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Expressive Accessory

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Angel Dust: Speaking of style, is your hat like, alive or something?
Sir Pentious: Oh, well— that's none of your Goddamn business! Now is it?

An item that changes based on the expression or emotional state of its master, though it usually has no reason whatsoever to do it.

Expressive Shirt is a Sub-Trope. Often overlaps with Signature Headgear.

Related to Empathy Pet, which is the animal companion version of this trope. Compare to sister tropes Expressive Hair, Expressive Mask and Eye Glasses.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Baka and Test: Summon the Beasts: Minami Shimada's hair ribbon, as well as Himeji's bunny hair clips, tend to move according to their emotions in the anime adaptation.
  • Cardfight!! Vanguard G: The cat tail of Chris's hoodie can move to reflect his mood. There's no explanation given for this. Or any attention drawn to it, for that matter.
  • Jewelpet Twinkle☆: Miria has cat ears and a tail for cosplay purposes. They act like a real cat's appendages to show her moods.
  • Chouhi from Koihime†Musou wears a tiger hairpin that always mimics her expression.
  • In Lucky Star, Tsukasa's yellow hair bow droops when she's sad or worried, and spikes up when she's shocked.
  • The headdress of Old Man North-North in Magical Circle Guru-Guru has a face whose expressions change to match the old man's face.
  • Princess Snow's snowman pendant in MÄR. It's a magic pendant, though.
  • In The Nightmare Before Christmas: Zero's Journey, Zero's pumpkin nose often reflects his mood.
  • The headbands on Ninja Nonsense.
  • Kuromi in Onegai My Melody and sequels. Her black joker-hat has a skull logo that corresponds to her mood change.
  • Pita-Ten has the toy bunnies in Misha's hair frequently mirroring her emotions. The fancomic The KWM Championship (included in the Pita-Ten Official Fan Book Vol. 2) played with this with Misha, after losing an important battle to Koboshi (It Makes More Sense In Context), pretending to be as cheerful as ever...while her bunny decorations glare in a rather unsettling manner.
  • Pui Pui Molcar: In episode 10, Abbey's Morumi decal is just as shocked as he is when they spot a Cat Up a Tree.
  • Yuki's cat-belt... thingie in Saki.
  • The Quintessential Quintuplets: In the anime, Yotsuba's ribbon often twitches in response to her emotions (similar to a pair of bunny ears), standing up when she's excited and drooping when she feels deflated.
  • Heihachi from Samurai 7 has a little doll attached to the hilt of his sword that sometimes changes to reflect the general mood Heihachi was in at the time.
  • Amu's hair pins in Shugo Chara! change whenever she character changes, with what she's changing to depending on who she changed with. Most other characters usually have a new accessory pop up out of nowhere.
  • Reki from Sk8 the Infinity wears a headband with a cartoony face on it that sometimes mirrors his emotions.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann:
    • Taking this concept to its logical extreme, it's not uncommon for Humongous Mecha with humanoid faces to mirror their pilot's expression. The mecha even lip sync to their pilots' dialogue. Also, note this (NSFW) little incident...
    • From the same series, Yoko's skull hairpin sometimes expresses her emotions, like when she realized that the men desperately needed a bath, the pin made a ">_<" expression while Yoko was holding her nose and pretty much doing the same.
  • Usagi-chan de Cue!!: Benten Chou has a hachimaki (headband) that displays different phrases, depending on Chou's circumstances. These messages range from "one fixed pattern" to "it's a good time to leave." There are 29 such messages in total.
  • You Are Being Summoned, Azazel: The three skulls hanging around Azazel's neck expressions change corresponding to his mood. Their mouths can even open and close.

    Asian Animation 
  • In Happy Heroes, Big M. has the insignia of planet Gray on his belt and headband. The insignias on both have faces that often change to fit whatever expression Big M. is making.

