The character always wears the same outfit, regardless of the setting or season. Winter (or at least a Christmas Episode) may sometimes see the addition of a heavy coat, but circumstances will conspire to put the character in a situation where they must shed the coat, at which point it is never seen again. A more likely choice is a hat, scarf, and perhaps mittens, which imply colder weather without obscuring the character's trademark wardrobe. Sometimes, they'll even be shown to have a coat with the exact same color and patterns as whatever is being covered by it.
Even characters whose very nature should prevent them from having such a Limited Wardrobe (read: fashion nuts) may still have one. A common Lampshade Hanging is revealing the character's wardrobe to consist entirely of multiple copies of the same outfit (see page image), doubly so if another character points to an arbitrary item and explains, "That's their favorite".
One benefit to this trope is that characters are recognized by their clothing. Their clothing becomes just as much identified with them as their hairstyle and personality. Always wearing a plain T-shirt, shorts and sneakers can indicate a relaxed personality; an expensive business suit is the hallmark of any Corrupt Corporate Executive. A more logistical reason is that whether something is filmed or animated it is rarely done in a sequential order. Even though character models are rather simple to produce and alter and in live action rather easy to change clothing, making such changes on a regular basis requires a great deal more effort to maintain continuity from scene to scene. This is kind of the same reason main characters have a Dirt Forcefield and have little Clothing Damage unless dramatically necessary.
This trope is especially prevalent in shows with heavy merchandising tie-ins, where it is considered important to maximize the resemblance between the characters and their action figure counterparts. A rotating and varied wardrobe would counter that. In animated works, this can be the mark of cheap animation, and is deliberately done so as to allow the studio to recycle as much Stock Footage as it possibly can (See Filmation). It happens with broadcast TV anime, due to having smaller budgets than movie/OVA works. This also cuts time, since many series are produced on a deadline, too.
This trope is extremely common in video games, RPG's especially, to the point of having its own sub-trope, Informed Equipment. Often, characters will wear only one primary outfit throughout the entire course of the game.
A variation in Live Action is to have variations on the same outfit scheme, such as Hawaiian shirts, polo shirts, the color mauve, etc.
Contrast Unlimited Wardrobe. Compare 24-Hour Armor and Clothes Make the Legend, where the marketability and recognition factor of an iconic outfit outweighs any desire to vary it on the part of a show's production staff. Also compare Only Six Faces, which involves character designs instead of clothing.
- Lampshaded in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series. When Yugi appears in a different outfit, he remarks, "Isn't anyone going to notice I'm not in my school uniform?"
- Both John and Ringo in With Strings Attached. Not by choice, though. John's physiognomy is such that he really can't wear too much. And because they do a lot of universe shifting with little time to prepare, Ringo gets stuck in the same all-green outfit throughout the third part of the Third Movement and the entire Fourth Movement (he had a chance to buy a new outfit briefly but spent all his money on healing potions and gifts instead because he thought he was going home). His outfit ends up pretty grimy and smelly.
- Escape from the Hokage's Hat: Tsunade's group (Tsunade, Shizune, Hinata and Naruto) is limited to the clothes on their back, because Tsunade gave them short notice before she dragged them out of the village, although it is pointed out that the clothes they're wearing are more durable than regular clothing. Naruto does bring up that they all need new clothes since their misadventures and Clothing Damage are catching up to them after 4 months.
- Purposely invoked in Sailor Moon: Legends of Lightstorm: Jason Shepard spends most of the money he steals from criminals on equipment and materials for his crusade against the Negaverse, and so only owns one kind of each type of clothing: dark blue t-shirts, jeans, and sneakers. He does this because its one less thing to worry about.
- In Doing It Right This Time. Rei didn't own any other clothes but her school uniforms thanks to her backstory, whereas Shinji just decided to pick "a look that works" and stick to it. Asuka cajoles them both into expanding their wardrobes some.
- The Miraculous Ladybug fic Hop To It avoids this with a couple of characters who fall under this in the TV series. Chloé's canon outfit is identified as her favourite, but she apparently doesn't wear it often enough for Jack to recognise it as such when Marinette makes her a replica of it for a prank. Likewise, Adrien doesn't recognise it when he sees it on Jack. Elsewhere, when the subject of Adrien's modelling career comes up, he states that if he could wear the same outfit every day, he would.
- One of the characters is naked throughout The Rival Prefects Trilogy.
- Abe and Aaron spend the majority of Primer in black slacks, white oxfords, and neckties. In fact, the color of their ties is the only difference both their outfits.
- Wes Anderson seems to just appreciate his characters being easily identifiable by the way they dress.
- All of the main cast of The Royal Tenenbaums wear the same clothes throughout the entire movie, regardless of time shifts. In flashback sequences, you see that most of the characters even dressed this way in childhood.
- Moonrise Kingdom: the male lead wears his scout uniform for the duration, as do all of the other scouts in the film.
- Bottle Rocket has the characters spend a significant period of time wearing matching yellow jumpsuits as uniforms
- The Life Aquatic: All of Steve Zissou's official crew wear matching uniforms throughout the film.
- The entire cast of Mary Poppins, including the presumably well-off Banks family.
- Most of the Hogwarts faculty in Harry Potter. Except Lockhart.
