"Seriously, how do you go to the bathroom in that?"
—The Conduit, in the Heavy Armor loadout upgrade description.
In fiction, armor is often presented as a piece of everyday attire to be worn wherever you go, like a sweater. RPGs are notoriously bad about this, with characters wearing the same armour for weeks. Often characters even sleep in full battle gear.
In Real Life, while armor was lighter than you might think, it still could get very hot (especially when backed with mail and padded), and it took time and (most of the time) assistance to remove. In battle, it could become extremely unhygenic: in addition to sweat, people bled inside their armor, and possibly relieved themselves, both because you can't take bathroom breaks in the midst of battle and because a sudden shock can *ahem* loosen the bowelsnote However, there is no surviving record of how often this happened, if at all.. Armor could be deformed or pierced by a mace, axe, polearm, or hammer, causing serious injuries for the wearer.
Additionally, stainless steel hadn't been invented yet, and armor was really expensive note The steel or carburized iron alone — before considering the cost of craftsmanship — was literally worth its weight in gold in the Middle Ages, so it had to be treated carefully even when not damaged in a given battle. As the smelting "industry" improved, standard-issue sets of plate became more common but remained extremely expensive items.
So, after a battle or tournament, armor would be removed, cleaned thoroughly, repaired as necessary, and not put back on until the next engagement (shirts of mail or plates sewn onto fabric were sometimes worn under one's outermost layer of clothing, as a pre-gunpowder bulletproof vest, but that's not this trope.)
Some RPGs get around this by having a character in just a breastplate, possibly with shoulder pauldrons, a laFire Emblem's Roy. Still pretty uncomfortable pajamas.
It may be justified in the case of magical armor; the enchantments may be for more than increasing defenses. Another common justification is that it's a Clingy Costume, and for whatever reason they literally can't take it off.
Often seen in the case of Powered Armor — which may be justified since the Powered Armor might be designed to be comfortable for longer periods of wearingnote with climate control, power assist, and sanitary waste removal, especially if its wearer is a Man in the Machine. Often a symptom of Limited Wardrobe. Compare with the Ermine Cape Effect.
Doesn't really apply to Bulletproof Vests, which certain people actually do wear all day. If someone spends time in the vicinity of a suit of Animated Armor without knowing its true nature, their working theory will probably be that it's a person wearing Twenty-Four-Hour Armor.
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Anime and Manga
Mentioned in Fullmetal Alchemist, with people wondering how the heck Al can wear that bulky suit of armor 24/7. Of course, we all know the reason for this...
Berserk shows that Guts rarely takes his armor off - which makes some sense, because he is constantly at threat of being attacked by demons. Other than that, it's usually averted, as most of the armor-wearing cast members only do so in battle.
Ever since Azan was kicked out of the Holy See he has kept his helmet on at all times, possibly out of shame, and was even once seen sleeping in full plate armor.
Erza in Fairy Tail is almost always in armor. She only wears something else on rare occasions when she wants to look nice, once while in a construction uniform, or to sleep/shower. In her case she feels unsafe without it after being a child slave, and has the special power to switch between sets at will.
Big Bad of Rave Master, Lucia Raregroove, seems to prefer armor to regular clothing, he's without it when he first breaks out of prison and has to steal some random dudes outfit (and apparently he sleeps naked), but otherwise he always has a suit of armor on.
Sesshoumaru of InuYasha is always seen with both his armor and (presumed) fluffy boa. No matter what kind of attack he gets hit with, it only manages to break slightly, and is always repaired in exactly the same way by the next time we see him.
Kouga is the same way, despite characters like Sango, who can change between armor and non at the speed of light.
Speaking of Sesshoumaru, considering his shapeshifting as a youkai, the armor might genuinely be part of his human form.
And who says Sesshoumaru actually sleeps, anyway?
Inuyasha rarely takes off his kimono, which serves as his armor. Justified, however, in that it's not cumbersome at all and serves as his clothing.
Aside from Masamune and Kojuro in some scenes (and anybody who happens to be injured and bedridden), the cast of Sengoku Basara are always dressed ready for battle. It becomes pretty ridiculous when characters are shown to take their shoes off indoors, but keep their helmets on.
Iron Man's suits of armor sometimes employed this trope. Originally, due to his heart condition, he had to wear a chest piece under his shirt which doubled as his chest plate. Other versions were skintight, allowing him to wear full suits under his clothes. Now that he's equipped with Extremis, the armor is expressly a part of his body. Most armors also come equipped with a music playlist for long flights, or even noise cancellation equipment if he wants to take a nap. War Machine also had this type of armor during his "cyborg" period.
Captain America's regular costume includes something like chainmail, and he wears it like a second skin. Partly justified by his peak human strength.
Another example from Marvel is the Jack of Hearts, who needs his armor to regulate his energy so he doesn't die from it.
