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Clothes Make the Superman

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Mermaid Man: Once you put on these costumes, their fantastic powers will become yours!
Sandy: Wow. I didn't think superpowers worked that way.
Mermaid Man: Sure! Power's all in the costume. Why else would we run around in colored undies?
Squidward: I can think of three good reasons.

The Phlebotinum is applied to a character's clothes instead of himself.

Having superpowers built into a magical or technological garment instead of inherent to a character is a common element of Super Hero stories and other speculative fiction. It allows an otherwise fragile muggle whose only outstanding skill may be smarts to play with the big dogs. It allows for a mundane hero, closer to the common man than a mutant, alien, cyborg or supernatural being. It provides a hero with a creamy center that bad guys can exploit, and provides a plausible reason for the Secret Identity to be vulnerable. Normally, technological super suits surround the character completely, covering 100% of his skin, and are hermetically sealed. In this way, the suit is doing all the work, and the operator is simply pushing its actions from within.

The most straightforward version of the super suit is Powered Armor, the logical extreme of Mini-Mecha. These use some form of mechanical system, like artificial muscles, electric motors, or hydraulics to drive their actions. They may be controlled by positive feedback, responding to the operator's body movements to keep the pressure in the suit balanced, or they may use a mind interface, either wireless or cybernetically implanted. These suits are hard, armored and inflexible, making them hard to wear under civvies or pack for trips. These are the most likely to be mass-produced in a Sci-Fi setting, as a souped-up space suit, hostile environment gear, or infantry body armor.

Moving out from there, we find the "soft" super suit, based on some form of "smart materials", nanotechnology, magic, or even living tissue. These can often morph or reassemble themselves and can be folded, stored and perhaps even machine washed.

Clothing Damage is the natural weakness of this kind of superhero — damage that destroys clothes may also take the powers away if severe enough. A suitably skilled Super Costume Clothier might be able to repair it, though.

Single articles of clothing that add powers are also common. Typically, they empower the part of the body on which they are worn, but they can also have peripheral effects; gauntlets of super strength usually also reinforce the legs and back, for instance. These are almost always magic, and can often be mixed and matched.

When headwear has this effect, it's a Hat of Power. For jewelry, see Magical Accessory. Can sometimes be a form of Upgrade Artifact. No matter the type, if it's worn by a woman, expect Stripperifficness. If metal is part of it, then expect Elemental Crafting. If jewels are a part of it, then expect Power Crystals. If the clothes cannot be removed, it's a Clingy Costume. Contrast Frilly Upgrade. For suits that work with powers but do not provide them, see My Suit Is Also Super. In general, these are a case of an Amulet of Concentrated Awesome for obvious reasons. A very mild video-game example would be Stat Sticks. When the powers of these clothes matter more than what they look like, you can get Rainbow Pimp Gear or an Embarrassing but Empowering Outfit. Compare Powers via Weapon.

Not to be confused with Clothes Make the Legend. Clothes Make the Maniac is where this trope applies, but the costume also drives the wearer evil.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Agent Aika: Aika Sumeragi has a Liquid Metal armor covering her whole body (even though it looks very Stripperiffic), looking like a normal corset while not in use. However, as one of the villains learns the hard way, it doesn't work for everyone.
  • In Anpanman, all the superheroes wear capes that allow them to fly. If the capes are torn, cut up, or messy, their flight capabilities are destroyed. The capes can also be borrowed by others to fly (one episode had a jailed up and powerless Anpanman give his cape to Pickles, Hamburger Kid's horse, so he could alert the others). However, for the superheroes, the capes seem to be custom for them (a theatrical short had Currypanman forced to borrow Anpanman's cape due to his being dirty. His flying was very clumsy when he used it).
  • While Guts, the protagonist of Berserk is a monster in his own right, being the strongest mortal man in Midland, he unfortunately lives in a Crapsack World of monsters, demon gods and Cosmic terrors... so he needs a supernatural set of armour to give him an edge. Though the armor trades power for physical and mental health.
  • Bleach:
    • Ichigo inverts this trope: How much of his bankai's Badass Longcoat is still attached to his body is an indication of his remaining spiritual power.
    • Played straight with Jackie: each Fullbringer needs a specific object to draw out his or her powers, and in her specific case, she uses her boots.
  • Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo: After training at the supermarket, Bo-bobo is given a jacket that increases his power. It cost him 582 yen ($27.50 in the dub, which he had Beauty pay for).
  • Bungo Stray Dogs: Akutagawa Ryuunosuke still has powers without clothes, but they're pretty useless without clothes, seeing as his ability is the manipulation of any clothing he's wearing. He puts it to awesome effect, turning his Badass Longcoat into an Extreme Omnivore and creating anything from spikes to armor out of it.
  • The Buso Renkin of Captain Bravo is an indestructible silver trenchcoat.
  • In A Certain Magical Index, Cendrillon uses magic based on Cinderella, which is a lot more powerful than it sounds. Most of her powers come from her dress and glass slippers.
  • The Code Geass manga spinoff Nightmare of Nunnally has Lelouch's alternate Geass: a supernatural Powered Armor that let's him fight on par with Knightmare Frames, by basically channeling Master Asia. And it. Was. Awesome.
  • Corrector Yui's Elemental Suits, although it's a bit of a Justified Trope as they're data modifications in a computer-based world.
  • Doraemon:
    • Doraemon: Nobita's Great Battle of the Mermaid King has the gang meeting the mermaid princess, Sophia, whose ability to transform between human and mermaid form comes from her magic blouse. Doraemon manages to duplicate the tech in Sophia's clothing, and the entire gang gets their own mermaid forms for much of the adventure.
    • Doraemon: Nobita and The Space Heroes is a Superhero Episode of the usual Slice of Life show, where the gang gains superpowers thanks to Doraemon's gadgets through a star-shaped badge worn on their collars. At one point, Nobita trips and drops his collar and quickly reverts to his normal self, much to his horror.
  • Powered Armor and Mech Suits are commonplace in Dragon Ball typically used by Pilaf and the Red Ribbon Army, though it’s a mark of the Z-Fighters’s strength that they are usually crushed effortlessly.
    • Dr. Wheelo from Dragon Ball Z: The World's Strongest (who just barely counts since he’s wearing mecha armor around his brain) is the most effective example of this: as Wheelo tanks three Kamehamehas, gives all heroes a thrashing and survives getting blown into orbit. Ironically, Wheelo’s plan was to take over Goku’s super alien body while keeping his own mind, a disturbing variation of this trope.
  • Erza Scarlet from Fairy Tail has a variety of armors available in her Hammerspace, which grant her a wide variety of special abilities. Still, she's pretty badass even without the armor.
  • The Hunter suits in Gantz gives them the strength and endurance that they need to survive in their hunts. Of course, the suits can only take only much punishment before the little caps that power them burst, at which point they become nothing more than skin-tight rubber suits.
    • The inconsistent durability suggests that they're just another part of Gantz's game of yanking their chains. "Take these, they'll make you supermen! Until I decide you should stop having superpowers..."
  • The Guyver is a biological suit of armor with a ton of abilities including complete regeneration from a scrap of flesh.
  • In Hana no Ko Lunlun, Lunlun's Magical Girl power is practically this: by pointing her Flower Pin towards a flower and reciting a spell, she can be given an outfit... and magically acquires the physical/mental/etc. abilities of a person that would wear it. i.e., if Lunlun "puts on" a mountain climbing outfit, she becomes an amazing mountain climber herself for as long as she wears it.
  • The suits the defense forces use in Kaiju No. 8 are specifically tailored to give them the capacity to fight Kaiju. They draw extra strength from their users, though not all can unlock it, and their shield is an integral part of their defense capacity.
  • The armors worn by various people who are chosen to become a Karas... gives you all the basic benefits; strength, speed, endurance, etc. However, it also gives some nice special benefits namely, car/tank mode and jet fighter mode. Mind you, the dead/comatose bodies of the chosen ones, are still very human and very open to Otoha finds out.
  • This is the whole premise of Kill la Kill: in this setting, clothes made with Life Fibers make people stronger, and, in greater concentrations, give them superpowers. At the beginning of the series, the Elite Four have the strongest outfits with 30% Life Fibers, while a 50% outfit drives someone into The Berserker. The protagonist, Ryuko, finds an animate outfit named Senketsu who's 100% Life Fibers, which she can wear because, unknown to her, she has Life Fibers fused with her body, meaning that she has superpowers even without it. The antagonist (initially, at least), Satsuki, has a similar uniform, which she can survive through sheer force of will.
  • Lyrical Nanoha has hints of this: The characters' Barrier Jackets, Knight Armors, Knight Clothing and etc. can take surprising amounts of damage before breaking. Not to mention their weapons usually take the form of anything from gloves to necklaces to shoes when not in use.
  • In the Mega Man Upon a Star OVAs, the beginning of the third installment had Roll showing up in this outfit, with the intent on fighting alongside Mega Man. However, she never did display any abilities, and by the time she (along with Mega Man) gets to Yuuta's world, she's somehow back in her usual outfit.
    • The outfit got her pretty far into Dr. Wily's fortress, and much faster than Mega Man, apparently. Weird that it just fell apart when they got sucked into Yuuta's world.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam 00 started out on bordering this trope in the first season with the Gundams' GN Drives - at least until the other side acquired the technology as well, eventually reverse-engineering and reproducing it. The trope then fell into obscurity until the Raiser System's abilities of self-teleportation and group telepathy made their debut and was refined even further into the successor Quantum System which has the same abilities pushed to their logical extreme.
  • While the Otome in My-Otome receive some residual abilities (like accelerated healing) from their Nanomachines alone, they're utterly useless in combat without their ultra-powerful, if somewhat Phlebotinum Overload prone, Robes. Even without them, they're shown to still be capable of jumps that would make Sailor Moon proud and agility that would make Spider-Man applaud, meaning that any Muggle or even large group of goons that wanted to screw with them would be utterly fucked, Robe or no.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi had Chao Lingshen being able to fight with Negi due to a futuristic battlesuit with a Time Travel mechanism built in, making her one of the strongest combatants present. And that's before she reveals that she can use magic.
  • One Piece:
    • Wetton and Lake from Filler have Powered Armor which briefly proves effective even if it takes a team of men with pumps to power the suits.
    • Ratchet, the antagonist of the seventh movie, and his Co-Dragons have Powered Armor and even Humongous Mecha to fight the Strawhats. They all still falter against the raw strength of the Monster Trio, however.
    • Franky, despite already being a strong Cyborg, has "Franky Shogun", the epic Humongous Mecha which gives Franky the power to one-shot a drugged up super Fishman, fight off two of Doflamingo’s Elite Mooks and obliterate an army of Pacifistas in One Piece Film: Z.
    • Gild Tesoro, the antagonist of One Piece Film: Gold, makes a Golden Humongous Mecha which fuels his megalomania to the point he thinks of himself a god. Luffy ruins this notion with Gear 4.
    • The Raid Suits of the Vinsmoke Family are their ultimate weapon: bulletproof, fireproof and literally giving Vinsmoke Judge superpowers as well as enhancing the strength of the Super-Soldier children. Specific Raid Suits even give special powers such in the case of Ichiji (explosions), Niji (electricity) and Reiju (poison). However, this trope is deconstructed as Vinsmokes have their Raid Suits taken from them during the Tea Party and are captured and helpless, before Sanji saves them and gives them their super suits back.
      • Speaking of Sanji, as one of the Vinsmokes, he was given a Raid Suit by Niji, but Sanji refused to wear it not believing in this trope (even if the suit would technically double his already great strength), as Sanji stated he wanted his strength to come from his own skill and training, not technology. However, in Wano Sanji does use the Raid Suit to help his friends and protect others. Oh, and having Invisibility powers is a pretty good benefit... even if Sanji does exploit it a bit. Subverted however, as Sanji ultimately destroys his Raid Suit during his fight with Queen in disgust (after accidentally awakened his dormant superhuman genes wearing it previously). Sanji reiterates that he never needed such a tool to be badass and feels he's better off without it.
  • Plus-Sized Elf: Dark elves wear special clothes to boost magical abilities. However, in order for the clothes to work, they have to be able to properly fit in them. Which is a problem for Kuroeda, who's gotten too big for hers.
  • In Powerpuff Girls Z the titular girls become powerless when the RowdyRuff Boys steal their clothes resulting in the professor's amusing attempts to make them new super suits.
  • In the late Ranma ½ manga, three magical suits show up. The first is an intelligent, perverted dogi that bestows incredible martial arts skills the wearer without requiring them going through normal Training from Hell to get it. Of course, as mentioned, it's a pervert, so it will only allow itself to be worn by women that it thinks are sexy. In this unusual case, it's actually capable of moving and fighting on its own. The second is a swimsuit made from living jellyfish that makes the wearer an expert swimmer. Akane Tendo was the beneficiary in both cases. The third case is a nigh-invincible suit of mail-order Powered Armor that anyone can wear, even the weakest of weaklings, in order to get back at bullies and the one person the owner hates most. What keeps it from becoming a threat is that a) it locks down and freezes when first assembled, and it only activates when it attaches to the owner's target; b) it comes apart when the owner lands one successful knockout punch on said target; and c) if the owner can't land a hit within a time limit, it self-destructs.
  • In RIN-NE, the title character — part human, part shinigami — can wear a haori (a traditional Japanese coat) that allows him to access his shinigami powers, making him Invisible to Normals and able to pass through walls.
  • Averted in Rolling Girls. Kuniko thinks Maccha Green's powers come from a "high spec battle suit", but the suit is nothing more than a cheap spandex outfit you could probably buy at a costume shop.
  • Tentai Senshi Sunred, as a parody of the sentai genre (see Live-Action TV), intentionally averts this trope. Sunred never dresses in anything but perfectly normal wear (preferring a Hawaiian shirt and shorts when it's not cold) and keeps all his sentai powers. It's furthermore subverted in that Sunred apparently has a suit that allows him access to his Firebird Form, but he never uses it (given the strength of Florsheim, he never apparently needs it) and keeps it stashed in a box in his closet.
  • Ultimate Hentai Kamen is a manga about a high school student who gains powers when he wears a pair of women's underwear over his face.

