Follow TV Tropes

Following

Good Wears White

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/1__hlct3dg9rgycdtqh_j_fq_7.jpeg
Advertisement:

In Western culture, the color white is symbolically tied to goodness. Tropes like Black-and-White Morality and White Magic exemplify how "white" is used as a synonym for "good". So ingrained is this concept that good characters in fiction tend to dress in white, usually while opposing a black-clad foe.

In The Western, the good guy wears a white cowboy hat. Prince Charming rides in to save the Damsel in Distress on a white horse. And Good witches wear white to show they're not a Wicked Witch. Heroic and morally righteous characters everywhere tend to wear white.

This trope is nearly ubiquitous in the West, but it's become increasingly popular to subvert expectations by playing with the trope. It's also not common to the same extent in every culture, such as East Asia where white is associated with death and occasionally villainy. As such, do not list aversions.

Advertisement:

Trope relations:

Tropes that complement Good Wears White:

Tropes that subvert Good Wears White:

  • Dark Is Not Evil: A character associated with darkness and shadow (usually clad in black) is not evil.
  • Light Is Not Good: Light as a force of evil. These characters usually wear white.
  • Advertisement:
  • Movie Superheroes Wear Black: Heroes in more "serious" adaptations wear darker clothes.
  • Villain in a White Suit: A villainous leader whose white suit symbolizes his ruthlessness and authority.
  • White Hair, Black Heart: A character's white hair hints at their cruel and evil nature. These characters often wear all white as well.
  • White and Red and Eerie All Over: White with red accents signifies that despite wearing white, something is terribly wrong with the character in question.
  • White Mask of Doom: A menacing character made more malevolent with a featureless white mask on their face.

Not to be confused with:

Overlaps with Good Colors, Evil Colors when paired with a black-clad villain. Compare Blue Is Heroic, Red Is Heroic, Pink Heroine, and Primary-Color Champion for other good color schemes.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Digimon:
    • Digimon Adventure: Omnimon, Angemon and Angewomon. The former is a knight Digimon with white armor and a white Badass Cape. The latter two are angelic Digimon dressed in mostly white clothing. All three evolutions of the partner Digimon and are good guys.
    • Digimon Tamers: Guilmon's good Mega form is Gallantmon, a knight Digimon in white armor. His debut has him battle Beezlemon, a demon Digimon dressed in black leather.
  • Izetta: The Last Witch: The titular heroine wears a white battle outfit to represent herself as the "White Witch of Eylstadt". She is also one of the nicest people you could ever meet.
  • Legend of Heavenly Sphere Shurato: The Hero wears armor based on a white lion.
  • Lyrical Nanoha: Most protagonists wear Barrier Jackets which feature the color white prominently, usually on the outermost layer. Hayate and Reinforce Zwei take it one step further by having white as their magic colors.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn has Syam Vist, a kind old man in white robes and Banagher Links, who pilots a White Gundam known as The Unicorn.

    Art 
  • In modern artwork and imagery, Jesus is typically depicted wearing an ankle-length white robe.

    Comic Books 
  • The Boys: Starlight wears a white and gold costume. She is also one of the few genuinely nice characters in the comic and one of the few superheroes who is a good person and actually believes in the superhero cause, rather than just pretending to for fame and fortune.
  • The DCU:
  • Ghost: The eponymous Ghost is Elisa Cameron, a reporter who was killed under mysterious circumstances and returns as a ghost. She wears an Ethereal White Dress.
  • Marvel Universe:
    • Agent 13, ally and love interest to Captain America, often wears a white Spy Catsuit.
    • Captain Universe: The Uni-Power grants its heroic hosts a blue and white costume.
    • Colleen Wing is a heroic modern day Samurai who has worn a white outfit since the 2000s.
    • Iron Fist traded in his usual green outfit for a white one during the Heroic Age as a reflection of the brighter and more optimistic era of the Marvel universe.
    • Fantastic Four: The first volume of Jonathan Hickman's run had the team wearing white costumes after the formation of the Future Foundation.
    • Silver Sable wears white and silver. She is an Anti-Hero example of this trope.
    • Spider-Gwen has a primarily white costume which has earned her the nickname "Ghost-Spider".
    • Every hero who has used the White Tiger moniker has worn a white costume.
  • In the What If? Star Wars comic series Infinities, an alternate version of the events of Return of the Jedi is shown where Darth Vader was turned against the Emperor by the combined efforts of Luke and Leia. Afterwards, the redeemed Vader wears an all-white version of his classic outfit.
  • Supreme wears a white and red costume. He started out as a Superman Substitute with none of his morality or humility. During Alan Moore's run, Supreme was reinvented as a Superman homage who acted more in line with his inspiration.
  • Jupiter's Legacy: The Utopian wears a white costume and is considered the greatest hero on the planet.

