Unfortunately, fashion is highly context-sensitive. There are only a few fashions that have stood the test of time (like T-shirts and jeansnote , three-piece suits, and the Little Black Dress) and even the particulars of those vague templates can fluctuate with the decades—and odds are, your fashions didn't stick around. If a character from a show that supposedly takes place in the 21st century has '80s Hair, he's going to look weird... almost as if he's from the eighties.note The legendary film costume designer Edith Head, well aware of this problem, explained on several occasions that she often didn't design according to the current styles in order to avoid having the clothes look dated when the movie actually came out, preferring to go for a more classic style that would look good over the years.
In other words, fashions that don't just tell you what year the show was made, they scream it loudly enough to deafen your eyes.
Since most costumers aren't psychic, this happens a lot when old shows are rerun. It can also cause Fridge Logic if the show is set in the future. "Wait... why do people in the year 2800 wear clothes from the '70s?" Fashion Dissonance isn't completely restricted to shows set in the future, though in fact, it can also be obvious if they're set in the time they were made, or even if they're set in the past (see Gorgeous Period Dress for one example of this, but a more specific example is the question of why no one in Higurashi: When They Cry has '80s Hair).
Frequently appears in an Unintentional Period Piece.
Compare Outdated Outfit, X Called; They Want Their Y Back, I Was Quite a Fashion Victim, No New Fashions in the Future, Hollywood Costuming. Frequently occurs as a result of an Unnecessary Makeover, since the Ugly Duckling is frequently made over from what is considered a "dull and drab" look to a more "trendy and fashionable" one. However due to the high turnover of fashion trends, in a few years time, the "fashionable" look can quickly become dated and tacky, while the original "dull" look can look more simple and timeless.
For those who are immune to fashion dissonance, see Awesome Anachronistic Apparel.
There are many eras with regrettable fashion trends. Here are a few:
The Sixties are justly famous for mini-skirts, go-go boots, and bright Carnaby Street Mod colors. Hair was big and eye makeup was laid on with a trowel. Shows associated with Sixties fashion:
- On Her Majesty's Secret Service was released in 1969, at the height of the counter-cultural revolution. This is why George Lazenby's James Bond wears a puffy dress shirt with his tuxedo◊, the only Bond to do so (in promotional photos for Live and Let Die from 1973, Roger Moore's Bond also wore a puffy shirt with his tuxedo, although in the finished film, Bond doesn't wear a tuxedo at all).
- The YA book Mitch and Amy has middle school variants of this. Of particular note, the Girl Scout characters wear their uniforms to school, which is something that is pretty much never seen anymore - many Scouts don't even own formal uniforms nowadays, apart from the merit badge sash.
- Doctor Who:
- Mostly gave the main cast outfits and hair that was distinctly Sixties but also quite attractive and reasonable, and was too low-budget to do anything overly trendy for the aliens, but some of the future humans faced by Troughton are an absolute Raygun Gothic groovemare, baby, with more go-go boots and op-art dresses and beehives than could possibly be imagined. See "The Seeds of Death" and "The War Games" for just two examples. Fortunately the 60s SF aesthetic is something of a cultural meme in itself, making it a bit more bearable.
- The ridiculous little hat that the First Doctor wears was fashionable for older men in the early 1960s (as evidenced here). Modern viewers, and even some later Doctors, are prone to wondering what it is.
- "The Aztecs": Mesoamerican Cameca's bouffant deserves a mention.
- "The Romans": Ancient Roman women from the time of Emperor Nero with bouffants, flicked-out fringes and cat-eye makeup.
- The companion Vicki, who is supposed to be from the future, tends to wear her hair teased at the crown, dark tights, heels and mod microdresses, though this is justified by the fact that we're shown in "The Romans" and "The Chase" that Barbara's hobby is to sew dresses for her, and Barbara is from 1963. The outfit we see her in at first is more neutral and futuristic-looking.
- The companion Dodo dresses in head-to-toe op-art fashion, most iconically a dress with a ring-shaped print that would be extremely gaudy if not for being shot in black and white.
- The Doctor persuades the Victorian companion Victoria to dress in more modern clothing for the sake of practicality, which she takes to, but she never touches anything to the future or past of 1967. Her outrageous hippie dress in "The Web of Fear" is especially notable for being dated in about five seconds.
- The op-art turtleneck minidresses and go-go boots in "The Ice Warriors". Especially since people are wearing this in a future where climate change has made the world bitterly freezing.
- "The War Games" involves various accurately-dressed historical people being tormented by nigh-omnipotent war aliens whose War Room features huge spiral op-art designs on the walls, pop-art prints, space-age shades and geometric decoration. Oppression has never been groovier than this.