- In both the books and the films, Snape pretty much never wears anything other than black, billowing robes. Professor McGonagall sometimes changes her regular outfit between films, although the basic form and color scheme remain constant.
- Apparently, whenever Harry outgrows a pair of glasses, he sees fit to replace them with a slightly larger duplicate. Either that or Hermione charmed his glasses to grow with him.
- Malcolm Crowe in The Sixth Sense wears the same shirt and pants in every scene, with the only difference being whether he wears a jacket or sweater over it. There is one exception to the rule, but only to the full (spoileriffic) version of the rule: until The Reveal, he always wears the jacket in scenes where camera angles alone can't hide his mortal wound. In the DVD Commentary, director M. Night Shyamalan says that Malcolm's limited wardrobe is a clue to his ghostly nature. After the shooting (and Malcolm's death) in the beginning, the only clothing he is seen wearing are the clothes he wore or interacted with in the scenes just before the shooting.
- The Mystery Team seems to have a complete color-coded wardrobe.
- In The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Mr. Nick always wears the same outfit (black suit, overcoat, and bowler, grey waistcoat, red bow tie), even in a flashback to his first meeting with Doctor Parnassus a thousand years in the past.
- Up in the Air: Natalie only ever wears her business suit although there is a more relaxed version where she takes the jacket off and lets her hair down while partying. This is Truth in Television since she is fresh out of college and new to business. Presumably she wouldn't be able to afford several smart pieces of work attire yet.
- Punch-Drunk Love's main character Barry wears the same blue suit in every scene.
- Bernal, the main character of The Science of Sleep, wears the same maroon-colored suit in all of his scenes (possibly as an Homage to Punch-Drunk Love).
- In Back to the Future Part III, even after Clara Clayton tears her dress on a speeding locomotive, marries Doc Brown, gives birth to two boys and raises them halfway to adulthood, travels to the future and back, she's still wearing the same dress!
- Ed in Good Burger wears his Good Burger uniform everywhere. He sleeps in it. He goes on dates in it. He showers in it.
- The Blues Brothers: Jake and Elwood Blues don't have a limited wardrobe so much as they seem to only own one set of clothes each. The suits' slow destruction over the course of the film corresponds with just how much things have gotten out-of-hand until the end of the movie, when they're replaced with prison uniforms.
- Star Wars has always been touch-and-go with limiting wardrobes (usually opting for the "live-action" version mentioned in the article intro, such as Han Solo's outfit). Military factions, such as the Jedi or Naboo security force, get a pass due to their outfits being a uniform. Possibly the most absurd manifestation in the series, though, comes from Episode I with Anakin Skywalker wearing the same outfit while podracing, on a starship, in various buildings on a planet-wide city, on another starship trip, and finally a temperate/swampy planet over the course of what has to be several days. It's notable that, in the same movie, Queen Amidala goes through a great many outfits over the same span of time. It makes sense, though, when you consider that Anakin is a slave when Episode I begins. He probably doesn't own more than one or two sets of clothes, and Watto doesn't seem like the type to spend lavishly on his chattel. His son's luck isn't much better, as Luke almost never changed clothes in "A New Hope".
- The Force Awakens:
- Rey wears the only outfit she has throughout the film.
- Finn wears his Stormtrooper uniform, both with and without the outer armor, during the whole movie, adding only Poe's jacket after rescuing it from their downed TIE fighter (except when giving it to Rey on Starkiller Base.)
- While not pointed out in dialogue, in Last Action Hero, a brief look in Jack Slater's closet during the once-a-movie "shoot the assassin hiding in the closet" sequence shows a line of identical outfits (complete with an entire shelf of Desert Eagle pistols).
- The Hunger Games: Seneca Crane wears the same weird vest the whole time.
- Jack Reacher. He changes clothes a few times in the second film, but has just the one outfit in the first. Lampshaded by Helen Rodin:
Rodin: What more do you want? They were five innocent people. Senselessly murd - I'm sorry, can you please put a shirt on?
Reacher: This is my shirt.
- The Red Triangle Circus Gang in Batman Returns. They never changed out of their circus costumes (especially strange because they hadn't worked in the circus for years). What's more, those are the clothes they're wearing when they get into intense street fights with Batman. And they're living in a sewer. Cue Fridge Horror.
- Most human (as well as some animal) Disney characters have an iconic outfit that they wear for most if not all of the movie. A main character will get a costume change with a change in circumstances, but rarely for any minor reason. A secondary character will never change clothes. Strangely, this applies both to poor characters such as Aladdin and to royalty.
- The only time Jack Skellington of The Nightmare Before Christmas ever changed out of his tuxedo is, of course, when he imitates Santa Claus (well, besides one scene when he's in bed and wearing off-white pajamas, but that's only for a couple of minutes). In "Poor Jack", Jack declares that HE IS THE PUMPKIN KING!!! and rips off the tatters of his Santa outfit to reveal that he's been wearing his tux underneath the suit all this time.
- The Lobster: When people move into the hotel, their personal belongings are removed, and they are given new clothes and underwear. Men get grey trousers, blue and white shirts and a blazer. Women get a halter neck dress.
