes feature Zoe-A and/or Zoe-R (It's Complicated) appearing in exactly the same outfit. For a while, it looked like this was going to be a Justified Trope with the reason being Zoe's inability to change her wardrobe (due to her being dead) but then immediately thereafter it turned into an Averted Trope, with Zoe showing off a new costume for each episode since.
Ryan on The O.C. wore either a wifebeater or a black t-shirt most of the time, although he did get a more varied wardrobe as the show went on. Possibly justified to show that he's poor and basically has nothing, and the first thing Kirsten says they need to do after adopting him is buy him some clothes. It's also lampshaded several times by Seth.
Quinn, Santana, and Brittany on Glee wear their cheerleading costumes everywhere, apart from when they're dressed up for group performance numbers. Quinn wore normal clothes during the period when she was off the team, and Brittany was seen dressed differently after school once, but Santana has never been seen without it (apart from a nightgown).
Except as of the season 2 episode "The Sue Sylvester Shuffle" the girls have quit cheerleading and are now seen in normal outfits.
Jason Morgan, the resident brain-damaged hitman of General Hospital wears a black t-shirt and black leather jacket exclusively. Possibly lampshaded in a moment where a closet door was left open and the only things hanging up were leather jackets.
Hank Moody on Californication appears to have two outfits: jeans and a black t-shirt for everyday wear, and jeans with a black button down shirt (with or without a blazer) for more formal occasions. Lampshaded in one scene when his daughter comments on his lack of fashion sense and he explains that he has a uniform that works for him. He does occasionally have a different color t-shirt on, and has been seen in work-out clothes a couple times.
Merlin on the BBC's Merlin has only one red shirt, one blue shirt, and a brown jacket that he wears through all three seasons.
This may be deliberate: Merlin is a servant, and probably doesn't have a lot of money. Gwen, also a servant, has only a few dresses (a yellow one and a pink one in the first series, and a lilac one in the second series), and Gaius, court physician, always wears the same outfit. Arthur and Morgana, on the other hand, both get lots of outfits, being royalty. Although it should be noted that they do reuse outfits: Morgana has that one blue dress that appears multiple times and that Gwen gets to wear at one point, and Arthur has a long brown coat and a short black jacket that both make multiple appearances, as well as his armour - but they both get a lot more outfit changes than any of the lower-class characters.
However, he must have at least one change of clothes. Either that, or he runs around naked whe his clothes are being washed. And you can't argue that his clothes don't get dirty. Many times, he has landed in horse poo or such.
Merlin is a wizard, though, so maybe he cleans his clothes with magic. And even if he does change clothes, that doesn't mean his changes of clothes can't be the same.
Merlin does wear a purple shirt. Once. It is then never heard from again. He also wears that red quilted jacket in the season 4 finale that was obviously a wedding present from Arthur. Hey, Arthur, aren't you supposed to give the present to the bride?
Also, in the season two episode where Arthur pretends to be a commoner so that he can win a tournament fairly, Merlin gives him a shirt, which he claims is his own. We never see him wear it. If you have these shirts, Merlin, why don't you wear them?
Merlin must have other clothes. Whenever he ages himself into Dragoon the Great, he wears red instead of blue and brown.
Fraggle Rock: The fraggles almost NEVER change their clothes and usually when wearing costumes, have their normal outfits under them. It's lampshaded for Wembley (and for some reason only for Wembley) — it's pointed out a few times in the series that he only has two shirts and they both look identical. He still sometimes has trouble deciding what to wear. note In the Fraggles Look For Jobs wrap tape, Wembley was also the only one to comment on the limited wardrobe; he told Gobo that the first thing he would do when the series ended was go out and buy himself a new shirt, because he was tired of always wearing the same thing.
In Monk, the titular character wears the same type of sports jacket (different shade of brown or gray) in every episode. This is explained by his obsessive-compulsive nature, causing him to keep everything perfectly consistent, including his wardrobe. He even made sure every shirt he bought was inspected by the same person before it left the factory, and the stitching on his buttons had to remain perfectly aligned.
Dave on Happy Endings has a wardrobe consisting entirely of V-necks.
The sitcom How I Met Your Mother has Barney Stinson wearing a suit every episode. Only two episodes have had him not wear a suit voluntarily, the first he stopped wearing suits after he found out the woman he lost his virginity to only did it because his gay brother slept with her and she claimed he was bad at it. The second was when he wanted to sleep with the new hot female bartender, even having a fantasy sequence where he sings about having to choose between women and his beloved suits ultimately having his cake and eating it too.
There is actually a third example: He refuses to suit up for funerals.
Yet another episode, "The Sexless Innkeeper," had couple Barney and Robin depressed and moping after their "break-up" with Marshall and Lily:
Ted: "Barney, are you wearing sweatpants?"
Barney: "Maybe, but they're Armani."
The Amanda Show always featured crazed fan Penelope Taynt wearing the same outfit. A closet gag in one episode revealed that she had many copies of the same outfit.
On Home Improvement, Al always wears flannel shirts, and apparently does so because his father always did.
Lampshaded and parodied in a Saturday Night Live skit. David Spade, Adam Sandler, and Chris Farley are playing three teenage girls at the mall. It briefly cuts to "Four Days Later", and they're in the exact same place wearing the same clothes. Spade's character mentions "I can't believe we're all wearing the same thing we did four days ago."
If you're a regular viewer of Raising Hope, you're likely to become familiar with the recurring pieces of clothing in the Chances' wardrobe, such as Jimmy's "Bigfoot vs. Abe Lincoln" and "Mr. Natural" tees. Justified in that the Chances can't afford a huge closet full of designer clothes.
Japanese comedian Toshiaki Kasuga wears the exact same outfit for nearly every appearance he makes (both in and out of character): White pants and a pink sweater vest over a white shirt and an orange tie.
Both Sheriff Carter and Deputy Lupo only ever wear their uniforms on Eureka, so, justified. In the pilot, though, Carter has a different justification, as he's not yet Sheriff. He spends several days only wearing one suit. He's stranded in a small town by a car wreck and only has the one suit.
Tom and Barbara on The Good Life sport a very limited wardrobe, due to their ongoing efforts at complete self-sufficiency.
Most of the characters in Maid Marian and Her Merry Men, from Royals to peasants, have only one outfit, though Marian and the Merry Men themselves get two wardrobe upgrades — after the third episode of the first series they begin dressing mainly in green to "coordinate with the trees," and from the second season on their outfits have become more detailed, distinct and individual. The one exception to the trope is Robin, who has lots of outfits, and from the second season onwards seldom wears the same one two episodes in a row. Then again, this incarnation of Robin Hood is a tailor by trade, so it makes sense that he would avert the trope.
Victor and Rufus of House of Anubis both tend to wear the same clothes in most of their appearances.
Rufus even wore his black turtleneck under his collector outfit.
This is lampshaded in one episode by Nina.
Nina: (About Victor) What if he never changes his clothes?
The students also have the uniform, however, they only wear them during school and even then they tend to be personalized in a way, or at least not the whole uniform.
Lampshaded in The Addams Family by Gomez: "Querida, this is my best suit... Don't you remember? I bought dozens of them. I wanted nothing but best suits!"
Lampshaded again by Wednesday in The Musical: "Mother, I've worn the same thing every day for eighteen years." (And she's technically still wearing the same thing, but in a different color.)
Saga Norén in Bron|Broen practically always wears what may or may not be the same pair of black leather trousers, usually with a black jumper on top. Justified, since she's more than a little autistic and would quite plausibly have several sets of identical garments.
Olivia Dunham on Fringe everyday outfit is a black pantsuit with a white shirt and black overcoat. We almost never see her in anything but black and white. We learn that this was a part of her conditioning as a child.
Once Upon a Time: In the fairy tale world (The Enchanted Forest), most characters either wore the same outfit each time they were shown or had very few outfits. Regina (the evil queen) is an exception.
When Emma and Mary Margaret were trapped in the Enchanted Forest, they stayed in the clothes they arrived in until they go back to Storybrooke, while Mulan and Aurora also always wore the same clothes.
In Storybrooke, Captain Hook, being an outsider and therefore not being exposed to the curse, is the only one who always wears the same clothes.
Doc Martin: Martin and his suits would make Barney Stinson proud. He changes into a new suit for his wedding (with the classic "wardrobe full of copies of the same outfit" gag), but nobody can tell the difference.
The Big Bang Theory: Most of the characters - the exception being Penny - are extremely habitual in their dress-sense and shuffle the same few items to arrive at essentially identical outfits, all the time: Sheldon always wears one shirt over another shirt, Leonard always wears a hoodie over a t-shirt, Raj always wears a jacket over a vest over a button-up shirt over a t-shirt, Howard in a long-sleeved shirt over a dickie or a turtleneck.
If there is any sort of outfit change, it'll likely be no more than a Palette Swap. The few times it doesn't apply is with the female lead's wardrobe, each outfit more titillating than the last. Oh, and whenever the male lead has to infiltrate the enemy.
Hero John R. Blade from SiN wears the exact same gear throughout the game, but can don a worker suit when infiltrating a chemical plant. He goes loincloth when mutated, but magically regrows his uniform again when de-mutated.
Most specific video game examples would be redundant, but there are a few specifically obnoxious examples. One such is in Kingdom Hearts II, where The Beast is always in his cloak when he is in your party — even though he was wearing a complicated suit moments before.
Ironically, the Kingdom Hearts series also partially subverts this; several worlds give you specific outfits based on their own theme. For example, Halloween Town gives the party Halloween-costume-mash-up outfits, while Space Paranoids changes the characters' outfits to Tron-inspired "program" outfits.
Possible Lampshade Hanging in the start of the second game, when Sora is wearing the outfit he was wearing in the first game... except there was a year-long Time Skip between the two games and now they're quite small on him.
In The Sims 2 and 3, Sims only normally wear one each of a preset number of outfits (one set of "Everyday" clothes, one set of "Underwear", etc.) The player can make them change one of these outfits, but even if the Sim in question owns every piece of clothing available to him/her, he/she will never wear a different outfit of a given type unless the player explicitly tells him/her to.
Which probably should be classified as aversion, since Sims will not do anything if the player does not tell them to. If not in Free Will, in which they would still eventually perish if not controlled.
There's actually a mod now, which allows sims in The Sims 3 with multiple outfits to switch between them at random, giving a surprising amount of life to their homes. Averted by way of user interference?
In the first Sims game, however, Sims only had one outfit that they could wear.
In Tales of Symphonia, certain titles (which impact the characters' stats) will change the characters' outfits, but this is generally a bad idea for actual gameplay purposes as these titles convey no benefit. Most titles, including the ones your average player will actually want to use for practical purposes, show them in their "regular" outfits.
Humorously lampshaded in the first Gabriel Knight game: Gabe's character was designed to wear a bitchin' leather trenchcoat, which he wears whenever he goes outside. Not a problem, except it's June. In New Orleans. Per his assistant Grace: "I wish you wouldn't wear that coat in June. I can smell you from here."
Characters in Fire Emblem keep one outfit throughout the game (with the exception of lord class changes), this is justified with characters who are wearing armor and other uniforms (and the Greil mercenaries are implied not to be able to afford any more), but defectors still wear the colors of the enemy after they join you, but there is really no reason for Ilyana to change only a cape over a four-year◊ period◊.
Even worse with Sothe, who after growing a foot and a half and becoming lead Mr. Fanservice over that time period, is still wearing that tattered ascot, and for some reason still wears the same size shirt he did three years ago.
An interesting case of this occurs in Fire Emblem Awakening: although changing the classes of your characters will change their outfits in their full 3D renders and in their overworld sprites, their portraits will still wear the same outfits as in their initial appearance.
Most of the playable characters in the Sly Cooper games have this; having outfits that change very little between games.
Sly wears the same blue cap, black mask, and blue shirt during all games (he's even seen wearing it as a kid when growing up in an orphanage), the only difference being a red backpack worn in the first game. About the only time he changes clothes is when in disguise and even then it's usually only for one mission or so per level.
Carmelita Fox often wears a blue halter top & pants, boots, and a leather jacket and gloves. About the only variation to this is when she adds a knit cap during one of the Canadian levels in the second game. She does have a Little Black Dress she wears during formal occasions, but it's rarely seen.
