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Highly-Conspicuous Uniform

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Bright colors + large sigil = Shoot me!

"The uniforms of the Imperial Guard are camouflaged in order to protect their wearers by hiding them from sight. The principle is that what the enemy cannot see he cannot kill. This is not the way of the Adeptus Astartes. A Space Marine’s armour is bright with heraldry that proclaims his devotion to his Chapter and the beloved Emperor of Mankind. Our principle is that what the enemy can see, he will soon learn to fear..."

In Real Life, soldiers on duty will usually wear fatigues. These combat uniforms are designed for many practical needs, including a lack of highly-visible markings or bright colors to help the soldier blend into the environment better. This results in fatigues crafted in either a neutral monochrome or a camouflage pattern, with the flashy dress uniforms reserved for ceremonial purposes. Officers wear the same outfits as enlisted men (except for the rank insignia) so that they can't be singled out by the enemy.

In fictional works (especially visual ones), this line of thinking gets thrown out the window, causing the Redshirt Army and the Evil Minions to charge into battle wearing uniforms that turn them into walking targets. Leaders and Officers are even worse, often charging into battle with elaborately gaudy outfits to emphasize their leaderness. Despite such recklessness, the wearer never suffers any negative repercussions for doing so (or at least no more than those offered by some other tropes).

Still, the setting may justify doing away with visual camouflage, especially in cases the enemy doesn't depend on human spectrum vision to target the opponents, be it using infrared, echolocation or some kind of Aura Vision (or just different visual recognition patterns, because most camouflages are adapted to deceive the human perception). Another justification is (ab)use of civilian equipment like a Hazmat Suit or a cargo manipulation exoskeleton in combat.

This trope typically manifests in the following ways:

  • Bullseye Badge: The uniform has a highly-visible, easily-targeted symbol of their organization in a vulnerable location, such as the upper torso or on their helmets. The Laws and Customs of War require soldiers to wear a symbol that visibly separates them from civilians, but not to such ridiculous extremes. Some works will attempt to justify this trope by saying the badge is intended to draw fire to an armored portion of the ensemble. Often occurs due to Sigil Spam.
  • Highlighted Hue: The uniform is a single bright color that's entirely inappropriate for their environment, such as neon orange in a night mission. Contrast with real-world armies, which issue fatigues of different shades and/or patterns to troops based on the combat terrain. Merchandise-Driven works are especially prone to this, since brightly-colored toys sell better.

Of course, it's entirely possible to combine both instances into one huge Uniform of Impracticality, as seen in the trope illustration.

In historical works taking place before the time around World War I, this is Truth in Television, as a lot of armies really did wear ridiculous uniforms back then; uniforms with adaptive coloring didn't become widespread until the twentieth century. France in particular didn't adopt some sort of camouflage for regular soldiers until 1914. Indeed, using bright colors to aid identification of allies during combat made a lot of sense at the time, given that muskets tended to be extremely inaccurate at distances over 100 yards (and produced a lot of smoke, making it difficult to see the target at all after the first few volleys) and a lot of the combat infantry fire was conducted at even closer range. Meanwhile the commanding officers had to know where their units were, which was the reason why even units with less conspicuous uniforms (e. g. Russians dressed in dark green, Prussians dressed in dark blue, Swedes dressed in dark blue or grey, Portuguese dressed in brown) carried large and highly conspicuous colours, standards or guidons. Even when breechloading rifles were introduced in European armies, colored uniforms still served a purpose in identification amidst the gunpowder smoke until smokeless powder was adopted.

Compare Highly-Visible Ninja, Chest Insignia (the superhero version of the Bullseye Badge), Conspicuous Trenchcoat (the spy and detective version), Bling of War (uniforms that are flashy), Dress-Coded for Your Convenience, and Fashion-Victim Villain.

Note: Examples of individuals with highly conspicuous uniforms (such as Captain America or Batman) might belong under Chest Insignia instead.

