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Significant Wardrobe Shift

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Jesse Pinkman in Season 1 (left) and Season 5 (right). Apparently, two years of Character Development and psychological trauma can leave a mark on a person's taste in clothing.

In the visual media, it's common to give important characters some kind of a cool Iconic Outfit, Limited Wardrobe, or Consistent Clothing Style that lets the audience identify them immediately. Sometimes it's just there to look cool, or sometimes it can speak volumes about said character's personality.

If it's particularly well-entrenched, though, a gradual change in the character's wardrobe can be a convenient way of showing the audience how they're gradually evolving as a character. It doesn't have to be quite as overt as an Evil Costume Switch or a Good Costume Switch, and it may not even involve a character who wears a costume.

Maybe an extroverted teenage character gradually goes from wearing flamboyant, brightly-colored clothing to more conservative dress with muted colors as he starts to mature and calm down. Maybe The Hero gradually starts to wear darker clothing as he goes from optimistic to cynical, or starts to get more in touch with the harsh realities of life as a world-saving badass.


No matter what form it takes, it's a quick, easy way to show the audience that Nothing Is the Same Anymore, and it can add some visual variety to a show that might not otherwise have it.

A Sub-Trope of Costume Evolution.

Super-Trope to the following:

Compare Iconic Outfit and Limited Wardrobe. This trope is one way that a Fanservice Pack may manifest.



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    Comic Books 
  • The 2006 incarnation of X-Force has the characters in the eponymous team (most of whom do double duty as X-Men and members of X-Force) donning black and grey versions of their regular X-threads, symbolizing their new roles as Darker and Edgier enforcers in the wake of M-Day. This is probably most obvious with Wolverine, who normally wears bright yellow and blue.
  • Grant Morrison's New X-Men has the X-Men swapping out their traditional bright blue spandex for black and yellow leather and grey turtlenecks that could easily pass for civilian dress, just as the team moves in a new direction as a highly visible peacekeeping force that fights for mutant rights worldwide.
  • A few times when The Incredible Hulk changed personality, his outfit changed too.
    • In the 280s, when he has Banner's brain, he goes from shredded purple Magic Pants to purple trunks made of unstable Molecules, which shift in size when he does.
    • Around 350, when he becomes the gray Joe Fixit (a mob enforcer in Las Vegas), he wears three-piece suits tailored to his frame.
    • In issue #377, when he becomes "Professor Hulk", he eschews purple altogether, going for black or dark blue slacks and white or black tank tops.
  • Everything about Harley Quinn's alternate Suicide Squad costume seems carefully crafted to emphasize her newfound independence from the Joker. Her original duds stuck closely to the court jester gimmick (matching the Joker's clown gimmick), and they were red and black to emphasize her evil allegiance, and to match the Joker's playing card theme. Her alternate costume ditches the jester hat, and it has a much more colorful red and blue color scheme that's all her own; it's also noticeably more revealing (with a tight corset and hot pants in place of the original's full-body suit), emphasizing her newfound sexual independence.
  • 100 Bullets:
    • Through most of the series, Lono — an infamously sadistic thug and torturer without a scrap of empathy — stands out for his love of loud Hawaiian shirts in bold colors; though partly a mark of Lono's Hawaiian heritage, they also hint at his staunch individualism, which is appropriate for a criminal who joined the Minutemen for thrills. Later on, after he accepts the position of Warlord of the Trust in the wake of Mr. Shepherd's death, he immediately begins wearing a brown trench coat on top of his Hawaiian shirts, hinting at his willingness to take on greater responsibilities that require a modicum of cleverness.
    • When we first meet Louis "Loop" Hughes, he dresses exactly like you'd expect of an impoverished kid from the inner city of Philadelphia, typically wearing low-hanging jeans and baggy basketball jerseys. Later on, when he agrees to join Lono's faction after Mr. Shepherd arranges his release from prison, his wardrobe gets noticeably swankier (tailored jackets, gold jewelry, color-coordinated outfits, etc.), showing us that he's slowly being seduced by the Trust's massive wealth and power.
    • Much like Loop, Isabel "Dizzy" Cordova starts off as an impoverished ex-gangbanger from the barrios of South Chicago, with the clothing to match (sweatpants, sneakers, tank tops, baggy jackets, etc.). After Mr. Shepherd takes her under his wing to prepare her for joining the Minutemen, her clothing gets noticeably more expensive (turtleneck sweaters, button-up shirts, leather purses, slacks, etc.), likely because Shepherd starts buying her clothes.note 
    • Everyone in the series gets a black suit and tie when they join (or rejoin) the Minutemen, making it all the more noticeable that Milo Garrett initially wears a light tan suit, which almost makes him look like a photographic negative of his younger self. Fittingly, Milo's post-Minutemen life is the polar opposite of the life of a Minuteman; while Minutemen are highly disciplined professional killers who answer to the Trust and follow a strict code of proportionate revenge, Milo is introduced as a thrill-seeking private detective who only cares about himself. Fittingly, he is the only former Minuteman who refuses to join either side in the war against the Trust, instead choosing to let Lono kill him.
  • In Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, resident everyman Dwight McCarthy is introduced as a respectable (by Basin City standards) teetotaler who wears white button-up shirts tucked into simple slacks. After he comes back from a brush with death following a reunion with his old flame Ava Lord, he manages to completely revamp his appearance with the help of a plastic surgeon, and he lets his hair grow back. He also gets a new wardrobe to match his new attitude, swapping his old threads for tight black t-shirts and a black leather trench coat with Army-style epaulets.
  • New Warriors:
    • Issue #51 one of the original series has the Thinker and the New Warriors discussing how much they've grown and evolved since they started out. This is accompanied with panels showing the various costume changes the New Warriors have undergone.
    • Marvel's Civil War event is kicked off by a tragic explosion caused by a villain that kills several heroes and dozens of schoolchildren. Speedball, the only hero to escape alive, becomes so guilt-ridden that he changes his name to "Penance" and switches from his traditional colorful threads to a drastically different costume lined with metal spikes, intentionally injuring himself to make up for his "failure".
  • In the very early days of X-Men, Professor Xavier's five original students note  initially wore identical black and yellow uniforms meant to show their shared allegiance to Xavier's School. Around 1968, as the kids gradually grew up and became more independent, Xavier eventually decided to give them all their own unique costumes to acknowledge how far they had come since beginning their training note . The individual costumes would come to be a mainstay of the X-books as time wore on, showing Xavier's movement away from the rigidity of boarding school life.
  • DC You changed the outfits of several iconic superheroes, in keeping with its Darker and Edgier atmosphere.
    • Superman's suit is changed to a T-shirt and a pair of jeans, which goes to show his transition from idealistic superhero to dour vagrant.
    • Batman used a Powered Armor with police insignias, showing his closer allegiance to the police instead of being an independent vigilante. Justified because that's James Gordon under the armor, not Bruce Wayne.
    • Wonder Woman puts on a magical armor worn by Hephaestus, accepting her responsibilities as the new Goddess of War.
  • In Knightfall, Jean-Paul Valley's descending sanity level is also tied to how his Batman uniform looks. When he first takes up the Mantle of the Bat, he's in the regular Batsuit. By the time the story ends, he's donned a suit of armor that looks more like Azrael than it does Batman.
  • Ultimate Marvel: Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor are the core members of The Ultimates. Captain America died in Cataclysm: The Ultimates' Last Stand, and Thor got lost in the Negative Zone. Stark disbanded the team, unable to continue with it without them. He keeps working as Iron Man in Ultimate FF, but with completely new armor.
  • In 1991, Wolverine dumped the brown and tan uniform he wore since after The Dark Phoenix Saga and returned to his classic yellow and blue tiger-stripe costume, though two comics gave different reasoning - his appearance in Spider-Man had his costume torn up after a tussle with the Wendigo and he switched to the old costume afterwards because of it, though in his own title seems to suggest that a bunch of problems related to his past caused him to somewhat regress.