    Comic Books 
  • Asterix's winged helmet.
    • Parodied in Asterix and his Friends, a compilation of comics by various Franco-Belgian Comics artists drawn as a tribute to Uderzo. One story imagines the characters in an alternate universe based on medieval Germany, where Asterix complains to Getafix (a wizard in this universe) that the enchantment on his magic helmet has worn off and the wings no longer move whatever expression he makes.
    • Naturally amplified in the animations, especially in The Twelve Tasks of Asterix. Notably in the eighth task where he's so frustrated that the wings flop down over his helmet and steam rises from his head.
  • Adam Warren has used this in several of his works. Considering that most of these involve high tech adventures, there are some allowances. Sometimes a tag on the shirt expressly says that it can do this. When he was illustrating for Gen¹³, the winged skull tattoo on Grunge's chest exhibited Expressive Shirt tendencies.
  • There was a character in The Mask who was a huge fan of "Big Head" (that's what everyone calls whoever is wearing the mask at the time) and had a picture of Big Head on the back of his jacket. After he actually got the mask himself, the picture on the back of his jacket changed to his own face, and basically became this trope.
  • In Batman, the "ears" on Harley Quinn's hat often go up or down like dog ears depending on her mood; may overlap with Expressive Mask. Or Expressive Hair, as without the hat her twintails do the exact same thing. They're probably stuffed in there.
  • Batman: Black and White: In "A Black and White World", the Joker's flower lapel decoration suddenly has a worried face in the panel where Batman busts into the Joker's lair.
  • In Groo the Wanderer, the head of the Minstrel's lute changes into a different object in every panel. Admittedly, not necessarily based on his emotional state, though.
  • The Intimates features Sykes, an extremely powerful psychic who has a "null field" around his head to keep his powers in check. Sykes doesn't talk, but his null field takes different shapes depending on what he's doing at the moment — for instance, a camera, when he's paying close attention to a lecture.
  • In Five Weapons, Joon the Loon's eye patch can match whatever mood she is feeling at the time thanks to her psionic abilities.
  • Mortadelo y Filemón: Hats and wigs tend to jump off people's heads when the character is shocked. Filemon's bowtie and Mortadelo's collar sometimes untie themselves in surprise. Even pants might drop just because of a fright.
  • In Tomorrow Stories Special #1, the Splash Brannigan feature ("the Big Seep") is a spoof on the Film Noir genre and pulp detective literature of the 1930s. Splash has such a novel on hand or in his coat pocket throughout the story, and it has a different title in every panel, usually relevant to the situation. For instance, when he's released from prison, it reads "Death got Work Release." This devolves into a series of titles like "Pretty Obviously, I Have Issues with Women", "And My Own Fragile Sense of Masculinity, Thinking About It", "Then There's This Morbid Obsession with Violence and Death", and it keeps going until "Mom, This is All Your Fault."

    Comic Strips 
  • Dilbert's tie sometimes droops down when he's exhausted, or flies into the air when he's startled. Sometimes, when he's attracted, it also stops levitating and falls flat.
  • Wade Duck's inflatable water toy from U.S. Acres has a duck head that matches his expression.
  • Whenever Mafalda is upset, her bow droops.

    Fan Works 
  • In the Ace Attorney fancomics on this blog, the pin on Phoenix's hat tends to change its expression to match his. Same with the face-like scar on Kristoph's hand.
  • Justified in Fire Emblem: Three Houses: Fifth Path. In the non-canon Halloween Omake, Byleth got Annette to make a costume tail for her that actually reacted to her emotions.
  • to forget is unforgivable: Izuku's bunny ears hoodie has the ears move in accordance to his emotions. Probably justified, as it's not an actual article of clothing but Izuku "created it" as part of his new human guise.

    Films — Animated 
  • In the Katy Caterpillar sequel "Katy Meets The Aliens" the ant queen had a scepter with a hand on it, whatever gesture she'd make with her hands the scepter would match it.

  • In The Body Book by Claire Rayner (a children's book about how the body works), a boy appearing in many of the pictures wears a badge with a face which matches the boy's feelings, for example licking its lips when the boy is hungry.
  • A sort of inversion in the Discworld Fools' Guild Diary in which the jesters on the Guild Council all have marottes (a jester head on a stick) that are clearly modeled on themselves. Except the marottes are all grinning broadly, and the actual jesters show every sign of having never smiled in their lives.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who: In "Smile", the Doctor and current companion Bill are given badges that display their feelings in the form of emoticons.
  • Brazilian comedy show A Praça é Nossa had the character Lindeza, whose tie would rise phallically at the sight (or even mention) of attractive women.

