Why Some TV Characters Never Change Their Outfits

Oct 16, 2013  •  Post A Comment

It’s something that television viewers might never notice: the tendency for some characters to wear basically identical outfits week after week, reports EW.com’s James Hibberd.

Take Ichabod Crane on Fox’s "Sleepy Hollow," a character who woke up from a 200-year sleep and still wears the same earth-tone clothes in every episode.

"But fans are already asking if Ichabod is ever going to change into something a bit more 21st century — or even 19th century. Ichabod is impressed by donuts and hair dryers, why not blow his mind with a pair of comfy Lucky Brand jeans?" Hibberd writes.

The reason Crane is kept in the same outfit is to remind the audience that he’s from another time, Hibberd reports.

"It’s like his security blanket,” executive producer Alex Kurtzman told the publication. “He can never feel comfortable in our world. The minute he gets comfortable, the show is over.”

Another example is Patrick Jane on "The Mentalist," who wears a similar-looking three-piece suit on the show.

"Creator Bruno Heller once told me that Jane is so haunted by the death of his wife and daughter that he remains stuck in that moment and therefore keeps wearing the same suit from his psychic-charlatan days (there are actually two that look similar; both shades of blue, bringing out Simon Baker’s eyes)," Hibberd writes.

Sometimes the unchanging wardrobe is meant to illustrate a point about a society, rather than a character. Take the cast of NBC’s "Revolution."

"The gang is wandering the country 15 years after electricity was cut off and there are no zombies to radically reduce the population. All the manufactured clothing has presumably been snatched up," the story points out.

Of course, there’s another problem with television characters’ wardrobes, Hibberd writes: "There is an opposite trope to The League of Eternal Outfits that may be even more common: The Alliance of Unlimited Wardrobes — characters who never wear the same outfit twice."

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