Mario and crew all wear the same outfit all the time — even when swimming. There are a few exceptions, such as Dr. Mario having his white lab coat. Peach — and the other Princesses -also have a shorts and T-shirt ensemble for sports, a jumpsuit for riding motorcycles, AND a set of Strikers armor (because soccer in the Mushroom Kingdom is just that vicious). Cracked's "The 42 Most Insane (But Convincing) Fan Theories Ever Found" puts down Mario as immature because he's "a 40-something bachelor, presumably still living knee-deep in mushroom pizza boxes, since we know he doesn't own more than one set of clothes."
Touhou is kind of weird about this; characters generally wear slightly different outfits in every appearance. Sometimes characters will wear the same thing in more than one game, and there's been a couple of overhauls, but the overall impression is that most people in Gensoukyou have closets full of not-quite-identical clothes.
Rika of the second game is notable in that she averts this despite appearing in exactly one game, changing from a red-dominant to a purple dominant outfit in the extra stage. This is reflected to a large extent in her fanart, where she has dozens of different outfits, and no less than four different hats.
Street Fighter does this a bit. Ryu is only ever seen in a karate gi (apparently, it's all he has to wear), Sakura still wears a schoolgirl uniform even when she's supposed to be 20, Dan only ever wears a pink gi, and even when M. Bison changes bodies, he's always got the same getup. Not to mention Zangief running around in a Speedo... in the cold Russian north... at playgrounds full of children...
Averted with two characters in The King of Fighters games: Athena and Benimaru receive new costumes with every sequel. This also holds true to the crossover games. Kyo, Terry, and Kensou also have gotten new duds in the series, but not at the frequency the former two have.
Since, unlike most MMORPGs, the outfits in City of Heroes are unrelated to actual equipment (which exists in a more abstract form) and mostly determined at character creation, each hero is generally stuck with one outfit (possible with a Palette Swap if the character is in a supergroup). You can pay a hefty sum of money to change things around, but then you have to pay as much to change it back again. As you gain levels, you are rewarded with additional costume slots, which allow you to change outfits at will. In a sense, this makes it a kind of character defect that you eventually buy off.
Justified in Devil Survivor, as the characters are caught in a lockdown a good distance from their homes for the course of the game.
Disgaea. Most of the female characters have more than one outfit, but for the guys, it's to the point where Laharl sleeps with shoes on.
The protagonist of Phantasmagoria 2 never changes his outfit, despite the action taking place over the course of several days. Especially apparent since this is an FMV adventure game.
The Harvest Moon games are particularly egregious examples of this trope. In every game to date, the player characters wear the exact same farm outfit for the course of the game... and several of the games' storylines span for many years.
In A Wonderful Life, Takakura wears the exact same pants with the holes in the knees for thirty years... heh.
In newer games you can change clothing, which started around ANWL with outfits that had different designs.
The Backyard Kids wear the same clothes every game (except when their design is changed), so they wear the same clothes when they are playing football as they do when they are skateboarding. And even then, over multiple seasons.
Subverted in Prototype where although you can only have one other disguise aside from the default Alex, you can consume a different human image to replace your previous alternate ready-to-wear outfit, of which the Manhattan you're in has much to offer.
Almost double subverted, as lot of these variations are merely palette swaps.
In Mass Effect 2 all your squadmates only have one outfit that gets a colour variation or some small addition after you do their loyalty quest (there's also the Appearance Pack DLC). Most of them only add a minimalistic breathing apparatus in hostile environments, leading sometimes to slightly comical, or even plot-damaging scenes. For example, Jack wears only a thin piece of leather covering her nipples, pants, boots, and a tiny breathing apparatus over her face when visiting the quarian Migrant Fleet, where everybody is supposed to wear hermetically sealed encounter suits to avoid spreading infectious diseases or allergens.
In contrast to the first game, every character in Dragon Age II sticks with their default outfit (the Codex explains that Hawke doesn't get to choose what his/her friends wear), except for generally one or two plot-relevant changes:
Most party members get at least a minor accessory (usually including a red scarf) if you complete their Romance Sidequest. Isabela gets a red scarf on her arm, added shoulder armor and a black corset over her top. Fenris wears the Amell crest on his belt and the red scarf on his wrist. Merrill, by contrast, switches outfits entirely to an odd white-and-silver construction.
Anders gets a Palette Swap from greys to black after his personal quest in chapter 3, symbolizing his final decision to go through with hissuicidalplan.
Bethany or Carver each get some sort of costume switch if they don't die in the Deep Roads, either Circle mage robes or a Grey Warden uniform for Bethany, and either Templar plate or a Grey Warden uniform for Carver.
Aveline goes from herodd...thing in the prologue to a Guardswoman's plate armor in chapter 1 and the Captain's uniform in chapter 2.
Slightly lampshaded in Crisis Core. A Costa Del Sol Vacation has both Zack and Cissnei in new swim wear costumes. But Tseng comes in the same full Turk suit he has for the entire game. A DMW memory has Zack asking Cissnei later why Tseng wears the full suit in the tropical weather.
Deadly Premonition: Nearly all the NPCs wear only one outfit for the entire game regardless of time, location, or weather; the ones that do have different outfits change them only for plot reasons (Emily changing into a slinky black dress for dinner, the "goddesses of the forest" changing into red dresses, etc...). Averted with York, as you can have him wear any of a number of suits and have it reflected in the cutscenes; but played straight with Zach, who cannot change suits.
Arle Nadja from Puyo Puyo. She always wears the same outfit, and in Puyo Puyo 2, when meeting the Banshee Trio in easy mode in their new outfits, she tells them that she "just wears the same clothes 365 days a year".
Daisuke Nagase in Persona 4 always wears his soccer uniform, even if he's not in school. He even wears it while playing a basketball game to try and cheer up Kou.
NieR: The title character will wear the same outfit the entire game, the only difference being a jockstrap eyepatch after the time skip. Kaine will eventually call him out on this. Then gets subverted when he tries using the same attack on her. She reveals she has an outfit for every day of the week, and that she washes them every night.
In most of the Hitman series, 47 seems to have only a black suit with pants, black shoes, white shirt, and a red tie. When he does change his outfit to disguise himself, he doesn't take those clothes back home and is seen in the next mission with the same default black suit over and over. On one occasion in the game where he actually doesn't wear it is in Hitman 2 when he's working for a church as a janitor/gardener and starts the game with a worker overall and a white shirt underneath. Finally averted in Absolution, where he starts switching up the actual outfit while staying on the theme of "black suit, white shirt."
Zelda is notable for having all the various Links ending up in the traditional green tunic and hat for some reason, if he doesn't already wear it from the start. The 3D games have mixed it up a bit, such as having different colors tunics or being able to change back into what Link was wearing before. In The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, Link's limited wardrobe is taken even further: Link is actually shown going to sleep and waking up in the same clothing he wears all day. He does change to a different outfit early in the game — his traditional green ensemble — but this only serves to make it more ridiculous, since he is thereafter shown sleeping in his chain mail.
In Katawa Shoujo, the girls typically have one casual outfit each, which they often wear for days on end. Lilly is possibly the best example, as she changes into her casual outfit of a peach off-the-shoulder sweater and a long tan skirt the most often, and the outfit is the first thing he notices about her when she visits him in the hospital in the Good Ending. Hisao himself seems to only have one outfit- of a blue argyle sweater vest, a button down shirt and khaki pants.
This also happens in Cuanta Vida. Justified, because the characters wear uniforms, but there sometimes the characters are seen wearing incomplete uniforms (Sniper without vest, Spy without the mask etc.), pyjamas (in Medic's case with syringe print) and underwear.
Walkyverse examples: Danny has his Indiana University sweatshirt, Sal has her mother's jacket, Mike has his black shirt with the SEMME yellow stripe, Jason has his suit, Walky has his sweatshirt...in fact, for most of It's Walky! all SEMME members qualify. It's justified in Shortpacked!, as most of the comic takes place in the titular toy store and therefore they mostly wear their work uniforms.
Willis consciously averts this in Dumbing of Age, instead giving his characters color motifs and recurring types of clothing, though as a Mythology Gag some things are remarkably similar to the original 'verse—Walky, for example, retains his sweatshirt (now stripe-less), Jason retains his bowtie, Ethan has a lot of green button-downs, Ruth's black-on-green ensemble in the first story arc evokes her original black overalls, and so forth.
In Manly Guys Doing Manly Things, Jonesy's is explained by her as a result of buying shirts and such in bulk and donating them when she's done, and jeans were meant to last forever anyway. She does this because she doesn't have her own washer and dryer, and finds it a pain to find nine quarters for a laundromat.
In El Goonish Shive, for the first few years, the main characters used to wear the same few clothes in all their appearances. Elliot in particular used to default to wearing a black t-shirt and rarely deviating from that. This was lampshaded in a non-canon EGS:NP storyline which completely revamped Tedd, Susan and Sarah but left Elliot unchanged except for now wearing a white t-shirt.
In Life, Felicia is almost always seen in either her school uniform (even though her high school doesn't have a uniform) or a red t-shirt over grey clothes.
morphE follows a Visual Novel styled template and in turn all the character sprites stick to their default outfits for the majority of the time. Except Amical. But he's rich and can afford more than one shirt.
Ozy and Millie almost always wear the same outfits, Ozy a black vest and top hat, Millie a set of coveralls. With some exceptions such as Ozy wearing pants whenever he gets shaved and the few times Millie was forced to wear a dress.
Most of the cast of Precocious, Bud has his jeans, black vest, and wifebeater. Tiffany her green dress with a smiley-face pin. And Autumn with her Catholic schoolgirl outfit (their school doesn't have uniforms, she wears it to make people underestimate her), though she sometimes wears a tanktop and sweatpants in summer.
Both of their closets are shown to have multiple copies of their signature outfits. Additionally, if they change to winter clothes or occasionally swimtrunks, the color motifs stay the same.
Tycho was once seen clothes shopping, looking at a rack of the blue/grey shirts identical to his own.
Many characters in The Fourth have been seen in night clothes, and costumes are used from time to time for thematic and comedic purposes, but the daily outfit for any one character remains exactly the same.
Lampshaded in the web fiction serial Dimension Heroes when Brittany and Tami go clothes shopping. Brittany is excited about a neat shirt she found on sale, only for Tami to point out that it was remarkably similar to the one she was currently wearing.
At Whateley Academy in the Whateley Universe, the only thing Bladedancer ever wears is a mandarin top with yoga pants. She's not very comfortable with her body. Generator also has a Limited Wardrobe, but for a different reason: she's really poor. She works in the school sewers as her scholarship job (at Whateley, this is a hazard-pay kind of job).
Mega-Girl. The only thing Marty ever wears is her super-suit. Phase found out she studies in it. Not only does she have very few clothes, but the more she wears her suit (it's a psychokinetic construct), the more it gives her the Most Common Superpower.
Can often show up in Journal Roleplay even for characters that don't normally fall under this trope, if the game only brings characters with the clothes on their back and doesn't provide a way to get more.
In his television appearances, David Mitchell has a wardrobe as variable as anyone else. But in his weekly David Mitchell's Soap Box webcasts, he always wears the same red button-up shirt and black slacks. Justified since they record five episodes at a time and switching shirts for each one would waste time. However, when viewers commented on it, he changed to a blue shirt and explained that he'd be perfectly happy to wear the same thing every day — it would save time and shield him from lingering insecurities about his vanity.
The Nostalgia Critic generally always wears the same hat, jacket, and necktie/T-shirt combo, presumably to make him immediately distinguishable from Doug Walker's other characters. Fellow That Guy with the Glasses reviewers Linkara (black shirt, plaid shirt, jacket, hat), Angry Joe (black Superboy t-shirt, jacket) and Todd in the Shadows (the exact same hood, and a mask when appearing in the light) also don't vary on wardrobe very much, except when the situation calls for it.
Except for very occasional color changes (and armor updates every time the show starts being filmed in a new game), all characters in Red vs. Blue appear in the exact same armor every single time. Understandable, though, as it's a machinima recorded in Halo, and there isn't exactly anything else to visually differentiate characters from one another other than armor color!