- Star Trek — the original series: Justly famous for its mini-skirt and go-go boots uniforms, and William Ware Theiss' famously titillating costumes. And for the ladies, James T. Kirk's tearaway shirts. But even the regulation cut-off slacks and sweaters with rolled collars come off as being rather dated.
- Some civilians were portrayed wearing Nehru jackets.
- UFO: This British SF series was set in 1980 and broadcast in 1970-71, but the costume design has a distinct flavour of the late sixties with Nehru suits, or the late-sixties vision of the future such as the moonbase uniforms.
- Pick up any anime or manga from The Seventies, especially if it's Shoujo, and you'll see bell-bottom pants everywhere.
- Mobile Suit Gundam stands out in this regard, largely for its dated hairstyle for the main cast members and of course the bell bottoms for civilian wear.
- Legion of Super-Heroes had a number of different eras, but Phantom Girl's bell bottoms and Tyroc's afro stand out.
- Luke Cage will never live down his original costume, which featured an open yellow shirt and a tiara. He still gets mocked for it by other heroes from time to time today (while he insists that it was a headband). One can only guess that his current Bald, Black Leader Guy look will become similarly dissonant by the 2030s.
- Intentionally avoided in Airplane!, where the Zuckers and Abrams had the foresight to not include any "dreadful" '70s fashions, and instead opted for a more traditional, or "timeless" (in their words), '50s aesthetic. Though they admit, on the DVD commentary, that "a couple of '70s collars still managed to sneak in there..."
- Many of the very chic fashions in Annie Hall look dated and silly by today's standards, notably, Tony Roberts's perm and white leisure suit. Ironically, Hollywood Nerd Alvie's rather dowdy wardrobe seems inoffensive by comparison.
- The Golden Voyage of Sinbad uses this interestingly to contrast the good and bad characters. The Big Bad dresses in a reasonable style for a rich medieval prince in an Arabian Nights-Qurac fantasy setting, but the pretty young Ragtag Band of Misfits all look like they're on their way to the disco, complete with open shirts, flares, feathered hair and medallions. Particularly glaring is Haroun, who looks like a lost member of a low-rent Philly Soul act who's somehow stumbled into a film about stop-motion magic statues.
- Star Trek: The Motion Picture, though obviously not based in the '70s itself, did have a tell to the decade it was made in through the bellbottomed uniforms worn by Starfleet personnel and Bones' infamous civilian outfit◊.
- The first Star Wars film, A New Hope, was lucky in that its gumbo of different Earth time periods almost entirely avoided '70s clothes or technological aesthetics. Hair, on the other hand, was not so lucky: Luke Skywalker sports the androgynous feathered hair which was the style of the late 70s, while Han Solo and many Imperial officers have thick sideburns. Princess Leia's iconic "cinnamon bun" hairdo was an attempt to downplay this trope for future audiences. (By the time prequel film Revenge of the Sith came around, George Lucas specifically mandated that Anakin and Obi-Wan both be given '70s rocker mullets to match up with A New Hope.)
- Averted in My Girl. Jamie Lee Curtis mentioned that the costume director found a bright pink hot pants suit for her to wear, but director Howard Zeiff vetoed it because it was too on-the-nose for the 1970s. Specifically, he mentioned that the only time the viewer should know it's a period piece is when the two lead characters ride down an alley and a Nixon/Agnew campaign poster can be seen on the wall.
- Period Britcoms like Butterflies and The Good Life are like time capsules for then-current fashions. Some of Penelope Keith's trendy outfits in The Good Life have to be seen to be believed.
- Most of the '70s Sci-Fi shows, including the original Battlestar Galactica, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, but most notably Space: 1999.
- 1970s Dom Com Butterflies managed to be fashion dissonant even on its first showing. Whilst parents Wendy Craig and Geoffrey Palmer reflected 1970s fashion and styling - Wendy excessively so - they had two teenage sons who were both stuck in a 1960s time warp whilst being played as incredibly trendy and with-it. In both clothing and teen argot, the sons were stuck in around 1967 in a show set around 1975. In 2010s re-runs, be startled by Wendy Craig's flamboyant 1970s outfits and hairstyles.
- Doctor Who:
- Most of the Doctors avert hideously specific historical settings by virtue of the character deliberately dressing in a blatantly anachronistic way but with a heavy influence of whatever is currently on trend, so they average out to timeless... but this was not managed by anything the Third Doctor ever wore, who combined Edwardian fashion with Seventies fashion, which was already heavily influenced by Edwardian fashion. The result is that he looks like a No Budget Jimi Hendrix, in shiny velvet and big sideburns. It was intended to be a silly version of stylish fashion, but most of the stylish connotations are gone nowadays, leading to the Expanded Universe dedicating a lot of time to mocking him.
