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Wardrobe Flaw of Characterization

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Television and movies are full of beautiful, well-dressed people. Even "ugly" people will be merely Hollywood Homely, and even "lame" people aren't always believable as such. There are entire makeup and wardrobe departments dedicated to helping ensure that this is so. Even a blue-collar wardrobe straight from Walmart will fit perfectly and be well-cared-for.

Therefore, whenever this rule is averted, there is always a reason.

This trope happens when a small flaw in a character's wardrobe, such as poor fit or cheap material, is used to show something about their character. This isn't about a homeless person or someone living After the End wearing rags because they have no choice. Nor is it about someone who lacks the time or motivation to dress well, or wears ill-fitting clothes as a purposeful fashion statement (à la the baggy pants trend of The '90s). It's when a character tries to dress nicely, but for whatever reason, they do not quite pull it off as well as they want to or think they do.

It could establish them as a minor slob, illustrate that they're a wannabe or Nouveau Riche dressing in a manner they're unused to, that they're trying too hard, or that they suffer a lack of attention to detail. Sometimes used to contrast one half of an Odd Couple with his better-dressed counterpart. Compare Seriously Scruffy, where a character is entirely unkempt because they just don't care, and Fake Fabric Fashion Faux Pas, Tacky Tuxedo, and Impossibly Tacky Clothing, in which it's not just the details that are wrong. The Flapping Dickey is a particularly old one of these. If the character's wardrobe is supposedly cool in-universe, it's What the Hell, Costuming Department?.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Attack on Titan, Mikasa constantly wears a red scarf that doesn't quite go with her uniform, because Eren gave it to her to keep her warm on the night that she lost her parents.
  • One chapter of Ayakashi Triangle has the gender-bent protagonist Matsuri dress up as a Yuki Onna along with Rochka. Matsuri did the far worse job putting on his kimono (his sash is tied in a messy ribbon in front with a lot of slack; he also left out the decorative cord and cloth Rochka included), showing months of living as girl hasn't given him a neat or feminine fashion sense. He'd actually worn a yukata twice before, but Suzu put it on him both times, once saying he wouldn't be careful enough.
  • In one episode of Genshiken, Madarame spends the better part of the episode considering the slovenly state of his wardrobe and agonizing over the high cost of stylish clothes. He finally screws up his courage enough to buy some very nice clothes that earn a stamp of approval from The Fashionista of the group. However, at the end of the episode, it's revealed that he now wears the exact same outfit every time stylish clothes are called for.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack, Quess Paraya has a noticeably asymmetrical hairstyle with pigtails of two different lengths and mismatched hair ties, one being red and the other yellow. This serves as a visual metaphor for her unbalanced mental state.
  • My Hero Academia:
    • Izuku Midoriya, the protagonist, is the only student in his class who hasn't gotten the hang of tying a necktie, appearing as a round bundle around his neck. It ties into his nervous, jittery demeanor and his lack of experience with his superpowers compared to his classmates.
    • Bakugo's clothes are rumpled and ill-fitting to show how he doesn't really like playing by the rules. He also refuses to wear a tie and have his collar buttoned, showing his inherent disdain for authority. Later, when Best Jeanist tries to groom him to look crisper, it really pisses Bakugo off.
  • Gendo Ikari in Neon Genesis Evangelion has a number of visible shortcuts in his clothes. His jet-black outfit is actually a Custom Uniform, but he can't be bothered to button up the front of it. The conspicuous white gloves he wears are only to cover burn scars and clash with the rest of his outfit, as do his bright orange sunglasses. He's also perpetually sporting a thick chinstrap beard. It's all meant to show that Gendo is so jaded that not only does he not care about appearances, but he doesn't care about NERV despite being the guy running it. Compare this to Misato and Kaji, who despite being slovenly and sloppy in their day-to-day life will clean themselves up and get their shit together when they have to look professional.
  • Todomatsu Matsuno in his appearances in Osomatsu-san wears either capri pants or pants with the bottoms rolled up. Technically, there's nothing wrong with what he's wearing, but according to the creators he's been wearing his clothes this way ever since he was told it was in style—and that was seasons ago. This shows that while Todomatsu is more social and trendy than his brothers, he's just as clueless about normal society and is desperate to be seen as someone approachable.
  • Kaizaki Arata, the main character of ReLIFE, always wears his necktie loose. While he looks like any normal, if a bit sloppy, high schooler, he actually can't tighten it after the trauma of seeing his senpai hang herself.