Example subpages:

Other examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Aldnoah.Zero plays with this and the Law of Chromatic Superiority. While standard Terran forces paint their Humongous Mechas in typically drab military colors, protagonist Inaho and his companions start out in bright orange training units. Inaho keeps the color scheme even when his mech is upgraded.
  • In several adaptations of Area 88, pilots wear brightly colored flight suits. In a desert environment, they'd stick out like sore thumbs. Which might be the point, since it increases their chances of being found by one side or the other (a mercenary is unlikely to care which, if they're not likely to be ill-treated) before their water runs out.
  • High-ranking members of the Black Organisation in Case Closed usually wear all-black clothing, leading to the organisation's In-Series Nickname. Rather odd, given that it's ostensibly a secret organisation.
  • The Five Star Stories is similar to 40k, in that Super Soldiers get ludicrously flamboyant costumes, while ordinary grunts have realistic uniforms based on actual combat fatigues. The translated sourcebook insert sections in the English editions even describe some of the Real Life inspirations for various pieces of FSS military equipment. Colus, for example, seems to be a big importer of pre-reunification West German surplus.
  • The bright blue uniforms worn by the Amestrian soldiers in Fullmetal Alchemist are definitely eye-catching. Bullet, too, occasionally.
  • Loud uniforms are a recurring element in many Gundam series. Justified in the case of the mobile suit pilots and naval officers, who aren't trying to hide, but played unfortunately straight by other military personnel.
  • Enforced in Heavy Object when the 37th botches a PR stunt on global television. They get a Punishment Detail where the soldiers need to assault ice-locked enemy warships in the Arctic icecap. Their mandatory uniform for this assault on foot across pure white snow against heavily armed emplacements are bright red uniforms with white fur trim; the higher ups really don't like them.
  • France from Hetalia: Axis Powers has a bright blue and red military uniform as opposed to the dull colored uniforms his fellow Allied Forces wear. It's lampshaded in one strip where France wears a boring grey inform instead of his usual one, when England questions why France explains that French army's colorful garb made it ridiculously easy for the Italians to aim at them.
  • In Pumpkin Scissors, Alice Malvin wears a bright orange uniform coat, while her subordinates wear a deep green. Also seen on other junior officers in the series.
  • The World Salvation Committee from Sands of Destruction wears pale blue and white uniforms in a world that's largely desert (including the ocean). They also occasionally wear white bird masks. Of course, these are just grunt-level Mooks. Higher-ranking members like Naja get to wear their own clothes.
  • Averted by the green goons in Science Ninja Team Gatchaman, but invoked by their captains. note  The good guys' uniforms are about the same, right down to the bull's-eye insignia.
  • Purposefully invoked in Skip Beat! with its uniform for the Love Me section. It's an overall-suit described to be an eye-searingly bright color, and gets depicted as bright hot pink in color illustrations, so that anyone cannot help but remember this uniform.
  • Subverted in Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online: LLENN wears a full on pink combat suit... which actually does work for stealth in a desert environment (as seen in the manga's opening scene). Truth in Television — in real life, the British SAS used pink land rovers for desert ops. Played straight when she's in a forest and sticks out like a sore thumb (which is why she is often found donning a leaf green cloak to blend in).
  • In Winter Cicada, Kusaka wears one while fighting in the Boshin war. One wonders how in the heck they could even fight with those helmet-hair thingies.

    Comic Books 
  • Many organizations in the Marvel Universe qualify:
    • HYDRA agents wear a bright green/yellow ensemble, sometimes with the organization's logo as a chest patch.
    • The scientists of AIM wear a distinctive bright yellow uniform often lampshaded for its resemblance to a beekeeper's suit.
    • When in uniform, agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. wear only slightly less conspicious blue-and-white jumpsuits.
    • The Sons of the Serpent changed their outfits a number of times but usually wore green, often with orange highlights, generally with a conspicuous circle or serpent's head on the chest.
    • The Fantastic Four's original uniforms consisted of a sky-blue suit with a white circular badge featuring the number 4 on the chest. The second one, intruduced during John Byrne's run, wasn't much better: dark blue, but with white gauntlets and boots, and with a similar bullseye badge. Oh, and the only members who did not wear this exact uniform are the Thing and She-Hulk — who instead wore cut-down versions that showed as much of their brightly coloured skin as possible.
    • The original blue and yellow uniforms of the X-Men and the black and yellow ones used by the original New Mutants are two more heroic examples.
    • Speaking of the New Mutants, their former opposite numbers, the Hellions wore black and magenta uniforms (sometimes rendered as magenta and purple).
  • Examples from the DC Universe:
    • Kobra is often depicted as a DC analogue of HYDRA, wearing similar brightly-colored outfits in green, yellow, and orange.
    • The Demolition Team is a band of mercenaries who wear a fearsome ensemble of bright blue shirts and dark blue pants.
    • The members of the various Lantern Corps usually have their Corps sigil across their chest.
    • Interestingly averted by the original version of the Secret Six. Yes, they usually have very bright and distinctive outfits, but when they go on night or stealth missions, the colouration changes accordingly.
  • In a non-organizational example, Marvel Comics' Moon Knight is a nocturnal hero who wears a bright white full-body uniform and cloak. It's usually justified as Moon Knight intimidating his enemies by being highly visible.

