Clothing seems to be a key to identity in The Wave for both Robert Billings and his teacher Ben Ross. When the novel begins, Ben is distinct from his fellow teachers because he doesn't wear a suit. This adds to his image as cool teacher. Robert is also known for his sloppy way of dressing, something that contributes to his image as class loser. But as their attitudes change during The Wave, Robert and Ben both start wearing suits to reflect their new identities as Wave leader (Ben) and bodyguard (Robert).