    Films — Animated 
  • A Monster in Paris: The main character, Francœur, is a sweet-natured and compassionate seven-foot flea who disguises himself in a white mask, hat, suit and pants.
  • The Princess and the Frog: The Big Good Mama Odie is shown wearing white and gold, in contrast to Dr Facilier's black and purple.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Alice in Wonderland (1999): While walking through a dark forest, Alice encounters two knights, one dressed in red armor, the other in white armor. The Red Knight seeks to take Alice as his prisoner while the White Knight wants to protect her. After their duel is over and the two knights part on good terms, the White Knight has a talk with Alice and encourages her to be brave and good.
  • Alice in Wonderland (2010): White is associated with the good guys, namely the forces of the White Queen.
  • Avengers: Endgame: Most of the surviving Avengers wear matching white sets of armor, so they can safely traverse the Quantum Realm to undo the effects of Thanos's snap and save everyone.
  • Bruce Almighty: God is portrayed as Morgan Freeman in an all-white suit, and is shown as an example of God Is Good who tries to teach the protagonist Bruce an important lesson, albeit while messing with him a bit.
  • The Craft: The Hero, Sarah Baily, wears a white sweater in the climax which almost becomes a White Shirt of Death and at the end, she wears an all-white ensemble of clothes, in contrast to Nancy Downs who starts wearing black when she starts getting Drunk on the Dark Side, and becomes the main villain.
  • Crimson Peak: The protagonist Edith often wears white and is a Nice Girl.
  • Equilibrium: In the climactic fight of the film, the Hero, John Preston, dons a completely white clerical ceremonial outfit. This stands out as all the other characters all have worn black, so the fight is him fighting all the black-clothed main villain and his goons.
  • The Great Race: The Hero, The Great Leslie, wears white and all his gear is white. His car, his rope, his grappling hook, his pipe, his clothes. He even gets hit with a white pie in a pie fight. The villain, Professor Fate, wears black and drives a black car.
  • The Karate Kid:
    • Daniel LaRusso is The Hero of the first three films. He wears a white karategi in contrast to his rivals at the Cobra Kai dojo who wear black.
    • The Karate Kid (2010): Dre is the main hero of this film. In the climactic tournament, he wears a white cheongsam similar to the one worn by Bruce Lee in some of his movies.
  • Pictured above from Kung Fu Hustle: After unlocking his true power and pulling a Heel–Face Turn, Sing faces off against the Axe Gang in a climactic battle while wearing a white cheongsam as a nod to Bruce Lee. The Axe Gang are all wearing black during this fight.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring: Arwen appears to Frodo in a flowing white gown with light radiating from her. This is just a vision to Frodo but it symbolizes that she is good and is there to help him.
  • Star Wars: The main Jedi Knights in the movies have worn white; Luke Skywalker in the original trilogy, Obi-Wan in the prequel trilogy and Rey in the sequel trilogy. Leia Organa, the leader of the Rebels in the original trilogy, also wears white as does her mother Padme Amidala in Attack of the Clones. Han Solo wears a white shirt underneath a blue jacket or vest to demonstrate his Lovable Rogue nature.
  • Stations of the Cross: In contrast to the somber grays and blacks of Maria's family and clergy, the doctor who treats Maria and confronts her mother is dressed in a strikingly white lab coat, in an office as clean, light, and comforting as him.
  • The Wailing: The film revolves around who Jong-goo can trust in his small Korean town when his daughter becomes possessed. After much back and forth, it's revealed that Moo-myung is the Big Good and is able to cast protection spells. As an early hint of this, she wears a long white dress.