    Comic Books 
  • In League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century, Mina continues to keep her neck heavily wrapped, even as her fashion sense evolves to fit with the times, in order to cover up the many scars that she got from Dracula.
  • Batman:
    • Even though his clothes are usually well made, Dick Grayson/Nightwing usually finds a way to make them visually tacky with bright colors and/or bizarre prints or textures (like glitter). It's partially a sign that he grew up in the circus and partially a sign that he's just going to dress how he wants regardless of society's expectations.
    • When he's not stuck in one type of uniform or another, or a suit, Tim Drake (Robin III/Red Robin III) usually dresses in band T-shirts and old worn jeans as a sign of mild rebellion against his father's expectations of him and because he just cares more about being comfortable than looking put together. He does this less after getting stuck as taking over a large portion of Wayne Industries but he still throws on pretty casual clothes to go hang out with friends.
    • Stephanie Brown (Spoiler/Robin IV/Batgirl III) when she's not wearing purple sweaters/hoodies, tends to wear loose, baggy jeans, men's flannel shirts, and army jackets, and generally dresses in a bit of an ill-fitting manner. Besides indicating what kind of girl Stephanie is, it also goes a ways of showing her financial state compared to most of her contemporaries, as she's a Working-Class Hero from a low-income home and can't afford nicer clothes... so she doesn't bother.

    Comic Strips 
  • Dilbert: Dilbert's tie is almost always curving upwards, showing his powerlessness over his environment. He can't even keep his tie under control. The one strip in which his tie lays flat is one in which he's implied to have been intimate with his girlfriend Liz.

    Fan Works 
  • The First Saniwa sequel: Minamoto no Kanemasa is so much of a Manchild it affects even his taste in clothing.
    It was as though his mind was filled with nothing but poetry and scenery to the detriment of even his fashion sense.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Always Be My Maybe, Marcus's struggles to fit into Sasha's world is reflected in his wardrobe choices, either overdressing or underdressing for the situation. In the end, his decision to buy a proper suit reflects his increasing maturity and desire to make an effort to be with Sasha.
  • In Bumblebee, Charlie Watson's a Short Tank tomboy, whose short-shorts are actually jean cut-offs, her tanktops are shirts with the sleeves cut off, and her shirts and jackets are stitched together from mix-mashed clothes. A lot of what she wears is men's clothing that she's cut together to fit her, and it's strongly indicated (confirmed by Word of God) that it was all her dad's clothes she's reworked to fit herself to be closer to him after his death. The fact they're all darkly colored helps to contrast her against the brightly colored Alpha Bitch and the rest of the town, and her preference for male clothing comes in handy when she's able to loan a jacket to her male love interest.
  • Inverted in Daddy's Home 2. The film features a dead-serious discussion over the thermostat and how it is a father's sacred duty to maintain an iron grip upon it. Brad, Kurt, and Don are the ones who understand this and are dressed in dowdy white undershirts and boxers. Dusty, the one who can't control the thermostat, is dressed in a gray t-shirt, that shows off his physique, and pajama bottoms to show he hasn't fully become a dad yet.
  • In Death on the Nile (2022)
    • Poirot observes that Mrs. Bower's clothing, accessories, and luggage are all very expensive but also ten years out of fashion and show signs of repeated mending and deduces that she's someone who loves being glamorous but can't afford to be trendy. This leads her to reveal that she used to be fabulously wealthy but that the stock market crash wiped out her fortune and hasn't been able to enjoy the finer things in a long time.
    • Salome wears a hat that is long out of style, which Poirot deduces is because it has enough room inside to allow her to conceal a holdout gun.
  • Agent Coulson's suit in the first Iron Man is ill-fitting, in keeping with his role as comic relief and to contrast with Tony's Simple, yet Opulent impeccably tailored suits (no, not those.). Later installments of the Marvel Cinematic Universe depict him as one of SHIELD's best agents and give him better duds accordingly.
  • Jurassic World: In the very first scene with Hoskins and Owen, we see that both characters carry hunting knives at their backs. The difference, however, is that Hoskins has his strapped perpendicular to his belt, with the handle pointed upward. It would be rather difficult to draw the weapon effectively this way (and downright impossible if, say, his back were to a wall). By contrast, Owen has his strapped parallel to his belt, where he can draw the blade quickly from myriad positions. This illustrates the contrast between the two: Hoskins is an "armchair" badass, pretending to have a warrior's understanding, while Owen is the one with actual, practical experience.
  • It's subtle, but in Planes, Trains and Automobiles the viewer can tell that Del Griffith's traveling salesman character's suit is off-the-rack and made of synthetic material, especially by contrast with Neal Page's successful, relatively wealthy character, who wears one made of fine wool that looks custom-tailored.
  • Knives Out series:
    • Rian Johnson's intention with the character of Ransom in Knives Out was to dress him in really nice clothes that he didn't take care of. To this end, the costume designer gave Chris Evans hole-y sweaters and scuffed loafers.
    • In Glass Onion, Claire is perpetually wearing beige to differentiate her from the more colorful Disruptors (a distinction which clearly annoys her), and Peg's outfits are almost fashionable but veer off in strange directions, in contrast to her boss Birdie who is more effortlessly glamorous.
  • In XXX, the title character makes a point of commenting on Milon Sova's bad suit, described as "motel drapes". Later on, we see Sova wearing a better suit because he's sold information on Xander to the Big Bad — "My government doesn't pay as well as Yorgi."