    Comic Books 

Marvel Universe

  • Ant-Man: The Ant-Man legacy fits this. Neither Hank, Scott nor Eric have innate powers, but their suits allow them to shrink at will and control ants.
  • The Avengers: Minor Avenger Stingray (an ally of Namor) relies on an advanced diving suit that allows him to swim with superhuman speeds, as well as glide through the air once he's above water. The suit also enhances his strength and generates offensive bursts of electricity.
  • Black Panther:
    • The Black Panther already has a host of other abilities, but from the Christopher Priest run onward, he's worn a special vibranium-laced costume that deflects bullets and allows him to walk up walls. He also occasionally busts out a suit of Powered Armor for serious threats.
    • Deconstructed with the second Black Panther, Kasper Cole, who initially used his predecessor's bulletproof suit to fight crime. He was somewhat effective at taking on thugs and gangsters but was completely out of his element when it came to anything bigger. After the Falcon (who is a Badass Normal even without his wings) lectured him about relying too heavily on the costume, Kasper ingested the Heart-Shaped Herb and gained proper superpowers.
  • Captain America: While The Falcon still has the power to communicate with birds and see what they see telepathically, his ability to fly comes from a winged flight suit that he wears.
  • Captain Britain: The first of Captain Britain's many costume redesigns had his powers coming from the union-jack-based suit of his. After the powers were shifted to Brian Braddock directly, the suit became an Amplifier Artifact, allowing him to operate outside of the British Isles and Otherworld, as the interdimensional link between the two was the source of his powers.
    • This is how his Ultimate Marvel incarnation's powers have worked from the start. Along with Captain France, Captain Spain, and various other European Captain Geographics, Captain Britain is the product of an EU super-soldier program headed by his father, who designed a series of powered "exo-suits".
    • His sister, Psylocke, already has her own superpowers. But when she wears Captain Britain's costume, it grants her superhuman physical attributes, the ability to fly, and a personal force field.
  • Captain Marvel (Marvel Comics): Carol Danvers' powers originally came entirely from her Kree uniform. Soon enough, though, a villain's blast fuses her suit's powers directly into her body (later retconned as activating her natural powers as a half-Kree) — except for the suit's original bulletproofness.
  • Darkhawk: Darkhawk gains his powers from an android body in Powered Armor.
  • The Hood: The Hood went from street thug to supervillain after finding a magical pair of shoes and a hood.
  • Iron Man: Iron Man's original suit was simply intended to hold a deadly piece of iron shrapnel embedded in his heart lining with powerful magnets, thus allowing him to move without dying. By the end of the first issue, it became a One-Man Army machine. In some incarnations, the suit has been shown to be a highly effective combatant even when its wearer is unconscious. He doesn't simply stay home and send the suit out on its own to fight evil for a couple of reasons. First, he's tried it; Tony's track record with AIs is really poor. While none of them have become world-threatening menaces like Ultron, they do all tend to go a bit squirrelly after a while. Second, but quite possibly more important, he likes to fight; he's something of a crusader personality and adrenaline rush junky.
    • Also, Iron Man has in later years shown the ability to mentally control his armor from a distance. Including at least one case when he attacked a supervillain with all of his old suits of armor (of which there are several dozen), at the same time.
    • The Extremis technology and the post-Extremis Bleeding Edge technology are allowing Tony to blur the lines. He can now keep at least his basic armor inside his body, a fact which has occasionally granted his 'normal human' self New Powers as the Plot Demands. He's becoming the poster child for Transhumanism or Posthumanism partly through his own efforts.
    • If you'd like to see the list of Tony's suits that put him on the level of gods, here's the list. Special mention to Iron Man's Galactus Buster Armor, which is so powerful it is yet to appear in any Marvel canon.
    • In at least some iterations, Iron Man is also a Badass Normal thanks to a combination of hand-to-hand training from Captain America and the amount of exercise he does every time he climbs into one of his heavy suits of Powered Armor and goes out for a spin, never mind battling super-villains. In others, of course, Stark's helpless without his suit, such as in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes.
    • His partners, War Machine and (temporarily) Rescue, also rely on their suits. Though as a trained soldier, James Rhodes was a Badass Normal long before he ever got the War Machine suit, arguably even more than Tony.
    • The same goes for many of his villains such as Crimson Dynamo, Firepower, Titanium Man, and Iron Monger. Blizzard used to get his powers from his costume, but has since been retconned into being an Inhuman.
  • Marvel Comics #1000 retconned several masked heroes who used to be Badass Normals into having been empowered by the Mask of Eternity they wore to be as Strong as They Need to Be, including the Thunderer/Dark Avenger, the Masked Raider and the Operative.
  • The Mighty Thor: Downplayed in the case of Thor. He is incredibly powerful normally, but he has a belt which increases his strength by a factor of two.
  • A big point in the post-Civil War (2006) relaunch of New Warriors. A lot of the group was made up of former mutants (most notably Jubilee) who'd begun using high-tech outfits that simulated superpowers after losing their innate abilities during M-Day.
  • Nova: Richard Rider's powers are innate, but his costume has a number of extra useful functions such as a life support system, radio transmission pickup, and later a powerful artificial intelligence to help him. His successor, Sam Alexander, relies completely on the suit. This leads to a few hilarious moments, such as Sam nearly falling to his death after taking off his helmet in mid-flight.
  • Quasar: Quasar derives his powers from his Quantum Bands. One of the characters, Turbo, is the successor to an obscure 1970s hero named Torpedo, who also got his powers from a high-tech suit.
  • Spider-Man:
    • The short-lived team of Spider-Man fanboys known as the Slingers derived all their powers from demon-enhanced outfits, with one exception. Interestingly, the outfits were originally designed for Spidey's use and they just used Spidey's powers to "pretend" they had other powers.
    • This trope at least half-applies to Scorpion; the Super-Strength, Wall Crawling and Super-Reflexes are innate, part of his Evil Counterpart status, but the suit provides him with his deadly tail, which can be used to crush or bludgeon things and shoot Hollywood Acid, energy beams or blasts of electricity.
    • Norman Osborn is a half-example as well. As the Green Goblin, he has innate Super-Strength, stamina, Super-Toughness, agility, Super-Reflexes, and Healing Factor from his Psycho Serum. However, he has plenty of weapons and gadgets related to his suit, like his signature Pumpkin Bombs, and of course, there's the Glider that enables him to fly.
    • Minor baddie named the Shocker fits this trope; a Genius Bruiser, he cobbled together his trademark vibrosmasher gauntlets and costume singlehandedly. At its most basic, the costume prevents him from killing himself with the backlash from his own blasts of vibrations. In more recent iterations, the suit is crammed full of "contact plates" that deflect incoming strikes and make his own strikes more powerful due to triphammer vibration.
    • The Vulture, The Prowler, The Jury, Regent, Stilt-Man, freaking Frog-Man... Spidey's had to fight a lot of these guys.
    • Spider-Man's black costume was a living alien being, who got a little... too attached to him. Still, while it was attached to him, it considerably increased his strength and toughness, as well as granting him the ability to instantly shift into any costume he wanted and an infinite supply of webbing. After detaching from him, it retained enough of his genes to roughly mimic his power-set (Super-Strength, super-agility, Wall Crawling, webbing/Combat Tentacles), as well as being able to block out his spider-sense, whenever another wore it. Oh, and Spider-Man's Super-Strength is tripled when bonded with a Symbiote, as he once Megaton Punch-es Norman Osborn through two buildings when enraged. Doubles as Clothes Make the Maniac: In most adaptations, it tried to take over Spidey's mind and body, and ever since Venom came into the comics, the symbiote has been portrayed as doing this to its hosts. One of the spinoffs for Secret Wars (2015), Deadpool's Secret Secret Wars, suggests the possibility that the symbiote went nuts after briefly latching on to Deadpool.
    • There has since been an entire race of symbiotes in Marvel, which have resulted in anti-heroes like Venom, villains like Carnage, and the world's best biological weapon that temporarily took over several heroes. The 2013 Guardians of the Galaxy series ends up revealing the truth about the symbiotes: they were created to essentially be super suits to help turn people into the perfect heroes. Something went wrong, turning them into what they are now. Venom's current host, Flash Thompson, was able to return it to its homeworld and get it cured it of its problems. In gratitude, it permanently chose Flash as a host.
  • In the original 1970s comics, Star-Lord utilized an alien suit and helmet that allowed him to fly and breathe in space.
  • The Ultimates: Monica Chang wears a "Stark Suit" in her first few appearances that serves to increase her strength, speed, and agility.


