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Clothes Make the Legend

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Even Running the Asylum, you can't really change Superman's costume.

Phil Coulson: We made some modifications to the uniform. I had a little design input.
Captain America: The uniform? Aren't the stars and stripes a little ... old-fashioned?
Coulson: Everything's that happening, the things that are about to come to light, people might just need a little old-fashioned.

A popular character is associated with just one outfit. Therefore the writers and/or executives choose to show the character in this outfit as much as possible, whether it be in the canonical works or merchandise.

It is important to note some things that don't fit this trope.

  • Limited Wardrobe in itself doesn't count, although there can be some overlap.
  • Nor does it count if the character is well known, and just happens to have a distinctive outfit.
  • It also doesn't count if the outfit is just designed to stand out, like a Rummage Sale Reject.
  • Doesn't count if it's expected of the profession, whether real (like doctors) or fictional (like wizards).
    • This includes uniforms, unless it's customized in some obvious way.

The line can be hard to tell, but one good way to know it's this trope is with Long-Runners that stick with the same basic outfit for a character. Even if there is a total change, they revert because it turns out the audience prefers that outfit.

Another way to fit this trope is if the costume gets some Costume Evolution but still retains the basic form, as with a Frilly Upgrade or some Pimped-Out Dresses.

Compare Iconic Item, Iconic Outfit, Limited Wardrobe, Superhero Team Uniform. Not to be confused with Clothes Make the Superman.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Sailor Moon: Exemplified in the final arc/season where we learn there are Sailor Senshi on other planets with radically different uniforms with the only connection being the collar from the Sailor Fuku and some form of headwear akin to a Tiara.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Goku has been wearing an orange Kame school gi since about episode 20 of Dragon Ball when Master Roshi gave him his first one. This costume is so iconic that in the Buu arc of Dragon Ball Z, Ultimate Gohan asks Kibito to conjure him up an exact copy of said outfit before he goes to fight Majin Buu. The only difference is that it's a bit more orange. Nevertheless, the gi can be used to date his appearance, because the symbol on the back always represents his most recent teacher. It's to the point that, while he gained a variation in Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection 'F', he switched back to the Buu gi for the next story.
    • Vegeta's Cell arc armor is pretty iconic as well despite him going through the most costume changes over the course of Z. If there's any promotional material including him, nine times out of ten he will be wearing that outfit. Notably, he wears the Cell arc armor in both the 2008 special Dragon Ball: Yo! Son Goku and His Friends Return!!, the 2013 movie Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods, and Dragon Ball Super, despite these stories being set between the Buu arc and Distant Finale. Similar to Goku, he got a revised outfit for Frieza's return, but then went back to the old one.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Jotaro Kujo's tattered cap and school uniform. After he loses his school jacket in the fight with ZZ, he has a tailor make an identical one. Even when he's an adult in the later installments, Jotaro still wears outfits that recall his original school uniform.
  • Ash's hat in Pokémon: The Series. Later they did change it but no matter what the design is, it's always a red cap with a symbol at the center. And Ash is the only one who wears that kind of hat, to the point that any other character who wears a similar hat is most likely his doppelgänger.
  • Kouji Kabuto from Mazinger Z has always worn the same pilot outfit since the '70s: a red skintight bodysuit, striped yellow boots and armguards, and a white helmet with two protruding spikes pointing backwards. It's such a unique design and Kouji's worn it for so long it's become his signature look.
  • Lupin III has Lupin's suit. The only thing that ever changes is the color of the jacket, to the point fans identify arcs of the many, many Lupin films and specials by what color jacket Lupin is wearing in them; Lupin himself was even able to quickly tell that he'd traveled through time in Is Lupin Still Burning? by realizing that his jacket had suddenly changed color to red like it was in earlier arcs.