    Comic Strips 
  • The Far Side parodied this with a cartoon showing medieval soldiers being issued tabards with a literal bulls eye painted on them.

    Fan Works 
  • Inferior or Superior: Team Primeval's grunts wear tailored suits and knight's helmets.
  • Played straight in The Secret Return of Alex Mack; Terawatt wears bright white. It's even stain-resistant. Possibly justified since she's not aiming to be a regular soldier; she's on rescue missions as often as combat, so instant recognition is an advantage, and when she does fight, she's often in her quicksilver form anyway.
  • Tarkin's Fist: Imperial Stormtrooper armor is ridiculed by many Earthling characters for its bright white color, causing individual troopers to stick out like a sore thumb and making them prime targets.
  • Zigzagged in With This Ring. The protagonist has strong opinions about sensible costume design, and tends to silently evaluate new heroes when he meets them — often not being very impressed. He persuades Miss Martian to tone down the red 'X', symbol of the Manhunter police organisation, on her torso, and his own armour is grey. On the other hand, his power ring constructs glow orange, quite brightly when he's getting serious, so he's not much good at stealth himself. Superman, meanwhile, explains to him that part of the reason for the bright solid primary colors is so that civilians are reassured and villains are drawn to the more resilient target.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Hicks in Aliens, like most of the Space Marines, wears camouflaged, dark armor... Except he has a bright heart and padlock on his chest. Micheal Biehn , the actor who portrayed him, really did not like this and thought it made him a obvious target, but as he was brought in as replacement for another actor shortly after filming began, it was there to stay.
  • Parodied in Ali G In Da House. Ali and his fellow 'gangsters' go to raid the antagonist's base wearing gear with camouflage patterns. Unfortunately they all choose garish, day-glo colours.
  • Austin Powers: Dr. Evil's legion of Mooks sport large badges with his triangular logo over their left chest.
  • Discussed in A Few Good Men. Three Navy officers arrive at the Marine Corp base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Two of them are in Navy dress white uniform, while the third is wearing a far more subdued khaki work uniform. The private that drives them from the airfield mentions to the first two officers that he has some camouflage jackets in the back of the jeep, saying, "If the Cubans see an officer wearing white, they might figure it's something they want to take a shot at."
  • The various troops of Ming the Merciless in the film adaptation of Flash Gordon have assorted fancy uniforms in various shades of shiny gold and bright red (also powder blue and carnation!). The top officers (such as Klytus and Kala) and some of the bridge crew wear a more practical black.
  • Many Mooks in earlier James Bond movies. In most movies, this is averted for good guys (even Red Shirt ones) who do wear realistic uniforms.
    • Most of the SPECTRE mooks wear orange.
    • Sort of averted in Goldfinger, as the mooks wear grey.
    • In Thunderball, two armies of divers fight over a bomb lost in the ocean. One side wore shiny black, the other orange.
    • In You Only Live Twice, Tiger Tanaka's Ninja troops wear gray while SPECTRE's soldiers wear red and yellow.
    • In The Spy Who Loved Me, Stromberg's mooks also wear orange, as contrast to the British, Russian and US sailors with proper coloring though those mooks aren't proper soldiers, but rather workers and builders with guns for defense. And such workers (like aboard oil rigs) occasionally wear orange, so they could be spotted easily during rescue missions.
    • In Moonraker, Hugo Drax's mooks wear yellow Latex Spacesuit, even on earth. You could say the same for the US marines astronauts, though they do wear suits resembling real astronauts (though with US flag insignia on it).
  • Averted in Max Manus. On their first mission someone wants to know why their commando uniforms don't have the Norwegian flag on the shoulder, but it's pointed out they're posing as British commandos in the hope that the Germans won't retaliate against the locals. After the liberation when they're escorting the King for his Tickertape Parade, Max notes their uniform now proudly shows off their flag.
  • In Operation: Dumbo Drop, the Vietcong soldiers try to avoid this by wearing civvies like everyone else; it fails because, as Cahill points out, "they all got the same damn haircut."
  • In Radioactive Dreams, one character wears a pseudo-military uniform where the epaulets are a row of flashing L.E.D.s. She wears this outfit to the climactic multiway fight IN A DARKENED WAREHOUSE. 'Shoot between the dotted lines' (it is decades since I saw this, so details are unreliable).
  • Anton Arcane's mercenary mooks in The Return of Swamp Thing wear bright orange uniforms in swampy surroundings.
  • The Batman Cold Open of The Soldier (1982) has the Heroes "R" Us dressed in black uniforms and berets, being picked up in the middle of an American city by a Black Helicopter (at least it's very early in the morning) after wiping out a terrorist squad. The whole scene runs on Rule of Cool, so no-one asks why a deniable government dirty tricks team are outfitted like Highly-Visible Ninja. The rest of the movie however they're genuine Rogue Agents, so wear the appropriate civvies.
  • Star Wars: In Return of the Jedi, Imperial Stormtroopers wearing eye-watering white armor (with contrasting black undersuit) in the Endor forest is just as good as wearing a "please, shoot me" bullseye on your chest, suggesting that the guy who runs their marksmanship academy must have also designed their fatigues. Oddly, they do wear more appropriate no-contrast white gear during the battle of Hoth and, incidentally, it's one of the only times we see them winning a skirmish in the films. Popular Fan Wank tries to justify this by pointing to how the stormtrooper uniform is such horrible camouflage because it's meant to intimidate and instill fear in the enemy (or possibly just the locals of whatever planet they're enforcing), but tactically speaking, this makes as much sense as soldiers going into battle wearing their parade dress uniforms. The actual explanation given in the Episode II Visual Dictionary (canon status questionable as of the EU-reboot) is that clone troopers fear no-one and want their enemies to see them coming; in The Clone Wars, Revenge of the Sith, and Rogue One there are some camouflage variants seen. Ironically, their stark white uniforms with black bits would have been perfect on Kamino, given the white halls. note 
    • Legends has also stated that the Scout Troopers on Endor were actually Storm Commandoes, an elite special forces unit that typically wears black scout trooper armor. The fact that the wore white on Endor was part of the Emperor’s trap, to lure the Rebel strike team into a false sense of security. And it worked, if the Ewoks hadn’t intervened the strike team would have been executed, the Rebel fleet would have been destroyed.
  • Both sides in Street Fighter. The A.N. wear blue and mauve camouflage (seriously), and the Bison Troopers wear bright red stormtrooperish armor. Ironically, back on base (and during the time Guile actually wanted to be shot) they wear typical olive drab colors.