  • In the children's book Bootsy Barker Bites, the main character is a bit of a pushover, and her saggy knee socks are frequently falling down, or are asymmetrical.
  • Discworld: In Night Watch, Findthee Swing is impeccably dressed except that his shoes are in bad repair. Sam Vimes notices this, along with his mother's advice to not trust anyone who doesn't take care of their shoes. Findthee Swing is the head of the Secret Police. While Swing looks like a clerk, he's as much of a bastard as any scruffy criminal (like Carcer), and he's also a surprisingly dangerous fighter.
  • When Remus Lupin is first introduced in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, it's mentioned that his clothes and luggage bear signs of frequent repair, establishing him as a somewhat shabby and hard-used character. Once he becomes popular among the students, it's mentioned that Draco Malfoy makes fun of his clothes, but no one else cares; thus, the wardrobe flaw helps emphasize Draco's shallowness as well as Lupin's underdog status. It's also an effective contrast to the previous Defense teacherGilderoy Lockhart was all style and no substance, while Lupin is the opposite. It also alludes to the lack of Magic Pants that come with being a werewolf.
  • In The Hunger Games Prim's shirt is always untucked. Katniss describes this as resembling a ducktail. She uses this fact to express how innocent and unready for combat Prim would be if thrust into the Arena.
  • Curly in Of Mice and Men wears a glove on one hand. The rumor is that he keeps the glove full of vaseline so as to keep that hand soft for his wife.
  • In There Was No Secret Evil Fighting Organization, Sago's much wealthier friend gets him a fancy suit so he can attend a business meeting alongside her. However, Sago forgets to put on a necktie, which causes him no small amount of anxiety throughout the meeting. This symbolizes his ignorance of upper-class society. Similarly, the fact that Kaburagi forgot to tell him to prepare one shows that she cares more about people's character than their appearances.
  • Jeeves and Wooster: Bertie has a noted enthusiasm for articles of clothing that he thinks are very stylish but are ultimately kind of ugly, fitting in with his generally oblivious Upper-Class Twit nature. Jeeves, who is The Stoic and always impeccably dressed, finds these items so offensive that on more than one occasion Bertie's reward to him for saving the day is the opportunity to donate, discard or destroy Bertie's latest sartorial atrocity (he takes particular pleasure in burning spats in Bertie's old school colours).