    Comic Books 
  • Okay, it would be easier to list iconic Super Heroes, and their villains, that don't fit this trope:
    • The X-Men. They've had a huge variety of outfits over the years. Even Wolverine's yellow spandex doesn't identify him as well as just his hair and his claws.
    • Antman/Giantman/Yellowjacket/The Wasp/Hank Pym. He can't decide on a name, it's hardly surprising he can't pick a costume.
    • And the original Wasp was, for many years, changing costumes almost as frequently. Originally this was said to be just because she was a girl, and "women like lots of clothes." Later she was given a less offensively stereotypical Hand Wave as an offshoot of her fashion-designer background, and she has even designed costumes for other Avengers over the years.
  • The Phantom is not only iconic for his costume, but it also helps him maintain his "invincible, immortal hero" ruse; when the Phantom dies, his son takes over both title and costume, so the villains think it's the same man.
    • This works so well that when one Phantom was incapacitated and his sister had to cover for him, people not informed thought it was still him. Despite the, er, fairly apparent differences in height and weight. Oh, and breasts.
  • In a manner similar to above is Batman, whose black cloak and pointy-eared cowl have allowed a number of people to pass as the genuine article, including Dick Grayson (now a 'Batman legacy' character).
    • Amusingly, in the No Man's Land storyline, Huntress masqueraded as the Batman in the same way as the Phantom's sister. A Lampshade was hung when a bystander comments on how he always thought that 'the Bat' was a guy, only to be fooled into thinking that Batman was ALWAYS Batwoman because "If you were a big tough guy who got beat by a girl, would you admit it? Or would you say it was a huge hulking giant with fangs and claws that took you down?"
    • Also Lampshaded during the "Knightfall"/"Knightquest" arc when Bruce is replaced by Jean-Paul Valley, whose methods take a turn towards uncharacteristic brutality and Commissioner Gordon expresses suspicions that it may be a different "Batman"; the character he's discussing this with points out that it's a bit naive to assume there's only been one Batman up to that point.
  • To follow up on Batman, his partner Robin has also taken to this ever since becoming a Legacy Character in his own right. Every Robin has worn some variation of Dick Grayson's original ensemble; the red chest piece (with 'R' insignia), yellow cape, occasionally some green thrown in (more evident in the earlier versions), and tied together with a classic domino mask, though Tim Drake added actual pants to the ensemble which every Robin following him has understandably kept.
  • Wonder Woman started to wear pants and even armor instead/in addition to her traditional 'one-piece bathing suit' look. The traditional, core Wonder Woman has stuck more to the classic outfit with only a few notable exceptions. She has always kept her iconic bracers, hairstyle, and tiara though, to tie them together.
  • Although Phantom Lady has gone through several changes, her yellow and green costume is one of the most basic elements of the character, more notable than the character herself at times.
  • Aquaman has traditionally kept with his orange and green combo. For a while, he went to an entirely different outfit of white and sea colors in a chaotic pattern meant to invoke the sea. Sword of Atlantis Aquaman lost his shirt entirely, much to the delight of the fangirls.
  • The entire concept of the Legacy Character owes a lot to this trope. It's easy for any random guy off the street to claim he's Chuck Norris, but even if he is a total badass, no one will be taking him seriously. Even if Chuck designated him as his official successor. Put him in Batman's suit and have him be the new Batman, and that's another story...
  • Supergirl has traditionally kept her traditional costume: long-sleeved blue shirt, blue or red skirt, yellow belt, and red cape and boots. Every so often DC decides to change it — usually ditching the skirt — but such changes are seldom well-received and Supergirl always returns to her classic look. Post-Flashpoint Kara's costume, which replaced her traditional outfit with an armor-like blue leotard with a red crotch patch drew some ire from fans until she changed back to her traditional ensemble.
  • Superman's traditional red, blue, and yellow costume remained basically unchanged for almost 60 years. Then in 1997, DC got it in its head that Supes needed to be "updated". They traded his traditional powers for some vaguely defined electromagnetism/energy being-type powers and his iconic suit for a cape-less blue and white ensemble. The change resulted in a backlash. While the powers and the costume were pretty cool in concept, their origin was far too mediocre to justify such a radical change to such a beloved and iconic character. The new costume and powers lasted all of 13 months before DC returned to the classic version.
  • DC Comic's New 52 reboot became a war-zone on a lot of forums with this trope as the battlecry among 'conservative' readers who saw issues with changes to core elements of some costumes, arguing that they were iconic.
    • Aquaman was shown for a time in armor with crustacean-like hard elements, though it was dropped in favor of the more classic look.
    • A huge amount of discussion erupted over the idea of Wonder Woman wearing tight pants, though the idea had been done in the past and most of the complaints were over the pants' shiny painted-on look with too much detailing. As with Aquaman, a more classic costume was chosen.
    • The new Flash drew some ire over his costume having hard elements (namely stream-lined armored pads) because many fans felt the full-body-latex-with-hood ensemble better conveyed the idea of his speed either by making him look sleek or making him look like a speed-skater.
    • The biggest war of all was the so-called "War of the Briefs". The decision was finally made to remove Superman's iconic 'underwear on the outside' red briefs. The change went through, however, and mostly people don't seem to miss them, although debate still rages over the armored look and high collar of the new outfit. Once again, however, the change didn't stick, and the briefs returned to the costume in 2018.
      • In the meantime, it seemed that whether you were married to the trunks or not, a solid slab of blue was not very visually interesting. The belt that took the trunks' place would, with each of its several changes, become increasingly prominent and with more red and yellow — in other words, the colors of the trunks where the trunks used to be. (The same goes for adaptations, though no two look exactly alike.) The experiment seemed to have reached its conclusion: something needs to be there, preferably red and yellow, and "if not the trunks, then what?" didn't seem to have an answer that creators could settle on. As such, it's not a surprise that the trunks were restored.
      • Even the relatively minor alterations made to Superman's outfit in the film Superman Returns drew flak from fans, with the S shield being smaller and raised and the darker-than-previous colors being the biggest areas of contention.
      • Probably the biggest complaints about Man of Steel are about the darkened-to-nearly-black costume again (though it varies a lot between promo shots)... and the removal of the briefs.
  • The Sentry's clothing is essentially a palette swap of Superman and stays fairly constant. The same thing cannot be said for his origins or his sanity.
  • Iron Man is an odd example as his armor changes every few years, depending on the storyline and if the artist of the day is bored with Tony's current look. However, his colors, red and gold, are the iconic thing about him. A person would probably realize that the red and gold flying piece of metal is Iron Man rather than the specific design he's sporting.
  • Diabolik and Ginko have a skintight ninja-like black full-body suit and a white shirt/black suit/red and black striped suit outfit respectively. In a variant, Ginko actually has multiple red and black striped suits with stripes of different sizes and tends to wear them at random and never two days in a row, so that Diabolik (a formidable Master of Disguise) will never know which tie to use when he replaces him unless he resorts to kidnapping the actual Ginko (something rather hard to do).
  • Vampirella is so synonymous with the red slingshot bikini that any attempt to make it Tamer and Chaster inevitably fails. She wore a battle armor Chainmail Bikini for a brief bit during the Harris years in The Dark Age of Comic Books, and has had no less than three redesigns during the Dynamite years, including a Badass Longcoat and Cool Shades in 2010 that just made her look like Blade, a roller derby outfit in 2016, and a little red dress in 2017. Before long, the bikini makes a comeback.
  • Played straight in Astro City, where most costumed super-beings will wear the same outfit for decades, even in the case of generational Legacy Characters. If a character does change their appearance, it's typically justified, such as the N-Forcer upgrading his armored suits.

