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Costume-Test Montage

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"Too green! Too yellow! Too poofy! Not poofy enough!"

Someone is trying to look good for something, a date, a meeting, long-lost relative, whatever. He decides he needs to wear something special, but what?

So the character goes through a dozen different costumes in front of the mirror. He or she will often try a funny one-liner matching the costume's persona, or just as often dismiss it with a quip, usually "too butch" or "too much" (in which case the next one is "too little"). Someone else might be giving out the running commentary.

Also, depending on the nature of the work, a prime opportunity for a Shout-Out or Mythology Gag when one of the outfits happens to be an Iconic Outfit of somebody else.

The Shopping Montage and the Makeover Montage may include or consist of a scene like this. See also Improbable Hairstyle Sequence.

Compare Beta Outfit.

See also Fashion-Shop Fashion Show (which draws on the "models on the catwalk" presentation).


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Doraemon: Nobita's Secret Gadget Museum have Doraemon losing his precious collar bell early in the film. Seeing Doraemon depressed, Nobita instead offers a bunch of alternative bells with the Costume Camera, ranging from Christmas bells, a banana, Buddhist temple bells, eggs, a chick and an Elizabethian collar. Doraemon is NOT amused.
  • Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA: The entire plot of the second special where Illya gets Chloe to model potential new outfits for her, from summer clothes to a new school outfit (even accidentally making her wear a Belly Dancer outfit as an extra).
  • Done in SoltyRei while picking an outfit for Solty. The trick in this case is that the outfits are all holographic overlays, so the changes in outfit really are that instantaneous.
  • In the second half of Episode 9 of Osomatsu-san, when the boys help Jyushimatsu figure out a costume for his date.
  • In the opening of Sailor Moon S: The Movie, this happens when Minako tries on various clothes.
  • Spy X Family: In Episode 24, Anya and Becky head to a shopping mall where both of them try out a bundle of clothes seeking the most appealing sets.
  • The Story Between a Dumb Prefect and a High School Girl with an Inappropriate Skirt Length: In Chapter 17, Poemu and her friends run into the Student Council President at a swimsuit store and end up having her model the swimsuits while they take photos (even using a fan to simulate Hot Wind).
  • Undead Unluck: In the Unrepair Arc, Fuuko is thrusted into wearing a variety of dresses that she immediately dislikes for being too revealing and is only willing to wear a more modest outfit after being given a red dress.

    Asian Animation 
  • Happens in the very first episode of Balala the Fairies, since Xiao Lan asks the Mei sisters to agree on a convincing human disguise for her. She goes through a few outrageous suggestions before settling on a simple and fashionable babysitter.

    Comic Books 
  • DC: Love is a Battlefield: Wallace puts on a number of atrocious outfits in successive panels in front of Avery, who complains that they're all bad.
  • One appears in Quantum and Woody when the titular duo are trying on costumes for their new crime-fighting identities.
  • Steven Universe: In Issue #2, this happens in a series of selfies as Stevonnie and Kiki try on prom clothes.
  • Herr Starr from Preacher has a rather hilarious montage across three pages - and two issues - as he tries to find something to cover up his new "urethra scalp" scar (wigs and hats), before settling on a white fedora hat.
  • Used in Arana, with an array of other people's costumes altered just enough to not get sued, in the case of things like a Wonder Woman costume (with a spider instead of a W).
  • A flashback shows Deadpool trying on a variety of costumes at a local shop that caters to the superhero crowd. He eventually settles on a black and red number with a note attached saying something along the lines of, "Thanks, but not what I'm looking for. —Your Friendly neighborhood S.M."
  • Peter Parker briefly retires as Spider-Man, and Ben Reilly, the Scarlet Spider, decides to adopt the Spider-Man identity. He wants his own unique costume, so after a costume montage, complete with gauntlets and leg belts and capes, his unique costume looks exactly the same as Peter's, with the blue being replaced by black.
  • Madman did this early in his ongoing series when he switched from his initial mini-series' costume (with a full-head cowl and a sewn-shut mouth) to his more iconic look, with amusing comments about them (one covered with multi-colored circles of various sizes earned a "Wonderbread? Wunderbar!").
  • In The Smurfs comic book story "The Reporter Smurf", Reporter goes through panels trying on different costumes created by Tailor Smurf in order to find something appropriate to wear so he can stand out as a reporter Smurf.
  • Leo and Vega go clothes-shopping on Day 3 of Roadqueen: Eternal Roadtrip to Love, and it soon turns into this, with both girls having fun and getting into modeling clothes for each other- until Leo, predictably, screws up.

