[[quoteright:320:[[WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/avatar_super_scary_armor.jpg]]]]
[-[[caption-width-right:320:Even the [[TheChosenOne Avatar]] cannot stand up to it... nor ''in'' it.]]-]

Armor with loads of flashy things that look intimidating, but it often looks more useful than it actually is. It has loads of SpikesOfVillainy, ShouldersOfDoom, and often [[NothingButSkulls some skulls]]. If there is headgear, expect to to be a RageHelm unless the bearer [[HelmetsAreHardlyHeroic is a main character]].

Armor that is meant to be scary exists in RealLife (albeit as more of a side benefit), but this just overloads it, to the point where someone actually wearing this would be... overloaded. In short, this is almost always ImpossiblyCoolClothes.

AnimatedArmor made from this kind of suit of course has none of the mobility problems a human would have, probably due to lacking any structure without the armor to begin with. AWizardDidIt indeed. Similarly made more plausible by PoweredArmor in sci-fi settings.

Sometimes an EvilOverlord will wear this [[TwentyFourHourArmor even when]] [[OrcusOnHisThrone not in battle]], which creates a variation of ErmineCapeEffect. Many of these are also {{Tin Tyrant}}s. Bonus points if said armor comes with a HighCollarOfDoom.

Cursed variations may become a highly impractical ClingyCostume.

Compare TwentyFourHourArmor, BlingOfWar, ImpracticallyFancyOutfit, ImpossiblyCoolWeapon, BreastPlate, StylishProtectionGear, BattleBallgown.

Compare/Contrast PimpedOutDress.


[[folder:{{Anime}} and {{Manga}}]]
* Barry the Chopper from ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist'' is an AnimatedArmor that looks like this, complete with skull-like helmet.
** So is Al; he has spikes all over the place even on the joints. The way his chest bulges out seems impractical but it's probably supposed to be an exaggerated sort of sloped armor.
** Some armor had the wedge on the breastplate for better deflection.
*** Luckily for them they don't have to worry much about weight and self-injury, for they [[AnimatedArmor are]] the armor.
* In ''Manga/DaiNoDaibouken'', Dai buys an impossibly cool armor which turns out to be horribly impractical. He ends up throwing half of it away so it fits better.
** The armor itself is normal. The problem is that Dai is a KidHero who is about a head and a half shorter than the regular cast, trying to equip adult-sized armor.
* ''Manga/SaintSeiya'' progressively becomes like this. In the final parts of the series, we see stuff like [[http://saintseiyaperfil.files.wordpress.com/2009/06/esquema_hypnos.jpg this]]. Must be noted that even the weakest of the Cloths are powerful magical artifacts.
* Naga from ''LightNovel/{{Slayers}}'' has spikes on the shoulders of her armour that she ends up injuring herself with every time she raises her arms.
* Every knight in ''{{Manga/Berserk}}'' has ScaryImpracticalArmor, verging on CostumePorn in most cases (though calling them impractical is perhaps unfair, since we only see them demonstrate ArmorIsUseless against [[{{BFS}} the Dragonslayer]]). Guts' Berserker Armor, on the other hand, looks like Batman's suit if it had a SavageWolf motif and can keep the user in combat at the cost of their prolonged health by jamming metal spikes to bypass broken bones.
** Griffith's Apostle cavalry goes even further, with the Apostle and his mount melding with the armor to form a single nightmarish creature based on the armor's theme.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Comicbook/{{X-Men}} villain Stryfe wore a suit of armour that looked like it was made out of blades, giving many readers the impression that he'd decapitate himself if he ever shrugged his shoulders.
** Partially justified in that Stryfe is a world-class telepath and telekinetic (which is saying something in the Marvel world). His armor is ''meant'' to be scary and impractical, because not only does he not need to move to attack his enemies, he doesn't actually need the armor, since wrapping his own telekinesis around his body is more effective. And he is aware of both facts.
* The final batsuit worn by Jean-Paul Valley, a.k.a. ComicBook/{{Azrael}}, during the ''ComicBook/{{Knightfall}}'' arc qualifies. [[http://media.comicmix.com/media/2009/06/04/azbat-2.jpg At first it mainly added gauntlets with projectile shooters, extra chest armor, a glider cape, and other bits of tech]]. Towards the end of the arc, as Jean-Paul was going insane, [[http://i458.photobucket.com/albums/qq306/modesty_011/555-1.jpg he added more armor, added ammo feed belts for his gauntlets connecting to a drum on his back, and ditched the cape for a set of metal fins.]] And of course, being the '90s, the suit had brighter colors, particularly after it was set on fire, revealing a red and yellow paint scheme underneath, despite the role of Batman requiring stealth. As Bruce noted when he had to fight Jean-Paul to get him under control, the armor hampered his mobility, making him slow and awkward.
* [[Franchise/{{Batman}} Mr. Freeze]] is often shown in suits of armour that are incredibly large and bulky and look like big badass robots. They do their job [[AnIcePerson keeping him cool]]. However, the live action version of this suit was 75 lbs, and there is the problem that some are so wide in the shoulder/chest that for the rather average built Freeze to wear them and actually move his arms would have to be cut off and stuffed in the sleeves (One reason bodybuilder acting superstar Arnold Schwarzenegger was cast in the role was he was one of the few A-List actors strong enough to actually move around in the suit). In his later appearance in the 90s animated series he adopted a very broad look but it was justified: His body was robotic and his only living flesh was a head in a jar.