    Live-Action TV 
  • On 30 Rock, Jack Donaghy dresses in expensive suits but always buttons the bottom button of his jacketsnote . This may be a subtle reference to the fact that he grew up poor and doesn't quite fit in with the wealthy classes he now runs in.
  • The Andy Griffith Show. In "Rafe Hollister Sings", Andy is tasked with trying to make Seriously Scruffy farmer Rafe Hollister look more presentable as he will be singing for a Mayberry social function being emceed by Mayor Stoner, who feels Rafe is far too seedy and raggedy to represent "the finer things Mayberry has to offer". At one point, Andy does try dropping hints to Rafe to clean himself up, but Rafe's idea of doing so pretty much only consists of an old sportcoat, and tacky tie... while still in his overalls and straw hat otherwise. Later still, Andy and Barney try to outfit him in a new suit himself, however, they are unable to find a suit big enough to fit him, and he nearly suffocates in the too-small suit they provide for him.
  • Breaking Bad:
    • The pilot episode reveals that Walter wears white brief underwear, which is quite unfashionable and embarrassing in the 21st century. Actor Bryan Cranston noted that the choice shows that Walter had "given up."
    • Walter also wears shirts that are a couple of sizes too big, making him appear rather meek (which fits his personality at first) and accentuating the weight loss that comes with his cancer treatments.
    • Hank notices during his brief questioning of Lydia that she mismatched her shoes, suggesting that she's suspiciously more stressed over the investigation than she's letting on.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The First Doctor dresses in slightly unusual but rather appropriate Edwardian clothing, fitting his characterization as a strange old geezer with the maturity of a teenager. The Second Doctor dresses in a similar outfit (supposedly the same outfit), but the clothes are all clownishly large and baggy, his bowtie is perpetually askew and he has an unkempt mop-top hairstyle, matching his penchant for Obfuscating Stupidity. When he is put into a machine in "The Macra Terror" that makes him look sharp and gorgeous, he moans about it and immediately resets his outfit to normal much to Polly's displeasure.
    • The Third Doctor thinks sharp but inconspicuous dress for a wealthy gentleman in 1970s Britain (or at least a time aesthetically based on it) consists of brightly-coloured velvet suits, frilly dress shirts, bow ties, and a satin cape, tying in with the contrast between his suave demeanor and fish-out-of-water nature as a Time Lord in exile. Other characters derisively comment on his ridiculous dress sense, and in "Carnival of Monsters" Vorg even assumes from his outfit that he's a working-class carnie.
    • The Fourth Doctor dresses in well-coordinated and obviously very expensive Awesome Anachronistic Apparel with a Byronic or gothic vibe topped with a designer hat, but wears it with a tackily-coloured stripy knitted scarf that is far, far longer than necessary. And never does the buttons up right. And Can't Tie His Tie. And doesn't iron anything. And the hat's visibly crumpled because he tends to just shove it into his pocket. And he rarely even brushes his hair. All of this matches his characterization as a Creepy Good Doctor who veers between manic childishness and a level of imposing otherworldliness not seen in any previous incarnation; when he approaches the end of his life, he dons a darker, red and burgundy version of his outfit to match his more somber personality.
    • The Fifth Doctor dresses in a sharp Cricket outfit... with the exception of a celery stalk attached to his left lapel and a pair of sneakers, highlighting how even though he's far more subdued than the extremely out-there Four, he's still as eccentric as the Doctor always is.
    • The Sixth Doctor dressed in a bizarre, multicolored, and all-around mismatched outfit that was frequently compared to that of a clown, both in-universe and out. Of note is that producer John Nathan-Turner intentionally made the outfit as eye-searingly ugly as humanly possible in order to highlight this incarnation's more unstable personality.