    Comic Strips 
  • Calvin and Hobbes: A Sunday strip had an "all funny sunglasses" variant. Because it was Calvin's POV, the panels were tinted the matching color and just showed Hobbes' reactions. We only see the pair he settles on in the end - which, in a case of Hilarious in Hindsight, look just like those of a certain mecha pilot.
  • Garfield uses this in a Sunday strip on April 17, 2011, with Jon trying on several clownish pants that he thinks he can wear for a date and Liz reacting to them sarcastically.

    Fan Works 
  • In the adult Steven Universe fancomic Prisma, Yellow Diamond tries on various outfits to wear to Pink's birth, only for her to lament that Blue Diamond is better at this than she is.

    Films — Animation 
  • Opening scene in Flushed Away: Roddy decides between different outfits, one of which is Wolverine's X-Men costume; this is significant because they share the same actor, Hugh Jackman.
  • Eva from Igor has one trying on different wigs.
  • Barbie as Rapunzel gives a magical montage of Rapunzel using her magic paintbrush to paint different dresses. Bonus points for her leitmotif playing in the background.
  • In The LEGO Movie, when Emmet's instructions tell him to wear clothes, he goes through a quick montage of trying on different costumes before deciding on his work outfit.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Abandoned Mine: Near the start of the movie, Laurie and Sharon have a montage of trying on different costumes, set to the tune of "Crazy About You" by XOCH.
  • Daniel Hillard and his makeup artist brother in Mrs. Doubtfire try a few different looks for the title character.
  • There's a montage in Carrie (1976), when Carrie's prom date Tommy and his friends try on tuxedos together.
  • In the Lifetime film Dear Santa, Crystal and Derek take his daughter shopping for clothes. She tries on various outfits that Crystal curates. Derek appears exhausted throughout the montage, but is continuously offered drinks and small plates of food from the store attendants.
  • Tank Girl. After sneaking into a Liquid Silver dressing room, the heroine tries on a variety of outfits in an attempt at Dressing as the Enemy (nurse, dominatrix and one other).
  • The titular character in Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector does this, trying to find a proper disguise for his investigation.
  • Fatal Instinct. Ned Ravine takes his secretary Laura Lincolnberry to a store to buy her a gift and they both end up trying on women's clothes to the tune Brown Eyed Girl.
  • Hitman (1998): One scene in a shopping mall involves newbie hitman, Fu (played by Jet Li) going through a whole series of different clothing while determining the most "professional-looking" outfit a hitman should wear.
  • Xanadu. Sonny Malone takes Danny McGuire to the mall to get some new clothes and there's a long dance number in which Danny tries them on, set to ELO's "All Over The World".
  • The 90s film Airborne, with Wiley trying on outfits for a date in front of his cousin to the tune of "I'm Too Sexy" by Right Said Fred.
  • While he doesn't actually wear any of the costumes he designs, Peter Parker goes through a costume-designing montage in the first Spider-Man movie.
  • The Meteor Man: After being hit by a meteor, teacher Jefferson Reed gains super powers. When it comes time for Jefferson to embrace his powers and become a superhero, we are treated to a montage of various superhero looking costume that he tries on.
  • Tough Guys (1986). Archie Long (Kirk Douglas) is invited to a disco by a much younger woman, who tells him to wear something "hot". As he's been in prison for the past thirty years he doesn't know what to wear, so Archie goes to a clothing store where the Camp Gay owner, watching from a monitor screen, makes Archie wear a series of outfits until he's satisfied.
    Archie: Well? Am I hot?
    Owner: You're positively on fire, darling!
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas!: The Grinch deciding what to wear for the Whobilation. "Stupid... ugly... out of DATE..."
  • What Women Want: Nick's daughter goes to a prom, so naturally they have to choose the right dress and they go shopping together.
  • In About Time, Tim watches Mary try lots of different dresses for her dinner with the bestselling author. The very first dress turns out to be the winner. The whole scene could be seen as an allegory for the revisions Tim is going through with his life.
  • In The Best Offer, the hero intends to buy a dress for his love interest. Cue the montage in which models try different dresses for him at a boutique.
  • Wonder Woman (2017): first thing to do in London: get new clothes for Diana, with Etta Candy as guide. Most outfits are rejected for being impossible to fight in, or being itchy. Etta generally agrees, but even she gets frustrated when Diana is up to her 226th outfit and still hasn't made up her mind.
    Diana: It's choking me.
    Etta: Can't say I blame it...
  • In Wonder Woman 1984, it's Steve Trevor doing a montage of 1980's fashions for Diana, who gets equally frustrated trying to get her lover an outfit they both agree he looks good in.
  • In Sex and the City, Carrie and the girls try on various pieces of clothing from Carrie's old apartment. The montage is set to 'Walk This Way' by Aerosmith.
  • Someone Great: The girls try on multiple outfits while dancing and drinking copious amounts of alcohol in preparation for Neon Classic.
  • In Psych-Out, the members of Mumblin' Jim take Jenny to a clothing drop - the Diggers Free Store - where she can change out of her "square" dress. She tries on a succession of outfits, most of which are vetoed by the band, before settling on a short white dress.
  • In The Compleat Al, after Al signs a contract with Ronzoni Records, his agent takes him costume-shopping to find Al's "look". They go through a half-dozen musical Expys before settling on the same Hawaiian shirt Al started with.

