"Wow-ie, do I look sharp! Just in time for tonight's big dance but I'd better be careful not to get anything on my expensive new tux."So you just bought some new clothes. It's a nice day, why not put 'em on and go for a walk? So there you are, ambling along, maybe even whistling. This won't end well. You will trip into a puddle, get caught by a splash of mud from a passing car, get soaked by a sudden downpour or the like. In extreme circumstances you will suddenly be passed by a hero chasing a villain and accidentally knocked into a pond or covered with rubble. Extra points if the dress is a Pimped-Out Dress. And shoes? Well as Ben Elton once said, "Nothing opens a dog's bottom quite like the sight of a new pair of hand-stitched Guccis!" Clothing Damage is a more extreme version, as is Naked Freak-Out (which is more titillating than either). See also Wardrobe Wound, Watch the Paint Job, Tempting Fate, The Precious, Precious Car, Priceless Ming Vase and Forced into Their Sunday Best. May be caused by a fashion-specialized Status Quo Is God to preserve the Limited Wardrobe. Interestingly enough happens quite often when villains are out shopping.
— Chuck, Chuck's New Tux
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- The Transformation Sequence in Moldiver causes the user's clothes to get shredded if they don't undress first. When we see the main character buy some expensive new clothes, their fate is inevitable.
- Ranma ½: Akane is very proud and very happy. She has grown up a little bit, enough to make her buy a new bra. She never even got to wear it — Happosai steals it off the hamper at the bathhouse and tries to force female Ranma into it. Problem is, Ranma is significantly more grown up than Akane, and the bra is stretched out and ruined. Cue Akane's wrath.
- In Hayate the Combat Butler, the titular character is at one point given a new cashmere coat to wear while out in town doing errands. Cue lampshade hanging en masse by everyone he meets. He does a spectacular job of dodging hazards, but then ends up jumping in a pond to save a friend of his master.
Oh no, I just spilled a can of paint! The kind that stains cashmere!
- In Naruto, the titular character recently started sporting a badass longcoat to go along with his new level of badass. After the start of a decent showing, he promptly got his ass kicked, which climaxed in the destruction of the coat, among other things.
- The fate of Asaka's Yukata in the anime Dokkoida?!.
- In Pandora Hearts Oz gives his wibbly little servant Gilbert a nice new set of white clothes to wear at Oz's coming of age ceremony. Oz himself is wearing a splendid white outfit just for the occasion. During the ceremony, both Oz and Gilbert (mostly Gilbert) end up bloody (shows up nicely on white) before Oz takes a tumble into a very special hell.
- The new outfit Lucy gets during the middle of any given Fairy Tail arc will almost inevitably end up more shredded than the one she'd been replacing due to damage.
- In an 1980s issue of X-Men, Rogue spent the better part of the morning looking for missing teammates Nightcrawler and Rachel, after the team's fight with Nimrod, to no avail. Once the stores opened, she treated herself a new outfit. Um, then the Mutant Massacre happened.
- Happened to her again in the Fantastic 4 Vs The X-Men story arc. She bought a new outfit in Latveria while staying at Doctor Doom's castle (long story). When she returned, a fight broke out and she absorbed the Human Torch's powers. Her outfit was not made of unstable molecules, so....
- Francine from Strangers in Paradise and there's nothing she can do but change into some trampy clothes a friend dug up. Fortunately it turns out real happy for her. Well, for a while.
- An early 1960s Archie comic had Veronica wearing a fashionable Chinese silk dress. She gets increasingly angry when everybody (Betty included) thinks the slit skirt is a rip. Then, when Big Moose, of all people, knows what it is and compliments her on it, she's so gobsmacked that she doesn't look where she's walking, and falls down a long gravel embankment.
- In the Death Note AU Those Who Stand for Nothing Fall for Anything B murdered Light's new suit:
"Where are my clothes?""They're in the sink," he says with a pharmaceutical smile."What? No," I gasp. 100% rare breed wool from the Shetland Islands. Woven by nuns. "They're dry clean only, you bastard!""Oh. That explains the strange colour of the water. I rinsed them through with boiling water and now they're soaking in cold water. Is that ok? I put ice in it. It's like suit mojito in the kitchen.""You cunt.""Light, I'm sure that he just overlooked the washing guidelines," L sighs, putting his trousers on under the sheets. "You have other suits.""Other suits? Other? Suits?"B pulls my cigarette holder and lighter out of his pocket and holds them out to me. At least he didn't put them in the sink. "Here," he says. "Give yourself cancer.""What time is it?" L asks."Just after ten.""It was one of a kind. Only virgins can make suits like that," I moan while lighting a cigarette. "Do you know how hard it is to find a virgin these days? Let alone a virgin who's dedicated herself to God and weaving. There are no 'other suits' like that... And I looked fuck amazing in it."L stares at me with a blank expression. He stares at me for quite a long time. I almost feel stupid after ten seconds. "Cry me a river."Fine. No sympathy. No support. My suit's been destroyed and he doesn't give a shit. Fine.