- Comics and books for Frozen almost never draw Elsa in anything but her iconic blue ice dress. However, the Disney animated shorts depict Elsa in new clothes.
- Gleahan and the Knaves of Industry: Nearly all of the characters, except Penelope, feature this to some degree.
- Gleahan always wears his tabard and sword, with the only change being the garment under his tabard changing from a t-shirt to a sweatshirt once winter sets in.
- Mark is almost always seen in his hoodie, jacket, and jeans, although he'll vary the shirt he's wearing underneath.
- Madison only has 3 outfits.
- Nathaniel is always seen in his suit vest.
- Derek wears a suit for most of the movie until he gets captured.
- Slim always wears the same coat.
- Harry Dresden, of The Dresden Files is almost never seen in anything other than a black duster, black jeans, and a grey T-shirt unless the plot call for a change in wardrobe. The duster is so heavily enchanted with various protective spells that it's as good as armour, and Harry spends a lot of time In Harm's Way; everything else is just down to him being very set in his ways and not inclined to change a working formula, not to mention a man of limited means.
- He attempts to use the trope to his advantage in Small Favor when running and hiding from Summer's goons. He ditches the black duster, and gives it to Thomas, along with a kind of Clone Form spell, thinking that Summer would hunt for Thomas, and make things easier for Harry. This comes around to bite Harry when Tiny Gruff shows up.
- In Jurassic Park, Ian Malcolm only owns black and gray clothing, claiming that the only thing which bores him more than fashion is professional sports, and he prefers not having to think about what he has to wear every day.
- Johannes Cabal mentions that Cabal never wears a slightly formal outfit no matter what he's doing-black hat, black jacket, white shirt, black tie, black pants, black socks, black shoes (some early stories have him wearing suspenders or a cardigan indoors-also black). The only exception are his tartan house slippers. This is Lampshaded by his brother who explictly points out all his outfits are like this and mentions that Cabal doesn't have "outfits" he has "a uniform."
- Where's Wally?'s Wally/Waldo is contractually bound to enforce this trope, as are most members of his supporting cast.
- Similar to the Jurassic Park example, Cayce Pollard in William Gibson's Pattern Recognition is allergic to brands (no, really, it's a condition) and dresses only in shades of grey, white, or black with all logos or labels removed; her clothes are referred to as Cayce Pollard Units or... wait for it... CPUs. Appropriately, her eyes are grey.
What people take for relentless minimalism is a side effect of too much exposure to the reactor-cores of fashion. This has resulted in a remorseless paring-down of what she can and will wear. She is, literally, allergic to fashion. She can only tolerate things that could have been worn, to a general lack of comment, during any year between 1945 and 2000. Shes a design-free zone, a one-woman school of anti whose very austerity periodically threatens to spawn its own cult.
- In the new Foundation trilogy, this saves Hari Seldon's life when an assassin puts a time-delayed fire-starting compound in his shirt. His wife is able to swap in another of his shirts and reveal the assassin.
- In the Seekers of Truth, the Wizard always wears the same suit and hat (or appears to), and Specter and Shade have consistent outfits mainly because their abilities help protect them from temperature extremes.
- In The Destroyer series Remo always wears a black t-shirt and black chinos, regardless of climate.
- In Artemis Fowl series, Artemis always wears Armani suits regardless of the temperature. But remind you, he's 12.
"Honestly, Butler, the second we return to the hotel, I am disposing of this outfit. I miss my suits."—The Opal Deception
- Although in the graphic novel of the second book, he is shown to be wearing a fur coat. But that's just because it's -30 degrees Fahrenheit outside. Did I mention they were in the Arctic?
- He also rolled up his sleeves for "the cake sale" in "The Atlantis Complex".
- Mrs. Carillon in The Mysterious Disappearance of Leon (I Mean Noel) has been wearing a purple flowered-dress with purple high heels ever since the day she first met Leon/Noel as an adult, so he could recognize her if he ever saw her again. And instead of underwear, she always wears a purple-flowered bathing suit (she owns twenty-four identical ones), which is what she wore when she last saw him being swept overboard a boat. She wore purple flowers in the first place because that was what she had worn when they last saw each other, the occasion of their Childhood Marriage Promise.
- In the Second and Third Books of The Saga of Darren Shan Darren Shan only ever wears an old suit the one in which he was buried in and a pirate outfit which he gains during the middle of the second book. The fact that he never changes his clothes is often lampshaded and the book gives no explanation as to why he doesn't change his clothes.
- The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: Arthur spends twelve years in a dressing gown. It was one thing when he was stranded on prehistoric Earth, quite another on the multiple occasions he's on some sort of spaceship that ought to have other wardrobe options available. (Strictly speaking, no mention of Arthur's outfit is made after he arrives on the Heart of Gold, it's not until he's on prehistoric Earth that the dressing gown is mentioned again. Douglas Adams wrote a scene for the TV series in which he gets a new outfit, and the producer rejected it because it was funnier if he was still wearing a dressing gown. So from then on, he was retroactively always wearing the dressing gown.)
- A central plot point in the children's story "Milly-Molly-Mandy has a New Dress" by Joyce Lankester Brisley. Milly-Molly-Mandy wants to exchange her pink-and-white striped dress for a new dress with flowers on it, but meets a girl named Bunchy who only wears flowery dresses and decides Bunchy should have it instead. Lampshaded by little-friend-Susan: "If Milly-Molly-Mandy didn't wear her pink-and-white stripes people might not know her at once. And that would be a pity!"