    Video Games 
  • In Among Us, when the wearer of a black cat beanie is killed by an Impostor, the hat's orange eyes turn into X's.
  • BlazBlue: Litchi Faye-Ling (aka Booby Lady)'s hair pin is an animate (or possibly living) tiny panda. It occasionally moves on its own, sometimes even leaping between her cleavage after a match (with her laughing about it).
  • The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages: The Maku Tree's flower droops when she's sad.
  • The Piranha Prowler kart in Mario Kart Wii has a mouth that moves with the mouth of its driver.
  • Gust's hat from Neptunia has a grand total of two expressions: l l and ><
  • In Paper Mario, the clouds that Lakilester and his girlfriend Lakilulu ride on match their expressions.
  • In Peng Wars, Guardian Peng's shield has a Peng face on it, which becomes sad-looking when the unit is almost out of HP. It also gets a terrified expression when staring down the Polar Bear, much like its owner.
  • In Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, Iono's Magnemite-like hairclips not only match her expressions, they can also levitate away from her to emphasize them. It's possible that they're props she uses as part of her streaming persona.
  • In the Puyo Puyo series, Amitie wears a red puyo cap with eyes that emote to fit whatever expression Amitie herself is making.
  • The Secret of Monkey Island: Meathook's skull tattoo may be something of an edge case, since he does that on purpose.
  • Shantae and the Seven Sirens: Plink's hair clips resemble a pair of eyes and change to match her current expression.
  • In Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Bowser Jr. and the Koopalings' Koopa Clown Cars change expression when they're attacking or being attacked.
  • Team Fortress 2: A few cosmetic items can mirror the facial expressions of the character wearing them. These include the Engineer's Beep Boy and Beep Man, which will always imitate the engineer's facial expressions.
  • Occasionally, Suwako's remarkably nice hat in the Touhou Project series. Her defeat picture in the fighting games, for example, has its googly eyes crying in pain. Fanworks, naturally, take this to the extremes, having dubbed the hat "Pyonta" and made it a character in its own right.
  • Tribal Hunter: The cartoon face tattooed on Munch's belly. As he grows in size it takes on a more confident grin, and conversely when he gets close to bursting it becomes more worried and nervous.

    Visual Novels 
  • A couple of examples in the Ace Attorney series:
    • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Justice For All:
      • Moe the clown from case 2-3 (pictured above), wears a hat with a mouth on it that mimics his expression.
      • In a more bizarre example, Shelly de Killer communicates in case 2-4 through a walkie-talkie that looks a bit like his face and which changes expressions to match his mood, including sweating battery acid when nervous. In the second Investigations game, he carries around an ice cream cone that resembles his facenote  that acts similarly, while he himself remains impassive.
    • Also from the second Investigations game, Patricia Roland wears a fur coat made of living foxes. The silver one around her neck mimics her expressions and gestures and runs in circles around her neck when she's angry.
    • When she isn't using it, Athena Cykes' Widget turns into this. This particular case is fully justified since it's an electronic device explicitly designed to read emotions. Sometimes it even speaks her thoughts aloud. Quite tellingly, it shuts down whenever Athena's experiencing a Heroic BSoD.
    • Also in Dual Destinies, Myriam Scuttlebutt's box somehow sweats and darkens alongside her when she gets tense.
  • When Kouri of Brass Restoration is in her plain clothes, her bear purse mirrors her expression.
  • In Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, Junko Enoshima's Monokuma pins change expression to match her mood.

