Badass in a Nice Suit

    Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

    "It's damn-decent of him to fight in a suit coat; kind of adds a touch of class to the proceeding."


    A Badass or criminal character will often dress conservatively (suit and tie) to imply that he is a "professional" who knows what he is doing. Generally partakes of a toned-down version of Badass Longcoat imagery; add Cool/SinisterShades to complete the look. The suit will usually be impeccable.

    This trope can include women who wear traditionally male attire (read: suits), with the further implication that they are tough enough to make it in a man's world; see also Hot Chick in a Badass Suit.

    One easy way of showing that a situation is getting worse or dangerous is to have the previously immaculate suit become messier somehow, generally with bloodstains or just having any unnecessary bits such as the tie or jacket taken off and the sleeves rolled up.

    There are a few careers in which this style of dress ranges from common to near-universal: The Men in Black, Professional Killers of the Assassin variety, Corrupt Corporate Executives, Corporate Samurai, Amoral Attorneys, many Battle Butlers and Yakuza/mafiosi.

    This trope does not cover flashy or eccentric suits worn as a fashion statement. Therefore, Spike Spiegel's and Lupin's blue and red leisure suits don't quite count. Jim Carrey's shoulder-padded yellow getup in The Mask is about as far from this trope as you can possibly get. Nor does it cover clothes that could probably kill you if you get too close.

    A Sub-Trope of Stock Costume Traits.

    Compare Tuxedo and Martini, Coat, Hat, Mask, Man of Wealth and Taste, Hot Chick in a Badass Suit, Battle Ballgown, Kicking Ass in All Her Finery, Bling of War.

    Examples of Badass in a Nice Suit include:

    Anime and Manga

    • Mr. Chang from Black Lagoon. Rock also wears suits, but that's because he's an ex-Salaryman.
      • Balalaika too, considering her normal wear is a red business top with a long skirt bottom.
    • Yuto Kigai, Seishiro Sakurazuka, and possibly Seiichiro Aoki from X 1999.
    • Reborn from Katekyo Hitman Reborn. Isn't he just the cutest little mobster?
      • In the latest chapter, the whole team gets snazzy suits. and it's all here!
      • Well it is The Mafia after all.
      • See these? I'm pretty sure there's a good reason they're labeled mafia.
    • Female example: Rin in Mnemosyne.
    • Golgo 13
    • Triela in Gunslinger Girl, another female example
    • Sir Integra Fairbrook Wingates Hellsing in Hellsing, who despite the "sir" title is also female.
      • And her pet vampire Alucard to boot.
    • Light Yagami of Death Note later falls into this after becoming a detective.
    • Campanella Freuling (female) from DOGS: Bullets & Carnage.
    • Inspector Verossa Acous from Nanoha Striker S is a heroic example.
      • The Hückebein family from Nanoha Force are a villainous one, however. Apparently, they are good enough at murder that slaughtering an entire facility of mooks in chapter 17 didn't leave a single stain on their badass suits.
    • One Piece
      • CP9
        • Especially Rob Lucci, complete with the suit getting taken apart as the fight goes on. He also wears a top hat.
      • Admiral Kizaru.