  • Destroyermen mentions the US Navy practice of dyeing officers' white uniforms with coffee in wartime to make them less conspicuous.
  • Discworld:
    • In Monstrous Regiment, when the squad makes makeshift ghillie-like camouflage uniforms, Sergeant Jackrum refuses, saying it is beneath his dignity and is about as "treelike as a big red rubber ball" in Polly's view. Earlier, she lampshades the impracticality of wearing a bright red uniform in a green, brown, and grey forest when Jackrum grills her on sentry duty.
      Jackrum: Ashamed of your lovely, lovely uniform, Perks?
      Polly: Don't want to be seen dead in it, Sarge.
    • Jingo also lampshades it:
      Vimes: So into this land of sand-colored rocks and sand-colored dust and sand-colored sand you, Willikins, will march with your red and white uniform?
  • In Anne McCaffrey's short story "Duty Calls", the Hrruban officer first appears wearing shades and dyes that would seem to make her stand out a mile away. It is explained that the camouflage was chosen specifically to hide her from the alien race occupying the planet she's infiltrating, since they do not see the same way.
  • Heralds of Valdemar: The Heralds serve as everything from diplomats to special forces. Normally, their all-white uniform is a respected symbol of authority, but the lack of any other option on the battlefield is subject to much Lampshade Hanging. However, it is implied that the Heralds intentionally draw attention to themselves because they're so noble that they would rather be hit than some random soldier, no matter how irreplaceable and tactically valuable they are. The two most militaristic Heralds (a former enemy captain and a former mercenary) wear dark gray instead whenever possible. The regular Valdemar army wears dark blue and silver which are the nation's colors.
    • The standard-issue steeds of said Heralds are no less conspicuous between the indelible white coats, silver hooves, and blue eyes. However, a sentient warhorse with more speed and stamina than anything remotely natural is usually useful enough to make up for it even without factoring in the various psionic and arcane abilities.
    • Part of it is also proof of identity: the stories take place in a pre-industrialized world, so bleach is not easy to come by. Very few people are able to afford a pure white outfit and the expenses involved in keeping it white, which means that it's very difficult for someone to impersonate a Herald, due to the costs involved in faking the uniform. The shades used in Healer Green and Bardic Scarlet were chosen for similar reasons.
  • Commented on by Diana Wynne Jones' protagonist in The Homeward Bounders. Here the characters get transported from world to world at a moment's notice, each world being at different technology levels. On finding themselves trapped in a war zone, Jamie immediately starts to look out to see if uniforms are brightly coloured or mud brown. In terms of civilians trying to go their own way, the former is good, the latter, pretty bad.
  • The marine battlesuits in Invasion of Kzarch are big, black, and not in the slightest inconspicuous. However, to be fair, they do include a camouflage function, which is to be used at all times in a battle zone.
  • Defied in Diane Duane's My Enemy, My Ally. Enterprise security chief Colin Matlock suggests to Captain Kirk that they may want to eschew their usual Starfleet uniforms for the attack on a Romulan space station (his Red Shirts in particular). They and their Romulan allies go in wearing light gray fatigues.
  • In Pax Britannia novels by Al Ewing, Jake Scorpio and the Agents of S.T.E.A.M. (a parody of Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D.) wear fluorescent jumpsuits that are apparently "anti-camouflage". When they attract your attention you don't understand how you could possibly have not noticed them, but if they don't your eyes just slide away.
  • The Blue Hordes in the Redwall book Lord Brocktree have their fur dyed blue from head to tail. Then again, they rely far more on numbers and fear factor than camouflage.
  • Safehold: One Army of God general thinks that his Charisian opponents don't understand that the whole point of an officer's uniform is to make him easily seen by his men... then remembers how many AoG officers got sniped by Charisian riflemen.
  • Star Wars Legends has Stormtroopers after Endor use camouflaged armor when on missions that need it. In the X-Wing Series, Stormtroopers on commando/assassination missions wear slate gray armor. Lampshaded at one point, where Imperial troops raiding a jungle village in their shiny whites is taken as proof that they're local militia not Stormtroopers, since "getting whipped by one Wookiee and a bunch of Ewoks persuaded the Empire to institute some reforms".
  • Warhammer 40,000, Duty Calls: Cain snarks regularly about the varied uniforms worn by the Periremundan Planetary Defense Forces. Each plateau of the planet has their own design, and almost all of them are this trope — one plateau issued green and purple striped body armor, with orange fatigues.
  • The Wheel of Time: Justified with Elayne's Amazon Brigade of bodyguards. Their fancy, flashy outfits are intended to make them look purely ceremonial so they'll be underestimated, when in fact they're a Praetorian Guard trained by none other than the Eternal Hero Birgitte Silverbow.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Buffy Summers invokes it by goes patrolling in brightly-colored outfits, because vampires are attracted to bright colors, and genre savvy citizens wear muted colors.