  • Batman:
    • Batman's outfit doesn't give him powers per se, but it does give him a frightening appearance.
    • There are a few versions in which he wears at least some body armor, or some more extreme examples like his Iron Man-esque suit from the Kingdom Come series or at least some additional clothing pieces, like the Kryptonite gauntlets from Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. His utility belt and everything in it makes much of his mobility and other aspects of his work (aside from hand-to-hand combat) possible to the point that you have to consider it the main, and arguably the most important aspect of his outfit. Aside from his intellect and his hand-to-hand combat skills, basically all of what makes Batman who he is revolves in one way or another around the suit.
    • Jean-Paul Valley's Batman armor fits this trope, especially the final version before Bruce came back - gauntlets armed with razor-sharp talons, a flamethrower, grappling hook and a shuriken launcher with three settings (normal, semi-automatic and rapid-fire [aka puree]) a metal chestplate set with a powerful flashlight and a cape that can surround and protect him from small-arms fire and a full-face cowl with a targeting system and a rebreather. Bruce realizes he relies too much on it and uses it against him.
    • Played straight with Batman's Justice Buster and Hellbat suits, the former giving him the power to overpower the entire JL and former giving Batman to go One-Man Army on Apokolips and beat Invincible Villain Darkseid around. The Hellbat was even piloted by Lois Lane to protect her son from Eradicator.
    • During the brief period where he became the new Batman after Batman: Endgame, Commissioner James Gordon relied on a suit of Powered Armor.
    • Robin (1993): While Maat Shadid makes it clear she's an accomplished fighter and manipulator out of her Powered Armor her high-tech Scarab armor is a large part of the reason she's such a dangerous threat, and definitely the reason she was able to fight Batman, and then Robin off and on for at least three years before being incarcerated.
  • Black Lightning's Shock and Awe powers originally came from a belt. Later stories reveal that some point, the belt triggered his metagene, giving him the same powers innately. The current version of his origin skips the belt entirely.
  • Blue Beetle: Jaime Reyes' armor, with the revelation that the "mystic beetle totem" that gave the original his powers was really an undercharged alien combat suit.
  • Booster Gold. He comments on several occasions that he's pretty helpless without his suit.
  • The Flash:
    • Professor Zoom a.k.a. the Reverse-Flash is a villainous variant in the issue in which he's first introduced. In his native twenty-fifth century, he found a copy of the Flash's costume inside a time-capsule which had been recently unearthed after having been buried five centuries before, and he used technology to amplify the suit's residual speed-energy (from the many times Flash wore it), giving him super-speed whenever he wore it; that he then dyed the suit in reversed colors was a personal choice to signify his own criminal nature. This was later retconned to him replicating Barry's Freak Lab Accident to give himself super-speed.
    • In more recent versions, this trope is inverted: the various Flashes condense their suits out of pure speed energy from the Speed Force. No ordinary costume could possibly withstand the rigors of Super-Speed.
  • The Darkstars from the Green Lantern mythos wear specialized suits known as exo-mantles, which give the users access to a variety of superhuman abilities. During the time when the Green Lantern Corps had been decimated by Parallax, John Stewart's exo-mantle allowed him to continue as a superhero despite the loss of his power ring.
  • Both versions of Hawkman depend on their costumes for their powers. The Golden Age Hawkman was Carter Hall, a normal-human archaeologist and Egyptologist who obtained his power of flight using artificial wings made of "the ninth metal" or "the Nth metal". The Silver Age version was Katar Hol of the planet Thanagar, whose artificial wings were powered by Thanagarian anti-gravity technology.
  • JSA long-standing teenage hero Stargirl, depending on the writer, is depicted with a belt that converts energy into her body to give increased strength and agility. (Her staff is a separate device with no actual connection to the belt, though it works on the same basic principle and was designed by the same man. She had the belt and the increased strength and agility long before she had the staff.) In her own series Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. when Courtney was still going by Star-Spangled Kid instead of Stargirl the Cosmic Belt is explicitly the source of her abilities (she didn't have the staff yet), and Pat Dugan wears the Powered Armor he made, the S.T.R.I.P.E. Armor.
  • Manhunter (DC Comics): Kate Spencer is an interesting example. A federal prosecutor who got sick of seeing the guilty go unpunished, she collected various pieces of technology that had been impounded by the LAPD in order to punish them herself. Her equipment is thus entirely made up of other, pre-established bits of DC technology: a Darkstar mantle, Azrael's bat-gauntlets, and a staff from a previous character who used the moniker Manhunter.
  • Superman:
    • Lex Luthor's Warsuit. Originally it was found by Lex on his adopted home planet of Lexor while he was living there. In Post-Crisis continuity, it was forged in Apokolips with help Darkseid for the sole purpose of killing a certain alien from Kansas. The Warsuit gives Lex immense power and strength over Kryptonians, as he can beat up Superman when wearing it and even impale the Nigh-Invulnerable Supergirl. In DC Rebirth, Lex gets a new suit which better mimics Superman's powers additionally it doesn't rely on kryptonite which makes the suit's capabilities that more impressive on Luthor's part.
    • Steel, much the same as Iron Man, but with a different motivation.
    • Played with in a Silver Age story. Superman loses his memory due to exposure to a mix of Kryptonites and a bump on the head (which was witnessed by others who believed Superman died in the incident.) Superman somehow makes his way back to civilization in a Clark Kent esque outfit. When he realizes he has powers and sees the Superman costume under his outfit, he believes at first that the costume gives him powers like Superman's (he only thinks he's Clark Kent because others have recognized him as Clark and he's seen news reports of Superman's death).
    • In The Leper from Krypton, Batman uses an anti-gravity belt to pose as Superman.
    • In Starfire's Revenge, Supergirl is suffering periodic power losses, so she resorts to wearing a Kryptonian harness called Exo-Skeleta-Cyborg to simulate her Super-Strength, as well as rocket boots to simulate Flight.
    • In Who Took the Super out of Superman?, villain Solarman develops a solar-powered suit which gives him power enough to challenge Superman... until it overheats and catches fire.
  • The villain Blackrock from The Strange Revenge of Lena Luthor can fly, transform matter, create force-fields and shoot energy blasts thanks to his suit and his power-stone.
    • In one distant future age shown in The Living Legends of Superman, people believe that Superman's powers were not natural but rather derived from super-advanced devices of some forgotten ancient civilization.
    • Deconstructed in Who is Superwoman?. Lucy Lane dons a super-suit which replicates the powers of several alien races thanks to a combination of magic and technology, and with which she attempts to kill Supergirl. Though, it turns out that a super-suit isn't enough to take down an experienced, prepared meta with natural powers and a volatile temper. Supergirl swiftly guesses what Superwoman's power source is and proceeds to easily — and furiously — rip her costume off, meaning Lucy is now helpless against someone who can bench-press a whale. Worst of all, her suit being damaged unleashes the magic energies woven into it, destroying Lucy's body.
    • In Escape from the Phantom Zone, villain Magog's lance can "cut through all mortal matter", and his god-forged golden helmet is nearly indestructible.
  • Bumblebee from the Teen Titans didn't originally have any actual superpowers, and instead wore a high-tech suit that let her fly, gave her enhanced strength, and allowed her to fire energy "stingers." However, the TV show gave her actual powers, which then carried over to the comics after Infinite Crisis.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Wonder Woman (1942): Byrna Brilyant's Snowman Powered Armor lets her fly, trigger snowstorms, encase people in "blue snow", protects her from bullets and drowning and use a powerful freeze ray. Without it she's just a normal human with a stutter who happens to be a greedy genius inventor who lives in a time where her gender allows the society she lives in to walk all over her.
    • In some early-Silver Age depictions of Wonder Woman, she got all of her powers from her outfit — with nearly every single piece of clothing she wore having its own origin story and a separate power. Boots of super speed and tiara of invulnerability, for instance. Nowadays, most of her powers are in-born gifts of the Greek goddesses, and only her trademark enchanted invulnerable armbands and her lasso (not really part of the outfit, but a key accessory) remain superpowered. (Her original design by Marston had it as Charles Atlas Superpower derived from Amazonian training in "concentrating body energy").
    • Another Retcon has it that the "truth powers" are another innate gift; the lasso just focuses it.
    • During a period when her powers were stripped from her, she used the Sandals of Hermes and Bracers of Atlas to recreate her strength and speed. These were then "borrowed" by Cassie Sandsmark, to become the second Wonder Girl. She later gained powers of her own, which she learned were hers by birth due to her being one of Zeus' many bastard children but had been blocked to try and protect her as a child. In the New 52, Cassie is a mortal teenager who is able to summon an enchanted suit of armor by using a stolen pair of ancient Greek bracelets (though it's later revealed she also has some divine heritage as well).
    • Wonder Woman (1987): During Artemis' stint as Wonder Woman she wore the Sandals of Hermes for flight and the Bracers of Atlas for Super-Strength.
    • Played completely straight for Diana's mother Queen Hippolyta, whose strength (in line with Classical Mythology) stems directly from her golden girdle. This was ported over to Diana herself in the Lynda Carter TV series (see Live-Action TV below).
    • The Legend of Wonder Woman (2016): This version of Diana gets all of her powers from her accessories (her tiara, girdle, chestpiece, bracelets, lasso and sandals) until the final pages where Gaia empowers her with the last of her fading strength.


  • In Astro City, American Chibi's powers come from her mystic hair scrunchies. Later, the scrunchies become a Transformation Trinket for her creator, Marguerite.
  • The Engineer, from Wildstorm comics' The Authority, has nine pints of nanomachinery replacing her blood. She's a (somewhat oxymoronically) closet exhibitionist, and so just uses a skin coating of the nanites for superheroing, giving her body armor, strength, and flight.
  • In The Bikini Teens Captain Commander gave them bikinis which give them superpowers, but only if the bikinis are showing. By Bob Burden of Dark Horse comics, set in the same universe as the ineffable Flaming Carrot and the mill-town superhero team known as the Mystery Men.
  • Without the Beta Suit, Julie Martin in Echo is just a normal photographer struggling with everyday life. She does not want these powers, but her situation means she has no choice but to use them.
  • Empowered, from the satire comic of the same name, has a super-suit that gives her dramatically enhanced strength and speed...but if the suit becomes damaged even slightly, the extra strength quickly fails (at a rate inverse to the amount of damage caused, so most of it is lost on the first scratch). And the suit is very fragile. Three points: The suit only works for Emp, the suit has a mind and the ability to move on its own, and it's been implied that it's fragile only because Emp's self-esteem is fragile.
  • Geek Girl: The titular heroine gets her powers of Flight and Super-Strength from a pair of eyeglasses.
  • The earliest version of Masters of the Universe depicted in the mini-comics that came with the figures explained that his superhuman power came from his enchanted chest armor. In He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983) episode 12 "Evil Lyn's Plot" it's shown that much of He-Man's strength comes from his harness. His sword just acts as a bag of holding for it.
  • Mortadelo y Filemón: Some of Mortadelo's disguises grant him abilities he doesn't have undisguised. For example, his ghost disguise allows him to phase through walls, he can climb buildings while disguised as a lizard, breathe underwater with a fish disguise or fly disguised as a bird. Also, his iceberg disguise allowed him to cheat a thermal detector.
  • The Powerpuff Girls #20: Blossom is completely helpless and lacks her usual confidence without her hairbow, which Buttercup swiped as a prank and now Mojo Jojo has stolen because he thinks it contains some intangible powers. It's Bubbles (of all people) who puts her foot down about the whole mess and sets things right.
    Bubbles: [angrily to Blossom] It's just a stupid bow!! You're still a Powerpuff Girl whether you have it or not!!
  • Tech Jacket (who appears occasionally in the Invincible comics) has a semi-sentient alien power suit bequeathed to him by a dying alien. The suit folds into Hammerspace and as he is human, and not Geldarian, his suit boosts his abilities to a far greater degree, giving him powers greater than the normal Flying Brick.
  • In Transformers: More than Meets the Eye and the related IDW Transformers comics, we have an overlap between this trope and Legacy Character with Ultra Magnus. The huge, powerful Autobot is actually a Cybertronian suit of Powered Armor into which a much smaller Cybertronian is integrated, granting them increased strength and durability alongside a large arsenal of weaponry. The whole purpose is to preserve the identity of the Ultra Magnus as a kind of "eternal lawman" amongst the Autobots.
  • Shadowhawk from Image Comics wore a suit of body armor designed by Carlton Sun, which was intended to compensate for his body's physical degeneration due to being infected with A.I.D.S. Given his ability to break the spines of anyone he came into contact with it seems to have had a strength upgrade component.
  • Much of Spawn's power comes from K7-Leetha, the cloth-like demon/living demonic armor that is bonded to his skin.
  • Superlópez:
    • This is how Superlópez's powers worked at the very beginning when it was a weekly comic strip. Eventually this was rebooted, but still appeared in the storyline Los Alienígenas, where he was powerless without his supersuit.
    • And also in El caserón fantasma (The Ghostly Mansion), when a sleepy Juan López in pajamas jumps through a window and almost falls to his death. He even lampshades he had forgotten to change into his superclothes.
  • Nite Owl in Watchmen built a powered exoskeleton and abandoned it in his workshop, never having actually worn it on-panel. His only description of it was "The first time I used it, it broke my arm. Never again."
    Silk Spectre: That sounds like the kind of costume that could really mess you up.
    Nite Owl II: ...Is there any other kind?
  • Witchblade. Though technically it's not a suit but a little implant when it sleeps and it transforms the host's own body into a battle form along with itself, recreating "armor" anew. What happens to the real clothes in the process varies.

