When people are engaged in Time Travel, they will very frequently be wearing clothing that is inappropriate or out of fashion for the time period. After the obligatory initial comments about the time traveler being dressed "very strangely", the locals will all, in effect, shrug and move on, and however bizarre or inappropriate the clothing may be by their standards, they will rarely mention it again. An Improbable Hairstyle doesn't faze the peasants, either. Occasionally caused by Limited Wardrobe. Of course, in some cases, it's not a problem because Fashions Never Change. (And, of course, if it's Halloween, expect at least one instance of Your Costume Needs Work.)
Necessarily averted if you Can't Take Anything with You which just makes the time traveler stand out more. If time travel allows for multiples of the same person to run around at the same time and they actually do change their jumper, see Differently Dressed Duplicates.
(Note: For those of us Separated by a Common Language, a jumper is a sweater, not a dress for little girls. Or a kind of conductor. Or a guy on a bridge. Or a cable. And it's got nothing to do with that Hayden Christensen movie.)
- Inverted in a Carl's, Jr./Hardee's ad that has a man from the antebellum South time-traveling over 150 years into the future and winding up on a beach in 2010s America to hand out Carl's Jr.'s/Hardee's Made-From-Scratch Biscuits. He is soon surrounded by several people in swim trunks and bikinis, and asks what everyone is doing in their underwear.
- In The Ambition of Oda Nobuna, Sagura Yoshiharu was transported from the present (late 2000s-early 2010s) Japan to the Sengoku era, some 450 years ago. The light novel and manga averted it by making him, eventually, wear period clothing. The anime plays this straight; he's always seen either in his school uniform or a yellow T-shirt, sometimes with period armour on them.
- Particularly noticeable in Dinosaur King, as in the second season, the gang is being shunted to various time periods, and none of them ever change what they're wearing, not even Zoe, even when they're in the 18th century and would presumably have gotten into a lot of trouble for being dressed as she is.
- In Final Fantasy: Lost Stranger, Shogo is wears the sweater and jeans that he arrives in the fantasy world with for much of the story. While he's written off as a country bumpkin for his reaction to a moogle, no one gives him a second look about his distinctly modern attire out of place in the setting. He later gets attire more like that of the rest of the world, but no one ever comments on his previous clothes.
- Harukanaru Toki no Naka de - Hachiyou Shou (not quite a Time Travel, but close enough) averts the trope only partially. It's implied that Akane, Tenma and Shimon do look strange in their school uniforms to people in Kyou; however, the trio is given a chance to change into local clothing. The result is mixed: Akane in particular ends up trading her jacket for a short big-sleeved... thing... while the rest of her clothes, including short skirt, is left intact, and her short hair is also quite a contrast to the local standards, yet this hardly gets commented on.
- Kagome from Inuyasha wears an extremely short skirt in feudal Japan. Near the beginning, a man comments that "Her kimono is shorter than mine" while fingering her skirt. After this, though, aside from a rare passing comment about "strange clothes", no one she meets is ever really surprised by her modern clothes and hair, though she is accused of being a demon a few times. May be part of an ingrained cultural habit where after elementary school Japanese schoolchildren are conditioned to wear their school uniforms on school days, period, no exceptions—even after school. Sundays and holidays are no-uniform days, but most junior high and high school students are expected to remain in uniform until they go home for the night. Word of God states she keeps wearing it to retain a sense of connection to her own time. And she does switch to wearing a kimono after deciding to marry Inuyasha. Word of God has also stated she just likes the style, and that there's a practical side too: It's apparently easy to keep clean.
- The sequel Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon has Towa, who is a native of the Feudal Era but spent ten years in the modern times. When she returns, she continues to wear her white business suit. Like Kagome, no one comments on it.
- Averted strongly in Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE-, where nearly every stop (longer than a day or so, anyway) involves the main characters acquiring clothing that would be appropriate in the local culture. More often then not, they are skipping dimensions, not time traveling, but the concept still applies, since the worlds they visit have a great diversity of historical settings, magical abilities, technology, urban vs rural, or even non-human inhabitants. Fai's fur coat would be out of place anywhere, so he seldom wears it. If they are wearing their own clothing, someone is likely to comment on how strange it appears. Basically, this gave CLAMP an excuse for endless costume changes.