  • Parodied in Dinosaurs when the dinosaurs go to war. Their uniforms have the national flag on the back... which just happens to resemble a bullseye.
  • The Alliance soldiers in Firefly got the nickname "purple bellies" from the purple-painted armor they wore on their abdomens. And while the coats that gave the Independent "Browncoats" their nickname would probably help blend into the arid environments of most outer worlds, the red vests they wore underneath would definitely not.
  • Game of Thrones: The Night's Watch wear pitch-black uniforms. This would be reasonable in any other location, but the Night's Watch patrol the North, and when they're out in the snows beyond the thick forests just north of the Wall, they kind of stand out.
  • In Generation Kill, the Marines wear a mixture of desert camouflage BDUs and MCUsnote  while training in Kuwait. In preparation for the invasion of Iraq, they are issued MOPP suits to be worn over their fatigues just in case Saddam Hussein decided to deploy chemical weapons. The Marines are issued MOPP suits in woodland camouflage to their vocal displeasure. The only person given a desert pattern MOPP suit is Rolling Stone and it's rendered unusable almost immediately because it's too small and the Marines have to tear open the crotch because it's painfully squeezing the journalist's genitals.
    • And then there's Rudy's "chicken suit".
  • Stargate SG-1 examples:
    • The Jaffa had the sigil of their god tattooed (or painfully gold-plated) on their foreheads, but it's usually hidden under their armored helmet. The glowing red eyes of said helmet, on the other hand, definitely stand out. However, it makes sense when you realize (as is specifically pointed out from time to time) that the Goa'uld and Jaffa are a "modern" military force solely in terms of technology. In terms of organization and tactics, they're strictly tribal/feudal. Their armies are meant to be seen and feared, to cow people into submission through displays of power rather than through actual ability. When the Jaffa begin to rebel in solid numbers, they begin to accept human-style weapons and tactics because the human way of war is to kill the enemy effectively and efficiently, while, while the Goa'uld way is to intimidate enemies who are either of similar composition or essentially defenseless civilians.
    • Lampshaded in the hundredth episode where a TV show based on the Stargate program is being made. One of the actors asks why the aliens never wear camouflage, and the writer claims that Executive Meddling wanted the aliens "to be seen". The actor argues that an alien wouldn't want to be seen, and Jack points out that this may be why all the aliens are dead. The actor finds this very helpful.
    • The same is true for the Ori armies, whose goal is to show off the glory of the Ori and who use staff weapons similar to the Jaffa.
  • Every incarnation of the Power Rangers and Super Sentai ever. Some series even made the Mooks' sigils be their only vulnerable spot. Zedd's Putties being destroyed by a single punch has been seen as some sort of Lampshade Hanging.
  • Star Trek:
    • The typical Starfleet uniform is a single-color shirt with black trousers. In many situations, representing the Federation is partly shown via uniform-wearing (especially in Insurrection when Picard resigns his commission temporarily). Therefore, if they are acting as diplomats or ambassadors, then they need to be easily identified. Many times in the various series, characters disguised themselves to blend in when on a hostile planet. In the original it was usually via costume, and in the later series surgical alteration was used to transform the characters. However, somewhat justified in that Starfleet personnel, as their name suggests, are on board a spaceship most of the time and are thus in theory unlikely to be personally shot at (though this doesn't explain why away teams didn't wear subdued colors as a matter of course).
    • The later series gradually phased out the bright colors in the uniforms in favor of black and gray, limiting the colored part to the shoulders and eventually just an undershirt. Enterprise also has quite reasonable dark blue uniforms.
    • Starfleet personnel in ground-combat situations sometimes wore a variant uniform where the colour was limited to a shoulder-flash. In the Star Trek Expanded Universe, these uniforms are called Surface Operation Blacks, and the most recent version has even removed the shoulder flash.
    • The Bajoran Militia in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine zigzags this. Garrison-duty Militia officers such as Kira Nerys wear bright colors (red and dark pink for command, gray and green for technicians, orange and blue for medics, gold for security), but Militia on field duty, as seen in "Shakaar", wear grey.
    • Star Trek: Discovery continues to put Starfleet in brightly colored uniforms, now royal blue with metallic accents, but with the twist that they put a black overlayer on when they're expecting combat (it resembles a flak vest). Section 31 operatives also wear distinct black combadges (that also double as communicators decades before this becomes standard). In Star Trek: Lower Decks, it's lampshaded that it's odd for a clandestine organization to announce itself with distinct uniforms.
  • The miniseries V (1983) has this trope relating to the 'visitors' themselves. As the 'visitors' only dressed up as Human Aliens in the first place to appear friendly to humans, it is reasonable for them to not be wearing camo or body armor as that would've rather spoiled that image.