  • The The Berenstain Bears book "Old Hat, New Hat" has Small Bear go through one of these while trying to find a new hat to wear, but finds a fault in every one he tries on. He ultimately decides the old hat he came in with is "just right" and leaves without buying anything, much to the Hat Store owner's annoyance.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who
    • The Fourth, Sixth and Seventh Doctors, immediately after their regenerations. The Tenth does a variation of this, rifling through the TARDIS-wardrobe and considering different outfits, but without trying them on. Thirteen does another variation, where she's inside the changing booth of a department store, throwing out various clothes through the curtain before emerging in her new outfit.
    • In the serial Destiny of the Daleks, Romana controversially does this with bodies, apparently wasting several regenerations! Douglas Adams apparently didn't know that an earlier story had established that Time Lords had a finite number of regenerations, and a scene in "The Christmas Invasion" has been widely interpreted as a Fan Wank to "solve" the problem.
  • LazyTown - "LazyTown's New Superhero", Stephanie trying new superhero costumes, uncle's commentary
  • 31 Minutos: In the opening theme, Tulio (the news anchor) is shown trying different outfits on, depending on the season; it usually ends with a ridiculous choice his costumer (usually C√≥simo Gianni, image advisor and quintesential meddling executive) vehemently approves of.
  • In Friends, Rachel tries to choose the perfect outfit in "The One Where No One's Ready". She frustrates Ross to no ends, because there really is no time, and the others are just as unhelpful.
  • Top Gear, of all things, when Jeremy Clarkson is preparing to test the new Audi TT.
  • Lois & Clark:
    • In one episode, Clark is trying on different suits for a date. In a reference to The Mask, Clark simply spins at superspeed to change into them to Cuban music and once satisfied, he notes "Smokin'!" before he darts off.
    • The Superman costume test parade in the pilot episode, set to "I Need a Hero". One of them is Captain America's costume, only with yellow and red stripes and no star.
  • One episode of The Mighty Boosh starts out with Vince putting on an impromptu fashion show for Bollo, all trying to pick out which fashionable clothes to wear camping. He takes them all.
  • During the intro of one of MTV's Movie Award Shows, Jack Black spoofs the Peter Parker "Costume Design Montage" from the first Spider-Man movie.
    "Too Gay..." "Not Gay Enough..." "Just the Right Amount of Gay"
  • One scene in The Big Bang Theory's "The Pants Alternative" involved Penny helping Sheldon pick out a new suit for an awards banquet.
    • Penny has her own go at this, trying to decide what to wear for her first date with Leonard after they had broken up the prior season.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: In the pilot, Buffy's considering what to wear to the Bronze.
    Buffy: [holds up a shiny black outfit] Hi! I'm an enormous slut!
    [holds up a blue floral dress] Hello! Would you like a copy of 'The Watchtower'?
    I used to be so good at this.
  • During a segment of "The Nerdist - Year in Review" there is a hilarious with bit Simon Pegg and Chris Hardwick when they are trying to find something to wear to the Mission: Impossible premiere.
  • In the Sherlock episode "A Scandal in Belgravia", Sherlock Holmes and Irene Adler prepare to confront each other for the first time with a joint Costume Test Montage. He ends up dressed as a priest while she simply goes naked.
  • Castle: Alexis goes shopping with Castle and Martha when she has a high school prom to attend, and tries on several dresses.
  • Something similar happens in the Frasier episode "The Great Crane Robbery" in which Frasier, horrified that the station's new owner has exactly copied the look of his apartment, goes through a montage of different combinations of furniture and flooring, with the only constant being Martin's chair.
  • The beginning of The Flash (2014) episode "The Nuclear Man" has Barry Allen trying on different outfits for his big date and with his Super-Speed there's no need for a time cut. Even after receiving a thumbs up from Joe, he tries another outfit on anyway.
    Joe: If you change one more time, I'm gonna shoot you.
  • Subverted and Lampshaded in 30 Rock. In a flashback, "Sharp Dressed Man" plays over Tracy stepping out of a changing room, but the scene cuts off after less than two seconds.
    Liz: I get it, you went shopping, I don't need the montage.
    Tracy: Yeah, I tried on a lot of outfits.
    Jenna: Some of them, I was like, 'No.' But then some of them, I was like, 'Yeah!' (thumbs up)
  • Supernatural. Lampshaded when Charlie does a Fashion-Shop Fashion Show to "Walking On Sunshine", until Dean gets annoyed and turns off her smartphone that's playing the music. Charlie pouts and says, "Montage!"
  • Supergirl (2015) selecting her superhero outfit, intercut with her testing each outfit for practicality in fighting crime (though the first one is rejected for being too stripperiffic even for a female superhero).
  • In Black Mirror's "San Junipero," Yorkie tries out a half-dozen different outfits before settling on her normal look. We don't figure out until later that the montage is likely happening in real time; she's able to switch outfits in a snap because she's in a computer simulation.
  • New Girl:
    • Jess tries out various outfits from Prince's wardrobe in order to impress Nick.
    • In season 5, Winston accompanies Cece to the bridal wear shop. She tries on various wedding dresses as Winston drinks champagne and offers criticisms.
  • Intimate: Bruno and Emil prepare to go to a climate protest, but since they really just want to pick up girls there, they put more effort into trying out outfits than preparing signs.
    [Emil comes out wearing a mesh shirt]
    Bruno: Are you Harry Styles, dude?