    Web Animation 

  • Champions of Far'aus has a very subtle example with Mr.X and Megalo. Their faces are covered by masks, and the clothes around the masks shift and move along with their mood. Actually a Justified Trope, as Mr.X is a sentient piece of a magic staff controlling a body composed of slug-like creatures, and is likely extending the magical control to his clothing.
  • Big Boss' alligator hat in Let's Destroy the Shagohod! which cries alongside the user.
    T-The Boss and I used to make bad puns together... T_T
  • Zeetha in Girl Genius wears a headband with a face on it that mirrors her facial expressions. For example... Otherwise identical faces on her harness don't do this, nor those on her swords. The similar one on the Baron's sword, however... This appears to be a Skiffandrian art. It's later revealed it's not merely a stylistic effect but actually happens in-story, and remotely over long distances. More generally this is a quirk of Phil Foglio's style and can be found in other works as well, including XXXenophile.
  • The hat of Eric in Loserz. He himself is unaware of this, as it says only "Star Wars" when he's not wearing it, although his friends occasionally notice it change.
  • The Zombie Hunters has Jenny's signature, much-loved orange bear hat.
  • Eerie Cuties:
    • The comic even mentions Layla's skull-shaped "emotive hairpin" on the cast page.
    • Stephanie Kane of Paranormal Monster Squad has the "sister" to that hairpin in the "Lingonberries" two-part crossover with Eerie Cuties (gifted to her by Layla). It enables Layla to know how Steph's doing (one crossover strip had Layla's pin have X's for eyes—meaning Steph was in life-threatening trouble).
  • Homestuck: The expression on Nepeta's cat hat matches her own.
  • Tiffany from Precocious, wears a smiley-face pin whose expression occasionally changes to match its wearer's mood.
  • Lakitu's cloud in Brawl in the Family #442: Lakitu.
  • In The Wotch, Evan's shirt has a big "E" on it (Most characters call him E). When he turns into a 4-year old girl, it changes to a lowercase "e", and most people call him Lilly (Lil' E). During Chapter 17: Adventures in Babysitting, when Lilly gets a magical age-up to her teens, her shirt has a cursive, lowercase "l".
    • It is worth noting that at first, Lil'E's shirt still has an uppercase E on it and she is basically Evan as a hyperactive 6-year-old girl. As Lil'E turns into Lilly, developing a separate personality who occasionally shows up in Evan's thought bubbles, her dress starts showing the lowercase e. And "Missy" (Miss E) is teenage Lilly, not simply female Evan, hence the "l" instead of an "e"
  • From Gunnerkrigg Court:
  • MeatShield: Dhur's belt buckle.
  • The Great Kitsune's plinth in Housepets!. It originally read "OR WAS IT?", directed to King as one of the strip's many Or Was It a Dream? moments. Much later, when he's talking to Marlon and Lois, it changes to fit what he's saying, but keeping the same structure. (When he says "No can do" it reads "OR CAN I?", and when he says "But that is an interesting idea" it reads "OR IS IT?")
  • In Prezleek Comics, the wing accessories on Prez's Helm of Neitiznot function like a pair of Expressive Ears, flipping down when Prez is upset or anxious.
  • Rusty and Co.: The Bard Roxanne Casbaugh has a nice hat with a long feather atop which flops down or straightens up depending on her mood.
  • The Bunny Nun in Little Nuns wears a rabbit-head patch on her habit that changes expressions from comic to comic, while she herself never does. On the official character chart, the note under her even says "See the patch for my expression".

