Stylish Protection Gear

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Amidala, a beautiful clotheshorse, even in extreme conditions.
Don't let your modern mind convince you that if it looks precious, it must be non-functional. "It must just be for parade, they wouldn't fight in that would they?" That's your modern mind wanting to make a split between the functional and the expressive again. Don't let it do it. It's not good enough to have this stuff: You need to fight in it, you need to destroy it in an afternoon of fun with your knightly friends.
—Wallace Collection Curator of Arms and Armor Dr. Tobias Capwell on Emperor Ferdinand's golden armor and armor as art in general.

A character known for style is getting into a situation that requires some protection, but modern protective gear in Real Life just isn't fashionable. And sometimes the writers are aware that the character has to wear some kind of protective clothing, so they go with Stylish Protection Gear.

The actual situation requiring protection doesn't matter. It could be extreme cold, extreme heat, or wading through toxic chemicals. What matters is that the protective gear looks like plausible protection, but still nice to look at.

It can overlap with Impossibly Cool Clothes, depending on how convincing the outfit is at looking like it protects. More often, this overlaps with Impractically Fancy Outfit, but not always.

A Sub-Trope of Costume Porn.

Compare Bling of War, Pimped-Out Dress, "Happy Holidays" Dress, Scary Impractical Armor, Environment Specific Action Figure (this trope applied to toys for the purpose of having more variants to sell), An Ice Suit, Pimped-Out Cape, Battle Ballgown, Kicking Ass in All Her Finery.

Contrast Stripperific, Exposed to the Elements, Chainmail Bikini.

Examples of Stylish Protection Gear include:

Comic Books

  • Watchmen, Nite-Owl's fluffy owl-suit. Yeah, it looks like it could work, but it's clearly there mainly for thematic reasons.
    • Also, we can see a few other specialised owl-suits in the Owl-Ship for diving, protection from radiation and the like, in the style of action figures like the Batman toys mentioned below.
  • In the Captain America comics, there was one story where Cap and his then girlfriend/partner Diamondback had to go scuba diving. Diamondback somehow obtained mauve flippers that exactly matched her costume.


  • Batman Forever features an experimental "fireproof" batsuit.
  • The latest Star Trek has the cold weather gear.
  • Used as a joke in Zoolander. When male model Derek Zoolander moves back to coal mining country to reconnect with his family, he goes to work in the coal mines wearing specially-tailored, color-coordinated work clothes and a shiny new helmet.


  • Ham from the Doc Savage novels was quite the fashion plate. Although never inappropriate for the environment he was going into, his adventuring gear was usually tailored.
  • Harry Dresden's duster looks stylish and awesome as hell....and it's got enough protection spells woven on it to outclass Type IV ballistic plates.
    • It is also enchanted to be fire-proof and acid-proof. Harry cleans it by throwing it into the fireplace. The one thing it isn't is suitable for a Chicago summer.
      • This may also be a Shout-Out to the Charlemagne who allegedly had a tablecloth he was cleaned by throwing it info fire to amuse his guests (or to intimidate more superstitious ones). It is assumed that it was made of asbestos (asbestos cloth was known to the ancient Greeks). Which brings Unfortunate Implications.
  • The Hunger Games has the Mockingjay outfit for Katniss, designed by Cinna before his death for Katniss to use as the face of the resistance. It was quite effective, able to stop a bullet fired at close range as well as having a small pocket for the nightlock pill, even accessible while bound.

Live-Action TV

  • Lampshaded in The Mighty Boosh several times. In the episode "Tundra", Howard Moon turns up in the kind of thick furs you'd expect someone to wear in the arctic- and Vince Nior wears a red jumpsuit ("the human coke-can").
  • In the Wonder Woman TV series, Diana can use her Instant Costume Change spin to change to a motor cycle or roller-skate version, with a helmet that matches the rest of the costume.

Tabletop Games


Video Games

  • Inverted for Ashley in Resident Evil 4. Her normal and other alternate costume wouldn't look out of place on a fashion runway, but the only costume that stops enemies from dragging her away or attacking her is an unsexy suit of armor.
  • Nuclear Winter and his army of ladies from Freedom Force.
  • Snake's Sneaking Suit in Metal Gear Solid is ostensibly designed to keep him warm in Alaska while allowing him full freedom of movement.
  • In the Heroes of Might and Magic series, Queen Catherine wears a stylist Chainmail Bikini. No, seriously.

Web Comics

Western Animation

  • Picture comes from Star Wars: Clone Wars. Amidala's suit does seem like it could work on an ice planet, but what makes it this trope is the short, but voluminous fur-trimmed Pimped-Out Cape, with the two furry puff balls (an accessory that is strictly for fashion, not utility).
  • The Batman does this on occasion. In Mr. Freeze's debut episode, Batman breaks out a white and blue thermally protected suit.
  • Goldie Gold and Action Jack, Goldie's ermine trimmed parka for going out in the cold.
  • In the Teen Titans episode "Snowblind", and others where it's cold, Raven wears a fur-trimmed cape and tights. See here, here, here, and here.
    • As said pictures demonstrate, Robin and Beast Boy also swap out for a more winterized version of their usual outfits, albeit more subtly. As for Cyborg, "stylish" depends on what you think of him looking like an angry Michelin Man.
    • Starfire, notably, averts this with the justification that her kind is far more tolerant to extreme cold.
  • The Secret Saturdays have matching arctic survival outfits. What really cements their spot in this trope, however, is that this includes one for their pet Komodo dragon. With a furry bobble on the tail.
  • The fur-trimmed, but still pretty, outfits worn in the mountains in Princess Gwenevere and the Jewel Riders.
  • In Conan the Adventurer, the entire cast got special outfits when they traveled north or into the mountains.
  • The Perils of Penelope Pitstop gives the heroine this whenever she needs it.
  • The team in The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest gets cool-looking stuff like swim gear and parkas. Notably, Jessie gets the pink colored outfits.
  • The Team's polar stealth outfits in Young Justice. While Robin, Artemis and Zatanna are bundled up, the rest of the team just have recolored outfits.
  • Rarity often eschews drab camouflage for more scintillating colors.

Real Life

  • Attempted by the US Army with Oakley designed protective goggles, so soldiers will actually wear them, rather than leaving them on their helmets like they did with the (very ugly) previous models. If this was successful is hard to judge, as soldiers quickly became inclined toward wearing them because they were stationed in places where protection from sun and blowing sand were common.
  • Historical armor, even that intended for fighting, was often highly decorated. This served the dual purpose of elevating the nobility's appearance above the common man (divine right etc. etc.), and demonstrating it's better to capture the wearer for ransom over killing him. One exemplar is one suit of armor that belonged to Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II which was etched with elaborate design and fire gilded [1] and then used in combat.
  1. a process where gold is chemically bonded to steel by mixing the gold with mercury and heating it after application