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Improvised Clothes

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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:

  • Bankruptcy Barrel: Have no money, find an unused barrel and some suspenders (at least back in the days when those were common and cheap).
  • Cheap Costume: When your superhero tights needs a fast and low-cost substitute.
  • Curtain Clothing: When curtains and dresses are made with linen, why not use one for the other?
  • Advertisement:
  • Eggshell Clothing: Why fully hatch, when your shell makes a perfectly good outfit.
  • Garden Garment: Lots of clothing are made with plants, but here you don't bother with any sort of processing.
  • Hand-or-Object Underwear: If you want to be modest, and your don't have any proper coverings, you do what you can.
  • Improvised Armour: If it blocks even a little of a weapon, that can still turn the tide of battle.
  • Live Mink Coat: If you have some furry friend(s) willing to wrap around you like a fur garment.
  • Modesty Bedsheet: If you're naked in bed, why not use those as a cover until you get clothes on?
  • Nemean Skinning: You kill it, you wear it.
  • Seashell Bra: Because bivalves and brassier start with the same letter.
  • Unplanned Crossdressing: When you have no clothing to fit your gender, or unisex clothing.

Compare Rummage Sale Reject, Clothing Damage.



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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 one arc of One Piece Nami's blouse and skirt are damaged in a fire after she and Luffy are freed from a book, 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 cutting 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.

    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.

    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: 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.

  • Three guesses how this trope figures into The Paper Bag Princess, but the first two don't count.
  • 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.

    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.

    Comic Strips 

    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.

    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.
  • In the opening of Chuck Rock, Chuck's Loincloth is in the wash, so he puts on some leaves instead.

    Web Comics 
  • 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:
    • A few times with Homer:
      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 another episode he fashions a swimsuit out of a welcome mat after forgetting his trunks.
  • 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 


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