Films — Animated
- The future Anita Radcliff in the animated version of 101 Dalmatians. Clearly she spent hours ironing her new spring suit, but there she goes into the pond! Note that when you combine Meet Cutes and new clothes the probability of catastrophe increase exponentially.
- In the Disney version of Cinderella, the title character shows off her new pink dress made by her mice friends. Her stepsisters aggressively tear it to pieces.
Films — Live-Action
- Carrie (1976): As you can guess, all the teenagers who are killed in the gymnasium are wearing brand new tuxedos and dresses. Carrie reveals that her dress was self-made just for this occasion, and it, too is ruined by the end of her rampage.
- Judy Garland in In The Good Old Summertime. It's not bad enough that she's carrying a parasol on a windy day, she has to get knocked over by a guy as part of a Meet Cute as well. Note that this can cross over with the old umbrella-getting-turned-inside-out gag (which should have its own trope) for added pathos.
- Susan in the Hayley Mills version of The Parent Trap. There she is, having a nice conversation with a boy on a porch, and her new dress gets cut up as part of a feud with her lookalike and as-yet unknown sister Sharon.
- Crossover with Fur and Loathing in the film It Could Happen to You. The bitchy wife, who just became a Rich Bitch, buys a fur coat, and as soon as she gets out of the store, her coat gets hit with red paint.
- In Dogma the angel Metatron seems to complain about his clothes getting ruined. When it happens one time, he reaches over and uses God's dress to wipe something off his clothes. She's not too happy about that. (Yes, it's a comedy).
- Not quite new clothes, but still: Thorndyke wears a freshly-pressed driving uniform in The Love Bug. Too bad the Irish Coffee-inebriated Herbie projectile-coughs whipped cream all over him. Thorndyke's fault for doping him with the Irish Coffee in the first place.
- Marty is given a "Western" outfit and a new pair of cowboy boots by Doc in Back to the Future Part III. A bear eats the boots. Similarly, his ancestor gives him a new hat, only to have it lost and probably trampled by Buford "Mad Dog" Tannen's horse. The outfit gets torn up as Buford drags Marty down the street.
- Lina Lamont wears a new dress (hey, she's a famous actress at a movie premiere, of course it's a new dress) to a party celebrating her newest movie in Singin' in the Rain. She ends up covered in the cake that's been specially made to honor her.
- Also from Singin' in the Rain, Don Lockwood ends up having his new suit literally torn to shreds by fangirls. This is immediately followed by a Meet Cute, following the pattern noted above.
- In The Incredible Hulk movie we see Banner buy new clothes and know that those clothes are gonna be toast. Although the pants survive.
- Raising Arizona's main character buys some new shoes then chases after his perverted boss and ruins them.
- Pan's Labyrinth: Oh, Ofelia. "Here's your new dress, shoes, and hair ribbon. Be sure to keep them clean, you must look good for your father's party tonight." To give the girl credit, she tries to take some care of her clothes by taking her fancy dress off and hanging it on a branch before she goes hunting for a magic toad under a long-dead fig tree. However, it doesn't work, the dress gets lost, and by the time she finds her dress and wanders home again, the poor thing is covered head-to-toe in mud.
- Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. Johnny is frustrated that he must destroy his new suit to chase the Silver Surfer. One wonders why Reed didn't make an unstable molecule tuxedo.
- Probably because Reed Richards Is Useless.
- Raiders of the Lost Ark: Marion's dress from Belloq gets dirtied from being in the Well of Souls, and Indy tears up most of the skirt.
- Played with in Blazing Saddles, when bandits overrun the town of Rock Ridge early in the film. A well-dressed dude is lassoed and dragged behind a horse through the mud. He simply notes: "Well, that's the end of this suit!"
- Ordell references this trope in Jackie Brown when, before leaving the two of them alone, he asks Melody to avoid ripping the new clothes off of Louis (he knew they'd have sex, his only concern was not wasting the money he spent on the new clothes.)
