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Costumes Change Your Size

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"Ow! Wait. How did you punch me? The hologram was so much taller than you. It defies logic."
Heinz Doofenshrmitz, Phineas and Ferb

Some clothing seems to expand and shrink to fit whoever is wearing it. However, sometimes, it's the exact opposite. The clothing stays exactly the same, but the person within changes to fit the costume.

Maybe this is done to keep someone's identity hidden from the viewer, or maybe just for a joke. But, whatever the reason may be, the people wearing these seem to be a lot more elastic than when they stop.

Note that this has nothing to do with Becoming the Mask or Becoming the Costume.

Usually a case of Full-Body Disguise, or occasionally Latex Perfection. Compare Bigger on the Inside, Older Alter Ego, Your Size May Vary and Totem Pole Trench. More exaggerated examples of Clark Kent Outfit tend to cross into this trope.


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    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • Downplayed in Watchmen, where Rorshach is revealed to wear elevator shoes and a thick coat to make him look bigger and taller.
  • The Batman character Anarky is really a thirteen year old boy who wears a costume with a built in head extender to appear as a much taller man in his earliest stories, beginning in 1989. This costume element was eventually dropped by 1997, with the fictional explanation being that the character had grown to fill out the costume. This was in fact clever cover for the reality that the extender was difficult to draw in action scenes. Further, it had only been intended to fool the reader as a red herring in the character's first appearance, but other artists had continued using the extender needlessly, or dropped it on their own, creating confusion as to the costume's official design. Giving a direct explanation to never need the extender again created a uniformity for all artists to follow thereafter.
  • The all-time prize for this trope has to go to Ronin from New Avengers turning out to be a beautiful woman. "He" was originally going to be Daredevil, and until the unmasking, there was nothing even remotely androgynous about the character's bulky, masculine body shape. Seriously, it's like pulling the cowl off Frank Miller's hulking Batman and finding Harley Quinn underneath.
  • Justified in the case of Zartan: he's a trained contortionist.
  • During the "Gang War" arc in the Spider-Man comics, Daredevil poses as the Kingpin by wearing a fat suit. However, given the Kingpin is noticably taller than Daredevil, this does raise some questions about how he faked the greater limb length and could still use his hands.
  • Downplayed in Amulet: Trellis spends the first five books wearing bulky armour, and looking roughly adult-sized. When he's finally is shown out of it in Escape From Lucien, he's revealed to be a lot skinnier, and around half a head taller than Emily.

    Comic Strips 
  • What's New? with Phil and Dixie from Dragon magazine #68 (December 1982). A man who's 6 feet tall and weighs maybe 300 lb. becomes an elven woman at least two feet shorter. When asked how he did it, he says "Special shoes". Read it here.

    Films — Animation 
  • In An American Tail, villain Warren T. Rat spends most of the movie disguised as a rat, and not much bigger than the mouse protagonists. When he removes his costume to reveal that he's actually a cat, he becomes much bigger, albeit still smaller than the other cats.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Looney Tunes: Back in Action had the CEO of acme dresses as Granny as somewhat believable. Then he had his 2 meters minion disguised as Sylvester. And then the Tazmanian Devil disguised as Tweety.
  • Played with Men in Black. The invading alien Bug spends most of the movie walking around in the skin of a local redneck named Edgar. In the climax, the Bug sheds his Edgar suit to reveal that he had folded himself to fit, and he's really much, much larger than a human.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who:
    • In "The Terror of the Autons", the Master infiltrates UNIT HQ in a disguise so convincing it was actually portrayed by a completely different actor — who was significantly shorter than the undisguised Master.
    • The Foamasi in "The Leisure Hive" were lizard-like aliens who infiltrated by wearing full-body disguises that made them appear human. When one was unmasked and stripped of his disguise, his true form was somehow considerably larger than his disguised form (since the latter was portrayed by a normal-sized human and the former by a normal-sized human in a bulky monster suit). The Expanded Universe says that Foamasi have telescopic bones and most of their bulk is a compressible liquid.
    • The Slitheen, introduced in "Aliens of London", are a lampshaded version. Like the Foamasi, they're bulky-monster-suit aliens that disguise themselves as humans, but it's explicitly stated that their disguises incorporate advanced size-compression technology (and that even so they find it easier to impersonate large humans).
  • Kamen Rider:
  • In The Master, due to some obvious use of a Body Double, whenever Master McAllister puts on his ninja garbs, he becomes noticeably thinner.
  • Power Rangers and Super Sentai occasionally have unsuited actors who blatantly don't match the size of the suited stuntman.
  • An episode of Eureka features Invisapparel, clothing which can hide a pregnant belly making it appear normal and flat.
  • Some viewers question for Arya Stark, a young girl, is able to disguise herself as Walder Frey, a much older and much larger man.
  • The Slammer: When Melvin and Pete are abducted and replaced by aliens, the aliens' masks not only make them look exactly like Melvin and Pete, but disguise the fact that they are taller and have longer hands.
  • In the Goosebumps episode "Attack of the Jack O'Lanterns," twin brother and sister Shane and Shana are revealed to be alien friends of the lead protagonist. When in their human disguises, they are at an average pre-teen kid size, but after removing their Latex Perfection masks to reveal their green Muppet-esque alien heads, suddenly they are way taller, appearing even larger than an average adult human.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition, a high enough Disguise check would let you successfully pass yourself off as a character an entire size category smaller than you were. So a 6 foot 5 inch half orc that weighed 300 pounds could, somehow, convincingly pass themselves off as a 3 foot tall halfling that weight 50 pounds. This was not actually the silliest thing in that editions rules regarding skill checks.