- Hitomi in The Vision of Escaflowne goes gallivanting through the fantasy world with knights, princesses and giant magical robots, wearing her school sailor uniform. She gets some comments about strange clothes in the early episodes, though. At one point they try to get her into a more appropriate dress, but then she had to run down Van and a big, billowy dress really gets in the way of a good runner, so she resorted to an Action Dress Rip.
- A comic special (Mandy?) featured a girl who sat in an a coach in a museum being transported back to the same coach in the Victorian Era. Once she explained that it was normal to wear mini skirts back home everyone accepted hers. Also pointing out that back home many secretaries were women was sufficient to get her the job.
- On the rare time-travels of Milligan's Shade, the Changing Man, it was easily Hand Waved by Shade only appearing to personalities known to stay under the influence of substances, sometimes including hallucinogens. In one unique aversion, all of Hotel Shade and everything inside reverted gradually to earlier analogues and fashions, until they finally arrived in colonial Salem. Constantine mused on the fit of various underwear through history.
- Wonder Woman (1942): Wonder Woman wearing her spangled bike shorts and strapless bustier in ancient Rome doesn't seem to faze any of the locals.
- In The Greatest Bloodbath in the Galaxy, the Doctor, Amy, and Rory travel to Spartacus' time. While Amy and Rory wear appropriate clothing, the Doctor insists on wearing his regular suit. The Romans think his outfit is strange, but accept it because he is pretending to be a powerful official.
- The Lone Traveler's default outfit is a simple jeans/t-shirt/black leather jacket combination. It doesn't always fit in, and he knows it. Luckily, he can just use magic to transfigure them into something more appropriate.
- Averted in My Master Ed; Ed buys a period appropriate outfit as soon he gets to Xerxes proper and only wears what he arrived with in private because while no one directly comments, blending in was a priority and too many people stared at his very odd and impractical-for-a-desert clothing.
- In a Star Trek: Voyager fanfic, the crew beam down to a planet nude, only to find the people they made First Contact with were a nudist cult, and everyone else wears clothing. Captain Janeway is not amused.
- The Back to the Future trilogy:
- Averted in the first Back to the Future, with people remarking on Marty's hazmat suit and vest throughout the film. Back to the Future Part III also subverts this: Marty's cowboy outfit (assembled by 1950s Doc Brown, who assures Marty that it is, in fact, "authentic") is horrendously out-of-place in 1885 Hill Valley.
- In the latter film, we get this memorable exchange after Marty meets up with Doc Brown in 1885:
Doc: What idiot dressed you in that outfit?
Marty: You did.
- Also averted (in another fashion) in Back to the Future Part II, where Doc gives Marty local clothing so he can disguise himself as his own son. However, he doesn't have to change out of his T-shirt or blue jeans (other than turning out the pockets, since in 2015 people wear their pants inside-out).
- Inverted in Kate & Leopold. Leopold travels to the present and continues wearing his coat. He sees Kate and mentions that "women who wear pants are not to be trusted", but only jokingly.
- Given that he's in New York, it's not unusual that people don't care how he dresses.
- In A Kid in King Arthur's Court, Calvin arrives in the middle ages in his baseball uniform. Everybody laughs at him and asks why he's dressed like a jester.
- Discussed and Averted in Predestination. Temporal agents make sure to have a stash of period appropriate clothing waiting for them in the time period they jump to in order to blend in.
- Averted in Somewhere in Time (1980), where the main character tries to buy accurate period costume for the time he is traveling to, but is informed by pretty much everyone he meets that his clothes are several years out of fashion, which makes him stand out significantly in the high society he is visiting.
- In Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, the crew walk around 1980s San Francisco in their Star Fleet uniforms without anyone noticing at all. This was actually Truth in Television... They specifically tested it first by sending bit actors out in uniform, and got exactly that little comment. (A bit of the movie is even shot more-or-less guerilla style, showing actual bystander nonreactions.) Hey, it's San Francisco!