- In Patrick Senecal's Aliss, a Bloodier and Gorier twist on Alice in Wonderland, Bone (The Mad Hatter Expy) is wearing the same Victorian suit and top hat every time Aliss sees him. After a while, Aliss begins to wonder if he has an entire closet filled with identical clothes.
- In Heart of Steel, Alistair wears Howie-style lab coats almost exclusively. By the very end he has adopted steampunk fashion.
- If Voldemort of the Harry Potter series ever wears anything other than a black robe (aside from in flashbacks), it's certainly not stated.
- Ashleigh, in Sanctioned, has only two changes of clothes, and they look pretty similar. She prefers not to own a lot of things, as it's easier to move on when you don't.
- In Homestar Runner's Strong Bad Email 199, Strong Bad compliments Homestar's same-shirt-he-always-wears.
- DSBT InsaniT does this. It's even pointed out by Autmn in 'Beach Brawl' when Killer sneers that Vexusdylan is too lazy to give them other outfits.
Autmn: Well that explains why we have our pedestrian clothes instead of swimsuits.
- RWBY showcases this trope as there's only three real outfits we've seen the characters in - their normal clothes, their sleepwear and their school uniforms.
- Bittersweet Candy Bowl is a somewhat odd example, in that most of the main cast don't wear clothing because they are anthropomorphic cats and dogs, but much of the auxiliary cast (including all adults) DO wear clothing. The main cast do occasionally show up in clothing (oftentimes lampshaded, particularly when swimming or when it is that time of the month. Of course, then PAULO shows up wearing clothing, and Cloud Cuckoolander David is surprised that boys can have periods too.
- Adventurers! makes fun of the fact that changing a video game character's equipment doesn't change that character's appearance.
- The main characters of 8-Bit Theater, it being a sprite comic, have so far only changed clothes to represent their class change, or occasionally when in disguise.
- Acknowledged in Suicide for Hire, with Arc's Steely Dan shirt:
"I thought I already got this shirt from you?""Yeah, I gave you number twelve. This is number forty-two."
- The Chapel Chronicles: Chapels wardrobe is mainly limited to her Little Black Dress and loads of hats and she is easily recognized by her clothing.
- Walkyverse examples: Danny has his Indiana University sweatshirt, Sal has her mother's jacket, Mike has his black shirt with the SEMME yellow stripe, Jason has his suit, Walky has his sweatshirt... in fact, for most of It's Walky! all SEMME members qualify.
- Willis consciously avoids this in Dumbing of Age, instead giving his characters color motifs and recurring types of clothing, though as a Mythology Gag some things are remarkably similar to the original 'verse — Walky, for example, retains his sweatshirt (now stripe-less), Jason retains his bowtie, Ethan has a lot of green button-downs, Ruth's black-on-green ensemble in the first story arc evokes her original black overalls, and so forth.
- Parodied in this Two Guys and Guy strip◊. Guy and Frank appear in different clothes for once and proclaim that "the thing that lived in the laundry room finally starved to death." Wayne's glad to hear it, but he just changes to an otherwise identical shirt with a square instead of a circle.
- In Manly Guys Doing Manly Things, Jonesy's is explained by her as a result of buying shirts and such in bulk and donating them when she's done, and jeans were meant to last forever anyway. She does this because she doesn't have her own washer and dryer, and finds it a pain to find nine quarters for a laundromat.
- In El Goonish Shive, for the first few years, the main characters used to wear the same few clothes in all their appearances. Elliot in particular used to default to wearing a black t-shirt and rarely deviating from that. This was lampshaded in a non-canon EGS:NP storyline which completely revamped Tedd, Susan and Sarah but left Elliot unchanged except for now wearing a white t-shirt. Even with the characters' wardrobes getting extended, Elliot still favours the black shirts, with The Rant on one strip where he wears one two days in a row explaining he has a closet full of them.
- In Life, Felicia is almost always seen in either her school uniform (even though her high school doesn't have a uniform) or a red t-shirt over grey clothes.
- morphE follows a Visual Novel styled template and in turn all the character sprites stick to their default outfits for the majority of the time. Except Amical. But he's rich and can afford more than one shirt.
- Ozy and Millie almost always wear the same outfits, Ozy a black vest and top hat, Millie a set of coveralls. With some exceptions such as Ozy wearing pants whenever he gets shaved and the few times Millie was forced to wear a dress.
- Most of the cast of Precocious, Bud has his jeans, black vest, and wifebeater. Tiffany her green dress with a smiley-face pin. And Autumn with her Catholic schoolgirl outfit (their school doesn't have uniforms, she wears it to make people underestimate her), though she sometimes wears a tanktop and sweatpants in summer.
- This is used as a cue during an arc where the class takes on the role of a classmate. And yes, this does mean that the two boys who drew Autumn and Tiffany end up in their dresses.
- The characters of Penny Arcade are always dressed the same way; when Gabe put on a suit and changed his hairdo, some readers couldn't recognize him.