  • A weird variant happens in the Cool Kids Table game Small Magic. While looking for a cart to help Shirley the sheep carry the party's items, they get a "carting" montage where she tries out various different cart styles.
  • Episode 19 of Jemjammer is aptly titled "The Shopping Episode" and is entirely composed of one of these as Cacophony takes Jylliana and Aelfgifu on a spree to try on dresses before the Space Prom.

    Web Animation 

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • Phelous, to accompany his running Doctor Who theme, does this after "regenerating" at the start of his House of the Dead 2 review; instead of seeing the changes, he simply appears in different outfits each time the camera cuts away from the movie footage and back to him.

    Western Animation 
  • 6teen: In "Welcome to the Darth Side", this happens when Jen and Caitlin critique what Darth should wear for his date with Julie.
  • Aaahh!!! Real Monsters: Ickis is mistaken for a human boy on Halloween and ends up spending the night at the human's house. The next morning the older brother teases "Nicky" for refusing to take off his costume, and the mother politely tells him that he has to wear something else. Ickis goes upstairs and tries on a few outfits (some of which make it very obvious he's a monster who doesn't completely understand human culture) before settling on a baseball cap and some baggy clothes.
  • American Dad!. Suitably, Roger has a Costume Test Montage (multiple times throughout the series). Having a loose Fourth Wall, Rodger sometimes gleefully announces the trope he's invoking.
  • Amphibia: In "Bessie & Micro-Angelo", Anne tries on several costumes that are Shout Outs to various works.
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold: In "Legends of the Dark Mite!", this is done by Bat-Mite to Batman. Each of the costumes is some manner of Mythology Gag.
  • In the Bob's Burgers episode, "These Boots Are Made For Stalking," one of these pops up when Tina goes to a thrift store to find new clothes to impreSs a group of "cool kids."
  • In the Captain N: The Game Master episode "The Trouble with Tetris," Lana's brother Lyle wants to prove he has what it takes to be a prince. This kicks off a Training Montage, part of which is dedicated to a costume test montage. An additional hurdle that is unique to this scenario, since they are on the world of Tetris, all the clothing is designed to fit people who are literally made of blocks. Kid Icarus is able to remedy this with an arrow with a sewing needle for the tip.
  • Clone High: Joan of Arc suffers through no less than two makeover costume montages by Abe and Cleo respectively, and Gandhi gets one courtesy of Kennedy. The winning outfit is of course an exact duplicate of JFK's clothes, plus wig.
  • Darkwing Duck: In one episode, Drake Mallard does this when he is forced to abandon his Darkwing persona and tries to come up with a replacement super hero identity.
  • Dexter's Laboratory: Dee Dee and her friends do this to Dexter after he crashes their slumber party in "A Tribe Called Girl".
  • Doug: In one episode, Doug is in a shop and tries to find an alternative to his Limited Wardrobe outfit.
  • Invader Zim: While he doesn't try any of them on, in the first episode Zim cycles through several possible disguises ("Too ugly!" "Too smelly!") before settling on the one he uses throughout the series. One of the choices is the series' creator, Jhonen Vasquez.
  • Family Guy: Discussed in "Quagmire's Dad", but with sex changes. When Quagmire's dad decides to get a sex change to become a woman, Peter says that they should put some music and have Quagmire's dad should come along in a different sex every few minutes, with the rest shaking their heads until he tries on one that goes well.
    Peter: You know what we should do? We should put on some '80s music, and then every few minutes have him come out of there as a different sex, and we'll go: (crosses his arms and shakes his head "No") And then like the fifth or sixth sex, we'll go like this: (gives two thumbs-up and nod "Yes")