    • The Seventh Doctor wears mostly somewhat casual formal wear with a hat, beige or dark dress jacket on top of (usually) tartan trousers with a shirt and a tie. He also wears a sweater vest, which wouldn't be an issue, if the thing wasn't covered in question marks. All of this lines up with Seven's original depiction as a return to Two and Four's more clownish elements after the Darker and Edgier Six; after Seven's personality became darker and more Machiavellian in his second season, his third saw him switch to a dark brown version of his outfit to match. When he shows up in the TV Movie he's swapped into a red velvet vest and tweed jacket, but he's gone with Albert Einstein's hairdo; while we don't see much of him in the film, his outfit is meant to establish him as more older and wizened since his last appearance in 1989.
    • The Ninth Doctor was a relatively subdued example, wearing a black leather jacket over a plain sweater and jeans: Not always appropriate for the situation he found himself in this episode, but much more low-key and understated than previous incarnations. This turned out to foreshadow the direction the revival series was going to take, with the darker palette and less cheerfully eccentric style reflecting a soberer and less relaxed Doctor who'd come out of the Time War with a lot of emotional baggage.
    • The Tenth Doctor is nearly always seen in a slim-cut four-button brown or navy pinstripe suit and tie that seems somewhat professional at first glance but is actually casual and geeky upon closer inspection, combined with casual Converse sneakers to emphasize his eccentric nature.note  He even wears sneakers with a tuxedo.
    • The Master, when given any choice in the matter, is colour-coordinated and often downright dapper. Even managing this in the usually-ridiculously awful Time Lord ceremonial robes. Granted, it's easy to coordinate if you like to wear predominantly the darker, neutral parts of the spectrum, but this is beyond weird by the normal Time Lord "clashing is a thing" standards. Heck, they can even match a full outfit temporally, let alone culturally. Oh, and yup: considered madder than a bag full of hammers, if brilliant, by most other Time Lords.
  • Elementary inverts this twice where Sherlock sees through a character's attempt to appear lower class by their shoes.
    • In "You Do It to Yourself" Sherlock and Bell visit a Chinese gambling parlor, and Bells wonders who speaks English. Sherlock points out a supposed janitor who he deduces is the owner, as a janitor would not wear such fancy shoes.
    • In "A Giant Gun, Filled with Drugs", Sherlock evades a hit squad disguised as painters, because their shoes do not have paint stains.
  • In Extraordinary Attorney Woo, Young-woo's clothes are all a little too big on her, making her seem more childlike and innocent.
  • In the Firefly episode "Shindig", Kaylee's idea of fancy dress is a store-bought, ultra-frilly Pimped-Out Dress. She is mocked for her lack of class by the Rich Bitches at the titular party, who favor custom-made and clearly expensive Simple, yet Opulent attire.
  • Will on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is a good example of this:
    • In the pilot episode, when he attended a formal dinner party that his wealthy lawyer Uncle Phil was throwing, he wore the tuxedo provided for him without the dress shirt, instead opting for wearing the same green and yellow t-shirt (untucked) and matching ball cap he first arrived in, the bowtie still worn around his neck and his cummerbund worn around his chest. This showcases the many facets of his personality throughout the show: lackadaisical, ignorant, defiant, playful and unique.
    • Another episode from the first season, "Day Damn One" is a Whole Episode Flashback to his first day at his all boys' school. In addition to turning his navy blue school blazer inside out to set himself apart from the other students (which happened to be a colorfully stylish reversible fashion and his popularity at the school even inspired other students to do the same), but when attending his first class, he sports a Necktie Headband while informing the teacher, who greatly dislikes the look, that he is wearing the tie in the proper knot according to the student handbook on decorum, it never outright states where it should be worn.
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia:
    • Charlie wears shabby clothing and is the only character with a Limited Wardrobe, showing that he's quite poor and downtrodden compared to the rest of the cast. His black T-shirt with the horse on it shows noticeable holes around the armpits. His only sleepwear is the same shirt and a pair of thermal leggings with holes and "piss stains." One episode establishes that Charlie repairs his clothing rather than purchase new articles.