Many of the western animation examples that follow below are of programs that originally aired on Saturday mornings, where children are the primary audience. The reasons vary, but one example can be what's stated in the explanation: children find it easier to identify a character by keeping what the character's wardrobe identical from episode to episode (along with hairstyle and other identifying characteristics remaining consistent). The trope is typically broken only when it relates to the plot, such as the characters going to a formal party (for instance, a pretty college-age girl who always wears a green T-shirt with her high school's name printed across the upper chest and blue jeans would not be acceptable, so she wears an evening gown to the party).
The cast of Scooby-Doo may be the archetypical set of examples; their standard costumes are so identified with them that the outfits were faithfully reproduced for the live-action films. In What's New, Scooby-Doo?, they acquire new outfits, and even change them occasionally, but consistently maintain the same colour schemes as the original series.
There has been a lot of back-and-forth on Fred's ascot. By the 80s, it was considered a completely goofy item for a man to wear, most iterations of Fred until Mystery Inc. dropped it. Nowadays you could justify it as a very hipster-ish ironic item (although in the show Fred just thinks they look classy).
Shaggy and (obviously) Scooby didn't actually change notably. Velma's outfit is identical; what's changed is that now she's got a figure (compared to the original series, when her body could be described as "boxy" at best, although I prefer "Hazmat drum on legs".) The change probably had something to do with the fact that Linda Cardellini (who played Velma in the live-action movies) is hot and looks really good in a bikini.
In some of the newer animated movies, all of the human characters but Shaggy wear a variety of updated clothes, although Daphne still always wears something violet and Velma still looks nerdier then Fred and Daphne. They lampshade their previous consistency when they get sucked into a video game a friend of theirs made of their adventures. The computer version of them are all wearing traditional outfits. Daphne says that they must not have seen their friend often enough because he hasn't noticed their fashion changes. Then everybody stares at the two Shaggys who are identical except for the color of their T-shirts and the real Shaggy says "why mess with a classic?"
Funnily enough present-day Shaggy's outfit was identical to his original one; the virtual version was wearing a version from the 80's movies. You know, the ones with Scrappy.
Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island took more than a few shots at Lampshade Hanging this, including Shaggy (who had the same outfit as always) opening a suitcase full of green shirts and then pondering what to wear and Fred (who had a new outfit for the movie) secretly posing in a mirror with his old scarf before discarding it in disgust.
Used humorously in a Cartoon Network promo, where Mystery Inc. is waiting for someone in the van. It's Velma, barefoot, shuffling through drawers of socks trying to find orange colored ones.
Star Trek: The Animated Series had an excuse since its characters all wore uniforms, but being a Filmation product, it still needed to cut corners further — Uhura's earrings never changed, and at least one Trek professional has complained about it.
They also created force-field belts for this purpose, so that they could only slightly modify stock footage for those scenes, instead of having to animate the crew in the full spacesuits (which themselves only appeared in live-action once before The Motion Picture).
In Daria, few characters change clothes, including the Fashion Club members. While most of the characters wore the same set of clothes throughout the entire series, all the Fashion Club members did actually get new outfits between the 3rd and 4th seasons. They still wore those same outfits all the time after the change, though, with the rare exception when the plot makes them wearing something different a necessity. Lampshaded in "Life in the Past Lane", where Jane dates a guy who is practically obsessed with vintage 1940's clothing and culture. When she's having trouble picking out clothes for a date, she says "It was so much easier when I had one outfit."
The Simpsons does this and has done many Lampshade Hangings about it, most notably the episode where Homer found that his blue pants were discontinued by the maker after wearing out his last pair.
When Bart wonders in "Bart's Girlfriend" why Jessica Lovejoy doesn't like him, he asks Lisa if it's because he's "worn the same outfit day in and day out for the past four years."
When Marge was away, no one was doing the washing. Lisa complains "I feel like I've been wearing this same red dress forever!"
When her coral necklace is stolen, Marge claims it was a family heirloom. Homer comments that she likely has a drawer full of them, which she does. Later parodied when the burglar returns the lock of MacGyver's hair to Selma, and she adds it back to the rest.
Another episode shows Marge doing Bart's laundry, which is several pairs of blue shorts and orange tees. She then shuffles them together like a stack of cards.
Marge: There, Bart is set for the week!
Bart finds a rack full of the same dress Marge wears at the 33˘ store. She buys several more, though one dress she pulls off the rack she rejects immediately.
Marge: [disgusted] Blue?!
In Garfield and Friends, Jon Arbuckle almost invariably wears the same outfit except for special occasions, interestingly enough, since his comic counterpart wears a number of differently colored shirts.
Ray Ray: I am never taking off this shirt again! Monroe: Hate to break it to ya, lad, but you never do. You're like Charlie Brown.
In another episode, Jody walks in, wearing her usual outfit, and says, "that new boy is so cute, I changed outfits for him!" Everybody stares at her, and she adds, "twice!"
The boys of South Park are defined almost entirely by their clothes, and this is parodied in "How To Eat With Your Butt", which features the boys without their caps on Picture Day. In another episode, Kenny is unrecognizable without his orange coat. In the episode "Super Best Friends", all of the people of South Park had shaved their heads and were wearing the same clothes, which made it impossible to tell them apart (Stan had to find Kyle by using their Catch Phrase). Kenny also removed his coat in the SP movie, revealing he has blond hair. Cartman is probably the major exception because he's visibly fatter regardless of clothes. Exploited for The Unreveal in "The Coon": when Mysterion takes off his mask, everyone gasps and comments on how they never thought it would be him — but the viewers have no idea who it is. It's Kenny.
Elisa Maza almost always wears a red bomber jacket, black shirt, blue jeans, and black shoes.
Multi-billionaire executive David Xanatos wears his black Armani business suit in almost every appearance where he's not sporting the Steel Clan body armor. Or his wedding. Or practicing martial arts.
American Dragon Jake Long: Virtually all the characters wear the same outfits from episode to episode, unless the episode specifically calls for something else (wearing a formal outfit to a dance, for example.) Jake Hangs a Lampshade about this in the episode "Breakout", when he inquires (on what to wear to his date with Rose), "Should I wear my red jacket, or mix things up, and wear my other red jacket?"
Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, "Setting A President" features a bit of Lampshade Hanging. When Frankie runs against Mr. Herriman for president of the house, Herriman eventually resorts to a smear campaign in his efforts to win. One of the resulting ads counters Frankie's promises of "change" by pointing out that she wears the same green jacket every day.
Yet another Lampshade Hanging: in The Oblongs, conjoined twins Biff and Chip appear to wear green shirts that are specially designed to fit two people at once. Then their mother tries giving one shirt away as a hand-me-down. The bare-chested twins emerge and yell at their mom, "Hey! That's our only shirt!"
Spoofed in The Venture Bros. episode "Are You There, God? It's Me, Dean", when Hank Venture complains to the Monarch that his clothes feel dirty because he had to sleep in them. The Monarch replies, "You're kidding, right? That's the only shirt I ever see you wear!" Hank's answer: "Doesn't mean I don't wash it." Justified in a later episode, "Escape to the House of Mummies (Part 2)", in which Dr. Orpheus comments that he assumed his daughter Triana's wearing of the same shirt all the time was just a "phase" she was going through. In truth it was because his use of her closet as a portal to the netherworld made her scared of her own closet. Interestingly, the trope is averted by Brock, who is regularly seen in two or three different shirts.
The characters on O'Grady each wear the same outfit every time (Abby is always in pink, Kevin in the same shirt and pants, etc.) and did the mandatory closet gag, plus one more. When Abby gets a (female) stalker, she's unsure how much she should worry — until she sees the stalker wearing one of her pink outfits.
Ben 10 is extremely guilty of this. Not only do the three main characters of Gwen, Ben, and Grandpa Max always wear the same outfit, but in a time travel episode, Grandpa Max still wears the same outfit 20 years later. (At least Ben and Gwen got new outfits after the Time Skip, and Ben at least takes his jacket off quite a bit). Lampshade Hanging did occur in the Live-Action Adaptation.
Although the lampshade hanging implies he only has one white shirt with black vertical stripe, but other episodes show him with lots of identical ones.
For Ben at least, its eventually justified. Apparently, whatever he's wearing gets deconstructed every time he transforms, and when he transforms back, it gets reconstructed as clothing he was wearing when the transformation doohickey last booted up. He acknowledges that he could probably figure out how to upload new outfits into it eventually, but the one time it seemed prudent to do so he was rather busy with more pressing matters.
In other words, even if he had a complete and varied wardrobe, after a week or two of hero-ing, all his clothes would have been transformed into what we see anyway.
In Xiaolin Showdown, the three male protagonists wear the same thing nearly every episode (especially Omi, who we almost never see out of his red and black robes). However, Kimiko has a new outfit and funky hairdo with each episode.
... Which reverts back to her usual ponytail when in "combat mode".
Gets a bit of cover when the team goes to meet Kimiko's father: she tells them to dress nicely, and Omi appears to be wearing the exact same robes. But, as he points out, "they have a slightly higher thread count!"
The main characters of Teen Titans are never seen in anything other than their superhero costumes. They even sleep in them.
In fairness, Cyborg technically doesn't wear clothes.
Robin did wear a tux to prom and Starfire wore a hot pink dress, but Robin's tux was custom made to be instantly removable, and Starfire was wearing her uniform underneath it and not wearing her dress at the end of the episode.
Code Lyoko is guilty of this as well, but starting from the middle of the fourth season onward, the main characters all get different sets of clothes... which they continue to wear day in and day out.
They do have some different outfits for specific situations, like sports clothes, party clothes, night clothes, etc.
Lampshaded in episode "Ghost Channel", when a "bug" in the Matrix-like simulation makes Sissi wear a yellow shirt.
Apart from seasonal changes (winter, summer), nightwear, disguises, and other special occasions, the characters in Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers always wear the same. Chip always wears an aviator jacket and a fedora hat (with the exception of "To the Rescue" part 1 and half of part 2 before he finds the hat), Dale always wears a red Hawaiian shirt with yellow "flower" prints, Monterey Jack always wears a coat, a green turtleneck, an aviator cap, and a pair of matching goggles upon said cap (in one episode, he actually wears a secondpair of goggles over his eyes in addition to the ones on his cap), Zipper always wears the red sweater, and Gadget always wears her trademark lavender coveralls with a purple belt, a pair of blue lab goggles, and a white shirt (which keeps disappearing, though). Apparently, Gadget also owns only one dress, specifically the red one from "Double 'O Dale" and "Mind Your Cheese & Q's".
In The Transformers, Spike and his father, Sparkplug, wear construction worker style clothing throughout the series, and Spike's girlfriend, Carly, wears the same blue outfit and white collared shirt until the post-movie era. Spike and Carly's son, Daniel, typically wears an outfit with a monogrammed 'D', a la Laverne DeFazio.
The same in Transformers Animated, Sari Sumdac is always in her trademark orange dress, and her father Prof. Sumdac is similarly always wearing his research smock. Even when Sari upgrades to a teenager she is merely wearing a more mature version of the dress.
Captain Fanzone also is only ever seen in his cop uniform.
In G.I. Joe, Cobra Commander either has a metal face-guard helmet or a cloth mask, with no particular pattern to when he changes them. He's even been seen to flicker between the two in the space of a single CCTV transmission.
The helmet is supposed to be for battle, the cloth mask for non-combat situations. The comics were fairly consistent about it, the cartoon animators often forgot the rule.
Nearly every character in all iterations of Joe only wear their signature outfit (justified with the Joes as their uniforms, if highly customized), unless they're going undercover or the rare scene of them in civvies off-duty. Even THEN they seem to sometimes go on Rn R in their Joe outfits.
Quick Kick was a stunt actor who became a Joe, he wasn't a military member like most of them. His trademark outfit was the costume he was wearing shooting a Frozen Fudgy Bar commercial. Why he never decided to wear anything else is a mystery (or why he never returned it to the wardroom department of that production company...thief!)
The same could be said for the Cobras, as they are wearing their "uniforms" for combat.
Parodied in the American Dad! episode "Not A Particularly Desperate Housewife": Steve, locked in Hayley's closet, threatens, "Let me out, or I'll rip up all your clothes!", to which Hayley responds, "Go ahead! If you haven't noticed, I only wear this one outfit."
