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"Zoey...'Stammers too much.' 'Lacks confidence.' 'Wears too many sweaters over collared shirts.' Not sure how that one is quite performance-related..."
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This character always dresses a certain type of way.

We don't mean a uniform or a Limited Wardrobe — this character changes clothes quite frequently, probably to the point of an Unlimited Wardrobe — but all the outfits of their choosing seem like variations on a theme, to the point that the character has a signature sense of style. Maybe it's a certain color combination or pattern or a similar but overall consistent way of pairing tops and pants. Whatever style it is, unless it's a special occasion, they will dress this way 90% of the time.

Because Clothing Reflects Personality, this may signify something about a character. For example, a Girly Girl might dress exclusively in florals, a grizzled biker has a rotating stock of leather jackets, or a stoic businessman wears power suits everywhere. However, the real purpose of this trope is to help a character stand out from the rest of the cast through a unique visual style without resorting to dressing them in the same outfit every time. The audience then begins associating this look with the character.

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In visual media, this is more common in live-action shows than in animated ones, as resource constraints often make it easier to give animated characters a Limited Wardrobe. On the other hand, live-action shows (especially those set in "our world"), have to keep their characters distinct even though they would realistically be changing clothes regularly. Describing a character's fashion sense can also be useful for visualizing characters in written media. In general, it can help distinguish a large Ensemble Cast or when one has characters who look similar.

Compare Iconic Outfit, when a character becomes associated with one outfit, and Iconic Item, which is about a single item. A long-lasting deviation from this is a Significant Wardrobe Shift, which goes hand-in-hand with change in the character. Not to be confused with Same Clothes, Different Year, which is when the exact same outfit is used in a flashback or a flash-forward so the audience can tell it's them. A Color-Coded Secret Identity may be involved.

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Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Ayakashi Triangle: Suzu's outfits have some kind of hoodie and something that leaves her legs mostly exposed, usually shorts. She even wears a cardigan to school with her skirt, getting as close to the look as the dress code allows. When she eventually has an outfit for fighting made, it's largely based on her hoodie, though with leggings added on.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V: Rin has the most outfits out of any character seen in the show, which otherwise is all about Limited Wardrobe, and all of them are in soft and bright colours with prominent shades of pink.

    Fan Works 
  • Ebott's Wake: Dr. Aster is always wearing black and white with a single yellow accessory, like a yellow bowtie for formal occasions or yellow sneakers. Otherwise, he is always quite conservative and professional with his clothing, like slacks, coats, button-up shirts, e.t.c.
  • In My Immortal, the goth characters always wear dark colours and Ebony tends to wear fishnets and "corset stuff".

    Film — Live Action 

    Literature 
  • Captive Prince: Damen's narration frequently mentions Prince Laurent's wardrobe, which is invariably severe, high-necked, long-sleeved, and tight-laced to match his guarded nature.
  • Dr. Greta Helsing: In Grave Importance, the billionaire Egyptologist Leonora van Dorne always wears an understated Simple, yet Opulent wardrobe, accented with a single piece of authentic ancient Egyptian jewellery. She has an extensive private collection of both.
  • In Harriet the Spy, Ole Golly always wears tweed dresses, which she refers to as her "things".
  • In Into the Drowning Deep, Olivia the reporter always dresses entirely in white in a deliberate nod to Emma Frost, whom she also Cosplays outside of work.
  • Old Kingdom: Touchstone has a lifelong fondness for kilts. He's introduced Naked on Revival from being Taken for Granite and a kilt is the only legwear available that fits him at the time, but, decades later, he's still trying unsuccessfully to popularize them as king.
  • The Machineries of Empire: Unlike the other leaders of the Hexarchate, Nirai Kujen is an unabashed hedonist who always dresses in opulent, highly fashionable clothes with plenty of jewellery and never wears an outfit twice.
  • Ian Malcolm's introductory descriptions in Jurassic Park state that he always wears all-black outfits. He notes that he doesn't have to worry about coordinating shirts, pants, or even matching socks as a result, since they'll all blend together no matter what.
  • Wayward Children: Nancy Whitman only wears gauzy black and white clothes with one pomegranate-red hair ribbon since her years in the Land of the Dead, where colours were rare favours granted by the rulers. When her parents replace her wardrobe with bright clothes in an effort to restore her old personality, she's deeply distraught and immediately trades them to another student for more suitable ones.

