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Overalls and Gingham

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When a male character is from a rural setting, a common visual shorthand to establish this is to put the character in denim overalls. For bonus points, put him in a checked shirt (often made of gingham, a medium-weight checked cotton). He normally wears a hat; straw in a historical setting, a baseball cap if he's from a modern farm.

Female characters from rural settings, depending on the time period, may wear either denim or gingham. Tomboys and/or modern characters will often wear denim jeans or overalls; Ms. Fanservice favors denim "Daisy Dukes" (ultra-short shorts). More "feminine" characters, or those from times that didn't approve of women in pants, will wear gingham dresses. Either version is the normal attire of the Farmer's Daughter.

It's usually safe to assume a character dressed in denim or gingham will share some of the common rural traits. Whether they're negative or positive traits will depend on the approach the rest of the work's taking. If rural values are approved of, expect common sense and practicality from a man in denim overalls or a woman in a gingham dress. If not, characters dressed that way will tend toward strongly conservative, bordering on (or all the way to) Luddite views. On the darker side where Hillbilly Horrors lurk, this may be combined with a rugged yet simple mask to form a Sackhead Slasher.


There's a certain amount of Truth in Television here. Denim is a practical fabric for farm work, as it's washable and can take abuse. Gingham for the ladies isn't as tough a fabric, but it's still washable — and usually a woman in a gingham dress is working around the farmhouse, not plowing. It may have become popular because it's a little more fancy than a solid-colored fabric while still being very easy to make (and therefore cheap). 1800's farmers commonly wore a straw hat ... but so did most men during the summer. And baseball caps can be seen everywhere, city as well as country.

This trope is specifically for cases of denim/gingham attire as shorthand for "this character is from a farm". City teens wearing $300 fashion jeans need not apply.

Contrast with Sharp-Dressed Man or Socialite, both of whom are urban characters.



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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Fairy Tail, Beth Vanderwood, a member of the all-female Mermaid Heel guild who fights with giant vegetables, wears overalls.
  • In Goblin Slayer, Cow Girl, a farmer who lives with her uncle, wears overalls with a blouse.
  • In Sakura Quest, the characters dress up as farmers for a publicity event, and Yoshino goes with a pair of overalls, a plaid shirt and a straw hat. Yoshino also wears overalls with a sleeveless blouse as casual attire in the summer, but does so without looking like a farmer.

  • American Gothic, the extremely famous painting by Grant Wood, portrays a farmer and his daughter. The former has overalls and a pitchfork.

    Comic Books 
  • In Alan Moore's Tomorrow Stories, boy genius Jack B. Quick and his farmer papa both wear overalls, and the whole family wears gingham.

    Fan Works 
  • Applejack from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is usually humanized as wearing daisy dukes and a gingham shirt, though overalls aren't uncommon for artists who prefer practicality over fanservice. She has a huge stetson hat as well. Overalls are even more common with humanized fan-arts of her little sister, Apple Bloom.
  • In Where Talent Goes To Die, Momo Iwawsawa, the Ultimate Farm Hand, wears a button-down shirt and bib overalls. Kaori Miura, the main character, can guess that Iwasawa's a farmer with just at a glance.
  • In My Little Pumpkin, Ash dresses up like his deceased paternal grandfather for Halloween. His grandfather was a farmer, so Ash dresses up in overalls with a plaid shirt underneath.

    Films — Animation 
  • Applejack's official humanized design in My Little Pony: Equestria Girls has her with a long, denim skirt and a green-and-white blouse.
  • In Zootopia, Judy's father, Stu Hopps, a farmer in Bunnyburrow, wears denim overalls and a gingham shirt and her mother, Bonnie Hopps, wears a gingham shirt. Gideon Grey, wore overalls as child and a gingham shirt and jeans as an adult. Even Judy herself is seen selling produce in a gingham shirt and jeans during her 10-Minute Retirement scene.