    Film — Animation 
  • Batman: The Dark Knight Returns: News anchor Lola Chong is always seen wearing the same pink dress until after the nuclear bomb causes a prolonged winter with fewer heating utilities, at which point she starts wearing a long-sleeved shirt and vest.
  • Beauty and the Beast:
  • Frozen (2013): In the middle of her song "Let It Go", Elsa magically changes her clothes from stately royal robes to a slinky gown, symbolizing her decision to stop hiding her powers and letting others determine how she will live her life.
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame shows Frollo losing his distinctive hat whenever he's having a vulnerable moment. He doesn't wear it for his Villainous Breakdown in the song "Hellfire" and loses it completely in the climax.
  • Inside Out: Riley starts out wearing bright colorful clothes while her family's still in Minnesota. After they move to San Francisco, however, her wardrobe starts getting darker and darker as her mood deteriorates.
  • Ralph Breaks the Internet sees the Disney Princesses swap out their iconic dresses and gowns for more comfortable and modern casual wear, symbolizing how Vanellope's helping them to grow into stronger and more independent role models.
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse: Miles Morales spends most of the movie wearing a cheap Spider-Man suit that he bought at a costume shop. Once he's ready to embrace his role of being Spider-Man, he swaps it out for his iconic black and red outfit.
  • Tangled: Rapunzel swaps her lavender dress for a pink one when she is reunited with her parents, presumably to reflect a famous trope.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In 13 Going on 30 Jenna's adult clothes start off very high-fashion and kicky. As the film goes on and she reconnects with her childhood friend, she wears more pink. The costume designer explicitly points this out on the DVD's special features.
  • Big Bird in Japan: Kaguya-hime's elegant jūnihitoe appears once she is found and surrounded by her entourage. This not only reveals her as [[spoiler: the Bamboo Princess, but given that her return to her native land means having her memories wiped, it symbolizes what she's about to lose.
  • Small example in The Blob (1958). Lt Dave's tie disappears and his shirt opens by a couple of buttons around the same time he starts believing Steve about the monster.
  • The Bourne Identity: When Bourne first sets out to find his identity, he is given ill-fitting, ratty clothes by fishermen, and sticks out in his surroundings not simply due to his ignorance of his identity, but visibly by his outfit. Over the course of the movie, as he investigates his past and comes to better understand his skills, his behavior changes. By the time he duels The Professor, his awkward demeanor has transformed into a more heroic self-confidence, symbolized by his new upgraded clothing, complete with a Badass Longcoat.
  • In Bram Stoker's Dracula Mina's corset is loosened and she shows more cleavage as a sign that the vampire in her is taking over.
  • Casino Royale (2006): As a newly-assigned double-0 agent, James Bond starts off wearing off-the-rack business casual outfits. By the end of the movie, Bond becomes a Badass in a Nice Suit with tailored tuxedos and business suits.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
    • Jadis' dress. Tilda Swinton describes it as a "mood thermometer" that changes to reflect Jadis' current state. When we first see her, at the height of her reign in Narnia, it's a grand and elaborate gown with a crown of icicles. As her power weakens, the dress becomes less elaborate and the crown shrinks.
    • The Pevensies change out of their regular clothes and into Narnian ones around the time they accept their destiny.
  • In Cursed Ellie starts out wearing business suits with her hair tied back. Jimmy meanwhile wears baggy and nerdy clothes. After getting bitten by the werewolf and gaining a "natural sexual aura" Ellie wears more skirts and lets her hair down, while Jimmy wears more form-fitting clothes and styles his hair too.
  • Rex in The Devil Rides Out begins the film as a skeptic fully suited up. As he comes to have feelings for Tanith and believes in the cult they're up against, the tie and jacket come off and his shirt opens by a couple of buttons.
  • Dirty Dancing. Baby's clothes become visibly sexier from the very second time she visits the staff quarters — a sleeveless shirt as opposed to being covered up with a sweater — and get even moreso as her dance lessons continue, coinciding with her developing sexuality. They revert to plain and frumpy when her Dad finds out about her forbidden relationship with her dance instructor.
  • Enchanted:
    • Giselle arrives in New York in a big Pimped-Out Dress to reflect her fairy tale roots. She then crafts herself a blue dress that is more casual but still quite fairy tale-like. Her next one is a more flowery pink sundress. She then appears at the ball wearing a more typical evening gown - showing how she has found some ground.
    • It's the reverse with Robert. We see him less in suits and ties, and he ends the third act wearing a Prince Charming costume to reflect Giselle tweaking his idealism.
  • Stokeley of The Faculty dresses all in black for the majority of the film. In the epilogue when she's made a love connection with Stan, she's now wearing a bright purple cardigan.
  • In The Fly (1986), Seth initially has a nice but very Limited Wardrobe of five identical suits (and matching pairs of shoes!) because he doesn't like expending mental energy on choosing what to wear. Keep in mind he's a recluse and it wouldn't matter what he wore most of the time. His lover Veronica decides to change that after learning this and goes out to buy him some new wardrobe pieces — a plaid shirt, a brown leather jacket, etc. The next time he's seen he's wearing said shirt and coordinating pants, suggesting he adopted the new look immediately; the suits are never seen again. It's a sign of how his relationship with Veronica is transforming his entire life; in fact, in the same scene he finally successfully transports a living being through his telepods, which he couldn't have done had his relationship with her not led to a "Eureka!" Moment. But later that night he teleports himself and unknowingly undergoes a Teleporter Accident that leaves him fused on a genetic-molecular level with a fly. The early stages of the Slow Transformation that results have him become more virile, sensual, and aggressive, and that's when the audience starts seeing him in the leather jacket — first with the shirt, but later without it.
  • Rhett in Gone with the Wind loses his suit jacket and his shirt becomes looser after he's rescued Scarlett from Atlanta - and decides to join the army.
  • At the end of Grease, Sandy gives up her bobby-sox outfits to dress in leather, to show her love for Danny. Some modern critics feel this has the Unfortunate Implications of implying that she gave up her identity for him. On the flip side, Danny trades his greaser duds for a more wholesome jock outfit to make himself more appealing to Sandy, but he quickly switches back after seeing her new persona (also contributing to the Unfortunate Implications).
  • Sarah in Hitch begins the film wearing sharp pantsuits. As she falls for Hitch, we see her in dresses a lot more.
  • When retired from his job as a Mafiya hit man, John Wick wears simple but neat casual clothes; jeans, T-shirts, leather jackets, and the like. After he's beaten, robbed, and has his puppy killed by his old boss's thuggish son, Wick starts thinking he's back, and switches over to very stylish and expensive suits from then on.
  • In Legally Blonde after Elle resolves to become more serious, she wears black suits all the time in contrast to her previously colourful outfits. The change isn't apparent until after Callaghan makes a pass at her - and she walks into the courtroom wearing a bright pink suit (showing she's back to her old self).
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe: In Thor and The Avengers, Clint "Hawkeye" Barton exclusively wears black tactical military clothes that fall squarely under Movie Superheroes Wear Black. In the sequel, Avengers: Age of Ultron, he wears a more personalized trench coat with purple notes. There's a reason for this: Clint spends most of the first Avengers movie as a garden-variety S.H.I.E.L.D. operative, while the Avengers start out as a glorified S.H.I.E.L.D. task force; by the end of the movie, Clint has been wholeheartedly accepted as an Avenger, and the Avengers themselves have grown into True Companions. Clint's individualized dress is a sign that he's officially become part of the family.
  • Mean Girls has Cady start off wearing t-shirts and jeans. As she's corrupted into 'girl world' she gets a makeover to wear the same clothes as the Plastics. In the end when she has undergone a Heel–Face Turn she's at a balance - casual clothes but femininely styled hair.
  • My Cousin Vinny: Vinny starts out wearing casual clothing as an attorney, and is promptly critized over it by Judge Haller, who tells him that he has to wear a proper suit and tie in court, showing how he's in over his head as an attorney newly admitted to the bar. In one scene, he accidentally drops his new suit into mud, forcing him to resort to donning a tacky mauve tuxedo to court. However, despite this hiccup, he takes the situation more seriously and successfully exonerates Bill and Stan in the end.
  • In Pitch Perfect, the Trebles change from maroon hoodies to blazers under Jesse's leadership, suggesting that they have matured (which they certainly have).
  • In The Sandlot, the nerdy Scotty Smalls starts out wearing khakis and tucked-in polo shirts, with a dorky long-brimmed baseball cap with a fish on it (since it's the only baseball cap that he owns). After the ultra-cool Benny Rodriguez takes him under his wing, though, his clothing gradually gets more relaxed as the movie goes on. First, he trades the fish hat for a Chicago Cubs cap, then he stops tucking in his shirt, then he starts wearing simple shorts, and eventually t-shirts.
  • In the live-action Scooby-Doo movie, Fred and Velma's switch from their standard outfits to beach party gear is a sign they've been possessed. Averted with Daphne, as she's still wearing the same dress (but has been possessed for a shorter amount of time).
  • A Simple Favor: Both of the leading ladies indulge in this.
    • Stephanie starts out wearing brightly-colored, conservative outfits that make her look like a kindergarten teacher. As the film goes on, and she becomes increasingly broken, she starts wearing darker colors and showing more skin.
    • Emily mostly wears black and dresses in a very sexy, elegant manner. She also almost always wears suits. When screwing with Sean and Stephanie at the end, she comes out wearing a bright blue 1950s Housewife-style dress. It's somewhat similar to what Stephanie was wearing earlier, except way more elegant.
  • Star Wars:
    • Luke Skywalker's clothes gradually become darker over the course of the original Star Wars trilogy as he grows into his role as the savior of the Jedi and takes on heavier burdens. In A New Hope, when he's a wide-eyed farm boy dreaming of adventure, he dresses completely in white. In The Empire Strikes Back, he wears a grey military uniform. In Return of the Jedi, when the revelation about Darth Vader's identity has fully set in, he wears black with white underneath.
    • Anakin Skywalker's clothes do the same in the prequel trilogy, climaxing with a full-on Evil Costume Switch when he becomes Darth Vader. In The Phantom Menace, he wears light tan. In Attack of the Clones, when his anger and arrogance start to become obvious, he wears dark brown. In Revenge of the Sith, he begins wearing black (even before he fully becomes a Sith Lord). After his Face–Heel Turn mid-film, he begins to wear his hooded cloak full time.
    • Leia in A New Hope wore regal white outfits, being the resident princess to rescue. She spends most of The Empire Strikes Back in arctic-themed military attire and Return of the Jedi has her joining a commando raid against the shield generator wearing camouflage gear, which reflects her more hands-on involvement with the action.
    • Padme in The Phantom Menace wore very elaborate clothing and complex make-up and hairstyles, which changed from scene to scene. This was done as part of the story because she was using Body Doubles and this helped keep her identity a secret. Attack of the Clones gave her just as many costume changes but her outfits and make-up were slightly more subdued, and she spends the second half of the film largely wearing the same form-fitting white outfit as she had to engage in more action sequences. Revenge of the Sith sees her return to slightly more elegant clothing because she was hiding her pregnancy.
    • Rey in the sequel trilogy. She starts out with a tan outfit in The Force Awakens befitting of her desert home and has a more grey costume at the end as she seeks out Luke. For most of The Last Jedi, she dresses in a darker grey and black as she demonstrates darker tendencies. In The Rise of Skywalker, she's dressed in white (and has a hood), signifying her progress in her Jedi training.
  • The Stepford Wives of course uses this as code for when someone's been replaced with a robot: the woman in question will suddenly be wearing a traditional 1950s housewife dress with elaborately styled hair and a lot more make-up.
  • In Theodora Goes Wild, Theodora's outfits are extravagant and stylish, showing her newfound personality. Compare this to her modest suits from the beginning before her transition into "wild" Theodora.
  • X-Men: Apocalypse: Xavier's attire before and after his encounter with Apocalypse is quite different, and it illustrates a major change in his worldview. He begins with laid-back, '80s-influenced apparel, and he then switches to a conservative, Simple, yet Opulent suit. Charles is naïve at first, but his optimism is later tempered by realism.