    Literature 
  • Alice's Adventures in Wonderland: In Through The Looking Glass, Alice is saved from a knight in red armor by a knight in white armor. The White Knight is depicted as a bit of an oddball but is a good and kind man through and through.
  • The Lord of the Rings: Gandalf the Grey dies in a Heroic Sacrifice while fending off a balrog. He returns wearing white robes and now goes by Gandalf the White.
  • In Mistborn: The Original Trilogy, white is associated with Preservation and black with Ruin. While neither is good or evil in the strictest sense note , Ruin is the one trying to end the world and Preservation is the one who's trying to stop Ruin from ending the world. Also, Ruin is a big jerk, while Preservation is quite friendly.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Airwolf: Michael "Archangel" Coldsmith-Briggs, Hawke's contact with the FIRM, not only wears white suits, but is flown around in a white helicopter and driven in a white limo. Lampshaded several times by String and Dom. All the members of the Firm wear white and the one that wears a normal business suit turns out to be The Mole.
  • American Gothic (1995): The Protagonist Caleb's deceased sister, Merlyn, appears to him as a ghost wearing white. She acts as a Spirit Advisor who tries to lead him to the right direction and away from the Sheriff Buck, who had killed her and dresses in black.
  • Angel: Darla pulls a Heel–Face Turn, sacrificing herself to give birth to her son Connor. When she reappears again as a ghost, she is dressed entirely in white and is trying to stop Connor from killing a girl to help the Big Bad. This is in contrast to Cordelia who has been corrupted by evil and is wearing black.
  • Arabela: The titular princess is sweet and wears gold and white. Her sister Xenia wears dark clothes and is a Royal Brat.
  • The Boys (2019): The Hero Starbright wears a white and gold costume, and is one of the most unambiguously good heroes of the series.
  • Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons: Colonel White and the Spectrum Angels all wear white and are good guys. The Dragon Captain Black wears black.
  • Cobra Kai: Continuing from The Karate Kid, Daniel's Miyagi-Do students wear white karategis during tournaments while Kreese's Cobra Kais sport black ones.
  • The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance: The Skeksis skekGra is a Defector from Decadence from the rest of the evil Skeksis, who wishes to be reunited with his Mystic counterpart, and he wears a white robe to signify his status as the Token Good Teammate.
  • Doctor Who:
    • River Song wears white in her first appearance, although it later emerges that she's more of an Anti-Hero.
    • The Classic series has The White Guardian and the Black Guardian. The White Guardian is the epitome of good and dresses in white clothing, the Black Guardian is the epitome of evil and dresses in black clothing. They cannot influence events directly and need proxies to carry out their will.
  • Fantasy Island: Rourke, who runs the island, can be manipulative and judgmental towards his more selfish clients, but several episodes show he's firmly a good person who believes in the basic decency of people. He also commonly wears a nice white suit.
  • Heroes: Many of the characters wear colors to show their traits. The heroic Peter Perelli wears white as a male nurse and as causal wear, in contrast to the villainous Skylar who favors black.
  • Legend of the Seeker: Kahlan, the Mother Confessor, wears a white dress to show her position.
  • Legends of Tomorrow: Sara Lance, aka White Canary, wears an all-white costume as opposed to the black outfit she wore as the first Black Canary.
  • Lost: Jacob, the white-clad leader of the Outsiders, appears to be morally questionable, but is ultimately revealed to be the Big Good, working in opposition to his brother, the Man in black. Though he does use morally questionable acts, he does to prove that Humans Are Good, in contrast to his brother, who thinks the opposite.