- Elizabeth Swann's father gives her a fashionable new dress in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. Cut to ten minutes later... she's fallen off a cliff and the dress, which was weighing her down, is at the bottom of the bay. From her corsetry comments during the rest of the film, we can assume there were no regrets.
- Due to Fashion being Serious Business to fire demons in Lonely Werewolf Girl, when Malveria wears one of her new outfits to a human club before having to go to a fire demon week-long ball, she is rather upset that the club turns out to be the setting of a pitched battle between werewolves' cliques. Thankfully she manages to convince the other Fire Demons that the bloodstained wreck is "battle chic".
- In the second Dragonriders of Pern novel, F'lar and Lessa are wearing new outfits to a wedding. F'lar ends up in a duel with T'ron, during which he gets his suit cut up, and Lessa has to rip up her dress to make bandages.
- Hagar in Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon buys new clothes and makeup in order to impress Milkman Dead, but since she was in such a hurry to get home and try out the stuff, she has to deal with the rain and her bags tearing on her way there. By the time she does get home and put all that stuff on, Pilate and Reba see that her new clothes suffered major damage, to say nothing about her smeary makeup and wet hair.
- The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency: Grace Makutsi loooves shoes. You can probably guess that any new pair she's particularly excited about will either tear up her feet or get destroyed.
- Margin Play by Eric Plume: Amber buys a whole new outfit — shoes, dress, hose, undergarments, the whole works — in order to infiltrate a high-society party during her investigation. By the end of the evening, the dress is in shreds, the shoes have been broken and thrown away, and she has to hike back to her hotel barefoot and tattered. Fortunately, she can charge the cost to her (very deep-pocketed) client.
Live Action TV
- The Brady Bunch: In Season 4's "Law and Disorder," Bobby ruins his best suit when he trespasses into an abandoned house to retrieve a classmate's beloved kitten … and then attempts to wash it in the clothes washer to cover up his tracks. Mike and Carol find out anyway.
- Lizzie McGuire had this happen on the day she was trying for Best Dressed in the yearbook. Of course, buying new clothes she couldn't really afford and planning to return them for a refund later was just asking for it.
- That's So Raven had an episode with a similar plot, but she was wearing the dress for a party.
- On an episode of Kate And Allie, Kate buys an expensive white dress for her date at the ballet, with the intention that she'll return it the next day. After the ballet, Kate strives to avoid potential disasters (including a kid with a chocolate ice cream cone) but falls into one of the ballerinas, getting the ballerina's stage makeup all over the dress.
- The opening credits of Sex and the City feature Carrie walking down the street in a nice dress, only to be splashed by muddy water from a passing bus.
- An episode of Angel had the gang buy new clothes to go out to the ballet. When Fred points out that they're broke, Cordelia assures her that they can tuck in the tags and return the clothes tomorrow. Of course, that was before they had to do battle with a group of demons.
- Happened to three of Larry's new, identical shirts in one episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm (from his own blood, makeup, and tearing the last one in half as he and a friend raced to claim it, in that order).
- In an early episode of Degrassi, Emma has been feeling moody lately so her mother takes her out to buy some new clothes to cheer her up. The very next day we realize why Emma's been so moody when her first period coats her new skirt in blood.
- In Eureka, Alison is in the middle of trying on her wedding dress when she gets called to deal with an emergency. She doesn't realize until she gets there that the emergency is a mud volcano.
- In A Very Peculiar Practice the suit Bob gets as a bribe for skewing a drug trial needs cleaned, again and again.
- In Casualty Zoe wear a brand new, pair of shoes to work one morning, on the same day that Holby City Emergency Department is inundated with norovirus sufferers. And it's her turn to be in charge of the isolation area for those vomiting patients. Her shoes make it all the way through the day unharmed, thanks to the use of surgical booties to protect them... and then, on her way to her car at the end of the day, she's walking past a massive puddle just as an ambulance drives in at high speed.
- Played For Comedy in Wizards of Waverly Place where the family wizard gets a set of special wizard robes. Unfortunately, it seems when the youngest son gets it from the eldest, it turns out it is fake. He wore them no less than five minutes before covering them with paint, mud, cake, and ripping it to shreds. After it is repaired, he gives it to his brother, who proceeds to similarly rip it up by getting stuck in a horrific traffic accident, also within minutes of putting it on.
- In The Inbetweeners, Simon wears brand new trainers to a club but ends up having to loan them to a homeless person. When he gets them back, they're filthy.