    • Mac occasionally wears ties with polo shirts, showing that he's pretty clueless when it comes to formal settings.
  • On The Jack Benny Program, Jack shows off the new suit he bought in Hong Kong. He goes on to play a violin duet with guest Giselle McKenzie, during which his cheap suit slowly shreds itself. On radio, Jack was often described as being too cheap to buy any new clothes, wearing ancient styles such as a tuxedo with a belt in the back and buckle shoes.
  • M*A*S*H. Radar often wears over-sized and wrinkled fatigues, as well as boots one size too large for his feet. Watsonian: Radar doesn't really dress right for his lack of height. Doylist: Gary Burghoff wanted to distinguish Radar in appearance as well as behavior, and felt such wardrobe would emphasize the character's youthfulness.
  • When NCIS finally introduced Anthony DiNozzo, Sr. he's seen wearing a very fine suit, but, on close inspection, one that is several years out of style. The episode eventually reveals that he's been broke for a long time and is surviving by using his charms to mooch off of friends and acquaintances.
  • Parks and Recreation:
    • For the first few seasons, Andy wears very casual clothing such as sweats, jeans, and T-shirts. In later seasons when he gets a better job and begins wearing button-up shirts and ties, his ties are always tied improperly short, showing that although he is making an effort, he is still unused to dressing up. (A man's tie should always touch his belt buckle; Andy's leave a one-to-two-inch gap.) He also tends to wear ties with short-sleeved shirts, usually considered a fashion no-no. Contrast this with characters like Ben, whose suits always fit impeccably and with a slight nod to current style (narrow lapels, skinny ties).
    • Jean-Ralphio attempts to dress in a very stylish and fashion-forward manner, but tries too hard and winds up looking clownish. Compare and contrast with Tom, whose trendy dress becomes a plot point when he rents out his wardrobe to fashion-conscious high schoolers.
  • In Reacher, Captain Finley dresses in very fine suits, but everything is a little too gaudy for a police detective. Reacher's analysis is that Finley is using the pension he earned at a previous job to indulge in finer things but that he doesn't have a wife at home to pull him back from fashion mistakes.
  • Seinfeld. Jerry invokes this in one episode, when he mentions he is disappointed in an adaptation of Frankenstein he saw because the Monster didn't wear a blazer. Jerry likes the idea of the Monster in a blazer on the grounds that he shows he at least makes an effort to make himself presentable.
  • Invoked with a number of characters on Succession:
    • The entire Roy family are Nouveau Riche people lacking in taste, but middle son Kendall is the most try-hard of the lot and is thus most often the victim of misguided fashion choices: whenever he wants to stand out from the crowd, he picks completely unsuitable clothes and ends up looking like a fool. Highlights have included a brown tux, a baseball jersey with a bowtie, a straw trilby, and overpriced sneakers.
    • Sycophantic Tom Wambsgans, likewise Nouveau Riche, also tries too hard — his pocket squares match his tiesnote  and his shoes are too shiny, which are details that a person born into wealth wouldn't bother with.
    • Rags to Riches Cousin Greg starts out wearing suits that don't fit him, and he is chewed out on his first day on the job for wearing deck shoes to work.
  • On Suits, Louis Litt wears suits that are clearly too small and uncomfortably tight, which is indicative of his vanity and inability to see his own flaws or unwillingness to fix them.
  • In Supernatural, Castiel almost exclusively wears the same rumpled trench coat-and-tie combo, with the tie always loosened or even on backwards, demonstrating that he is unconcerned with (or completely clueless about, Depending on the Writer) human customs.
  • Omar Little invokes this deliberately in The Wire. When Ilene Nathan tells him to buy an outfit with a tie for a court appearance, he buys just a tie and casually wraps it around his neck almost like a scarf over his tracksuit to mock the request and show there are limits to his cooperation.