Inverted by Roger, one of whose defining character traits is his vast wardrobe of costumes and wigs.
Goldie Gold is supposed to be the world's richest girl, and her outfits can be counted on one hand. Perhaps she's just really attached to her gold lame pants and white fur coat.
Rocko's Modern Life: Rocko always wears the same blue shirt with purple triangles, Heffer always wears the same red overalls, Mr. Bighead always wear the same suit, etc. The episode "Unbalanced Load" centered around Rocko doing his laundry (a pile of identical shirts) while wearing his "lucky shirt" (another identical shirt.)
Doug of Nickelodeon's Doug always wears the same outfit: white t-shirt, green vest, khaki shorts, and sneakers. In one episode, a character in a popular Show Within a Show started wearing the same outfit, and Doug had to convince everyone that he wasn't following a trend since he'd always dressed that way.
Most Disney characters have an iconic outfit that they wear for most if not all of the movie. A main character will get a costume change with a change in circumstances, but rarely for any minor reason. A secondary character will never change clothes. Strangely, this applies both to poor characters and royalty.
Characteristic of Arthur. Arthur is almost always seen wearing a yellow shirt, blue jeans, and the same pair of shoes. D.W. wears a pink vest over a white/pink-striped outfit (though the pink stripes are only present in the books.) All other characters generally have standard outfits as well.
In an episode where D.W. is imitating Arthur she gets an outfit that looks exactly like his, leading Arthur to ask if she already has clothes like that because they "look familiar".
The entire cast is this, but they also have summer and winter clothes, which are ALSO always the same. Arthur's blue short sleeved T-shirt with a darker blue stripe in the middle is the most memorable of the summer clothes.
They do change outfits for plot related reasons but their outfits are mostly the same.
Justified in Barbie & The Diamond Castle, as the main characters are likely too poor to afford more than one dress (and one of Alexa's wishes is to have more dresses than she could possibly wear), and no one else is seen for more than a day.
Lampshaded in The PJs when Thurgood and Muriel get approved for credit cards, bringing up the fact that Muriel is only ever seen in the outfit in question.
Sharique: The best part about having a credit card is that you can shop on line... now what do you like to wear? Muriel: Oh my goodness so many things but mostly pink sweatshirts that say Paris. Sharique: Hmmm... oh I know just the site! Muriel: Ahh... "Pink sweatshirts that says Paris dot com"!
In Dilbert, like the comics, everyone always wears the same outfit.
This was also lampshaded when Dilbert was testing to see if his male coworkers could remember what they were wearing — they couldn't, despite Dilbert telling them that it's the same outfit they wear every day.
Phineas and Ferb.Lampshaded in one episode, when their mother tells them to pick out new clothes for the coming school year, and they enter and exit the store in less than two seconds because, as Phineas notes, "We have a pretty standard look." Then they each pull out the other brother's outfit from their bag, look at each other for a beat and switch them.
While she's occasionally seen in other outfits, Candace usually wears a red blouse and white skirt. This is lampshaded in "Monster from the Id", where they go inside Candace's mind and one of the self-doubts that can be heard at the Waterfalls of Anxiety is "Is it okay that I only wear one dress?"
The Fairly OddParents is guilty of this. Timmy: pink shirt and hat, dark blue streachpants. Wanda: yellow shirt, black streachpants. Cosmo: white suit, tie, black streachpants. While clothes change when needed, they're usually in these.
Richie Foley in Static Shock especially, but probably many if not all of the characters. Richie is always wearing a green shirt with an orange stripe across it. He wears it so often its hard to notice that it changes to a hoodie eventually. What's incredible is that we're shown the inside of his closet once and see some other colored shirts, and he still picks the green-and-orange one. Even when he becomes a superhero, he's still wearing green. Virgil/Static at least wears an outfit in the first episode that's never seen again; when he's not wearing his Static uniform, he's usually wearing the same T-shirt and jeans unless he's dressed for church or visiting a grave. The villains always wear the same thing, though Ebon and Rubberband Man have the excuse that it looks like their clothes have become part of them. Especially since Rubberband Man can morph his purple jumpsuit to look like any kind of clothing and Ebon could be naked and the audience probably wouldn't notice, he's so much of a black and purple morphing blob.
Kim Possible is an interesting case in that it played this trope straight for the first two seasons and later on subverted it. Everyone wore the same outfits. As the quotes page shows this was lampshaded at times. But in the later seasons Kim started wearing different outfits, although other characters still wore the same thing.
In Superman: The Animated Series, except for one single scene when he is undercover with Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen wears the same outfit for literally every scene in the entire series. This includes when he is working his day job, going out on a date, and even when taking photographs during an alien invasion. Clark Kent predominately wears the same blue suit, but there is some variety depending on the situation (He is seen wearing pajamas when getting ready for bed, casual clothes with his family, etc.). Lois has the greatest variety; there is a common Palette Swap on her daily clothes, and she wears numerous evening gowns for dinners, workout clothes when jogging, pajamas, and other outfits depending on the situation.
The cast of Fanboy and Chum Chum, the titular duo being the guiltiest. They never take their superhero costumes off, even for bathing.
Beavis and Butt-Head only have two outfits each: the MTV look (Metallica and AC/DC t-shirts) and the merchandising look (Skull and Death Rock t-shirts).
Lampshaded in Futurama, when Fry initially moved into Bender's apartment, which an area of roughly three square feet, not counting the closet. He asks where can he hang his clothes, and Bender responds, "Listen, you've only got one set of clothes, and you're not taking them off while I'm around." This is actually justified, since Fry is from the past/present, all he'd have coming out of the cryotube was the clothes currently on him.
In another episode, Leela tells Fry that she's meeting someone for brunch, and is thinking of wearing this..."this" being the same white tank-top and black pants she always wears. Fry says it looks nice.
In another episode, Fry asks Amy why does she always wear a tracksuit if she's so rich. She says she's rebelling against her parents who want her to be more ladylike.
Amy actually Zigzags the Trope. She always wears the same outfit - her pink midriff-bearing sweatshirt, sweatpants, and sneakers - for casual occasions, but she seems to have a large variety of outfits for special occasions and parties. She even wore an outfit modeled after Jackie Onassis Kennedy in "Hell is Other Robots".
In a season one episode Bender becomes a chef, and Leela points out that he has no sense of taste, to which he responds that she can't talk wearing a lime green tank-top. This is striking since this may be the first time we ever see Leela wearing something other than her standard white top.
Almost every recurring character in Freakazoid!. Even on special occasions, such as Freakazoid's birthday and Cosgrove's date, said two characters wear the exact same clothes.
Almost everyone in Huntik: Secrets & Seekers. The four protagonists only change their clothes for a couple of missions, but other than that, they're always seen wearing the exact same outfit.
Stated on-screen that Dante has a closet full with copies of his trademark trenchcoat.
The kids on Recess- even the fashionable Ashleys - only change their clothes when it relates to the plot. Examples: picture day, Spinelli dressing up for the pageant, TJ and Vince dressing as boy detectives "The Barnaby Boys."
Each and every character on Jimmy Two-Shoes is limited to one outfit unless there's a special occasion (needing to perform in a band, snow days, etc). Lampshaded in the episode "Snowrilla", in which Jimmy confesses that he wears the same shirt everyday, followed by a Gross-Up Close-Up to show how tattered and filthy the shirt actually is.
The three main characters of Dan Vs. basically wears the same clothes almost episode, and sometimes when Dan switches up he's wearing Chris's clothes.
Hey Arnold! characters rarely dress in anything but their standard sets, which is funny considering Rhonda is such a fashionista and often makes snide remarks regarding other people's clothes... but never her own never-changing style. Though in one episode she claimed to be wearing brand new designer boots, they just looked like the ones she regularly wears.
My Little Pony And Friends: In the first of the two specials preceding the movie, the ponies' human ally Megan wore a cowgirl outfit that never made it to toy form, and in the second she wore a generic outfit with a pink polo shirt and dark pants followed by the dress that came with her toy (its sole appearance). From My Little Pony The Movie onward, Megan's default outfit was a pink shirt with a white collar and cuffs, a set of aqua blue overalls with frilly straps and a pink heart sewn to the front, and a pair of pink shoes. She did not wear socks. This was a loose interpretation of the separately-sold "Country Jamboree" outfit. She rarely wears anything else on-screen, apart from the "Sweet Dreams" nightgown (normally we don't see her up in the middle of the night, this presumably gets plenty of wear off-screen) and the "Ice Princesses" outfit in a couple of episodes. Otherwise she wore the overalls and pink shirt come hell or high water. And no, that's not figurative.
The cast of the fourth generation My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic tend to avoid this, as most of them don't wear clothes much (with the exception of Rarity who, being a fashionista and designer, is often wearing a variety of designs for various occasions), but those who do tend to have very iconic wear: Applejack is almost never seen without her hat, Big Macintosh wears a horse collar even though it's not attached to anything, and Applebloom is always wearing her red ribbon. Despite her limited appearances, Trixie's magician hat and cape became so eyecatching that it's hard to find any fanart of her without it, and when she showed up in "Magic Duel" with a dark cape and evil amulet combo, everyone knew that something was amiss. (Once she loses the amulet and regains her sanity, the magician outfit is back on.)
Applejack's house was recently revealed to have a "Hats and Bows Closet" filled with identical Apple Bloom bows and Applejack hats. No sign of Big Mac having multiples of the collar.
This is taken a few steps further and mixed with Magic Pants in Team Umizoomi. The main characters with clothes, Milli and Geo, will add face-plates, flippers, fur (Milli only), scarves, and/or just switch the palette of their usual clothes, with a few additions or alterations for protection or warmth.
In some cases, they just alter their usual costume slightly, like in Haircut Hijinx with the pictures, or largely/change the outfit entirely (like this pic◊)
DoorMouse is another example. He will mostly wear a yellow jacket with blue sleeves and a light blue shirt underneath, blue pants, red boots and a stop sign badge but slightly alter the outfit depending on the job.
The Burners and the other recurring Motorcitizens always wear the same outfits in Motorcity, but a more justified example would be the citizens of Detroit Deluxe, in which all of them always wear a mandatory DD spandex uniform.
Played with in Archer. Lana always wears the same turtleneck sweater dress (unless she's on a mission), but she owns red, tan, brown, green, and light green versions of that dress (among other colors). Ditto with the rest of the cast and their respective uniforms. They do have more formal clothing for special missions, though.
The characters of Detentionaire all have exactly one outfit each, not counting disguises and costumes.
Truth in Television for a great deal of history. Clothing becoming cheap enough that the average person could afford to own more than 2-3 outfits is a fairly recent event on a historical scale.
To some extent it still is Truth in Television. Four or five identical plain t-shirts, either all white or no more than two solid colours per package, can be bought for the price of one or two more decorative individual ones from most superstores.
An article about Tide detergent in New York magazine states that prior to the introduction of laundry detergent with surfactants after World War II, people owned far less clothing and wore an outfit several times before washing it.
Also played straight from the Steam Age to the post-World War II years even with people who could afford a well furnished wardrobe: it was inconceivable for formal or elegant clothing to have striking colors or patterns, so most people owned an entire row of dark suits, white shirts, black shoes.
Unless you find mauve not striking enough, that was not always the case. The first aniline dye mauveine, with its incredibly bright and garish hue, enjoyed a long-lasting, British Empire-spanning craze, started by none other than Queen herself. And then it gave way to other bright synthetic dyes. The usual mistake is to think that if the photos of the day are shades of grey, the outfits were as well.
Truth in Television for people all over the world who simply can't afford to buy lots of clothing, or don't live in an area where clothing stores are readily accessible. Many people only have a few outfits that they just wash frequently until they completely wear out.
Albert Einstein was rumored to have had a closet of 12 identical outfits so he wouldn't have to think about what he wore. He also refused to wear socks.
Likewise, fellow physicist Richard Feynman kept a wardrobe of very similar shirts and slacks for a large part of his career so he wouldn't have to waste time choosing clothes.
Daniel Radcliffe enjoyed annoying the paparazzi during his stint on the London stage - for six months he deliberately wore the same clothes when leaving the theatre so photographs would be worthless.