- Well, with the rank insignia and more obvious military trappings removed, the late 23rd century Starfleet uniforms really aren't all that abnormal-looking...and remember, only Scott and Uhura were even in uniform. Everyone else was wearing the same civilian clothing they wore when they stole the Enterprise in the previous film (except Chekov, who changed from his fancy-collared pink outfit into a simpler leather jacket), and their civvies are only superficially different from late 20th century attire.
- In interviews, one of the filmmakers discusses the process of trying to decide how to dress the characters for 1986 as "we went to San Francisco, looked around, and decided they could wear what they already had and would be the normal ones!"
- Spock's the only one that really does stand out, and people would probably accept Kirk's explanation that he's a harmless (yet quirky) stoner. Local girl Gillian Taylor jokingly refers to Kirk and Spock as "Robin Hood and Friar Tuck", respectively.
- Totally avoided in the Terminator series. Nothing dead (unless it's surrounded by living tissue, like the terminators) can be sent through a time machine, so time travelers arrive naked and have to steal contemporary clothing.
- Though the flashforwards also avoid this trope through the simple expedient of describing the future as a grim and endless theater of war, so that no matter what fashions might have appeared between, say, 1984 and 2004, the humans' clothes are all ripped to shreds, patched with whatever other fabrics and thread (and skill) were available, and covered with layers of dirt interspersed with sweat and cordite.
- The Time Machine (2002). After the first time jump, the main character is given directions by a friendly woman on a bicycle. Both clearly think the others' mode of dress is unusual, but are too polite to say so.
- Of course, thanks to the movie, this bicycle outfit inspired a Real Life version.
- Alice, Girl from the Future: In A Hundred Years Ahead, a boy from 1976 ends up in 2082 and simply tells the people he's dressed up for a masquerade ball.
- The Devils of Langenhagen, a short story by Australian sci-fi author Sean McMullen. The protagonist, a German pilot in an Me262 squadron in the last days of WW2, realises there's something odd about the two pilots (and their wives) who've turned up with their unusually advanced aircraft (a Horten 229 and a Japanese Shinden canard fighter) because they're not dead-tired, starving and filthy like the rest of the squadron. They even have cigarettes! It turns out they're time travellers out for some thrill-seeking.
- In novelisation of Earthsearch 2: Deathship, when the protagonists finally discover Earth, humanity has been reduced to ten thousand people eking out a living on a world devastated by environmental change. They get the garment-making androids to create clothes so they'll blend in, but are instantly given away by the superior quality of the cloth and the fact that they're all well fed, unlike everyone else on the planet.
- Foop!. The character's somewhat naïve thoughts on how millennium-turn era citizens dress (obscene t-shirts) ends up not mattering because they had to go to Mardi Gras.
- In the Pratchett book Johnny and the Bomb, the kids decide to get disguises before going back to the WW2-era version of their hometown again (the first trip being accidental). The skinhead Bigmac's idea to scrounge up a military uniform would have been better if it hadn't been a German uniform. Kristy was the picture of 1940s glamour...and, being 13, looked to 1941 eyes like a little girl playing dress-up. Johnny managed to scrounge up clothes that were reasonably authentic to what a kid his age might've had—and Kristy criticized him for it.
- The hero of L. Sprague de Camp's Lest Darkness Fall is transported from Rome in 1938 to the same spot in 535 CE. He's wearing a light wool suit, necktie, modern shoes and hat. No one seems to particularly notice.
- Inverted in Magic Tree House and Kat the Time Traveler books, in which the characters usually find themselves in the typical clothes of the era. Occasionally Jack and Annie [in Magic Tree House] have kept the clothes they had originally (usually the most impractical clothes possible for the era, such as swimsuits in the Ice Age), but this is never commented on by any natives of the time they may meet.
- The Pendragon Adventure book series completely avoids this - probably two-thirds of an Acolyte's job is making sure that period and world-appropriate clothing is available to the main characters. Of course, in this case it's more dimensional travel than time travel, but the spirit is the same (not to mention that two of the "Territories" are a past and future version of Earth, respectively).
- Parodied in "Almost...But Not Quite" by Dayton Ward (Star Trek: Strange New Worlds II) where two Temporal Investigations agents (based on a report of Kirk's visit to 20th Century San Francisco) disguise themselves as punk rockers (based on the one Spock nerve-pinched on the bus, one assumes) when visiting Griffith Observatory. Needless to say, they stick out a bit.