In Top 10: The Forty Niners, Steelgauntlet claims he never, ever removes his armor because he's hideously disfigured underneath. In reality, he's actually a robot, possibly the very first to possess full sentience, masquerading as a human to avoid the common anti-robot prejudice of the time.
Doctor Doom apparently never removes his armor. It includes various high-tech systems allowing him to feed and survive despite the inconvenience this should have.
Urthblood, the titular character of The Urthblood Saga, is never seen without the blood-red armour that's his namesake. It is described as only encasing his upper body, so it's not quite as uncomfortable as it might have been otherwise, but it still can't be very pleasant. He does not sleep in it however because, apparently, he never sleeps.
Darth Vader, whose armor holds all his life support systems, and if removed outside of a special chamber he will die rather quickly.
If the Stormtroopers ever take off their armor, we don't see it. This includes casually strolling around the Death Star when they shouldn't expect to see any action.
Admittedly, the stormtroopers are still there to act as guards (and the prison break by the heroes proves that it's not out of the question). Expanded Universe material shows that they wear standard officer's uniforms otherwise.
In A New Hope, stormtrooper officers Jir and Praji were wearing black officer's uniforms when Darth Vader assigned them to find the droids on Tatooine, though Praji later appeared in the usual white armor for his mission.
The knights in Excalibur are the poster boys for this. They eat, sleep, quest and have sex while wearing armor. After several of them spend years questing for the Holy Grail, their armor has become all rusty.
The knights in Lancelot du Lac are shown almost exclusively in full armor no matter what they're doing.
In Hero the King of Qin has justifably worn his armor day and night for the past three years, ever since a failed assassination attempt. He also does not permit outsiders to come within ten to a hundred steps of him.
A Knight in Camelot, a rather bad TV movie during the 90s starring Whoopi Goldberg which used a standard Connecticut Yankee plot, had a part where Whoopi's character had to be armored up for some challenge against the movie's villain. After having it put on, Whoopi complained that she needed the armor off so she could go to the bathroom. One of the people assisting her explained that this was full knights armor, and that once put on it was intended to never be removed except by battle damage. Their handling of the bathroom problem was to dump a whole lot of water down the back of her armor as she relieved herself.
While it is not as bad as it could be, Kingdom of Heaven has many instances of this trope, with knights variously treating their armor as streetwear, business suit, and suitable formal dress for any occasion. Tiberias, for example, wears it on his office job.
The gods in the remake of Clash of the Titans can be given a pass because gods can presumably wear whatever they want. Though their super shiny plate armor looks a bit out of place anyway, consider they're wearing it a good thousand or so years before it was actually invented.
Subverted by the dwarfs of the Discworld, who wear armour of variously improbable sorts -including iron boots in some cases- for purely cultural reasons, the wearing of excessive armament among the young being referred to as 'clang'; i.e. unusually literal Bling of War.
Spacesuits in Iain M. Banks's Culture series are really feature-full and can serve as both light armor and sleeping bags.
Power armor in Duumvirate is a closed system which can be worn for weeks at a time, but starts to stink after a while. This is also a setting in which children's everyday clothing is comfortable, blade-resistant, Class IIIA body armor.
Used deliberately in Lord of the Rings, in which the steward Denethor surprises onlookers by revealing that, despite being mostly confined within the kingdom's walls, he always wears chainmail under his clothes lest he become a pushover. (Subversion, in a way, as this isn't treated as normal- it's one of the strongest hints that Denethor is becoming quite unhinged.)
Justified in One Good Knight by Mercedes Lackey. The knight Sir George wears armor at all times, ostensibly for protection from surprise attack. It has a second, equally useful function: to conceal the fact that 'George' is 'Georgina'. Additionally, the suit is enchanted with spells which make it comfortable to wear.
Played for comedy in A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthurs Court, where the protagonist complains at great length about how excruciating it is to wear knight's armor while traveling cross-country and trying to sleep.
The inhabitants of Bara Magna in BIONICLE rarely take off their armor, which is justified by how dangerous the planet can get.
And before that, all the inhabitants of the Matoran "universe" also wear armor all the time. Some of it is justified because it is part of their bio-mechanical bodies, but those who wear additional armor is ever seen to take it off, even though they are mentioned to clean or repair it.
The title character of Italo Calvino's "The Nonexistent Knight" would have no shape at all without his suit of plate armor. At one point he figures out how to make love to a woman while wearing it — she spends a delightful night.
It gets averted even further in the Elenium. The five or six knights in the series do own full armor, but normally make do with a chain shirt unless they're expecting serious trouble or making a formal appearance. The series also repeatedly mentions that the armor stinks quite a bit, and isn't helped by the heavily quilted padded longjohns the knights wear to keep from being rubbed raw in unspeakable places. The longjohns take a week to dry, so they're not washed that often.
Dies the Fire by SM Stirling frequently mentions how hot and uncomfortable — as well as how necessary — armour is in a world where technology has suddenly been reduced to the level of the Middle Ages.
