When fireballs go flying around, you normally expect a certain amount of equipment loss. The same goes to when you hand a screwdriver to your average super-strong individual, or ask a human flamethrower to aim a gun.
These don't tend to end as badly as expected, though. Whatever strange mutations, unlimited cosmic powers, or Applied Phlebotinum stops the hero or villain from turning themselves into a deep-fried crispy critter instantly passes onto any clothing, weapons or Plot Coupon that he, she or it may pick up — unless, of course, the lack of protection is a plot point.
Furthermore, a character's super-strength provides its full benefit, regardless of size issues with the items they use with it. Additional strength simply results in an even-harder hit. Never mind that most weapons and so on aren't designed for people who can strike with earth-shattering force.
Even mundane huge objects picked up by Super Heroes generally don't shatter and bend like would realistically happen — the hero may have vast strength, but the area to which they could direct that strength is relatively small. (Witness Superman picking a car up by the bumper — by rights it ought to tear off in his hands, leaving the car right where it was!)
Contrast Magic Pants, where clothing implausibly protects the hero's modesty; My Suit Is Also Super implausibly protects plot points, weapons, or the special effects and art team from spending too much time.
Often handwaved by explaining that the hero's gear is magical or otherwise of sufficient durability and strength for them to gain the equivalent benefit.
Of course, this does not apply if the suit is supposed to be super-powered, and is what gives the character their powers in the first place.
- Does Not Know His Own Strength, where the hero tends to forget that not everything is as super as them
- Clothing Damage, when the inability of the (usually female) hero's equipment to survive disintegration leads to Fanservice
- Shapeshifting Excludes Clothing, where an outfit survives in stellar fashion, and the wearer is shifted in some way or another.
See also Required Secondary Powers.
Handwaved as a Subset of Powers
- In One Piece, it is explicitly stated that the Logia Devil Fruit powers also make the user's clothing affected by their powers - it transforms along with its wearer. Other powers and even badass normalness also usually affect the clothing: when Luffy inflates to giant size, his clothes grow with him, Chopper's pants pretty much come from the same brand as Hulk's, Sanji's suits do not burn when he sets his legs on fire (with air friction), Zoro's clothes do rip, a bit, but nowhere to a degree you'd expect from something that was in the path of a sword strike that slices buildings like pizza.
- When someone in the question corner asked why Ms. Doublefinger's spike powers don't rip her clothes, Oda basically says that if he had that happen it would change the tone of the comic quite a bit.
- In general, most Devil Fruit powers change along with the user, or are unaffected by said user's powers. According to Oda, this is because the manga would have too much unnecessary nudity if the Clothing Damage was portrayed realistically. Still, there are some Devil Fruits that don't affect clothing, like Jewelry Bonney and Ain's deaging abilities, or Honey Queen's Logia fruit.
- In Durarara!!, Celty's clothes are created using her ability to manipulate shadows. Izaya wonders out loud at one point if shining a really bright light on her would leave her naked. (She gets a couple of spotlights put on her in Episode 12.5 and nothing happens.)
- In The DCU, the reason why the various Flashes and other speedsters don't burn their clothing - or themselves for that matter - from air friction is that each has an invisible aura around their bodies to protect them. In fact, that's how the Barry Allen Flash first defeated his evil counterpart, Professor Zoom. The villain bragged how he used a chemical coating to protect himself from air friction and Allen successfully bet that his aura was better protection when he starting pushing Zoom fast enough to have the resulting heat overwhelm his coating. Wally West literally had a super-suit made out of the Speed Force that powers all "speedsters". In the New 52 relaunch, Barry Allen's super-suit is constructed of metal plates because regular clothes would simply burn off when he ran. The metal in his super-suit reacts differently to the Speed Force.
- Superboy (Kon-El) had "Tactile Telekinesis" that let him extend a telekinetic field into anything he touched. This is directly related to the phenomena that used to protect Superman's costume (see below.)
- This extends from Superman's Post-Crisis power set as defined by John Byrne. His invulnerability was due to an aura extending slightly from his body that also protected skin tight clothing. He had a lot of torn and burnt capes during this period.