* [[spoiler: Harry]], of all people, in ''Fanfic/MyLittleDenarians'', after his FaceHeelTurn.
--> '''[[spoiler:Discorded Harry]]''': Everyone knows that once you turn evil, you have to get new clothes. It's in the rules.
** He then asks [[spoiler:Lash]] if she would like a hooded black robe, tight black leather, or spiky black armor. [[spoiler:Lash']] response:
---> '''[[spoiler:Lash]]''': I see you opted to combine all three for your own outfit, before covering the whole thing in skulls and adding a cape. I'm speechless.

* Sauron in ''Film/TheLordOfTheRings'' films, and some of the artwork for him.
** The books say that Sauron's physical form during that time was that of a man who had been burned to ashes, but was still alive, and in general was brick shittingly horrifying to look at.
** This is kind of a subversion, since John Howe went to great lengths to stress the idea that all the armour in the movies ''must'' work properly. This trope was lampshaded by the artists, however, as they joked that Howe specialized in scary-looking outfits with SpikesOfVillainy that "could poke your eye out." But he did indeed go to great lengths to actually make it possible to even move your fingers without slicing an artery.
* The Green Goblin's armor in the first ''Film/SpiderMan1'' movie didn't seem to help much when Spider-Man started pounding the living bejesus out of him. Given Spidey once exploded a telephone booth from the inside, and Norman Osborne has only slightly superhuman strength, he probably would've been reduced to a pulp fairly quickly without the armor.
* In ''Film/{{Highlander}}'' the Kurgan has a skull helmet. He would have been better off with a normal metal one. Possibly justified for a couple of reasons: firstly the Kurgan is immortal and nothing but decapitation would do more than annoy him, and secondly he [[AxCrazy is not all that right in the head]].
* Similarly, in ''Film/{{Willow}}'' General Kael's helmet has a skull for a faceplate. Half of it breaks off when swatted with a sword.
* In ''Film/BrotherhoodOfTheWolf'', the Beast wears armor covered in bone and metal spikes that is simply there to make it appear more monstrous. The armor doesn't appear to hinder its movements, however.