  • In Daughter Of Fortune, which takes place during the California Gold Rush, Tao Chi'en is attacked in the street and has his queue forcibly cut off. He takes that as a sign to change from his traditional Chinese apparel to a more Westernized look of suit and tie. It shows others that he has access to areas that other Chinese do not and that he is willing to cut ties with his homeland. Eliza has trouble recognizing him at first when he shows up at Joe's establishment looking like this.
  • From the Deryni works by Katherine Kurtz:
    • The relative security of Deryni in Gwynedd (as well as his status as a badass) is reflected in Alaric Morgan's clothing. During his twenties and early thirties as reactionary forces hold sway in the Church and government, he generally wears "sable" (black) riding leathers, with a chain mail shirt that "gleamed openly at wrists and throat, boldly belligerent and just a little too ready for trouble". By the time Kelson had ruled for several years (in The Bishop's Heir), he's described as having transitioned through muted grey with a deep burgundy cloak, followed by deep blues, then greens and golds and particolours — "the rich jewel tones rather than bright shades". For Kelson's accolade in The Quest for Saint Camber, Morgan was "[c]lad in forest green velvet... ducally crowned with gold and with Kelson's sword in his hands, he looked like some elemental godling—sunlight on forest leaves and pine boughs, puissant and vital". Secure at last?
    • Duncan's tenuous position within the Church is reflected in his swapping between secular and sacred garb. Aside from the need for discretion, Duncan reverts to mostly secular dress when his vocation is in doubt or when it's prudent to emphasize his secular role. Even then, there are usually subtle clues to his priesthood: he left to lead the northern army on the Mearan campaign with the sword and crozier crossed en saltire behind the embroidered crest on his clothing and the cross-shaped nose piece on his helm, and he entered Laas with Kelson in ducal coronet and armor with a scarlet bishop's cope.
  • Hester of The Scarlet Letter has spiritual ups and downs over the course of several years which are accompanied by various degrees of subdued wardrobe and effort put into her appearance.
  • Mentioned in Worm as part of Taylor's backstory. Prior to high school, she wore well-fitting jeans and t-shirts in bright colors. Due to constant bullying and her self-esteem nose-diving, Taylor's wardrobe veered into drab and bulky jeans and hoodies as she tried to hide. After joining the Undersiders and gradually regaining her sense of worth, Taylor started to wear dresses, tight jeans, and stomach-baring t-shirts.
  • In Larry Niven and Edward M. Lerner's Juggler of Worlds there is a cultural association with wearing brighter colors and being interested in finding romance. At the end of the book, Sigmund, who had always before worn black, changes his clothes to lighter colors to signal that he is interested in his love interest, who in turn shows up to his house wearing the brightest, hottest pink available.
  • In This Other World, younger people dress in dark, somber colors, while people who've gone through Ha-Ran wear bright, patterned outfits to signify the complexity of communal living.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: In the first two seasons, Agent Coulson wears the standard suit and tie of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, but in season 3 he starts wearing colored shirts without a tie partially because he hasn't figured out how to tie one with his artificial hand.
  • The costume changes have been symbolic in the Arrowverse as the characters in the shows have evolved.
    • Arrow: Oliver started out wearing grease-paint makeup and a relatively simple green leather outfit (befitting someone assembling a costume on their own in a quasi-realistic setting) as the killer Vigilante/Hood, then as he gains more allies and changes his attitude to be the less-lethal Arrow the costume acquires a slightly more sophisticated look, culminating in trading in the makeup for the standard superhero domino mask. When he finally becomes the Green Arrow in Season 4, and the show's setting having firmly moved out of the "realistic" area with superpowered humans, superscience, magic, and time travel, the costume looks much more like one befitting a superhero.
    • The Flash (2014): Barry's Season One costume was more muted with some differences from the standard comics version of the Flash costume. Come Season 2, when he's firmly established as a respected and beloved superhero, Barry dons the white and gold emblem used in the comics. In Season 4, Cisco Ramon creates a brighter and streamlined suit upon Barry’s return from the Speed Force. A redesigned suit is used for Season 5, created sometime in the future by an unseen Ryan Choi.
  • Babylon 5:
    • Londo Mollari, who started off as a loud, boisterous almost comic character, often wore a purple longcoat. In later seasons, after his deals with Morden and pretty much starting a war, he starts wearing a black one.
    • After seceding from the Earth Alliance, the human main characters all trade in their Earthforce uniforms for a spiffy black ensemble.
  • The Big Bang Theory
    • Penny wears low-cut tops, booty shorts, and loud colors to reflect the fact that she's a very young woman optimistically dressing like what she thinks a hot young woman in LA would wear. In season four, after she's done a little growing up and become a bit more of a cynic, she begins dressing a bit more conservatively and less like a teenager. By the later seasons, she would sometimes be seen wearing slacks and a flannel shirt to reflect her Nebraska background.
    • Howard's typical ensemble involved jeans, a button-up shirt, extravagant belt buckle, and a turtleneck dickie, all in very garish and loud colors. He doesn't grow out of it completely but in later seasons as he married Bernadette and had a family his color choices became more fashionable, typically by wearing more complementary colors like darker jeans or turtleneck with a red or purple shirt.
  • Breaking Bad:
    • When Jesse Pinkman first appears, he's almost invariably seen wearing loud, eye-catching clothes, including a bright yellow hoodie that he wears in almost every scene. After Season 2, when he goes through a succession of traumatic events including quitting heroin and coping with his girlfriend's death, his personality mellows out considerably, and he begins dressing in a noticeably darker, more muted color palette.
    • The first real outward sign that Walt is beginning to change from Mr. Chips into Scarface is when he shaves his head and dons his trademark Heisenberg hat. After his empire falls apart in Season 5, Walt’s clothes become filthy and disheveled during his self-imposed exile, but he’s back in his normal duds for the finale.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Buffy in early seasons was made to look more like a Valley Girl - with shoulder-length bleached hair, bubble gum-coloured nails, and lots of short skirts. As she went through college and matured, her clothing became much more sensible for slaying.
    • Willow began as a nerd who wore clothes her mother picked out for her. As she comes out of her shell, she wears more colourful outfits and lots of fuzzy sweaters. By the final season where she's a very powerful witch, she wears lots of long skirts and clothing reminiscent of Tara.
    • Giles started off the series predominantly wearing tweed suits, giving the impression of him as a relatively buttoned-up and stuffy mentor figure that contrasted with the younger Buffy, Xander, and Willow. After he gets fired by the Watchers Council in Season 3, he starts to loosen up a bit in wearing non-tweed clothing. It's played up further in Season 4 following the loss of his other job as school librarian due to Sunnydale High blowing up in the Season 3 finale, where he's even shown dressing in casual wear
  • In Charmed Phoebe's outfits become much vampier after her job as the advice columnist kicks off. It also coincides with her divorce being finalized. Perhaps her way of letting the men know she's back on the market?