- Each member of the Green Lantern Corps wears a special uniform generated by their power ring. Thus, as long as the ring is working properly, their work clothes are usually going to look great and clean by default.
- Common among the X-Men. Kurt Wagner's, Kitty Pryde's and Jamie Madrox's clothes are teleported, phased and duplicated as well. The same goes for whatever they are holding. The story breaking potential of this is rarely touched upon. The reason for this is briefly explained in Giant-Size X-Men #1 as the X-Men's costumes being made of unstable molecules, provided by Reed Richards (see below). Common in the Marvel Universe as a whole, really. Reed Richards's suit stretches with his body, for instance, because it too is made of unstable molecules. In the cases of Kurt and Kitty, this applies even when they're not in costume; they can bring anything they're touching along for the ride if they want. And can also leave their clothes behind if they want, but any such activity would happen off-panel. As for Jamie Madrox, apparently even some of his street clothes are made from unstable molecules; he once wore a trick Ren and Stimpy T-shirt that, when he duplicated, left one of him with a Ren shirt and the other with a Stimpy shirt. Jamie never explained to his mystified teammates how that worked.
- In the short-lived "Threeboot" version of Legion of Super-Heroes, it's established that Brainiac 5 had a very hard time designing a version of the Legion flight ring that would triplicate with Triplicate Girl when she used her powers.
- In John Ostrander's run as writer on Martian Manhunter, it's established that the telepathic, shapeshifting Martians wear clothes that are actually bioengineered organisms that shapeshift in accordance with the wearer's telepathic commands.
- Ultimate X-Men: The sentinels detect mutants by their DNA, but the X-Men's black suits work as cloaking devices, preventing the Sentinels from detecting those who wear them.
- An episode of Lois & Clark has Dr Klein explain to Superman that he has an aura that makes skintight clothing like a second skin for him. It's not merely about resistance: Superman was asking why, after being poisoned with a shrinking potion, his costume was still fit. But why would the cape be affected too?
- Justified in Worm: costumes made by Skitter are woven of Black Widow spider silk, and are as such extremely tough and bullet-resistant, if not bulletproof. Later she gets access to Darwin's Bark spiders, and the costumes she makes get an order of magnitude tougher.
- In Animorphs, the characters couldn't figure out how to morph clothing at first, leading to two occasions when Tobias morphed out of his clothes and demorphed naked. Cassie somehow figures out that tight clothing, like spandex or bike shorts, will morph with you, so after the first book the characters have standard "morphing suits" they wear under their normal outfits. A later book mentions something about their powers creating a "morphing field" around them, which may have something to do with it. The ability to morph clothes is also related to one's proficiency with morphing. Cassie, the best morpher among the Animorphs, is the first to figure out how to morph clothing. Later, the team crosses paths with a young female Andalite who can morph normal, non-skintight clothes due to her advanced skill.
- In Tales of an Mazing Girl the main character suit is kevlar. It cuts down on replacing it, or modesty disasters. It doesn't always work, but it helps.
- Aberrant has the "Attunement" Background, which protects everything within the immediate (and we mean immediate) radius of the character from powers such as growth, self-immolation, and shapeshifting. One dot is enough to protect their clothing; five dots is enough to protect another person.
- In the Whateley Universe, there is more than one kind of power-set to be a brick. One type, as demonstrated by the main character Lancer, is a PK field about and through his body, which provides (for him) five tons of motive force and absorbs up to five tons of impact. But the PK field extends slightly past his skin, to protect his clothes. In fact, by the end of Lancer's first term at Whateley Academy, he has learned how to extend his field over objects he holds, as long as they aren't too long. He has a pair of foot-long paper 'swords' in his pocket, and when he extends his field over them, he has short swords that have a PK 'knife edge' that can cut through a LOT of stuff. He has also done a similar trick with a baseball bat, essentially making the bat as indestructible as he is. How's that for Handwavium?
- Note that this is mentioned explicitly in contrast to some other bricks, most notably Tennyo, who had ended up entirely naked more than once due to Clothing Damage. Eventually, a wealthy teammate bought Tennyo a Chainmail Bikini made from Adamantium, which was the only thing that comes close to surviving what she can.