Jennifer Aniston had done the same thing previously; she always wore the same pair of bright orange cargo shorts any time she was out in public. Since it made it nearly impossible to tell if a photo was new or not, it rendered most photos of her nearly worthless (this was back when she was still on Friends and married to Brad Pitt, making her even more of a tabloid target than she is now.)
Fashion editor Carrie Donovan (aka the Old Navy lady) always wore black with pearls and glasses.
Author Tom Wolfe famously wears identical white suits for all public appearances.
Sir David Attenborough explained in an interview why he always wears the same light blue shirt and khaki chino trousers. Apparently it's to stop people focusing on what he is wearing and instead keep their attention on the animals themselves. It also allows his production team to mix footage of him from different series or combine separate shots filmed over a long period of time without major continuity issues.
Wearing a limited range of colours is actually a trick used by naturalists and natural history film-makers. If they want to make themselves familiar to some animals, animals with colour vision that work mainly on visual recognition (like chimps) they try to always turn up looking the same. If they turned up in a different coloured shirt, the animals might think it was a different human, and either flee or turn aggressive.
Project Runway judge Michael Kors wears a black blazer, black shirt, and jeans in every single episode, despite being an extremely successful fashion designer. At the Season 4 reunion, he explained that in his younger days he constantly fell victim to every new fashion trend; now he sticks with one classic outfit.
He also mentioned that the reason why he wears the same thing is so that he doesn't have to think about what he's going to wear.
Neil Gaiman, if not actually on a red carpet, always wears black jeans (R. M. Williams black jeans, if you're interested), a black T-shirt with a black sweater if it's cold, and a black leather jacket. He claims he has very poor fashion sense and this makes it easier. In photos of him in the 80s, the T-shirt is sometimes grey.
Steve Jobs and his trademark St Croix black long-sleeved mock turtleneck sweaters, Levi 501 blue jeans, and white New Balance 991 sneakers.
According to John Lasseter, Jobs adopted the black turtleneck because it was discounted, and the only way he could get more was to buy in bulk. Jobs is rumored to have over a hundred turtlenecks and jeans...
It is confirmed in the recent biography written by Walter Isaacson that Jobs had over a hundred of those shirts. The author describes one interview with Jobs at his home where Jobs showed him the contents of his closet, and there were indeed that many shirts in there. Jobs was given the shirts by the designer of the uniforms at a Japan based company Apple had dealings with. Jobs had admired the uniforms the factory workers wore, and had unsuccessfully tried to convince Apple to adopt a uniform vest. The designer sent him several boxes full of the black shirts instead.
Drew Carey often jokes that his entire wardrobe is made up of white shirts and ties.
In one of the audio commentaries to Spaced, Kevin Smith notes how this trope applies to the show (in the sense that they have a small number of outfits that they repeat) and proceeds to cite it as a point of the show's realism. Kevin Smith himself is known for having this, too.
Dean Kamen (inventor of the Segway, among other things) is almost always seen in jeans and a long-sleeved flannel shirt, no matter how fancy the occasion. In fact, people have trouble recognizing him when he's wearing something else.
Steve Irwin seemed to wear his khaki shirt and shorts wherever he went. His entire family also dresses like this.
One-time BBC war correspondent and, later, independent MP Martin Bell is well-known for wearing white suits.
Somewhere in the middle of his career George Carlin decided to wear plain black outfits for his shows. Sometimes vary on whether he wears long or short sleeves, or whether the shirt is tucked or untucked, but always uncompromisingly black.
When not on The Daily Show and thus not in a suit, Jon Stewart almost universally wears a grey T-shirt and khakis, sometimes with a leather jacket if it's cold out. When named one of NYC's Best Dressed, he protested with a slideshow of himself at various public appearances: "Same fucking shirt, every day — that's not personal style, that's OCD!"
The White Stripes dress exclusively in white, red and black. This does not extend to appearances and performances with their side projects, though.
"Weird Al" Yankovic has almost always been seen in a loud Hawaiian shirt, black trousers, and brightly-patterned Vans shoes since the 1980s.
His limited wardrobe is reportedly a large one; early in his career, Al had a note in his concert rider asking venues to supply him with one new garish Hawaiian shirt, and quickly accumulated several closetsful. The Vans company has also been known to let Al stop by the warehouse and take home an armload of new shoes.
Until Al had his vision corrected with LASIK eye surgery in the 1990s, his distinctive large wire-rimmed eyeglasses were also part of his trademark look.
EDM artist Robert DeLong always wears black jeans and a black T-shirt with his orange "X" logo.
Mwanzaa on ABCs Teen Kids News on Sunday mornings is always seen wearing a dark blue jacket with a pink dress shirt and a pink/green spripped tie every week.
In general, people have favourite items of clothing that they like to wear often. Once you start to notice how that one girl at work always wears a plaid shirt, it Cannot Be Unseen.
College, summer camp, vacation, business trips, or any other scenario where one can only bring a limited amount of clothes.
Enforced whenever uniforms are mandated to be worn, or if there is a sufficiently stringent dress code that prohibits a large enough section of garments to the point where fashion choices are extremely limited.
During the 2010 World Cup, Germany's coach Jogi Loew wore the same "lucky" blue sweater◊ for 3 straight matches until his team lost to Spain. The sweater eventually sold for 1 million Euros.
Henry Rollins is rarely seen these days in anything but a plain black t-shirt and black jeans. When he performed music, he only wore a pair of (usually blue) athletic shorts.
Colonel Sanders only wore his Kentucky Colonel white outfit for the rest of his life once he became a cultural icon.
Johnny Cash famously only wore black, usually a black button up shirt, black trousers, black cowboy boots (sometimes loafers) and a black duster.
Lampshaded Closet Gag Examples
Lampshaded in a 1990s McDonald's commercial which showed Ronald McDonald in his morning routine, including opening a closetful of identical clown suits while pondering "what to wear, what to wear..."
Anime and Manga
A character on Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water, having suffered the destruction of his hat by gunfire, discards it and pulls an identical hat out of his pocket; the same character is later seen keeping four identical white linen suits in his closet.
Hanson actually has a large collection of identical outfits, though he claims they have "subtle differences".
L from Death Notereally does have◊a million of the same outfit.◊ During his time in the series other than the flashbacks to his childhood, he pretty much never wore anything else including while pretending to be a paramedic. He's still wearing that outfit even as a ghost. Yep.
Gintoki has a whole rack of the exact same outfit in one episode of Gintama.
Poor Rurouni Kenshin doesn't even get a closet to lampshade—he's wearing exactly one outfit, as is shown when he gives up a part of it to Misao—the anime takes the time to close up on it, showing all of the repaired Clothing Damage he had taken up to that point. Misao then asks if his wife had left him.
The black T-shirt is the only kind of top Yamagami from Servant × Service wears, despite they may come from different retailers and may be of different material (at least this is how she justified when Chihaya lampshaded this). Apparently, it's hard for her to get clothing because of her large breasts.
Wilhelmina Carmel from Shakugan no Shana wears a maid outfit at all times. The third season shows her getting several identical copies of that outfit out of her closet.
In the 1990s Power of Shazam! comic, Billy Batson always wore a red shirt with a yellow collar (the same shirt he wore in the Filmation series mentioned above). In one issue, he explains he bought twelve identical shirts because they were cheap.
Also inverted in that series when Billy discovers that, by concentrating on what he wants to look like as he says the magic word, he can transform into Captain Marvel in just about any clothing he likes — and he can change the length of Cap's hair and add a beard and/or moustache if he wants to. So the hero who would be expected to be in the same uniform all the time can vary his appearance (though somehow, there's generally red involved, particularly in terms of shirts, jackets, etc.) while the "secret identity", who can simply change his clothes, always wears the same thing...
In classic Superman comics, Clark Kent always wears a blue suit, white shirt, and red tie. This was actually explained once: When he changes to Superman, Clark compresses his street clothes into a flat packet which he carries in a pouch in his cape. To prevent them becoming wrinkled, he has to treat them with a special chemical which has the side effect of dyeing everything red, white, or blue...
Peanuts characters occasionally comment on their own unvarying clothing. How many yellow zigzag shirts does Charlie Brown own? And how would we know Rerun from Linus without the overalls?
The closet gag was explicitly used by Jughead Jones in the Archie comic book series, where he does the exact same thing as the cartoon up above: his closet has all clothes which are all the same.
Katy Keene usually averts this trope, the main appeal of her comics is that her outfits are designed and sent in by readers, so she changes outfits very frequently.
Pete Wisdom in Excalibur once explained to Kitty Pryde that his entire closet contains nothing but black slacks, black suit jackets, and white shirts, because he wrecks so many clothes on missions that if he didn't do that he'd have a garish nightmare of partial sets of clothes. He ended up giving one of his outfits to Douglock when Doug had no clothes of his own to wear, causing Douglock to note that Pete said he had "twenty-seven suits of clothing that are all exactly the same."
Dykes To Watch Out For: Only really afflicts the main character Mo, who constantly wears jeans and a black-and-white striped top. Repeatedly lampshaded ("just wear another striped T-shirt and indestructible jeans," "you could get management to pay you enough to buy another outfit," "here's a fetching striped one"). In one episode, she dresses up to look nice for another character she has a crush on: this involves wearing a black shirt with thinner white stripes.
How much this trope applies varies from character to character in Luann, but Gunther has admitted to owning seven identical shirts.
Pointed out by Wally in one of the comics based on the Young Justice cartoon when shopping with Superboy. "But don't you want a little variety? I mean you picked out a whole rack of the same black T-shirt..."
Zits takes this Up to Eleven by showing Jeremy and Connie shopping at a strip mall with a dedicated store for each item in Jeremy's Limited Wardrobe. Connie once claimed that men don't shop, they Tivo their closets.
An oddly serious movie example: Seth Brundle in Cronenberg's The Fly. When the love interest points out that he's been wearing the same clothes for the past few days, he shows her his wardrobe full of identical outfits. He doesn't like wasting time in the morning deciding what to wear, citing Einstein as an example.
Lampshaded in Spice World. "The little Gucci dress, the little Gucci dress, or the little Gucci dress?"
One of the Ernest movies has a scene where title character Ernest P. Worrell opens his closet to specifically show the viewer two dozen copies of his iconic blue-jeans vest outfit.
In the comedy/spoof Fatal Instinct, Ned Ravine has a closet completely filled with identical blue suits. He asks his secretary which one he should wear. The secretary responds "The blue one".
Not actually shown, but in one of the City Watch Discworld novels, Vimes wonders if Vetinari has an entire closet full of identical black robes, as he's never seen the Patrician dressed in any other way.
He probably does. It's likely a family tradition. Look at the Vetinari family arms. Blazon: Sable — that is, black (and nothing else). Word of God is that it's not only black, it's a slightly shabby black (though how you do that in Heraldry is anyone's guess), like that of a well-worn robe that you automatically pick up and put on in the morning so as not to waste time worrying about what to wear.
Live Action TV
All in the Family: Archie Bunker. Almost ALWAYS wearing a worn out white button-down shirt and dark slacks, even on nights and weekends in his own house.
Used thematically in Battlestar Galactica. Roslin laments that one of the suckier parts of surviving the genocide of your race is that you're stuck with the clothes on your back (snark emphasis ours). Played straight with Bio-Cylons, being essentially clones of each other, all wear the same type of clothes and outfits whenever we see them. Considering they were for much of the series run like a set of a thousand twins with little personality to distinguish individual members, it reinforced their conformity and lack of individuality. We the viewers can tell Boomer completely assimilated back into her Cylon side when she starts dressing like her "sisters".
A live-action example/subversion: In the 1998 remake of Fantasy Island, we see a closet full of white suits, as worn by Ricardo Montalban's Mr. Roarke in the original. The "new" Mr. Roarke (Malcolm MacDowell) chooses the only black suit, and orders the others burnt.
Similarly, one episode of The Avengers showed Steed with a closet full of identical suits, bowler hats, and umbrellas.
In one 90s Latin American Soap Opera starring Thalía, the main female villain, supposedly a very rich heiress, constantly wore a very distinct and Stripperiffic shining blue dress. When Thalia's character (a very poor girl turned millionaire, who even in her poorest days had more costume variety than the villain) asked about it, the woman answered that she loved that specific model so much that she bought quite a few. In fact, we see the woman's closet... and it's filled with dozens of that specific dress.