    Live-Action TV 
  • John Steed of The Avengers (1960s) is always in a dark suit and tie paired with a bowler hat, although the colors tend to vary.
  • The Big Bang Theory:
    • Sheldon always wears graphic t-shirts over a long-sleeved one.
    • Howard wears turtlenecks under button-downs, often in clashing colors. He is also known for wearing form-fitting pants with a flashy belt buckle.
    • Raj dresses in a combination of an undershirt, button-down shirt, sweater vest and track jacket.
    • Leonard favors graphic t-shirts as well, although coupled with an army jacket and hoodie combo. Later seasons sometimes replace the jacket-hoodie combo with an overshirt.
    • Amy wears a cardigan/sweater vest over a long-sleeved shirt, along with a straight skirt and tights.
    • Bernadette's usual getup is a short-sleeved cardigan over a floral-patterned dress.
  • In Brooklyn Nine-Nine the characters are all cops but show up to work in varying office casual ensembles:
    • Jake and Rosa both always wear a leather jacket, which Rosa pairs with black trousers, and Jake always wears with a plaid shirt.
    • Terry is always wearing a long-sleeved button-down rolled up to his elbows paired with a tie and suspenders.
    • Before her promotion to Sergeant, Amy usually wore a dark blazer/suit paired with a contrasting button-down top.
    • Boyle favors short-sleeved work shirts paired with a tie and slacks.
  • Claws:
    • Desna wears a lot of tight clothes and low-cut tops.
    • Virginia wears revealing, colorful outfits, along with lots of jewelry and sparkly accessories.
    • Quiet Ann always wears some combination of t-shirts, loose button-down shirts, and shorts. For formal occasions, she wears suits instead of dresses.
  • Community:
    • In the first four seasons, prim and young Annie is usually wearing a brightly-patterned blouse or dress, sometimes paired with a cardigan though this was dropped in seasons 5-6.
    • Nerdy Abed favors graphic shirts under a shirt or jacket.
    • Amoral Attorney Jeff is usually in a button-down top and pants.
    • Shirley, who is a wife and mother, dresses sensibly in a conservative top and trousers.
  • Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: Trent wears turtlenecks in all his appearances, which at first make him look like the successful lawyer Rebecca wants, but it later turns unsettling as his dark side is revealed.
  • Fate: The Winx Saga:
    • Bloom typically wears leather jackets and skinny jeans with either a t-shirt or turtleneck sweater. A lot of her clothing is red.
    • Stella wears a lot of coats and jewelry, her outfits often have sparkles, and she's fond of wearing pink.
  • In Forbrydelsen, Sarah Lund always wears a Fairisle sweater and jeans. She changes which sweater depending on the day. (It crosses over with Limited Wardrobe in the seasons themselves, when she doesn't change frequently, but she also maintains the exact same style throughout 3 seasons.)
  • In Get Smart, Harry Hoo always wears similar-looking (but not identical) white suits.
  • The Good Place:
    • Tahani is always wearing long flowing dresses and gowns (if not in a floral pattern, then a bold solid color) to represent her wealth and femininity compared to Eleanor and Jason, who dress more casually.
    • Chidi dresses like an academic in formal shirts and slacks, sometimes paired with a vest.
    • Michael's suits are in line with the officewear of the other afterlife employees, but he's the only one who always wears bowties.
  • Hannibal: In Seasons 1 and 2, Alana always wears a jewel-colored wrap dress with a matching coat or a wrap shirt and wrap skirt. This makes her Significant Wardrobe Shift in Season 3, where she wears nothing but vivid trouser suits, all the more noticeable.
  • How I Met Your Mother: Unlike Ted and Marshall, who dress more casually, Barney consistently wears a suit, which emphasizes the type of character he is: a rich corporate womanizer.
  • Justified:
    • Raylan always wears Levi jeans, a jacket, boots, and his hat to show that he's an Old West type sheriff in the modern day. He switches between a shirt and tie or a T-shirt/henley with a shirt over it depending on level of formality.
    • Quarles always wears suits, which makes him stand out as an outsider in the generally extremely old, informal clothes of Harlan County.