In A Song of Ice and Fire Victarion Greyjoy for a time wears chainmail constantly, or at least whenever he's walking around. While he notes that it's not doing good things to his back, he considers it worth it to reduce the risk of getting hit by the poisoned arrows of his current opponents.
Victarion also is considered Crazy Awesome for wearing plate armor on a boat (At least when going into combat). This is crazy because if you happen to fall (Or get pushed) overboard in plate armor, you basically sink and drown with the weight of your own armor, which is not a good way to die. Victarion's religious faith is so strong however that he believes that he won't fall and die, and even if he does, it's a good thing for him to meet his god.
Stormtroopers are usually shown as staying in armor while on hostile planets. Allegiance sort of uses this trope by mentioning a regulation that stormtroopers on duty must wear their armor when not in the barracks. It turns out that the captain of this particular Star Destroyer hates seeing stormtroopers wandering around in armor, but the troopers won't agree to be confined to barracks, so they're allowed out in plainclothes.
Other sources avert this by saying that Stormtroopers (especially the non-clone ones) wear a standard Imperial officer's uniform while off-duty (a Stormtrooper private is of the same status as an Imperial Army lieutenant, as both positions require one to have attended a Military Academy).
Hardcore Mandalorians won't take off their armor. Ever.
Averted in the Ciaphas CainHERO OF THE IMPERIUM books, where Cain only dusts off his old carapace armour when he's expecting to go into an active warzone on foot (i.e. for the books' climax). He tends to only wear his uniform otherwise, as he notes the armour is murder to wear. Mind you, with all the trouble he gets in outside active warzones, Cain should possibly consider the benefits of obeying this trope.
Averted in the Deverry novels. It is often mentioned that soldiers and mercenaries don't wear armor all day very often (And in one point Rhodry orders his men on an all-day patrol in full armor just to get them back into shape). And in that series, the heaviest armor available is chain mail.
Subverted in Elantris, where high-ranking Drethi priests wear armor constantly, but it's just for show because if it were sturdy enough to be armor it would be too heavy to wear around then double subverted when it turns out Hrathen's is actually real armor
In the Vorkosigan Saga, space armor is designed to be able to be worn for extended periods of time. The protagonist, Miles, is so short that once in a while he has to wear a suit of armor loaned from the shortest woman he can find, and therefore with the wrong sex's "plumbing."
According to the narrator the powered armor in Starship Troopers can keep a Space Marine alive for up to a week, albeit in increasing discomfort.
In the Robert A. Heinlein book Tunnel in the Sky, Jack wears a (seemingly inconvenient for the climate) armored vest 24/7 after first meeting Rod. This turns out to be because Jack is really Jacqueline, and she wasn't sure that he would have teamed with her if he knew. She is implied to have been correct.
Justified in Villains by Necessity with the Black KnightBlackmail, who is clad head-to-toe in all-concealing magic plate armor that has been welded shut, with enchanted rings that keep him from needing to eat or sleep. He never shows his face nor even so much as says a word until the climax, of course so that even his name is just a bad joke one of his traveling companions made up (though he visibly shakes with suppressed laughter when he hears it).
Live Action Television
In Game of Thrones, soldiers are often seen wearing their armor even when it would be unusual for them to do so, probably due to limitations in the costuming. For example, Bronn wears his armor even when he's relaxing and trading stories with Tyrion. King Renly Baratheon doesn't seem to have any formal clothing other than his armour in Season 2. Janos Slynt also wears his chainmail while having dinner with Tyrion. Most of the northmen are at least in gambesons, the heavy padded garment typically worn beneath heavier armor, even Bran, a boy who is paralyzed.
A notable exception is Ser Jorah Mormont, who strips down to a cloth tunic and pants due to the heat of the Dothraki Sea. He only puts on his plate when he's expecting a fight.
In a Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode, Weyoun finds Damar in bed wearing his uniform, including the boots and armoured chestplate!note The meta-reason for this was probably that making someone up as a Cardassian is expensive and time-consuming enough when it's just the face and neck. To make things sillier, Weyoun sneeringly examines what appears to be an article of flimsy, revealing clothing... implying that Damar has possibly engaged in some sort of sex acts with someone the night before, while presumably still fully dressed and in armour.
This would in fact be quite in-character for Damar.
Warhammer 40,000 heavily abuses this trope, but then, it is mentioned that most of these armors are designed to be worn for an extended periods of time,
Space Marine offers complete recycle facilities not unlike Fremen stillsuits.
The novels and other media confirm that Space Marines do indeed take their armour off when not fighting people. Their everyday attire depends on what the culture of their chapter is - the Salamanders go everywhere in loincloths, the Dark Angels wear robes, the Ultramarines wear tunics etc.
Like with everything, Chaos takes this trope to the utter screaming extreme, with numerous individuals wearing the same armour for thousands of years.