  • Power Rangers/Super Sentai: White is a frequently occurring color among the good guys.
    • Both series have featured a number of White Rangers as good guys. The most famous example in Power Rangers is Tommy Oliver the first White Ranger seen in the series.
    • Zordon, the Big Good for the first six seasons of Power Rangers, is a large, white, floating head in a tube.
    • Power Rangers Turbo has Dimitria. She serves as the Rangers' mentor and wears a white dress in noted contrast to Divatox's red and black ensemble. A common fan theory is that the two are sisters.
    • Power Rangers Time Force: The episode "Beware the Knight" features a White Knight who is protecting the Battle Fire, the episode's MacGuffin, from an evil Black Knight. The White Knight dies protecting the Battle Fire and his spirit appears after the Red Ranger unlocks the Battle Fire, congratulating him on being pure enough to wield it.
    • Hyakujuu Sentai Gaoranger/Power Rangers Wild Force: Gao Priestess Tetomu/Princess Shayla is the Big Good and wears a white dress. The ancient warriors of the Animaria (the ones who controlled the Zords before the Rangers) are also shown wearing white in flashbacks.
    • An interesting example would be Mikoto Nakadai and his American counterpart Trent Mercer. Both are villains for a time but eventually pull Heel–Face Turn. However, Mikoto was evil for a lot longer and chose to be a villain while Trent was only evil due to being Brainwashed and Crazy.
    • Mahou Sentai Magiranger/Power Rangers Mystic Force: Miyuki/Udonna is the White Ranger and mentor figure of the team. There is also Heavenly Saint Magiel/Mystic Mother who is the queen of all good magic and wears white. In the Power Rangers series, she is actually a redeemed Rita Repulsa, who served as the Big Bad for the first season of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers.
  • Red Dwarf: The high crew in Demons and Angels are wearing white robes.
  • Scandal: Zig-zagged with Olivia Pope. She has a good heart and often wears white but frequently commits a number of morally questionable actions. Characters in the show also talk about "wearing the white hat" as being a good person.
  • Supernatural loves to subvert this trope, but there are some examples when they play it straight.
    • In the "Pilot" episode, Mary Winchester is wearing a white nightgown when she tries to rescue baby Sam from an unknown force and is killed. Later, Sam's girlfriend Jessica wears a sexy nurse outfit for Halloween that is white and suffers that Sam fate as Sam's mother. Both women serve as The Lost Lenore throughout the series. The trope is subverted in the episode's Monster of the Week, who is a "Woman in White" angry spirit.
    • In Season 4, Castiel finds the female body of a dead angel, clad in white and it turns out she refused to join Lucifer's side and was killed for it.
    • Castiel wears white pajamas under his trenchcoat when after becoming The Atoner, suffers a nervous breakdown after absorbing Sam's hell memories. In this state, he's a pacifist Nature Lover who only wants to do good. This annoys Dean, who wants his help in the fight against the Leviathans.
    • Kelly Kline carrying the child of Lucifer to term, knowing that giving birth will kill her. She believes her son Jack can be a force of good in the world. When she gives birth to him, she is wearing a beautiful white nightgown.
  • The Tick (2016): Arthur wears a white costume that resembles a moth. Compared to the original comics, he is much more courageous and assertive.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Downplayed with the High Elves of Warhammer. Although their choice of clothing is white and they are on the side of good, the High Elves are quite condescending and mean towards other races.