- The Costume Shop courses teach how to work with high-strength fabrics such as Kevlar. And Kevra, an improved form of Kevlar developed by a student. And diamond carbon-carbon nanotubules. And Adamantium. There is also a clothier in the nearby town who specializes in this, using her power over cloth and several high-tech devises to make both student uniforms and custom supersuits. Despite this, most of these are not subject to the mutants' own powers, as more than one student had found out the hard way.
- In The Universe of RWBY, someone's aura, an energy derived from their souls, can create a forcefield which also protects clothes and make weapons sharper. In fact a nearly depleted aura allowed someone to go through a lava pillar and just end up unable to fight and covered in ashes.
Handwaved as a Super Suit
- My Hero Academia has them, made by a special company (or Gadgeteer Genius students in the Support Class) to work with whatever abilities the Heroes have. Sometimes it's sort of combined with the above: for example, Mirio's Intangibility causes him to phase through normal clothing, so his costume is actually made from his own hair. Likewise, Mineta's gloves can touch his sticky balls without problem because they're made using the special substance that his scalp exudes.
- Clark Kent has no problem diving into the center of the sun without even leaving scorch marks on his spandex booties, so having bullets bounce off without ripping the material isn't exactly attention-getting.
- Pre-Crisis, this was explained by his wearing a "super suit" made from Kryptonian materials.
- In Kryptonite Nevermore, Superman's indestructible costume saves him from being badly injured when a crook shoots him right when he is severely weakened.
- Post-Crisis, it was explained that the same force that made his skin nigh-impregnable transferred the quality to skintight costumes (thus allowing for dramatic rips of the cape, as well). Similarly, his glasses are fashioned from pieces of the windshield of the rocket that brought him to Earth, so as to allow his heat vision to be used without melting his glasses. Although whether his Eye Beams generate heat throughout their length or only where they converge varies according to artist and writer. He's been shown to be able to generate points of heat within objects (heat vision heart massage, anyone?) while others show parallel holes where his heat vision burned its way in.
- The pre-New 52 canonical explanation is that Superman has a bioaura that protects his suit. He's even extended it a few times to save people. In the New 52, Superman wears skintight Kryptonian armor that is as nigh-invulnerable as he is. Prior to finding the armor, he wore Civvie Spandex that would tear apart when he was damaged.
- In origin story The Supergirl from Krypton Alura makes her daughter's costume, saying that it will become indestructible super-cloth on Earth, which explains how Supergirl can fly through a supernova without ruining it.
- Pre-Crisis Supergirl occasionally had to wear a suit made from normal cloth which got torn or burned the whole time.
- In her second solo book she saves two persons from a cascade of molten steel by using her cape to shield them.
- In the Post-Flashpoint universe, her costume is Kryptonian armor and nearly as indestructible as her.
- The costumes of the Fantastic Four are explicitly made of "unstable molecules". Even beyond that, though, the Invisible Woman transfers whatever makes her invisible to anything she picks up, the Human Torch can flame on while carrying a paper Plot Coupon, and the Thing doesn't always crush whatever he holds into dust.
- Good thing too, or they'd be hard to take seriously.◊
- After Sue got her Force Fields powers, it became a Retcon that her Invisibility was a result of the Force Fields, and she can make anyone/anything Invisible. So she technically doesn't need a "special" costume anymore.
- Eventually, unstable molecules became pretty standard for Marvel superheroes, or at least for the ones who are either on good terms with the Fantastic Four or rich enough to just buy the stuff (there being a substantial overlap in those groups, of course).
- Colossus's traditional costume had Magic Pants made of unstable molecules, exposing his thighs when he was in his metal form and allowing them to be decently covered while in human form. "Had" is the operative word. Ever since Colossus' return in Astonishing X-Men, whenever he's in his otherwise-just-like-day-one costume, he shows just as much leg in human form as in metal form. No complaints.
- Miguel O'Hara, Spider-Man 2099, wears a suit made from the above mentioned unstable molecules. However, being from the future, the material has entered the mainstream market, though he comments on how expensive it is to have a wardrobe solely made of that (civvy clothes too). His Spider-Man costume was actually something he already had in his closet from a recent Day of the Dead festival just in case things got a bit too rowdy.