      • Captain "Black Cage" Hina, in the woman-in-a-mannish-suit category.
        • High ranking Marines in general tend to wear pretty badass suits.
      • On the side of the good guys, Sanji and Brook tends to wear good suits as well.
      • Crocodile: this is a man who kicks ass dressed as a mafia don.
      • The entire Strawhat Crew get in on this in the tenth movie (as seen in some manga art); it is frankly awesome.
      • Capone Bege and his Firetank pirates all dress like mafia gang; as his name suggests, Capone Bege especially looks the part.
    • Baccano!: Ladd Russo goes the extra mile and has his entire entourage of Psychos For Hire dress in immaculate white suits for the sole purpose of staining them red during their train massacre.
    • Goudas goons in Ghost in the Shell:Stand Alone Complex are always wearing the same dark suit with the same dark grey shirt.
    • Ayame and Kiri-chan from Ga-Rei Zero, both are female.
    • Most of the Magnificent 10 and a few of the good guys from "Giant Robo" take part in this trope. Alberto the Shockwave is probably the most prominent example.
    • Fullmetal Alchemist: Whenever Roy Mustang is not dressed in military uniform, he wears damn fine period suits. He even wears a dress shirt under his uniform while seemingly everyone else uses more casual t-shirts or sweaters.
      • On the evil side, once he is released from prison in the manga and new anime, Zolf Kimblee is such a smooth criminal that he always dresses in a snazzy white zoot suit and fedora.
      • Pride aka Selim Bradley, who is always (when in human form, that is) dressed in a button-up shirt, a vest and dress shoes, and whom we even see in a suit on one occasion in Father's lair.
    • Darker than Black has James Bond-like British Contractor November 11 who always wears a suit and tie, even when engaging in urban battles. He is a "cool" guy.
    • Mahou Sensei Negima
      • Takamichi Takahata is always seen with his suit and tie even when out on missions. He got the habit from his master, Gateau Kagura Vandenberg.
      • Setsuna and Kaede also suit up on occasion.
      • Jack Rakan trashing the Quirky Miniboss Squad while wearing a tux probably counts.
      • What, no Kurt Godel?
      • Even Negi pulls it off, the suit becomes part of his demon form!
    • Kitano's parent in Angel Densetsu. They look like a Yakuza leg-breaker and a ghost. The shades actually help here, Kitano's father is even scarier without.
    • When he isn't dressing up as his sister, Johan from Monster is usually seen in a well-tailored suit (albeit sans necktie).
    • Valkyrie Lind of Ah! My Goddess. She's a professional badass, and she looks the part.
    • Soul Eater most obviously has Death the Kid, but Maka's uniform might also count, not to mention the positively Mafia-like black pinstripe suit Soul wears in his Black Bug Room with the grand piano.
    • Sebastian from Black Butler. Almost always dressed in a snappy tail coat, and able to end someones existence in several different ways.
    • From Noblesse, Raizel and those who side with him always dress in nice suits in combat.
    • Tango from Tango and Cash usually wears expensive business suits. His commander even calls him on that.
    • In Cowboy Bebop, this is Spike Spiegel usual attire.