    Tabletop Games 

  • BIONICLE: Ta-Matoran, associated with the element of fire, tend to be varying shades of red, yellow, and orange. Takua, on the other hand, wears a blue mask, signifying his status as an oddity among his village (to the point where he was briefly The Exile due to his poor work ethic). The Movie accentuated this with a running theme of his mask coming loose and in a Deleted Scene even falling off, to show he literally didn't fit in. As it transpires, it was a subtle clue that he wasn't a Ta-Matoran at all - he was instead a disguised Av-Matoran, and became the Toa of Light, Takanuva.

    Video Games 
  • Final Fantasy VII:
    • It's hard to tell due to the PS1-era polygons, but Rufus Shinra appears to be wearing an incredibly large and baggy white business suit immediately after his promotion to President, like a boy trying on his father's clothes. In later appearances, he is more of a Man of Wealth and Taste.
    • Cloud's SOLDIER uniform is about half-accurate — the clothes are right, but unlike the symmetrical, sleek armour favoured by most members, it uses quirky, industrial-looking asymmetrical light armour apparently modelled after motorcycle parts, bandages, and mismatched accessories. It oozes a very '90s manga kind of cool and suits an out-of-work mercenary living in a Cyberpunk slum, but the effect is to make him look a bit scruffy and crazy as if he'd desperately cobbled together something that looks a bit like a SOLDIER uniform out of bits and pieces that other people have thrown away. Besides being almost certainly the literal truth, this is a pretty straightforward metaphor for what is going on in his head.
  • In Pokémon Sword and Shield, you run into researcher Cara Liss in the Wild Area outside Stow-On-Side. The first really noticeable thing about her is that her shoes are different colors, which foreshadows how her attempts to resurrect fossil Pokemon will result in Mix-and-Match Critters as a result of combining the fossils of different species.
  • Street Fighter EX: Cracker Jack wears a shirt with tie, a hat, and blue trousers. Except that, being a thug, his shirt is sleeveless and his tie is tied directly on his neck. EX2 has him become a proper Sharp-Dressed Man, though.
  • Disco Elysium:
    • Attempting to put together a smart and coherent outfit for your player character usually ends up with these results; even if you dispense with the silliest-looking Rainbow Pimp Gear options and put him in a basically normal outfit, all of his clothes are worn slightly 'wrong' (e.g. his necktie isn't done up properly, his hair is scruffy, his skin is a sickly colour, and most of his clothes look crumpled). You also find the player character's shoes one at a time, meaning you will end up wearing only one shoe for at least the very beginning of the game.
    • The absence of this is used for characterisation - completing the Fascist vision quest in The Final Cut leaves the player character with a new portrait in which he looks smart, with properly groomed hair... and a fixed look of glaring misery (or, according to Kim, 'constipation') that can only move if he uses his fingers.
  • The Great Ace Attorney: Soseki Natsume wears a pair of getasnote  along with an otherwise very Western suit, to emphasize just how much he fails to fit in London's society no matter how hard he tries.

    Web Original 
  • The Nostalgia Critic has his iconic combo of a poorly-tied tie and sport coat worn with a t-shirt and military cap. He was called out for it in his review of Alice in Wonderland (2010) and explained that he's allowed to since he's a celebrity: when others dress weird it's crazy, while when he dresses weird it's avant garde.

    Western Animation 
  • In The Legend of Korra, Mako wears an old scarf at all times, even when dressing to the nines for a fancy date, because it's one of the few mementos he has of his parents. Something of an Informed Flaw; although some characters react to it as though it clashes horribly with his fine clothes, to the audience it looks perfectly normal, even stylish.
  • In Over the Garden Wall, Wirt wears mismatched shoes, one black and one gray. It's uncommented on in the show, but in the comics he mentioned that he was distracted while getting dressed—as the audience knows, because he was planning to ask Sara out.
  • Beloved one-shot character Hank Scorpio from The Simpsons is a downplayed version: when Homer is in his office and he asks him to hang up his coat on the wall, it's shown that it has no walls (only windows) and he claims that he didn't ask him to hang up his coat, which then shows him wearing the coat backwards with a shit-eating smile on his face. The scene alone showcases his charisma and how wily and clever he is to both carry on being a great boss and Bond-like supervillain.

Alternative Title(s): Wardrobe Flaw Of Characterisation