Clothing items have a way of sticking around as they started, even if their wearer is shrunken, transformed, or outright disintegrated in front of the viewer's eyes. This presentation is usually used as a visual cue to drive home the extremity of what's just happened to the victim. Simple gravity may pile the clothes into a heap, or convenient magic scatter them a moment later, to Hide the Evidence
, this can be an effect of Animorphism
, or as simple as Just Woke Up That Way
. Also a frequent pairing with the Baleful Polymorph
or Incredible Shrinking Man
. Since the clothes stay where they are, if the victim has survived the event, it's likely to lead to Naked on Arrival
This is also seen in Sizeshifting
gone wrong, Ascending to a Higher Plane of Existence
, or the effects of a Fountain of Youth
Typically onscreen; in any case, the cause of the loss of clothing is revealed to the audience and characters present in the scene. May trigger a foreboding Empty Piles of Clothing
moment if discovered later by a character, without
Compare My Suit Is Also Super
, Morphic Resonance
, and Dress Hits Floor
. Contrast Magic Pants
Notice: As a DEATH TROPE
(sometimes), there can be SPOILERS
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Anime & Manga
- In one work submitted for serialization in Bakuman。, about a survival challenge in which anyone who tells a lie dies, the people who are killed in such a manner disappear, leaving only their clothes behind, while a voice comes from their clothes and announces the truth.
- Princess Tutu. A girl called Duck, because she was a duck, turns back into a duck whenever she acts like a duck, thus leaving an empty pile of clothing behind.
- In episode 5 of the ''Magic User's Club' TV anime', Akane starts to hiccup, causing various strange things to happen. At one point, she shrinks down, leaving her clothes piled on the club room floor.
- This is what happens whenever someone dies of Troy in Double Arts. First, the seizures, then they become transparents and disappear.
- Happens in the first season of Birdy the Mighty Decode, where the world-destroying parasitic weapon, Ryunka, spreads to the Greater Tokyo Area, petrifying any person into a glass-like substance that shatters into dust, leaving behind nothing but piles of clothing. The death of Nataru's (one of Birdy's childhood friends and fellow Altarian) buddies from the Ryunka's destruction is what prompts him to go on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge in the second season against the criminals responsible for releasing it.
- In One Piece Film Z : During the Straw Hats' first fight against the villains, Nami and Chopper seemingly disappear after Ain hits them with her power, leaving their clothes behind. However, it turns out they have just been deaged into kids.
- Cell of Dragon Ball Z way of eating people does this : After he stabs them, the victim's body is broken down into genetic material and absorbed inside of Cell, giving the impression that the victim is melting, and only leaving behind piles of clothing after the process is done.
- Vampires that get staked in Black Blood Brothers usually leave behind a small pile of dust and a pile of clothing.
- Kirihara in Darker Than Black followed an agent she saw at the scene where she didn't expect him, and found his clothes. The next thing she saw was a chair with another set of clothes "sitting" on it, with sleeves on armpads. It was a case of perve-portation, but she didn't know this at the time.
- Used in Fullmetal Alchemist when Alphonse Elric's body is destroyed when he and his brother Edward attempt human transmutation. When Edward sees Al's clothes on the floor empty he knows his little experiment has truly Gone Horribly Wrong.
- Occurs in Katekyo Hitman Reborn! after Yuni and Gamma sacrifice themselves during the final battle of the Future Arc.
- In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's, after Signum and Shamal are absorbed into the Book of Darkness, only their winter coats remain on the ground.
- In Baccano!, immortals leave these when they are eaten.
- The dreaded Third Impact in Neon Genesis Evangelion reduces everyone in the world to puddles of orange fluid and a pile of their clothes, even if that person was already dead at the time.
- Fairy Tail: At one point during Team Natsu's fight with Hades, the latter used a technique named "Katsu" on Wendy, causing her to disappear instantly, only leaving her clothes behind. Fortunately, it turns out she was saved at the last minute by Horologium, and that Hades' attack actually didn't hit her.
- In Magic: The Gathering has several cards on theme:
- Snakeform shows a snake slithering out of a pile of clothes that was once a mage.
- Turn to Frog uses the same basic concept in its art, where "Target creature loses all abilities and becomes a 1/1 blue Frog until end of turn.".
- As does Ovinize, which depicts a sheep among weapons and armor, whose name is similar to the Latin, Ovis aries.