    Tabletop Games 
  • VIPER from the Champions Universe has their symbol prominently displayed on their uniforms. Earlier editions had their heroic counterparts UNTIL doing the same, but the most recent incarnation goes for the more subtle (and more realistic) approach of just putting the badge on their headgear and uniform sleeves.
  • Possible in a game of Warhammer 40,000, depending on how you and your opponent painted your models. There are also canonical examples in the background:
    • The overwhelming majority of Space Marines eschew camouflage in favor of their chapter's color scheme, some of which are rather garish (the Howling Griffons' quartered yellow and red, for example). They're also a fully justified example: Space Marines are inhumanly tough, wear armor that's proof against all but the heaviest weapons and know what their reputation as the God-Emperor's Angels of Death does to enemy morale.
      • Despite this (and the page quote), Space Marine Scouts wear camouflage and less bulky armor (still superior to standard flak though). Justified not only in that they're, well, scouts, but because they're at the very beginning of their careers as Space Marines, and they don't have all the implants or bioaugmentations that allow them to wear their iconic Powered Armor.
      • This overall attitude has begun to shift slightly as of the Indomitus Crusade. All the new Primaris Marines have been outfitted with stealth and reconnaissance training and complements of specialized Vanguard Marines were dispatched to each marine chapter. Notably, Vanguards (especially Eliminators) prefer wearing drab and camouflaged cloaks over their power armor.
    • The countless regiments of the Imperial Guard can play this straight or avert it. The Cadian regiments prefer drab olives and tans or camouflage suited for their current campaigns, while the Mordian Iron Guard is famous for fighting in bright blue dress uniforms. Though in the Mordians' case, this is justified since they come from a night world with a history of weathering Chaos assaults, where the ostentatious uniforms are important for visibility and morale. They also fight in the open in tight infantry blocks instead of using stealth and maneuver, so they would stand out just as much in appropriate fatigues.
    • Eldar warriors can be brightly colored depending on their Craftworld of origin or what Aspect Warrior shrine they belong to, but their Harlequins are some of the most flamboyant units in the entire game. Of course, being able to see a Harlequin is not the same as being able to hit them - as Eldar they are already inhumanly fast and agile, and on top of that all Harlequins fight with anti-grav "flip belts" allowing them to cross the battlefield in great leaps and bounds, as well as holo-fields that turn them into swirls of brilliant colors.
    • Orks may fall under this when they fight under their clan colors (the Bad Moons' traditional scheme is a lurid yellow decorated with black flames, for example), and they also have superstitions about certain colors, so some soldiers paint themselves bright blue for luck (fanon holds that an ork kommando painted purple and orange is the epitome of sneakiness, because have you ever seen one? Of course not! That's how good they are). Vehicles will often be painted red, because as we all know the Red Ones Go Faster. Orks also provide something of a lampshading of the Imperium's use of the trope. Some of the most sought-after additions to a Bosspole are Space Marine helmets and Inquisitor caps, due to coming in a variety of fetching colors.
  • Much more prevalent and justified in Warhammer, the medieval Low Fantasy game. Imperial State Troops wear resplendent uniforms, eye-watering colour combinations under steel armour and hats with very large, colourful feathers. Truth in Television: the troops' style is emulating the Landsknecht mercenary soldiers of 15th/16th Century Europe.
  • The Campus Security in GURPS Illuminati University wear red uniforms with a literal Bullseye Badge, underlining their status as the setting's Red Shirts. Their most common nickname isn't "Targets" for nothing.
  • Some characters and military groups in BattleTech and its expanded universe are guilty of this. In many prestigious units, mechwarriors do not bother putting camouflage on their BattleMechs, such as the Knights of the Inner Sphere painting their mechs a blindingly obvious white or chrome with gold highlights. The 1st Marik Militia likewise uses highly conspicuous liveries - their primary color setup is bright purple with blue and red highlights. However, more pragmatic units and units in the field tend to use more realistic camouflage on their mechs. Infantry, tanks, and aerospace fighters, on the other hand, are generally in more appropriate camouflage. Somewhat justified, as even the smallest actual battlemechnote  is at least eight metres tall and runs off a power source that has a significant thermal signature even when idling, rendering camouflage rather pointless.
  • In Rocket Age it should be pointed out that this is mostly seen in the art of various adventures, rather than the actual text, but it often seems strange to see something like Soviet soldiers wearing Ushankas outside their secret hideout on Mars, which unlike in our reality is an incredibly hot world.
  • Mutant Chronicles: Zig-zagged by the Venusian Rangers, who are famous for wearing pristine, snow-white armor. The fluff claims this is an artifact left over from the (highly useful and realistic) arctic camo the Rangers wore during their first big deployment in Venus' polar regions during the Dark Legion War and is maintained to commemorate the victories won there. It is also mentioned that many Rangers (who are elite assault troops rather than light infantry) believe that they have no reason to try to hide (and given that according to the crunch Ranger armor is completely impervious to small-arms fire and grenade shrapnel, they may have a point), but that many units also paint their armor in more location-appropriate camo schemes rather than maintain the iconic white.