    Comic Books

    • Marvel's Kingpin always dresses in a white suit.
    • Batman's foe The Penguin and his trademark tux and top hat.
    • In the Claremont-era X-Men comics, Sebastian Shaw, the Black King of the Hellfire Club, always wore the height of Eighteenth-century fashion, complete with ruffled collars and sleeves. Most Hellfire high-rankers wore this style while meeting at the club (the men did—the women dressed less formally) but Shaw kept up the look all the time.
    • Whenever The Minutemen from One Hundred Bullets take a job, expect to see all of them wearing black suits and ties.
    • Sam from Sam and Max Freelance Police wears his suit with a striped tie and fedora.
    • Spider-Man's long-time foe Doctor Octopus was almost always seen in a white suit in the early-mid 90s.
    • Deconstructed in Blue Estate. Two Italian mobsters are always seen wearing nice suits. Only to have them continually ruined by the work their jobs require (blood, termites,[1] vomit...). One of them even questions why he spends half his paycheck on suits he knows will inevitably be ruined.


    • Everyone in just about any Golden Age of Hollywood gangster or gumshoe film. The Roaring Twenties, White Heat, Little Caesar, The Killing, The Maltese Falcon, et cetera. People just knew how to dress back then; if you weren't wearing a three-piece suit with vest and overcoat you were practically naked.
    • Par for the course in Casablanca. After all everybody who comes to Rick's wears a suit.
    • The heroes (and a lot of the Mooks) in Heroic Bloodshed films.
    • Many of Tarantino's characters: most of the cast of Reservoir Dogs (at least on the day of the heist), Jules and Vincent in Pulp Fiction, the Crazy 88s in Kill Bill...
    • Jason Statham's Frank Martin in The Transporter. In the second film he even has a spare one in his car to deal with the inevitable (non-Fan Service) Clothing Damage.
    • The Agents from The Matrix.
      • Hell, the entire visual style of the film is built around this. It actually works as a plot point, too, juxtaposing the control of the main characters in the Matrix (both by machines and of themselves) with the desolation of the real world (where everyone is basically in rags).
    • Ocean's Eleven.
    • Nicolas Cage's character in Snake Eyes changes from his sharkskin jacket to a suit jacket as a symbol that he's stopped messing about and is serious.
    • Collateral: Assassin Vincent wears a steel-gray suit and tie, but loses the tie as the situation grows out of his control. Michael Mann explains in the DVD Commentary that his look is designed to be as unremarkable as possible. So he's not just a Badass in a Nice Suit, but dressed to get away with murder.
    • Subverted in The Blues Brothers, where the brothers wear black suits, but it's soon revealed that those are the only clothes they own. They wear them to bed, into the sauna, etc. Unsurprisingly, they smell bad. Lampshaded in the sequel when Elwood tells his new partners why they have to dress the same way.
    • James Bond: James, much of the time at least. He even has the famous "fix my tie" maneuver.
    • Jef Costello, the hitman from Jean-Pierre Melville's crime picture Le Samourai never leaves his apartment unless he's dressed in a suit, tie, rain coat, and perfectly positioned fedora. For that extra bit of class, he always puts on white gloves before a kill. Jef cares as much about his appearance as he does his alibi.
    • In Die Hard, Hans Gruber points out that he's wearing an expensive suit from the same tailor as the one worn by the Japanese business executive.
    • The Men in Black.
    • Henri Ducard aka Ra's al Ghul in Batman Begins: hand-to-hand combat in a suit and tie.
    • Justified by the titular The Tuxedo, which is in fact the ultimate spy gadget, providing its wearer with every possible skill you'd need for a spy mission, from gun assembly, to kung fu, to wicked dance moves.
    • Storm Shadow from G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra dons a spiffy white suit sans tie in the Paris segment, while James McCullen though not being a fighter does have a nice dark suit.
    • The entire Inception team gets into this at various stages, including Ariadne. Some particularly notable ones are Cobb, Arthur, and Saito in black tie at their first meeting, the hotel dream levels, and Arthur's famous hallway fight, in which he wears a three piece suit and removes only the jacket.
    • Act of Valor: Invoked by Senior Chief when he interrogates Christo on his yacht.
    • Lao Che in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom poisons Indy while wearing a suit with a white bowtie, even.
    • Frank Lucas in American Gangster plays this one almost painfully straight; the one time he goes out in public (under protest) wearing a pimp coat instead of an understated business suit turns out to be his downfall.
    • Pretty much the only time that Loki isn't in his Asgardian garb in The Avengers is when he goes to a museum gala in Stuttgart, Germany, wearing a fancy tux (with green and gold accents, natch.) Loki then proceeds to rip out some dude's eye and terrorize a crowd of civilians.
      • Another badass in a suit from The Avengers: Agent Coulson. His suit is always impeccable, and he seemingly never loses his cool.


    • Assassins in Discworld. If they don't wear black, they reason, they might as well just be thugs who kill people for money.
    • Subverted in Neverwhere. Croup and Vandemar are contract killers who wear suits, but the suits look like they were made by someone who had only had a suit described to them and so looked creepily off.
      • Not helping matters was that the suits were on Croup and Vandemar.
    • Butler from Artemis Fowl is never described as wearing anything other than a suit, as befits his professionalism, and will beat up almost anyone who threatens Artemis, whom he is charged with protecting
    • Kit Carson of Time Scout habitually wears a rumpled suit when working at his hotel. Anyone who goes downtime has a better than even chance of wearing a very nice suit.
    • The Dresden Files: "Gentleman" Johnny Marcone wears nothing but hand-tailored suits and tuxedos are his standard wardrobe. He's not much in a fight, thanks to living in a World of Badass, but he stands down everyone else through sheer intimation and influence.
    • Irene lampshades this in the Belisarius Series by pointing out that she wears the robes of a Roman Imperial counselor on a diplomatic trip in India, no matter how hot it is because if they see her as a woman they will gawk but if they see her as Roman they will be impressed because after all Rome is a badass country.
      • Irene in general is a veritable mistress of using costume for political manipulation.