  • Garfield's Halloween Adventure has Garfield try out many costumes, getting ready for Halloween before choosing a pirate costume.
  • Garfield's Thanksgiving has Jon go through a serious of outfits to try to find one to impress Liz when she comes over for Thanksgiving Dinner. Garfield rejects each outfit with a raspberry until Jon dresses "as himself" in a simple suit and tie (but forgets his pants).
  • Kim Possible: In "Clothes Minded", Kim tries a bunch of different outfits after her original mission duds get ruined. At one point, we see a montage of Kim trying various options, none of which meet Ron or Rufus' approval (well, aside the Camille Leon's look).
  • Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts: In "Burrow Girl", after her existing clothes clothes are left torn and waterlogged by her violent trip to the surface world, Kipo tries on different outfits until she finds a new and clean one she likes. Some of the highlights include a tutu, 90's style clothing, and a poofy purple dress.
  • In The Loud House episode "Can't Lynn Them All," Lynn is recruited to be a wrestler, and tries on various outfits to wear in the ring, one of which is just Lincoln's outfit, causing her to remark, "Who wears this?"
  • Mickey Mouse (2013):
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • "Mare in the Moon": Rarity does one of these to Twilight Sparkle. "Too green! Too yellow! Too poofy! Not poofy enough! Too frilly! Too... shiny!"
    • "One Bad Apple": At the start, Apple Bloom goes through one of these while trying to dress to impress her visiting cousin Babs Seed.
    • "Discordant Harmony": Discord goes through one of these trying to find the perfect 'normal' outfit for his tea party with Fluttershy. He settles on dressing like Mister Rogers.
  • The Patrick Star Show: "Dad's Stache Stash" has a quick montage of Patrick trying on every mustache in Cecil's stash in quick succession.
    Patrick: This 'stache! That 'stache! These, those, and dad 'stache! Bad 'stache! Moose 'stache! Big 'stache! Small 'stache! All 'stache!
  • The Simpsons:
    • "Bart the Lover" has Edna Krabappel try on different outfits for her date with a mysterious lover (who was a Prank Date made by Bart).
    • In one episode, when Lisa feels that Maggie is now the smart one in the family, she feels insecure and decides she needs to find a new identity, and tries several outfits. Nothing feels right.
  • Static Shock: When Virgil is first deciding to be a superhero, he has a montage like this with Richie as the arbitrating audience. One of his costume ideas (a dead ringer for Black Vulcan) "looks like a battery advertisement." Most of them are either stupid or too similar to someone else's look. It's a fascinating window on his character that he already had all this stuff in his closet.
  • Tiny Toon Adventures: In "Buster's Guide to Dating", Babs rejects her usual outfit and starts running in and out of her closet in different outfits. Finally, an animated animator's hand paints the scene yellow and Babs ends up in... her usual outfit! "Perfect! Thanks."
  • Tiny Toons Looniversity: In "Tears of a Clone," Babs and Sweety get a time machine and use it to go back into the past and try on various fashions from throughout history.
  • Voltron: Legendary Defender: In Season 8, Romelle, Pidge, Rizavi, and Leifsdottir each make Allura try on a different outfit before she goes on a date with Lance.
  • Wander over Yonder: When Wander loses his magic hat in "The Secret Planet/The Bad Hatter", Sylvia takes him to a hat shop where he tries on many potential replacements in front of a mirror, such as a tiny top hat and a wizard's cap.


Injustice Gene

After getting fired from his job, Gene briefly joins the League and tries on numerous costumes to find one that suits him.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

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