  • Most of the minifigs in LEGO sets have bright colors, even the more outright militant sets (licensed properties notwithstanding). Enforced due to LEGO's stance on not portraying realistic warfare.

  • The Cinnabar Army in Alice and the Nightmare has uniforms that are intensely red and have very distinct — end ever brighter red — visors in their helmets, which... may not be much of a tactically-sound decision.
  • All three armies — Reds, Blues and Yellows — in Gone with the Blastwave wear drab brown coats and gas masks set off by a bright white-and-their-colour helmet, meaning that the most brightly coloured part is the one you least want to be shot in. On the other hand, the world of GWTBW is so crapsack a character not having a death wish is considered a twist, so this could be seen as an advantage.
  • Last Res0rt:
    • Players (the ones without a team, at least) wear white jumpsuits with the logo... right over their freakin' hearts. Well, at least where we think their hearts are.
    • The Executioner's outfits aren't much better, since they're still brightly colored (with the possible exception of Team Equuleus)!
    • The other main fighting force we've seen (the Star Org) has slightly drabber blue/teal outfits, although those berets of theirs make rather nice targets....
  • Sarilho: The Meditans are not afraid to be spotted in battle, apparently.
  • Schlock Mercenary: Lampshaded in this comic. Captain Andreyasn designs a new logo for the company, and some grunt says "From here, it looks like a bullseye in your mass center." While characters tend to wear brightly-colored bulletproof uniforms, they usually change when they know they're going to want to be sneaky. For a mercenary company, being highly visible means being intimidating, and is also viewed as an asset.