    Western Animation 
  • In Albert the Fifth Musketeer, Milady de Winter's fleur de lis tattoo changes appearance to that of a duck, its expression often matching hers.
  • Baby Shark's Big Show!: A few episodes show Baby using Grandpa Shark's sentient electric guitar. The face of the guitar changes depending on the wielder's mood.
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy: In "Out With the Old, In With the Ed", Eddy is scamming everyone into thinking it's still summer, and he's wearing a barbecue apron reading "SMOOCH THE COOK". When his scam is exposed by a sudden storm, the apron reads "NOW I'M MAD".
  • Jim Davis must have liked this trope. In the Garfield Halloween special, Garfield wears a pirate hat with a skull and crossbones that mirrors Garfield's expression. At one point when the boat Garfield's in with Odie capsizes, the skull and crossbones jumps off the hat and swims away.
  • Hazbin Hotel:
    • Vaggie has a bow that curves and sharpens whenever she gets particularly pissed, making it look like a pair of horns.
    • Sir Pentious' hat top hat often reflects his emotions, even spontaneously growing a mouth to do so. It is lampshaded by Angel Dust when he flat-out asks if his hat's alive or something upon seeing the display.
  • In Disney's version of Little Toot, the title character (an anthro tugboat) had a steam whistle that mirrored his expressions.
  • The Chuck Jones cartoon The Bear That Wasn't, based on a book by fellow Looney Tunes director Frank Tashlin, has a factory foreman whose photo ID has the same expression that he has.
  • In The Loud House's Halloween Episode "Tricked", when Luan tells another groaner, her siblings respond by throwing a jack-o-lantern at her, which covers her whole head. She makes a pumpkin pun, and when she laughs at it, the jack-o-lantern's eyes squint, and its smile widens.
  • In Miraculous Ladybug, the ears and tail of Cat Noir's costume are nothing but hair clips and a belt, but they sometimes move like actual cat ears and tail, reflecting his mood. The ears also enhance his hearing, despite not even being connected to his normal human ears.
  • On My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Apple Bloom's bow is like this, drooping when she's in a funk (as seen near the beginning of "The Cutie Pox").
  • In the Phineas and Ferb episode "Brain Drain" Isabella's bow goes droopy when she's sick.
  • Pocoyo: The ear flaps on Pocoyo's hat go upwards when he's surprised. His hat also goes over his eyes somewhat when he's annoyed.
  • On the original show and reboot of The Powerpuff Girls, Blossom's bow droops if she's sad, tired, scared, or nervous.
  • In The Simpsons, cigarettes and cigars often telegraph character reactions. A smoker—usually Krusty, Lunch Lady Doris, or Patty and/or Selma—appears nonplussed, but remains impassive. The only indication of their feelings is ash falling off of their cigar.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: In "Bubble Buddy", SpongeBob goes over to Patrick's house to celebrate Leif Erikson Day. Unfortunately, SpongeBob finds Patrick's out for the day, and the horns on SpongeBob's Viking helmet turn upside-down, as if drooping in disappointment.
  • On Star vs. the Forces of Evil, the heart-shaped Facial Markings on Star's cheeks can change into other shapes, such as skulls when she's sad, light bulbs when she gets an idea, or Windows-style animated hourglasses when she's bored.
  • Steven Universe: Depending on the Artist, Bismuth's headband will sometimes change shape to match her mood, turning into a more pronounced V-shape when she's angry and flipping upside down when she's sad.
  • The main character of Unikitty! has circular Blush Stickers that reflect her mood. They include hearts when she's happy, broken hearts when she's sad, question marks when she's inquisitive, or skulls when she's mad.
  • Transformers: Prime does this with robot kibble. Starscream's wings droop when he's frightened or sad. Bumblebee's door wings are much the same way (and it really helps since he can't talk).
  • Unterbheit minion Catclops of The Venture Brothers has a single cat head on his forehead instead of an eye; the cat head generally shares his expression.
  • Wade the Duck on the U.S. Acres segments Garfield and Friends wears an innertube with a ducky on it that mirrors his facial expressions. This trait carried over from the little-known U.S. Acres strip.
  • The epynomous Wander of Wander over Yonder wears a special bottomless hat which produces anything when he needs it. The hat is apparently a living sentient; when not on Wander's head, the mouth and rim appear to smile and frown depending on the moment, especially seen in "The Hat" and "The Bad Hatter".

    Real Life 
  • Mood rings are supposed to change color in response to your mood. Except that "mood" rings simply respond to temperature changes, not to emotions. The theory says that the wearer's body will become warmer when they're feeling relaxed and will cool down when they're feeling tense, but the reality is that ambient temperature has far more effect on the ring than does body temperature. That makes this an aversion at best, if not an inversion.
  • A popular item available at anime cons is a pair of cat ears that are animated, changing with the wearer's brainwaves based on a sensor on their forehead. These different modes are supposed to correspond with emotions, but reports are mixed for how accurately they do this.