  • Community: Overlapping with Early Installment Weirdness, Annie is initially characterized as a rather prim and brittle bookworm with a dowdy fashion sense. Over the course of the first season, she quickly shifts into an adorably sweet romantic and starts wearing more modern, fashionable outfits.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Fourth Doctor's outfit gets progressively more Victorian and better coordinated as his character matures while sticking to the same "coat, fedora, and unreasonably long scarf" theme. He starts out a Rummage Sale Reject wearing a tacky argyle cardigan with a pocket watch, a clashing green neckerchief, and a red safari jacket; switches to waistcoats, frock coats, and a plain red neckerchief when he becomes a Reasonable Authority Figure; and shifts fully into Byronic Hero with an all-red outfit based on Victorian military formal wear. He also spends most of "The Deadly Assassin" without his trademark scarf, indicating the darker tone his character is treated with in the serial.
    • The Seventh Doctor wore a light blazer in his first two seasons when he was mostly a goofy guy who clowned his way out of stuff as much as planned his way. In his third season, he wore a darker blazer to reflect the fact that he was now a stone-cold planner who would do whatever it took, no matter how dark.
    • The Eleventh Doctor spends the majority of his tenure in a short brown tweed coat with shoulder patches, but after he loses his companions halfway through Series 7, he switches it out for a more Victorian look with a long purple frock coat and a grey or black waistcoat.
    • The Twelfth Doctor changes his shirts a lot from the start, but his costume and hair significantly evolve over his tenure.
      • In Series 8, the contrast between Eleven's whimsical, youthful nature and his old, grouchy, dour one is reflected in his "serious" wardrobe. His curly silver hair is close-cropped and his Crombie coat and coordinating pants are always in crisp condition.
      • In "Last Christmas" and the first three-quarters of Series 9, he has moved past his post-regeneration identity crisis and is more relaxed, traveling with a companion he has known and loved for a long time. He's often seen in a coat, hoodie, and T-shirt, sometimes with plaid trousers ala the Second Doctor. His hair has grown into obvious, fluffy curls.
      • He returns to his pressed-suit look, but with a cozier red velvet Crombie coat, in the Season Finale three-parter as he struggles with Clara Oswald's death and a wrenching imprisonment/torture. He makes an Evil Costume Switch late in the game to a black trenchcoat, having become a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds, but after he redeems himself he gives it up in favor of a new Crombie coat.
      • In the follow-up Christmas Episodes and Series 10, he usually has the formal suits of Series 8, but they are not as severe. The hoodie occasionally shows up in his more casual moods. His hair is fluffier than ever.
  • In The Dropout, designer Ana Arriola suggests to Elizabeth that she should dress more like a CEO, but Elizabeth is not interested in spending energy in her appearance. By the end of the "Green Juice" episode, after convincing Sunny to join the company and invest $12 million, Elizabeth has gone from untucked button down shirts and sweaters to a female version of Steve Jobs in black turtlenecks and slacks, complemented by red lipstick.
  • Elementary: Joan's on-the-job clothes changed dramatically from season 1 to season 5. She originally dressed casually but has since begun dressing formally (and somewhat more masculinely) in suit jackets and ties. This shift goes with her Character Development. Joan becomes a better detective and begins becoming more independent from Sherlock.
  • In Farscape John Crichton spends much of the first season wearing parts of his IASA flight suit, but shifts over to darker-colored native clothing similar to Aeryn Sun's as he gets used to being part of Moya's crew and loses some of his innocence.
  • Game of Thrones
    • Sansa Stark starts off with a braided hairstyle wearing dresses that are simple and practical, like everything else in the North, but her clothes are somewhat fancier than Catelyn's or Arya's since she longs to be a Princess Classic in King's Landing. Once she becomes a hostage in King's Landing, she wears sumptuous dresses and an elaborate hairstyle like Cersei, reflecting her status as Joffrey's betrothed and a member of the royal court. However, these dresses are also made of more fragile pastel-colored fabric, reflecting her helplessness. She shifts back to a much more somber style in Season 3 wearing mournful, monochrome colors and loose hair since she has fallen from her status as the King's betrothed and cast aside. It gets worse when, not only has her father been executed, her mother and oldest brother are slaughtered with her two younger brothers believed to have been murdered as well. While in Season 4, she keeps a somber look reflecting her refugee situation, the more she loses her innocence, the darker her wardrobe becomes, until she ends Season 4 wearing a pitch-black feathered gown, along with the dark hair she uses to disguise herself, meaning she's becoming a dangerous player in the game. After finally breaking free from Ramsay and reuniting with her brother, Jon, the first family member she has seen again in a long time, Sansa fully embraces her Stark identity. She reverses to Northern clothing style with the blue gowns and braided hair, but, since she is no longer a little girl like in Season 1, her clothes are very reminiscent of Catelyn's, meaning she has now taken over her mother's role as Lady of Winterfell along with a very much Ned-looking Jon.
    • At the beginning of Season 1, Daenerys wears dresses so sheer and delicate that you practically see through them, reflecting her frailty. Then she switches to more sturdy Dothraki garb as she grows more assertive. She wears elegant blue and white gowns from Season 3 onwards, as she grows into her queenship. Her clothes in season 5 are a drastic change from the blues she'd been wearing for the past two seasons, as she starts exclusively wearing white and light grays. This is meant to make her seem pure and remote to show her over-idealism by thinking she could just end slavery without causing any problems. Both she and her goals are beginning to seem impossible and hollow as the city is consumed by strife between the former slaves and masters. She starts wearing more black and red, her House colors, beginning at the end of Season 6, in contrast to her usual white and blue dresses in previous seasons, signifying the reaffirmation of her status as a Targaryen and conqueror as she begins her invasion of Westeros.
    • Jon Snow also has a significant wardrobe change in Season 6 after leaving the Night's Watch where he switches his black cloak for a sturdy, blue and brown armor, resembling a Stark armor previously worn by his father Ned and brother Robb, signifying him claiming back his roots and foreshadowing his ascension as King in the North in the season finale. In addition, Sansa enforces it by making him a wolf pelt coat explicitly based on Ned's, as we saw in his very first scene in Season 1.
    • At the beginning of the show, Cersei often wore light blues and golds to appear gentler. As time passes and she becomes more paranoid, she begins to wear the Lannister colors, red and gold, more often as well as incorporating metal into her dresses. After Joffrey dies, she starts wearing black clothes with a dagger pattern, and her dress at the end of season 6 is practically armor.
    • Jaime's casual outfit during his command of the Second Siege of Riverrun in Season 6 is a curious composite of Tyrion and Tywin's outfits (the color scheme mostly harkening Tyrion's suit as Acting Hand of the King, while the design of the upper garment is more Tywin's). Quite appropriate, considering his turn into the capable commander and politician Tywin and Tyrion probably wanted him to be.