- The Fourth Doctor's first outfit was inspired by what artistic young men were wearing at that time a long fluffy and layered haircut with big sideburns, earth-tone knitwear, argyle, checks, corduroy, a square silk scarf being used in place of a tie and a floppy felt hat. The official aim was to project what Tom Baker called "stylish carelessness", though so much of it went out of style so sharply since 1974 that his outfit comes across to modern eyes as bizarre and anachronistic. (Which suits the Doctor's character perfectly.) As his tenure progressed he began incorporating more Victorian and Regency-inspired elements into his outfit to give him a "Byronic" appearance until he was pretty much just dressed for 1860, although his high-waisted, tight around the bum and bell-bottomed trousers, his hairstyle and the overall colour palette continue to point pretty squarely at the mid-to-late 1970s.
- "The Seeds of Doom": Harrison Chase's clothes, which at the time were being worn by an actor known for his excellent and trendsetting fashion sense and indicated to viewers that Chase was Wicked Cultured and the height of chic. Nowadays the costume's good for little else other than being mocked relentlessly in the DVD commentaries by Tom Baker ("his tie is as big as the whole of the rest of his suit!"). (To be fair, it is pretty good-looking other than the flares and the tie.)
- Sarah Jane's iconic "Andy Pandy" dungarees in "The Hand of Fear" a style of dress adopted by women in Summer 1976 as a result of a freak heatwave and an invasion of vicious, biting ladybirds, requiring breezy but full-body coverage (really. In particular, note the drawstrings around Sarah's ankles, keeping the trouser legs sealed from insects that would have been able to get up bell-bottoms). The heat, the ladybirds and the fashion trend were all swept away by a sudden downpour of rain that swamped Britain just as the first episode of "The Masque of Mandragora", the story immediately preceding "The Hand of Fear", was being broadcast on television.
- Skagra's outfit in "Shada" a belted white tunic, a sparkly fedora, a glittery silver cape, a V-neck and shiny white high-waisted trousers tucked into silver platform boots shrieks disco. In particular, it appears to be a pastiche of the outfit worn by the disco star Sir Monti Rock III (of Disco Tek and the Sex-Olettes "fame"). It is supposed to look ridiculous in-universe, and it might have been intended as a case of Skagra trying to pick an outfit that would blend in on Earth 1979 and getting it hilariously wrong, especially since he coordinates it with a carpet bag... but the story makes a point of having him dress like that when he's in space, too.
- The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, similarly to the Fourth Doctor above, dresses Ford in tacky abstractions of Seventies fashion.
- This is also an example where the ideals of the time of filming leaked into a historical setting: those ancient Romans in I, Claudius do look a bit... seventies.
Here are some series strongly associated with Eighties Fashion:
- Ah! My Goddess is a particularly weird example. Since the series has been ongoing for more than 20 years but only a few years have passed in the story itself, it seems like fashion progresses from its 80s starting point to the present at a tremendous pace. There's also been a couple of art shifts and Keiichi gave up smoking without it ever being mentioned, possibly showing the changing attitudes about smoking over the past couple of decades.
- Fist of the North Star despite being set in the post apocalypse, has a lot of fashion choices that would make most 80s hair metal groups very proud, particularly Yuda. Even Kenshiros outfit is unmistakably inspired by 1981s Mad Max 2. The 1984 anime also added a lot of bright colors to a lot of the characters costumes, with Lin and Mamyia going around in bright pink and orange outfits.
- Yu Yu Hakusho. Just look at what the girls are wearing. It's so frighteningly eighties.
- While Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam shows its age through fashion here and there, its much more obvious in its sequel series, Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ. '80s Hair is copious and many high ranking members of the villainous Neo-Zeon have custom uniforms that wouldn't be out of place in an 80s music video.
- In Escape from New York, Snake was wearing a strain of 1980s fashion which was a little behind for the 20 Minutes into the Future setting but somewhat ahead of the time the movie was made. In the sequel, Escape from L.A., made in 1995, he hasn't updated his look, and still wears '80s Hair and Painted-On Pants. There is some Leaning on the Fourth Wall of this when a female soldier finds his "retro" appearance silly.
- The Cosby Show: Particularly jarring when you see Denise or Vanessa fussing over shiny, loud, beaded, or otherwise eye-searingly hideous outfits when trying to look their "best". Even Claire was not immune.