- Both of their closets are shown to have multiple copies of their signature outfits. Additionally, if they change to winter clothes or occasionally swimtrunks, the color motifs stay the same.
- Tycho was once seen clothes shopping, looking at a rack of the blue/grey shirts identical to his own.
- Many characters in The Fourth have been seen in night clothes, and costumes are used from time to time for thematic and comedic purposes, but the daily outfit for any one character remains exactly the same.
- in Unreality, the main characters, Dominic and Sarah, consistently wear a gray hoodie and a green sweater respectively, or when they're in colder enviorments, they were overcoats over them.
- In MOLEBASHED, two of the main characters — Kari and Wes — wear the same black shirt/blue jeans combo.
- In Plume, Corrick wears the same blue Badass Longcoat regardless of whether it's snowing or burning heat outside. It might be that he simply doesn't feel the elements anymore.
- In The Order of the Stick, for the first few books, everyone wears the same clothing at all times. While exceptions do exist (Belkar's clothing changed colors when his Wisdom was boosted, Elan wore fancy dress to Tarquin's banquet in his honor, and so on), the main cast's wardrobe has been exactly the same since the comics inception. The only major (and permanent changes) are:
- After being imprisoned by Nale, Elan traded his sash and chainmail for a white shirt and vest.
- Haley goes through several different outfits, including a black version of her leather armor while the Resistance leader in Azure City and the new armor she gets in Blood Runs in the Family. She later lampshades this by saying that as the comic's leading lady, she needs to change outfits every once in a while so they can sell action figures. She also gets an Expository Hair Cut during Don't Split the Party.
- After the Soul Splice, V stops parting their hair and begins wearing it in a ponytail instead.
- Durkon's armor changed color when he was vampirized.
- All of the party has gotten cold-weather clothing in the newest arc on the Northern Continent.
- In one Sparklecare strip, we take a look inside Dr. Doom's closet and see that all of his shirts have the same design.
- Homestuck offhandedly mentions that trolls wear the same clothing nearly all the time, because "trolls think fashion is stupid."
- In Just Another Party the characters all wear a black top with their symbol on it. Except for Jake. Jake likes trench coats.
- In Rhapsodies many of the Circle Band members wear the band T-shirt almost exclusively.
- Lampshaded in the web fiction serial Dimension Heroes when Brittany and Tami go clothes shopping. Brittany is excited about a neat shirt she found on sale, only for Tami to point out that it was remarkably similar to the one she was currently wearing.
- At Whateley Academy in the Whateley Universe, the only thing Bladedancer ever wears is a mandarin top with yoga pants. She's not very comfortable with her body. Generator also has a Limited Wardrobe, but for a different reason: she's really poor. She works in the school sewers as her scholarship job (at Whateley, this is a hazard-pay kind of job).
- Can often show up in Journal Roleplay even for characters that don't normally fall under this trope, if the game only brings characters with the clothes on their back and doesn't provide a way to get more.
- In his television appearances, David Mitchell has a wardrobe as variable as anyone else. But in his weekly David Mitchell's Soap Box webcasts, he always wears the same red button-up shirt and black slacks. They record five episodes at a time and switching shirts for each one would waste time. However, when viewers commented on it, he changed to a blue shirt and explained that he'd be perfectly happy to wear the same thing every day — it would save time and shield him from lingering insecurities about his vanity.
- The Nostalgia Critic generally always wears the same hat, jacket, and necktie/T-shirt combo, presumably to make him immediately distinguishable from Doug Walker's other characters. Fellow That Guy with the Glasses reviewers Linkara (black shirt, plaid shirt, jacket, hat), Angry Joe (black Superboy t-shirt, jacket) and Todd in the Shadows (the exact same hood, and a mask when appearing in the light) also don't vary on wardrobe very much, except when the situation calls for it.
- Except for very occasional color changes (and armor updates every time the show starts being filmed in a new game), all characters in Red vs. Blue appear in the exact same armor every single time. Understandable, though, as it's a machinima recorded in Halo, and there isn't exactly anything else to visually differentiate characters from one another other than armor color!
- Laina Morris, better known as Overly Attached Girlfriend did a video wherein OAG is preparing for a first date with another meme character, Bad Luck Brian. She is choosing between several different aqua T-shirts.
- Truth in Television for a great deal of history. Clothing becoming cheap enough that the average person could afford to own more than 2-3 outfits is a fairly recent event on a historical scale.
- To some extent it still is Truth in Television. Four or five identical plain t-shirts, either all white or no more than two solid colours per package, can be bought for the price of one or two more decorative individual ones from most superstores.
- An article about Tide detergent in New York magazine states that prior to the introduction of laundry detergent with surfactants after World War II, people owned far less clothing and wore an outfit several times before washing it.
- Also played straight from the Steam Age to the post-World War II years even with people who could afford a well furnished wardrobe: it was inconceivable for formal or elegant clothing to have striking colors or patterns, so most people owned an entire row of dark suits, white shirts, black shoes.
- Unless you find mauve not striking enough, that was not always the case. The first aniline dye mauveine, with its incredibly bright and garish hue, enjoyed a long-lasting, British Empire-spanning craze, started by none other than Queen herself. And then it gave way to other bright synthetic dyes. The usual mistake is to think that if the photos of the day are shades of grey, the outfits were as well.