- The Time Machine Choose Your Own Adventure books may or may not pay attention to this. In Quest for King Arthur, for instance, when you time-travel to a modern-day museum, the tour guide will sarcastically comment on your Medieval costume. On the other hand, in The Mystery of Atlantis you're wearing nothing but a Greek chiton and yet can time-travel to locations such as nineteenth-century Great Britain or pre-Columbian Mesoamerica and nobody ever notices anything amiss!
- Discussed and averted in the Time Scout series. Even small changes in dress are considered dangerously anachronistic and treated as life or death.
- Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction: In one episode, a man wearing a T-shirt, khaki shorts, and boots preparing for a hike finds himself in the Wild West. The locals harass him and ask why he's walking around in his underpants.
- Charmed: Avoided; their outfits are almost always commented on when they time travel. In "The Good, The Bad, and The Cursed", Cole and Prue steal contemporary outfits when they wind up in the Wild West, but the locals are shocked because Prue is wearing men's clothes.
- The Halloween version is inverted. The sisters are pulled back to Puritan Salem while in their Halloween costumes (Elvira, Glinda, and... sort of a pixie, maybe). The contemporary wiccans comment that witches must not have to hide in the future. They quickly provide appropriate outfits, which the sisters then wear when they return to their own time and use as their replacement costumes.
- Doctor Who has had this a fair few times and it's sometimes remarked on by the locals. There are also some interesting subversions.
- The Doctor, in the original run, compensated by dressing so outlandishly they were simply never in fashion: the Fourth Doctor's scarf and bohemian coat, Six's multicoloured coat, and so on.
- "The Reign of Terror", set in France during the Revolution, has the Doctor go out of his way to obtain a policeman's outfit as part of a bluff, attempting to trade his own clothes for one. He insists his clothes are more than high enough quality to swap, but the clothes merchant is incredibly confused by the style of them, calling them worthless and admitting he assumed they were cheap fancy dress. He does eventually get a fabulous gendarme outfit complete with a feathery hat and spends the rest of the episode wearing it and ordering people about a comment by Susan implies that this may be because he has a Foreign Culture Fetish for the French Revolution.
- "Terror of the Autons": A Time Lord turns up to warn the Doctor about the Master. He's wearing a bowler hat and three-piece suit in an effort to blend in; "unlike some" he adds sarcastically, in a clear reference to the Doctor and the Master's flamboyant outfits. Though the whole floating-in-midair thing might have given the game away.
- Sarah Jane just happens to dress up in (2nd Doctor companion) Victoria's outfit before the events of "Pyramids of Mars".
- "The Seeds of Doom": At the end, due to a TARDIS error, Sarah Jane Smith ends up walking out into Antarctica in a swimsuit.
- One aversion of the trope is from "The Talons of Weng-Chiang", in which the Doctor puts on a Sherlock Holmes-style outfit (complete with deerstalker) and Leela (her of the leotard) puts on a Victorian style dress. Curiously, the outfit the Fourth Doctor had generally been wearing around that time is mostly in the early-Victorian style (with a lot of Regency hangovers), and his "Talons" outfit is in the late-Victorian style, suggesting being forty years out of fashion is a lot more conspicuous than being a hundred years out.
- "Ghost Light": Redvers Fenn-Cooper tells Ace that she's barely dressed, and later, Reverend Ernest Matthews is shocked at the Doctor "parading [his] shameless wantons", so the Doctor sends her off with Gwendoline to get something more suitable for Victorian England. It doesn't work the first time...
- "The Unquiet Dead" is the Trope Namer, in which this trope is played straight by Rose and subverted by the Doctor. In that episode, the Doctor tells Rose to change her 21st century outfit into something more appropriate for the 1860s, otherwise "You'll start a riot, Barbarella!" Rose goes around in a gorgeous Victorian-era gown, while the Doctor merely changes his jumper and Charles Dickens duly comments that he looks like a "navvy".
- The page quote comes from "The Empty Child". Rose is wearing jeans and a Union Jack T-shirt, whilst the Doctor is in his usual leather jacket. One worn by German U-Boat captains. In London. During the Blitz.