The Thousand Sons Chaos Marines essentially are suits of armor. Their bodies were dissolved by a Daemon curse and their souls eternally fused to their suit of armor. lengthy note Actually, it's their own chief sorcerer's fault, and not a Daemon curse: being a chapter worshipping Tzeentch, the Thousand Sons were especially..."blessed" with the Warp influence, resulting in countless mutations. Ahriman, the greatest Chaos Sorcerer ever, devised a spell to halt the mutations and free the Thousand Sons from corruption...Well, it did work, but not exactly in the way he intended, destroying their bodies and creating "animated" suits of power armor. Killing a Thousand Son Chaos Marine will result in an expulsion of dust from the suit through the wound.
In the case of the ones dedicated to Khorne, their armour has actually become part of their body and can't be removed, ever. They somehow eat their recycled waste forever.
The Imperial Guard is confusing. While many troops appear to be wearing armour along with a uniform, the 'flak armour' can be the uniform. While there may be harder and extra sections for them to wear, it's possible a uniformed Imperial Guardsmen is an armoured one. On the other hand, it's kinda useless against many small-arms, let alone larger ones. The universe never really states if flak armour can be comfortable enough to wear all the time; but carapace armour, which is much more likely at stopping small-arms, is said to be heavy, cumbersome and uncomfortable, as Ciaphas Cain says above.
Dungeons & Dragons discourages the trope with a rule assigning penalties to characters who sleep in medium or heavy armor. Light armor, however, does not incur any penalty, leading some characters to carry light armor purely to sleep in. There are also a number of work-arounds to avoid the penalty on heavier armors. "Restful" armor can be slept in without penalty. The Endurance feat eliminates the penalty for medium armor, and armor made of mithril counts as one category lighter. Thus, with the right kind of armor and feats, you really can wear a full suit of full plate all day and night.
In Pathfinder, which uses mostly the same rules, paladins of level 3 and up can use their mercy ability to remove fatigue, making sleeping in armor a viable option (at least for the paladin).
Star Wars d20 Saga Edition gives penalties for sleeping in armor. Endurance is a skill that you must check against or you get no bonus from sleeping in the armor.
In GURPS Time Travel, the authors suggest telling players who insist that their characters never remove their full plate armor that said character has now developed a full-body fungus.
The tabletop game Iron Heroes averts the trope, in that sleeping in your armor leaves you tired and less effective. It also plays it straight-the Armiger class, whose entire schtick is the maximisation of armor effects, later gains the ability to sleep in their armor without penalty.
In Warhammer Fantasy the chaos warriors do this, because their armor becomes part of them and grows back eventually if it's damaged. They also may not need to eat or sleep, so the usual problems don't apply.
Malekith, king of the Dark Elves, also never takes off his armor, as its magic kept him alive after he was hideously burned and disfigured during a literal trial by fire; he also put it on while it was white hot from the forge, and it's fused to his skin, so taking it off is a non-issue anyway.
Averted in Rifts. Sleeping in armor is described as unrealistic and unhygienic. In regards to the Glitter Boy Powered Armor, It is stated that while the suit is designed to sustain its pilot for days at a time, s/he should at the very least get out of the armor for an hour or so each day and exercise so their muscles don't atrophy.
The Terrestrial Exalted's favored magical jade-alloy armor is stated to be as comfortable as normal clothing, and the Solar Exalted have a specific magic power they can take to make armor-wearing less of a nuisance, or just send it Elsewhere.
There's also discreet Essence armor, an artifact that negates the issue entirely—the "armor" is just a matched set of bracers and anklets, which project a force field over the wearer in combat situations. For this reason, as well as the fact that it is much easier to conceal than normal armor, it is highly prized by spies, diplomats, martial artists, and anyone else who might want the protection of armor without the hassle of a cumbersome, conspicuous suit of plated metal.
The First and Forsaken Lion, for defying his [Neverborn master, was permanently welded into his armor, among other things. But he's the ghost of a former Solar Exalted, so the mundane problems don't apply.
The Elder Scrolls, depending on which game you play, may or may not adhere to this trope. Morrowind had static NPC's who played this trope straight. Oblivion and Skyrim's NPC's have more elaborate schedules and averted the trope by removing their armor and switching to more comfortable clothes when going to sleep, but you'll still come across the odd NPC (usually a generic bandit or some such) sleeping in their armour. The player character is able to play this trope straight depending on if the player himself wants to.
There's also an amusing armor-related story among the many, many in-game books readable detailing a master of heavy armor called "Hallgerd's Tale". note Also a particularly epic case of Right Through His Pants.
Many games in the Shining Series have a main character in full body Armour, once the characters get promoted the armour just gets bulkier.
In the Shining Force games you see all your men relaxing in the HQ, they are of course in full armour even then they should be safe.
