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Useless Accessory

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An accessory which characters never actually use, but which is noticeable enough that they must consciously choose to wear it.

For example, a Discredited Trope from The Dark Age of Comic Books was superhero costumes featuring a large number of pouch-covered belts and harnesses - which never actually seemed to be used, since most of these heroes relied on their powers rather than on gadgets.

This is a Super-Trope to the following tropes:

Compare with Chekov's Gun (not to be confused with Chekhov's Gun). Also related to Cosmetic Award and Badass Bandolier. A Set Bonus can make such an item a subversion.

Before adding examples, please make make sure that they don't fit in a Sub trope.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Yuuno's side-pouch in Lyrical Nanoha, which we never see him use. Some Fan Web Comics (Omake (?)) have made speculations on what he places in there.
  • Sailor V's mask is this. Unlike Sailor Moon's similar mask in the manga it has no point aside from obscuring her face. When she becomes Sailor Venus she continues to wear it offscreen for a bit and during her introduction (probably so viewers/readers know that she and Sailor V are the same person) ditches it once she joins the team and her identity is never revealed due to it.
  • In the Anime of the Game Sands of Destruction, Kyrie's knife is this. In the game, he dual-wielded knives, but in the anime he was turned into a Non-Action Guy and Distressed Dude. The knife remained part of his design as The Artifact, and is never used.
  • Yoh's headphones from Shaman King. They're such an integral part of his character that seemingly every villain calls him "headphones" at one point or another, but he stops using them after the first few chapters.
    • Supposedly he has them in the first place to block out other people's thoughts. How headphones help avoid mind-reading is another big question. In reality they belong to his father and he stole them so he could feel closer to him.

    Comic Books 
  • Rob Liefeld is notorious for giving all of his characters costumes with dozens of tiny pouches, including pouch belts on their thighs, which never seem to be used.
  • Used on-and-off by Deadpool, whose pouches are almost never used. When they are used, they have contained action figures (of himself), wallet, keys, and (on one occasion) a pancreas. Then again, he's Deadpool. Logic doesn't work on him.
  • Bob Burden's Flaming Carrot wears flippers all the time, in case he needs to swim.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • When Star Wars first came out, nobody questioned why Chewbacca was wearing what looked like a clunky sash and nothing else. The Expanded Universe eventually established it was a bandolier containing various tips (explosive, armor piercing) for use with his bowcaster.

  • In Knowing Me, Knowing You by Helen Bailey, protagonist Channy mentions that at one point her friend Taryn was trying to cultivate an "alternative" look and began carrying a silver kettle instead of a bag. Since she couldn't actually fit anything inside the kettle, she insisted on keeping all her stuff in Channy's bag.

    Live Action TV 
  • Doctor Who: The Doctor usually has rather Rummage Sale Reject costumes, but the fifth Doctor also wore a piece of celery in his lapel.
    Tenth Doctor: (Mocking his fifth self, to his face.) Hey! I'm the Doctor, I can save the Universe using a kettle and some string and look at me, I'm wearing a vegetable!
    • It was eventually explained in his final episode as a precaution against a particular poisonous gas.
      The Doctor: If the gas is present, the celery turns purple.
      Peri: And then what do you do?
      The Doctor: I eat the celery. If nothing else, I'm sure it's good for my teeth.
    • The producer and script editor had intended to leave it as inexplicable, but the actor, Peter Davison, insisted a reason for the celery be given before he left.
  • The Red Green Show: Edgar, the local explosives enthusiast, wears hearing protectors behind his ears. There's a reason he's hard of hearing.

