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Costume Exaggeration

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Left: The typical Miko. Right: The Touhou Project Miko
Certain activities or professions are associated with recognizable outfits. With Costume Exaggeration, this will be depicted with the most outlandish, extreme, or just plain fetishistic version of said outfit, even if the character otherwise wears a normal outfit most of the time. Sometimes the character will forget and just keep wearing the outfit long after it's needed, or will even seem not to remember putting it on. Often, this is done tongue-in-cheek by artists who really only want an excuse to put characters in fun costumes but is a very good indicator of the general 'serious' mood and focus of a series. It generally runs:

Mundane -> Stylized -> Noticeable -> Overboard

Ironically, having slightly less-than-maximum Costume Inertia doesn't always work since it implies designers know just enough about the minor details of an outfit and put just enough time into it that they probably have a personal jones for it.

Occasionally the trope is played with in an Unreveal, where the 'normal' outfit appears instead of the predicted one - much to the disappointment of another character.

The Chainmail Bikini is essentially a subtrope of this; the Spy Catsuit and the Latex Spacesuit probably also qualify. Compare Impossibly Cool Clothes.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • .hack//Legend of the Twilight somehow manages a Beach Episode that subverts this, where Shugo suddenly realizes that Ouka, being a Cool Big Sis, should naturally appear in the slinkiest swimsuit of any of the girls — until she shows up in wolf shape (which, granted, means she's technically naked).
  • In He Is My Master, a guest character agrees to have a competition with the show's resident lech. The former excels at designing several costumes with noticeably less Costume Exaggeration than the latter before the lead girl is convinced there's not enough of a functional difference to bother changing employers. (That and the new employer loves crossdressing, which is a step too far for the girl who gets abused on a daily basis by every other main character.)
  • Occurred in Love Hina, where Motoko's breakdown after a fight with her sister persuades her to become the inn's housekeeper wearing a full maid outfit in her size.
  • Applied in Lyrical Nanoha in the third season, where Nanoha and Fate change their previously more mundane Magical Girl uniforms for slightly more complicated and extravagant versions (though Fate was actually downgraded from her infamous previous outfit). This time, however, it's more indicative of Nanoha and Fate growing up 10 years and thus outgrowing their nine-year-old selves, and ultimately they switch back to the old outfits two-thirds of the way in, mostly to indicate they're getting serious.
  • The ending of the Tokyo Mew Mew manga requires a wedding dress anyway... but why a short, frilly, lace-and-ribbon-covered, giant-strawberry-adorned number, especially when supposedly thrown together in a short amount of time? Simply because it's cute.

    Comic Books 

    Fan Fiction 
  • The Rod Squad overdoes The '70s and everything with them, including outfits.
    • Typical for the late '70s were quite wide neckties. Chip's tie is so huge that he can (and does) use it as a surfboard.
    • Also typical for the era were platform shoes. Gadget wears them all the time, but when she dresses up, she wears a pair that's so high it requires a crane to get into it.


    Live-Action Television 
  • In Doctor Who, the Second Doctor's costume is an exaggerated version of the First Doctor's - it's the same outfit, but more gaudily mismatched and much, much baggier, giving him a clownish vibe.
    • An example of a costume detail occurs over four Doctors. Tom Baker's final costume included a pair of rather understated question marks on his the collars of his light-cream shirt, embroidered in a slightly darker shade of cream. Peter Davison and Colin Baker then got bright red question marks on their shirt collars (this somehow looks gaudier when combined with Colin Baker's Impossibly Tacky Clothes), and Sylvester McCoy got saddled with a question-mark umbrella (which he liked) and pullover sweater adorned with them (which he disliked).

    Video Games 

    Web Comics 
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent: Reynir's dream/mage-space clothes in regards to his real ones. He's wearing a long-sleeved and much less form-fitting version of his sweater and his pants and shirt are brown instead of white. He also gains an extra layer consisting of a jacket and a belt, along with decorative metal discs on his hair tie, boots, and sweater. This page gives a good idea of what he's wearing in the real world, this is what he's wearing when he's dreaming.

    Real Life