    Fan Works 
  • In Disney Animated Canon fanfic The Happiest Place, the characters can change their clothing at will through magic, but it always has to hearken back to their original designs.
  • In Worm crossover Echoes of Yesterday, Kara's costume makes people believe she's stolen her cape identity from some old comic-book super-hero.
  • In Kaleidoscope, the Agents' transformed costumes are inspired by their skating costumes in the Yuri!!! on Ice anime, with alterations tailored to the plot.
  • In Hellsister Trilogy, Highfather asks the Source who they should ally themselves with to battle Darkseid. In answer, the Source draws an "S" inside a diamond. No name is given or needed because Highfather knows that's Superman's crest.
    "Who should we seek for an ally on Earth?"
    The word vanished from the wall's surface. The fiery hand travelled over it again.
    It drew a symbol.
    Highfather nodded, in comprehension. "Ah," he said.
    The symbol was a mostly-triangular shield, with an S inside its boundaries.
    The New Gods well knew who bore that shield, for they had all encountered him on several occasions.
  • Valkyrie on Fire: In Viam Eorum, Cinna and Beetee design distinctive uniforms for Katniss, Glimmer, and Gale that reflect their image in the public eye, such as Katniss having form-fitting black armour with flaming gauntlets, Madge wearing a form-fittingly feminine armour, Gale’s suit turning him invisible, and Glimmer’s attire being more basic but including a force field.
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer crossover fanfiction The Vampire of Steel, Buffy quickly recognizes Supergirl because of her distinctive costume.
  • Discussed in A Man of Iron; When discussing the importance of symbols, Tony mentions that if he redid his armor to be all gold with red highlights, or set the sunstones that power it in a triangle instead of a circle, then the image of Iron Man would lose the impact it has on the smallfolk and criminals of Westeros.

