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Clothing-Concealed Injury

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Everyone gets hurt, but not everyone wants others knowing it. Maybe it's because they'll be doted on and fussed over. Maybe it's because they'll be scolded for getting hurt if it was caused by them being careless or clumsy. Maybe the person who finds out will raise Hell if the injuries were caused by another person. Maybe it's that they don't want them to be treated, likely due to a fear of doctors or hospitals. Whatever the reason, they need to keep it a secret. However, their injury is visible to others, making this rather difficult. There must be a way to hide their injuries without anyone knowing...

Clothing-Concealed Injury is when a character uses a piece of clothing to keep their wounds or scars a secret from others. This is often done with sunglasses to hide black-eyes, scarves to hide neck injuries or long shirts or pants to hide wounds on arms or legs. Makeup also gets used for concealment purposes, usually to cover up cuts or bruises on the face. Technically, an Eye Patch is this, but it's such a specific article of clothing that's not worn otherwise, so people know it's usually covering up some sort of Eye Scream. Occasionally, this clothing is something that the character usually doesn't wear or is not suitable for the current situation or weather, such as wearing scarves and jackets when it's warm out, making other characters suspicious. The character will sometimes make strange excuses as to why they are wearing these clothes, which will raise further suspicion.

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Inevitably, the injuries will end up getting revealed, either by accident, force, or by willingness of the character (depending on the situation).

A supertrope to Secret Stab Wound and Hiding the Handicap. Can overlap with Revealing Cover Up if wearing a certain piece of clothing makes it obvious that a character is hiding something. Often occurs with people who have done Self-Harm or are a victim of Domestic Abuse. Bring My Red Jacket (and, humorously, Bring My Brown Pants) are related tropes wherein a character anticipates the future need to conceal an injury. May be one reason a character wears Conspicuous Gloves.


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Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • In My Hero Academia, All Might suffered a severe injury five years ago that destroyed one of his lungs and most of his stomach, leaving him an emaciated husk of his former self. While he's able to use his Quirk, One For All, to puff himself back up to fighting form for a short time, all of his clothing is designed to hide the scar left behind from prying eyes. For instance, his swimsuit is a one-piece that covers his entire torso and his hero costume is similarly well-covered.
  • Vash the Stampede's long red coat that he wears nearly all the time from Trigun is used to conceal the massive amount of scars and injuries he's taken from fights over the years due to his staunch pacifism.

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 
  • In Chapter 6 of Life Goes On, the sequel to Bitter Tears: An Anon-A-Miss Fic, it's revealed that Sunset has scars from turning into a demon during the Fall Formal hidden under her clothes. She usually changes for P.E. in the shower stalls so people don't see them, but Sunset doesn't care at this point, so she changes out in the open to everyone's shock. Even her friends are shocked by this, as even they didn't know about them.
  • In The Power of the Equinox, Scootaloo is revealed to be covered in bruises and scars, a testimony of what her alcoholic adoptive father puts her through. In order to appear normal, she covers them up every day by using the makeup kit she gained from Sweetie Belle as a Hearth's Warming Eve present.

    Films — Animation 
  • An EXTREMELY disturbing version happens in Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay. Reverse-Flash is one of the main villains of the movie and one of many trying to get their hands on the fabled Get-Out-Of-Hell-Free Card. Then we find out why: He takes off his mask and reveals a hole in his forehead. This is the same Reverse-Flash from Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox who was shot in the head by Batman, and he used his powers to slow his bodily processes split-seconds before dying, and he's desperate to find the card before his time runs out.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In The Hands of Orlac, Vasseur wears a neckerchief to conceal the scar on his neck that he received when he was guillotined. The scar is actually a fake.
  • In The Karate Kid (2010), Andre Parker gets into a fight with one of the bullies at school, leaving him with a black-eye. The next day, he wears some of his mother's makeup and a hat to school to try and avoid suspicion. It fails when the teacher mentions that hats aren't allowed in school; his mother takes off the hat, seeing that he's wearing makeup and realizes that he's been in a fight. She panics over this while Dre tells her it's nothing.
  • Ladyhawke: Phillipe hides the injuries from Navarre mauling him in wolf form from Navarre with his sweater.
  • The Terminator. During the first car chase between the Terminator and the protagonists, he is hit in the eye by one of Reese's shotgun blasts. After some repair work, he uses his sunglasses cover up the injury.
  • In Terror in a Texas Town, The Gunslinger Johnny Crale wears Conspicuous Gloves to conceal the fact his right hand has been replaced by a metal prosthesis, forcing him to draw with his left hand.

