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An outfit is repeatedly and obviously decorated with one or more different symbols, signifying something important about the wearer.

Say a girl wears a floral-patterned dress. That wouldn't mean anything. But if she had a Green Thumb, that would mean the dress is fitting to her nature.

Now there isn't a hard minimum to count, but it has to be more than just one or two instances of the symbol on the outfit, even if they are large.

These can be made by choice of the wearer, or be Rule of Symbolism.

This trope is Truth in Television, as some royalty would often wear capes and robes with symbols adorning them.

A Sub-Trope of Motif.

A Super-Trope to Star-Spangled Spandex.

Compare Chest Insignia, Gem-Encrusted, Wearing a Flag on Your Head.

Examples of Symbol Motif Clothing include:

Comic Books

  • The Riddler of Batman would often be wearing an outfit that had question marks all over it.


  • The Wizard hat in Fantasia is decorated with star and moon shapes.
  • Hancock incorporated eagles into whatever outfit he wore, even when he was homeless.
  • Many versions of The Secret Garden feature Mary Lennox in a costume that has a floral design on it somewhere.


  • Kelson Haldane of the Deryni works has in his wardrobe a tunic of red covered with tiny golden Haldane lions. His coat of arms features a single golden lion on a red field.
  • This is a recurring element in many books by Mercedes Lackey.
    • In her Heralds of Valdemar series, the Tayledras will often have a motif repeated in their clothing, usually something to do with birds or feathers. Given their relationship with birds of prey, this is entirely fitting.

Live Action TV

  • In Doctor Who, several Doctors beginning with the Fourth, wore clothing that prominently featured question marks.

Video Games

  • The Umbran Elder from Bayonetta on her shoulders there is also a crescent moon shape, on its side so the points are facing the sky.
  • Emperor Solarius from Overlord II has a sun symbol on his chest to show his Light Is Not Good theme


  • In Homestuck, some of the ancestors' clothing is drawn with repeating patterns reminiscent of their symbol. For example, Orphaner Dualscar's symbol is the Aquarius wavy lines, and his outfit includes a lot of wavy lines.

Western Animation

Real Life

  • Playing cards, at least the Anglo-American designs popularized by Charles Goodall, sometimes feature the queen, king and jack with their respective suit symbols on their clothes.
  • The Fleur-de-Lis symbol on the robes of French royalty. Napoleon went with eagles and bees.

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