- Doctor Who has quite a lot from this period, as John Nathan-Turner had the idea that the Doctor should be dressing in contemporary fashion but as seen through the eyes of an alien, and as there was constant Executive Meddling to make the show Younger and Hipper:
- Even though the Sixth Doctor's outfit is intentionally ugly, it is something of a caricature of what was then contemporary fashion there was a trend for brightly coloured patchwork jackets, and poodle-perms were omnipresent on men, and kitschy buttons and brooches were popular with young women because of their DIY-able nature. The Sixth Doctor just took all of that and exaggerated it in bright primary colours a big patchwork coat, a massive blond perm, teddy-bear buttons on his waistcoat, a cat brooch with the main concession to historical clothing being a distinctly Victorian cut to his clothes.
- Ace's badge-spangled leather jacket was a real, but very brief, trend in the late '80s.
- The silk scarf worn by the Seventh Doctor is, again, a caricature of a real '80s trend the silk scarf tied into the jacket findings. In his case, he's doing it with a suit jacket instead of a leather or casual jacket, making it look deliberately silly.
- Red Dwarf despite being set in the far future has this in spades. Cat wears many James Brown-esque bright suits and later disco getup, tiger pattern coats, fancy earrings and other outfits likely inspired by Grace Jones. Lister similar from Ace from Doctor Who wears badged leather jackets in the third, fourth and fifth seasons. The cast have great fun in the DVD Commentary looking back on themeselves and laughing at the 80s wardrobe and '80s Hair. Craig Charles bemoans seeing himself wear a red scarf around his ankle and wishes someone couldve told him how stupid he looked.
- Dynasty (1981), particularly the Shoulders of Doom on the Nolan Miller-designed outfits worn by Joan Collins, Linda Evans, and the other actresses.
- The earlier episodes of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (which aired from 1990-1996) had a lot of fashion holdovers from the '80s, especially with Vivian and Ashley.
- The Golden Girls. While Blanche and Rose got most of the more flashy (and therefore dated) outfits, Dorothy's wardrobe is particularly confusing as sometimes it isn't even clear what she's wearing - some of her outfits look more like throw blankets or body bags than dresses.
- Knight Rider, particularly David Hasselhoff's '80s Hair.
- Miami Vice is perhaps the most iconic example of '80s fashion in all of media. What with its improbably flashy cops and gangsters dressed almost exclusively in pastel tonesnote , Armani suits, Rayban sunglasses, and no socks. most of which were considered over-the-top even by the standards of the decade.
- Moonlighting with Maddie Hayes' 80s-tastic shoulder pads.
- The Romulans on Star Trek: The Next Generation wore uniforms with massive shoulder pads in patterns that looked like they were taken from curtains. And in the two-parter "Unification", we see this fashion sense extended to the civilian population. Word of God grew to hate these costumes, so Star Trek: Deep Space Nine would give the Tal Shiar better-looking uniforms, and Star Trek: Nemesis got rid of them for good.
- A deliberate aversion was done by New Wave band The Human League, with the cover for their breakout 1981 album Dare!. The cover was intended to resemble that of Vogue magazine, and featured photos of the band members' faces - with their hair styles cropped from the picture. In the words of backing vocalist Susan Ann Sulley, "we wanted people to still be able to buy the album in five years, we thought that hair styles would be the first thing to date. We had no idea people would still be buying it 25 years later."
- The MSX version of Metal Gear takes place in a Retro Universe that vaguely resembles a futuristic, manga version of the 1940s, apart from Diane, who dates the game entirely with her giant triangle earrings, antigravity haircut and Patrick Nagel painting aesthetic.
- Jem and the Holograms are more or less textbook examples of eighties fashion.
The '90s colour palette is also bright, but rich and saturated rather than pastel and neon. The early half of the decade is made of squiggles, scribbles and triangles, or Mediterranean/African patterns, and if you were extremely cool you'd be wearing a thick sweater with that kind of print knitted into the fabric. Hip-hop and grunge influences became mainstream and got immediately garbled. The teen heartthrob uniform was a distinctive floppy center-parted haircut ("curtains"), an oversized checked shirt worn as a jacket, and a skateboard, with a backwards-turned baseball cap if he was really cool. Girls wore bright crop tops, scrunchies (around a high ponytail), butterfly hair clips, a choker (maybe styled to look like a tattoo), brown lipstick, and gelled their bangs so that it fell in exactly seven identical spikes. The later half of the decade saw cartoonish 70s influences like tie-dye t-shirts, flares, sky-high platform boots and blobby flower designs, as well as the appearance of the ubiquitous Friends-derived Rachel haircut.
Anime and Manga
- Zigzagged some in Sailor Moon. Some of the girls' outfits have pieces that are very obvious 90s staples (higher-waisted pants, saturated colors, etc). Many of Mamoru's outfits are especially prone to this.