* Creator/DavidEddings example: Towards the end of ''TheElenium'', Sparhawk and his armor-clad companions enter the abandoned city of a dark god and his insane high-priest. The square outside the temple's main door turns out to be positively COVERED with undead soldiers wearing armor like this, which gives the church-knights pause... until they realize that the undead soldiers are basically brainless, and the armor utterly useless: The Zemoch has never really invented plate-armor, and only saw it during the previous war against the Elenes - who favored heavily-armored cavalry such as the Church Knights. They simply did not understand the idea behind it - all they knew was that it was really scary. So they ended up making armor that looked really scary while being more of a hindrance than anything else...
* In ''Literature/TheOnceAndFutureKing'', a character spends at least a paragraph hating on ornate armour, stating that the designs just make it easier for a lance to get a good hold and knock you off your horse.
* In ''TheBlackCompany'', The Lady and Croaker have sets of this armor justified that without having magic to protect them, they would be sitting ducks. It looks something like [[http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/c/glen-cook/books-of-south.htm this]]
** It should be noted that they're wearing them to scare their enemies, so it's an invoked trope.
* The elves in one of the worlds of ''Literature/TheDeathGateCycle'' use an ancient armor (now they use magic) to scare dwarves, it's so impractical that an armored elf is unable to get up after he was pushed down.
* In Creator/MichaelMoorcock's novel "The Eternal Champion," the humans use very elaborate armor with many flanges and other impressive looking touches. Ekrose (who has extensive war experience) comments how dangerous it is, as a sword or axe blade can easily be caught in such armor. His own armor is very plain, but light and practical.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* The Warriors of Chaos of ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}}'' fame are essentially Vikings in Scary Impractical Armor.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}''
** The [[SpaceElf Dark Eldar]] warriors have armour suits are covered in blades and attach by hooking into their skin. Subverted, since the hooks are meant to produce a little bit of pain which enhances the senses. And [[CombatSadomasochist given their proclivities]], armour that can cut whilst in use is approved of. Parodied in a ''[=Turnsignals on a Land Raider=]'' strip [[http://tsoalr.com/?p=111 here]].
** Standard [[PowerArmor power armor]] looks kinda sinister, but that's just a design quirk compared to the power armor worn by Chaos Space Marines. Each suit is individually customized to be downright menacing, and invariably include an excess of horns, spikes, skulls, and [[Creator/MichaelMoorcock arrows]]. Most of them are decorative or devotional, but more than a few of those horns coming out of their armor [[EvilMakesYouMonstrous are actually parts of their bodies]].
** Ork mega-armor and vehicle/walker armor, in a ramshackle design, live up to this trope, partly due to deliberately making it intimidating, and partly because they're pretty terrible at creating anything that's designed practically.
* The [[BigBad First and Forsaken Lion]], one of the Deathlords in ''{{Exalted}}'', has gigantic soulsteel armor covered in spikes and skulls and anything else intimidating and impractical. It's not like he has much choice to change it out for something more efficient, though, as his [[BiggerBad Neverborn master]] basically welded him into it after he [[YouHaveFailedMe screwed up his initial plan]] for world domination.
* In most versions of ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'', plate armor gives a ridiculous Armor Class bonus, but doesn't allow you to dodge as effectively and gives a HUGE penalty to skill rolls. In Third Edition, this penalty was -10, meaning the wearer couldn't even climb an unknotted rope without ranks in Climb and/or above-average Strength.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Diablo III}}'''s barbarian has some body armor with horns that protrude from the body in positions that would be ''really'' likely to stab him in the arms.