    • Margaery Tyrell tends to wear more revealing clothing than the noblewomen of Westeros to reflect the more progressive attitude of the Reach. When she is arrested and imprisoned by the High Sparrow, she begins to wear more modest, plain gowns to symbolise her newfound faith.
  • Grey's Anatomy: Meredith retires the ferryboat scrub cap, which was originally Derek's, at the end of Season 14 as she begins to move past his death.
  • Rikki Chadwick in H₂O: Just Add Water is at first presented as a tomboy who wears mainly jeans and baggy pants. As her relationship with Zane blossoms, she'll be shown in short-shorts and skirts a bit more.
  • In one episode of Happy Days Fonzie decides to give up his tough-guy biker attitude to become a calm person. He switches from his trademark white t-shirt and brown leather jacket to a light blue t-shirt and no jacket.
  • Homicide: Life on the Street: Felton shifts from wearing a suit to dressing in casual clothes as he descends into alcoholism and his behavior becomes increasingly erratic and unreliable.
  • Kamen Rider sometimes has the characters go through a wardrobe shift as the show progresses:
    • Kamen Rider OOO is infected with a set of artifacts that start turning him into a monster, not unlike the show's villains halfway through the show, and like them, he starts wearing a lot of his new Medal color.
    • Kamen Rider Gaim has Kouta switch from his Team Gaim blazer to a black leather jacket as the rivalry between the dance teams stops being relevant and he's forced to face more serious antagonists. He also grows out his hair considerably over the course of the show as the city he lives in begins breaking down.
    • Kamen Rider Drive has a subtle one: at the start of the show, the Brilliant, but Lazy main character leaves his tie loose, only tightening it properly when he becomes fully motivated to solve the case at hand. As the series progresses and he recovers the zeal for the life he'd lost, he eventually starts wearing the tie properly at all times.
  • In The Mandalorian, the titular character has spent the past three episodes in dingy, worn armor as he works to get a full suit of beskar, a high-quality Mandalorian metal. After a highly lucrative bounty is turned in, he walks out of the enclave where he got it with a fully-kitted out and shiny suit of armor...right before he storms a bunker owned by the Empire to rescue the bounty he'd just turned in.
  • Merlin:
    • Done with Gwen; in the first season they intentionally dressed Angel Coubly down, only to gradually give her appearance more care and attention as the romance with Arthur progressed.
    • While Morgana is at court, she has the expected elaborate finery of a royally-connected lady. After she's outed as a traitor and retreats to the woods, she only wears black dresses - and they are more simple.
  • In season 1 of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, Billy Cranston wore often overalls as a sign of his nerdiness (and to hide David Yost's gymnast physique). In season 2, the overalls were gone, replaced by polos or plaid unbuttoned dress shirts over t-shirts and jeans. By the movie and season 3, the glasses were gone and Zeo had him switch from blue to black after his retirement as a Ranger.
  • Mister Rogers' Neighborhood is an interesting example in that it occurred at the beginning of every episode. Mr. Rogers entered the house and immediately changed from his businesslike suit coat and dress shoes into a more casual cardigan and sneakers.
  • In Once Upon a Time:
    • Regina's outfits in the flashbacks are a good indicator of what point in her Face–Heel Turn she's at: If it's before she's evil, she has simple hairstyles and riding clothes. If she's learning magic from Rumpelstiltskin, she's wearing some finery but her hair is simple. If it's before Leopold's death, her clothes are bright and elaborate. If she's the Evil Queen, she wears lots of black with Absolute Cleavage and her hair is in elaborate updos.
    • Ruby is shown mainly in her Stripperiffic waitress outfit or otherwise revealing clothes. After her Aesop in the episode "Red Handed", she's shown dressing more modestly and is shown less in her uniform.
    • Cora's change from flowing gowns to sharp pantsuits are half symbolic and half justified - she changes around the time she reveals herself to Regina, so the clothes symbolise how mother and daughter are working together. And also how she no longer has to remain undercover in Storybrooke.
  • In Smallville before it, Clark Kent initially had no costume at all as a high-school student in Smallville. Later after he becomes "the Blur" in Metropolis, he adopts a black Badass Longcoat with the House of El insignia in white on a black T-shirt. Early in season 10, he shifts to a red and blue jacket and trousers as the Blur gradually morphs into Superman, and he finally receives the classic Superman outfit in the Grand Finale.
  • Implied in Sons of Anarchy. At some point before the events of the show, the titular motorcycle club went from wearing light-colored denim cutoff vests to black leather ones, signifying their shift from a brotherhood of freedom-loving outlaws to a violent criminal syndicate who are Only in It for the Money. Notably, the aging co-founder Piermont "Piney" Winston (who founded the gang with Jax Teller's father John shortly after the Vietnam War) is the sole member who still wears the old denim uniform, signifying his opposition to the club's new direction.
  • Star Trek:
  • Succession:
    • At the start of the series, Kendall is the heir apparent to Logan and dresses like a typical uber-wealthy finance bro. Once he's ousted from the company and forced to abandon his ambitions, he ditches the bland businessman look and the austere color palette and starts wearing a lot of browns instead.
    • In Season 1, Shiv wears slouchy sweaters and pants in soft colors, because she wants to be seen as an individual outside her family's influence. In Season 2, where she starts vying for leadership of Waystar, her wardrobe is monochromatic and comprised of turtlenecks and button-downs — she wants to be seen as powerful and business-savvy.
    • Doofy, middle-class Cousin Greg eventually starts wearing suits that actually fit him, showing that he's slowly becoming more comfortable in the world of the rich.
  • In Wolf Hall, Thomas Cromwell is never dressed in shabby clothingnote  but as he ascends in Henry's esteem his clothing becomes finer to match. It's still always dark, but starting partway through the third episode fur and velvet become constants rather than occasional.
  • Castiel on Supernatural has several of these despite his Iconic Outfit of the suit with a blue tie and a trench coat, usually signifying either a change in his mental state or his power level. The first time we see Cas without the outfit, for instance, he's an amnesiac going by Emmanuel and wearing a blue sweater and casual pants. When he gets his memory back but goes into the mental hospital, having taken on Sam's Hell-induced trauma, the trench coat is back, but instead of the suit, he's wearing hospital issue white scrubs. Upon his return from purgatory, literally the first thing he does after greeting the boys is to go into a bathroom and freshen up, coming back in the Iconic Outfit, showing he's back to normal. In season 9 after losing his powers and becoming human (meaning he can't keep his clothes neat and clean with his powers) he starts wearing casual clothes, including hoodies, t-shirts, and jeans or a simple white shirt and jeans with his work vest for his job at the Gas 'N Sip. Once he gets his powers back, the suit makes a reappearance as he tries to work with his fellow angels against Metatron, but his tie is still conspicuously absent, a signifier that he's not all there - considering his returned powers are actually the result of stealing someone else's, and, subsequently he's also dying. (And that's without bringing in the instances where absence of bits of the outfit mean Cas isn't present in or in control of the body we typically see him in at all- like the trench coats absence on Jimmy when he temporarily leaves Jimmy's body and possesses Claire Novak, or the absence of the trench coat when Lucifer's in control of Cas's vessel. It Makes Sense in Context, really.)