  • Flavor Flav always wears a wall clock dangling from a chain or cord around his neck. The clock face is frequently unmarked, and even if it is marked, you'd be hard-pressed to find a case when Flavor Flav ever actually used it to tell time. It's not even entirely clear whether his clocks are set to an accurate time.
  • Stage dressing example: French musical duo Justice perform on-stage behind a giant modular synthesizer setup named "Valentine", surrounded by a series of 18 Marshall Cabinets and a giant lit cross. None of this equipment is functional.
  • Non-wardrobe example: the one man band Atom & His Package had a gizmo with lights and buttons and levers but it did absolutely nothing. He had it on stage simply because it looked cool (all he used was a guitar and a CD of prerecorded backup music).
  • Similar to the previous example, Jonah Matranga of Far, Onelinedrawing, and many other projects often performs with a scale model of R2-D2, nicknamed "Are Too". However, it is somewhere in between this trope and Goggles Do Something Unusual because the model also houses a functioning drum machine complete with R2-D2 sound effects, and is used so prominently that tracks such as "Smile" credit the drums to Are Too.
  • Buckethead wears a chicken bucket on his head. It doesn't contain any chicken.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Subverted by Prince Saiyan Mr. 450's scouter, which is a functional head light. That's usually useless in a lighted arena, but you never know.

    Video Games 
  • The Kongs of the Donkey Kong franchise wear accessories such as neckties, hats, shirts, etc. that only exist so you can tell who's who.
  • The Hyrule Warriors incarnation of Link gets a Scarf of Asskicking for no other reason than to look cool. It's especially gratuitous as he doesn't wear it when he's first introduced as a knight; he gets the scarf later on when he receives the traditional hero's garb. What makes this weird is that no other incarnation of the character has a scarf as part of the costume, meaning the people who gave it to him added a scarf to the ensemble for no adequately explained reason.
  • Kingdom Hearts II adds hoods to Sora and Kairi's new outfits. Sora never actually uses his in-game, but its inclusion at least makes sense, considering his original outfit had a hood as well. Kairi has a hood on her spaghetti strap short dress for no conceivable reason: it's just there because it is.
  • Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII has a deliberate example in adornments, which exist just for cosmetic purposes. The game does have actual accessories that provide benefits, but don't appear on Lightning.
  • In RuneScape, among the myriad of armor and weapons, several pieces of equipment offer no stat bonuses whatsoever, such as the Brass Necklace and Cyclopean Helmet, relegated to only serving cosmetic purposes.
  • Implemented, much to fans' chagrin, in the Super Smash Bros. series with Ganondorf's sword. Ganondorf likes to show off his sword after winning matches or taunting, but he never actually uses it. To quote Masahiro Sakurai, the lead developer of Super Smash Bros. Brawl: "What are you putting it away for? Use it! People tend to make fun of Ganondorf for this." Really, though, it seems the developers were making fun of the fans with it until the fourth game did allow the use of it as a replacement move for the Warlock Punch and Ultimate had him use it in his smash attacks.
    • A lesser example is how Captain Falcon refrains from using his personal sidearm in the games as well. Doesn't stop him from using Ray Guns and Super Scopes, though.
  • On certain Minecraft skins, weapons, armor, and other such things are present, but are purely aesthetic.
  • This is the purpose (or lack thereof) of all the nice hats and other cosmetics in Team Fortress 2.

    Western Animation 
  • Count Saint Germain from Castlevania (2017) wears an hourglass prominently around his neck. It may be a reference to his video game counterpart, but in the show it doesn't seem to have any purpose.
  • Bender and many other robots in Futurama have antenna that serve no apparent purpose, which gets a Lampshade Hanging several times. First when the thing turned out to be interfering with the satellite transmission in his new apartment, and Fry says he should just cut it off since it doesn't do anything, after which it's treated as a robot equivalent of his penis. Again when it's suggested he has a toilet somewhere in his body and pushing down on it flushes. Subverted again when Mom says most people think she puts antenna on her robots just to make them "more science-fictiony" but they really let her take control of everything with a remote control.
  • Kim Possible:
    • Kim and Ron's commando mission suits in "A Sitch In Time".
    • Shego's supervillain outfit has a leg pouch she's never been seen to use. Then again...

    Real Life 
  • Jewelry, in general, is this. The vast majority of it has no practical function aside from telling everyone around you how much money you have to spend on pretty but useless trinkets. Historically, it was a way to display family wealth and social status.