* The Lich King from the ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'' expansion has what looks like Sauron's armor with a few nips and tucks (and skulls. Loads and loads of skulls.), although since neither are human, armor like that is at least justified.
** Most of the high level armors count really. They tend to have pauldrons that raise higher then the PC's head (sometimes by almost a whole foot) and make the PC wearing it look twice wider then he is.
*** And as the character moves in various ways, the shoulders often clip through the body in ways that should result in impromptu decapitation or brain surgery. An {{egregious}} example is the night elf female, who due to an unfortunate combat stance when wielding two handed axes, swords, or maces will spend most of the fight with their shoulder spikes embedded in their face.
** Some rogue armor sets glow menacingly. Try sneaking like that.
* Intentionally averted by the designers of ''VideoGame/HalfLife2''. The Combine don't care about intimidation and just wear practical outfits - which makes them significantly scarier.
** Except Elites which wear snow-white armor with a [[CyberCyclops single red eye]].
** Their armor is all black and strongly resembles swat team armor, so they probably care a little about being intimidating.
** Bear in mind, they're cybernetically enhanced in many ways, so they likely don't need to rely heavily on body armor as much as tactics and efficiency, not to mention invoking fear. Of course... the idea of invoking fear goes out the window near the end.
* ''[[VideoGame/AncientDomainsOfMystery ADOM]]'' has a version that is actually more impractical than scary. Moloch armour weighs a ton and gives huge penalties to speed, dexterity and defense (which is not what heavy armour usually grants anyway) as well as attacks. The only positive quality is that it has an even more enormous bonus to protection. As for scariness, the armour ''is'' the (dead) moloch, and they are certainly scary enough, both according to their descriptions and when they lumber towards you to punch you hard enough to shatter stone, or at least to take away a lot of hit points.
* Raider and Super Mutant armors from ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 3}}'' fit this trope to a T. They are made mostly from stuff like old tires, leather and the occasional scrap metal; as such, they provide very little protection but significant intimidation factor. ''The Pitt'' DLC adds the [[http://images3.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20110709193503/fallout/images/a/a4/Fo3TP_Tribal_T45D_Power_Armor.png Tribal Power Armor]] which is both scary AND practical. The ''Broken Steel'' DLC's Hellfire Armor ups the ante one degree more as it's both scary, practical AND cool.
** In fact, the Enclave likes to build badass armors, as evident from [[http://s460.photobucket.com/albums/qq326/DELTA_1551/armor2.jpg this]] scan.
*** Especially the Advanced / Remnant Power Armor.
** Another subversion is the Centurion armor from ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'', which, although cobbled together from armors of defeated enemies, is very practical as well as intimidating. ''Lonesome Road'' adds the Scorched Sierra Power Armor, worn by the BonusBoss Colonel Royez, which has a bear head in place of the left pauldron and red and green accents. When worn by the player or a companion, it provides a RegeneratingHealth bonus of 2 HP per second and 25% fire resistance, without the agility penalty of normal T-45d armor.
* ''VideoGame/{{Myth}}'''': The Fallen Lords'' has this with [[BigBad Balor]]. Not only was his armor [[SpikesOfVillainy spikey]], its protective qualities were completely redundant considering how many magical dreams of protection he had woven about himself (which is also the reason most other arch mages in the setting never bother wearing armor.) Balor wore it just for the [[CardCarryingVillain intimidation factor]].