    Fairy Tales 
  • "Ivan Turbincă": The titular character owns a magic pouch. It can trap everyone inside, and they can't come out unless Ivan wants them to.
  • "Reygoch": Curlylocks owns a magic veil which lets her fly, and a bag containing magic pearls which she can transform into anything. Despite being a fairy, though, she has no magic of her own.

    Fan Works 
  • Downplayed in Amazing Fantasy. Mysterio distributes the equipment of other Marvel supervillains to the small-time crooks of Japan, making them dangerous enough to overwhelm the average Pro Hero. But since Everyone Is a Super, most of his clients have powers of their own. His Enforcers in particular are already dangerous in their own right, but have their lethality enhanced by the super-powerful technology they're given access to. Played completely straight with Clash, whose Powered Armor is what gives her the ability to fight Pro Heroes.
  • In Angel of the Bat: Da Pacem Domine, the already exceptionally powerful Cassandra Cain gets her first taste of genuine superhuman strength when she becomes the wearer of the Suit of Sorrows, making her inhumanly fast and able to stop a bullet while barely breaking her skin. However, as Cassandra is usually trying to keep damage to her opponents at an absolute minimum, she ends up Cursed with Awesome and forced to exert far more control than she already was.
  • In Batman Revisited, Batman's Batsuit is halfway between Powered Armor and this; it provides him with tremendous durability and enhanced strength, in a way that is designed to be barely noticeable.
  • Boldores And Boomsticks: After demonstrating no proficiency with any conventional weapons, Lillie uses a jacket for her weapon of choice by embroidering it with Dust to let her use Hard Light constructs and other elemental attacks.
  • In Child of the Storm:
    • There are the typical examples of Tony Stark's many and varied Iron Man suits - including Rhodey's War Machine, and Tony's 'Prometheus' suit appearing in the first book's finale. It's based off Asgardian tech and even incomplete is a 'planetary scale emergency', with its conventional weaponry serving as 'punctuation'. Additionally, other groups, including the Red Room, have lower level Powered Armor of their own.
    • Harry zig-zags this trope when in sequel, Ghosts of the Past, he's stuffed into a suit that contains his Psychic Powers. However, as he finds out, actually means he can just channel said powers through his body and simulate high-end Super-Strength and durability - though as he later proves, he doesn't need the suit to do it once he knows how. After, though he's powerful enough that he doesn't need additional weaponry, he's still a Glass Cannon in relative terms (which has been brutally exploited in the past), and so Tony winds up designing a suit to compensate - it doesn't have a weapons' system, however, as Harry is the weapons' system.
    • As it turns out in Unfinished Business, while she's a Super-Soldier already, Carol's shield is, in fact, a Morph Weapon that is perfectly capable of transforming into her canon suit and granting her the canon abilities of absorbing energy and manipulating it. Given that it's made of Uru, like Mjolnir, it has a truly vast capacity to hold energy, making her potentially immensely powerful if she's drawing on a sufficiently strong energy source.
  • Dungeon Keeper Ami presents us with many examples. Keeper Mercury's Transformation Sequence gets her a strength and agility boost, but it always comes with the iconic Sailor Senshi uniform. She would later create a Powered Armor that could deflect lighting to fight tougher opponents, and several other specialized armors for his employees such as Cathy or Jered.
  • In Shazam! fanfc Here There Be Monsters, Dr. Sivana's discs give their non-powered bearers Flying Brick powers.
  • In Kyon: Big Damn Hero Kyon's Badass Longcoat is equipped with shields and a disguise and invisibility function. His watch has some gravity manipulators that allow Roof Hopping and can project a tactical armor which can double as an emergency medical compress.
  • Last Child of Krypton: In the original story Asuka was the second Wonder Woman. Her bracers drew power from Earth itself and gifted her with strength, speed, endurance, and power comparable to Shinji's (a. k.a., Superman), and made her capable to fly.
  • In Life Ore Death Ferris has a downplayed version of this; she needs her metal-minds to use her Feruchemy, but without she's still a physically fit, brutal veteran melee fighter with mystic secrets.
  • Superwomen of Eva 2: Lone Heir of Krypton: Rei -a. k. a. Wonder Girl- gets a lot of innate superpowers but others are a function of her Amazonian artifacts, most notably her Invisibility Cloak and her sandals which allow her flying. It came in handy when Parasite drained her and Asuka's innate powers, since her artifacts were still functioning.

  • The Rhino in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 pilots a suit that straddles the line between Powered Armor and Mini-Mecha. Green Goblin gets his powers from a Psycho Serum but also sports a suit of armor that enhances his strength and automatically repairs any injury to his body.
  • Aquaman (2018): Black Manta wears a suit of Powered Armor made from Atlantean technology, which allows him to go toe to toe with Aquaman.
  • Batman (1989): This influenced Tim Burton's casting of Michael Keaton and costume designer Bob Ringwood's decision to give Batman sculpted armor instead of tights—the seemingly small, meek Bruce Wayne taps into something primal and dreadful and otherworldly when he puts on this incredible Bat-armor.
  • The Filipino movie Blusang Itim features a magical blouse that makes ugly women beautiful.
  • In The Incredibles, Syndrome's suit gives him flight and zero-point energy projectors (which effectively perform telekinesis)... Good job he wasn't skilled with it...
  • In Lazer Team, aliens created a set of Powered Armor intending to be given to one designated human. However, a group of idiots end up shooting down the transport and take the pieces of the armor. So, now there's four with one power instead of one with four.
  • In the Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Iron Man, for the same reasons as in the comic.
    • In Iron Man 2, this extended to Whiplash (see the page pic) and War Machine.
    • Deconstructed in Iron Man 3 whose premise was set around the idea that while anyone can wear Powered Armor, there’s is only one Iron Man and even outside their tin cans Tony and Rhoedy can save the day.
    • The Avengers (2012) shows that Iron Man's armor can even go toe-to-toe with Thor and his hammer. In fact, Mjolnir's lightning actually powers up the armor. However, the upshot of this was that Thor barely had a hair knocked out of place, and was more puzzled than actually hurt. Indeed, when he gets nutted, he nuts back harder and actually dents Tony's helmet. This power discrepancy was also shown in the Battle of New York in which Iron Man runs out of power, but Thor is still in practically the same shape he was when the fight began, give or take the occasional stabbing.
    • While Iron Man’s Mark 6 Armor puts him “close” to upper echelons in Avengers, it’s his later suits that actually put him in the level of the gods. The Hulkbuster Avengers: Age of Ultron while it took a beating still accomplished the task of beating the Hulk (which seemed impossible before then). Not to mention the Mark L Nanosuit Tony uses in Avengers: Infinity War which was strong enough to make Thanos bleed, something that took Thor making a magic super-axe to accomplish.
    • In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Sam Wilson's flight abilities come from the Exo-7 Falcon, a prototype aerial military suit he wears.
    • In Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), Star-Lord relies on a Ravager uniform with built-in jet boots and a helmet that allows him to survive in the void of space. Downplayed at the end by the revelation that he's half human, half something "ancient", and by the second film, this trope is pretty much completely averted when Peter discovers that his other half is Celestial and how to use his powers. As of Avengers: Infinity War, Peter is back to playing it straight since he lost his powers after destroying Ego in the previous film.
    • Black Widow avoids this in Iron Man 2, The Avengers, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, but in Avengers: Age of Ultron, she wears a new suit that enhances each of her physical attacks with bursts of electricity. This is a bit of a subversion, as in the prior films, she still kicks a metric ton of ass without any powers.
    • In Ant-Man, the title character and his Evil Counterpart, Yellowjacket, both get their powers from armored suits that dispense sizeshifting Pym Particles. Ant-Man and the Wasp showed Scott can grow in size even when not fully armored with no gory results. Though it’s clear he and Hope still need the masks when shrinking into smaller sizes e.g going subatomic.
    • In Spider-Man: Homecoming, Vulture builds himself a flying suit powered by salvaged Chitauri technology, left over after The Avengers (2012). Peter himself has a suit built by Tony Stark that enhances his abilities. In the end, Stark even offers him a better suit that appears to be a cross between Iron Man and Spider-Man, along with full Avengers membership, but Peter refuses. This trope is lampshaded in the movie when a disappointed Stark demands the suit back:
      Peter: [pleading] I'm nothing without this suit.
      Tony: If you're nothing without this suit, then you shouldn't have it.
      • Spidey gets the Iron Spider Armor in Avengers: Infinity War which protects him from getting crushed by Thanos at one point.
    • In Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, Kang the Conqueror wears a super-high-tech suit of armor, but beneath it, he's just a man.
  • In The Mask, the eponymous artifact is this. Whoever puts it on becomes invincible and gains phenomenal reality warping powers at the expense of their psychological restraints. The same held true in the original comic book, though the results within were far more violent and gory.
  • In the Megamind: The Button of Doom short, the titular villain-turned-hero decides that in order to protect "Metrocity" he's going to make a suit that copies the powers of the former hero Metro Man (who has powers identical to Superman's). These include rocket boots, gloves for Super-Strength, and glasses that can alternate between X-Ray Vision and Eye Beams. Apparently, each device is voice-activated. During the movie itself, he uses that same suit to trick Titan into thinking that Metro Man has returned. Titan believes the ruse until he realized that Megamind called the city "Metrocity", rhyming with "atrocity".
  • The eponymous shirt in the 1978 British kids film Sammy's Super T-Shirt.
  • In Slam Dunk Ernest, an angel played by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar gives Ernest magic shoes granting him supernatural basketball abilities.
  • In Street Fighter, M. Bison does not possess the psychic powers of his video game counterpart, and instead relies on a high-tech battle suit that allows him to fly and fire off bursts of electricity from his hands.
  • The story goes, according to Kevin Smith, that while he was doing script treatments for the in-limbo fifth Superman movie (that eventually became Superman Returns, for lack of a better term the third Superman movie), the then-producer had a lot of strange requests. He wanted Superman to fight a giant mechanical spider, a polar bear at his Fortress of Solitude (which, recall, in the comics is in Antarctica), and to have his powers come from his suit. Smith's script attempted to justify the use of this trope. In the proposed film, Superman would have lost his powers after Lex Luthor and Brainiac managed to build a device that blocked out the sun. In order to go toe-to-toe with the villains, he would have performed a Fusion Dance with the Eradicator, who would morph into a suit of Powered Armor that replicated all of Superman's old abilities.
  • The Jackie Chan movie The Tuxedo. Not played at all seriously, of course.