Monk uses this for its DVD covers, but this is also justified as it is very in character for Monk.
This also becomes a plot point in one of the episodes, as Monk buys a new shirt identical to all his others, down to having been inspected by the same person. He stumbles onto the crime of the week by noticing the shirt's minor flaws, which never would have slipped by his preferred clothing inspector if she weren't distracted by her own problems. He solves the crime mainly so she'll get back to inspecting shirts.
Incidentally, it's not all the same. On one end of the closet, he has his old police uniform from before he cracked up.
In Jim Henson's Dinosaurs, this trope is lampshaded when the main character, Earl, is seen packing for a trip. Inside his closet and suitcase are the same red flannel shirt and undershirt he always wears.
In an episode of Happy Days, Fonzie, after examining his closet, announces "Number 53 is missing!"
Considering their level of income, it's no surprise that the characters in Reaper have an extremely limited wardrobe. Sock seems to own maybe three shirts, one of which is heavily stained.
Not necessarily a gag per se, but it's certainly notable on Fringe when Olivia Dunham opens her closet and her wardrobe consists entirely of black jackets, pantsuits, white shirts, and grey scarves. They're slightly different, but all the same color scheme. It's actually a plot point, since wearing monochrome is a "uniform," conditioned into the Jacksonville test subjects.
Justified, lampshaded, and then parodied in the character of Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. The leather coat he continuously wears through his time on Buffy is revealed through Flashback to have been stolen from the body of the last Slayer he killed and as such is a trophy. In an episode of Angel, he's caught in an explosion and his coat is destroyed. He complains that the coat had incredibly sentimental value to him and was "irreplaceable". Gilligan Cut to his new employers providing him with a new identical coat as well as a wardrobe full of them, which he seems quite pleased with and wears for the rest of the show's run.
Of course, that happened in the third-to-last episode of Angel, so "the rest of the show's run" constitutes two more episodes...
Rather amusingly, when he was unhinged following his acquisition of a soul, Spike tried to "disguise" himself so he wouldn't be identified with the old Spike. His disguise? Wearing a shirt that wasn't black.
Parodied in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 2 episode "What's My Line, Part 2": When Kendra (a slayer very dedicated to her call, with no personal ties whatsoever) has her shirt slashed in battle, she angrily comments on this by shouting (in her trademark accent) "That's me best shirt!", followed by the even more angry follow-up comment "That's me only shirt!" At the end of the episode, Buffy gives her one of her own shirts.
Lampshaded on The Nanny. Niles the butler usually wears a suit and tie, which is always more or less then same from one episode to the next. So when Fran snuck a peek into Niles's closet, she discovered that Niles had several dozen duplicates of the same outfit.
Hercules: (sarcastically) "I wonder which one's his favorite."
Alternate Iolaus: "The fourth one in."
On later seasons of Roseanne, an oversized shirt with a picture of a chicken and a fried egg got passed around the entire female cast, and then, eventually, to the male cast as well. This is parodied when they make friends with a wealthy family and give them copies of that same shirt.
Narrator: "Britt, Santana and Quinn quit the Cheerios. Now we get to see what they look like in street clothes."
When Angus Deayton presented Have I Got News for You, one running gag in the 1990s - discussed also in the spin-off book - was his brown suits.
Pumuckl, the kobold protagonist of a German children's series, always wears a yellow shirt and green trousers.
In the 20th anniversary Sera Myu: La Reconquista show, there's a gag where one of Queen Beryl's henchwomen mocks her for "Wearing the same dress for 20 years".
Peach, in Paper Mario, is revealed to have a wardrobe of identical dresses. When Twink points this out, Peach explains that they're actually all different. (When Mario enters the castle, it's possible to enter her room and have him check out her attire: he comes to the same conclusion as Twink.) The only times she's out of her dress are in The Thousand Year Door: when she's in disguise, hidden by a shower curtain, or invisible.
Lampshaded in EarthBound, where an NPC says, "Every time I see you, you're wearing the same clothes. Do you wash them, or what?"
Persona 3: A look into Aegis's room reveals that contains little else besides innumerable boxes of ammo, her extraordinarily highly-advanced computerized "bed," and a closet with nothing but dozens of school uniforms in it. Justified in that she only goes out of the dorms for school and Tartarus (which happens at midnight), but considering they have only a six-day school week, you'd think there would be fewer uniforms.
Leisure Suit Larry and his titular leisure suit. At least in the 7th installation ("Love for sale") he indeed has a whole wardrobe of such identical suits in his cabin.
In Shenmue, if you look in Ryo's wardrobe you'll find nothing but white T-shirts and blue jeans, just like the ones he's wearing. His jacket, however, is one of a kind. (Then again, nobody else ever changes their clothes either.)
Lampshaded by Riannon in Tears to Tiara, when she tells Arawn that, despite appearances, she changes clothes every day and all of her dresses are slightly different (we don't see the closet, though). When she finds out that Arawn has been wearing the same clothes day in and day out for the past ten days, she, Octavia, and Limwris force him into the bath and give him a good scrubbing.
Phoenix IS seen without his blue jacket once. For some reason, he's even wearing it when he's not on a case, as proven by the fact that he still has his Attorney's badge during those times. Same goes for his successor Apollo. Lampshaded when somebody impersonates him just by getting a blue suit.
Averted for the first time by Dual Destinies defendant Juniper Woods, who ordinarily wears a dress and sunhat, but wears a Sailor Fuku when at school.
In the first Gabriel Knight game we see the inside of Gabriel's closet, which is all identical white t-shirts and blue jeans.
Catherine: Protagonist Vincent has a hanger with drying laundry on it in his apartment. All pink-spotted boxers.
In the trailer for Plants vs. Zombies 2, Crazy Dave's closet contains multiple identical sets of clothing, including several saucepans on the top shelf.
No closet involved, but in this spoilery Ctrl+Alt+Del strip, Ethan bemoans that "It feels like been wearing these clothes forever."
Lampshaded in Real Life Comics as part of a costume retrospective; when they get to the first costume change, Dave quips; "It's about time; that shirt was getting ripe."
Having a wardrobe that never changes can make things difficult where things like changes in character design are concerned. That's why in Fletcher Apts, when the characters underwent a change in appearance (most notably their clothing) they had to go purchase new clothes in this strip to explain the sudden change. The characters also permanently ditched shoes in the same strip.
In Scary Go Round, the male characters wear outfits that don't vary much (Ryan appeared in the same T-shirt for several years, until the girls ganged up on him). Female characters have more varied outfits (though each has an identifiable style of dress). The difference is probably because John Allison enjoys drawing pretty girls in nice clothes, but is also fairly realistic.
In an interview, he said that women's fashion was always shifting and he liked drawing the female characters in different clothes, while menswear was really "a matter of covering five tube-shaped areas".
In The Whiteboard Doc's closet is shown to be filled with almost nothing but black T-shirts. In a Fourth Wall Mail Slot comic he later explains that it's because they're cheap and hide grease stains.
In Whomp! Ronnie is always seen wearing a Hawaiian shirt… because anything else he wears turns into a Hawaiian shirt.
Greg: Too bad about that shirt. I liked that one. Kili: I have a dozen more like it and you know it. Greg: Yeah, but that one was my favorite. Kili: I know you're just trying to cheer me up, but ... thanks, Greg.
While wearing his usual attire of white t-shirts, green vests, khaki shorts, and sneakers, some other kids accuse Doug of copying the style of Dylan Farnum on "Teen Heart Street." During a visit to Doug's house, one kid marvels, "You have the entire Farnum line!" and accuse him of "showing off" upon seeing Doug's closet—full of nothing but white t-shirts, green vests, khaki shorts, and sneakers.
In "Doug's Derby Dilemma" Skeeter imagines what the mystery prize could be. He thinks it might be a whole new wardrobe, all his usual outfit◊.
In an episode of Dilbert, we can see Dilbert's wardrobe, which is all black pants, white shirts and ties. In the comic though, we can sometimes see him in track suits.
Smurfette from The Smurfs had a closet gag... in the same episode as her origin story. To put things in perspective, she started out with ratty short black hair, a rather plain white dress, and standard Smurf shoes. But then Papa Smurf gives her a makeover into her current form, and after three scene fade transitions, the Smurfs are running out into the forest while Smurfette stays at home already having trouble choosing outfits completely identical to her own.
Smurfette: No, this one's too long. I wore that this morning. Oh, this one's too plain. I've seen that for the night. This one? No. That one? Nah-uh.
In Spain, this trope is known as "Smurfette's closet."
In The Magic School Bus, everybody except Ms. Frizzle wears the same outfit every day. Even when the bus magically makes them clothes appropriate to whatever situation it is the kids are in, the outfits are all color-coordinated to what the kid would ordinarily wear. One episode (where Arnold turns orange from eating too many carrots) has all the kids in formal wear for a fancy event. Their outfits are just dressier versions on their everyday clothes.
All of the characters in The Replacements generally wear the same outfits; Dick at least has been shown to have a closet full of red-white-and-blue jumpsuits. Sometimes he wears a jumpsuit over his jumpsuit!
On KaBlam!, we've seen clothing racks with multiple blue t-shirts with light blue smiley faces and red pants for Henry, and multiple red-orange sweaters, yellow t-shirts, and dark green shorts for June.
In an episode of Mike, Lu & Og, Mike asks Lu which of two identical red shirts (in turn identical to the one Mike always wears) looks better. She replies "The red one." The only other alternatives on the island being grass inspires Mike to create a fashion contest. Hilarity Ensues.
Bee Movie has a very amusing scene in which main character Barry is picking his outfit for the day, and we're shown a rack of identical black-and-yellow sweaters. "Yellow-black, yellow-black, yellow-black, yellow-black... Oh, black and yellow. Yeah, let's shake it up a little."
SpongeBob SquarePants has been revealed to have many copies of his standard clothing in several episodes, though he occasionally wears other things. Lampshaded in the "Boating School" episode, when Patrick was hiding in SpongeBob's closet, SpongeBob opened it and inside were multiple pairs of his square pants.
Danny Phantom is another show that only lampshades this once, but uses the trope consistently. Specifically, Danny has remarked on how Dash owns an entire closet full of leather jackets, despite the fact that Danny wears the same clothes every day as well (as do most characters.)
Een ''Soneec Ze 'Edge'og, "Ze Odd Coupling", it ees being discovered zat Antoine's wardrobe contains multiple copies of 'ees same outfit.
In The Flintstones episode "Fred Strike Out", while taking a marriage test in a newspaper, Betty asks Wilma if her husband notices if she buys new clothes. Wilma replies "What new clothes?".
Lampshaded in The Proud Family by Penny. In "Don't Leave Home Without it," she comes from a shopping trip with her mom and complains about not being allowed to choose her own clothes. She shows what her mom brought for her to her dad...and it's two copies of the same outfit she's always wears. Penny also makes a comment that no one wears that outfit but her.
In The Venture Bros., when the Monarch kidnaps (and later invites to his wedding) Hank, Dean and Brock, Hank demands a change of clothes. Monarch calls out that he's always wearing the same clothes anyway. Hank points out that while it's true, he does wash them. The Monarch agrees and Hank spends the rest of the episode in a Monarch mook outfit, which is itself a straight example of the trope for the mooks.
The titular character of Kick Buttowski lampshaded this on several occasions, one of them was the standard closet reveal. In another episode he gets all the kids (and adults) on his street to dress up like him... he's of course able to provide everyone with his standard outfit.
In Huntik: Secrets & Seekers, Dante Veil has a closet full with copies of his trademark trenchcoat, as he likes the style but he tends to get it damaged or destroyed frequently on the job. The same episode in which it was stated implied a similar situation for Zhalia: her outfit had been damaged and ripped by an explosion, but after the scene of Dante's trenchcoat she has a new outfit identical to the previous one.
In the Tinkerbell movie series, Tink has a closet gag in the second movie, revealing a series of identical green mini-dresses and commenting "this one's not for traveling" and ironically, showing up a few scenes later with a new outfit not seen in the closet. However, the cast shows off winter wear during the Fall and Winter movies, and Tinkerbell herself wears a total of 4 outfits throughout the series, so it's a slight aversion overall.