    Jokes 
  • There's one joke where the captain of a ship always asks for his red jacket before a battle so that his crew wouldn't see him bleed and lose morale. When faced with a battle that he has no chance of winning, he instead asks for his brown pants.

    Literature 
  • The City Of Brass: In the second book, Prince Ali dresses to hide the fact that he's Covered in Scars from the neck down from a marid attack, which he only survived because he let the marid possess his body.
  • Eragon: After rescuing Arya from prison, Eragon and Murtagh attempt to move the comatose elf to a bed, but her sleeve gets caught in a branch and tears, revealing numerous cuts and bruises on her arm. Worried, they both start stripping her to check on her other wounds, and find her entire body has been beaten whipped, branded, and scarred from long periods of Cold-Blooded Torture. Eragon is them forced to use his magic to heal her while uncomfortably noticing how attractive she is.
  • Played With in Flawed. Flawed individuals are branded, and those brands are not allowed to be concealed via clothing or makeup, the only exception being on the foot hidden by shoes. Celestine gets into a lot of trouble when people mistake her sister for her and think she was trying to hide her brand with her hair. Despite this, she does still hide one brand with clothing- her illegal 6th brand on her spine, which she refuses to show off, and so she refuses to change for swim class and remove her clothing.
  • In the Kane story "Undertow", Kane's lover Dessylyn is usually seen wearing a wide collar of leather and silk with a large emerald set in it, which hides a scar left from the time when she hanged herself.
  • In the Outlander series, after Fergus loses his hand, he usually wears a hook - but on an occasion where he has to attend a high society ball, he covers his injury with a glove.
  • The Wheel of Time: Mat Cauthon wears a scarf around his neck to hide the scar from his hanging, which occurred under highly unusual and unpleasant circumstances that he doesn't want people asking questions about.

    Live-Action TV 
  • CSI: NY:
    • In episode 2.05, "Dancing with the Fishes," Lindsay encounters a woman who exploits this. She uses makeup to fake a black-eye, then wears sunglasses to cover it up.
    • Justified and downplayed by Mac, whose battle scar from the 1983 Beruit Marine Barracks bombing is naturally covered by his shirt. When Stella sees it when he's being checked out by the paramedics after the explosion in episode 2.24, "Charge of This Post," he merely comments, "Old injury."
    • Reed constantly wears a scarf to hide his neck injury inflicted by the Cabbie Killer in season 4.
  • Doctor Who: In "The Invisible Enemy", the station manager, Lowe, is taken over by The Virus. As the infection manifests with a strange growth around the eyes, Lowe conceals his infection by donning a pair of blast goggles and telling people his eyes had been injured during the explosion, making him very sensitive to light.
  • Father Brown:
    • The final piece of evidence Father Brown uses to identify the killer in "The Crimson Feather" is that one of the suspects has not removed their gloves since the body was discovered. When the gloves are removed, there is a deep cut on the murderer's palm from the shard of broken mirror they used to stab the victim.
    • In the episode "The Passing Bell", Inspector Mallory questions one of the suspects about her Conspicuous Gloves and becomes increasingly brusque as she hesitates to remove them. Then, he's horrified and apologetic after she shows him badly scarred hands and explains that her abusive husband deliberately burned her and that she needs to wear gloves to deal with the regular and painful sloughing off of skin.
  • In the Good Luck Charlie episode "Boys Meet Girls", Gabe gets beat up by a girl bully twice and tries to hide the injuries in both instances. The first is when he hides his black-eye with a green cap, and the second is when he hides his busted lip by zipping up his jacket. His older sister, Teddy, doesn't fall for either case.
  • Horatio Hornblower: In "Retribution", Archie Kennedy hides from everyone that he was shot in the fight aboard the Renown with their escaped Spanish prisoners. He tries to cover his wound with his uniform. When Horatio notices his blood, he insists that it's just a scratch. Horatio rips his uniform coat open and sees what's basically a Mortal Wound Reveal.
  • Red Dwarf: In "Stoke Me a Clipper", Ace Rimmer reveals that he is a hard-light hologram and has been hiding an energy leak coming from his damaged projector under his jacket.
  • Supernatural: In the season 14 finale, Jack is brutally killed off and has his eyes explode. In the season 15 premiere, his body is used by the demon Belphegor, who adopts a pair of sunglasses to mask the Eye Scream.