    Film — Animated 
  • Most of the Disney Princesses have one of their Pimped Out Dresses show up on the majority of their merchandise.
    • Ariel is an exception, because she is either shown in her pink dinner dress or her Seashell Bra.
    • Belle is too, appearing about as often in her more demure blue-and-white dress, or pink dress and fur cape, as she does in fancy gold one.
    • It happened with men too — Aladdin kept his 'street rat' getup for most of the TV series and the movie sequels, whether it made sense in context or not.
  • When Cruella de Vil from 101 Dalmatians is shown, she has to be wearing a huge fur coat.
  • Mickey Mouse just doesn't have that same iconic status without the red shorts and yellow shoes. Same goes for Donald Duck and Goofy and their respective wardrobes. Even their outfits in Kingdom Hearts are still based on their classic looks. Mickey still has the red shorts and big yellow shoes. Donald's shirt is still blue and has a (modified) sailor collar. Goofy still has a tall hat and a vest over a turtleneck.
    • Ironically, Mickey's outfit, while ubiquitous in comic books and merchandise, was actually not worn for much of his film career. The cartoons made between 1942 and 1953 have him wearing more contemporary clothes, not wearing the red shorts on the big screen until the 1995 short Runaway Brain. Furthermore, some of his more iconic roles (the Sorcerer's Apprentice in Fantasia, Brave Little Tailor, and others) have him wearing some other uniform (although the Apprentice costume is nearly as iconic as the shorts).
    • Ever since Floyd Gottfredson, the first guy to seriously write Mickey Mouse strips, Mickey has been shown wearing just regular clothes in comics. (Gottfredson started a trend where Mickey is just a regular action comic hero who happens to be a Funny Animal). The original outfit is generally acknowledged by making his standard outfit red trousers and a white shirt, with whatever other clothes fitting the occasion (he generally wears a green baseball cap outdoors when casual, a Badass Longcoat and fedora outdoors when formal, etc.). When he started wearing the original shorts in European-sold Disney comics, fans cried Audience-Alienating Era.
    • Donald's sailor outfit has changed subtly over the years. His hat was white until around 1943, as were the stripes on his collar and sleeves, and the buttons and sleeve stripes disappeared for a brief period during the 1950s.
    • In fact, unless you have seen some really random adaptations or don't know the character at all (which is impossible in some parts of Europe, especially Norway and Finland) if somebody asks you what does Donald wear, your first answer is always: "sailor suit".
  • Olaf's Frozen Adventure: Elsa's new gown is a gorgeous dark blue, covered in diamond-shaped ice crystals with a white fur lining around the collar. Yet it's still cut like her iconic outfit.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Michael Myers' pale white mask and mechanics jumpsuit from Halloween.
  • Friday the 13th: Jason's hockey mask has been a horror icon since Friday the 13th Part III.
    • Similarly, Jason's mother Pamela Voorhees' blue sweater after her appearance in the first film. One funny anecdote is that her original actress, Betsy Palmer, did not realize that the sweater was iconic until she wore a similar sweater that she happened to own to a horror convention, only to have fans question her about why she was not wearing it when she returned wearing a different outfit the next day.
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street: Freddy's striped shirt and fedora is probably only slightly less of an icon, to say nothing of his distinctive blade-fingered glove.
  • Star Wars:
    • Although Darth Vader needs the suit to live, it probably fits this trope better than any outfit in the film series.
    • Leia will either be presented in her white dress from the first film with the cinnamon buns hairstyle, or golden bikini. Often the iconic hair crosses over to the bikini, even though she never wore them together.
    • Another mention goes to Boba Fett, who despite never really doing anything great other than figuring out where the Millennium Falcon went, is widely considered to be one of the coolest characters of the series. In his case, the suit IS the legend. The EU reboot removed everything he ever did outside the films but kept the larger Mandalorian culture; now he's just some guy and the armor isn't even unusual.
  • The leather jacket and fedora Indiana Jones wears. Especially the Fedora. Take away the hat, and you've got Henry Jones Jr.
    • The hat at least was specifically chosen to invoke this trope. When seen in silhouette, they wanted Indy to be distinguishable from all the other characters. This is one of the reasons the hat rarely comes off, no matter what happens. Also, it covers Indy's face, so you can't tell when it's Harrison Ford and when it's a stuntman.
  • Back to the Future Marty McFly's red down vest (confused with a lifejacket in the first movie) and jeans.
  • Dollars Trilogy: The Man With No Name's trademark poncho/sarape, light blue shirt, sheepskin vest, hat, and self-rolled cigarillo.
  • In The Mask of Zorro, the original, now elderly and infirm, Zorro trains a successor to continue fighting the good fight. Wearing Zorro's trademark black hat, mask, rapier, and whip, people think it's the same Zorro, come back to aid them once more, thus adding to his supernatural mystique. One elderly monk, who aided the original Zorro decades earlier, is astounded to meet the new one, commenting "Age certainly has been kinder to you than it has to me..."
  • The Princess Bride: The entire idea behind the Dread Pirate Roberts; both the trope and the character(s).
  • James Bond has worn a tuxedo or dinner jacket at some point in nearly every movie, with the exception of You Only Live Twice and Live and Let Die.