- In Power Pack, the titular characters have unstable molecular clothes created by Friday. This is most notable for whichever kid currently has the Hollywood Density power (usually Jack), since otherwise their clothes won't change with them. They also have a nifty Instant Costume Change ability, appearing whenever one of the kids says "Costume on!"
- Doctor Strange's Cloak of Levitation is enchanted and all-but-indestructible, meaning he can use it for cover in a firefight. (The rest of his clothing, however...)
- Black Panther's costume is lined with vibranium, the same metal used to construct Captain America's shield. This makes the suit effectively bulletproof and very resistant to blunt force trauma.
- Discussed and explained in the Naruto fanfiction Sugar Plums. It goes into detail about a special plant called kakri that is woven into clothing at various percentages which makes them chakra reactive and thus much more durable than normal clothing. It's explained that normal civilian clothing has at most ten percent in the weave, standard shinobi clothing has something like thirty percent with high quality clothing like chunin vests being something like sixty percent. Any shinobi who uses techniques like a full transformation (like Suigetsu, Kisame or Konan) has to have one hundred percent kakri clothing for it to transform with them otherwise it'll tear or restrict them.
- In Trump Card, Taylor builds a "Manton Field Generator" into her Power Armor. This extends the benefit of whatever power she's currently copying to the armor and has the convenient side-effect of making both her and the armor count as organic to powers that only affect the inorganic and vice-versa.
- In Raindancer, Izuku's Hero Costume is interwoven with samples of his own skin and hair cells so that it will turn into water along with him once he activates his Quirk. Before this, his clothes would always be left behind after he turns into water.
- The Incredibles had costume designer Edna Mode make them (and likely all the other Supers) super-suits that could stand up to their powers and do things like turn invisible in reaction to their wearer doing so. One of the fan theories is that Edna is herself a Super, and being able to engineer fabrics with such otherworldly properties is her power, somehow. In a DVD extra, Elastigirl complains about having to constantly repair her suit.
- It is later demonstrated in Incredibles 2 when Violet, having renounced her status as a superhero (and the NSA) after Dicker accidentally erases all memory of her from Tony, attempts to destroy her suit. She tries to destroy it in the garbage disposal, only for it to flail ineffectually. She tries tearing it with her teeth before finally throwing it against the wall, the suit still completely intact.
- In Blankman the titular character has accidentally invented a way to turn ordinary fabric impact damage absorbent and proceeds to put together a costume in which to fight crime. Unfortunately he neglects to do this for the costume he puts together for his future sidekick and then neglects to mention this to said person when they finally put it on, most likely for that one reason.
- Ancillary material for Avengers: Age of Ultron confirms that during his time as a member of the team, The Incredible Hulk wears a special pair of high-tech microfiber pants that expand with him when he transforms. In all of his other film appearances, the Hulk simply relies on Magic Pants.
- In the Corean Chronicles by LE Modesitt Jr, there is a fabric known as nightsilk. High quality nightsilk is not only warm and comfortable, when it is worn in a tightly fitting outfit, it can absorb impact damage. The reason that most people in the story give for the main character of the first trilogy surviving all the stuff he gets put through is because he's wearing bulletproof underwear. (In truth, he needs to reinforce it with his psychic powers to survive the more extreme incidents, but casual observers know about his nightsilk body stocking and don't know about his powers.) This material is not widely used as military armor due to a limited supply and the high manufacturing costs (the hero of the first trilogy can acquire nightsilk clothing mainly because his family makes it).
- In the Inheritance Cycle, when dragon riders fight, ordinary swords cannot withstand their Super Strength. Thus, a rider's sword must be forged from Thunderbolt Iron by the Ultimate Blacksmith.
- In The Flash pilot, Barry is given a special STAR Labs prototype firefighter suit that can handle the effects of his powers. It's later altered to become his costume. A similar suit is later given to Wally West (Kid Flash). The one-off villain Velocity makes her own suit, which is later given to Jesse after she becomes a speedster. Ralph's first superhero suit looks like a set of gray pajamas that can stretch almost as far as Ralph himself. Later on, though, Cisco makes him a new suit that looks far sleeker and can also stretch. For the villain, Savitar's armor allows him to survive speeds far in excess of what most speedsters are capable of. It also has a number of other properties such as retractable metal spikes and autonomous operation. In the 90s show, it was stated that the Flash's costume was originally a prototype deep sea diving suit that was designed to withstand incredible amounts of pressure, explaining why it doesn't disintegrate whenever he uses his powers.