    Music 
  • The Bowling for Soup song "99 Biker Friends" discusses how their female friend is being beaten by her husband. In addition to her wearing "seven pounds of makeup just to hide her beat-up face", the chorus mentions:
    She's wearing shades
    But we all see
    Behind the tinted glass
  • The Dixie Chicks song "Goodbye Earl" has Wanda wearing dark glasses, long-sleeved blouses and makeup to cover up the signs of her abuse by Earl.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Taken Up to Eleven in one Urban Legend, which has a man marry a woman who always wears a scarf around her neck. Depending on the version, he either slips it off in her sleep or she finally gives him permission to remove it on her death bed, whereupon her head falls off. This either kills her or makes her very angry.

    Video Games 

    Visual Novels 
  • There are various examples from the Ace Attorney series, where someone is revealed to be hiding an injury under their clothes, which provides more leads to solve the current murder case.
    • In the climax of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations, Phoenix figured out the real killer himself was attacked with a knife and therefore should have a wound on his body. However, at first glance, his suspect doesn't have any wounds. Not only that, he was still wearing the same clothes he wore during the murder, and they are still intact. Phoenix then realizes that the wound is under the killer's mask, a special prosthetic the killer always wears to see due to his damaged vision. At this point, Prosecutor Godot finally admits defeat upon being unmasked as the real culprit.
    • In "Turnabout Corner" from Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, Apollo notices the witness Alita Tiala's habit of pulling on her scarf as she testifies about her meeting with the victim, Pal Meraktis. Apollo points out that a table lamp with a bloodied cord was found at the victim's office, meaning that the meeting wasn't friendly. He asks Alita to remove her scarf, and sure enough, there is a red mark around her neck from when the victim used the lamp cord to choke her unconscious. Alita claims to be a victim in the whole manner, but Prosecutor Gavin points out Meraktis wouldn't leave the witness be after he strangled her. Indeed, Meraktis loaded the unconscious Alita on top of a ramen stand (It Makes Sense in Context) with the intent of dumping her body in a nearby river. However, Apollo's client, Wocky Kitaki, appeared to threaten Meraktis over the botched operation to remove a bullet in Wocky's body. Meraktis was about to confess when back in the stand, Alita regained consciousness, and shot Meraktis before he could reveal Alita's role in the operation.
    • In "Turnabout Time Travel" from Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice, Phoenix was meeting with Sorin Sprocket, a witness and the husband-to-be of Phoenix's client, when suddenly Sorin fell over, bleeding from under his clothes, revealing that he has a stomach wound that has yet to be fully healed. As there was some unidentified blood that was just discovered at the crime scene earlier that day, Sorin becomes Phoenix's prime suspect. The victim had stabbed Sorin before abducting Ellen Wyatt, the client, with the intent of murdering Ellen. Sorin manages to catch up to them despite his wounds and managed to knock the victim out with a wedding prop. The incident was quickly covered up, but the victim's co-conspirator decided to kill the victim and frame Ellen for the murder, using the same wedding prop to do so.
    • In "Turnabout Ablaze", the final case of Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth, Quercus Alba, the man suspected of leading an international smuggling ring, reveals a stab wound under his clothes, claiming he was attacked by a masked thief who came to burgle his office, justifying the thief's death at his hands. With Alba being an ambassador and the murder being within his country's embassy, this mean the thief's murder will only be tried in Alba's country to his advantage. However, as it turns out, Alba actually got wounded while he murdered fellow ring member Manny Coachen for being The Starsceam. Coachen had managed to stab him once before being killed. As this occurred outside of the embassy grounds, Alba is able to be arrested and tried locally, especially since his diplomatic immunity was just revoked moments before.
    • In "The Forgotten Turnabout" from Gyakuten Kenji 2, there is an inverted example of the victim having a unrelated burn mark on her hand that was visible when her body is discovered, but then it turns out she normally wears gloves to hide them. There was a taped recording of the murder, with the lone piece of dialouge determined to be the culprit mentioning the victim's burns. But when it was revealed the victim was actually wearing gloves during her murder, this meant the recording was actually the victim talking about the culprit's burn mark. A straight example of this trope follows, as the culprit was exposed when it was determined he was hiding his burn under his fake beard.
  • From the Danganronpa series:
    • Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc: Towards the end of the game, it's revealed that the reason that Kyoko wears Conspicuous Gloves all of the time is to hide the fact that her hands were badly burned during a case early in her detective career.
    • Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair: At the start of the third chapter, Fuyuhiko apologizes to the other students for his part in the previous chapter's murder. What they don't know (until he starts bleeding everywhere), is that under his clothes, he's already slashed open his stomach as an act of penance fitting of a Yakuza leader. He ultimately survives, however.