- In The Musketeers, after D'Artagnan was recently officiated as a Musketeer, he wanted to keep his uniform as clean as possible. Naturally, Athos and Porthos did their best to get scratches and dirt all over it during a practice fight, much to D'Artagnan's dismay.
- One Episode of Full House had eldest daughter D.J. receiving an expensive sweater from her father as a gift. The very first time she wears it,it gets ruined after she took it off to play soccer and a lawn mower rode over it reducing it to shreds.
- One bit on The Abbott And Costello Show has Costello hired to just take some straw hats from the maker to a retailer. He thinks he looks good wearing one, and by the time he gets to where he's delivering them, they're all destroyed and he has to pay for them.
- Toyed with in a Calvin and Hobbes strip: we see Calvin checking out a mud pit, adding water to get just the right consistency... next thing we see is Calvin at Susie's house, inviting her to "Put on some nice clothes and let's go for a stroll!"
- In episode 4 of the Back to the Future games, Emmett is seen wearing a suit that belonged to his girlfriend's grandfather. Not only does the suit get destroyed, but Marty has to engineer its destruction personally.
- Chuck's New Tux by Harry Partridge which involves Chuck wearing his new (white) tuxedo for the big school dance and dodging various messes along the way, eg. a woman carrying lots of drinks. Eventually he ends up being sent flying towards a giant wedding cake but he misses and gets horribly impaled on the pointed fence just beyond the cake.
- Scrappy (the kid, not the dog) struggles to protect his Sunday Clothes (1931) in a theatrical short. He successfully dodges a gang of bullies and rides over a mudhole on a sewer worker's head, but in the end... well...
- Veronica Vreeland in Batman: The Animated Series. There she is, buying a new dress for her date with Bruce Wayne and along comes a spooked Harley Quinn. Her car gets ruined, too. Considering that Veronica actually got taken hostage by Harley, she probably wasn't too concerned about the car at first.
- In an episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Fast Forward, Raphael tears his own (rented) tux to shreds as he draws his laser-sais when a fight broke out.
- My Life as a Teenage Robot "Call Hating", Tuck walks home with a fresh haircut and a white tuxedo. Robots attack the city. Mud was involved.
- A mix of this and Watch the Paint Job for Jenny as well, who got a new outfit/paint job for Don Prima's party, only for the Crist Cousins higher a guy who specializes in mud to attack her for the sole purpose of ruining it.
- Spongebob Squarepants falls victim to this trope several times in the episode "Picture Day", in which he attempts to stay clean while avoiding (among other things) being mistaken for a trash receptacle and being dumped into Patrick's peanut butter and jelly taco...
- One episode of Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! revolves around Wubbzy trying to get to the photographer without getting all muddy, but Failure Is the Only Option, it seems.
- Lampshaded on The Simpsons:
- An episode of Jimmy Two-Shoes has Lucius show off his new Nice Hat. Jimmy is around. You can guess the rest.
- One of the running gags of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, is that Rarity, the fashionista of the group, often has her nice clothes get messy, dirty, or destroyed.
- In one short from The Forties, Mickey Mouse gets dressed to the nines to meet Minnie for a date, but his outfit is completely trashed on the way. Lucky for him, when he meets Minnie he finds she's similarly dressed, as they're going to a "hard times" party.
- In The Fairly OddParents, Veronica shows off her new outfit (which looks 100% like her everyday outfit) in front of a fountain, saying that it's made out of tissue paper, sugar and powdered milk. Three guesses what ends up happening.
- In Danny Phantom, the start of Valerie Gray going from Riches to Rags is her new top accidentally getting ruined by Danny.
- In the Recess episode "One Stayed Clean", the Recess Gang have to get all dressed up for their class picture. However, after they realize that they were getting their grade's photo taken last, the gang go through desperate measures to keep their clothes from getting wrecked, mainly Gus's, as this would be his first class picture due to his family moving around all the time before he can get a class photo.
- Many a schoolboy knows that the very first day he wears a brand new pair of shoes to school, his enemies (or even his friends), will say "Oooh, are those new shoes?" and then proceed to tread on his toes repeatedly, thereby completely destroying the toe-caps. On the upside, it probably does make the shoes a little more comfy to walk in...once your toes stop throbbing.
- When acting in the Doctor Who episode "The Seeds of Death", Wendy Padbury liked her costume so much that she bought it — and BBC bureaucracy required her to pay before shooting started. Then the paint on one of the sets turned out not to be completely dry.