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A character wears a uniform indicating membership to a specific group or organization, despite no longer being a part of said group. Often occurs with ex-soldiers who later go freelance. This is generally used to indicate loyalty, especially if the group fell out of favor with the general population or the character left when the group changed its ideals. In a more negative interpretation, the character is simply unable to let go of the past.

Compare Transfer Student Uniforms.

Examples of Still Wearing the Old Colors include:

Anime & Manga

  • In Ghost in the Shell, Batou's combat knife and his eye implants mark him out as a former ranger. This comes in handy when the Big Bad sends some after him, and he simply shows them his face so they decide to trust him.
  • Isaac McDougal in Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is still wearing his Amestrian Army uniform. Given that most of his issues stem from what he did in Ishbal under Amestrian orders, this is understandable. He repeatedly tries to get other soldiers--Kimblee, Roy, Armstrong--onto his side as well.


Comic Books

  • Jonah Hex still wears a Confederate uniform, even though the Civil War is over and his side lost.
  • Nightcrawler wears his circus costume for years after joining the X-Men. His later costumes still take influence from the design.
  • Wolverine's classic yellow costume is a holdover from his days in Department H.


Film

  • Forrest Gump meets some anti-Vietnam activists who mostly wear their old uniforms, but made into Non Uniform Uniforms.
  • ~I'm Gonna Git You Sucka~. After getting out of the Army, Jack Spade continues to wear his uniform even while engaging in vigilante justice against Mr. Big.
  • At the climax of The Man in the Iron Mask, the musketeers don their old uniforms to demonstrate loyalty to a higher, older, and more principled calling as they rise in rebellion to depose the king and replace him with his twin brother.
  • In Manos: The Hands of Fate, according to people working on the film, Torgo's outfit was supposed to look like a Confederate army uniform. It, uh, didn't, at all, but that was the intention.
  • In The Searchers, John Wayne's character Ethan Edwards is first seen wearing a Confederate Army jacket.


Literature

  • In Sharpe's Waterloo, Sharpe wears his usual uniform despite being repeatedly ordered to change into a newer one. Carried over in the TV adaptation.
    • To be precise, Sharpe wears the green uniform marking him as an member of a British rifle regiment -- an elite skirmisher -- when, as a member of the Prince of Orange's staff, he should be in Dutch uniform.
  • In Arena (William R. Forstchen), the protagonist dresses up in the garb of the long destroyed Fifth-House in the Four House Annual Battle Tournament.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire the king of the tribes beyond the wall was once one of the night watch. He was saved by a woman who lived beyond the wall, who gave him a red patch for his ripped cloak. When his superiors insisted it be replaced, he deserted. I'm not sure, but I think he escaped with that uniform and wears it in memory.
  • In an early scene in The Napoleon of Notting Hill by G. K. Chesterton, the deposed president of Nicaragua goes to some trouble to wear the colours of his now-conquered country.
  • In the X Wing Series, Corran Horn's X-wing and droid still have the Corellian Security colors when he flies for the New Republic, since they belong to him and not the military. Later in the series, when the whole squadron resigns to go after Isard on their own, they take after him and give their fighters paint jobs corresponding to their homeworld or race, though when they succeed brilliantly and end up being retroactively sanctioned they paint the fighters back again.
    • This is also a double example, because Corran is commemorating the old Corellian Security Force, which had since been turned into a State Security organisation called the Public Safety Service.
  • After their liberation on Hades in Echos of Honor, most of the military prisoners have their uniforms recreated, including those from nations that were conquered decades ago, making them effectively unique.


Live Action Television

  • Mal from Firefly and his brown coat. The coat is significant enough that the fanbase calls itself "browncoats".
  • The Tribe: After joining the Mallrats, Ebony still wore the red and black clothing associated with the Locos, her old tribe.
  • Captain Jack Harkness and his WWII era trench coat. Over 1,000 years old, and he's still wearing that damn blue coat. That nobody touches. EVER. On penalty of death.
  • After deserting the Peacekeepers at the end of Farscape's first season, Crais continues to wear his captain's uniform throughout Season 2. By the third he has discontinued wearing it until his death in the penultimate episode of th eseason. When going to his Heroic Sacrifice he dons his captain's uniform once more.


