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Dancing Pants
Then I was deep within the woods
When, suddenly, I spied them.
I saw a pair of pale green pants
With nobody inside them!

Clothes can do a lot of things when worn by people. It can keep them warm, it can make them look cool, it can give them super-powers or turn them violently evil.

There are some weird articles of clothing that don't have to be worn by anyone to do things: somehow, they can move around with nobody inside 'em. For some reason, the disembodied clothing is usually a pair of pants. note 

Compare Animated Armor.

Examples

Comic Books
  • Iron Man has had at least one suit of his Powered Armor become sentient (and start acting disturbingly like an abusive boyfriend).
  • The first issue of the Roger Rabbit comic books featured as a villain a sentient set of "fancy pants," which talked like a gangster most of the time but got eloquent when wishing it would meet a pair of "female pants" to end its loneliness. This was pretty much par for the course.
  • Azzarello and Chiang's Doctor Thirteen backup in Tales of the Unexpected featured a pile of superhero costumes attacking the obscure band of characters as a statement about how the company ignores the stranger heroes in favor of big-name heroes that are ultimately nothing but sales icons.
    Doctor Thirteen: No father wants to see his daughter become a fashion victim.
  • One Bronze Age Superman story had the Man Of Steel dealing with his entire Clark Kent disguise having a life of its own. He finds out that he passed through a cloud in space consisting of microscopic sentient beings that got attached to his clothing and he ends up taking them home.
  • Judge Dredd was issued a new uniform for on-street evaluation that came with an onboard AI that could detect criminals more easily and act as a sort of Powered Armor. However, the fashion designer who created the uniform gave it a personality similar to his own and began executing perps for "crimes against fashion." When Dredd disagreed with this, the uniform removed itself from Dredd's body and went on a rampage until Dredd was able to bring it down.

Film
  • The classic visual version comes from the Universal version of The Invisible Man. Of course, the pants aren't really dancing on their own (and singing "here were go gathering nuts in May"), but don't tell that to the villagers.
  • One of Mike Jittlov's demo reels in The Wizard of Speed and Time.
  • There's a full magic suit in The Movie of My Favorite Martian.
  • Plenty of clothes, including pants, danced in the Walt Disney movie Bedknobs and Broomsticks, thanks to the Substitutiary Locomotion spell.
  • The movie Legend had a dancing (and possibly evil) dress. When the princess danced with it she ended up wearing it.

Literature
  • Named for a Shel Silverstein poem in Where The Sidewalk Ends.
  • The Pale Green Pants With Nobody Inside Them from the Dr. Seuss story What Was I Afraid Of? Scary-looking, but quite harmless.
  • In Reaper Man, the surplus life force causes clothing and other inanimate objects to get up and walk (or, more accurately, run) around on their own. In particular the wizards notice a full suit running off, followed by another pair of trousers, chased by a man shouting "I paid seven dollars for you!" Ridcully is astonished by this; he didn't know there was a tailor in the city who'd include a spare pair of pants with a seven dollar suit.
    "If it comes round again, trip it up. I want to see the label."
  • There is a Japanese children's picture book about a little boy who dawdles getting dressed, so his pants run off without him and he has to chase them. Basically, a silly story about not being late.
  • The villains of Larklight's second book are aliens from near the end of time called Moobs, which disguise themselves as clothes (mostly hats) and can take control of or telepathically communicate with people who wear them.
  • In ch. 197 of the second "year" of Tales of MU, Steff enchants Mack's jeans with an undead animation spell. Once off her, they try to wrap around her head and are eventually destroyed.
  • In Warbreaker, Vasher at one point animates a suit of clothes to grab a sword and fight beside him. Works quite well.

Music Video

Newspaper Comics
  • One Calvin and Hobbes strip had Calvin's clothes jump him and put themselves on him in odd combinations. His mother then scolds him for dressing improperly, to which he responds, "You think I wanted to dress this way?"
  • A walking pair of pants appeared in The Pajama Diaries, with Jill Kaplan telling husband Rob, "Looks like it might be time to wash the yoga pants."

Live-Action TV

Tabletop Games
  • There's a Dungeons & Dragons monster named a ragamuffyn, which is usually a cloud of sentient magical clothing. It also comes in varieties that are made of rags or weapons.

Video Games
  • One level in Monster Party has pants that are (of course) trying to kill you.
  • Ghostbusters: The Video Game includes a collectible object in the form of a pair of patched jeans that walk about with faint disco music playing in the background. After the player collects them, they can be seen (and heard) wandering about the firehouse. The note on your Paragoggles reads: "These bell-bottoms keep on truckin'...WITH NO-ONE INSIDE THEM!"
  • The titular hero of Plok is a being made up of clothes who can fire out his arms and legs at will.
  • One of the most dreaded monsters in Dragon Age: Origins Awakening are the horrifiying schleets, which look like ordinary pairs of pants. When you get close enough, they jump up and tear out your eyes in order to lay their eggs in your eye sockets. At least, that's what Oghren's heard.
    "What kind of moron do you think I am? Schleets don't lay eggs!"

Web Comics
  • In Adventurers!, Ardam randomly encounters one pair of evil pants. The sheer stupidity of an article of clothing apparently trying to kill him sends him into shock.
  • In one Sluggy Freelance storyline, Gwynn enchants a pile of laundry and clutter to become a Clutter Monster which would force Torg to clean up their apartment. It died when they put away some of the clothes that it was using for vital organs.

Western Animation
  • This happened in the pilot episode of The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, "When Pants Attack".
  • One of the Arthur episodes had a humiliating incident in which Arthur's pants fell down at school inspire a dream where his pants were trying to eat him. Go figure.
  • Darkwing Duck had an alien planet of mind-controlling hats (a literal Planet of Hats, if you will).
  • One Looney Tunes short involves Porky Pig getting sentenced by the Leprechauns to "The Wearin' o' the Green Shoes"!
  • The Techno-Trousers from the Wallace & Gromit short "The Wrong Trousers".
  • In an episode of Phineas and Ferb Doofenshmirtz attempted to create a ray that would dry his clothes after his dryer broke, but instead made one that made anything hit with it dance... which includes his clothes. "Still sopping wet..."
  • Eek! The Cat has a character named Clutter, a living pile of laundry.
  • Greenbeard's gloves in Jackie Chan Adventures, which can move under their own power and force whoever's wearing them to steal things.
  • An episode of Johnny Test had Johnny's genius sisters create a pair of pants that increased his intellect called Super Smarty Pants. It developed sentience as well as Yandere traits towards Johnny, including trying to kill a love interest (whom he repeatedly denied he did have feelings for).
  • In the Sponge Bob Square Pants episode "Procrastination,", Spongebob gets to his desk, and realizes his pants are missing. They taunt him and run out the door of the Pineapple House, screaming "FREEDOM!!!" It's All Just a Dream, though.
  • In Steven Universe there's a shattered magic gem that brings clothes to life. This includes Steven's pants, which he has to chase down. Later, Steven uses one of the shards to bring a Goofy Suit to life; when it goes berserk, he brings all his clothes (including his underwear) to life to defeat it.


Cyber CyclopsOtherness TropesDhampyr
Dada ComicsAbsurdity AscendantThe Dead Can Dance
Animated ArmorIndex of Fictional CreaturesAntlion Monster

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