- Truth in Television for people all over the world who simply can't afford to buy lots of clothing, or don't live in an area where clothing stores are readily accessible. Many people only have a few outfits that they just wash frequently until they completely wear out.
- Albert Einstein was rumored to have had a closet of 12 identical outfits so he wouldn't have to think about what he wore. He also refused to wear socks.
- Likewise, fellow physicist Richard Feynman kept a wardrobe of very similar shirts and slacks for a large part of his career so he wouldn't have to waste time choosing clothes.
- Daniel Radcliffe enjoyed annoying the paparazzi during his stint on the London stage - for six months he deliberately wore the same clothes when leaving the theatre so photographs would be impossible to prove recent, and therefore worthless.
- Jennifer Aniston always wore the same pair of bright orange cargo shorts any time she was out in public. Since it made it nearly impossible to tell if a photo was new or not, it rendered most photos of her nearly worthless (this was back when she was still on Friends and married to Brad Pitt, making her even more of a tabloid target than she is now.)
- Fashion editor Carrie Donovan (aka the Old Navy lady) always wore black with pearls and glasses.
- Author Tom Wolfe famously wears identical white suits for all public appearances.
- Sir David Attenborough explained in an interview why he always wears the same light blue shirt and khaki chino trousers. Apparently it's to stop people focusing on what he is wearing and instead keep their attention on the animals themselves. It also allows his production team to mix footage of him from different series or combine separate shots filmed over a long period of time without major continuity issues.
- Wearing a limited range of colours is actually a trick used by naturalists and natural history filmmakers. If they want to make themselves familiar to some animals, animals with colour vision that work mainly on visual recognition (like chimps) they try to always turn up looking the same. If they turned up in a different coloured shirt, the animals might think it was a different human, and either flee or turn aggressive.
- Project Runway judge Michael Kors wears a black blazer, black shirt, and jeans in every single episode, despite being an extremely successful fashion designer. At the Season 4 reunion, he explained that in his younger days he constantly fell victim to every new fashion trend; now he sticks with one classic outfit. He also mentioned that the reason why he wears the same thing is so that he doesn't have to think about what he's going to wear.
- Neil Gaiman, if not actually on a red carpet, always wears black jeans (R. M. Williams black jeans, if you're interested), a black T-shirt with a black sweater if it's cold, and a black leather jacket. He claims he has very poor fashion sense and this makes it easier. In photos of him in the 80s, the T-shirt is sometimes grey.
- Steve Jobs and his trademark St Croix black long-sleeved mock turtleneck sweaters, Levi 501 blue jeans, and white New Balance 991 sneakers.
- According to John Lasseter, Jobs adopted the black turtleneck because it was discontinued, and the only way he could get more was to buy in bulk. Jobs is rumored to have had over a hundred turtlenecks and jeans...
- It is confirmed in the recent biography written by Walter Isaacson that Jobs had over a hundred of those shirts. The author describes one interview with Jobs at his home where Jobs showed him the contents of his closet, and there were indeed that many shirts in there. Jobs was given the shirts by the designer of the uniforms at a Japan based company Apple had dealings with. Jobs had admired the uniforms the factory workers wore, and had unsuccessfully tried to convince Apple to adopt a uniform vest. The designer sent him several boxes full of the black shirts instead.
- According to John Lasseter, Jobs adopted the black turtleneck because it was discontinued, and the only way he could get more was to buy in bulk. Jobs is rumored to have had over a hundred turtlenecks and jeans...
- Drew Carey often jokes that his entire wardrobe is made up of white shirts and ties.
- In one of the audio commentaries to Spaced, Kevin Smith notes how this trope applies to the show (in the sense that they have a small number of outfits that they repeat) and proceeds to cite it as a point of the show's realism. Kevin Smith himself is known for having this, too.
- Dean Kamen (inventor of the Segway, among other things) is almost always seen in jeans and a long-sleeved flannel shirt, no matter how fancy the occasion. In fact, people have trouble recognizing him when he's wearing something else.
- Steve Irwin seemed to wear his khaki shirt and shorts wherever he went. His entire family also dresses like this.
- One-time BBC war correspondent and, later, independent MP Martin Bell is well-known for wearing white suits.
- Somewhere in the middle of his career George Carlin decided to wear plain black outfits for his shows. Sometimes vary on whether he wears long or short sleeves, or whether the shirt is tucked or untucked, but always uncompromisingly black.
- When not on The Daily Show and thus not in a suit, Jon Stewart almost universally wears a grey T-shirt and khakis, sometimes with a leather jacket if it's cold out. When named one of NYC's Best Dressed, he protested with a slideshow of himself at various public appearances: "Same fucking shirt, every day — that's not personal style, that's OCD!"
- The White Stripes dress exclusively in white, red and black. This does not extend to appearances and performances with their side projects, though.
- "Weird Al" Yankovic has almost always been seen in a loud Hawaiian shirt, black trousers, and brightly-patterned Vans shoes since the 1980s.
- His limited wardrobe is reportedly a large one; early in his career, Al had a note in his concert rider asking venues to supply him with one new garish Hawaiian shirt, and quickly accumulated several closetsful. The Vans company has also been known to let Al stop by the warehouse and take home an armload of new shoes.