- Dragon Ball has quite a lot of this, as the manga and anime ran from the mid 80s all the way through to the 90s. When not in gi the Z-Fighters wore shorts, caps, tank tops, jeans, high socks and Hawaiian shirts. The crowning example is Piccolo during the beloved Driving Test Filler Arc, where hes wearing a backwards cap, bright yellow shirt over a purple long sleeved top and wearing a pairs of jeans with blue sneakers. The result makes the Demon King reincarnated look like hes from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Android 17 and 18s wardrobe while more natural the most of the cast, is still extremely 90s, more so with 17 than 18.
- Robin Series: Most noticeable at school where most of the kids are definitely dressed and styled according to the decade, there's also the fact that Tim wears the "curtains" hairstyle and rides a skateboard as a civilian.
- Clueless uses such peculiar 1995 fashions that 'the Clueless look' is a shorthand for this sort of thing.
- The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. In fact, the first seasons even had some '80s fashions still hanging around.
- The Larry Sanders Show is especially egregious, since it features a myriad of celebrities awkwardly attaching themselves to the latest trends, most of which never amounted to anything.
- Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, especially in the case of Tommy Oliver going from a mullet to a ponytail look in the course of the show's run. When a photo of him with the latter look is mocked by the Rangers in Power Rangers Dino Thunder, airing 11 years later, Tommy retorts that it was the style at the time.
- Seinfeld: The infamous "puffy shirt" isn't much puffier than what Jerry usually wears.
- Twin Peaks, particularly Ben and Jerry Horne's swing-tastic suits. Particularly noticeable since they're the only people who don't dress like it's the '50s.
- Parappa The Rapper combines 1990s hip-hop fashion and music with the ultra-bright graphic style of the time. Its Spiritual Successor Um Jammer Lammy, released in 1999, begins to hint at the styles of the next decade with Lammy's huge flares, platform sneakers and blobby flower print tshirt, as well as characterising her as a 90s rocker chick.
- Early Mortal Kombat games are guilty of this. Most noticeably Sonya with her green 90s aerobics gear which seems strange for a Special Forces officer to wear (though her Stripperiffic MK9 outfit is no better). Johnny Cage, Jax, Liu Kang, Shang Tsung in the second game wear spandex as well, to say nothing of Kitana, Jade and Mileenas leotards.
- Resident Evil debuted in the late 90s and boy does it show.
- Claire Redfield from the second game wears a Biker Babe pink vest and hot pants over lycra and Jill Valentine from the third game has a blue tubetop and mini-skirt with a jumper warped around her waist that in the words of Yahtzee makes her look like an embarrassing single mother accompanying her daughter to a roller disco. Capcom eventually deemed Claires original outfit too garish and changed it twice, replacing the vest with a jacket and the hot pants with regular blue shorts shorts in Resident Evil The Dark Side Chronicles and in the RE2make gave her jeans and a bigger jacket. Similarly Jill in RE3make got the tubetop and skirts traded out for a tank top and jeans. Though both their original 90s outfits are available as DLC, though Capcom decided to make Claires outfit Hotter and Sexier by removing the lycra from under her top.
- Leons RE2 concept art shows him wearing a cap and one of his alternate outfits in the original is an extremely 90s tank top and cap. The remake makes his main police uniform much less 90s by dulling the blue and removing the shoulder pads and white sneakers. Though the casual outfit Leon wears at the start is pretty 90s with a buttoned up shirt over a white top with blue jeans and returning white sneakers.
- Final Fantasy:
- Final Fantasy VII, the least "fashionable" of the Tetsuya Nomura games, doesn't really have any outfits that dated painfully, but mid-to-late 90s style is still apparent. It is arguable that Cloud and Sephiroth's famous hairstyles are both caricatures of the "curtains" haircut, most male characters in the game have a single pierced ear, Sephiroth wears a bondage harness with an O-ring in the centre of the chest, Barret has a fade hairstyle, Tifa wears a crop-top, leather miniskirt and Docs, Aeris wears a choker, and Red XIII has tribal tattoos. By far the most painfully dated outfit in the game is on Rufus, who wears a hilariously big business suit with a really long jacket, a common and notoriously horrible business menswear cut at the time. The Goblin design in the game is dressed in a parody of 90s hip-hop fashion, so wears hi-tops and a beanie pulled over his eyebrows.
- Final Fantasy VIII, designed in the exact moment where the 90s style coexisted with the "Y2K" style of the next Millennium. There is not a single character, GF, or surface in the game which is not covered with swirly "tribal" designs. All text is in flame-y, graffiti-esque letters. Squall has an outrageously high waistline (previous decade) as well as Emo elements like heavy silver jewellery and bondage pants (next decade), and Quistis wears a skirt over pants. Zell wears a flame print sleeve jacket, massive parachute denim 'skater' shorts and a tribal tattoo on his face.