  • Eminem started out with a garishly bleached blond caesar cut, a white tshirt, baggy jeans, silver hoop earrings and a dog tag necklace - sort of a hip-hopped-out parody of an All American Boy. In 2000, he swapped the white tshirt for a white wifebeater to play up his white-trash machismo and distinguish him from the million others dressing like him, with the dog tags now taking on a militant tone. By 2002, he felt comfortable enough as part of hip-hop culture to spend most of his time in baggy hip-hop clothing, sagged pants and dorags, but reinforced his Psychopathic Manchild persona by sticking to cartoonish colours like bright reds, emerald greens, and baby blues; he also stopped wearing his earrings and changed his hair colour to a more golden shade of blond, signifying his increasing emotional maturity. For his Career Resurrection in 2009, he came back at first in baggy, bold-coloured tshirts and baseball caps similar to what he'd been wearing before, but signalled his recovery from drug addiction with a buzz cut in his natural dark brown colour, and the addition of a crucifix necklace. After a Creator Backlash to the music he made in that era, he drastically overhauled his wardrobe to a black leather jacket and grey and black tshirts - the kind of thing a rock star might wear instead of a rapper, to show off his more rock-influenced new sound and his new role as a mature Recovered Addict Paragon. In 2013, for The Marshall Mathers LP 2, he merged this with elements of his 2000 look, going blond again (this time a silvery blond to play up his increasing age) and returning to his white tshirt and dog tags, but with his AA sobriety coin chip embedded in the dog tag and with boom-bap-era influences like Timbs and luxury padded coats to match the old-school vibe of the album. When making a comeback in 2017, he returned in a dark tracksuit, dark tshirt and Kangol cap, now wearing a gold rope chain (a gift from his childhood hero LL Cool J) and matching Rolex, with dark hair and a beard to signal his advancing age and insecurity; he also started wearing tshirts with the covers of his childhood favourite hip-hop albums on them, as a means of exposing his influences and spreading his love for the culture.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • In general a wrestler changing their style of gear around usually is accompanied by a tweak to their gimmick.
  • Gorgeous George, a basic boots and Underwear of Power wrestler who wrestled good and clean. But really took off as a cheater, and more importantly, when he put on a dress.
  • Konnan initially wore eye-searingly bright, multi-colored jackets with equally bright gloves and bandanas in accordance with him working for television shows for children when not working for LLI/UWA or CMLL but in AAA when he joined Los Gringos Locos, he began wearing darker colors, crusher caps, and business casual attire.
  • His initial NWA\WCW run in the main event saw Sting wear many bright-colored singlets but as he began associating with the more morally dubious Lex Luger and The Four Horsemen he increasingly wore black and as the nWo began taking over and Sting was accused of being a conspirator, despite being one of their first targets, he also took to wearing a trench coat.
  • Test switched from long pants to biker shorts at the wishes of his girlfriend/ business advisor Stacy Keibler - in the hopes of making his fanbase grow.
  • Kane began WWE wearing a full-on bodysuit because he was supposedly scarred in a fire. As his character became less of a monster (and started speaking more) he started wearing less and less clothing. After unmasking, he went topless completely.
  • Chyna in WWE was presented as a Brawn Hilda who only wore black. After making a love connection with Eddie Guerrero, she received a Girliness Upgrade and was seen in dresses with her hair styled.
  • Carly the avenging company savior came to the ring in a wife-beater and sweatpants, emphasizing his lack of concern with much besides jumping right into the fight. When he left Puerto Rico and attempted a Gorgeous George gimmick he went shirtless with tights, and when that didn't work out he got pants and armbands as a "cool" Cabana boy.
  • As Triple H gained the managerial services of Ric Flair, he swapped out his usual t-shirt and jeans attire for suits and sunglasses. His ring gear didn't change much, apart from occasionally wearing purple trunks.
  • Bryan Danielson was given a mask in New Japan Pro-Wrestling, their way of making him a literal "American Dragon". Distaff Counterpart American Angel got a similar deal in LLF.
  • The mask of Delirious seems to reflect his mood. White, angry groaning. Green, loony hyperactive unintelligible Motor Mouth. Red, Ax-Crazy, revenge obsessed. Black, bitter attack dog angry at the world easily directed by Jimmy Jacobs...the exception was Chikara due to UltraMantis Black and the eye of Tyr disrupting things.
  • El Sensational Carlitos wore straw hats, bright unbuttoned shirts, jeans, and went without shoes in his initial start as a Colon family parody. When he started getting popular with the IWA PR crowds though, not only would he find footwear, but he'd advised to wear business attire pants and suit jackets over buttoned-up shirts...and straighten his afro back into a ponytail on his uncovered head. He reverted to his old look in rebellion but teaming with Hiram Tua saw him get boots, tights, and often sleeveless shirts when not shirtless entirely as he became less of a parody and more a wrestler to be taken seriously.
  • When the Lovely Lacey took on Jimmy Jacobs as one of her angels, one of her first orders of business was getting rid of his fuzzy boots. And thus the end of the likable Jacobs had begun, as he would soon dedicate himself to trying to win her love.
  • In Chikara Austin Aries got pink and black trunks, a fur jacket, and a cape, no longer being the bitter serious Jerkass but a brash, womanizing Jerkass, A Double, the greatest man who ever lived!
  • The Bella Twins initially wore identical outfits to match their gimmick of Making Use of the Twin in matches. Along with the 2013 Heel–Face Turn, both twins started differentiating their styles and developing their own identities. Brie wore her hair back and favoured outfits with ruffles on the legs - while Nikki opted for a t-shirt, soccer socks, and a backwards baseball cap. Also as the twins started a feud with each other, Brie changed her outfits to tights with slashes on the sides - as well as tying a flannel shirt around her waist as a nod to her husband.
  • Kaitlyn wore less sparkly spandex and a lot more street clothes as her feud with Eve Torres intensified.
  • AJ Lee in her 'Geek Goddess' persona favoured tights with Hello Kitty skulls or plaid prints. After her Face–Heel Turn as part of Dolph Ziggler's entourage, she adopted a now-iconic look of Girlish Pigtails, cut-off denim shorts, and a shredded t-shirt.
  • As Beth Phoenix began her 'Divas of Doom' phase, she changed her usual suits for an outfit with a skirt. Out of the ring she wore lots more dresses and feminine outfits.
  • A female wrestler will often make the switch from skirts or hot pants to longer tights if she wants to be taken as a serious title contender. Trish Stratus, Melina, Candice Michelle, Mickie James, and Kelly Kelly are examples.