- In Black Lightning, the titular hero's new suit has a nanoweave that focuses and amplifies his powers, as well as being bulletproof. The suit also allows Jefferson to fly by projecting electrical blasts out of his hands downward. Later on, the suit's maker Gambi also agrees to make a bulletproof suit for Anissa (AKA Thunder).
- GURPS Supers had an advantage called "Costume", which provided the benefit to superhumans of an outfit that was not harmed by powers and changed with shape/size shifters; essentially, it acted as an extension of the character's skin.
- Aberrant has this in addition to the 'Attunement' example above, in the form of a form of living silk-like fibers that bond to the Nova in question called Eufiber.
- In Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey, the "DEMOuntable Next Integrated Capability Armor" (or Demonica) is a Latex Space Suit (plus bulky helmet and optional magazine/field equipment vest) that protects regular humans from the unbelievably hostile environment of the Schwarzwelt. In fact, when you earn experience, you don't level up, the Demonica does —which means, the suit is the one responding to enemy attacks, adapting to become more resistant as it's exposed to more dangerous foes and magic. Strip an endgame-level human of the suit, and he's just as squishy and vulnerable as when he started the mission.
- In the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, biofiber is an artificial multi-cellular colony organism that tends to grow in a film only two cells thick. The resulting "fabric" is extremely tough for its weight and will accept dyes of a specific formulation only. Biofiber possesses a small measure of cellular mobility, making a tight-fitting garment of biofiber self-fitting to a certain extent, and its natural biological defenses mean that in large part its self-cleaning. However, it is the fabric's interaction with the exotic metabolisms of metahumans that make it truly amazing. After a short period of acclimation, biofiber adapts to energetic or metamorphic powers. Thus, a costume made of bio-fiber can stretch, grow, or shrink with its wearer, and will not be incinerated, frozen, or otherwise harmed by the energetic emissions projected by its wearer.
- Spinnerette's costume is made of spidersilk (her own), making it heatproof and bulletproof, and it comes with high-traction gloves and boots.
- In El Goonish Shive, Uryuom worker suits are made by and for a species of shapeshifting aliens. As such it fits any possible body shape including human, can shrink (and probably grow) to a large range of sizes down to that of a ''squirrel'', can survive the wearer growing hedgehog spikes and is even fire resistant (if not outright fireproof).
- The provided image is from the Fleischer Studios Superman Theatrical Cartoon "The Mechanical Monsters". In context, the scene has Supes just saving Lois from being dipped in molten lead, only for the mad scientist of the short to pour a whole vat of the stuff to try and kill them both—cue Superman saving Lois by using his cape to deflect it.
- In one Gargoyles episode, Dingo makes friends with a grey goo entity made of nanobots, and it decides to fuse itself with his power armor. From then on he wears armor-shaped grey goo instead of actual armor, and it retains its intelligence and amazing abilities.
- On Young Justice, M'gann explains that her clothes are an organic Martian substance that she can shapeshift based on her thoughts. Also, in the next season, Gar's superhero outfit turns into a collar when he takes animal form, and returns to normal when he looks more human; Word of God confirms that it's also Martian clothing, except "programmed" with only two forms (since Gar doesn't have the Psychic Powers necessary to make it into anything else).
- Spider-Man's costume is apparently more prone to rips than most, but still keeps his ability to cling to walls. A sub-example is some artists being picky enough to suggest while his ability to cling works through a skintight costume, this shouldn't work if he's wearing shoes. The black outfit Spidey wore at one point takes this trope's name literally, mostly because it really is more organic. Within the tie-in video game of The Amazing Spider-Man if the player is attacked frequently, the suit will begin to show tears, eventually getting shredded and Peter becoming bruised and bloodied.