  • Although a Beam Me Up, Scotty!, Sherlock Holmes's deerstalker hat and cape.
  • Doc Savage's jodhpurs and torn white shirt. Eventually, every cover depicted him wearing them. Cover artist Boris Vallejo even had to rip a new shirt once after the original shirt was lost, using old cover paintings for reference. Ironically he forgot that he was facing into the painting and the new shirt turned out to be a mirror image of the old one.
  • Waldo wears blue jeans, a shirt with red-and-white horizontal stripes, and a red-and-white hat with a red bobble, the latter two intended to make him stand out in a crowd.
  • Spider-Man: The Darkest Hours: The Rhino admitted to Spider-Man (long story involving mutual enemies that like to drain the life force out of totemic-based individuals, like Spider-Man, Rhino, Black Cat...) while recovering from a battle at Spidey's apartment (a battle that left him blinded temporarily), that he hated the suit, especially the Rhino hat. After he had gotten the suit off after a period of being trapped in it, he tried to change his image, wearing a suit and tie. But the first employer he tried to get refused to believe that he was the Rhino, associating him with the costume and the rhino hat. He's been using it ever since simply because the costume is the only way he is recognized enough to get work.
  • In Legion of Nothing, the League are legacy characters so they wear their predecessors' outfits.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Spike's leather coat, that he took off a slayer he killed in Buffy the Vampire Slayer as well as Angel. Even when it was damaged, Wolfram & Hart's Italian branch found him eleven exact replicas.
  • The Dukes of Hazzard:
    • Boss Hogg always wore that all-white suit.
    • Daisy Duke and the Shorts of Puberty Inducement. They were even named after her.
  • Ultraman might count, depending on if that is a suit he is wearing or just how that form looks.
  • On Doctor Who, each incarnation of the Doctor generally spent most of their screen time in one distinct outfit, sometimes (in the John Nathan-Turner era) static, sometimes variations on a theme, the most iconic being:
    • The Third Doctor's frilled shirts, velvet jackets and cloaks.
    • The Fourth Doctor's long, multicoloured scarf and floppy hat.
    • The Fifth Doctor's cricket jumper and beige jacket, complete with a stick of celery pinned to it.
    • The Sixth Doctor's patchwork multicoloured coat complete with multicoloured umbrella.
    • The Seventh Doctor's question mark-themed attire.
    • The Ninth Doctor's black leather jacket, slacks, and boots, the only variation in his outfit being the color of his V-neck jumper.
    • The Tenth Doctor's pinstripe suit and brown overcoat.
    • The Eleventh Doctor has a penchant for tweed jackets, complete with matching braces and bow tie, usually in red but occasionally in blue. (especially the bow tie). He also has the fez.
    • The Twelfth Doctor's dark coat with the red lining.
  • Once Upon a Time only barely escaped this in the first three seasons, with its iconic Disney characters only wearing costumes that barely resembled their cartoon versions. With the introduction of Elsa from Frozen however, pretty much all characters from season 4 onward wore live-action versions of their cartoon costumes.
  • Torchwood: Captain Jack's RAF great-coat, originally seen in his first Doctor Who appearance and then in all Torchwood episodes, excluding a flashback to Victorian times. It then re-appears in Miracle Day in a flashback that takes place prior to WWII in real time, indicating that he couldn't wait for the '40s to get into that badass piece of outerwear.
  • Richard Sharpe's Green Rifleman's jacket fits this trope because it's used specifically to distinguish his character from the regular "redcoat" officers.
  • Harlem Globetrotters Flight Time & Big Easy, on Seasons 15 & 18 of The Amazing Race, at least acted as if this applied to them, as their entire race wardrobe consisted entirely of Globetrotter gear.
  • What would Vacation Jason (of the Chris Gethard Show) be without his Hawaiian shirt, shorts, and sunblocked nose?
  • From Sherlock, the titular character's long Belstaff coat and, on a lesser note, his blue scarf.
  • Castiel from Supernatural is known for his distinctive trenchcoat over a black suit, white dress shirt, and a loosened tie. A change of clothes is treated like O.O.C. Is Serious Business. Jimmy, Castiel's vessel, removes the trench coat. When Castiel loses his angelic powers, he completely changes clothes (as he is unable to use his angelic grace to keep the clothes automatically clean). When the clothes are back, so is Cas. Fans were so accustomed to Castiel's "uniform" that a change from a solid blue tie to a striped blue tie (season 7, after he's taken over by Leviathan) and back (season 13 when he returns from the empty) set off a debate in fandom as to whether the current Cas was the "real" Castiel.
  • Wonder Woman: There were attempts to change the iconic look of Wonder Woman, notably in a failed TV movie/pilot and in the comics themselves at the time, but they failed staggeringly. This series succeeded in part due to the return to the original look of the character. This is why the pilot is named "The New, Original Wonder Woman".

  • From their live shows in The '80s, Freddie Mercury's white slacks and yellow jacket.
  • Michael Jackson's one white glove.
  • KISS' kabuki-style makeup and comic book-inspired costumes. They vary from era to era but they always include similar motifs based on the KISS characters.
    • The Demon (Gene Simmons): Usually has spikes and lightning.
    • The Starchild (Paul Stanley): Usually has stars and a way to showcase the torso.
    • The Catman (Originally Peter Criss): Usually has some kind of paw prints or animal stripes incorporated in the design somewhere.
    • Space Ace (Originally Ace Frehley): Usually has a representation of the night sky (or star charts) and usually the shoulders and boots are in Ace's trademark shining silver.
  • Slipknot's monstrous masks and Jumpsuits.
  • Daft Punk's robot costumes.