Legends Of Oz Dorothys Return has the Jester, who literally cannot take off his silly outfit because of a curse placed on him by his older sister.
In the first season of Sailor Moon we quickly see that (outside of their Senshi outfits and school uniforms) these 14-year-old girls actually have their own wardrobes, and they're quirky and individual. (Who would have expected that the Shinto shrine maiden would wear pink overalls and baseball caps when not on duty at the temple?) However, for teenage girls, they seem to have a limited selection of casual clothing.
Hell, even Sailor Moon's little brother had a fairly varied wardrobe for someone who was Brother Chucked.
This is played straight with Mamoru in the anime, as for most of the first series, he's always seen in the same green jacket, black turtleneck, grey slacks combo. Later in the series, he gets some variations on his wardrobe, though it's still common to see him merely ditching his jacket and still wearing the turtlenecks and pants. You'll also frequently see him repeat his wardrobe choices for multiple episodes.
Uta Kata had a different manga-ka/character designer/figurine maker design the protagonist's Magical Girl outfit for each episode.
In Science Ninja Team Gatchaman, there is a reason why the gang all wear the same T-shirt (with their rank number) and jeans design all the time: the outfits are designed to become their bird costumes when they change, and they need to wear the whole outfit for it to work. Furthermore, it proved near-disastrous when Jun lost a shoe from the outfit. Galactor found it and stumbled onto its bird costume transformation function, thus giving them a vital clue as to one of the Science Ninjas' secret identities.
Although the Toei Animation version of Kanon gave the girls very limited wardrobes, and the game wasn't much better, the Kyoto Animation version gave them plenty more clothes — even Makoto, the amnesiac freeloader, who was suspected by fans of raiding Nayuki's closet.
Nami from One Piece originally starts off with wearing the same clothes, but after defeating Arlong, and thus ending her financial limitations she buys a pile of new clothes, and changes very often. Sanji, while mostly wearing his usual black suit, can be seen occasionally in more casual clothes.
After the Strawhats hit the Grand Line, they usually get a new outfit early in the arc for reasons that make sense, and then maintain that look whether it makes sense or not until after they beat that island's Big Bad. You can tell the arc is over because they all change back.
Though Watanuki, Domeki, and Himawari generally wear their school uniforms day after day, Yuuko of xxxHOLiC not only wears something new and incredibly elaborate every day, but sometimes changes mid-chapter. In fact, it's a plot point when Yuuko wears the same outfit twice.
And in its sister series Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle while the characters each have a set of default clothing, they generally adopt the clothing of whatever world they land in, and then change outfits as appropriate. This is partly a form of fanservice for CLAMP's female fanbase. Note, however, that this is NOT Unlimited Wardrobe as they are shown bartering old clothes for new and they do not change clothes in situations where they would not realistically have had the opportunity. (Example: Kurogane remains in his outfit from the previous arc in Acid Tokyo, because their impoverished hosts don't have much clothing to spare.)
Dragon Ball subverts this trope as much as it uses it. The guys mentioned above generally wear different outfits when not in their fighting clothes (such as the infamous pink shirt worn by Vegeta). Then there's Bulma. Not only does she change clothes, but she also changes hairstyles more or less every appearance. In addition, the symbol on Goku's shirt usually changes every time he gets a new outfit.
Goku has 20 (or more) outfits total, not counting identical replacements for Clothing Damage. In order of appearance (roughly): 1. a blue gi with a white obi, 2. a pair of overalls borrowed from Oolong, 3. a blue pair of pants with a white tank top and obi, 4. his first Turtle School orange gi, 5. the suit he wears to and from the 21st and 22nd World Tournaments, 6. the outfit he borrowed from Suno when he fought the Red Ribbon Army in the north, 7. the outfit he took from the ninja dog Shu after his gi was destroyed, 8. the outfit he wore before the 23rd World Tournament, with the turban, 9. his adult-sized orange gi with the weighted black T-shirt and Kami's emblem on the back,, 10. the suit he wore for his wedding, 11. the gi with the blue T-shirt that he started wearing before fighting Raditz, 12. the gi with King Kai's emblem on the back, 13. the closet full of gi that he gets for the trip to Namek which have his name on them, 14. the Yardrat battle armor he wears when he returns to Earth before the Android Saga, 15. the gi he wears from then on that has no emblem on either the front or the back and has a wider blue sash instead of the black obi, 16. the Saiyan battle armor he wears for training in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber, 17. the slacks/button-front shirt/leather jacket combo he wears before the Cell Games, 18. the blue gi with a white obi and dark blue pants he wears before he leaves to train Uub. 19. the slacks/button-front shirt outfit he wears to visit Gohan's school in the first Broly movie, and 20. the plaid suit he wears with the bow tie in Yo! Son Goku and His Friends Return!!. Not counting the outfits he got when fused into Vegitto and Gogeta, or in GT. And that's just Goku; Gohan, Yamcha, Krillin, Tien, Launch, Master Roshi, Vegeta, Trunks, Videl, and Chichi got several outfits each. And yet, when people think of him, they only think of that last orange gi with no emblems.
In one episode, Piccolo is forced to borrow some of Goku's clothes
Although Tsuna from Reborn! is usually in school uniform, he wears different boxers every day (the fact that we know this for a fact might give the wrong idea to people who haven't seen the show). Most characters on this show wear different outfits whenever they aren't in school.
Reborn! is actually quite good when it comes to clothes. The characters wear different outfits every day, and the girls in particular get quite creative when it comes to fashion. The only exceptions are Hibari, who always wears his school uniform, and Mukuro, who only half exists anyway.
Becky, from Pani Poni Dash! is often wearing different outfits, while everyone else has their uniforms. She's the teacher though, and is allowed. Even though she's twelve, and some of her outfits are... odd.◊
Averted in Read or Die: The TV, where Michelle, Maggie and Anita have a vast variety of outfits; some of these they create themselves using their power to control paper, and then complain that paper clothes aren't comfortable. This is in contrast to Yomiko in the Read or DieOVA, who is a fine example of the trope, always in the same trenchcoat, skirt, blouse and vest.
Every episode of Michiko to Hatchin—unless multiple episodes take place over the day—features Michiko and Hana wearing different clothes. Despite being on the run/tracking someone down across the country. Michiko occasionally chases clothes mid-episode.
In Haruhi Suzumiya, when not at school and thus in uniform all the characters are shown in casual outfits that change from episode to episode (and within an episode, if it spans more than a day).
Mahou Sensei Negima! plays this as an "is and isn't". Sayo (resident Cute Ghost Girl) wears the same old style school uniform, however as a ghost I doubt she's got much in the way of options. Kotaro wears two outfits per arc, his normal gear which he always has, and an outfit for his 15-year-old disguised form (this second one changed from the mafia suit in the Festival arc, and the armored clothes in the Magic world arc). The rest of the cast has their uniforms (Negi has his suit) which they wear generally, giving a sense of this trope. They wear other outfits to provide clothed Fanservice, putting whatever Stripperific outfit they wish on the girls, and then replacing them with an equally stripperific outfit after whatever they are wearing suffers the inevitable Clothing Damage this series brings. However, in a case of actual limited wardrobe, Negi only has the one cloak, as he hasn't replaced/mended it since a fight in the latest arc which put a large hole in it.
Before the start of the Magic World arc, the limited wardrobe aspect is commented on when both Negi and Kotaro are called out for not "getting in the mood" since neither was wearing an eccentric battle costume or casual outfit. Negi insists he's still a teacher and must dress as one, and Kotaro insists his school uniform IS his battle costume.
Pactio cards have an outfit programmed into it, so when they summon their artifact the clothes change to a limited wardrobe option.
Averted by Kaleido Star — although she has a couple outfits that we see her in several times (most notably a blue shorts and white T-shirt combo she trains in), in general Sora wears a different set of clothes in almost every episode. She even has different sets of training clothes, ranging from the aforementioned shorts and T-shirt to a leotard and ballet slippers.
Yotsuba&! seems like a more severe case than she actually is; some people misremember her as only having one shirt, but it's actually a number of shirts with the same design scheme: an X body with Y sleeves and collar (and sometimes shoulders). Careful comparison reveals significant differences. That said, she does have other outfits that don't follow this pattern: her pajamas, her swimsuit, her yukata, her poncho, her recycled shirt, her hapi, her "flower cupid" outfit from episode 18, her triangle-like dress from chapter 27... umm... that's still not that much. Maybe others will surface.
Averted in Ouran High School Host Club. When the characters aren't wearing their school uniforms they have several casual outfits. In the anime we never see them wear the same outfit twice. In the manga Haruhi has one or two outfits that occasionally show up again, but she's from a lower middle class family so it makes sense she doesn't have a literal Unlimited Wardrobe like the rich Host Club members.
Averted in Lucky Star, where the cast, when not wearing their school uniforms, is seen with a large variety of outfits.
Averted in Girl Friends. The main characters mainly wear the variants of their school uniforms, but whenever we see them outside of school they almost never wear the same thing twice. Indeed their frequent shopping trips amount to Costume Porn.
Even minor characters in Loveless wear different outfits each time they appear.
The characters in Wandering Son often change their outfits. Rarely are they seen in the same outfit, aside from school uniforms, and if they are it isn't for long.
The Human cast of Hamtaro tends to have a good size sets of wardrobes, especially Laura and Kana.
Whilst everyone else in Calvin and Hobbes changed clothes regularly, Calvin always wore the same red stripy T-shirt and black jeans, unless the plot required a change (e.g. bedtime, snow, etc.).
Lampshaded by Hobbes, when at one point he asks Calvin why he doesn't wear shorts in the summer. Calvin yells back that short pants touch his feet, but that doesn't explain why they're always the same pants.
Calvin wasn't the only exception, actually - there was also his bully of the strip, Moe. He always wore the same black t-shirt and pants every single time he appeared - except in one gym Sunday strip, in which he is seen in a white t-shirt with red shorts.
The original Wasp, Janet van Dyne, was an important exception. She changed her costume all the time. Eventually, anyway. When first introduced, she had a uniform that was always the same, but it began to evolve over the years. First she lost the pointy wimple, revealing her hair while everything remained as it was; then her costume changed occasionally, but with long periods between alterations; and then she went nuts and her costume became just one more outfit subject to the whims of fashion.
Enoby has more sexxy oufitz tan you!! Yur just jealous, u stupid prepz!!
In Legally Blonde, Elle Woods is such a fashionista that she wears not only different outfits (though all on the theme of pink) but different hairstyles in EVERY SINGLE SCENE.
In Tim Burton's Batman (1989), Vicki Vale (Kim Basinger) is almost never seen wearing the same outfit twice, and varies her hairstyles a lot too. In fact, Basinger was assigned so many costume changes that Burton had to appoint a second designer to dress just her while the other designer was working on all the other performers!
In earlier film adaptations of the Harry Potter series, the students of Hogwarts wore their wizard robes just about all the time, with the occasional exception of the Weasley jumper. Starting with the third adaptation, however, in which the director Alfonso Cuaron showed that having Hogwarts students wear Muggle clothes outside of class would make the characters more engaging to non-fans, the students have been depicted as wearing a more varied wardrobe when not in class or at formal events.
Not quite. It seems the wizard's robes are for school and formal events. Ron and his siblings are seen wearing Muggle clothing in the first film while boarding the Hogwarts Express. They're also seen to wear Muggle clothes when Harry goes to stay with them in the second film; even in Diagon Alley, all are wearing sweaters and slacks, with the casual addition of a cloak. However, it is more realistic in the third film to say that the students spend their time outside of class in jeans and t-shirts, rather than the first two films, in which pretty much all the students were wearing the uniform all day long while in the school. This would be especially odd for Harry and Hermione, who were raised in the Muggle world. It would be more realistic for them especially to change out of wizard robes in favor of familiar clothing.
Not in the books, where ALL Hogwarts students wear their robes every day of the school year. The only exceptions are the Weasley jumpers, which get worn under the robes or over pyjamas, but even on weekends the students have to be in uniform.
