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Improvised Clothes

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"I have misplaced my pants."

Sometimes you don't have the proper materials on hand to make yourself clothes, so you have to use other things ...

A Super-Trope to:

Compare Rummage Sale Reject, Clothing Damage. Often a result of Shapeshifting Excludes Clothing.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In an early episode of Revolutionary Girl Utena, Anthy's dress is destroyed by the Alpha Bitch in the middle of a school ball. Utena then improvises an improbably sexy dress out of a tablecloth for her and invites her to a dance.
  • In the final episode of Mobile Fighter G Gundam, when Rain emerges (naked) from a silvery case of Go-Go Enslavement, Domon Kasshu (having apparently studied under Utena) improvises an improbably sexy dress out of his bright-red cape.
  • The Ranma ½ opponent Pantyhose Taro, despite his hatred for his own name (or perhaps as ironic payback) tends to transform his Jusenkyo-cursed enemies into their weaker animal forms and wrap them in pantyhose. In the case of Shampoo, he wrapped her in so much hose she was basically just a kitty head popping out of a huge ball of polyester. When Akane transformed her back, the pantyhose coincidentally stretched itself over her naked human body into a very convenient bikini shape.
  • Kishin Asura from Soul Eater after his revival creates clothes out of his own stretched skin.
  • In the Whole Cake Island arc of One Piece, Nami's blouse and skirt are damaged in a fire after she and Luffy are freed from a book, so she uses an unconscious henchman's overalls to cover herself.
  • In Dirty Pair Project Eden, after a monster attack while they are bathing Yuri and Kei are forced to leave their clothes behind, Yuri makes a bikini out of her towel while Kei takes master thief Carson's clothes and cuts them down to her size.
  • Kaiju Girl Caramelise: Kuroe Akaishi's Involuntary Shapeshifting into a Kaiju results in her clothes being ripped to shreds, so each time she has to find nearby materials to cover herself up when she changes back. When she transforms at the school gym, she covers herself with a trash bag, and when she transforms at the Ultra Bakuon Fest, she covers herself with a parachute.
  • Zombie Land Saga: In episode 5 of ''Revenge'', Lily is able to retrofit her outfit into a cutesy jazz-dancer costume, complete with a improvised song and dance routine.
  • In episode 145 of Lupin III: Part II, Fujiko has been captured by Lumbach and his men who have searched her for weapons taking off her pants and panties in the process, leaving her bottomless, later as she makes her escape, freeing herself and knocking out his men, she grabs a curtain and makes a makeshift skirt out of it.

    Comic Books 
  • At one point in the The Avengers, Janet "The Wasp" Pym is caught without a costume, and wearing a non-shrinking dress, so takes a moment to fashion a restaurant napkin into a dress.
  • The unpublished The Powerpuff Girls comic story "Powerbuff Girl" (illustrated by Christopher Cook) featured the Powerpuff Girls ending up naked. Buttercup covers herself by improvising clothes out of Blossom's bow and later the door panel of a forklift when she loses the bow during a fight with the Mean Streaks.
  • Whenever Spider-Man has Clothing Damage, he can usually make up for it using his webs. In more extreme cases, losing his mask forces him to take up the mantle of "The Bombastic Bag-Man." At least once this also involved a borrowed Fantastic Four outfit.

    Comic Strips 

    Films — Animation 
  • Chicken Little makes pants out of his homework.
  • The costume Sulley and Mike use to disguise Boo in Monsters, Inc. appears to be made of chair fabric and desk lamps.
  • The Little Mermaid (1989): Ariel's first dress is an old sail strategically tied up with rope.
  • Ice Age: The Scrat short "Gone Nutty" ends with Scrat's acorn crumbling to ashes after hitting the ground and causing the Earth's continents to break up and move to their current positions, causing Scrat to gasp in shock and wear the top half (which did not disintegrate) on his head as if it were a beret.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Help!, after Paul accidentally gets shrunk, he improvises a wrap out of a discarded Wrigley's gum wrapper.
  • In Tol'able David, David's dog runs away with his pants while David is skinny-dipping. David has to put on a barrel.


  • Dungeon Crawler Carl: On the third floor, waves of chaos are doing random things to magic, so Carl has to take off all his magic items before they explode. He doesn't have any non-magical clothing, meaning he spends the last twenty minutes of do-or-die on the floor completely naked. Right before the floor ends, Donut reminds them that they'll be teleported directly to Odette's show, where he won't have access to his inventory. And he's still naked. He ends up wrapping himself in toilet paper and paper towels from the bathroom.
    Carl: Goddammit, Donut.
  • The Paper Bag Princess, as the title implies, is a story about a princess sporting only a paper bag, as it is the only thing left after her castle is thoroughly torched by a dragon, clothes on her back included.
  • Early in Time Enough for Love, Ira orders that female medical staff attending Lazarus Long dress as attractively as possible. Ishtar is the antithesis of Clothes Horse; Galahad ends up improvising a dress for her from a couch cover.
  • In the Froggy book Froggy Goes To The Doctor, Froggy forgot to wear underwear when he had to undress and change into a hospital gown, so his mother makes him underwear from the exam table paper.