    Mythology and Legend 
  • Heracles from Greek Mythology is most often depicted wearing lion skin.
    • Said skin came from the Nemean Lion, whose hide was so tough that no weapon could pierce it. Heracles strangled it to death and skinned the beast with its own claws.
  • Robin Hood is almost always portrayed in tights, a green tunic, and either a hood or more recently a pointed cap with a feather in it. Oddly, some of the older tales have only Robin's men wearing "Lincoln Green", while he himself dressed in more expensive scarlet.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Hulk Hogan is famous for his red and yellow spandex, including the yellow muscle shirt he tears away before every match.
    • Except during the nWo era, which went with a new nickname, "Hollywood". And with it a new signature look: black tear-away shirt, black tights and boots with lightning, and a black weight lifting belt.
  • Steve Austin runs around in his little black vest, and his little black trunks, and his little black boots, and kicks the crap out of people.
  • The Rock had his "$500 shirts" and the sunglasses to match.
  • Mick Foley has become identified, seemingly irrevocably, with flannel vests and sweatpants.
    • His Cactus Jack character's "Wanted: Dead" t-shirt was a staple.
    • His Mankind character was known in later years for his mask and white dress shirt.
  • Ric Flair just isn't Ric Flair without a gaudy, sequined robe. He kept wearing his long after ring robes had gone out of fashion in wrestling. Additionally, Ric always wore matching trunks, kneepads, and boots, and the trunks and boots always were embossed with his initials in the same fancy font.
  • Rob Van Dam has his airbrushed singlets.
  • Bret Hart, and through him, nearly everyone associated with the Hart family save the British Bulldog wore pink and black wrestling tights, usually a singlet, and often paired this with a leather jacket. His brother Owen went so far as to copy Bret's pink mirrored shades for a time as well.
  • Jesse "the Body" Ventura and his feather boa.
  • The Undertaker's black duster, cowboy hat, and gloves. At least when he's really The Undertaker and not Bikertaker.
  • Sting has worn his post-nWo-invasion look longer than he wore his "surfer" gear. The Crow gimmick consists of a long black trench coat, black boots, black gloves, black scorpion-themed bodysuit (later replaced with one of his merch t-shirts), and his trademark black and white face paint.