  • In Andrea Vernon and the Corporation for UltraHuman Protection, there's a whole category of superheroes that fit this trope. The one that is seen most often is Kitchen Sink, a Romanian Olympic gymnast in a suit of Powered Armor that can shoot Abnormal Ammo.
  • The novel Armor by John Steakley, whose Powered Armor looks a lot like Heinlein's, but whose owners treat it very differently.
  • In Kim Stanley Robinson's Blue Mars, there exist recreational flight suits which act as a strength-amplifying exoskeleton, giving wearers a sufficient power-to-weight ratio to fly like a bird, at least in Martian gravity (though more diving and swooping, because flapping would be dull). Similar devices allow low-gravity adapted humans (i.e. the Martians) to function in higher gravity environments (i.e. Earth).
  • Inverted or played straight with Captain Underpants if you consider underwear to be clothes as he thinks his powers only work if he's stripped down to his underwear.
  • The fourth book in the Disney Chills series has Delia become prettier, more confident, and popular when wearing Cruella's fur coat.
  • In the novel Fallen Dragon by Peter F. Hamilton, human soldiers wear Skin - suits of artificial muscle which enhance their strength and make them almost Immune to Bullets. The Skin muscles are actually alive - they need to be fed bags of artificial blood to keep them going (this blood is circulated by the wearer's own heart). One character's Skin is nearly destroyed when he is bitten by a poisonous eel.
  • In The Harem Protagonist Was Turned Into A Girl!! And Doesn’t Want To Change Back!!!?? due to being the heir to the Galatic Empire protagonist Svetlana can don a super powerful alien battle uniform by activating a small disk, this uniform also comes with O’tmyil an onboard A.I. with a very sweet personality who can project herself as some sort of hard light hologram when the suit isn't in use and becomes a member of Svetlana's Battle Harem.
  • Impossible Creatures (2023): Shortly after she was born, a travelling seer gifted Mal with a magic coat that allows her to fly when she unfolds the flaps.
  • David Weber's In Fury Born used Powered Armor for the Imperial Cadre, which was a combination of augmented exoskeleton and armor with lots of mounting points for heavy weapons (all of which they could take off), and the embedded pharmacope, processors and additional neural pathways (that they were stuck with all the time).
  • Les Voyageurs Sans Souci: Sébastien and Agathe can fly thanks to their magic outfits.
  • Witch cloaks in Septimus Heap are the main source of a Witch novice's Magykal abilities, including protection from the Darke, as experienced by Jenna in Darke.
  • The novel Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein contains some of the earliest "realistic" Powered Armor in fiction.
  • Mollie Hunter's novel, A Stranger Came Ashore, has a character named Finn Learson, a Tall, Dark, and Handsome young man who turns out to be the Great Selkie, lord of all the other selkies. When protagonist Robbie realises that Finn intends to take Robbie's older sister Elspeth away under the sea, he approaches Elspeth's suitor Nicol for help by asking Nicol to ensure that he is chosen as the Scudder, a figure in local mythology on the night of Up Helly Aa, as the folk magic of that date means that whoever wears the Scudder's costume is the Scudder in a mythological sense, allowing Nicol to channel the power of earth-magic against Finn's sea-magic so long as he fights Finn above the high-water mark left by the tide.
  • In Super Powereds, Jill is a Technopath, so her ability doesn't really translate well into combat. Luckily, her twin brother Will is a Gadgeteer Genius, so he built her a suit that she can control with her power, which puts her on par with the other students.
  • Dale Brown features "Tin Man" suits, a lightweight form of Powered Armor made from material similar to Batman's cape in Batman Begins/The Dark Knight, in his later novels. It starts out as simply bulletproof, but later additions (namely a detachable exoskeleton) bring Super-Strength, jet boots, Shock and Awe anti-personnel weapons, and the ability to wield and feed power to BFG-grade weapons like an M61 Gatling or railguns. It's remarked that a single ten-man Tin Man team against a military base is overkill, and nothing short of anti-tank or anti-materiel weapons even bothers them.
    • In an originally separate string of novels, the CID suits straddle the line between Powered Armor and Mini-Mecha due to the operator riding in it rather than wearing it, wielding a Shoulder Cannon, being able to leap great distances, keep up with vehicles, and push a stalled bus out of a semi-irradiated area. The original operator is deemed a "lab nerd," and manages to engage in close combat with a helicopter gunship at one point.
  • Played with in Under a Velvet Cloak, where Karena, who can use powerful magic, thinks her velvet cloak provides her the magic. When she is done with her training, her mentor informs her she, Karena, was the source of the magic, and the cloak was just a cloak.
  • In Villains' Code, a number of heroes and villains use Powered Armor suits, including Dr. Mechaniacal and Whitest Knight (who is a Politically Incorrect Hero with a Klan-themed suit). The main character is herself a super, but her primary Man on Fire ability doesn't lend itself to combat very well in this setting. Luckily, she's also a genius and builds herself a suit, using her own ability as a power source.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Adventures of Superman: Averted in the famous "Panic in the Sky" episode. Amnesiac Clark, having discovered Superman's suit under his own, wonders if this might be the case. Unfortunately, Jimmy says no; the man makes the clothes super.
  • The Captain X Chest Insignia on The Amazing Extraordinary Friends.
  • Arrowverse:
    • Ray Palmer builds himself a Powered Armor suit using dwarf star alloy and starts calling himself "The Atom". The suit can fly, shoot blasters, and change size. In an episode of Legends of Tomorrow, he's forced to destroy the Atom suit, when an evil Shogun takes hold of it. He ends up being without a suit for a while, although Mick gives him Snart's cold gun as a replacement. Later on, Ray obtains a supply of dwarf star alloy and rebuilds his suit. Apparently, the suit is so powerful that even a piece of it left behind in the past can result in an army of Atoms taking over the world.
    • Batwoman (2019): Since the Batsuit is a one-of-a-kind multi-million-dollar piece of technology, and Batman has gone missing, anyone putting on the suit has to a) master the technology involved, and b) live up to the reputation of being Gotham's Caped Crusader.
  • The Book of Boba Fett: After he decides to become a crime boss on Tatooine, Boba's first priority is to retrieve his spacecraft, and the second is to find his beskar armor. This is not only because it's a Walking Armory and Jet Pack that's Made of Indestructium, but also because no-one recognises him as The Dreaded Boba Fett without it. Which is good when you're playing dead, but not so much when you want to intimidate others with your reputation.
  • The titular hero in The Cape does most of his crime-fighting with a unique cape received from his carnie mentor, who also taught him the usual magician's tricks such as "smoke vanish". The cape can stretch to ridiculous lengths and has amazing tensile strength. The Cape often uses it to grab things some distance away and pull. One episode involves the cape's former owner (a student of the same mentor who went bad) stealing the cape and using its "powers" for evil.
  • Doctor Who: Time Lord founder Rassilon felt the compulsive need to turn virtually every object he laid eyes on into some kind of artifact. Examples include his Coronet (amplifies psychic powers), Sash (allows the wearer to survive inside a black hole) and Gauntlet (can speed up or reverse time). It is a running gag in fandom to speculate as to what things like his underwear might be capable of.
  • Freaky: In "Costume", a kid acquires a pink superhero costume that bestows real superpowers on him. Until it shrinks in the wash that is.
  • The Greatest American Hero had an alien super suit given to a mild-mannered schoolteacher by advanced aliens, to use for the good of mankind. He lost the instructions. Twice.
  • Johnny Domino became Night Man after stealing and putting on a prototype "future cop" suit, loaded with Flying Brick abilities, such as flying, holo-projection, Invisibility Cloak, Eye Beams, etc. Johnny himself can hear evil thoughts thanks to being hit by lightning (actually, a beam from an alien spaceship), but has permanent insomnia. He manages to Clark Kent by using the holo-projector to play back a recording of him playing Jazz to a live audience (although someone noted that he repeated a few songs), while he fights crime. Alternatively, he can give the suit to his friend to fly around.
  • This trope is a staple of Power Rangers. However, later seasons have given Rangers non-suit-related powers as well (one superpower each, quickly becoming Forgotten Phlebotinum) or made Ranger powers simply enhance the Functional Magic or Ki Attacks they're already learning. In fact, many shows classified in or based on Japanese Tokusatsu tend to go with this, including Kamen Rider, Metal Heroes, and Power Rangers' source material, Super Sentai.
  • Triphammer from Powers is a normal human being who uses a suit of Powered Armor.
  • Taking a note from Spider-Man, two episodes of Sanctuary (2007) feature an abnormal entity that shapes itself like a superhero suit so it can bond to a host. It grants them superhuman abilities but feeds on their life energy in return.
  • In Stargirl (2020), Wildcat's suit enhances the wearer's agility and balance, automatically adjusts to fit, allows one to fall from a great height and survive (and land on one's feet), and has built-in Absurdly Sharp Claws. It may also dampen sound, as Yolanda seems to be able to move nearly silently.
  • The super-suit used in the short-lived series Super Force was a prototype spacesuit, retrofitted for urban assault. In fact, in the first episode, the hero wears an unmodified (though futuristic) space suit as a vigilante.
  • A number of artifacts from Warehouse 13 work like this. Most notably Angelo Siciliano's Workout Trunks (Angelo Siciliano is most commonly known as Charles Atlas), allowing the wearer to alter one's density. The person who wears them takes on the persona of a comic book hero called Iron Shadow. Naturally, there are nasty side effects, such as the fact that the wearer will eventually be unable to control his own density and will implode into a black hole. In order to stop this, Myka put on the DARPA GAK Suit, which absorbs all kinetic energy directed at it (but drains the wearer of vital fluids), and gauntlets developed by Claudia to redirect said kinetic energy.
  • In Wonder Woman (1975), certain key pieces of Wonder Woman's costume allow her to keep her powers off of Paradise Island.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Classical Mythology: Greek gods had lots of nifty mystic toys, including Hades' cap of invisibility, Hermes' winged shoes, and the impenetrable Nemean Lion's skin worn by Heracles. The only real "giving a normal person powers" example, though, was Perseus, who was given several gifts for his quest to slay the Medusa, including the aforementioned cap and shoes.
  • Mesopotamian Mythology: In the Sumerian myth of Inanna's Descent to the Netherworld, the goddess Inanna girds herself with clothes and artifacts before her descent, making herself powerful. She passes through seven infernal gates, and at each one, part of her clothing is taken from her. When she reaches the throne room, she is naked and therefore powerless, and she is carried off to be tormented. (So this trope is Older Than Dirt.)
  • Norse Mythology:
    • Brynhildr's enchanted belt gave her "The Strength of Ten Men".
    • The belt of Thor was the basis for Brynhildr's belt. It further enhanced his already superhuman strength, and he could literally 'take it up a notch' by tightening the belt. Hell, his belt was necessary for him to use Mjolnir.
    • Freya's cloak of falcon feathers, which gives the wearer the ability to transform into a falcon.
  • In Japanese versions of "The Swan Maiden", the feather garment of a celestial maiden (tennyo) grants her the power of flight. A man or an elderly couple hides her feather garment away to keep them company on earth.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Magic armor, hats, gloves, boots, and other articles of clothing are ubiquitous in Dungeons & Dragons, and there are even sets of magic armor that give more powers when they are worn together. The most obvious example of this trope, though, is the epic-level golem suit armor, which is essentially a Humongous Mecha powered by magic.
    • The old Deities and Demigods sourcebook explicitly mentioned Meginjarder (Thor's magic belt), which would boost your strength enough to let you pick up Mjolnir. In this incarnation, it was specifically stated that, without Meginjarder, only Thor himself and his son Magni (who was literally the god of strength and explicitly noted as being able to lift anything, even things otherwise considered "unliftable") could budge the hammer. Not even other gods with the maximum possible strength rating (25) could do so.
    • The Handy Haversack. Being Crazy-Prepared is a lot easier when whatever you need at the moment is literally right at your fingertips.
  • In GURPS any power can be defined like this by giving it the Gadget Limitation. Besides that, supplemental books on magic and ultratech provide more standard examples that can simply be purchased.
  • In Magic: The Gathering, the Mirrodin expansion introduced the Equipment subtype of artifacts, which generally only function when used by a creature and grant that creature new stats or abilities. Some equipment is concepted as weapons, but others are armor or simple clothing, fitting this trope.
  • Rifts has a rather literal example. Without armor in the Rifts setting, you are typically dead pretty quick due to the abundance of high-power weapons. However such armor is also usually blatantly obvious and will not fit under your clothes. Enter the "Plain Clothes" armor, which mimics normal clothing...and can be very annoying as usually it takes shooting someone and wondering why they did not become pinkish mist to detect. There is also standard infantry full-body armor, Full Environmental Battle Armor (infantry armor with a self-contained environment option like a space suit), and Powered Armor. Any and all of these could survive a single hit by a tank shell usually, though non-powered is also usually near-ruined.
  • Space Marines from Warhammer 40,000 are enhanced to become badass enough to kill things unarmoured and take no damage from small arms fire to the face, but their Powered Armor makes them even more resilient. Elite members get to use the "Tactical Dreadnought" or "Terminator" armour, which makes them tougher still (and by that there was an example in a book where a wearer of it was stepped on it by a Scout Titan and crawled out of the big footprint unharmed), but slower (the armour was developed from protective suits designed to allow maintenance work to be done on the interior of Plasma Reactors whilst the reactor was active). Some of the other factions also use this trope, such as the physically unenhanced Sisters of Battle, the Tau with their battlesuits and the Eldar with their teleport-equipped Warp Spiders and assassin Striking Scorpions.
    • This even applies to the spin-off games. In Necromunda, one gang type are the Spyrers, youths from the uppermost noble houses given extremely strange (possible alive) Powered Armor and sent downHive to kill other gangers in a rite of passage. The heavily armoured, force-field equipped Orrus has a pair of Power Fists with built-in bolt launchers (racks of mini-missile launchers). The Jakara carries a monomolecular sword and an energy-beam-reflecting shield. The Yeld has a set of mechanical, razor-edged chameleonic wings and two wrist-mounted lasers. The Malcadon has two wrist-mounted combi-weapons; a set of Wolverine Claws and a 'web spinner', a gun that entangles enemies in artificial webbing, while the suit itself lets the wearer leap great distances and climb almost any surface. The Matriarch's suit blends into the background, while she herself carries two weapons- a monomolecular sword and a chainscythe. The Patriarch wears heavy Powered Armor with four Combat Tentacles, two tipped with pulse lasers and two with power claws.
    • The T'au are a far clearer example. A T'au Fire Warrior is an alien Badass Normal with good equipment, making them a strong light infantry soldier, but not a Super-Soldier. After four years of service in this infantry, they can simply go to an academy to learn to fly their Crisis Suits. These suits are more survivable than Space Marine power armor, carry far better weapons, and can fly. In game, a basic Crisis Suit model costs what three or four Space Marines does to field. In Universe, the T'au simply roll new Crisis Suits off the factory floor all the time as opposed to Space Marines being a nightmare to produce. Discussed by Weshammer, here.