** Well, the spikes on his helmet did make for a convenient carrying handle when the Legion lugged his severed head to [[ForgottenSuperweapon the Great Devoid]].
* ''VideoGame/{{Prototype}}'' hands Alex the Armor power roughly halfway through the story. On the one hand, it reduces damage, looks awesome (and spiky) and means that, rather than having to leap over and dodge obstacles, Alex will plow ''right through or over them'', enemies included. On the other hand, all this comes at the cost of Alex's agility (his main advantage over his foes) and gives him the frustrating habit of smashing objects that could otherwise have been picked up and thrown. His Shield power lacks those disadvantages and will negate ''all'' damage when deployed, but has less coverage and will break after a time. And it just doesn't look as ''cool''.
* [[StatisticallySpeaking Given the interrogation bonus they give, and their non existent armor rating]], Death Squad uniforms from LiberalCrimeSquad are this, but since it's an ASCII game, it's hard to tell otherwise.
* War from ''{{Darksiders}}'' has armor so ridiculously elaborate, it takes Yahtzee the ''entire second page'' of his [[http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/columns/extra-punctuation/7071-Extra-Punctuation-Darksiders.2 Extra Punctuation]] article to describe in detail.
* In ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquer'' many of the Brotherhood of Nods elite units have intimidating armor with helmets and capes, and they all wield some awesome weapons. Yet they provide the same amount of protection as any infantry in the game, and still can't protect them from the harmful effects of tiberium.
* Nightmare from ''VideoGame/SoulCalibur'' wears armor that ranges from somewhat spiky to armor made of BodyHorror depending on whether he's possessing someone or taking his own form.
* Daedric Armor from the later ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls'' games - noteably ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIVOblivion Oblivion]]'' and ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim Skyrim]]''. It's the strongest armor in the game as well as the heaviest, and gives you a +10 bonus to Intimidation-rolls if you wear a full set - because, well, you look TERRIFYING, all covered with spikes and glowing red bits and chitinous demonic armor forged from demon-hearts and ebony. What isn't addressed in gameplay-terms is that all those glowing red bits should utterly ruin your Stealth-abilities (though the armor's weight will give you a penalty there all by itself), and the spikes should leave you with more holes than a sieve every time you do an UnnecessaryCombatRoll. I mean, just [[http://elderscrolls.wikia.com/wiki/Daedric_Armor_%28Skyrim%29 LOOK at this thing]]...
** Funnily enough, wearing full Daedric armor looks demonic enough that the Vigilants of Stendarr will attack on sight, thinking you ARE a Daedra.
** Arguably, Falmer Armor as well. It can be more of less effective, depending on whether it's normal, Hardened or Heavy (the best, but also, well, the heaviest), but it always looks monstrous, and is covered in SpikesOfVillainy. In this case, however, it's a JustifiedTrope - the Falmer makes that armor from the only material they have access to, the Chitin of the [[BigCreepyCrawlies Chaurus]], which happens to be quite spiky. And the helmet makes you look like a monster because it's the ''hollowed-out head of a huge bug''.
* ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'' cares much more about the RuleOfCool than practicality and as such is in love with this trope. About the only time this could possibly be even vaguely construed as justified is with the [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyII Emperor]]: He wears imposing, elaborate golden armor that gives him a SculptedPhysique, though other, robe-based outfits show him to be very slender (fitting for an EvilSorceror SquishyWizard). The justification comes into play when one considers that perhaps the golden armor is meant to primarily be a show of the Emperor's wealth and power, a legitimizing display rather than an accurate reflection of his martial prowess.
* In the ''VideoGame/DarkSouls'' games many armor sets fall into this.
** In ''VideoGame/DarkSoulsI'' [[DualBoss Ornstein and Smough]] each have [[http://vignette3.wikia.nocookie.net/darksouls/images/2/2d/Dragon_Slayer_Ornstein_and_Executioner_Smough.jpg their own variation]]. Ornstein wears a golden lion-themed dragoon where the eye opening is between the lion's mouth. Smough wears armor that makes him look morbidly obese and has the eye holes on the neck.