- Some superhuman characters prove their strength by surviving infernos that would have disintegrated lesser men. While this sometimes destroys the clothes, more often it doesn't.
- When the Ultimate Marvel counterpart of Giant-Man grows, he winds up naked, and his 60-foot costume was confiscated when he left the Ultimates, leading to embarrassing publicity when he has to grow in public during an unsanctioned rescue attempt. Oddly enough, when Wasp later has to become a giant, her costume grows with her.
- In Thousand Shinji, Shinji's special tailor-made suit is nearly indestructible:
Once that was done, Shinji rose from his shrine and began dressing himself for the day ahead. Gone were the cheap clothes he had recovered from the hospital ward, replaced by a very special wardrobe he had had custom tailored for him in secret and then hidden away. Fortunately it seemed that Gendos snoops had not discovered the package.
From the outside it looked almost as if Shinji was wearing a set of black robes, but in truth that was merely an illusion for his clothes did not impede his motions nearly as much as robes might. Their purpose was to conceal what lay beneath, namely the custom designed armour, costing a little over twenty million yen to incorporate the most advanced technology money could buy. Polymers most people had never heard about and involved the best materials technology know to man with such buzzwords as nanotechnology, non-Newtonian fluids, dilatant and pseudoplastics. It was all very bleeding edge stuff, still mostly experimental, but the upside was that Shinji could take anything up to -but not including- a 20mm autocannon shell to the chest and have a greater than 50/50 chance of surviving, while retaining almost all of his mobility.
- Hancock. The titular character is constantly suffering Clothing Damage, which is realistic; he's invulnerable, and his clothes aren't. However, when Ray supplies him with his costume, the leather is never shown to take any damage. Presumably, based on Hancock's own comments about how tight it is, he has a "force-field" similar to Superman's.
- The Dresden Files: Harry Dresden has to regularly spell his duster to keep it bullet/claw/fire/etc-proof. It comes with all sorts of cool side effects - you can clean slime off it by throwing it in a fire and then peeling the hardened slime off, it can shrug off most conventional attacks, it's waterproof because of the kinetic defenses, but it still breathes. Sufficiently advanced technology, his ass. Most of his accessories have also been known to be spelled - including a bear amulet with stored energy, his original kinetic ring, and his ten newer triple-linked kinetic rings. He's griped that he doesn't have the skill or money for the materials to make the enchantments more permanent, as some of the Senior Council does.
- In Changes, Lea amps Harry's defenses up significantly, to his slight chagrin and awe. During the ensuing battle, it takes so much damage that when the enchantments wear off (at noon - she's a fairy godmother from Winter, after all), the whole thing collapses into shreds.
- Mutants & Masterminds runs mainly on the Rule of Fun, thereby neatly absorbing this trope, although a possible alternative rule is to allow characters to have a typical 'indestructible' costume for one equipment point (since Mutants & Masterminds works on point buy and one character point will buy 5 small pieces of equipment, such as a mobile phone or handcuffs).
- In Dungeons & Dragons, items worn or carried by a Player Character are generally assumed to share the PC's Saving Throw values and are usually unaffected by area effects, meaning that a silk cloak can somehow become vastly more resilient to fire when a PC is wearing it.
- Usually averted in anime, but mainly due to the fact that it makes room for fanservice. Example: in Busou Renkin, the alchemic warrior Ikusabe's spear Gekisen allows him to instantly regenerate any injury, even one that completely disintegrates his body. This regeneration does not, however, extend to his clothes, with the end result that Ikusabe usually ends up fighting completely naked after being blown up a couple of times.
- In Utawarerumono Karura quickly breaks any normal sword she is given. Since this is anime the solution is to get a BFS as a Full Potential Upgrade.
- Completely averted in Claymore, where it isn't rare to have a Claymore walking barefoot and or with a broken armor because, unlike the titular warrior their equipment doesn't regenerate or stretch. Played straight and justified with their sword.
- Mixed usage in Dragon Ball, sometimes a big beam attack damages clothing, and sometimes it doesn't. Notable instance in Goku's first fight with Vegeta, Goku's shirt is burned off by an energy blast from the former, yet latter in the fight, Vegeta's armor doesn't have any damage from him taking a planet destroying energy blast, but later shows that it can be cut with an ordinary katana.