Shining Force III opens during peace talks but everybody is in full armour, possibly to present a show of force. Later they show characters sleeping in bed in full armour.
Initially averted in Shining Wisdom where Mars awakes up and starts the game wearing an old-fashioned nightgown; but then played straight almost immediately afterwards as you have to sleep to begin a night-shift, which of course you do in full armour.
Fire Emblem games typically have knights walk around in full suits of armour, even in conversations outside of battle.
Justified in the case of the Black Knight aka Zelgius of the Tellius games, who stays in his armor all the time to hide the fact that he's a Branded and doesn't age as quickly as most beorc do.
A particular amusing case is Jagen of Mystery of the Emblem and its remake. He's still dressed in full, relatively heavy-looking battle armour like he was in the preceding games... except here he is in poor health, is just a tactician and advisor, and thus cannot and does not fight at all. For Mystery it may be enforced by technological limitations with limited space for superfluous portraits on a SNES cartridge, but New Mystery is a Nintendo DS game and doesn't have the same excuse at all.
Averted in A Dance with Rogues. Whenever your character is in bed (whether sleeping or doing other things one does in bed), the game removes whatever you have equipped in your armor/clothing slot and blacks out the general area.
She does wear the armor for a whole mission/game ultimately playing the trope straight.
In Metroid: Other M her suit appears to be of the Hard Light variety and she can summon or dismiss it at will. She's wearing the skintight Zero Suit underneath, and we also see her wearing ordinary clothes in some scenes.
World of Warcraft, anybody? Depending on the class, a character can be wearing the most outrageously huge armor you've ever seen, but still be able to disco your face off. When was the last time you took off your Shoulders of Doom except to change into a stronger set?
Of course, this doesn't apply to the roleplaying crowd on WoW. They blow hard-earned gold on random pieces of low-level cloth armour (which goes for quite a lot on the AH due to appropriate appearance) just to avert this trope.
The Armory system encourages your character to wear his best armor at all times, even when sleeping in an inn. Your equipped items are available for all the world to see, and if you're wearing a flimsy nightgown instead of your Item Level 359 Epic Breastplate of Major Pain Infliction, the other players will call you names, kick you out of dungeon groups inside of the first 5 seconds, etc..
In Final Fantasy IV Cecil goes to sleep wearing his armor in an early cutscene. This became even more annoying upon seeing it in the new DS version, where the cutscene was in fully rendered 3D. There are two reasons he has to wear it: One, he feels as though he must, because he wants to atone and we only get to see his face after he does so and two, it's implied it's actually strapped to his skin.
In Final Fantasy III, it is quite amusing to see your characters lying in bed during a cutscene, wearing full Dragoon or Dark Knight armor.
In Halo, Master Chief very rarely takes off his armor. In the games, he's only taken his helmet off about twice in the entire trilogy. In the Expanded Universe, he occasionally takes it off, but he's spent so much time in it, his skin looks bleached, due to lack of exposure to the sun.
The series has gone to rather absurd lengths to keep ol' John as The Faceless. Case in point: The second game starts off with the Mjolnir armor worn during the first game having been junked just before the MC is going to an award ceremony in his honor, his choice of attire for this prestigious public occasion? A new set of Mjolnir armor, with the helmet clamped securely on at all times. At this rate, either Haloid is canon, or he's cripplingly shy.
Chief: You told me there wouldn't be any cameras.
Johnson: And you told me you were gonna' wear something nice!
This is all justified though, as he and the other Spartans literally feel as if they are without their skin when taking off their armor, simply because the armor forms perfectly onto them so they don't even feel the difference of it on or off, except for the fact that armor multiplies their strength, resistance, etc. And since they've had it on so long, when they take it off, they feel extremely slow, powerless, and vulnerable even with all their already superhuman features.
Every Forerunner, be they warrior, builder, scientist, etc. wore a suit of armor for their entire lives. Justified, since it's the reason they live so long and don't need to sleep, and has their own personal AI with a massive store of knowledge. At one point, some females are seen wearing ceremonial garb, but even then, it's only colorful cloth suspended over their armor.
Excessively averted in Seiken Densetsu 3. Not only do characters take off their armour to sleep, most of them sleep in their underwear. Which does not include a bra for Lise or Angela. If using an emulator, you can even turn off the right sprite layer to see how they sleep (you pervert.)
Chrono Trigger zig-zags with this trope. First, the game features Informed Equipment, so the player doesn't see the armor that the party picks up. The most knightly character, Frog, wears a breastplate as seen in character illustrations, so this is less severe than full-body mail would be. Finally, Lucca sleeps without her helmet, making her case an aversion.
Mass Effect has it both ways. Shepard, Ashley, and Kaidan wear exceptionally bulky armor when out on a mission, but automatically change to a much lighter uniform when on your home ship. Members of alien races, like Garrus and Wrex,note Well, Krogan Battlemasters don't get to be Wrex's age without being excessively paranoid. He propably doesn't take it off to bathe. (It's likely that he doesn't bathe at all). still seem to wear their armor all the time. In Tali's case, it's implied that taking off her armor in an Earthlike environment would be fatal.