  • Killing Eve: Eve always wears plain, dark, and battered clothes: black trousers, a button-up shirt at work (a T-shirt at home), sometimes with a blazer, and always with her waterproof mac on top. This underlines when she wears the dress Villanelle bought for her or tries to channel Villanelle by wearing more feminine clothes (which never lasts) and to contrast her with Villanelle's Unlimited Wardrobe.
  • While talk show hosts always wear suits, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver has a bonus in John's plaid shirts. In an episode, John said that his credit report is probably low, given he spends HBO's money on "silly costumes, pyrotechnics, and checkered shirts."
  • Mad Men: Costume Designer Janie Bryant made it a point to clothe the characters in specific styles and even colors, to fit their characters and storylines.
    • Joan Holloway is often outfitted in curve-hugging wiggle dresses and sheaths to enhance her hourglass figure. As she matured and fashion changed, she maintains the pencil skirt silhouette and adopts a-line styles and blouses with gathered sleeves but her color swatch is often jewel-toned and saturated colors that reflect her sex appeal, red hair and pale skin, and strong personality.
    • Peggy Olson maintains a look where her dresses and skirts were practical a-lines or shifts with a feminine take on menswear with colors that get bolder and brighter as she gains more confidence and power at work (as a reflection of women's progress in the workplace).
    • Betty Draper Francis maintains a classic, feminine, 50s look that changes very little (aside from the skirt width and length) in pastels and neutrals that reflect her icy personality and Trophy Wife status.
    • Even the men get in on this with Pete Campbell's hip blue suits and skinny ties, Don Draper's classic suit and tie in neutral tones with classic polos and slacks off work, and Bert Cooper's 1920s style bright preppy colors and bow ties.
  • Married... with Children: Al typically wore a long-sleeved button-down shirt and slacks, while Peggy wore tight long-sleeved shirts (which often showed off her cleavage), tight spandex pants and heels.
  • Mister Rogers' Neighborhood: Fred Rogers would seemingly always wear a knit cardigan sweater of any color on his show. These were all hand-knit by his mother. (In fact, one of them sits on display in the Smithsonian.)
  • Mrs. America: Costume Designer Bina Daigler dresses the two groups (the STOP ERA Moral Guardians and the pro-ERA Feminists) in distinctly different costumes.
    • The STOP ERA women are often outfitted in pastel or neutral colors and styles that evoke the 1950s and 1960s (as a reflection of how stagnated their outlooks are) with twinsets, a-line skirts, ruffles, high-necklines, and shirtwaist styles, '50s Hair and '60s Hair, and no pants (the number of anti-feminists on the show wearing pants can be counted on one hand). Phyllis Schlafly often wears high-necked blouses with some ruffle and pastel two-piece suits or cardigans worn over a dress like a cape, Rosemary Thomson in super modest fashions that hide her figure, and Alice Macray is often wearing patterned shirtwaist dresses and pointed collar blouses with a solid color skirt.
    • The Feminists are seen in a wider variety of styles (all to reflect, in contrast to the antis, the movement is made up of women from different classes, races, backgrounds, ages, and even political philosophies). However, a consistent pattern is that the feminists can be seen in pants and skirts, in the patterns and colors stylish during the late 60s and throughout the 70s, dark and bright colors, a lot of natural hair, and while there are stylish feminists there is less emphasis on looking Stepford perfect. Of the main feminists, Gloria Steinem is in short skirts and slacks with long hair, the Republican Jill Ruckelshaus in a more sporty and hip and professional version of the STOP ERA housewives (even wearing pants) with 60s helmet hair, Bella Abzug in her hats and pussy bow blouses and coats, Betty Friedan in Diane Von Furstenburg style dresses and pantsuits, Shirley Chisholm in conservative suits and blouses with eye-catching patterns, and Brenda Feigen in casual separates and slacks.