    Web Videos 
  • Campfire Stories:
    • Zach discussed the Universal Camo Pattern, a Real Life example of this, in one of the episodes.
      It blends in with nothing! "UCP" is the camo pattern, which stands for "Universal Camo Pattern", because it universally doesn't blend in with JACK. FUCKING. SHIT.
    • Humvees / APCs has Zach discuss the initial equipment problems the US had in Iraq, and he names issuing woodland camo to the troops as one of the examples.

    Western Animation 
  • The G.I. Joe cartoons and comic books almost always give the various Cobra army uniforms large iconic cobras, ordinarily in bright blood red. The Crimson Guard (who provide the page image) are actually a bit of a subversion, as they're not frontline troops, but Cobra Commander's most elite forces. One has to have a degree in law or accounting to even be eligible to join, although scientists and others with highly specialized, and valuable, skills have been included in the ranks. Siegies, when not serving directly at a Cobra base, are deployed out into the world to infiltrate society, spying on enemies and legally earning money to be funneled back to Cobra. Usually, when you see this uniform, it's within Cobra-controlled territory, and if it's on the frontline, it's likely during a Cobra civil war. That being said, standard Cobra ground troops wear bright blue outfits that fit this trope pretty well.
  • The Autobots and Decepticons from Transformers always have their corresponding faction sigil visible from the front, usually either on their chest or their limbs. It's fairly unsurprising that The Masquerade in any given series will last about five minutes.
  • The Henchmen of The Monarch in The Venture Brothers wear bright yellow and black uniforms with ridiculous oversized butterfly wings on the back. The idea seems to be pretty much standard-issue with supervillains; the only henchmen we see wearing camouflage are those working for Sergeant Hatred, who has an army theme.
  • Agents of M.A.D. often wear jumpsuits with the M.A.D. logo emblazoned on the chest in public. Despite this, Inspector Gadget never realizes that they are his enemies. Then again said agents include three specific mooks that are ALWAYS there and Gadget doesn't recognize them either, so odds are Doctor Claw knows there's nothing to worry about.
  • In a Family Guy cutaway, Peter is shown in combat in the jungle in full clown mode, including face paint. He tells the other soldiers "You guys are stupid. See, they're gonna be looking for army-guys."