- Until Al had his vision corrected with LASIK eye surgery in the 1990s, his distinctive large wire-rimmed eyeglasses were also part of his trademark look.
- EDM artist Robert DeLong always wears black jeans and a black T-shirt with his orange "X" logo.
- Mwanzaa on ABCs Teen Kids News on Sunday mornings is always seen wearing a dark blue jacket with a pink dress shirt and a pink/green striped tie every week.
- Jay Leno. Lampshaded here.
- In general, people have favourite items of clothing that they like to wear often. Once you start to notice how that one girl at work always wears a plaid shirt, it Cannot Be Unseen.
- College, summer camp, vacation, business trips, or any other scenario where one can only bring a limited amount of clothes.
- Enforced whenever uniforms are mandated to be worn, or if there is a sufficiently stringent dress code that prohibits a large enough section of garments to the point where fashion choices are extremely limited.
- YouTube star Alex Day has only four shirts and two pairs of jeans. Seriously.
- During the 2010 World Cup, Germany's coach Jogi Loew wore the same "lucky" blue sweater◊ for 3 straight matches until his team lost to Spain. The sweater eventually sold for 1 million Euros.
- Henry Rollins is rarely seen these days in anything but a plain black t-shirt and black jeans. When he performed music, he only wore a pair of (usually blue) athletic shorts.
- Colonel Sanders only wore his Kentucky Colonel white outfit for the rest of his life once he became a cultural icon.
- Johnny Cash famously only wore black, usually a black button up shirt, black trousers, black cowboy boots (sometimes loafers) and a black duster.
- Tom Scott buys red T-shirts in bulk, and once wore one so it was visible, in the arctic circle.
- Tom Hiddleston seems to have an almost unlimited collection of suits, but his "casual wear" is limited to combinations of a very small number of pieces, many of which he's been wearing for literally years. For the curious, these include the white dress shirt, the grey front/white back tshirt, the red plaid shirt, 2 black cardigans (one of which has its own [fanmade] twitter account), and one very well worn pair of cowboy boots.
- Alex "Smiffy" Smith of Hat Films is rarely seen not wearing a red t-shirt. He admitted to it here.
- Adam Montoya seems to wear nothing but grey t-shirts when filming. Apparently he found a large box of them on sale one day. Whenever he doesn't wear them, he often dons a red shirt with a jumper or sweater of some sort.
- Mark Zuckerberg actually just buys plain grey T-shirts in bulk so he doesn't have to decide what to wear every morning.
- Tim Burton once told a magazine interviewing him that he wears primarily black clothing so he doesn't have to worry about matching colors.
- Bill Hader pretty much always wears plaid shirts, tan pants, and New Balances. As noted on Conan, there was a Tumblr called "Get Bill Hader a change oof clothes" with dozens of shots of him in said outfit.
Lampshaded Closet Gag Examples
- Lampshaded in a 1990s McDonald's commercial which showed Ronald McDonald in his morning routine, including opening a closetful of identical clown suits while pondering "what to wear, what to wear..."
- In the Big Finish Doctor Who audio drama "The Crimes of Thomas Brewster", the Sixth Doctor's patchwork coat is destroyed by a giant robot mosquito. He assures his companion that he has a dozen identical coats back in the TARDIS. She's less than delighted to hear this.
Evelyn: One down, twelve to go...
- Calvin and Hobbes: The Series does this with Calvin.
- Last Action Hero lampshades this, of course, in Jack Slater IV, when we get to Slater's apartment and see a wardrobe filled with identical shirts, pants, boots, and Desert Eagle pistols.
- An oddly serious movie example: Seth Brundle in Cronenberg's The Fly (1986). When the love interest points out that he's been wearing the same clothes for the past few days, he shows her his wardrobe full of identical outfits. He doesn't like wasting time in the morning deciding what to wear, citing Einstein as an example.
- Lampshaded in Spice World. "The little Gucci dress, the little Gucci dress, or the little Gucci dress?"
- One of the Ernest movies has a scene where title character Ernest P. Worrell opens his closet to specifically show the viewer two dozen copies of his iconic blue-jeans vest outfit.
- In the comedy/spoof Fatal Instinct, Ned Ravine has a closet completely filled with identical blue suits. He asks his secretary which one he should wear. The secretary responds "The blue one".
- The Powerpuff Girls hilariously lampshaded this in their debut film.
Blossom: What to wear?Buttercup: What to wear?Bubbles: What to wear?Mojo Jojo: Oh! That's nice.
- In Superman/Shazam!: The Return of Black Adam, Billy Batson (see Comics) goes through his morning routine, looking through his closet of identical red sweaters and taking two out to compare before deciding.
- Scooby-Doo! WrestleMania Mystery:
Velma and Daphne: You didn't pack the luggage?...Shaggy: Like, what's the big deal? We all wear the same outfits every single day anyway.
- Fred: The Movie had one scene where Fred goes through his drawer, revealing it to be full of clothes identical to what he's currently wearing.
- Not actually shown, but in one of the City Watch Discworld novels, Vimes wonders if Vetinari has an entire closet full of identical black robes, as he's never seen the Patrician dressed in any other way.