  • Nicky, Ricky, Dicky, and Dawn: Ricky always dresses semi-formal in sweater vests and ties, emphasizing his uptight personality and offsetting the much more casual style of his siblings.
  • In Laverne & Shirley, Laverne's shirts and dresses usually have long sleeves. She also often wears tight sweaters. Most noticeably, all of her shirts, sweaters, and dresses have a cursive "L" on them.
  • Once Upon a Time:
    • Emma's outfits mostly consist of t-shirts, jeans, beanies, and leather jackets, which reflect her pragmatic, no-nonsense attitude. Her wardrobe veers away from this in the final seasons, and not in a good way.
    • Mary Margaret wears a lot of knee-length dresses/skirts, sweaters, and cardigans, showing her gentle personality. As Snow White, her tops often have puff sleeves.
    • Killian is almost always seen wearing leather jackets/coats and black pants, as he's a pirate.
    • Ruby always wears the color red somewhere on her outfit. As Red Hiding Hood, she always wears a corset.
    • Mr. Gold always wears suits as a rich businessman. As Rumpelstiltskin, he wears mostly leather.
    • Belle wears a lot of short skirts with high heels.
    • Regina often wears business-like clothing, fitting her position as mayor. As the Evil Queen, she wears dramatic, extravagant gowns that show off her cleavage.
    • Zelena, being the Wicked Witch of the West, wears a lot of black and green clothing.
  • Orphan Black uses different hairstyles and distinct fashion sense to distinguish the otherwise identical clones:
    • Sarah has a fondness for tight pants, hoodies, leather, and the color black.
    • Cosima typically has patterns on her clothing.
    • Rachel is almost never seen wearing anything but pricey business attire.
  • Schitt's Creek:
    • Former well-off businessman Johnny is always in a suit.
    • Moira wears extravagant, statement-making black and white outfits nine times out of ten to represent how out of place her flamboyance is in small-town Schitt's Creek. Her son David follows suit by also dressing almost exclusively in black and white, albeit more casually (usually sweaters).
    • Alexis has a very casual, bohemian, feminine style, favoring loose but figure-complimenting cuts and nature-inspired patterns classed up with heels and jewelry.
    • Unlike the Rose family, who dress like they hadn't lost all their money, their new down-to-earth friend Stevie is usually wearing a plaid or checkered shirt and jeans, sometimes paired with a plain shirt.
  • Seinfeld: Each of the four main characters has distinctive articles of clothing:
    • Jerry always wears long-sleeved button-downs and sneakers.
    • Elaine wears long coats and high-end blouses.
    • George favors checkered long-sleeve shirts.
    • Kramer wears short-sleeved vintage button-downs with crazy patterns such as leaves or lobsters paired with slacks. In Elaine's words, he dresses like a "hipster doofus".
  • Star Trek:
    • Star Trek: Voyager:
      • Seven of Nine has several different catsuits.
      • Kes has several different outfits, but she's usually wearing a dress with short sleeves and leggings underneath.
      • Naomi Wildman's outfits are generally made up of a short-sleeved shirt, a dress with straps, and leggings.
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
      • Deanna Troi tends to wear bodysuits (until she was made to wear a uniform in "Chain of Command"), and she wears sparkly hair bands.
      • Guinan changes her clothes, but she'll usually be wearing a long-sleeved dress, round hat, and baggy pants that are all the same colour.
      • Mrs. Troi will typically be wearing poofy, colourful, formal dresses.
    • Star Trek: Enterprise: T'Pol's outfits are generally catsuits with the top half being wraparound.
  • Stranger Things: Mike always wears striped shirts or sweaters.
  • The titular character of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt was kidnapped high school and spent the last fifteen years or so as a Bunker Woman, so she's still unbeatably childish when she is rescued. This manifests in her outfits, which are usually brightly-colored and brightly-patterned.
  • Zoey of Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist wears a lot of collared shirts under sweaters or cardigans, and she usually pairs these with trousers and sandals/sneakers. Lampshaded; her peer review points out she wears too many sweaters over collared shirts.