- In Crisis on Infinite Earths, the Flash Barry Allen runs so fast that he loses himself to the Speed Force, leaving just his uniform behind.
- Same thing with Wally West in Zero Hour.
- In Fables #51, Cinderella is turned into a mouse, her clothes falling empty to the meadow floor, so she can enter the village of the smalls.
- The Far Side. The four panel comic Beware the Pigeons◊, depicting a person on a park bench serenely feeding pigeons. The pigeons swarm in number...and ultimately leave the former occupant's clothes draped empty on the bench.
- In the new Axe Anti Dandruff commercial called "Dusted," three lovely young women are instantly reduced to dust in the presence of a certain young man, leaving their empty clothes to flutter to the ground.
- G.U. Japan has the singing group "Kyary Pamyu Pamyu," as three vampires rising from their coffins and striking scary vampire poses, only one them accidentally kicks off her shoe, which hits a switch that opens a window. The sunlight pours in and poof, they vanish in a puff of smoke.
Films — Animation
- In a literal case of Just Woke Up That Way: The Ant Bully, when Lucas Nickle wakes, and shrinks. Falling from his bed, his underwear is left behind; numerous cases of Scenery Censor ensue.
- Pinocchio, in which bad boys turn into donkeys after misbehaving on Pleasure Island. We see this happen to Lampwick, as animal instincts replace his human reason, and a combination of the shape change itself, and desperate braying and bucking casts all of his clothes off.
- Tiana emerges from her now-empty princess dress after kissing Naveen turns her into a frog in The Princess and the Frog.
- Rock-A-Doodle has the scene where The Duke, the evil owl turns the live-action human boy Edmund into a cartoon kitten by way of a magic spell. (This particular scene pairs this trope with that of Toon Transformation).
- Shrek 2 : After King Harold shields Fiona from one of the Fairy Godmother's spells, his suit of armor seems to be the only thing left of him... Until he comes out of the armor, in his original frog form, and reveals the truth about that to the heroes.
- Having lost the Ultimate Game to the Looney Tunes in Space Jam, the Monstars surrender their Liquid Assets and shrink to Nerdluck size. Their Monstar uniforms do not shrink, leaving the Nerdlucks unclothed. Pound lampshades this: "My clothes don't fit."
- Tangled: Happens to Mother Gothel at the end, as a result of Flynn finally cutting Rapunzel's hair.
Films — Live-Action
- In the new Alice in Wonderland, Alice is shrunk until only her dress remains.
- Harry Potter
- In the first movie, Quirrell collapses to dust, leaving his clothes to fall empty to the floor.
- In the third film, Pettigrew leaves behind his clothes after turning into a rat. Which is weird, seeing how Animagi always have clothes on when they turn human and McGonagall's cat form is noted to have markings around its eyes which resemble her glasses. In the book, this occurs at a different point, also with Pettigrew. After he framed Sirius for his death and turned into a rat, it's mentioned he left behind a pile of clothes and one finger. So... was he naked in the Shrieking Shack? Maybe they just conjure clothes when they turn human since they are wizards, after all.
- Star Wars A New Hope: At the end of Vader's & Kenobi's lightsaber duel Kenobi seemingly gives up and lets Vader slice him - but when he does so, we (and Vader) find his clothes empty. He Ascended to a Higher Plane of Existence and left his clothes behind. (Vader then stomps on the robe as if to make sure he's not just hiding in there!)
- In the movie adaptation of The Witches, when someone is turned into a mouse, they leave their clothes behind. When this happens to Luke, the witches stomp on his clothes in an effort to kill him before he can escape.
- The Tom Cruise remake of The War of the Worlds, the alien heat ray reduces people to ash, leaving their clothing behind. But not underwear for some reason. Non Magic Pants?
- In the movie Unearthly Stranger, A man's wife turns out to be a member of an invading alien race. when she tries to stop them, her people, they kill her by fading her out of existance while being held by him leaving only her clothes draped over his arms.
- In the movie Constantine, Keanu Reeves plays a priest-like warrior who battles demons. when the demon is killed its human body is destroy, turning to ash, until only clothes remain.
- Proteus (1995) is a movie about an experiment gone wrong on an oil platform out in the middle of the ocean. The creature that is created absorbs the bodies of its victims until nothing is left but clothes, so it can mimic their form. It's based on the book called Slimer by Harry Adam Knight.