    Video Games 
  • Similarly, Class Armor in Artix Entertainment's AdventureQuest, DragonFable, and AdventureQuest Worlds give characters class abilities. In the case of the original Adventure Quest, this was on top of the spells and magical weapons you most likely also had. Different costumes in MechQuest also give stat bonuses towards certain tasks, like detective work or delivering pizza.
  • Bang-On Balls: Chronicles: Some of the clothing items you can unlock by killing bosses and certain enemies give you extra abilities when you wear them. For example, there's a rocket launcher hat that allows you to launch rockets at your enemies on command, there's a jet hat that allows you to hover in midair for a few seconds and there's a lava hat that allows you to shoot Fireballs upon rolling for long enough.
  • Inverted in Bayonetta, where she uses her powers to make the suit, which is made out of her own hair and can be used to summon Demons!
  • In Bloons Super Monkey, the description on the App Store implies that the titular character is just an average Dart Monkey in a Super Suit. The monkey kind. Not the earthworm kind.
  • The Big Bad in Cave Story is Fuyuhiko Date, the Doctor who got his awesome superpowers from wearing the Demon Crown. Subverted, however, when a little bit of lore later on depicts the crown as an antenna for the actual powers, which comes from a deranged superhuman mage. Which is to say that, here, the clothes wouldn't even be "Super" without the "Man" powering them up.
  • In City of Heroes, this is a common explanation for where a character (particularly one of Technological origin) got his powers.
  • The various costumes in Contact grant Terry different powers. Some allow him to cast magic spells, while others allow him to cook, fish, or steal.
  • In Costume Quest, kids transform into whatever their Halloween costume represents, and gain appropriate powers, in order to fight monsters. No explanation whatsoever is given for this, and everyone takes it for granted.
  • Crusader: A certain rebel Captain is an intensively-trained, incredibly deadly One-Man Army. But if he didn't have his customary powered armor, which is an aesthetic cross between an Imperial Royal Guardsman and Boba Fett, then quite aside from being able to shrug off bullets and provide juice for heavy energy weapons, why...he'd be naked.
  • The Nanosuit in Crysis. Nomad and Psycho (the protagonists) are normal soldiers, but the Nanosuit gives them enough strength to mash cars off the road with their bare fists, turn nearly invisible, allows them to run almost as fast as car in short bursts and bullets will simply bounce off it in armored mode. The sequel explained that the nanosuit doesn't really protect the wearer from some potentially mortal wounds, but it keeps him alive despite them - so it's providing life support, too. That said, the intro FMV of the original game established that the bullet of at least small arms do not pierce the suit (in maximum armor mode).
  • Dead Rising 4: The DLC "Capcom Heroes" allows Frank to take on an array of powers depending on the costume he dons (obtained from arcade machines), allowing him to use Mega Man's Mega Buster, Ryu's hadoukens, or Classic Frank's improvised weapons.
    • There is a cap on the max HP/MP given by armor. This isn't so noticeable because the armor is usually the limiting factor. Basic stats are also character-dependent.
    • One of the armor types has wings, which give the wearer the ability to fly fast around the battlefield.
  • Dead Space: It's fair to say that Isaac Clarke wouldn't have survived without his seal-sealing, armored RIG suit. It also comes with the ability to slow enemies and telekinesis.
  • The JRPG Dual Orb II features an armor that Lagnus obtains. The Evolving Armor allows him to use magic and slowly transforms him into an evil dragon.
  • In Earth and Sky, Austin and Emily wear superpower-granting suits their parents created just before they disappeared. The earthsuit gives Austin super-strength, damage resistance, and the ability to leap great distances; the skysuit gives Emily the power of flight and the ability to generate fog and lightning. In the final chapter of the series, their parents reappear, and have suits of their own with fire and water themed powers.
  • Earthworm Jim, who was an ordinary earthworm until he got his Super-Suit. Slight variation in that Jim is still just an earthworm inside the suit; he doesn't have any arms or legs. The suit not only has powers but has appendages.
  • EXA_PICO: In the initial Ar tonelico trilogy of the series, most Reyvateils literally cosplay as a game mechanic. Their custom clothes are created from their mental images, therefore invokes different stats, biorhythms, and passive abilities.
  • EXTRAPOWER: Attack of Darkforce:
    • Kojiro Mido is already an accomplished karate practioner, trained by a hermit master and strong enough to take up dojo busting as a hobby, but his attacks barely even phase the enemy remodeler Polar Bear Corpse. When his dying mentor bestows the Guren Stones to him, he transforms into the red armoured Guren Tiger - powerful enough to take on Polar Bear Corpse and become one of the strongest heroes in the roster. This also applies to other Henshin Hero using lifestones like Gecko Wolf, and their evil Tarantula counterparts Virizion and Viore, though they're already into their careers by the time the game starts and so they're mostly seen in their empowered state already.
    • Ruritia and the other Hikari Warriors, as Expies of Magical Girl and Pretty Cure in particular also have elements of this, transforming into their Hikari Warrior outfits to gain access to their magic and combat abilities, complete with rainbow-shooting magic sword.
  • In Far Cry 6, Dani's wardrobe provides a large variety of benefits and special abilities. None of these are particularly superhuman but can give you resistance against various damage types or special attacks.
    • One could argue that this trope is more important for Dani compared to the previous protagonists like Jason and Ajay. For example, the Knife Throw Takedown, that was something Jason and Ajay gained through skill upgrades, essentially improving themselves physically. For Dani, they can only do the same move by wearing specific clothing.
  • In Fate/Grand Order, The protagonist isn't much of a mage outside of their high compatibility with Servants, and many of their spells come courtesy of their Mystic Codes, which also double as their outfits. Chaldea seems to have made a point of ensuring that they never go out without a Mystic Code on, as even their swimsuits are Mystic Codes that let them use spells and protect them from falls and impacts, which Jeanne Alter lampshades as being incredibly overengineered.
  • Final Fantasy uses this as a staple of its Job System in various games, with characters changing clothes to match their current Job. Final Fantasy X-2 explicitly attributes the characters' abilities to their Dresspheres.
  • Ginger Beyond The Crystal: The outfits Ginger gets over the course of the game grant him different powers.
    • The bard outfit allows Ginger to play music that causes different things to happen depending on the context.
    • The mouse outfit allows Ginger to shrink himself down so he can squeeze into small spaces.
    • The dragon outfit grants Ginger the ability to breathe fire.
    • The wizard outfit allows Ginger to magically move objects.
    • The vampire outfit allows Ginger to turn into a bat and fly.
    • The spacesuit allows Ginger to shoot stars.
    • The pirate outfit allows Ginger to play a Mini-Game that lets him open treasure chests.
    • The jester outfit allows Ginger to place bombs with smiley faces on them in front of himself.
  • Unusual for an RPG, in .hack Sign, characters do not learn new powers as they gain levels. Instead, their powers are granted by whatever armor and weapon they have equipped.
  • Half-Life: Gordon Freeman is pretty badass for a theoretical physicist, but it is his Hazardous EnVironment (HEV) Suit that enables him to survive multiple gunshot wounds, headcrab infestation attempts and other nastiness. Note however that when Gordon teleports to Xen, he encounters plenty of dead scientists wearing the exact same type of suit, so Gordon's feats are not entirely due to the suit.
  • While the Spartans from Halo are already superhuman without their MJOLNIR armour, their suits add tremendously to their combat effectiveness by giving them even greater speed, strength, and durability, along with other features such as energy shields.
    • Without their armour, Spartan-IIs and IIIs could dent titanium armour plating, pulverise bones, and send heavy exoskeleton-wearing marines flying through the air with a single punch. With MJOLNIR, they could flip all sorts of armored vehicles, survive falls from low orbit, dodge bullets, and deflect missiles.
    • All that said, a fully-kitted Spartan is still only physically on par with a Sangheili (Elite) and slightly weaker than a Jiralhanae (Brute), both of whom outnumber Spartans by far. However, Spartans generally get the better of both species with regards to skill; even expendable 12-year-old Spartan-IIIs without MJOLNIR are capable of single-handedly taking down Elite swordsmen in close quarters combat.
    • The Spartan-IVs are a more traditional version of this trope; their augmentations aren't powerful as the IIs and IIIs (due to being modified as adults instead of children), but their version of MJOLNIR is markedly superior to their predecessors'. In Halo 5: Guardians, when Spartan-IV Jameson Locke and Spartan-II Master Chief get into a fight, Locke's superior armor allows him to hold his own against the Chief despite the latter's superior augmentations.
  • Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure has The Gentleman's Suit, a legendary set of clothes that give the wearer great power if he's deemed classy enough. Luckily the Quintessential British Gentleman Adventurer Archaeologist Protagonist is just the man.
  • Sora can only use Drive in Kingdom Hearts II because of the clothes granted him by the three Sleeping Beauty fairies.
  • Several outfits in Kingdom of Loathing serve this function. The El Vibrato Relics allowed the player with the right upgrades to effectively create their own superpowers. Also, each class has a set of Legendary Regalia that effectively boosts their class-based strengths to Legendary proportions.
  • Knight Bewitched: In this game, the character's skills are partly determined by the weapons and trinkets they use, meaning your strategy can change based on which weapons you have equipped. Gwen, for example, can have access to massively powerful magic by equipping different trinkets.
  • Some of Cole Phelps' suits in L.A. Noire come with bonuses, like carrying more ammunition or punching harder. And you can change clothes pretty much whenever you want.
  • Done many times in different Zelda games. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess provides Link with a suit of armor that allows him to breathe underwater, and another that makes him Nigh Invulnerable but drains Rupees when worn.
  • Twinsen, the protagonist of Little Big Adventure, has his Ancestral Tunic — it doesn't provide any protection on its own, but instead stores Magic Points that power up his main weapon. In the sequel, it does provide protection through the use of "protection spell".
  • The GM uniform in MapleStory consists of a hat, suit, and briefcase (though many GMs choose to customize their uniform using cash items). The Suit and Briefcase are about as effective as a suit and briefcase in real life would be against fighting monsters. However, the hat gives a godly stat boost. Being able to wear the Hat of Power is often a feature of private servers.
    • The players can do this too with the game's scrolling system, which lets you add stats to all your gear. Taken to the extreme, a Warrior could get enough accuracy from his gear alone that he can put every single stat point he gets into STR when accuracy used to matter.
    • Lampshaded in a quest in Kerning Square titled "Clothes Make the Man", referring to the celebrity Blake.
  • Mega Man (Classic): The protagonist was originally Dr. Light's helper robot. However, he had a strong sense of justice, and when Dr. Wily threatened world domination, he requests Dr. Light to remodel him into a fighting robot, and he gets the iconic blue suit of armor. In Mega Man Powered Up, you can actually play as his original form, and he doesn't have the Mega Buster in this form — he only simply gets a kick attack in this form, and it's fairly short range. Apparently, he can switch between both forms at will, as seen in the ending of 1 and the opening of the Game Boy V. Despite this, whenever he's seen at home or otherwise doing some activity that doesn't involve fighting, he's always wearing the blue armor, sometimes without his helmet.
  • Metal Gear:
  • Metroid: Samus Aran's suit holds all the power-ups she acquires. Typical game format involves her losing these abilities at some point early in the game (barring the first two sequels, where her depowering is left unexplained) and spending the rest of the game getting them along with additional powers back. Although she does have superhuman strength and athletic abilities without the suit as well and she wouldn't be able to use the suit without her Chozo-enhanced biology, so she's not exactly helpless without it. Interestingly this also averts the usual pattern of making female examples of this trope Stripperiffic; the suit's large and heavily armoured enough (seriously, combined with the level of firepower it's capable of it would make some Humongous Mecha jealous) that it hides her gender until she removes it.
  • Minecraft, with the enchanted armor. For instance, the Depth Strider enchantment which allows you to walk through water at top speed. Take your boots off, and you're waterlogged as normal.
  • In the above's Spin-Off, Minecraft Dungeons, there are no character-specific attributes or skills that can be increased, and instead has your character's power come solely from the equipment they're carrying, allowing the players to essentially change their "class" on the fly.
  • The hunters of Monster Hunter can get awesome abilities such as withstanding tremors, dodge-rolling long distances, increasing the sharpness of a weapon just by holding it or slicing clean through the toughest monster hides regardless of how sharp a weapon is. But only if they wear the right armor. Every hunter, no matter how experienced or how high their rank, is exactly the same under the armor.
  • Downplayed in Overwatch. Almost every player character does have wearable tech that gives them special abilities, it's just that the tech tends to be very unobtrusive or coupled with their weaponry.
  • In the Nippon Ichi game Prinny: Can I Really Be the Hero?, for their battle as an Optional Boss, Asagi wears a Prinny suit that lets her do the same things as the Prinny hero, including explode, and shoot little mini-Prinny bombs that walk along the ground. Unfortunately, when she's beaten, the suit self-destructs with her still in it, fumbling for the zipper.
  • In Scribblenauts Unmasked, you can spend reputation points on costumes based on DC heroes and villains that give Maxwell various weapons and/or powers.
  • Shantae: In his ongoing quest for military might, Ammo Baron constantly seeks materials with which to refine his machinery or enhance his troops. When he started running low on crowdfunding money in Half-Genie Hero, he pondered enabling his troops to fly, but given the choice between exploiting endangered magic silkworms and stealing magic carpets from a race to unravel and weave into flight-capable uniforms for himself and his army, he felt the latter was infinitely preferable to the former. Not that it stops Shantae from literally beating the pants off of him...
  • Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey has the Demonica. It's a suit of Powered Armor with an onboard CPU, which contains numerous forms of scanning, like terrain reconnaissance, mapping, enemy identifier, field-altering technology (opens locked doors and/or reveals concealed ones), storage for your demons (in data-format), and contains an absolutely absurd amount of programs to bolster its natural capabilities.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • In some early localized manuals for games, they make the apocryphal claim that Sonic's speed comes from his sneakers, but this info has never been taken as canon. In-game he does have Power Sneakers which can temporarily triple his existing speed, though, with the introduction of the Super Peel Out, Sonic can run at the same speed naturally anyway. The presence of numerous characters who can run at high speeds in the series make it clear that it's just a natural ability for Sonic and has nothing to do with his footwear.
    • Unlike Sonic, Shadow the Hedgehog's speed isn't natural and instead comes from his Hover Shoes, which are pretty much sneakers with in-built thrusters that allow Shadow to propel himself at high speed. As a result, he doesn't "run" so to speak but instead moves like he's wearing a pair of roller skates.
  • Crimson Viper in Street Fighter IV has a "Battle Suit" given to her by S.I.N. (who she is spying on), which includes studded gloves which can be electrically charged and jets hidden in the heels of her Combat Stiletto boots. The latter of which can be used for a Super Jump, but she mostly uses them to kick people in the face with. Ouch.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • In Super Mario Bros. 3, when Mario or Luigi picks up a leaf, a tanuki tail appears on him, enabling him to fly or to attack enemies by spinning in place; several other suits also existed, such as the Frog Suit and Hammer Bros. Suit. Most of these were dropped for Super Mario World, but it added a cape feather whose effects were similar to those of the raccoon leaf.
    • New Super Mario Bros. Wii brings in the Penguin Suit in much the same way as the suits above, which allows Mario and company to shoot ice and slide really fast on their stomachs...And the Propeller Hat, which allows a really high flight/gliding-esque spin jump via head-mounted propeller.
    • Super Mario 64:
      • Mario becomes slower, takes more damage and has a decreased jumping ability if he loses his Hat of Power, implying that he derives his power from it. Not to mention the three Power-Up hats that gave him flight, intangibility, and a metal body.
      • In the DS version, wearing Mario, Luigi and Wario's hats gives any other playable character the same powers and physical abilities as their respective owners (certain enemies and Toad can wear them without being affected). Losing theirs will also affect Luigi and Wario the same way it does Mario. In Super Mario Sunshine if Mario loses his hat he'll also gradually lose health due to the heat, something none of the other hatless characters seem to be affected by.
    • Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars had an optional item literally called the "Super Suit" that was attained if you managed to get 100 consecutive Super Jumps on any one enemy (harder than it sounds). Only Mario can wear it, but when he does, he becomes almost the very definition of the word "Super". All of Mario's offensive and defensive stats are boosted by 50 and his speed is increased by 30. No other item boosts stats that high.
  • Terraria: The only thing "intrinsic" to characters is how many hit points and mana points they have, so you can start a new character and immediately make him Death, Destroyer of Worlds by giving him your old character's gear (and maybe some Heart Crystals and Mana Stars to boost the aforementioned hit points and mana).
  • The beta suit from TimeShift allows the wearer to control time, heal quickly, hack computers and detect enemies at range.
  • Trick or Treat Beat! has multiple costumes the Player Character can switch into by finding them in the game world. The costumes each provide different powers.
    • Skeleton: The default costume, it allows the player to open locked gates.
    • Frankenstein's Monster: Wear it and you can smash boulders and garbage cans.
    • Gill Man: This costume allows you to wade in the streams.
    • Vampire: This costume allows you to transform into a bat and fly over trees.
    • Witch: This costume allows you to turn "ghosts" into frogs.
  • Vandal Hearts II: Heaven's Gate does away with traditional class-based proficiency (thief, mage, warrior, etc). Instead, everyone can be anything with a change of their armor. There are four types of armor, each emphasizing one aspect or the other, including (and most importantly) HP and MP, which is connected to the fact that levels have nothing to do with providing HP/MP whatsoever since the armors do it.
  • Wario's various costumes in Wario: Master of Disguise are like this, with various ones allowing fire breath, flight...Art Initiates Life are the hats in the first Wario Land game, which are everything from a head-mounted jetpack to a head-mounted flamethrower.