- "Tooth and Claw": Rose dresses in a pink T-shirt and denim minidress for a visit to 1979, and ends up in 1879 instead, where of course everyone sees her as "naked". The Doctor claims to Queen Victoria and to Sir Robert that she's mentally ill to explain away her clothing.
The Doctor: She's a feral child. I bought her for sixpence in old London Town. It was her or the Elephant Man, so...
Rose Tyler: Thinks he's funny but I'm so not amused.
- Lampshaded in "The Shakespeare Code", when the Doctor takes Martha to 1599 England, and tells her to just walk about like she owns the place it works for him. She gets some looks and comments about being black, but is otherwise fine. In particular, Shakespeare makes a comment about her "fitted" clothing, and it's implied her clothes were one of the clues that helped him figure out who Martha and the Doctor really were.
- However, a few episodes later in "Human Nature", this comes back to bite her hard when she's stuck in 1913 England and faces racial discrimination from everyone.note
- Possibly the most extreme example of someone noticing the incongruous clothes is in the Spin-Off novel The Many Hands, where a soldier in 1759 Edinburgh comments on Martha's "pantaloons", and she sarcastically asks if it's against the law. It is.
- Lampshaded in "The Fires of Pompeii", where Donna asks whether her clothing (jeans, tunic top) won't be a little conspicuous in a Roman city in AD 79. The Doctor's answer: "Nah, ancient Rome? It's like Soho. Anything goes." Sadly, it turns out the TARDIS landed in Pompeii instead. Later on, Caecilius's family gives Donna a purple stola to wear.
- "The Unicorn and the Wasp" has Donna don a copper flapper dress for a 1920s house party, while the Doctor goes dressed in his normal brown suit.
- Amy Pond is the absolute champion of this trope. She's managed to wear a mini-skirt pretty much everywhere.
Malohkeh: The female seems more resistant to the cold than the male.
Amy: I dressed for RIO!
- In "The Snowmen", the Eleventh Doctor is dressed as a Victorian England local for almost the entire episode, which makes sense because he was "temporarily" retired from adventuring and never expected to leave.
- "Mummy in the Orient Express" has not only Clara dressing as The Flapper in a '20s Bob Haircut and a Gorgeous Period Dress, but the Doctor putting on a snazzy suit and bow tie. (The episode is set in the future, but on a '20s-themed space train.) This being a few episodes after "The Caretaker", where the Doctor thought going "deep cover" meant putting on a different coat. This rigmarole on what is supposed to be one final trip before Clara stops adventuring shows they're not really serious about breaking up.
- In #9 of the Titan Comics Twelfth Doctor series, Clara, in a very sixties minidress, asks the Doctor if he's not going to dress up for visiting Las Vegas in the Sixties. He puts on a fedora.
- "Rosa" has the Thirteenth Doctor and her companions wandering about 1955 Alabama in modern clothes without any locals batting an eyelash. Not even at the Doctor and Yaz wearing trousers.
- "Nikola Tesla's Night of Terror": While the companions put on period-appropriate garb for sightseeing in the early 20th century, the Doctor sticks out even more than usual because she just can't be bothered.
- In The Sarah Jane Adventures story "The Temptation of Sarah Jane Smith", teenage assistant from 2009 Rani Chandra time-travels back to 1951. Everyone is shocked to see her in such ridiculous clothes and wonder if it can really be the fashion in "the Punjab". She, hilariously, assumes at first all the strange looks she's getting are due to her race, when she's really getting the looks due to her clothes, and probably only getting away with it because she looks foreign. In the same episode, knowing that she's going back in time, Sarah Jane dresses appropriately for the time period. Apparently "the '50s came back in the '70s". Luke is suitably embarrassed.
- Various stories in the Expanded Universe have had the Doctors adopt different clothing in exceptional circumstances; the Sixth Doctor in particular has been described as wearing less outlandish clothes when essentially operating "undercover" in the twentieth century (the novel Players and the audio Criss-Cross, as examples).
- Farscape: One episode, Moya's crew find themselves on Earth, on Halloween, in 1986. Aeryn's faux-hippie outfit is interesting, to say the least.