Since Hogwarts is very much based on a British public school, somewhere in the 1950s or 60s it would be normal for Lower School pupils to wear uniform at all times during term time, at least until the Third Form. Uniform would then be progressively relaxed until the Fifth Form.
Padmé Amidala from the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy, particularly during her stint as Queen.
Live Action TV
My Name Is Earl plays peoples wardrobe pretty realistically, i.e. different outfits that keep a common theme- Earl prefers plaid shirts and has one for every day of the week, Randy wears slacks a t-shirt and a short sleeve button down shirt, usually brown, gray and/or tan (in one episode he explicitly states that he has 3 pairs of pants and 5 shirts), Joy usually wears tube tops and pink is her favorite color, Catalina is most often shown in her maid uniform or stripper outfit but is also shown in jeans and different shirts when she isn't working, even Darnell isn't shown to have a completely limited wardrobe and occasionally wears a long sleeve thermal white shirt as opposed to his customary white a-shirt.
One of the things that makes the fictional band Gorillaz seem so life-like is each of the band members' vast wardrobe. Murdoc wears black shirts and inverted cross necklaces quite a bit of the time. Everyone else is an exception, though.
The RPG Rogue Galaxy has several different outfits that you get though playing the game, to put the characters in.
This feature was shared by its predecessor Dark Cloud 2
Subverted in Tales of the Abyss in which characters wear the same clothing through most of the game, but at the end get a veritable wardrobe of clothes to choose from.
Similarly subverted in Tales of Symphonia, in which all of the characters have default outfits, but you can earn new titles that allows you to change the character's outfit.
Tales games in general have titles for the characters found either in-game or downloadable that allow them to have a variety of outfits to choose from, the more titles obtained the more options for clothes.
Persona 3 plays this one weird: while most characters (including some secondary ones) change outfits seasonally and wear different ones on weekends or holidays, they seem to only have four outfits each to choose from and always wear the same outfit(s) every weekend (not counting costumes for special occasions).
It gets a bit weirder when, even though you can equip the different outfits as armor, they only appear during battles or wandering around the dungeon; when a cutscene happens in the middle of the dungeon, the characters are somehow able to switch back into their school uniform, then switch back to whatever they were wearing before in time to fight...
This holds true for Persona 4 and it's updated re-release "Persona 4: Golden".
Persona 4 Arena pokes fun at this. During the game, Yu Narukami wears his Yasogami High uniform even though he's no longer attending that school. When asked about this during his story, he sheepishly explains that it's "what I wear for going into the TV [World]", implying that he brought it along for old times sake. note Like Persona 3, the P4 cast wore their school uniforms whenever they went Dungeon Crawling; the in-game explanation being that they used them to smuggle weapons and armor into the Department Store that housed the entrance they preferred to use.
In Escape from Monkey Island, Guybrush changes his clothes a few times — always to the outfits worn in the three earlier games.
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed had the main character constantly changing outfits for every mission. Some of the outfits are progressively added upon, with "Light Training Gear," "Training Gear", and "Heavy Training Gear." On a second runthrough, you can change into whatever outfit you have unlocked.
Zanthia, the protagonist of the second The Legend of Kyrandia game, changes outfits frequently by means of a handy wardrobe gem on her belt. Some are just palette swaps of her normal outfit, but she also has a flower-print wrap dress, a casual hiking outfit, snow gear, and even a bathrobe/towel/fuzzy slippers combo. (It isn't a case of Unlimited Wardrobe, though, since near the end of the game she mentions that the gem is almost empty.)
The Longest Journey is perhaps notable for giving the heroine four largely different (in color; but that's just how the graphics were back in '99) outfits throughout the games. Too bad, the hottest of them (the orange-black one, in case you are wondering) was taken away half a chapter later. Dreamfall carries on with the good tradition.
Alpha Protocol changes the appearance of each armor set depending on the region. So even if the protagonist is wearing the same set of stealth armor, it may appear yellow in Saudi Arabia and white in Moscow. Likewise, going without armor puts the protagonist in street clothes, which also updates to the region. The protagonist wears a sweater in Moscow, while he wears a buttoned shirt with a dragon pattern in Taipei.
Another weird example is present in No More Heroes. You are able to customise Travis Touchdown's attire, but you are limited to changing his jacket, his shirt, his sunglasses, his belt, and his jeans. What's even weirder is that the style never changes. Travis is always wearing the same type of jacket, sunglasses, t-shirt, belt, and jeans. The only difference is in the palette swaps and the decals on each item of clothing.
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater plays with this a bit; a major game mechanic is changing your outfit to better camouflage yourself based on your surroundings, but all the outfits (no matter where you find them or who you get them from) are basically the exact same combat outfit as you wore to the mission, just made of different fabric prints.
In Team Fortress 2, some of the respawn rooms have wooden lockers that store extras of the standard class uniform. Above the Pyro's locker? A purse with a flower motif.
The Administrator is seen wearing the same purple outfit in each of her appearances, and Saxton Hale is usually rocking a pair of hot pants (and no shirt). Subverted by Miss Pauling, who generally has a different outfit each time she appears in the comics- although it's always either purple or green, to prevent team-color affiliation.
The Inazuma Eleven series usually depicts characters wearing either their team uniforms, team tracksuits, or school uniforms, but some of the story characters also have additional set(s) of sprites depicting them in casual outfits, and the anime adaptation also depicts them in casual clothes whenever appropriate. The one major exception is our protagonist Endou, who seems to wear his soccer uniform or tracksuit in casual settings, although that is rather fitting for "the universe's number one soccer freak."
Everyone in Duel Savior Destiny always wears the same clothes, even during the epilogue of the story that takes place years later.
Averted in Gunnerkrigg Court. The characters wear all sorts of clothes, appropriate to the situation: they wear school uniforms most of the time, but they're shown in casual clothes on the weekends and in pajamas late at night. (When Zimmy and Gamma are seen in their uniforms late at night, it's a hint that something is off about them.) They also wear coats while going out during a cold night, and Annie wears a formal suit when going to a diplomatic meeting.
Also, Kat (and to a lesser degree, Annie) changes her hairstyle every few chapters.
Real Life Comics not only repeats the wardrobe (though it does change... every few years or so), but has lampshaded it via the closet-full-of-spares Lampshade Hanging on at least one occasion.
Questionable Content actually uses the characters' outfits to promote the merchandise sold by its author, Jeph Jaques. Which didn't stop him doing a Lampshaded Closet Gag when Marten is surprised to discover he has more than one pale blue shirt with "TEH" written on it.
Chapter 4 of Circumstances of the Revenant Braves reveals that not only do the characters have variable wardrobes outside of their school uniforms, but also that their school uniforms have alternate possibilities for cooler weather (i.e., long sleeves).
Averted in Doctor Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. Aside from Captain Hammer; Billy, Penny, and Moist all change outfits, with Penny having the most changes of clothes, Billy in second place with a grand total of seven casual outfits, two versions of his lab coat (white and red), and Moist shows up in a different outfit for each of his four appearances. Captain Hammer just has his superhero outfit with a slight variation of him wearing a leather jacket in the autographed photo one of the groupies was holding. Then again, this is Captain Hammer we're talking about.
Kim and Ron have several situational clothes changes (mission wear [black shirt, black gloves, cargo pants; Kim's shirt shows her midriff], winter gear, cheer/mascot uniforms, default school/casual clothes [Kim: green tummy-baring top, blue pants; Ron: red shirt, brown cargoes]).
The villains almost never change clothes, except Shego into swimwear.
Starting in roughly the middle of the second season and continuing through almost all of season 3, Kim wore one or two different "civilian" outfits per episode. Even Ron wore a few new outfits. By the time season 3 ended, Kim's original outfit of green top/blue cargos hadn't been seen for so long it was viewed with a slight nostalgia.
In season 4, an entire episode is dedicated to Kim's search for a new mission outfit. (After her usual outfit gets damaged, and Shego says, in a Lampshade Hanging, "you wear the same thing season after season after season.")
KP did another Lampshade Hanging - in one episode, Kim is undecided about what outfit to wear for picture day.
Kim: What do you think? (holds up the ubiquitous green/blue outfit)Ron: Seen it too much!
In another episode, Bonnie notes "You wear that stupid outfit everyday!"
Also of note was one episode where a fashion designer launched a new line called "Kim-Style", based on Kim's mission clothes. At the end of the episode, a "Ron-Style" line was launched, based on Ron's red shirt and cargos look).
Avatar the Last Airbender is also in the middle ground. The first season everyone had a basic appearance with some mild changes depending on the situation (cloaks, costumes, etc). Sokka and Katara had heavy winter coats as they left the South Pole and arrived at the North Pole but had lighter robes in between. In the second season Zuko and Iroh changed clothes often, accompanied by hairstyle changes including Zuko's hair length and Iroh's beard. Aang got some significant Clothing Damage in the second season finale and was forced to find a new wardrobe in the third season, which followed with everyone getting a wardrobe change as they went incognito in the Fire Nation. Aang changed again to a considerably more badass version of his monkly gear he apparently made from a school uniform and torn up robes. It was significant when everyone changed back into their regular attire for "The Day Of Black Sun."
Zuko and Aang both had new clothes in the end, befitting an appearance of something custom made for their position (Fire Lord and Air Nomad Avatar), after suffering massive Clothing Damage during the Final Battle, and everyone had new clothes when they were in Iroh's tea shop.
For some reason, Nickelodeon has a habit of using only the outfit the characters debuted in for promotional material.
They are also shown mending tears in their only clothing in at least one episode, and all the time they spend swimming implies that they try to wash their clothes often.
In Jem, the Holograms and the Misfits have a large number of outfits over the course of the series.
The Weekenders, where the main four characters change clothes often; not just from episode to episode, but day to day. Additionally, they seem to have a pre-determined wardrobe at home: if you pay attention, you can see them mix-and-match clothes from previous episodes. Neat.
Partially avoided in My Life as a Teenage Robot; the Crust Cousins (Brit and Tiff) wear different outfits in virtually every episode.
In the An American Tail series this trope is for the most part followed, the only exceptions are in Fievel Goes West when Fievel's iconic blue hat is turned inside out and made into a cowboy hat, plus he later dons an off-white trenchcoat. And Tanya averts the trope in every movie, though only in Fievel Goes West does she change wardrobes mid-movie.
Although the Histeria! kids had casual outfits that they'd often be seen in (i.e. Loud's green shirt and blue shorts), they would always wear an outfit that would correspond to the time period of the sketch they were being featured in.
Histeria!'s predecessor, Animaniacs, did the same. The clothing would change (sometimes repeatedly in the same sketch), but all of the characters that wore anything had 'usual outfits'. Necessarily justified with Yakko and Wakko, who look practically identical if dressed the same (practically, since Yakko is taller.)
On Adventure Time,Marceline wears a different outfit in every episode she appears, while other characters follow this trope.
Princess Bubblegum was shown in three different dresses, but she mostly wears the hot pink one.
The newer episodes show Princess Bubblegum change clothes and hairstyles more frequently, though always pink.
American Dad! usually plays this straight (except for Roger's many disguises) but there was a one-off exception in "Stan Time." In the first scene, Hayley bugs Stan to drive her to the headband store. This isn't mentioned again, but in one later scene she is wearing a white headband (as opposed to her usual green) without comment.
Lampshaded and subverted by Hayley in another episode after locking Steve in her closet:
Steve: Let me out, or I'll rip up all your clothes!
Hayley: Go ahead! In case you hadn't noticed, I only wear this one outfit. (Cut to inside the closet, where several different tops and coats are seen hanging)
Princess Ilana from Sym-Bionic Titan wore a different outfit in every episode, Lance wore basically the same clothes when out of uniform, and Octus wore the same outfits as Newton and "Dad".
So far, Mabel from Gravity Falls wears at least one different sweater for episode. Everyone else plays it straight though.
With Dipper it's been lampshaded by another character.
Everyone in Ned's Newt. One episode lampshades this by having Mrs. Flemkin tell Ned to change his clothes; he proceeds to pull his orange shirt and blue pants inside out, somehow turning them into a blue shirt and orange pants, and wears them for the rest of the episode.
In Littlest Pet Shop (2012), Blythe, an aspiring fashion designer, has a different outfit and hairstyle in every episode. Other characters play this trope straight.