    Video Games 
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Although the colors have changed, Mario and Luigi still have their cap and overalls, although the colors weren't really finalized until Super Mario World (when the color palette was large enough to properly show it). note 
    • Peach's pink dress.
    • As do Wario and Waluigi, except in the WarioWare games where Wario has a different outfit. In the Super Smash Bros. series, though, he can use both; significant enough that he's the only character with a true alternate costume in Brawl.
  • In The Legend of Zelda, Link's green cap and tunic. A particularly notable example as Link is a Legacy Character, and many games provide new reasons for the new guy to wear the iconic wardrobe.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Link was raised among the Kokiri, where all the boys wore green caps and tunics. As the origin story of the Big Bad, and for a long time the earliest confirmed game chronologically, many later games can have their use of the outfit ultimately traced back to here.
    • By The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, the legend of the Ocarina Link has spread, and it's now traditional for boys to wear green on a certain birthday as a sign of coming-of-age. It just so happens that on this Link's birthday, his sister was kidnapped. He continues to wear his green gear into The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass.
    • The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap has no explanation for the tunic, but Link meets a talking green cap who serves as the game's Exposition Fairy. At the end of the game, as the restored-to-true-form Picori wizard departs, he leaves Link a replacement cap similar to the ones worn by other Links.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, the clothes seem to have become somehow intrinsically linked to the bearer of the Triforce of Courage. The Link of that game only starts wearing those clothes because when he was restored from his wolf form for the first time, they appeared on him in place of his work clothes. The Light Spirit who restored him indicated this as a sign that he was The Chosen One.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks takes a slightly different approach, in that the cap and tunic have become the uniform for the royal guard (presumably in honor of the Wind Waker Link that helped found this kingdom). This game's Link starts wearing them when he has to dress up as a guard to sneak Zelda out of the castle.
    • Prequel The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword again has it as a preexisting uniform, this time for the Skyloft Knight Academy. Though in this case, it comes in multiple colors to note which year the students are in (but Link's year is of course green).
    • In Hyrule Warriors, Link is a recruit in the Hyrulean Army, and wears a standard trainee uniform for the first level. When he meets Impa, she is impressed by his skill and gives him the green tunic, recognizing him as the reborn hero.
    • Played with in The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes, which is set in a kingdom where fashion is Serious Business. Link is given the standard green outfit when he's tasked with saving the day at the beginning of the game, but there's no special meaning to the clothes and they're only to replace the fashion disaster he was wearing before. Players are even discouraged from wearing the default outfit in favor of other costumes that provide various special abilities. Because of this, promo art does favor the default outfit, but not exclusively. Even then, it's a game with Color-Coded Multiplayer, so red and blue are seen as often as green.
    • Averted by The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, where Link gets all sorts of clothing options, and all the promotional material features Link in a blue tunic and no hat; the classic green outfit is only unlocked if the player completes all 120 shrines. The iconic outfits of various other Links are also available as amiibo bonuses. Word of God from the creators is that they held the iconic outfit back because they were afraid that if it was available too early, players would wear it exclusively for the entire game and ignore all the other equipment available.
  • Regardless of how much it's possible to tweak the armor in the actual game, Commander Shepard in the Mass Effect series is always shown in promotional material in his/her default dark grey N7 armor. Applies to a lesser extent with companion characters, who are primarily associated with their default outfits.
  • Mai Shiranui, from Fatal Fury and The King of Fighters suffers from this, mainly due to her status as Ms. Fanservice in both games. They attempted a change of outfit in the Fatal Fury series, but it only lasted two games (Fatal Fury 3 and Real Bout Fatal Fury) before she returned to a variation of her original outfit. In KoF, only minor changes were ever made to her clothing, and only in the Maximum Impact series did she get to wear different alternate outfits, which are still heavily based on her traditional one.
    • King of Fighters native Iori Yagami has only had one outfit for about 10 years (from his debut in 1995 to The King of Fighters XI in 2005): a black jacket over a long white shirt with red pants that are tied at the knees. In The King of Fighters XII, as part of his character's change away from flame powers to purely slashing attacks, he also got a new set of threads (the same black jacket but now over a short red shirt and a pair of white pants), although his DLC variant in XIII who has the flames still has his usual outfit. XIV marks a more drastic deviation with Iori donning a red jacket over a mauve-colored shirt and black pants, though the look is vaguely reminiscent of his "Another Iori" design, a Striker version of him in 2000 based on artwork depicting Iori when he's playing in concerts or at bars with his jazz band outside of the KOF tournament, although yet again his classic outfit is DLC.
    • Zig-zagged with Kyo. His schoolboy uniform is by far his most iconic, popular, and recognizable look, but he hasn't canonically worn it since The King of Fighters '97. The developers have gotten around this by introducing several clones and doppelgängers like Kyo-1, Kyo-2, and Kusanagi, while some games (such as Maximum Impact 2) have flat out featured a "classic" version of Kyo as a separate playable character. The King of Fighters XIII even offered the school uniform as a Palette Swap for Kyo in Color Edit Mode, and much like Iori's, the costume is DLC in XIV. Additionally, whenever Kyo appears in non-canonical crossover games like the SNK vs. Capcom series, he's usually wearing the schoolboy outfit instead of one of his more modern looks. The animated series The King of Fighters: Destiny split the difference by giving him a leather jacket that's patterned after his uniform.
  • Similar to the Mai Shiranui example, Chun-Li got a new outfit for the prequel games Street Fighter Alpha/Zero, but already by the second installment, there was a way to play as her in her original outfit.
    • Ryu and Ken in their respective white and red gi's, though Ken started wearing his differently in Street Fighter V.
    • Sakura wore a school uniform in IV as her main costume despite the fact she's graduated years ago at that point. She does get a new costume in V, though.
  • Metroid
    • Samus Aran's Varia Suit, with shoulder pads and an orange/yellow scheme as the default colors. It's so iconic, in fact, that for a long time people didn't know she was a girl. Metroid Fusion replaced it with a sleeker suit that was blue/yellow by default... which promptly disappeared for years, as the next stretch of games were all prequels. (To be fair, some of those games have done their own meddling with the suit via power-ups, but it's always returned to normal by the end.) Only Metroid Dread, the first actual sequel to Fusion nearly twenty years later, started messing with the default colors again; giving her a blue-and-white color scheme.
    • Her blue Zero Suit is also very memorable, cementing Samus' choice of clothing underneath her Power Suit as a Latex Spacesuit from that point on; after a variety of undergarments and casual wear featured in the previous five installments.
  • Mages in Final Fantasy all have nice hats, except the white mages, which almost always have nice hoods. Specifically, the blue robe, pointy wizard hat, black or shadowed face, and yellow eyes are so iconic that they are almost as identifiable as Chocobos and Moogles. Still, it only appears in a few installments of the long-running series.
  • Dark blue and light blue spandex, both in about equal measure. An Arm Cannon. Usually a helmet. No matter how much time passes, that is the default equipment for all who hold the name "Mega Man."
  • Expect for those in Mega Man ZX series, where only the bearer of a pure Model X has that scheme, with protagonists bearing a mix of Zero and X outfits.
  • Metal Gear Solid:
    • Snake's dark blue stealth suit and bandana.
    • Ocelot's Brown duster and quick draw gun belt.
    • Eva's Navel-Deep Neckline jumpsuit.
  • Mortal Kombat:
    • Liu Kang just wouldn't be Liu Kang without his trademark red-and-black pants and red bandana, which have been a staple for the character since his appearance in the second game (in the first game, he wore simple black pants and no headband). The same is true of his fellow Shaolin monk Kung Lao—you can change the color of his pants, but you can never change his hat.
    • Sub-Zero and Scorpion are always clad in blue and yellow outfits, respectively, no matter how they are designed.
    • Resident Earthrealm protector and thunder god Raiden is rarely seen without his conical hat and some kind of white outfit, often accented with blue and/or gold starting in MKII. Deadly Alliance added a cape to his design, which proved popular enough to be a semi-recurring feature of his outfit in later games like MKvDCU and Injustice 2 as well as during his tenure as Dark Raiden.
  • Professor Layton and his top hat, which he hardly ever takes off. Many puzzles revolve around said hat, which is also an Iconic Item and the game logo.
  • The Halo franchise gives us Master Chief and his MJOLNIR Powered Armor. Easily one of the most iconic costumes in gaming.
  • Yakuza has Kazuma Kiryu in his iconic light-grey blazer, matching pants, and maroon shirt, which he wears in almost every appearance (save for a few instances, such as the prequel Yakuza 0, and even then, the outfit he wears is similar to what he would wear later in the series's chronology; the climax of Yakuza 4, where he wears a black suit; and the opening act of Yakuza 5, where he wears normal civilian clothes).
  • In Ratchet & Clank, Ratchet's orange-with-green-pants look has become his standard outfit, being used in All 4 One, Full Frontal Assault, the movie plus its video game, and Rift Apart, and had an earlier version from Tools of Destruction. While this trope is downplayed in that upgrading to armour is a staple trope of the franchise, with rare exception Ratchet has started the game with this look since 2007 and thus is always how he appears on the cover and other promotional artwork.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog: The big three's (Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles) gloves and shoes are always consistent, no matter how many times they're redesigned. Sonic Adventure 2 replaced Sonic's shoes with Soap Shoes, only for him to go back to his traditional red boots in the next game. Early Sonic Boom concept sketches presented various drastic redesigns for the cast that replaced or did away with the shoes and gloves before the devs were told to go with more traditional looks. Similarly, the removal of the gloves was one of the many radical departures in Sonic's original movie design, before he was changed to a more game-accurate design following the backlash.