  • In Hadestown, Persephone switches outfits at the end of Act 1 from spring green to underworld black as part of going home to Hadestown, while for Act 2, Eurydice wears a worker outfit since she signed Hades' contract. Hades himself ditches his leather coat and sunglasses for a more open three-piece waistcoat as the audience starts to know him more.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Code:Realize Cardia starts out with a highly impractical frilly outfit with a Show Girl Skirt and gets a new, more action-oriented outfit after she's lived in the mansion for a while, signifying her shift in character from passive to active participant in her own fate.
  • As the story of Melody progresses, the title character will wear formal clothes more often and less reluctantly.

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY
    • The Time Skip between Volumes 3 and 4 show characters in new outfits as befits their new circumstances. Yang and Weiss are trapped at home, each wearing clothing suitable to their home lifestyles and states of mind: Yang's being a low maintenance grunge style and Weiss wearing extremely elegant, wealthy dresses. Team RNJR have been on the road for months, so their clothes are practical, travel-worn attire; both Team RNJR and Cinder sport clothing changes that refer to the traumas they've experienced during Volume 3. Jaune, Nora, and Ren adopt elements of Pyrrha's design and weapons, while Ruby adopts elements of Penny's; Cinder adopts a long gown that covers the left side of her body, which has been badly maimed by Ruby's Traumatic Superpower Awakening.
    • From Volume 4, Ironwood is based in Atlas, and dealing with high society as part of his determination to protect Atlas from the villains. His combination of dress uniform, shaggier hair, and Perma-Stubble emphasise the political stresses he's dealing with. From Volume 7, he's back in more practical military dress and sporting a full beard, as Salem brings the fight to Atlas's doorstep and he responds by descending into military dictatorship.
    • At the end of Volume 6, Oscar gives up the farm clothing he's been wearing since he left his aunt's farm, and adopts his very first set of combat gear, developing a look that combines both his individual style and the styles of the men whose legacies he's inherited. He makes it clear to the heroes that he's determined to help them fight Salem in any way he can, and his change of clothing is part of his decision to do that.
    • In Volume 7, the heroes arrive in Atlas and join forces with Ironwood to protect the kingdom and fight the Big Bad. As a result, they refresh their wardrobes, wearing smarter, warmer clothing as befits their professional status and tundra environment. Some of the villains also update their clothing for the new environment, with Salem sporting a new dress now that she's stepped out of the shadows, Mercury and Emerald adopting warmer clothing, and Hazel, Cinder, and Neo adopting fashions that suit their fighting styles and states of mind.
    • In Volume 8, Winter's basic design is altered to include extensive strapping of her arms and torso. This is to reflect the extensive injuries she suffered at the end of Volume 7 and that Salem's arrival has given everyone no time to recuperate. The only way Winter gets out of her hospital bed is through having an exoskeleton heavily fortifying her injured body.