    Live Action TV

    • This trope was extremely common in American crime dramas of the 1960s and 1970s, particularly in representing characters from organized crime, who would never go anywhere, including an outdoor worksite, without putting on a full suit and tie. This trope could easily be called Wise Guys in Ties.
    • Lampshaded (unintentionally) in "The Frame," a very early episode of Mission: Impossible, where the team infiltrates a mob meeting at the boss's home and a major plot point hinges on one character getting spilled on and being sent upstairs to change into an entirely new suit, which the boss subsequently compliments him on.
    • The F.I.R.M. from Airwolf. Especially Archangel.
    • Marcus Hamilton in the last season of Angel, who was more or less the Terminator with etiquette. After being told his friends were running from "a tall, well-dressed..." and then Hamilton bursting upon the scene, Angel remarked, "Wow. He really is well-dressed." The season previous, Gunn attended a fancy party, and in order to blend had to wear a suit...and then had to beat up a bunch of warrior monk-types, which he lamented would get blood on it. (It didn't, though. He's that good.)
    • The Avengers
    • The Hands of Blue from Firefly, though they only appeared in two episodes and a comic.
    • On Doctor Who, the Master sometimes wore a black suit and tie (instead of his customary black Nehru suit), especially when he started the story posing as a human.
      • The Silence wear black suits.
      • The Tenth Doctor's suit and Badass Longcoat, and the Eleventh's tweed and bow tie.
    • Ianto Jones in Torchwood.
    • Brother Mouzone in The Wire is possibly the epitome of this trope. Not only does he wear an immaculate three-piece suit at all times (with a very sensibly-sized handgun underneath), but also Nerd Glasses and a little red bowtie. But do not underestimate his ability to fuck you up.
    • Dollhouse: In classic MIB style, all the handlers are, in Topher's words, "security guards in very lovely suits." Boyd and Dominic look especially good when Kicking Ass and Taking Names.
    • In the Battlestar Galactica remake, the Doral/"#5" Cylons are always impeccably dressed as is Gaius Baltar most of the time.
    • Michael Westen of Burn Notice, when not undercover is almost always seen with an Armani suit and his signature designer shades. Never mind that in Miami's weather that suit would probably kill him, it just looks that awesome.
      • He does tend toward polos when not "on the clock". It's a good look for him.
      • In one particular episode Michael, Sam and Fiona dress in all-black Armani to give similar impression to that which uniforms give in the battlefield. That is, the impression that one belongs to a larger organization and of unified force. They succeed, of course. Also, they look fantastic.
      • Burn Notice is filmed on location in Miami, and Jeffrey Donovan is a martial arts expert who does most of his own stunts; so he really is being that badass, in that suit, in that weather.
    • White Collar The whole show is this - considering that Peter and Neal are very rarely not in suits when in the thick of action.
    • Put simply, villains from Heroes seem to love this trope. We have:
      • Mr. Linderman, from Season 1
      • Adam Monroe from Season 2 (who really pulls it off)
      • Arthur Petrelli from Season 3 (who doesn't). Maury Parkman, too.
      • Noah Bennet wore nothing but suits for Season 1, and a large chunk of Season 3.
      • Suits were the default clothes for Nathan in Season 1, and most of Season 3.
      • Sylar also attempts this in volume 3, and does about as well as Arthur.
      • Finally, though this may be stretching it, Danko from Volume 4 wore suit pants with his leather jacket.
    • Some of the angels on Supernatural (Castiel, Uriel, and Zachariah) are always shown wearing suits. Castiel scores extra points with his Badass Longcoat.
    • The Thick of It: Malcolm Tucker looks remarkably un-scary—even emasculated—in casual clothes. Put the man in a suit, however, and he'll chew you the fuck out.
    • The Gentlemen from Buffy the Vampire Slayer float around ripping people's hearts out while dressed in sharp black suits.
    • He's a Man of Wealth and Taste but Smallville‍'‍s Lionel Luthor is definitely this as well, wearing his suit the way the Superheroes wear their uniforms. For that matter so is his son Lex. And Clark's evil, Alternate Universe twin, Ultraman. Needless to say, these two tropes tend to overlap a lot on Smallville.
    • Barney Stinson on How I Met Your Mother. Suit up!
    • Though they're all FBI Agents (and all Badass), Aaron Hotchner of Criminal Minds is the only one on the team to consistently wear a suit throughout the show. He only takes off the jacket when he switches it out for a Kevlar vest. And in a handful of very early episodes, Derek Morgan played this trope before opting for more casual dress.
    • Zig zagged in The Sopranos ,the mobsters like to wear vulgar sportswear most of the time but they dress up according to their fancy businessmen status when the occasion requires it.
    • Every male character on Boardwalk Empire, in gorgeous 20's-era three-piece suits.
    • In Person of Interest, pretty much all Officer Carter needs to hear in a situation is "a guy in a nice suit" to know it is Reese's doing.
    • Elijah Mikaelson from The Vampire Diaries definetly qualifies.