    Live-Action TV 
  • MythBusters:
    • Adam has made some duct tape hats in some of the Duct Tape Specials.
    • During their "survive on a desert island" special, both Adam and Jamie made duct tape sandals.
  • Gilligan's Island: In the first season of the show, Ginger wore an outfit which had "SS Minnow" stenciled on it, indicating she assembled it out of canvas or somesuch from the eponymous boat's supplies. In later episodes, she somehow acquired an Unlimited Wardrobe.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Possibly the Ur-Example is Adam and Eve in The Bible, who improvise the first clothes ever out of leaves after eating from the Tree of Knowledge and realizing their nudity.
    • Dressing in sack-cloth is a frequent indication that a mourner was too depressed to put clean clothes on.

    Video Games 
  • Bayonetta: the eponymous character uses her own hair as clothing. Not that you'd be able to tell (at least until she repurposes it for other uses), since she's a witch and is thus able to turn it into a leather catsuit.
  • Chuck Rock: In the opening, Chuck's Loincloth is in the wash, so he puts on some leaves instead.
  • Pikmin Bloom: Some of the "accessories" for the decor Pikmin include wearing things like acorns, popcorn, and toothpaste on their heads.

    Web Comics 
  • Dean & Nala + Vinny:
    • Since Dean has sent Nala's warmer clothes home, the cat has to make do in the snow with his sock as a hat, plastic baggies on her paws, and the final insult: his underpants, which she has to hold up as she walks. Vinny does point out that if she turned them around, she would have a place for her tail.
    • Dean goes for a dip in a river and loses his shorts in the process. Vinny and Nala make him a "bonny green kilt" from some leaves. Earlier Vinny tried to teach Nala how to weave the leaves together so they wouldn't come apart. Predictably it ends in a Wardrobe Malfunction.
  • In the Sluggy Freelance atory-arc 'Emergency Pants'', a swarm of evil cloth-eating super-moths devour all the clothing in the house, forcing everybody to improvise some sort of cover. Torg, after losing his titular "emergency pants" trying to contain the moths, duct tapes some trash can lids over his privates, Riff briefly his newest invention, the Chick Magnet (it attracts baby chickens) to make a very fuzzy, very yellow, very loud pair of boxer-shorts before swapping to a cardboard box held up by suspenders, and Sasha makes do by tying some stuffed animals around her waist and wearing a pool floatie as a bra.
  • Some of the Exiles in Homestuck, after pivotal moments in their backstories. WV wears a ghost-patterned blanket after inadvertently leading an army to its doom, AR wraps himself in yellow Caution tape upon being stranded on Earth when upholding the law, and PM has a faded Prospitian flag after Prospit is destroyed and the monarchs in hiding.
  • Gayle from Work Sucks lost his pants in a pool of quicksand only for a new friend, Socks, to quickly sew him up a pair. However, it later turns out the pants were made from a piece of Socks' friend, Poly.
  • Yet Another Fantasy Gamer Comic: Lucas Greyfort, once finding himself unfortunately naked while traipsing in the woods, notices that one of his monstrous companions is a cloaker (a D&D monster looking like a floating cloak) and decides to use him as an improvised cape. When said cloaker is asked why he didn't eat the human when he had the chance...
    Cuddle: Meh, he tastes like stupid.

    Western Animation 
  • The Cookie Carnival: The gingerbread cookie concocts a wonderful dress for the poor cookie girl out of colored frosting, candy hearts, and cupcake wrappers, using a powdered marshmallow as a makeup applicator, a candy heart as lipstick, and a shiny flat lollipop as a mirror.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In "Bart After Dark", the house goes to pot while Marge and Lisa are away, and Homer is shown wearing a grocery bag over his crotch. In one scene,
      Belle: Your son was trespassing on my property and destroyed a very valuable stone gargoyle and... Are you wearing a grocery bag?
      Homer: I have misplaced my pants.
    • In "Summer of 4 Ft. 2", Homer fashions a swimsuit out of a welcome mat after forgetting his trunks.
    • In "Pixelated and Afraid", Homer and Marge get stranded in the woods without clothing. They soon come cross the ruins of an abandoned love hotel, and they fashion some new clothes out of the shag carpeting.
  • In an episode of SpongeBob SquarePants, Mr. Krabs admits that when he was younger, his mother fashioned his clothes out of paper bags.

    Real Life 
  • Italian fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli, before she started her career as a couturier, once made a dress for a party consisting of only fabric and a pin.
  • During the Great Depression, many families used the burlap bags from buying flour and vegetables to make clothes. Some food providers, in response, started packaging their products in more comfortable and fashionable gingham and floral-print cotton, with enclosed instructions how best to wash out the brand labels without damaging the patterns.
  • Marilyn Monroe wore a (tailored) potato sack for a photoshoot after one of her detractors insisted that anyone would look as good in designer dress and makeup.


Video Example(s):


Lupin III - Fujiko Mine

Fujiko shows the ICPO to not underestimate her by single-handedly tearing through the Albatross (in a makeshift dress no less)

How well does it match the trope?

5 (11 votes)

Example of:

Main / DamselOutOfDistress

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