* A magic suit of armor in ''Webcomic/{{Goblins}}'' turned out to be ''worse'' [[JackassGenie than impractical]], but otherwise pretty much fit this.
* Gilgamesh Wulfenbach from ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'' wears this at one point, urged on by the Jagers. But he disposed of the ShouldersOfDoom and NiceHat fairly quickly.
** The hat is still lying around someplace; Violetta pulled it out to tease him, and if we're very lucky, he'll wear it again someday.
* Parodied in ''Webcomic/CommanderKitty'', where after getting some advice from Nin Wah, [[RobotGirl Zenith]] ends up making CK [[http://www.commanderkitty.com/2012/08/15/nin-wahs-agenda/ an outfit with so many spikes, pouches and pads that he can't even move]].
* [[TheFairFolk Fae]] armors in ''{{Webcomic/Roommates}}'' and ''Webcomic/GirlsNextDoor'' tend to look like this. Even more so the more pissed the wearer is either because its magically {{expressive|Shirt}} or because ChangingClothesIsAFreeAction for them. The only thing they aren't fond of are the skull motifs, they prefer HighCollarOfDoom, BadassCape and CoolCrown (because HelmetsAreHardlyHeroic) with their scary protection wear. Also their magical nature means, that they don't need to think about, how impractical these outfits might be for normal people. (Direct example: Why bother fitting through a door if you can just teleport in?) The whole species suffers from a terminal case of LargeHam and ComplexityAddiction.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In the ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'', "[[Recap/AvatarTheLastAirbenderSokkasMaster Sokka's Master]]", Aang tries some on, and soon falls over. The DVDCommentary has the guys saying it's a TakeThat to this kind of look, and [[AllThereInTheManual the art book adds]] that its also a shot at toymakers who wanted [[EnvironmentSpecificActionFigure armor variant action figures]]. It's also somewhat self-deprecation, as Fire Nation soldiers did lean in this direction when they were FacelessMooks, but it was downplayed over time, especially once inhabitants in the Fire Nation started being shown to be normal, generally decent people.
** The Fire Nation ''used'' to follow this trope, with utterly impractical shoulder spikes. Sokka points this out when a group of water-benders are dressing up in 80-year old Fire Nation armor in an attempt to infiltrate the enemy army.
** The armor that [[spoiler: Phoenix King Ozai]] wears in the finale looks very heavy and unwieldly. This is likely why his first move in his battle with Aang is to [[TheCoatsAreOff take it all off]].
* ''WesternAnimation/TheVentureBrothers'' example: The Monarch's "Death's Head Panoply."
** Parodied too. He can't move an inch in the thing, requiring someone else to activate its flight mode. And, while it is incredibly dangerous, the suit loses balance in the air, causing the Monarch to spin around, throw up, and fall down to earth.
* In one story arc of ''WesternAnimation/DarkwingDuck'', Gosalyn is transported into a future where Darkwing becomes unquestioned dictator of the world. In order to make her his ultimate successor, he gives her gifts, including a very imposing scary suit of battle armour. The only drawback to it was that she wasn't able to move. But she sure looked impressive.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* Most ceremonial armor tends to be scary and impractical unless the users have a culture of austerity. This is because the armor is more intended to impress the commissioner and display the skill of the craftsman than to protect the wearer.
** [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pickelhaube Pickelhauben]] are a highly visible example from WWI and earlier; they definitely ''did'' make an impression, but on entirely the wrong people: enemy snipers found them exceptionally easy to spot and [[BoomHeadshot shoot]].
* Ancient Greeks would sometimes wear pieces of armor made of bones, the idea being to tell your enemy "I killed this animal, and I can kill you, too." Bone would still deflect a glancing blow, making it better than nothing, but it also shattered easily under the impact.
* Samurai during Japan's feudal era had always cared about looking scary as well as protecting themselves, but beginning in the Momoyama period (ca. 1573-1615) the decoration of armor became increasingly elaborate and bizarre. One example is a gusoku type armor simulating the human body with bear fur hair covering the kabuto (helmet) and a Dō (cruirass) with flesh-colored plates embossed with a chest, ribs, shoulder blades, and backbone. Exotic helmets called kawari-kabuto incorporating extravagant papier mache or wooden crests (maedate)and side-crests resembling horns (wakidate) became the height of fashion. In the swordfighting ward migi-no-jódan, the sword is held above the head slightly slanted in order to avoid the helmet decorations. During the Edo period (ca. 1615-1868) when major wars were a thing of the past, kawari kabuto were made in a variety of fabulous shapes from fashion and nature including seashells, animals, mountains, and formal hats.
* During the 16th century, plate armor in Europe went through its most elaborate and glorious period, and certain forms of costume armor were mainly created for the sake of fashion rather than protection. This is not to say that all armor became obsolete or impractical: it is important to note that armor came in a range of configurations, qualities, and prices during this period. Simple and affordable armor was being made to outfit thousands of soldiers, but at the same time the nobility and royalty were free to commission extravagant armors to suit their needs. Plate armor designed for the battlefield had a good all-round balance between protection, weight, and ease of movement, while armor for tournaments usually included reinforcing pieces that added weight or restricted flexibility for the sake of protecting better against accidents and injuries. Costume armor, on the other hand, was made in fantastic shapes to simulate things like human hair, grotesque faces, or enormous puffed-and-slashed cloth sleeves because it was mainly created to make the wearer turn heads in parades or staged events. Such armor sometimes incorporated shapes that would hinder the wearer, and too much use of embossing technique tended to thin and weaken the steel plates making it less useful as protection.