- A common exception is Wolverine. His healing ability lets him recover from things that melt his skin off (such as orbital re-entry in one Joss Whedon issue), but his costume stays gone. One issue saw him take a nuclear blast from Nitro at ground zero; he recovered in short order despite being reduced to a skeleton, but he had to spend the entire next issue fighting in the buff. This one goes back almost to the very beginning of his existence - one of the earliest issues of X-Men he appeared in had him blasted by a fireball that burned off most of his clothes and roasted him. So he beat the crap out of the nearest mook and stole his outfit. Of course Wolverine is still often susceptible to the modesty retaining powers of Magic Pants (technically Magic Remains of Former Pants ) Sometimes, but just as often his pants get destroyed too. He just happens to find new pants almost immediately after a naked brawl.
- Nigh Invulnerable Fairchild of Gen¹³ often finds her costume shredded by attacks, with a good deal of Fanservice resulting, as well as the occasional lampshade.
- She-Hulk has often been the butt of this trope's joke. There is a partial handwave in that much of her clothing is made of unstable molecules or is "approved by the Comics Code Authority" (for modesty purposes) however she often loses items of clothing that she is fond of during fights. Her shoes are a full handwave, however. A 6'7" woman with a body weight of close to 700 pounds needs some nigh-indestructible Jimmy Choo's. Hers are made with Adamantium heels.
- Superboy (Kon-El) originally had his tactile telekinesis protect his clothes, but in later years as he grew more and more into his Kryptonian powers, he relied less on it and more on natural invulnerability. This, coupled with the fact that his last costume was just a t-shirt and jeans led to rips and tears. In a story arc in Action Comics (written by Chuck Austen, but let's forget that part), this trope was subverted entirely by Kon hilariously losing bits of clothing as he progressed through a fight with a ton of Superman villains, from battle damage (tearing, napalm, an exploding gas tanker...) It ended with him wearing only his underwear. (Apparently, he's a briefs man).
- Subverting this trope for the sake of Fanservice is pretty much the whole point of Empowered. The titular heroine's costume seems to be about as durable as wet tissue, and her main weakness is the loss of powers as she accrues Clothing Damage. Played with in that the actual durability of her suit is linked directly to her psyche. The less willpower she has, the weaker her costume and powers become, which makes for an unfortunate catch-22 when her self esteem is already so low.
- With Strings Attached has the total subversion of Paul. After being turned to diamond, blown up, and reformed with Super Strength, he completely shreds his clothing as he thrashes around trying to contain himself. Later, after he's shed most of his power but is still extremely strong, he attempts to put on clothing and destroys it in the process. He has to be taught an illusion spell to clothe himselfwhich turns out to have unexpected utility later, as it lets him turn himself invisible too.
- In Fantastic Four (2005), a lot of attention is paid to how:
- A. Johnny keeps burning up his clothes (and anything else he comes in contact with);
- B. Sue can only turn herself and her super-suit invisible, and
- C. Ben keeps breaking things, not yet used to his strength (early in the movie, he shatters a glass while trying to have a drink. Later, he's shown using a metal cup...and ends up smashing his date's drink when he tries to toast.)
- Averted in Beowulf, where the hero's prodigious strength pretty much means that no conventional sword really gives him much of a benefit. When battling the dragon at the end of his saga, Beowulf's great strength actually shatters his sword.
- Averted in Ex-Heroes, where Saint George has to get his jacket fixed after getting shot.
- This happened in the Star Wars book I, Jedi, when the titular Jedi is caught in a massive firestorm of explosives. He just absorbs all the energy (sending most of it straight up in a Pillar of Light) and his lightsaber is made of sterner stuff than most objects, but nothing is left of his clothes except a distinctive smell.
- And during the New Jedi Order series, Luke uses the Force to persuade a tank of hungry microbes that he isn't food. Evidently he could have protected his clothes, too...but forgot to.
- Zig-Zagging Trope on Smallville. Clark got thrown into a furnace once and emerged completely in the buff, but then later his clothes are shown surviving exploding buildings.