    Professional Wrestling

    Tabletop Games

    Video Games

    • Niko in Grand Theft Auto IV. In the later part of the game, the player can buy various high class outfits, a few of them being business suits.
    • Agent 47 from the Hitman series.
    • Killer7: Garcian Smith, Mask De Smith (along with a cape and luchadore mask), and Dan Smith.
    • No More Heroes: Another Suda 51 character, Henry Cooldown, whether it be a Badass Longcoat or a black and gray suit.
    • The Gman from Half Life always wears a suit (and carries a brief case, just to add to the look), helping him stand out against the the generic scientists and security guards of the first game and then the ragtag resistance members of the second. He also remains decidedly professional (whatever his "profession" is) and calm compared to all the other characters.
    • The Turks of Final Fantasy VII and Advent Children.
      • Except for Reno, who his suit as casually as it can be done.
    • Kiritsugu, Maiya and Saber from Fate/Zero, Kuzuki from Fate/stay night and Bazett in Fate/hollow ataraxia.
    • Shelly DeKiller in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Justice for All, a professional assassin.
    • The Master of the Four Devas in God Hand, up until the point where he transforms into a giant demon fly/worm with his own face
    • The Spy from Team Fortress 2.

    "You got blood on my suit!"

    • Any Castlevania game where Ayami Kojima did the designs will have its lead character dressed in the very height of (somewhat) period-appropriate fashion, although special mention must be made of Alucard, both his dandyish dress from Symphony of the Night and his elegant double-breasted suit, complete with red pocket square, from the Sorrow games.
    • Oswald from The King of Fighters.
    • Mr. Burke from Fallout 3. While nearly everyone else in Megaton is a dirty, ragged-looking peasant, Burke is rather snazzy in his white suit, fedora, and tortoise-shell glasses.

    "I just had this suit tailored!"

    • The Crimson Viper from Street Fighter 4 wears a business suit with lightning generators in her sleeves and rocket boots disguised as high heels.
    • In Suikoden III, of all games, there is a practitioner of this trope: Amidst the medieval-fantasy armor and Rummage Sale Rejects, you will find Yuber, in a dapper, vaguely-Chinese black suit and fedora, gleefully chopping people up.
    • Tekken: Brothers Kazuya Mishima and Lee Chaolan tend to wear very lavish suits while fighting; Kazuya wears a dark violet suit with long, angular tails, and Lee wears a black tuxedo with a rose on the lapel and silk gloves. It makes some sense, given their father Heihachi's attire (fur-lined tiger greatcoat with white vest-pants combo). Others who dress in this manner in later games include Baek Doo San (three piece suit and hat), Feng Wei (mafia-style suit and open-collared shirt), and Anna Williams (cocktail dress).
    • Nick, the con man from Left 4 Dead 2 wears what he claims to be a $3000 suit during the Zombie Apocalypse. Whether or not he's telling the truth, he does look snazzy.
    • Almost all the mobsters in The Godfather: The Game wear suits with ties and hats. The Cuneos and Barzinis stay in this trope despite using red and green respectively because they stand by dark shades. Your character initially doesn't have a suit, but you can buy several kinds of coats.
    • In Scarface: The World Is Yours, Tony's Enforcer wears a grey suit and tie with shades, while Tony can purchase various tieless suits.
    • The first Gym Leaders in Pokémon Black and White are Cilan, Chili, and Cress. Since the gym itself is based on a cafe all of the trainers, including the leaders themselves, are dressed like waiters. And they don't look half-bad, either.
    • Persona 3 features the option to dress all the male characters in tuxedos.
    • Mass Effect 2:
      • Thane Krios wears what appears to be a space tuxedo. Space leather tuxedo, that is. His design process was long and hard to make him not only have the flair and confidence of an assassin, but also look intriguing to women. He even poses in his own personal idle animations.
      • Commander Shepard as well in his Cerberus officer uniform or the formal wear he procures from Kasumi's mission.
    • BlazBlue: Hazama and Valkenhayn.
    • The Reconstruction: Sirush, combined with a Nice Hat and extremely formal speech as part of the usual assassin attire.
    • In Perfect Dark, the DarkSim's default outfit is this.
    • Guilty Gear has Slayer
    • Bruce Wayne at the beginning of Batman: Arkham City. Played quite realistically, as the suit coat gets torn along the shoulder seams, demonstrating how restrictive and, well, unsuited to combat a suit can be.
    • Albert Wesker in Resident Evil games The Umbrella Chronicles and 4.

