Symbol Motif Clothing
An outfit is repeatedly and obviously decorated with one or more different symbols, signifying something important about the wearer.
Say a girl wears a floral-patterned dress. That wouldn't mean anything. But if she had a Green Thumb
, that would mean the dress is fitting to her nature.
These can be made by choice of the wearer, or be Rule of Symbolism
This trope is Truth in Television
, as some royalty would often wear capes and robes
with symbols adorning them.
A Super Trope
to Star-Spangled Spandex
Compare Chest Insignia
, Wearing a Flag on Your Head
, Color Motif
, Sigil Spam
Now there isn't a hard minimum to count, but it has to be more than just one or two instances of the symbol on the outfit
, even if they are large. One or two does not make a motif.
Anime and Manga
- Oniisama e...: Fukiko "Miya-sama" Ichinomiya often wears a long and flowing black skirt with a red rose pattern.
- Trafalgar Law of One Piece wears the insignia of the Heart Pirates jolly roger on all of his outfits, including on his own Den-Den Mushi.
- Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle:
- In many splash pages, the characters wear clothing with a motif resembling the heart-like pattern on Sakura's feathers.
- In Infinity, some of Sakura's clothing has a queen motif, referencing her role in the Chess game.
- The clothing of Valeria usually has a motif that looks like swirls of wind. Given Fai's wind symbolism in the series, this is probably not coincidental.
- The King and Queen of Hearts in Code Geass: Nunnally in Wonderland one-up the trope picture by a mile. Even Charles' infamous hair is affected.
- Code Geass: Akito the Exiled's "mysterious geass girl" (who is possibly God, or the "collective unconscious" that Charles tried to kill in R2 of Code Geass) has Geass symbols everywhere on her. It's on her waist, collar, legs, even her haircut. (Thanks, CLAMP.)
- The Riddler of Batman often wears a green outfit with question marks all over it.
- Alchemist Smurf of The Smurfs wears a stars-and-moon wizard hat variation of a Smurf hat.
- Captain Universe is frequently connected with the stars, and individuals with whom it bonds are usually depicted with prominent stars and constellations added to their costumes.
Films — Animated
Films — Live-Action
- Empath of Empath: The Luckiest Smurf wears a black Smurf hat and pants with white stars on it, to match the yellow star birthmark on his forehead.
- The mayor in Jaws wore a suit covered with dollar signs.
- Hancock incorporated eagles into whatever outfit he wore, even when he was homeless.
- In Stardust, Septimus has multiple number 7s on his outfit. In fact, everyone from Primus to Septimus has their respective roman numeral embroided into their clothing somewhere
- The Phantom Menace: Queen Amidala and her handmaidens wear elaborate costumes decorated with her majesty's private sigil.
- In Cinderella (2015), Cinderella's ball gown has butterfly designs on the neckline, and on the toes of her glass slippers.
Live Action TV
- Many versions of The Secret Garden feature Mary Lennox in a costume that has a floral design on it somewhere.
- This is a recurring element in many books by Mercedes Lackey.
- In her Heralds of Valdemar series, the Tayledras will often have a motif repeated in their clothing, usually something to do with birds or feathers. Given their relationship with birds of prey, this is entirely fitting.
- Kelson Haldane of the Deryni works has in his wardrobe a tunic of red covered with tiny golden Haldane lions. His coat of arms features a single golden lion on a red field.
- Alaric Morgan often sports his griffin crest and complains about wearing clothes in which it is incorrectly but aesthetically emblazoned.
- The sendings at Abhorsen's House in the Old Kingdom books tend to trot out surcoats checkered with symbols related to the powers of whoever they're intended for. So, for example, Sabriel gets given one patterned with the Abhorsen's silver key motif, crown princess Ellimere gets gold royal towers, Lirael gets a mix of Clayr stars and Abhorsen keys, and Sam gets the Wallmakers' gold trowel.
- In Doctor Who, several Doctors beginning with the Fourth, wore clothing that prominently featured question marks. Sometimes, a lot of question marks◊.
- The Umbran Elder from Bayonetta on her shoulders there is also a crescent moon shape, on its side so the points are facing the sky.
- In The King of Fighters, Rose Berstein's outfits have roses or feature decorative rose flower patterns. Special mention goes to her light blue dress and headband from XIII.
- Cerebella, from ''Skullgirls, is from the Cirque des Cartes, where each member of the troupe is associated with a type of card. In her case, it's the diamond suit. Her rival, Beatrix, is associated with the clubs suite and so on and forth.
- Every character actually has these in a way, usually associated with skulls. Like Filia's cufflinks, or Squiggly's corset. Yes, her cufflinks.
- In The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, the skirt of Princess Zelda's gown is embroidered with a recurring pattern of harps — the same style of harp that was played by her predecessor in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. It seems to have been adopted as an emblem of the royal house.
- Super Mario Bros.' Rosalina, guadian/mother of the cosmos, has a star motif going on for her — Her crown, earrings, wand, and brooch are star-shapped, and in Super Smash Bros. she has glittery stars in the bottom of her gown.
- The 3D remake of Final Fantasy III differentiates each character's model for a given job by adding accessories (or splashes of color) from their default outfit. Luneth, for example, typically gets either the belt-vest (or a 3x3 emblem), his turtleneck collar, and/or a splash of purple.
- In Homestuck, some of the ancestors' clothing is drawn with repeating patterns reminiscent of their symbol. For example, Orphaner Dualscar's symbol is the Aquarius wavy lines, and his outfit includes a lot of wavy lines.
- Most characters in RWBY each have a symbol that appears in most of their clothes and sometimes weapons.
- Twilight Sparkle from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic tends to be associated with stars, and most of her dresses have at least have one star.
- The Crystal Gems, a trio of Magical Girl Warrior protagonists of Steven Universe, have a collaborative star theme, usually on their shirt, though Amethyst, the team's least conventional and most immature member, has them as holes in the knees of her leggings. Steven also has a yellow star on his shirt.
- Furthermore, Homeworld Gems all wear diamonds, with the color of the Diamond representing who they work for. When Peridot ends up switching sides, she wonders if she'll have to start wearing a star, and where she'd put it.
- Playing cards, at least the Anglo-American designs popularized by Charles Goodall◊, sometimes feature the queen, king and jack with their respective suit symbols on their clothes.
- The Fleur de Lis symbol on the robes of French royalty. Napoleon went with eagles and bees.
- The robes in Tsarist Russia were gold with eagles embroidered on them.
- The royalty of Sweden decided to be blunt with their symbolism, and have crowns embroidered on their royal robes.
- Queen Elizabeth I of England and her courtiers used all kinds of symbols in their clothing as jewelry or embroidery, including the Tudor Rose for the Tudor dynasty, the queen's cipher of two "E"s back-to-back, the fleur de lis for her claim to parts of France, the ermine and the sieve for her virginitynote , the pillar and imperial crown for her ambitions toward empire, the pelican for her role as head of the church and mother of her countrynote , the olive branch for the peace of her reign, and the armillary sphere representing the universe ordered according to the word of God.