In Mass Effect 2 it's revealed that all Quarians have to wear armor all the time due to their weak immune system, even in their own environments; so it's likely that, yes, Quarians may literally eat, sleep, bathe and even... Well, you know... In their armor. Mass Effect 3' shows that they can also drink alcohol through their armor. Very carefully. Using an Emergency Induction Port.note That's a straw
Also, Tali finally gets one of two lines sans radio voice in ME3 at the end of The Rannoch campaign. Your decisionsnote through all three games decide if that line makes you happy or not.
Mass Effect 2 has Garrus wearing lighter clothing if you invite him up for a cuddle in a female romance plot. It's pretty much the day wear you see regular turians walking around in. Krogan also wear regular clothing, but it looks a lot like their armor.
And Shepard sees fit to wear his/her armour and weapons to formal situations, like for being appointed to the position of Spectre. Some fanfic writers have tried to justify this with claim that full combat armour is the unofficial Spectre equivalent to dress uniform. It kinda makes sense, as Spectres are all about being Bad Ass, so being seen wearing armor all the time, making them look always prepared would probably only enforce that. The books seem to confirm this. Saren is always seen in his armor no matter what, however a krogan battle master doesn't wear any armor when meeting with his employer.
For heavier armor too, it's important to note that the in-game justification is that nanotechnology allows for highly effective modular and self-repairing plates (or some such) as well as that most of the protection actually comes from very tiny force field emitters. Thus their armor is less 'armor' and more hardened space suits than anything else. Wrex gets both a handwave and a justification in that he fought a battle with a rival mercenary... for several days straight.
It gets worse in Mass Effect 2. Some armours come with the extra special function of completely non-removable helmets. This does not, however, prohibit Shepard from drinking or embracing former loved ones right through his/her helmet.
This trope is both played straight and inverted in Mass Effect 2. The inventory system from the first game is gone, so all of your squadmates go out in whatever they wear on the Normandy. So Zaeed, Grunt, and Garrus (except for the aforementioned romance scene) always wear full armor. On the other extreme, Jack goes into battle essentially topless.
Bioware can't seem to make up their mind about this trope. In Dragon Age: Origins, anyone equipped with armor wears it 24/7. The player can manually give party members normal clothes (or strip them to their underwear), but there is no practical reason to ever do so.
The armor goes away for a moment when the main character and Love Interest decide to do some sparring. It's back on when they wake up the next morning. Because the first thing anyone does after sex is put on their armor, then lie back down, right?
It does make an effort with some of the NPCs though, the landsmeet members for instance are all in normal clothing when you meet them in the city and full armor at the landsmeet itself. Arl Eamon wears normal clothes normally, fancy chainmail to the landsmeet and a suit of full plate when preparing for battle.
There's a scene early on when the main character wakes up without wearing armor. An entire conversation goes by this way, and when it's time to hand control over to the player there's a scene shift and the character is back to wearing full armor again.
Dragon Age II plays this mostly the same way but with one exception: Hawke will wear casual clothes while at home (Gamlen's house or the Hawke estate). The Companions, on the other hand, will wear their armor 24/7 (except the love interests).
Overlord. The armour never comes off, except when it's time to get jiggy wit' it. Oh yeah. Even then it's only implied. You never actually see the Overlord without armor.
Lampshaded in Final Fantasy XII, when one of the Arcadian soldiers got so tried of wearing his armor he got a civilian to pose as him while he lounged about.
Lampshaded in Fallout 2 when your character wears Power Armor in New Reno:
Hooker: OK. But no way in *hell* do you get to be on top.
Child: How do you go to the bathroom?
Player: Well, I go inside my suit, and then the water is recycl-
Child: You drink pee! You drink pee!
On the other hand, when you have sex with someone the game subverts the trope and awakens you naked (well, as naked as you can get in Fallout, anyway) with your armor close to your bed.
The New Reno hookers will mock you no matter what you're wearing. Its just that armour gets the more amusing jabs.
Dead Money has Hazmat suits with a design flaw causing the latching components to sieze up, trapping the wearer inside. Those unfortunate enough to be wearing the suits when the bombs fell became more or less immortal in their hermitically-sealed environment. As they lost their sanity, the Ghost People were born.
Old World Blues features the Y-37 Trauma Harness, powered suit prototypes designed to be placed on an injured soldier in combat so that he could be 'walked' back to a friendly area in relative safety. Unfortunately, there were a couple of minor flaws in the Trauma Harness, namely an overly sensitive and agressive self-defense system and a lack of recognition on whether or not the inhabitant of the suit was, in fact, alive. Thus, the Big Empty is packed with autonomous harnesses ferrying around skeletons.