  • Invoked in-universe in But I'm a Cat Person, where business tycoon Ann Walker invariably wears a red suit and pearl jewelry. Just because she's blind doesn't mean she doesn't understand how to make an iconic look work for her.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Kim Possible and her black shirt, gloves, and cargo pants. For some, it was jarring when she got a new uniform in season four. Not many of the prodigious amounts of Fan Art featuring her dress her in the new outfit. Even the show's character artist, Stephen Silver, drew two potential future updated versions of her outfit based on the original mission look.
  • Characters in Daria all have a signature outfit. Lampshaded in one episode when Daria looks through her closet to "decide" what to wear. Her closet contains 3 sets of the same green jacket, brown shirt, and black skirt...and nothing else.
  • Perhaps it's because he's a Mack truck, but Optimus Prime is always red-and-blue, with the truck's windshield acting has his pectorals and the iconic mouthplated look. Except for Optimus Primal, of course. Likewise, it's quite common for Megatron to be gray and have either have some sort of Fusion Cannon or other type of weapon on his right arm, or a strangely bucket-shaped helmet.Other examples exist in the Transformers franchise, such as Rodimus Prime (always red-with-orange, with flame decals on his chest and large spoilers for his alt-mode), Starscream's wings forming a V behind him, or Shockwave (a black plate with a single red LED light for a face), a yellow Kid-Appeal Character (Bumblebee) or Cheetor, etc.
    • Many also have an iconic alt form and associated kibble, Optimus Prime and Ultra Magnus take the form of a Truck or Fire Truck, Megatron and Shockwave are either a Tank, Jet, or classic Handgun, Starscream and his fellow seekers are planes, Bumblebee's some sort of small and/or fast car, Ratchet and Red Alert are Ambulances, and so on.
  • Since the actual Teen Titans comics were not well known outside of the comic fandom, but the cartoon series was a huge hit with the general public, Starfire's animated continuity costume is now often cited by those who don't know otherwise to be her core outfit, going so far as to lament the "changes" made to it in DC's current comic lineup (her costume is different in the newest line than it was in either the older comics OR the cartoon show).