    Film — Live Action 

  • The American Girl Kirsten books has the titular young girl wear gingham dresses, to go with her growing up on farm land all her life.
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: Dorothy Gale spends most of her adventure wearing a blue and white gingham dress, one of the only two dresses she owns. note  In the 1939 film adaptation, Dorothy's blue gingham dress is almost as iconic as the ruby slippers. In the illustrations to future Land of Oz books, she usually doesn't wear gingham, but this varies Depending on the Artist.
  • In L. M. Montgomery's Jane of Lantern Hill, Jane wears overalls when she helps with shingling; Aunt Elmira sniffs over the appropriateness for a girl.
  • Several characters in Little House on the Prairie wear gingham dresses.
  • Ebenezar McCoy from The Dresden Files dresses like this when he's off-duty on his Missouri farm, rather than performing his duties as a Senior Council member.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Mary Ann on Gilligan's Island usually wore gingham (it was her iconic outfit).
  • Uncle Jesse on The Dukes of Hazzard almost always wore overalls, but he preferred a solid-colored shirt. In The Movie he wears a plaid shirt with his overalls. Luke wore a checkered shirt but jeans rather than overalls (though jeans were originally called "waist-high overalls").
  • The Andy Griffith Show: Briscoe Darling (played by Denver Pyle, the same actor as Uncle Jesse) also tended towards overalls & a solid shirt.
  • The House episode "Three Stories" has the title doctor delivering a lecture about three different patients whose cases start with complaining about pain in their leg. The first of them is a farmer, and as the scene plays out, he appears at first as a general "farmer" complete with straw hat and wheat in his mouth.
  • Letterkenny: Squirrely Dan's choice of outerwear, although he's the only one of the Hicks to wear it. note 

  • Mentioned in The Producers song "Betrayed," where Bialystock has a My Life Flashed Before My Eyes moment:
    I see my mother standing on the back porch, in a worn but clean gingham gown, and I hear her calling out to me, "Alvin! Don't forget your chores. The wood needs a-cordin and the cows need a-milkin'. Alvin, Alvin..." Wait a minute! My name's not Alvin! That's not my life. I'm not a hillbilly. I grew up in the Bronx.
  • Maddie & Tae's "Girl In A Country Song" is a Take That! against popular 2010s country songs and how they treat women. One of the things they complain about is the Ms. Fanservice version of this trope:
    Well, I wish I had some shoes on my two bare feet.
    And it's getting kind of cold in these painted-on, cutoff jeans.
    I hate the way this bikini top chafes. Do I really have to wear it all day?
  • Marty Robbins describes the title character as "a saint in a dress made of gingham" in the 1970 country classic "My Woman, My Woman, My Wife."

    Tabletop Games 
  • 2nd Edition Dungeons & Dragons Monstrous Compendium Annual Volume Two. The dobie is a type of brownie that lives in rural areas, such as farms. It is pictured as being dressed in farmer's clothing, including overalls.
  • Field spirits in Shadowrun dress like this when they take a humanoid form.

  • The Broadway musical Leave It to Me! has a Dream Sequence where Goodhue returns to his native Topeka and goes home to find his wife (normally a Rich Bitch) sitting on the gate in a bonnet and a gingham dress.

    Video Games 
  • Harvest Moon games frequently use this:
  • In World of Warcraft, Farmer Yoon, a Pandaren from the city whom you help to become a real farmer in the Tillers questline in Mists of Pandaria, wears a plaid red shirt and blue overalls.

    Western Animation 
  • Megan dressed like this in the first of the My Little Pony TV Specials. She's a farm girl who gets picked up by a talking pegasus and sent on an adventure to save her pony friends from the evil Tirek. By My Little Pony 'n Friends she had received a Girliness Upgrade that gave her overalls with frills and a white puffy shirt.
  • The perfect and sweet farm girl Lila on Hey Arnold! wears puffy sleeves with a gingham style on them on her green dress. She and her Dad move to the city from the country and eventually get used to life there. This style she wears emphasizes her prim and proper farm girl character.


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