- In Street Fighter the World Warriorss more casual clothes seen in artwork is very 90s, the Alpha series leans right into it with Chun-Lis default costume being a unitard with sneakers.
00s Fashion:Anime and Manga
- It was a common trope in 00s anime and manga to have a character dressed in an outrageous, punky Emo Teen outfit with mannerisms veering between Perpetual Frowner and Milking the Giant Cow, and portray them as being a very cool and dramatic Anti-Hero, usually with a twist showing they have a secret darker side. In the New Tens, increasing awareness of the chuunibyou ("middle-school syndrome") phenomenon meant that a character designed that way was supposed to be interpreted as a lonely teen with No Social Skills consciously imitating that character archetype because they think it makes them look strong, if not an outright comic-relief delusional. Viewers who came of age watching characters like Rika from Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions, Gundham from Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair and Gladion from Pokémon Sun and Moon, all of whom are introduced in their outfits as an Establishing Character Moment to indicate their childishness, may have difficulty taking, say, Lelouch from Code Geass seriously.
- Black Lagoon:
- Revy's tribal tattoo, crop top and ultra-short ripped jean shorts. It doesnt look very dated in the context of her being a criminal thug, but having a heroine dressed like that sure does.
- Eda wears pink-tinted triangular sunglasses and her usual casual outfit consists of a cropped hot pink halter top that says Just do it, a belted cargo miniskirt, and strappy chunky pink heels.
- Death Note:
- L's uniform of a plain white shirt and jeans may be completely timeless, but the combination with his spiky jet black hair, lanky frame, sallow complexion, eye bags, haggard features and being an eccentric genius made him an icon of chuunibyou and the emo subculture.
- Misa Amane is shown sporting the Elegant Gothic Lolita fashions popular at the time. Fortunately, most of it has aged nicely.
- Mello wears a tight sleeveless leather (sometimes puffer-textured) navel-baring vest, and a rosary necklace.
- Fullmetal Alchemist:
- Despite taking place in an alternate early 20th century, Envys design very much dates the mangas release in 2001 with their all-black cropped halter top, skort, fingerless gloves and palm tree hair. Going by Greeds comments, it was considered tacky even then. This is more pronounced in the 2003 anime where Envy is taken completely seriously and given the Adaptational Badass and Adaptational Villainy treatment, and gives a matching outfit to Wrath after his FaceHeel Turn. Once manga-faithful Brotherhood was released in 2009, this design worked out perfectly to enhance Envys immature, petty cruelty.
- The first Greed himself, for that matter. He's got spiky swept back hair, wears round sunglasses, a skin-tight sleeveless black shirt with a fur-trimmed sleeveless leather coat and leather pants. It may have looked cool then, but now it makes him look like a guido. His second outfit in the manga/Brotherhood when resurrected in Ling is a lot more timeless, though.
- One Piece had a bit of this earlier on, since the series debuted in 1997 and went through the early 2000s to the current day. The coloured cover spreads around that time have the Straw Hats wearing jeans, track pants, halter tops and hooded jumpers◊. Theres also God Enel from the Skypeia arc who with his skullcap bears a striking resemblance◊ to 2000s-era Eminem.
- Scott Pilgrim, being a story from 2004 - 2010, has more than a few examples, with some of Ramona's outfits (particularly this one◊) looking quite dated. Of course, given that being hip (when it comes to fashion and otherwise) is an important part of the series, that's arguably the point.
- It's common in current fandom for people making parodies of terrible Original Character designs to put them in huge-legged JNCO jeans, a polarizing skater fashion trend from the early 00s that most of the kids making their own Sonic the Hedgehog characters in 2001 would have thought were the height of cool.
- The Room, made in 2003, has much of its omnipresent mocking revolving around Lisa's awful Britney Spears-ish outfits. (The orange lace-up shirt worn with low-slung bell-bottoms and big turquoise necklace that she wears in the "you're tearing me apart" scene is painfully on trend.) One side character even has finely spiked hair with frosted tips.
- Mean Girls, made in 2004, is almost a 2000s counterpart of Clueless with its portrayal of fashion ("On Wednesdays, we wear pink."). Most notably, Regina George's mother is shown wearing "youthful" clothes in an attempt to be hip, which, in 2004, meant garish Juicy Couture sweatpants and tracksuits that, in hindsight, make her look even more pathetic.
- Scooby-Doo 2002 has this Up to Eleven with the Scooby Gang◊ and the rest of people on Spooky Island looking like they all just walked out of a 00s music video. Heck, Sugar Ray show up to cameo at one point and Fred wears a shorts, tanktop and sunglasses while possessed.