- Haven: In "Sarah", Duke gets sent to 1955. Several people confront him about his long hair, thinking that he's either a troublemaker or imitating Tonto from The Lone Ranger. When Nathan arrives in 1955, his conservative clothes and hat let him fit right in.
- Mostly averted in Legends of Tomorrow. One of the machines on The Waverider can create clothes from nothing, so everyone dresses appropriately for the period (although in one episode a Time Bureau official complains about an expense item for 1.7 million dollars for historical costumes). Constantine plays it straight though; he barely ever changes from his Iconic Outfit.
- Lois & Clark: Averted. During a time travel episode, Lois is called indecent for wearing a business skirt and blouse.
- Lost in Austen: Played with, where Mr Darcy and Miss Price are able to wander around modern London in outfits from the early 19th century without anyone commenting. Whether this is because nobody thinks it's that weird in a city that diverse, or the British are just too polite and reserved to comment, is uncertain. On the other hand, when Miss Price first arrives in Pride and Prejudice land she has to excuse her leather jacket and jeans as otter-hunting clothes. The degree of cleavage she's showing causes Mr Bingley some discomfort, as well. Cleavage-exposing dresses were considered acceptable as evening wear but not during the day.
- Lost in Space: Averted in "Visit to a Hostile Planet", where the Jupiter II goes back in time to the 1947 United States and the Robinsons walk around in their shiny silver space suits. Because of their dress, the locals think that the Robinsons are space aliens.
- The Orville: In "Majority Rule", four members of the crew go down to a planet very similar to early-21st century Earth (specifically, the US). LaMarr complains heavily about having to wear skinny jeans and doesn't want to give himself an impromptu vasectomy. Alara, being a Rubber-Forehead Alien, has to wear a hat to hide her ears and forehead. When Ed first sees them in those outfits, he comments that they look like unemployed backup dancers. Later on, Alara's choice of hat ends up backfiring, as it turns out to be specific to a particular culture on the planet. A member of that culture takes offense to Alara wearing his people's hat without being one of them. Claire rushes her to the bathroom and rips a strip off her blouse in order to fashion her a replacement headcover.
- Stargate SG-1: In "1969", the team are sent back to the titular year and swap their uniforms for stereotypical hippie garb. This is, however, justified they're on the run and want disguises that'll make people dismiss them.
- Repeatedly in Star Trek: The Original Series:
- "Tomorrow is Yesterday": Captain Kirk beams down to a 1960s U.S. Air Force base while wearing his Star Fleet uniform.
Colonel: What is that? Is that a uniform of some kind?
Kirk: This little thing? Something I slipped on.
- "City on the Edge of Forever": Kirk and Spock are in 1930s New York wearing their Star Fleet uniforms. They do procure 20th century clothing in order to fit in.
Kirk: We seem to be costumed a little out of step with the time.
- "All Our Yesterdays": Kirk, Spock and McCoy accidentally end up in the past of an alien planet while wearing their Star Fleet uniforms.
- Averted in "Assignment Earth": When Kirk and Spock beam down to the 1960s United States, they wear appropriate clothing. This was the first time the crew planned to go to the past.
- "Tomorrow is Yesterday": Captain Kirk beams down to a 1960s U.S. Air Force base while wearing his Star Fleet uniform.
- Also, on one episode of Deep Space Nine, several characters found themselves in the Original Series, and changed their jumpers to fit the Star Fleet uniform of the period. Including Dax in the famous miniskirts. Bashir is suitably impressed.
Sisko: Crew wore red, officers wore gold.
Dax: And women wore less.
- Averted in "Accession" where a time-displaced Bajoran emerges from the wormhole and his 22nd Century clothing looks exactly the same as that of the 24th Century.
- It formed something of a running gag in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Whether on the Holodeck or traveling into the past, people would assume that the characters' uniforms were pajamas (Or in one case, a bellhop's uniform). Can't really blame them.
- In Time's Arrow; according to locals, the android Data is actually French, and he was kicked out by his girlfriend in the middle of the night. At least Mark Twain doesn't fall for it... Jack London does, though.
- Star Trek: Voyager. While the holodeck characters have been programmed not to notice, it's still played straight in Time Travel episodes.