Not quite as chilling, Brotherhood of Steel soldiers do indeed sleep in power armor.
Krill armor in Sigma Star Saga may not be 24-hour (inasmuch as we're shown Krill beds but never shown any Krill sleeping in them), but the Krill treat it as standard clothing, and an NPC's dialogue snippet informs the player that some Krill even shower with it on. It helps that it enhances the wearer's physical capabilities.
In StarCraft II, We have Tychus Findlay who is literally welded into his marine armor. The armor works as a sort of mobile prison, and there are systems to shut off his major organs should whoever released him find that he isn't to be controlled anymore.
This is actually the lore for all Marines in at least the original game. The majority of Marines are convicts serving life sentences who are fitted into armor that cannot be removed and forced into the army until they're killed.
Mount & Blade does this, where both nameless NPCs and the player can be found wearing their armor day in, day out. It isn't unheard of for a player to go around in heavy armor for months on end, and short of a few instances (namely training), your minions will never change their clothing either. The active exception to this lies in the named lords, who will wear full battle kit when in the field, and suitably fancy clothing when standing around in a castle keep.
Justified in Crysis 2 with Alcatraz's Nanosuit, since it's the only thing keeping him alive after his grievous wounding at the beginning of the game. He later discovers that the suit is compensating for the otherwise fatal injuries by growing into his body.
In Minecraft there is no reason to not wear armor if you can. It's better to sleep with armor on, in case a monster appears in your bedroom that night.
Partially averted in Dwarf Fortress. Your militia take a small morale penalty if made to wear their armour when not on duty, but there are no other ill-effects apart from them moving more slowly.
Played straight in most iterations of Monster Hunter: saving the game involves sleeping in a bed, which means the player-character flops into bed in whatever they happen to be wearing at the time, which may include heavy armour with a full-face helmet. (Weapons, however, disappear into hammerspace, because it's pretty painful to fall on your sword even when it's sheathed.)
Downplayed in Monster Hunter Portable 3: taking a bath, which grants a temporary stat boost, causes the player-character to automatically doff their armour in favour of a Modesty Towel. They still sleep in full armour, though.
So long as the player doesn't actively take their armour off, this is played straight in Dark Souls. This is justified, however, because one of the perks (one of the few) of being undead seems to be never needing to sleep or have food/drink. And besides that, in the world of Dark Souls, wearing your armor all the time is probably a good move....
Sun King Aster in the Erenor series is an example of this. Supposedly, his armor is 10 times lighter than steel, but no accounting for comfort.
Radiant Historia has Alistel army commanders who have been explicitly moved to permanent desk jobs still wear full combat armor. A justified example, as Alistel has such a strong military tradition it's quite possible combat gear is the uniform all the way up to the top. Granorg, by contrast, has its noncombatant governors in much less practical finery.
It's possibly apocryphal in-universe, but in Knights of the Old Republic 2, Mandalore supposedly never takes his full body armor off. It's for a good reason - he doesn't want anyone discovering he's Revan's old buddy Canderous.
We get a few Fisher Kingdom worlds in the Kingdom Hearts series where Sora (and his allies) will be forced to wear armor at all times. Of course, the armor for Space Paranoids retains the magic that his regular attire is equipped with, so it's not all that bad.
Played straight with and a slight variation in the GTA series. Despite the later games going to incredible lenghts to include clothing changes (in V, your characters will change clothes between plays if you don't use them for a time) and lots of attempts at every day realism, when you go to save in a safehouse and sleep, you character always just lays on top of the sheets in whatever clothes you last had them in, no matter how uncomfortable an outfit you have on them (and if you have body armor equipped, that stays on too) or how close to their own closet (presumably full of their own night clothes) they are.
While he does wear armor in most of his appearances, Ratchet is forced to wear armor at all times during his unwanted stay at DreadZone. His reaction to his armor is priceless!
Ratchet: ...me outta this thing, you blarg-headed frap monkey! I can barely breathe, and my tail feels like it's shoved right up my...
Addressed in Drowtales, which seems to Handwave the issue by saying that at least the helmets are designed to be worn all day. The main armored troops we only see now and then, but the more conventional forces (such as the Fallen Legion) wear less bulky armor that's easier to take off. That and weight issues are handwaved by having most things made of "adamantine". Characters are also seen taking it off and putting it on at various times when not in combat. Quain'tana in particular is almost never seen outside of this red and black ensemble, with the only time to date being when she's alone in her quarters.
Also justified with spider silk armor, being made of silk that's extremely strong but also incredibly light.
With the setting being based on Dungeons & Dragons, this is only to be expected of the cast of The Order of the Stick, the characters who routinely wear light-to-no armour (Hayley, Elan, Vaarsuvius) are often shown in different outfits. Roy and Durkon, in particular, are almost always wearing their armour except for a few special occasions. Even in the desert. Or on board ship, although having prepared water walk helps with that one...