- Girlboss gets a lot of sight gags out of Sophia's bubble-style, transparent iBook (which would have been coming to the end of its lifespan at the time the show is set).
- Nathan Barley, made in 2005, shows the very emergence of what would now be recognised as the Hipster style, but backgrounded with mainstream mid-00s trends (like skatewear, fauxhawks and Oakley sunglasses). The woman Dan sees in the first episode who wears a crop-top reading "Stupid anorexic bitch" and has her baggy jeans so low as to show off the top of her pubic hair is an extreme but plausible example of 00s cool; the man who goes past on a tiny bike immediately afterwards is immediately recognisable as a surprisingly modern hipster.
- Final Fantasy fell hard into this in this decade. Previous eras had used more fantasy-inflected imagery or borrowed images from other popular fiction genres; in the 00s, due to increasing influence from the trend-aware Tetsuya Nomura on the series visuals, elements of real-world trends began to appear in the characters' over-the-top fantasy outfits.
- Final Fantasy X draws its aesthetic from the surfer/pop-Polynesian imagery that was in fashion at the time of the Turn of the Millennium. The graphic styles of the various Blitzball teams draw from the bubbly futurist Y2K aesthetic and the omnipresent tribal tattoo style; the suspended CGI water globules throughout the visuals were omnipresent in the advertising of the time; there's also clothes which are fantasy versions of genuine trends (some extremely abstracted). Particularly, Tidus and Jecht share a similar fondness for leather cargo clothing with flamelike colour schemes and tribal imagery.
- Final Fantasy X-2 is brimming with (admittedly, fondly remembered) fashion trends from the early 00s. Yuna's outfit, in particular, is a blender of the main fashion trends of the time - a boho frilly crop top, with a black tribal insignia design, and a sportswear-style hood, and a pair of hip-hop booty shorts. Rikku's cornrow braids, cargo miniskirt and whaletail thong also firmly date the design to 2002. Lenne's straightened hair and frilled shirt with its open navel was also bang-on trend.
- Final Fantasy Origins gave new designs to the Final Fantasy II characters to update them for the 00s. Mostly they're still fantastical in nature, but the Emperor is given a revamp along the lines of 00s Visual Kei, with his prominent gold-printed two-inch-long blunt false nails (a Japanese fashion fad that was very much in the public mindset at the time) getting a significant shot.
- Final Fantasy XII gives Ashe, a princess in a gothic fantasy setting, a hot pink leather miniskirt with a studded belt that wouldn't be out of place in a 2000s contemporary R&B video.
- Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children:
- Cloud's design incorporates trends from contemporary Emo-Punk-Visual Kei fashion that was exclusive to catwalks and rock stars when first drawn, and at the height of its mainstream appeal at the time the film came out. The dark and geometric elements of the look have hung around in a few branches of the high fashion world, but it may give current viewers traumatic flashbacks to their Emo Teen phases (particularly the new haircut and the baggy cargo pants).
- Tifa's bare midriff was shifted southward to emphasise her back dimples, which was highly desirable in the sagging-happy, low-rise 00s. Ten years on, now that the midriff line has shifted way up to the bottom rib, it looks a little strange.
- Barret's cornrows, tribally-redesigned tattoo, metallic puffer jacket and string vest.
- Final Fantasy XV's main cast were designed ten years of Development Hell before the game came out, and as a fashion brand collaboration, too - meaning the outfits could not be altered heavily. This meant that when the game came eventually out in 2016, the main cast was all still dressed for the fashion trends of Japan, 2006 (apart from the updating of their hairstyles). Ardyn deserves a special mention, due to his design being finalised in The New '10s unlike the 00s like the party members. His outfit is clearly meant to come across as bizarre, bohemian and anachronistic, but incorporates mid-10s catwalk elements like laser-cut lace (which had not been technically possible in the mid-00s), a white concertina-pleated shirt, bell sleeves, and floral embroidery. The result of this is that Ardyn ends up being more fashionable than the supposedly hip protagonists, who are a decade behind.
- Space Channel 5 epitomises the space-age revival aesthetic of the very beginning of the decade, with playful, rounded, bubbly Space Clothes and graphics, 70s revival elements still hanging around (like platform boots and disco), the colour palette being neon, blue, and silver, rounded screens and transparent tech, CGI water, baggy tracksuit bottoms on NPCs, Ulala's midriff extending from the top of her crotch to right under her breasts, her alternate outfits including camo print patterns and cowboy hats...
- The opening movie for Dance Dance Revolution 3rd Mix is made of visible midriffs, flares, cargo pants and Comic Sans.