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • The Amazing World of Gumball: In "The Fight", Gumball gets a black-eye from a fight with Tina Rex and tries to hide it with sunglasses. His mom isn't fooled, and when he tries to claim that he ran into a door (which is technically true, but it only happened because Tina was chasing him), Anais tells her that he's getting bullied. Nicole is furious when she hears this.
  • American Dad!: Parodied when Roger accidentally hits Francine in the face. Not wanting Stan to find out, he gives her a concealer that's specifically marketed to battered women trying to cover up their bruises.
  • In "Going Overboard", the first episode of The Casagrandes, Carlos injures his leg when he tries to teach Ronnie Anne some of his old skateboard tricks. Because Carlos promised Frida he wouldn't skateboard again after they had children, Ronnie Anne helps him hide his cast with bear-skin boots from Carlota's closet.
  • Family Guy: In "Screams of Silence: The Story of Brenda Q", Quagmire's sister Brenda wears a pair of sunglasses when she meets with Lois at a restaurant. She reluctantly takes them off to reveal that she received a black-eye from her jerkass boyfriend Jeff.
  • In an episode of Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, a kid at Fat Albert's school always wears long sleeves. When a sleeve accidentally rides up, Fat Albert and the gang discover that it is concealing bruises from domestic abuse.
  • TRON: Uprising has a variant, as Programs don't use clothing in the same way as humans. Tron uses a masking subroutine to appear normal, but he deactivates it in front of Beck in the episode "Scars" to reveal the sheer amount of dead pixels and other damage Dyson's Cold-Powered Torture left behind.
  • In the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Blackened Sponge", SpongeBob gets a black-eye from being hit with a wrench when he tries to use it to open a tube of toothpaste, so he covers it up with glasses. It doesn't last long, as Patrick removes them and he is shocked to see that his friend is hurt. Not wanting to reveal the real reason he got injured, SpongBob claims that he got in a fight with a guy named Jack M. Crazyfish.

    Real Life 
  • Ever see a ballerina take off her shoes and stockings? The girls may be beautiful and graceful, but dancing en pointe turns their feet into a gnarled Body Horror. In fact, ballet feet are often used as a metaphor for all the pain and dedication you don't see behind a skilled performance.

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