    Theatre 

    Video Games 
  • Assassin's Creed:
  • Bank Panic: Your character is a bank guard, dressed in a white suit and hat with a blue vest and red neckerchief.
  • Bayonetta:
    • In the climactic battle of the story, Jeanne aids Bayonetta while wearing the white outfit she wore in their previous battle when Jeanne was Brainwashed and Crazy. Jeanne wearing white before she snaps out of Balder's control could be seen as foreshadowing her Heel–Face Turn.
    • Bayonetta 2: The masked Lumen Sage who has been attacking Bayonetta and Loki throughout the game is revealed to be a good guy. The only reason he was after Loki was because he was under the mistaken belief that he had killed his lover.
  • BlazBlue: Hakumen is the de facto leader of the Six Heroes who defeated the Black Beast. He wears white armour and is nicknamed the White Void. He appears as the Hero Antagonist of the game and is an Anti-Hero with Good Is Not Nice tendencies, though he mellows out later on.
  • Castlevania: Lords of Shadow: Marie Belmont, the deceased wife of Gabriel Belmont and mother of Trevor Belmont, is a kind and loving woman who wears a white dress. In life, she was the only person who could get past Gabriel's brooding exterior and she continues to aid him even as a ghost. In Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 she is contrasted with the evil Carmilla who dresses in brown and black.
  • Child of Light: Aurora, the titular Child of Light, wears a completely white outfit at the end of the game.
  • Devil May Cry:
    • Devil May Cry 2 has Lucia who serves as the Deuteragonist. Her most distinct article of clothing is a short white cape and her Devil Trigger form is a white feathered creature resembling an angel.
    • Devil May Cry 3 introduces Lady who often wears a white shirt and is a good guy. While initially abrasive and unfriendly towards Dante, she does warm up to him eventually and becomes one of his most consistent allies.
    • Devil May Cry 4 has Kyrie and Gloria who both wear white. The former is the kind-hearted girlfriend of the protagonist Nero who accepts him despite him being part-demon. The latter is a double subversion of the trope; she is first seen killing some demons and then is later shown to be working for the villains. It is ultimately revealed that Gloria is actually Dante's ally Trish in disguise working undercover to take down the villains from within.
  • Dragalia Lost: Ramiel is a shadow element dragon who dons a completely white uniform and aids the halidom party alongside his sigil-bound apostle, Nevin. In contrast, his evil duplicate, Otherworld Ramiel, is of the light element and wears all black, and his demon vessel copy, Fallen Angel Ramiel, wears white and red.
  • Dragon Age: Andraste, the resident Crystal Dragon Jesus of the setting, is often depicted in a white dress to symbolize her goodness.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Zelda frequently wears white as part of her ensemble. The best examples are The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, where her gown is white and purple with gold accents; The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, where she wears a white dress in the later part of the game; and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, where she dons a white dress while visiting the sacred springs.
  • Mortal Kombat:
  • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies: Bobby Fulbright, the main detective of the game, wears a white outfit and is dedicated to pursuing justice. Sadly, the spy who killed him and stole his identity doesn't hold those ideals himself.
  • Shinobi: Joe Musashi is the main character of the series and wears a white and red ninja-yoroi.
  • Street Fighter: Ryu is the lead character of the franchise. He is a Spirited Competitor who seeks to improve himself physically and spiritually through combat. He wears a white karategi in contrast to his (kind of) Evil Counterpart Akuma who wears a black gi.
  • Tales of Graces: The main hero, Asbel Lhant, has a case of Chronic Hero Syndrome and frequently wears white in the game, so much so that it is lampshaded by Sophia at one point. Though we never hear the answer, Asbel had to think about it for a while.
  • Total War: Warhammer: As with their tabletop counterparts, the High Elves are a downplayed example. Although, they do wear white clothing and they are on the side of good but that doesn't make them any less dismissive or rude towards non-Elven races. Played straight with Alarielle the Radiant, the Everqueen of Ulthuan, who wears a beautiful gown of pure white.
  • Yakuza: Kazuma Kiryu wears white clothes and is shown to be a Nice Guy, so long as you don't do anything to make him angry.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Dragon Booster: As the Dragon Booster, Artha wears golden armor. When racing, he wears a white racing jacket that once belonged to his father.
  • El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera: Rodolfo's superhero persona is called "White Pantera", fitting the Rivera family's cat superhero motif while highlighting that he's the unambiguous hero of the family. He wears a white suit as part of his costume.
  • Ninjago: The Big Good and Mentor Sensi Wu dresses in white
  • Samurai Jack gives us Jack, the hero, who is always shown wearing a pure white robe with a grey trim, which shows his dedication to stopping Aku.
  • Space Ghost wears a white costume.

Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report