- In "Time and Again", Janeway and Paris find themselves on a planet that hasn't made First Contact. The first thing they do is head for a clothing store.
- Humorously averted in "Future's End". When the crew of Voyager find themselves in Los Angeles in 1996, they dress to blend in, but one look at the odd outfits on the Venice boardwalk, and gang-banger Tuvok comments that they could've worn their Star Fleet uniforms and no one would've noticed. This gets validated when the Doctor (having just gotten his mobile emitter) walks around the city in his uniform and local girl Rain Robinson just thinks it's a bad leisure suit.
- Averted in Star Trek: Enterprise. When Captain Archer wakes up in an Alternate History version of WW2, it's assumed from his jumpsuit with 'Enterprise' symbol that he's a survivor from the aircraft carrier of the same name, which has been sunk in this timeline. His clothes do look like a boilersuit that might be worn in a ship's engine room. However he does change into period-appropriate clothing later, as he's hiding in a country under German occupation.
- In "Frontierland" Sam and Dean have to travel back to 1861 Wyoming. Aware that Dean is a massive Western fan, Sam reluctantly wears the clothes he's picked out for them. Sure enough, not only is it the Hollywood History version (Dean dresses up in a serape like The Man With No Name, only to remove it in embarrassment when someone congratulates him on his nice blanket) but someone also notes how unusually clean their clothes are.
- In "Time After Time", Dean unexpectedly travels back to 1944 where he meets Eliot Ness, who it turns out is also a Hunter. Once Ness establishes Dean's bona fides, the first thing he does is haul Dean off to a tailor to get a proper suit so he doesn't look like a hobo.
- Averted on Timeless, as they would usually change into clothes appropriate for the time period they were going to before leaving. Lucy even comments in the pilot that the bra they have given her has an underwire, which wasn't historically accuratenote , causing Wyatt to exasperatedly point out that no one was going to see her bra anyway. It ends up being useful to escape the jail cell they get thrown into, as Wyatt is able to adapt the underwire as a lockpick.
- The Time Tunnel: Sometimes used and sometimes averted. The boys' Limited Wardrobe is actually fairly flexible: Doug Phillip's suit, designed to be accurate for 1912 (their first trip before becoming lost in time) wouldn't be drastically out of place in the middle nineteenth or late twentieth century, and Tony Newman's turtleneck lets him pass for a sailor or laborer over an even greater span of time.
- On Voyagers!, the costume of the travelers almost always got attention particularly Phineas' chest-baring pirate shirt. In most episodes they'd quickly find local garb. In more than one, a local lady would mourn the passing of the shirt.
- In the time-traveling RPG Continuum, spanners are cautioned to be careful of this once they learn to travel more than a few years in a single span. One of the flavor-text stories in the sourcebook has a mentor living in the early sixties call out one of her charges for wearing a peace sign, even though it's only a few years before it would become popular.
- Chrono Trigger: While soldiers in 600 AD do comment on Crono's clothing, Lucca somehow manages to get past them later on, and no one notices the other party members wandering around in strange clothes (not even the cavewoman running around in a fur bikini). Even Crono's mom, who can talk to other party members says "young ladies shouldn't dress like that". Degrees of lampshades are hung on the subject. The Cavemen will make weird comments on your shiny stones and such, however a medieval guard has no problem talking to a robot from 2000 some odd years into the future.
- Skillfully averted in The Journeyman Project series. In the first game, the character, in a form fitting biosuit, is expressly forbidden from coming into contact with any intelligent being originating from the time he is traveling to. In the second game, the new Jumpsuit technology, features a cloaking device that can conceal the character by bending light around him. In the last game, talking to the locals is necessary, so the new suit can copy the external appearance of any individual of the time period, including attire, facial features, etc. It even allows for the generation of a fake cane and removable top hat in the game's ending.
- Agent 5 gets seen several times by medieval knights in the second game. Fortunately, his metallic suit is mistaken for armour, and most of the witnesses die immediately afterward. Attempting to wear the suit into the public in BC Mayan times results in him being immediately assumed to be a god, resulting in Have a Nice Death by screwing up history.
