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.
Compare Beta Outfit.
See also Fashion-Shop Fashion Show (which draws on the "models on the catwalk" presentation).
- 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 Movie S: Hearts On Ice, this happens when Minako tries on various clothes.
- One appears in Quantum and Woody when the titular duo are trying on costumes for their new crime-fighting identities.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- Four Weddings and a Funeral: Carrie trying on wedding dresses.
- In Intouchables, Philippe, before going to his date.
- Since the idea is to look like someone from society rather than a prostitute, the shopping montage from Pretty Woman is an example of this trope.
- 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.
- Xanadu. Sonny Malone takes Danny McGuire to the mall to get some new clothes and they have a long song and dance number in which Danny tries them on.
- 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 desigining montage in the first Spider-Man movie.
- This scene is parodied on the MTV Movie Awards. Jack Black, as Peter, makes the sketches with comments like "not gay enough". 
- 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...
- Sabrina the Teenage Witch: In the opening theme.
- 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 (to Tulio).
- 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: Buffy's considering what to wear to the Bronze in the pilot. She holds a shiny black outfit up to the mirror.
Buffy: Hi! I'm an enormous slut!
[holds up a blue floral dress]
Hello! Would you like a copy of 'The Watchtower'?
[lowers the dress]
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 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.
- Pink's music video for "Get the Party Started".
- Taylor Swift in her video for "You Belong with Me".
- 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.
- This happens in Episode 75 of The Most Popular Girls in School, and it involves a few exposed sensitive body parts from certain members of Team USA.
- Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures starting here, including copious amounts of Shout Outs. None to Harry Potter on explicit demand by Dan.
- Legend of Bill starting here. Bonus points for every costume borrowed from other webcomics.
- Wapsi Square once featured a sequence with Monica and Shelly trying on various Halloween costumes starting here.
- What's Normal Anyway? had this sequence where Mel was deciding which trans man persona to dress like as an effort to impress his new friend.
- Sun Wong in Rival Angels is subjected to one of these after her trainer tells her that she needs a gimmick and the attire to go with it. Look at it here, and decide whether you want to laugh, feel bad for her, or both.
- Supernormal Step has lead character Fiona trying on a variety of costumes (all of which are references to other things) before settling on a black and blue Civvie Spandex outfit
- Sunstone has a strip dedicated to Lisa and Ally spending an hour just trying on fetish wear costumes and earlier in the first chapter in a more conventional form where both are getting ready for their first meeting.
- Marten of Questionable Content, getting ready for a party. Most of the shirts are Continuity Nods of some sort.
- Girl Genius has a short-story between volumes featuring Agatha trying various methods to control her cowlick. Being a Spark, the methods she uses get extreme.
- In Star Mares, Rarity takes advantage of being able to change her clothes just by thinking about it to try on several of Padme Amidala's more elaborate outfits in rapid succession.
- Earthsong: When preparing for a formal dance, Willow gets to "try on" various dresses in the convenient setting of a Mental World, courtesy of a Psychic tailor. It takes a swerve for the dramatic when the tailor focuses on a specific design that he notices in her mind, which turns out to have come from a buried, deeply traumatic Ghost Memory.
- In 6teen, this happens when Jen and Caitlin critique what Darth should wear for his date.
- In 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.
- Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "Legends of the Dark Mite!". Done by Bat-Mite to Batman. Each of the costumes is some manner of Mythology Gag.
- 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.)
- In one episode of Darkwing Duck, Drake Mallard does this when he is forced to abandon his Darkwing persona and tries to come up with a replacement super hero identity.
- In Dexter's Laboratory, Dee Dee and her friends do this to Dexter after he crashes their slumber party in "A Tribe Called Girl".
- One episode of Doug has this, in which Doug is in a shop and tries to find an alternative to his Limited Wardrobe outfit.
- While he doesn't try any of them on, in the first episode of Invader Zim, Zim cycles through several possible disguises ("Too ugly!" "Too smelly!") before settling on the one he uses throughout the series. One of the choices was the series' creator, Jhonen Vasquez.
- Discussed in Family Guy, in Season 8 "Quagmire's Dad", but with sex changes. When Quagmire's dad decides to get a sex change to become a woman, Peter has this to say:
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")
- In the episode "Clothes Minded", Kim Possible tried a bunch of different outfits after her original mission duds got 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).
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- In the first episode, Rarity does one of these to Twilight Sparkle. "Too green! Too yellow! Too poofy! Not poofy enough!"
- At the start of "One Bad Apple", Apple Bloom goes through one of these while trying to dress to impress her visiting cousin Babs Seed.
- In "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.
- Phineas and Ferb:
- Candace in "Flop Stars", Stacy's commentary.
- Also from the episode "Boyfriend From 27000 B.C.", where Candace tries to find a costume for Stacy's costume party.
- Carl gets one in "Undercover Carl," accompanied by his theme song. "Now he's wearing a pinafore!"
- The Simpsons:
- Episode "Bart the Lover" has Edna Krabappel try different outfit for her date with a mysterious lover (that 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.
- When Virgil is first deciding to be a superhero in the Static Shock cartoon, 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.
- In the Tiny Toon Adventures short "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."
- In Wander over Yonder, when Wander loses his magic hat in "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.
- Mickey Mouse (2013):
- In "Eau de Minnie", Minnie tries on various outfits to wear on her date with Mickey, including her pink polka-dotted dress from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. She settles on a black, skin-tight shirt (which looks not at all different from her black bare chest).
- In "Hats Enough", Mickey tries on various hats, including those he wore in Steamboat Willie and Fantasia.