    Web Comics

    • Mordecai Heller of Lackadaisy fame combines elements of this trope along with Sharp Dressed Cat, Professional Killer, and Wicked Cultured. Utterly ruthless, he has absolutely no qualms about hacking a screaming victim to pieces with a hatchet. Priding himself on cleanliness and order, his only problem with the killing was the mess.
    • Homestuck
      • Each protagonist makes himself new clothes after acquiring enough alchemy ingredients. John gets a rather dashing teal suit, but Dave later one-ups him by making a tuxedo, complete with bowtie!
        • Heck, Dave has at least three outfits that could qualify for this trope, including the tuxedo.
      • The Midnight Crew, who live this trope with a healthy dash of noir and more than a touch of sociopathy (although in the case of Clubs Deuce, the "badass" part is ... debatable).
      • Same thing goes for the Felt, especially with Doc Scratch.

    Web Original

    • Virgil, Bree's Watcher and sometimes Lucy, all from Lonelygirl15.
    • The Shadow and the Watcher from Kate Modern, and Tez On Toast towards the end of The Last Work.
    • Anonymous is often depicted as a hollow tuxedo or black business suit.
    • Slender Man; at least one goon suspected he/it wasn't actually wearing a suit but had a very strangely-proportioned (and colored) body (for instance, his neck actually drooped like a vulture's, giving the appearance of a tie). This is just about the only element of him that appears in nearly all the stories.
    • Legend from the flash series Xin. In the second half he trades the full suit coat for a waistcoat, and when it's time to get serious he tears it off and rolls up his sleeves.
    • Maxwell Lombardi in V4 of Survival of the Fittest. V1 villain Jacob Starr also wore a suit in the early part of the game, before replacing the jacket with a trenchcoat.

    Western Animation

    Real Life

    • There's a famous photo of strikers battling scabs and strikebreakers at one of the Detroit auto factories during the Depression. Everyone in the riot/battle is wearing a suit and tie.
      • Well, what else would one wear during the day?
        • A canvas or flannel shirt and coarse wool pants on suspenders with optional corduroy or woolen jacket. Pretty typical attire of a factory worker back then. No sane worker would even think of wearing a tie, given much lower machine safety standards than today (even today, it is Tempting Fate and often against the rules). The police, on the other hand...
          • Keep in mind that they were on strike at the time. They likely wouldn't be wearing the actual clothes they worked in, opting for regular day-wear (of that time-period).
    • Most military services in formal dress uniforms.
    • The non-descript gents wearing a dark three-piece suit, reflective shades and ear piece who may or may not be armed and can not be confirmed or denied to work for various government agencies
    • During the days of The British Empire British were expected to wear nice suits in the awfullest climates because that was what was expected and you better be able to hack it or you are not a proper Sahib.
    1. One was ordered to break into a decrepit house infested with termites.