- He probably does. It's likely a family tradition. Look at the Vetinari family arms. Blazon: Sable — that is, black (and nothing else). Word of God is that it's not only black, it's a slightly shabby black (though how you do that in Heraldry is anyone's guess - the shield in the Companion lets the hatching that represents sable in black and white get a bit wider than normal in places, creating a worn carpet effect; the colour one in The Streets of Ankh Morpork is blotchy), like that of a well-worn robe that you automatically pick up and put on in the morning so as not to waste time worrying about what to wear.
- In the 20th anniversary Sera Myu: La Reconquista show, there's a gag where one of Queen Beryl's henchwomen mocks her for "Wearing the same dress for 20 years".
- No closet involved, but in this spoilery Ctrl+Alt+Del strip, Ethan bemoans that "It feels like been wearing these clothes forever."
- Lampshaded in this strip from The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!.
- Lampshaded in Real Life Comics as part of a costume retrospective; when they get to the first costume change, Dave quips; "It's about time; that shirt was getting ripe."
- Having a wardrobe that never changes can make things difficult where things like changes in character design are concerned. That's why in Fletcher Apts, when the characters underwent a change in appearance (most notably their clothing) they had to go purchase new clothes in this strip to explain the sudden change. The characters also permanently ditched shoes in the same strip.
- In Scary Go Round, the male characters wear outfits that don't vary much (Ryan appeared in the same T-shirt for several years, until the girls ganged up on him). Female characters have more varied outfits (though each has an identifiable style of dress). The difference is probably because John Allison enjoys drawing pretty girls in nice clothes, but is also fairly realistic.
- In an interview, he said that women's fashion was always shifting and he liked drawing the female characters in different clothes, while menswear was really "a matter of covering five tube-shaped areas".
- In Kurami, Bree Kay's default outfit is a pink shirt and white skirt. When her mother chastises her for wearing it during the winter, Bree points out that she's worn skirts everyday for years.
- In The Whiteboard Doc's closet is shown to be filled with almost nothing but black T-shirts. In a Fourth-Wall Mail Slot comic he later explains that it's because they're cheap and hide grease stains.
- In Whomp! Ronnie is always seen wearing a Hawaiian shirt because anything else he wears turns into a Hawaiian shirt.
- In The Dragon Doctors, Kili Stormcrow is always seen wearing a khaki shirt with a red-and-white-triangle patterned stripe across the belly. Once when she tore one apart by changing into her werewolf form, her boyfriend commented on it:
Greg: Too bad about that shirt. I liked that one.
Kili: I have a dozen more like it and you know it.
Greg: Yeah, but that one was my favorite.
Kili: I know you're just trying to cheer me up, but ... thanks, Greg.
- Ozy and Millie: It isn't shown but Ozy admits to having a closet full of identical vests and top hats.
- Has been used at least once in The Angry Video Game Nerd. His closet contains about six "nerdy shirts" and nothing else.
- After being asked multiple times in user comments if he wears anything besides his signature blue T-shirt, Chadtronic answers this in one video by breaking out his wardrobe....which is a bunch of identical blue T-shirts.
- Youtuber Tom Scott says he wears his signature red T-shirt because they're cheap in bulk. He can just order a few dozen every few years.
- My Immortal: Enoby has more sexxy oufitz tan you!! Yur just jealous, u stupid prepz!!
- In Legally Blonde, Elle Woods is such a fashionista that she wears not only different outfits (though all on the theme of pink) but different hairstyles in EVERY SINGLE SCENE.
- The DC Universe Animated Original Movie Superman: Doomsday is an exception, as Lois Lane wears a different outfit every day. Other characters most likely do too (Supes's classic costume notwithstanding), but Lois is the most noticeable.
- In Tim Burton's Batman (1989), Vicki Vale (Kim Basinger) is almost never seen wearing the same outfit twice, and varies her hairstyles a lot too. In fact, Basinger was assigned so many costume changes that Burton had to appoint a second designer to dress just her while the other designer was working on all the other performers!
- Harry Potter: The students of Hogwarts wear their wizard robes for school and formal events. At other times, however, they are often seen in casual muggle clothing. This is in contrast to the books, where students wear their school robes throughout the school year.
- Padmé Amidala from the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy, particularly during her stint as Queen.
- One of the things that makes the fictional band Gorillaz seem so life-like is each of the band members' vast wardrobe. Murdoc wears black shirts and inverted cross necklaces quite a bit of the time. Everyone else is an exception, though.
- Real Life Comics not only repeats the wardrobe (though it does change... every few years or so), but has lampshaded it via the closet-full-of-spares Lampshade Hanging on at least one occasion.
- Questionable Content actually uses the characters' outfits to promote the merchandise sold by its author, Jeph Jaques. Which didn't stop him doing a Lampshaded Closet Gag when Marten is surprised to discover he has more than one pale blue shirt with "TEH" written on it.
- The author of Paranatural has stated that he will avert this trope. As of this writing, the comic is only in its second day in-universe, but his statement seems to hold true so far.
- Chapter 4 of Circumstances of the Revenant Braves reveals that not only do the characters have variable wardrobes outside of their school uniforms, but also that their school uniforms have alternate possibilities for cooler weather (i.e., long sleeves).