- On Luke Cage, the titular character is bulletproof but his clothing is not. It's mentioned a few times and even becomes a plot point when he's on the run as people start wearing bullet-riddles hoodies to make it harder for the police to find Luke.
- World of Warcraft has no problem letting you dive into lava with a bag full of paper notes, fur armor and a wooden staff. As long as you get out before the lava kills you, there's no economic hardship, and even if it does take you out, the worst you have to pay for is repairs for the armor. You pay the same cost for repairs (10% of all your equipped items durability) regardless of how you died (lava, falling, being mauled by wildlife).
- Subverted in Batman: Arkham Asylum where during the course of the game, Bats' suit gets tears and rips as the player passes certain scripted areas; a few examples are when Harley Quinn drops an elevator on him, and when Batman is thrown back by an exploding safe (these are cinematics but it also occurs during portions of the gameplay).
- Subverted in Nox. If you don't take care of your weapons and armor, they will break. If take your armor off and leave it on the lava, it won't sink, it'll just quickly lose vitality, then break. There are only really three types of items that never break: potions (despite being made of glass), the clothes that came from PC's home world with him and the Cosmic Keystone.
- Pretty much every Final Fantasy character. The Ribbon you're wearing to protect from status ailments isn't so much as scratched by a ten-foot iron meteor dropping on you.
- An especially egregious example is the duel of Cloud and Sephiroth in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. The duelists slice sections of skyscraper in two, or tear them to pieces, but their swords themselves survive the impact. Granted, Cloud's sword has to be over 30-50 pounds of solid, fine steel, but his opponent is using a long, thin katana! Then again, Katanas Are Just Better...
- At least 400 pounds if you calculate with the density of iron. Most steel alloys are similar.
- Considering that Sephiroth's sword apparently was summoned out of sheer will (despite turning "back" into the other guy's dual blade katana which was dropped before the transformation) he might be able to will it not to break. Both the Buster Sword and Masamune were of course made with superhumanly strong soldier candidates as the intended users, presumably they are both steel-handwaveium alloys. Not to mention that Word of God says that Rule of Cool counts for all the fight scenes. And it should be noted that in the Director's Cut "Advent Children Complete" that Cloud suffers a good deal of Clothing Damage during his extended fight with Sephiroth.
- Pretty much every First-Person Shooter, where despite being shot at and surviving missiles, mines, and all forms of deadly explosions, then healing, they never seen to damage their clothes.
- Especially egregious in BioShock 2, in which for the entire game you wear a watertight diving suit. No matter what happens, it never stops being watertight. Of course, big daddies are made by melding the subject's insides to the armor itself, if they weren't made to endure what rapture dishes out, they'd probably spill out like soup if they ever got gashed enough.
- Averted in Doom (and just about any FPS which includes armour as an item) which has armour shards (basically a piece of bullet resistant material which can be slid into "pockets" on a protective jacket and replaced when damaged) and full suits of body armour as a pickups. Implying that at least the Player Character is suffering Clothing Damage to some equipment.
- Nethack is a prime counter-example. Unless your precious magic scrolls are in a waterproof bag, they will be destroyed when you get wet.
- While your potions turn to water. Note that both of these facts can prove to be useful.
- Also, if not properly protected, cold will freeze your potions, shattering the bottles, fire will burn your scrolls, boil your potions and damage cloth/wood equipment, and lightning can explode your magic rings/wands (causing extra damage), and so on. Best to invest in a cloak with good Magic Cancellation promptly.
- Angband (and its variants) also has item damage, though with a slightly simpler model. Actually, most roguelikes probably avert this trope.
- In the Tales of Maj'Eyal variant, using various area effect spells to get rid of anything lesser than an ego/artifact level item is a very efficient method to deal with the increasingly high number of item you'd consider worthless as you level up.
- While your potions turn to water. Note that both of these facts can prove to be useful.
- The game Area 51 is an FPS, and therefore you can't look at your character during gameplay. By the end of the game, it's shown that the originally pristine environmental suit is now mostly shredded and destroyed, with large sections missing.
- Subverted in Samurai Jack; the titular character's clothing is extremely prone to damage, as it's the closest thing the animation get have to him getting shot or slashed.