- The Sword of the Valiant, starring Sean Connery. An apprentice witch is turned into a red frog for being naughty by his character. The scene finishes as they converse while she is perched a top of her empty dress surrounded by her accessories.
- When Santa dies in The Santa Clause, all that's left is his Santa suit, which Tim Allen must don.
- In O Brother, Where Art Thou?, one of the trio's completely missing except for his neatly-arranged clothing (and a toad).
- Empty piles of bandages are all that is left after the protagonist of Mannequin is whisked across time and space.
- Allison in The Grudge 2 is pulled into her clothes, leaving them in a heap on the floor in front of Jake. Kayako then manifests inside the clothes to menace her next victim.
- In The Incredible Shrinking Woman, Lily Tomlin's character shrinks until even a small pouch that she wears as clothing is all that's left of her.
- In the movie Wishmaster 2, a theif who was cornered by the Djinn is so scared he wishes he were never born. Very bad idea. His clothes are all that's left of him after the Djinn has granted his wish.
- In Mom and Dad Save the World, an unpinned light grenade disintegrates anyone who picks it up, leaving only their clothes behind.
- The Twilight Zone
- "Queen of the Nile". A man suffers Rapid Aging and becomes dust inside his clothing.
- In the UK Being Human episode The Longest Day, Lauren kills herself, dissolves and leaves a pile of empty clothes.
- In the first episode of The Secret World of Alex Mack, after being exposed to the chemical GC-161, Alex leaves her clothes behind the very first time she shapeshifts into a puddle, much to the shock of her friends. Equally shocking to them is her reappearing Naked on Arrival a moment later.
- The second and subsequent times Alex does this, she has learned to shift her outfit along with her; thus Magic Pants is the trope through the rest of the series.
- Stargate Verse:
- Characters who Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence leave empty clothes behind. This is first seen in SG-1: "Maternal Instinct" when the monk at the temple ascends after being shot by Apophis' Jaffa.
- In SG-1: "Counterstrike" the Free Jaffa Nation uses the Dakara superweapon to attack a planet the Ori recently captured. Everyone there except Adria is disintegrated, leaving only their clothes behind.
- Used in The Time Traveler's Wife, when the title time traveler... time travels.
- In The Indian in the Cupboard, when the person who would have been sent through time and space to the cupboard is dead, all that gets sent is a pile of clothing.
- In a book called The Demon in Me by Michelle Rowen, Dark Witches are dissolved to nothingness very quickly when killed leaving only a pile of clothes.
- In the book True Angel: Hero by Laura Amy O'Hanlon, Kennedy kills her mother Ocran, who is a bad woman. When she dies, she vanishes instantly leaving her empty clothes to fall to the ground.
- In the Heralds of Valdemar series, the god Vkandis decides to show his displeasure with his priesthood by (among other things) incinerating the high priest with a Bolt of Divine Retribution; a witness says that nothing was left but the man's smoking vestments and boots.
- In the book Samantha Slade — Confession of a Teenage Frog, a girl tests a "formula for greatness" created by a small boy she babysits to help her win an election at school. It turns out that the stuff randomly turns her into a frog, so she is constantly having to crawl out of a pile of her clothes.
- In the book series "Soul Guardians", by Kim Richardson, when the Oracles wanted to de-angel-fy someone they forced them to take a cold shower in a special chamber where the water disintegrated their body into a shiny foamy substance that was washed away down the drain by the water leaving a free floating soul and a pile of clothes.
- In Dungeons & Dragons: Urban Arcana, when a shadowkind (a creature native to the D&D world) dies, it disappears in 1D4 rounds, "leaving no trace of itself other than its clothing and equipment".
- In Nobilis, the people of Dionyl subvert this trope — they are spirits with nothing but empty clothes for a physical form.
- Scott McCloud's three-panel one-shot Man-Eating Shoes speaks for itself with its title and the result of man at bus stop "discovering the nature" of said shoes.
- In the 1933 Disney Silly Symphony Three Little Pigs, the eponymous Big Bad Wolf on two legs becomes enraged at not being able to enter the brick house of the third little pig. In a VillainousBreakdown, Animorphism kicks in. Gloves and his hat fly off, and desperate breaths to blow the brick house down break his suspenders. Ultimately, he steps out of his pants, completely naked, and acting fully like a wild four-legged wolf for the rest of the cartoon.