- In 2004, Mario got a tattoo. (Since "retconned" by us seeing his upper arm in Super Mario Odyssey, where it is absent.)
- The Zipperiffic wardrobes in Kingdom Hearts were because this was the fashion trend in the early 2000s, when the first two games came out. By the time Kingdom Hearts III came out, early-00s fashion was enjoying a renaissance, meaning the characters didn't have to particularly update their style in order to not look dated.
- Vagrant Story takes place in a vaguely Renaissance-era Dark Fantasy-Gothic Horror setting, and the characters mostly look like it, wearing fantastical clothing with elements of historical dress. Except for when Ashley becomes the Vagrant and dons a The Matrix-esque fetishwear leather trenchcoat covered in straps that makes him look like a backup dancer from a Y2K music video.
Perhaps the most defining aspect of 2010s would be its drive towards ending gendered clothing. With the exception of the skirt/dress (although there are drives to break down that barrier) the focus is now on unisex clothing that everyone can wear equally. It is now perfectly common to see men and women dressed exactly the same, and an increased focus on comfort over elaborate designs saw a merging of sportswear, leisurewear and streetwear during this time. Hoodies, sweatpants and gym clothes outside of the gym are now the norm. The decade also saw the meteoric rise of skinny jeans, the increased social acceptance of tattoos on women, and the bleaching of hair in Technicolour; the latter arguably thanks to the growth of streamer culture requiring the need to stand out from everyone else on thumbnails.
- A plot point of The Witches relies on gloves still being commonly worn by women and pointed shoes being the most commonly acceptable shoe for them as well. This is because witches hide their claws and square, toe-less feet with them, the latter causing them great pain. These don't raise any suspicion around humans who have never heard of witches, but nowadays shoes with less pointed toes are more acceptable for women and wearing gloves outside of winter is seen as eccentric. Also it's not universal but most witches wear hats over the wigs to hide their natural baldness - which again would be seen as eccentric depending on the type of hat.
- Doctor Who contains a lot of this, so when Clara journeys back through the Doctor's timeline in "The Name of the Doctor", each incarnation of her has hair and makeup in styles appropriate to the era she's in, even if her incarnation is not actually human. For instance, the Gallifreyan Clara who advises the First Doctor to take the broken TARDIS wears distinctly early-60s makeup.
- Inverted in Haven when Duke accidentally goes back in time to 1955, everyone calls him Tonto because of his ponytail, which, while fashionable in 2012, stands out like a sore thumb in 1955.
- Al's fashions in Quantum Leap were truly bizarre, even for the Eighties, and even if he was from 20 Minutes into the Future. A surprisingly knowledgeable homeless lady once warned him that his chances of getting into heaven were poor, as they had a Dress Code. (This serves a purpose from a narrative perspective, though: Al's bizarre fashion sense makes him stand out, no matter what decade the episode takes place. It even makes sense in-universe, making Al stand out to Sam - so he doesn't have to be obvious about looking around in a crowd to pick Al out of the background. He stands out to Sam big time.)
- Most Super Mario stuff is largely timeless, but Pauline from Super Mario tends to reflect the style standards of her time more than most characters:
- In 1981, her first appearance, she had big blond '80s Hair (of the type evolving from the feathered '70s Hair style), and makeup that resembles a late-70s Biba girl.
- In 1994 she's revived with center-parted hair, big heavy earrings, dark burgundy lipstick, plucked and highly separated brows and frosted pink eyeshadow.
- In the 00s, she has largely the same design but with a powerful Y2K eyebrow arch, and more exaggerated, sexy proportions in a Jolie-ish fashion.
- In the 2010s she has somewhat softer features and proportions, heavier eyeliner and Instagram eyebrows.
- Final Fantasy VII Remake, as a remake of a game that originally came out in 1997, got a heavy aesthetic revision in the mid-00s, and now was designed as a fusion of both, was even criticised by some reviewers for some of its dated costuming. Several characters wear a spiked rattail mullet hairstyle, and mid-00s emo influences are still apparent in the designs of characters who got a revamp in Advent Children even after Revisiting the Roots. Late 2010s and early 2020s ingredients are also added to the looks, such as Tifa's prominent aegyo sal (which are exaggerated with makeup in her "sporty" dress).
- In Penny and Aggie, the former of the titular characters is normally fashionable-to-a-fault. So when Penny shows up at the airport to greet her friend wearing a top that looks like the shape of a "Y", fans raised eyebrows. The writer, T. Campbell, assured them that there was a reason for it. It turned out to be Foreshadowing: She was intentionally dressing a bit more like Aggie in order to signal her interest.