    Podcasts 
  • You'll never guess what Barry Bluejeans from The Adventure Zone: Balance always wears.
  • Asmoraius from Brimstone Valley Mall always wears Victorian-style goth clothing, being quite The Fashionista and using it as a form of self-expression. His boyfriend Trent always wears... polo shirts. Literally always polo shirts, sometimes multiple at once. Asmo's response to this is basically "you're lucky you're cute."

     Puppet Shows 
  • Rizzo the Rat in The Muppets has a variety of baseball jackets over white t-shirts.

    Web Animation 
  • The characters in RWBY have certain styles that help inform their personalities, and which fit their personal colour themes. Every time a new story arc changes, the major characters receive new outfits but always based on recognisable elements that fit their characterisation. Examples include: Ruby always wears a red hooded cape that is supported by a red and black ensemble consisting of bodice, skirt, tights, and combat boots elements; Weiss always wears expensive dresses, boleros and heels that incorporate white, grey and blue colours with red accents, and which are classy, high-quality and feminine; Blake never wears dresses and leans towards skintight fashion in black and white colours accented with purple; Yang also never wears dresses and leans towards tomboy-esque fashion in browns accented with yellow, orange and purple.

    Webcomics 
  • The Petri Dish:
    • Thaddeus usually wears polo shirts.
    • Gordon likes to wear colourful ties.
  • True Villains: Xaneth the demon always wears yellow shoes. A Blithe Spirit Archmage eventually admits to Sebastian that he Cursed him as a joke - Xaneth's shoes actually turn yellow, or, if he goes barefoot, his feet do.
  • In Dumbing of Age, Joyce usually wears sweater vests, at least initially.
  • SWAP Ensemble:
    • Vincent and Trudy both wear striped shirts and torn jeans. Vincent wears polo shirts while Trudy wears long-sleeved shirts.
    • Cedric wears tank tops that are usually green and/or brown, while Braeden wears them in a wider variety of colors.
    • Claire and Cyrissa wear knee-length skirts and dresses. Claire wears cool colors and sleeves while Cyrissa wears warm colors with no sleeves.
    • Turie and Corbin pull off the bookish look in different ways. Turie is a Dork in a Sweater while Corbin is an Insufferable Genius in a suit.
    • Cassie typically wears plain T-shirts and short shorts that apparently aren’t cold.
    • Caroline, the host of the competition, always wears warm-colored floor-length dresses.

    Western Animation 
  • Marceline in Adventure Time favors a dark, muted color palette (greys, blacks, dark blues and purples, red accents), denim, and either boots or sneakers.
  • As Told by Ginger: being a rare cartoon where characters change their clothes, this is often seen on the main female characters.
    • Ginger Foutley is seen in bohemian style peasant blouses with long sleeves, long skirts, sweaters, bright patterns, lace trim, baggy pants (even cargos) in warm tones and blues.
    • Her mother Lois, when she's outside of her uniform, often wears casual turtlenecks or cleavage-enhancing tank tops with tight slacks and high heels.
    • Popular girl Courtney Gripling wears pinks, blues, purples, and ice colors in feminine and trendy preppy separates and ensembles to reflect her wealth and popularity.
    • Ginger's friends Dodie and Macie often wear clothing that makes them appear more childish than their peers with the key difference of Dodie wearing bold patterns and clothing items that run the risk of appearing like Rummage Sale Reject and Macie wears a nerd-chic look of sweaters or sweater vests with long sleeved blouses and skirts.
  • In Blue's Clues, Joe wears different shirts but they always have a pattern of three squares on them.
  • In Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, Daniel always wears knitted hoodies. The red one he normally wears is his favourite, but he also owns a blue one, a green one, and a yellow one.
  • Gravity Falls: Mabel's various outfits always consist of a colourful hand-made sweater, a skirt, and a headband, coupled with the same white socks and black shoes.
  • The Loud House: Many characters have a tendency to wear certain colours, which is helpful for distinguishing the Massive Numbered Siblings at the center of the story:
    • Downplayed for Lincoln. He wears an orange polo shirt every day and also owns orange swim trunks, an orange tie, and orange pyjamas. However, when he changes his clothes, he's often not wearing orange.
    • Lori tends to wear sky blue— it's the colour of her tank top, her golf shirt, her bikini, her winter coat, and several of her nighttime outfits.
    • Leni wears many seafoam green garments, including her dress, nightie, and swimsuit. Her winter outfit is mainly pink, although the hat and boots are also seafoam green.
    • Luna favours purple even more than the other characters favour particular colours— her everyday clothes are all different shades of purple (save her accessories) and if she's wearing different clothes for whatever reason, she's relatively likely to still be decked out entirely in purple.
    • Luan likes yellow clothes— her skirt and scrunchie are both yellow, as are her pyjamas and swimsuit.
    • Lucy, being a goth, tends to dress in black, white, and grey.
    • Lola wears a lot of pink. In addition, both her dress and her nightie are floor-length.
    • Lisa seems to have a preference for light green. Her sweater is light green, as is her swimsuit, and in the winter, everything she wears is light green right down to her goggles.
    • Downplayed for Clyde. He leans towards dark blue, as it's the colour of his shirt, pyjamas, and his formal suit jacket. However, like Lincoln, he deviates from this colouring quite a lot.
  • In The Magic School Bus, Ms. Frizzle wears a different dress and earrings every episode, but it's themed to match the subject being learned about in the episode.
  • Steven Universe:
    • Connie generally tends to dress in minty green or blue, and a lot of her outfits consist of a lightly-colored shirt paired with a navy blue skirt or pants.
    • Greg almost always wears a pair of dark grey pants and teal flip-flops as part of his casual outfits.
    • Lars' outfits generally consist of skinny jeans with a rip in one of the knees, green sneakers, a long-sleeved undershirt, and a t-shirt.
    • Sadie's outfits usually include a pair of dark grey jeans and red shoes.

    Real Life 
  • Queen Elizabeth II has spent decades with her matching hat and dress ensemble in a monochrome colour because she is convinced that her own face and presence is rather invisible otherwise.
  • Former Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty was frequently seen in shirtsleeves wearing a loosened red tie, in both real life and as depicted in political cartoons.

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