    Web Animation 
  • Red vs. Blue: Freelancers typically wear a suit of advanced Powered Armor that provides some sort of armor ability, like Active Camouflage or a deployable energy shield. Its limitation, however, is that it also needs an implanted Artificial Intelligence to manage the equipment. It is possible to use the enhancements without one, but it is extremely risky; Agent North was able to briefly activate his bubble shield without one, and Agent Washington was once able to use his E.M.P flash, but using them in such a manner is incredibly risky. Poor Utah... The development and usage of the AI and equipment is a major plot point in the “Many Years Ago” plotlines of seasons 9 and 10, which focus heavily on the Freelancers themselves, as well as serving as a Chekhov's Gun in Season 13. Agent Washington eventually becomes infamous to everyone aware of the Project for turning his back on all forms of of armour and AI enhancement after an exceptionally traumatic experience with the technology almost destroyed both him and the Project's future.
  • RWBY: Weaving Dust into clothing is an ancient practice, though it is rarer in the modern day when compared to the use of Magitek. There are different kinds of Dust, some natural and some artificial, that each produces a different Elemental Power effect. When Dust is woven into clothing, that clothing can achieve these elemental effects. For example, weaving Fire Dust into a cloak means that cloak can burst into flame when it billows.
  • X-Ray & Vav has Hilda supply the titular duo with special super suits armed with various weapons. However, they prove to be quite the Super Zeroes.

  • Parodied in Basic Instructions with the superhero Rocket Hat.
  • Zig the iguana from Broken Plot Device has created, among other things, a suit of armor that looks remarkably like Mega Man. Since Zig is a bit of a geek, it's probably intentional.
  • The protagonist of Chaos in the Tropics finds a magic piece of cloth granting her super strength, speed, and durability. She can make equipment and other people temporarily super with it by wrapping it around them, and the cloth can change size so that she can use it as different items of clothing as she needs or wants them.
  • Steve's Super Suits, and the one Jane uses, from Coga Suro.
  • Inverted in El Goonish Shive. Elliot has a magic spell which gives him a few stock superpowers and includes a costume change. Of course, since the spell also turns him into a girl, the costume invokes midriff-baring and Minidress of Power.
  • In Flipside, Maytag's absurd self-confidence and wild hedonism only work when she's wearing her jester outfit. Take it away and she becomes shy and meek. It's not clear whether the effect is actually caused by the outfit or if it's psychological. Well, that's what she claims, anyway. It actually appears to be a deliberate act on her part, as later chapters indicate that both personalities are conscious projections, while whatever her true personality is remains hidden.
  • Heroes of Thantopolis Cyrus is given a blue and yellow tunic made by Helene that allows his physical body to interact with the normally immaterial ghost world.
  • Lady Spectra & Sparky get their superpowers from their laser wristbands and other gear.
  • In Necropolis, a young girl's village is raided by bandits, resulting in her father being killed and her home burned. Furious, she goes and makes a Deal with the Devil (or at least a magical being), afterwards for the power to punish the bandits, and is given a magical sword. The sword apparently makes the wielder almost invincible in armed combat; the girl is seen easily cutting right through the bandit leader's blade when she catches up to them, and several comments about the sheer number of spells and enchantments on the sword imply that it also protects the wielder from harm. With it, the girl becomes the terror of bandits and other criminals in the area, however as pointed out by her mentor Lin after the girl is (forcibly) taken into the Queen's service, it also means that the girl never learned how to properly fight with any weapon that isn't a once in a lifetime magic sword that does all the work for you, something Lin has to correct via Training from Hell.
  • Schlock Mercenary has fullerene-cloth powersuits that are literally indistinguishable from normal clothes, and are in fact the Toughs' normal outfits. With these, characters can fly, shrug off artillery fire, and punch through walls... although most of the Toughs have "soldier boosts", nano-tech enhancements that push their physical abilities past what's normally possibly for their given species, so some of them can punch through walls anyway.
  • Spinnerette: Similar to the Iron Man example above, the core of Mecha Maid's power suit is a medical device, which allows her to move and breathe freely despite being crippled with ALS.
  • Emmelind in Whither is given a cloak imbued with magical knowledge to turn her from Unskilled, but Strong into an expert. It's a classical shade of purple.