    Video Games 
  • Team Fortress 2: To his enemies, the Spy's disguises have Latex Perfection, including the body type. Fanon thinks that some sort of hologram technology is involved. However, while the Spy's apparent size changes, his physical size (his hitbox) does not. That size difference can occasionally be helpful to the Spy, such as an enemy player shooting at their Heavy and thinking he's been spy-checked, only to find their shots missed the Spy's real body within. Taken to absurd levels when disguising as the Scout, who's hunched stature means that the taller Spy's head is invisible over the disguise. Creative spies can hide all but their real invisible head behind a low barrier, giving them an invisible view of their surroundings.
  • In Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box, Don Paolo spends most of the game disguised as Layton's adopted daughter Flora, despite the former being much taller and broader-shouldered than the latter.
  • The ending to Earthworm Jim 2 reveals that the entirely humanoid Jim, Psycrow and Princess Whats-Her-Name were all large, non-anthropomorphic cows in disguises the whole time. Jim also wears a salamander costume for an entire level with no regard given to the complete change in body shape, voice and movement ability.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • The series has two playable "Beast Races" - the Argonians and Khajiit. Both species, at least in their appearances after Daggerfall, have elongated snouts much like real-life lizard and cats. However, in Oblivion and Skyrim, both races can wear full-face helmets which completely reshape their heads. Their snouts are flattened, and the helmets neatly go over any spikes, horns, feathers, fur, or foot-long ears. Weirdly, several helmets have two completely different looks depending on whether the current wearer is male or female, but don't change to reflect their species.
    • Notably, this is averted in their predecessor Morrowind, where these races cannot wear full helmets. Fan backlash, however, led to this concept being dropped, despite logic.
  • In Crisis Core, one sidequest involves Zack finding Wutai spies disguised as various people in Midgar. The last one to find is disguised as a small child whose NPC dialogue is "I'm a Wutai spy!" before you actually do this sidequest. When you speak to him with the sidequest active, he'll run off and ditch the disguise behind a convenient Scenery Censor and suddenly is the size of a regular, tall adult.
  • The opera level in Psychonauts involves chasing after the Phantom, a very gaunt masked figure. When the Phantom is finally unmasked, he turns out to be the huge, obese Jasper the Critic. The protagonist lampshades how this doesn't make sense, but you are in someone's mind, so it doesn't have to.
  • Mr. Fizwidget in Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando turns out to be Captain Quark in disguise, who's at least half again as tall as Fizwidget and much broader at the shoulder.
  • In Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, Princess Peach needs to slip into a X-Naut uniform...which is around a head smaller than Peach, but still manages to squeeze into one. Peach herself lampshades just how tight a fit the uniform is when getting into and out of it.
  • In the first installment of The Sims, different clothing items changed the apparent weight of the wearer.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials & Tribulations several characters wear the Mask☆DeMasque outfit throughout the second case, for various reasons, including detective Luke Atmey, whose Gag Nose is far too long to ever fit behind the mask.
    • Averted in "Justice for All," where Adrian Andrews gives herself away by wearing a Nickel Samurai costume that is visibly too tall for her (though it nearly went undetected). The same thing happened in the third case of the first game: Jack Hammer wears a Steel Samurai costume that is too big for him, causing the pant legs to reach the ground.