Kore from Goblins is always seen wearing enough armor for a main battle tank. The only exposed bits of him are one eye and his beard.
They ruined his beard. He's now scarier than ever.
In Schlock Mercenary, Tagon's Toughs wear their fullerene-cloth Powered Armor all the time. Subverted in that with the helmet and gloves retracted, the armor is indistinguishable from an ordinary uniform anyway.
In The Dreamland Chronicles, Alexander wears his magical armor whenever he's there - that, or in some rare instances only his boxers. Probably justified in that a) it's magical armor, and b) he doesn't eat, sleep, or defecate in Dreamland. On the other hand, he cuddles with his love interest while wearing the armor, so it has to be magically cuddly, too.
Eight Bit Theater has Fighter, whose armor somehow thwarts Black Mage's stabbing attempts even while he's asleep.
Both played straight and averted at various points in The Senkari, in which for most of the time the characters wear normal street clothes, only opting for armour when they know they'll need it in advance. However during the Flashback Freija seems never to take her armour off.
In Red vs. Blue, it's heavily implied that the main characters rarely, if ever, take off their Powered Armor. To the point that two separate characters being robots went completely unnoticed for months and best friends genuinely don't know what race each other are. Although in that case, Church didn't know Tucker's first name either, so you could just chalk that up to him being his usual unobservant self. Once CG began to be used, some of the Freelancers' faces have been shown, but like the Reds and Blues (and, really, Master Chief as mentioned in the Halo entry above), they seem to much prefer to just leave it on at all times. As the armor in question is supposed to be designed for comfort even when being worn for long periods, it's at least partially explainable.
Captain Flowers: And now to go to sleep standing up in my armor. As is my custom.
Averted in Avatar The Last Airbender. In the episode "The Boiling Rock", two of the heroes infiltrate the eponymous prison, and, as they go in to the guard lounge to gather information, are told to take off the helmets and relax by the regular guards. The hero with the well known face in the Fire Nation is able to make up an excuse about always wanting to be prepared in case of a surprise attack and the veteran guards laugh it off as an overly by-the-book rookie and let him leave it on without further comment.
Kevin from Daria is never, ever shown without his football pads. Except when he was kicked off the football team after breaking his leg.
In The Legend Of Korra, police chief Lin Beifong wears armor any time she isn't sleeping, even to high-society parties.
Brucho from the semiobscure Australian claymation series Plasmo was only ever seen in his 24-hour helmet. He even wore it in the bath.
Inverted in the Teen Titans episode "Cyborg the Barbarian", where Cyborg is transported into the past. While the barbarians he befriends take off their armor at the end of a battle, Sarasim remarks that it is sad that Cyborg's armor cannot be removed as it's part of his body — he is a Twenty Four Hour Warrior and must have trouble being outside of battle.
In the Venture Brothers, Hank Venture once found a Strenght Suit and wore it for weeks afterwards without getting it off. The other characters started to mention his stench, and when the suit was stolen from him, it was shown that his limbs had severely atrophied.
According to the remaining sources, it was perfectly common for knights and mercenaries of the middle ages to wear some armor everywhere except at home and at formal occasions. Outside of impending battle, they would simply shed any uncomfortable plating and strip down to a chain shirt. It weighed heavily on the shoulders (a good belt could relieve that a little), but didn't carry the hygiene problems of plate and could be slept in. Wearing it near-constantly would eventually mess up your back, though.
Even in full plate, one could remove the plates needed for the toilet without removing the full armour, one only needs to remove the fauld/tassets & cuisses which can be done by undoing the laces.
European brigandines were an armoured jacket; a layer of small steel plates riveted to leather and sandwiched between cloth. They were tailored to fit, and were laced across the chest so the weight was taken as tension rather than weight on the shoulders. Versions with thin plates and faced in velvet or other fashionable cloth were specifically made as concealed armour, to be worn about town (and in taverns).
During Cortez' conquest of the Aztec, the natives attempted to launch a desperation night attack on the Conquistadors. It failed spectacularly, one of the reasons being that the Spanish had slept both armored and with weapons on hand.
Most modern armor is an aversion. A lot of work has gone into making armor lighter, better in hot and cold environments, and more hygienic. Servicemembers stay in body armor, with heavy plates in for extended periods of time, but usually don't sleep in it. However, even a light flak jacket isn't the most comfortable thing to wear, as it puts a lot of pressure on your torso.
JLIST chemical protective gear is designed for continuous wear; there is a straw/emergency induction port in the pro-mask so you can drink without taking it off.
Many Live Action Roleplayers who have already got their chainmail "settled" properly are loath to take it off again if they can avoid it. At some of the bigger, regular festival LARP events this can result in the surreal experience of seeing a gang of heavily armoured men nipping into the local supermarket to stock up on beer and doughnuts, while the locals don'tso much as bat an eyelid.