    Web Originals 
  • One of Cracked's 31 Life Lessons You Can Only Learn From Video Games uses Mario's suits to make the point that "there is no problem that a change of wardrobe won't solve."
  • Without their Guardian armor, the heroes from the web fiction serial Dimension Heroes are pretty much helpless.
  • SCP Foundation: SCP-7500 possesses the unconscious power to warp probabilities, apparently due to his vest with a four-leafed clover pinned to it. However, the vest doesn't work for anyone else, so it's left ambiguous as to whether it's a Magic Feather for his natural powers or if it was custom-made for his use alone.
  • Whateley Universe:
    • Loophole is stronger than average, but she is far more powerful when she wears her power armor. Jericho has a power armor suit too, but he's designing it for medics and rescue workers. Phase has a superhero costume that provides protection against bullets, knife attacks, acid, and several other kinds of assaults, but he paid a huge amount for it.
    • The Costume Shop courses teach how to work with high-strength fabrics such as Kevlar. And Kevra, an improved light-weight form of Kevlar developed by a student. And diamond carbon-carbon nanotubules. And Adamantium. There is also a Super Costume 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.
  • Zoofights, an interactive forum based originally on the Something Awful forums where modified animals beat the crap out of each other. In his last battle, Steamcrab was nothing but a pile of fused organs inside a giant crab-suit. In a more traditional fashion, the Iron Manatee uses a combination spacesuit and power armor equipped with a railgun, chainsaw, and the ability to fly using both gravity-affecting Cavorite and traditional thrusters. Without it, he's nothing but an angry, steak-eating, cigar-smoking manatee with a death wish and an incredible disdain for Malaysians.

    Western Animation 
  • The high-tech Batsuit in Batman Beyond, which used advanced technology, originally to support the original Batman's aging body and failing heart. It also lets the new Batman do a lot of things his predecessor had needed years of training to do, in addition to keeping him alive through his early days, when his total lack of experience lets villains get the drop on him every five minutes. In a later episode, however, when a hostile AI takes over the Batsuit, Terry has to prove to himself that Clothes don't make the Batman.
  • The Centurions' Exo-Frames give them Super-Strength, even without the Assault Weapon Systems that attach to the suits.
  • In Cow and Chicken, Chicken makes Cow ditch her old blanket only to find out that it was her Super Cow cape and without it she can't save the day, which prompts The Red Guy to start abusing Flem and Earl to see if this true. Subverted in that Chicken finds the cape and uses it to turn into "Wonder Wattle", but finds out he has no powers and the cape isn't the source of Cow's powers. Then Cow points out that Chicken put the cape backwards. Chicken gets the powers when she fixes it.
  • Danger Mouse: Hopelessly averted in "There's A Penfold In My Suit." It starts with Penfold thinking he can be as heroic as DM if he puts on one of his white jumpsuits. Doesn't quite cut it—he's still the hopeless hamster he's always been.
  • An episode of Darkwing Duck combined this with mind control when, during a Halloween party, the villains of the week caused people to think they actually were what they were dressed up as, giving some of them powers, such as Launchpad (who was wearing his regular pilot outfit) gaining the ability to sit in midair and fly around the room, invisible-jet style. Darkwing himself was mainly unaffected, having gone as himself.
  • Very literally in the DC Nation short "Superman of Tokyo", in which Superman gave his cape to a baby to use as a diaper who then transformed into Superman himself.
  • Dr. Dimensionpants: All of Kyle's powers come from his pants. Without them, he is just a normal kid. The same goes for the other dimensional heroes in this series, who use various clothes to turn into their superhero alter-egos.
  • DuckTales (1987) has Gizmo Duck, who was regular Fenton Crackshell until he wore a suit invented by Gyro. GIZ-MO-DUCK!
  • In El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera, the Rivera family derive their abilities from their clothes. Manny from his belt, White Pantera from his boots, Puma Loco from his hat. And Plata Peligrosa, Manny's mother, from her glove.
  • Professor Farnsworth of Futurama built a bowler hat that gave the monkey wearing it genius level intelligence and even allowed him to cry.
  • Kim Possible had many:
    • The Battle Suit, used in So The Drama, is a white soft suit with neon blue piping, as a Shout-Out to TRON, that had many useful energy-based abilities like renegating clothes and a power field. A nerd with less power than an average child could get the drop on Kim while wearing it. It was so overpowered that it was mostly written out in the fourth season.
    • Kim hunted for a new mission outfit in "Clothes Minded", and tried three new options before settling on a new mundane suit. Her rocket-scientist father built her a bulky space suit that could fly but couldn't maneuver on the ground. Her brothers made a suit that looked like a multicolored LEGO® samurai, straight out of Super Robot anime or Mega Man (Classic); it flopped. She also tried an improvised suit made of a purple Flubber Homage; she over-bounced the target.
      • It is also speculated by the characters in the same episode that Kim's heroic victories are proportional to how well she dresses on her missions.
    • A pair of super-shoes put Kim out of sync with normal time in "Queen BeBe".
    • In "October 31st", Kim spends much of the episode wearing an experimental armor suit she can't take off.
    • Shego's bolts of green energy were originally stated by Disney to be generated by her gloves. This was retconned in the second season, where her Sickly Green Glow turned out to be a superpower she gained after she and her brothers were struck by a magic space rock.
    • The first time Ron really saves the day, on his own, with no screw-ups, accidental victory, or villain/Idiot Ball moments and with Kim Possible knocked out and unable to help is whilst wearing the Fearless Ferret costume.
    • The Disney website actually had a Kim Possible minigame where the goal was to help Kim collect the right articles of clothing from a store before a mission within a time limit in each level. Failing to pick up a complete outfit in time or having an incorrect outfit piece would result in Shego and Drakan making fun of Kim (with the dialog changing depending what is wrong with Kim's outfit) and Kim failing the mission.
  • Looney Tunes:
    • Elmer Fudd's "spear and magic helmet" in What's Opera, Doc? allowed him to control the weather and finally kill the wabbit... kind of.
    • Parodied in a Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner short, wherein the Coyote buys a "Superman" outfit assuming it would get him to fly across a chasm (even the box shows a guy in the costume flying). It doesn't. But in another short, he gets a "Bat-Man" (sic, and possibly a Shout-Out to the original comics, c.1939) suit from ACME (where else?), and it works — eventually. It takes him a little while to get the hang of using the wings, but then he's zooming all over the place. And having fun, too — right up until, not looking where he's going, he runs smack into a rock ledge and the wing fabric separates from the battens and stays stuck to the rock. Wile E. falls away, naturally, and is horrified to find that his wings are now nothing more than a few pieces of wire (or whatever). Oh, and the suit is green and doesn't have a mask.
  • The Mighty Mouse cartoon "Hero For A Day" had a bumpkin mouse finding out his girlfriend has the hots for Mighty Mouse. He buys a Mighty Mouse costume, thinking he can impress his girl by intimidating some cats. It doesn't work, and after the cats knock him out and are about to pounce on him, the real deal shows up, defeats the cats quite handily and lets the little bumpkin take the credit for it.
  • Phineas and Ferb:
    • The Beak is a super suit for skateboarding. It provides all the essentials for being a superhero, though, strength, speed, flight, looking awesome, and Bulgarian folk dancing.
    • In another episode Doofenshmirtz employs the "Socky-shocky-suit" in order to create a powerful static electrical charge.
      "You know, it's the technical side of evil I don't think people appreciate."
  • The Powerpuff Girls (1998):
  • The ninja suit worn by the eponymous character of Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja grants the wearer advanced levels of strength and agility, makes the wearer a Walking Armory with the ninja weapons hidden inside it as well as its Scarf of Asskicking literally being used for asskicking. Over the course of the series however, Randy learns that the weapons may be in the suit, but the hero is in him.
  • Regular Show: To learn Death Kwon Do, you have to have a mullet and disturbingly short cut-offs. This also protects you from any negative effects of Death-type foods like the Death Sandwich, but not the Double-Death Sandwich as one single bite can instantly kill even Death Kwon Do practitioners at full power, even The Sensei of Death Kwon Do.
  • Robot Chicken: A sketch parodied The Greatest American Hero, (complete with The Cameo by Robert Culp) giving the "super suit" to The Nerd. Aliens steal it back from him while he's flying, causing him to plummet to the ground, landing a wheelbarrow, and then some cheerleaders just happen to come by and make fun of his Teeny Weenie.
  • In one episode of Rugrats, Chuckie sees a show of his favorite hero, Captain Blasto. When Angelica takes Chuckie's globe beach ball, Chuckie says he wishes he was a superhero. Tommy thinks maybe he is but Chuckie points out that if he was a hero he would have a cape because all heroes wear capes and that that's where their powers come from. The babies then dress Chuckie up in his own superhero suit with a towel as a cape. When trying to get his globe beach ball back from Angelica, he loses the cape, yet still is able to beat Angelica and get his ball back. They then treat it as a Magic Feather and tell him he doesn't need it anymore, though while they're not looking, Chuckie picks it back up and puts it back on, stating "You never know..."
  • The eponymous Sinbad Jr., when he pulls his magic belt tight, becomes "strong as a hurricane." In the Hanna-Barbera shorts, has can also fly while under the belt's influence.
  • In The Spectacular Spider-Man, three Supervillains derive powers from their costumes. The Vulture has flight-capable Suit, Shocker has a vibrating suit with gauntlets that shoot concussive blasts and the Rhino has titanium-resin armor that's permanently fused to his skin. Then, of course, there's Spider-Man's unearthly black costume, that increases his strength, jumping distance, balance and webbing integrity. Gee, it's almost too good to be true! The trope is even lampshaded by Shocker in his first appearance.
    Shocker: I guess clothes do make the man.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants mocks the average superhero's ridiculous attire, and claims this trope is the justification for donning said ridiculous attire.
  • Two villains in Static Shock: one used a glove that allowed him to practically stop time ("Now You See Him...", final season), and another allowed him to use Static's powers after stealing them ("Showtime", season 3).
  • In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003), the superhero known as Green Mantle obtained his powers from a cape given to him by an alien tailor.
  • Parodied by The Tick with the carpeted man — a man covered in wall-to-wall carpet. His incredible choice of dress grants him the power of static electricity to mildly inconvenience evildoers everywhere! Frequent fainting from overheating is an unfortunate and inevitable side-effect of such ...awesome powers.
    Captain Mucilage: You know, Gary, if you'd only take off that stupid suit you wouldn't keep getting overheated.
    The Carpeted Man: But... I'm the Carpeted Man! Without this suit... I am nothing.
  • Ultimate Spider-Man (2012) subverts this with the Iron Spider suit. It gives Peter extra powers he wouldn't normally have, but even without it he still has all of his spider abilities. Played straight in the third season when the armor is given to Amadeus Cho.
  • In the now-hard-to-find Tex Avery cartoon "Uncle Tom's Cabaña", Uncle Tom tells increasingly tall tales to the listening kids, up to the point where bad guys open up on him with machine guns. When the kids point out that the bullets would've killed him, he replies, "Nope, 'cause I was wearin' my Superduperman suit!"
  • In an episode of Walter Melon, the Superman Expy got his powers from his cape.

    Real Life 
  • Played with, since it's meant to be a supplement, but, eventually, there gets to a point where, if a Power Lifter wants to go even further beyond, they will need to use gear to supplement their already massive strength (such as a Squat Suit, a Knee Brace, or, most popularly, a Weightlifting Belt).
  • Spoofed by Jeff Goldblum in the note included with the limited edition glasses frames he helped design for upscale eyewear brand Jacques Marie Mage, especially bearing in mind that they are akin to Nerd Glasses, as he muses: "Hey, I wonder if yer gonna start adopting some o' my personality traits? Well, if so, have fun as you try out a few obtuse phrases. Don't be afraid to add in strings of redundant adjectives. Go ahead, pepper in some purring noises. Feelin' unconventional yet and ecstatically unique?"


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Superpower Costume


The Cat Suit

As ridiculous as it looks, the cat suit is a power-up that gives its wearer the agility of a cat

How well does it match the trope?

5 (12 votes)

Example of:

Main / ClothesMakeTheSuperman

Media sources: