Clothes make a man in Fictionland too. Many tropes are related to how a character's personality is shorthand coded into their wardrobe. In case of uniformed environments, Custom Uniforms often take the form of this. Especially notable are major changes in personal fashion, which are often related to major mental makeovers.
- Ethereal White Dress - Mysterious, possibly dead
- Graceful Ladies Like Purple - Nothing says "lady" like a beautiful purple dress
- Lady in Red - Won't be a Shrinking Violet
- Little Black Dress
- Meganekko - A character stereotype: girl with glasses, usually pleasant, smart, and clever
- Pink Means Feminine - Often paired with being young and innocent
- True Blue Femininity - Often being kind and graceful
- Vapor Wear - The default dress code for The Vamp and the Femme Fatale
- Virgin in a White Dress - pure and clean
- Pajama-Clad Hero - He either just doesn't care, or is a hapless everyday guy yanked into an adventure
- Sharp-Dressed Man
- Sleeves Are for Wimps - Beware of guys in wifebeaters
- Villain in a White Suit - An ambitious, cultured, and powerful villain
Unisex (same implications for both genders):
- Badass Longcoat - More often than not is a loner and stoic
- Cool Shades
- Evil Wears Black
- High-Class Glass - Monocle = high class, usually with a stoic personality
- High Class Gloves
- Impossibly Cool Clothes
- Kimono Is Traditional - Wears kimono = is traditional-minded
- Modest Royalty - Likely to be a kindly monarch
- Nerd Glasses
- Pink Girl, Blue Boy - used to communicate the level of girliness and boyishness in characters of both genders
- Red Oni, Blue Oni - stock pair of contrasting personalities, often color coded with red and blue
- Significant Wardrobe Shift - New wardrobe indicates personality change
- Smart People Wear Glasses
- Still Wearing the Old Colors - Wearers uphold the values of their old group
- Stock Costume Traits
- Wardrobe Flaw of Characterization
Examples (not covered in the subtropes):
- The so-called "makeover fanfics", where, typically, a canon character befriends a fan character who gives the former a total makeover. Cue the canon character realizing her "true" self somewhere during the process. The new self is, of course, everything we could have never imagined of her and likely turns her into a full-fledged Possession Sue.
- Brendan in the movie Brick has a jacket that comes off each time he loses control of his emotions, and his glasses seem to come off each time he expects to get "hit" either physically or emotionally.
- Tom's hat in Miller's Crossing is quite possibly symbolic of his wits: keeping his wits about him or losing them in a card game to a woman, etc.
- Luke Skywalker in the original Star Wars trilogy has his primary costume go from white to gray to black as he gets less innocent. The progress is mirrored in the Prequel Trilogy where Anakin starts out as an innocent kid in light-colored Jedi robes but goes to brown and then black as he loses his innocence (the difference is that Anakin goes all the way to the dark side, while Luke doesn't.)
- Gandalf the Gray died in The Lord of the Rings and was sent into the void for a short time. However, Gandalf was "sent back", resurrected by Eru, returning as a more imposing figure, Gandalf the White. After being found by Gwaihir, he was healed of his injuries and reclothed in white robes by Galadriel in Lórien.
- In one level of Alan Wake, Sheriff Breaker has a hard time believing Alan's killing her deputies because "he wears a tweed jacket!" She's half right; Alan's tougher than his tweed jacket implies, but her deputies were killed by the Eldritch Abomination stalking the forest. Alan's become more badass by the time of Alan Wake's American Nightmare, and so swaps out the jacket for a flannel shirt, better suited for getting down and dirty.