Theater

  • In Eric Overmyer's play Native Speech, Vietnam vet Belly Up still wears his army jacket.
  • Thenardier in the Les Misérables musical wears a Napoleonic uniform at the start of the play as a remnant from his supposed days as a soldier (if by soldier you mean "guy who looted corpses on the battlefield").


Video Games

  • In Mass Effect 2, Commander Shepard wears armor embossed with the Alliance N7 logo (a military vocation code designating him/her a top-proficiency special forces soldier) despite (as Shepard personally admits) technically no longer being a member of the Alliance military.
  • Roland from Borderlands wears pieces of his Crimson Lance uniform.
  • Cloud from Final Fantasy VII still wears his SOLDIER outfit. We later find out that he was never a member of SOLDIER to begin with.
    • Also Sephiroth who, despite going rogue, still wears his old SOLDIER uniform despite, among other things, having a massive grudge against his former employer.
  • Chris Redfield does this in Resident Evil Code: Veronica. Oddly, while it's a uniform for his old, disbanded organization, it's a new design.
  • World of Warcraft has the Death Knights who Tend to keep their old gear for a while, and then actually get them back in the 2nd expansion which may feel like this
    • And with the addition of Transmogrification quite a few death knights now look like this pernamently
  • In Kingdom Hearts neither Roxas nor Xion ditch their Organization XIII cloaks after they quit the organization. It's unlikely that Roxas had time to buy anything else to wear and Xion probably was wearing it to protect her heart from darkness, like Riku does.
  • Enemy units that join you in Fire Emblem typically keep their original armor color.
  • Can happen in Gothic 2 if you continue to wear a uniform to an order you have outgrown. Others will comment about the uniform you are wearing being out of place.
  • In Final Fantasy XIII, Lightning is still wearing her uniform. But in that instance, it's more that she quit a minute or two before she boarded the train in the opening, and therefore, didn't have time to change.
  • In Fallout: New Vegas, Craig Boone and Manny Vargas still wear their 1st Recon berets despite having left the army a while ago.
  • A subtle example in Wing Commander IV: The Price of Freedom: While the personnel of the Terran Confederation Navy and Space Forces wear spiffy new uniforms, the Border Worlds Militia, including our heroes after they defect from Confed, wear the Confed uniforms from Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger.


Webcomics

  • Buck Godot, Zap-Gun For Hire, still wears the uniform of the company he did security for before he went freelance. It's apparently not a loyalty thing, though, because they parted on very bad terms.


Western Animation

  • In Teen Titans, Beast Boy still wears the outfit of his old group, the Doom Patrol. He ditched the goggles after Raven called them dorky, but that's about it.
  • Shego from Kim Possible still wears her Team Go uniform. She, however, is a villainous example.


Real Life

  • Manchester United supporters have recently started taking to wearing green and yellow to games, the colours of the old Newton Heath club, in a protest against their ownerships.
  • The Vietnam War examples are Truth in Television for anything involving Vietnam War Protestors: see Born On the Fourth of July.
  • In Russia, members of the Communist Party often wear old soviet military uniforms in protests and public events.
    • Yevgeny Lukin frequently plays with this in his books, and eventually coined the term: a character "still faithful" to the dead state called himself a "necropatriot".
  • Retired personnel from most branches of the armed forces are still entitled to wear their dress uniform on ceremonial occasions such as their wedding, the funeral of a fellow veteran or memorial services for Armistice Day or similar.


Other

  • Common trope for many works in which Vampires appear. They tend to prefer to dress in the style that was in fashion when they were alive/at the time they were turned. It's good visual shorthand for the reader/viewer; they get an instant indication of how old the vamp is.
  • John Cena wears clothes with the old WWF logo on it (without the F).
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