- In Kingdom Hearts, the trope is averted in some worlds such as Halloween Town, Timeless River and Space Paranoids where the main characters change their clothes to fit the world they're in. In Atlantica and the Pride Lands they even change their bodies into animal bodies. On the other worlds they don't change their clothes, but nobody seems to take notice. It might not count as time travel, but most worlds are set in different time periods.
- One notable (and noticeable) instance of this trope played straight is Port Royal in Kingdom Hearts II, where Sora and co. are wearing their regular clothes during The Golden Age of Piracy. It was seen as so jarring by the fanbase that when the Carribean was revisited in Kingdom Hearts III, Team Sora got new, period-appropriate pirate outfits to go with it, which were much better received.
- The Orion Agenda, an IFComp text-adventure, requires players to adopt the appearance of the natives. You also need to use the Universal Translator in order to avoid being detected as well.
- Star Ocean:
- Needed for the human to enter the first town in the first game.
- Totally ignored for the subsequent games, which while not involving time travel, are functionally equivalent in having space travelers visiting primitive planets.
- Subverted in Area X, as when Elcia travels to another dimension, she ends up wearing a different outfit. After Elcia mentions it after she travels to a different dimension for the first time it isn't brought up, but it serves as Foreshadowing the fact that they are possessing another persons body in different dimension.
- Subverted in Dresden Codak, where the time travelers try to blend in, but fail, and are identified as time travelers on sight by Alina, who compares them to historical reenactors:
"Yep, I think they're time travellers."
"You think so?"
"If the future did a documentary of the last fifty years, this is how badly the reenactors would dress."
- Scary Go Round, while avoiding this trope, gave a good demonstration of why it can be necessary to move a story along. Amy: "If one more person shouts 'Whore' at me, I'm going to kill them."
- Subverted in a Danny Phantom episode where Danny's time travel to the 1980's reveals that his black jumpsuit is actually fitting for that time period.
Danny: Oh, great, I blend in.
- Parodied in "Roswell That Ends Well". Prof. Farnsworth enters a 1940s diner (due to time travel) wearing a zoot suit, and Leela enters wearing a poodle skirt, sweater and sunglasses.
- Although by the year 3000, Fry's red jacket and blue jeans combo is deemed snicker-worthy.
- Justice League:
- Avoided in "The Savage Time" when the League travels to WWII, not even bothering to conceal themselves because they think fixing the timeline is more important.
- In "The Once and Future Thing: Weird Western Tales", Wonder Woman, Batman, and Green Lantern wind up in the Wild West. They are immediately attacked by bandits who assume from their outfits that they are circus performers. After beating them up, Wonder Woman and Batman steal their clothes to fit in. Green Lantern, unable to stand the smell, simply uses his ring to change his uniform into a cowboy outfit.
- Kim Possible: Team Possible found themselves wrongly dressed when they entered the Bad Future in A Sitch in Time because, according to little more than mere fashion rules, everyone should be wearing Shego's uniform.
- In the Men in Black cartoon, Agents Jay and Kay are sent back in time to a Wild West town. Agent Kay's suit transforms into period-appropriate clothing. However, Jay is stuck with his normal suit and is mistaken for an undertaker. Kay scolds Jay for not having a suit that transforms like he did.
- Similar to the above example, Phineas and Ferb's Candace finds herself out of fashion by not wearing a lab coat like Dr. Doofenshmirtz's after she messes with history (thus creating a Bad Future).
- In Samurai Jack, after being sent to the distant future, several people make fun of Jack's kimono, saying he is wearing a dress. Despite this, he continues wearing it.
- Averted in The Smurfs Season 9 episodes, as the time crystals automatically dress the time-traveling Smurfs into the appropriate apparel for the time period and/or geographical location.
- Avoided by Spock in the Star Trek: The Animated Series episode, "Yesteryear"—-in which he asks for Vulcan items to use to play his own cousin to save his own life.
- This trope is the entire point of Pretend to Be a Time Traveler Day, started by the webcomic Dresden Codak.
- Invoked with the "Time-travelling hipster" photo- a man in a 1941 photo looks normally dressed (T-shirt and shades) by today's standards but out of place among the suited and hat-wearing populace. As Snopes explains, all the out-of-place looking items were available at the time, just not as widespread as they are today.