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • Done realistically in Batman: The Animated Series. When the first Robin disguises himself as Bruce Wayne so as prove Hugo Strange wrong about them being the same person. This required the use of stilts to help sell the disguise.
  • The episode of Johnny Bravo "A League of his Own" both plays straight and subverts this trope. Johnny has to disguise himself as school girl to play in a girls softball team, and is obviously still a giant man in a wig. However, it turns out later that even more grown men were disguised as girls to play in the teams, and had magically shrunk when wearing their costumes.
  • In Futurama, where Hermes has a suit that reshapes the wearer's body to make them more athletic.
  • Ned Flanders in The Simpsons is actually incredibly muscular. You'd never guess this by looking at his clothing, which make him appear somewhat fat.
    • Sometimes this is done with various other characters too, like Groundskeeper Willie.
    • While experience with make-up, voice mimicry and contortion might explain how Sideshow Bob could effectively look and sound like Krusty the Clown when framing the latter for armed robbery, it could only be explained through magic how he disguised his comparatively gigantic long head and mounds of hair within a convincing and highly expressive mask.
  • Subverted in an episode of Sym-Bionic Titan, where Octus, a shape shifting robot disguised as a human, has to wear a suit about 1/3 his size. Being a shapeshifter, he just shrinks down to fit in it. To the rest of the characters, however, it seems to be playing this trope straight.
  • In Alvin and the Chipmunks, Eleanor seems to experience a sort of instant slim down whenever she wears something other than her signature outfit, despite being "chubby" being one of her identifiable characteristics.
  • This is standard on Scooby-Doo. The size of a suspect rarely has any correlation to the size of the "ghost" running around. Probably comes from movie serials being at least partly the inspiration for Scooby-Doo; in the serials, sometimes at the beginning the writers had no idea which character was going to be the true identity of the villain, even after shooting began on the first chapters. The hooded mastermind would be played by an actor who was not part of the actual cast. This would not-infrequently result in the Mysterious Cloaked Bad Guy being quite a bit taller than the cast member eventually revealed as his true identity.
  • In SpongeBob SquarePants at the end of the episode "Spy Buddies", we have Mr. Krabs flawlessly disguised as Plankton. Note that the latter is one of the smallest members of the show's entire cast. Then immediately afterward we have SpongeBob and Patrick turning out to actually be other random characters that all vary wildly in size and shape from each other.
  • Tiny Toon Adventures: In the Mockumentary "The Making of Kon-Ducki", Sweetie Bird unzips her "full body costume" to reveal she's actually Richard Nixon.
  • An odd example in the very first episode of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero: the heavyset female Pentagon representative has just revealed herself to be the Baroness in disguise, by pulling off a mask and wig. She runs over to join the invading Cobra forces and has somehow suddenly lost whatever padding she was wearing under her clothes, because she now looks like her usual sveldt self.
  • The final KaBlam! episode "Just Chillin'" has a scene where Henry and June, in an effort to make their show more exciting and action-packed, engage in a Traintop Battle with sasquatch Mr. Foot wearing a black leather villains' outfit with his huge bulky form still showing through. But then at one point the normally-mute Mr. Foot suddenly speaks in a gruff voice and then peels off his Latex Perfection ape mask to reveal Jon Voight, after which the rest of his body inexplicably shrinks down to a normal human body size and shape, still wearing the black outfit.
  • Happens in a humorous fashion in the early Family Guy episode "15 Minutes of Shame", when a talk show hosted by Diane Simmons features a dating couple parodying The Reveal trope; the male Mario was really a woman in a latex mask and mens' shirt, but then confesses that she is not even a woman, and unzips her Full-Body Disguise to reveal a horse much larger than Mario's human size, and then confesses that he is a broom, removing the horse suit to reveal a broom only a little smaller than Mario's man/woman getup that lifelessly falls over.
  • In the climax of the Jellystone! episode "VIP Baby You Know Me", Shag Rugg dupes The Banana Splits by having several of his friends disguise themselves flawlessly as doubles of Shag using costumes from a trunk within the Splits' warehouse. Two of Shag's pals who help to trick the Splits, Yakky Doodle and Peter Potamus, are respectively smaller and much bigger than the bear cub and yet are as flawlessly disguised as Shag as Augie Doggie is.


Video Example(s):


Shane and Shana's Costume

Shane and Shana are starting to like Halloween because it's the one day of the year they can be someone else, and their original self is a lot taller.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / CostumesChangeYourSize

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