  • In El Goonish Shive, Pandora's descent into madness caused by her husband's untimely death is represented by her cloak's collar becoming furred at the end of the "Legacy" storyline.
  • In The Order of the Stick, female lead Haley Starshine has undergone a number of wardrobe shifts to indicate Character Development. She moves from a stereotypical fantasy outfit to a more covered one to indicate gained maturity, and then into a more practical one to indicate gained confidence.
  • Sleepless Domain: It's a known fact that magical girls' costumes generally reflect the girls who wear them and can change significantly with major life events or Character Development:
    • Heartful Punch admits she used to be so torn up about her mother Mitsuki's death that her costume, which is now fully pink and white, once had black in it.
    • Undine gains Tessa's Giant Waist Ribbon after Tessa heals her, and, as of Chapter 14, Undine's costume has sleeves that match Heartful Punch's costume, indicating that she's become more comfortable with the idea of teaming up.
  • In Yokoka's Quest, Yokoka switches from wearing starry pajamas to wearing a Martial Arts Uniform after she begins training in the underground village. Mao changes from one casual outfit to another after his first set is ruined fighting snake-centipedes, and more significantly changes outfit again (gaining a Scarf of Asskicking) once he starts fighting in the Darkness Clan's arena.

    Web Original 
  • Used by Philosophy Tube on his video on Domestic Abuse and Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male. The video, which was done in a single take, sees Oliver Thorn starting out in a Superman T-shirt, and explaining the many pitfalls of the double standard trope, including the societal idea that men are able to 'handle it' if they find themselves stuck in an abusive relationship. Halfway through the video, after revealing how he himself had been a victim of domestic abuse and almost killed himself over it and having a breakdown on camera, the camera slowly does a pan away and does a 360-degree overview shot of the studio he films in. By the time the camera has returned to Olly, he has dressed himself up as Clark Kent, representing that he no longer accepts a Superman-type image of men in relationships.
    • Used even more significantly by Abigail Thorn in her video "Identity", in which she comes out as transgender.