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Shapeshifting Excludes Clothing

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I ducked around a corner into the mouth of an alley, then kicked off my slippers, the only parts of my dress that weren't spun from fox-magic. (Magical garments never lasted beyond a seduction. My mother had remarked that this was the fate of all human clothes anyway.) I loved those slippers, which I had purloined from a rich merchant's daughter, and it pained me to leave them behind. But I could get another pair of slippers later.
Foxfire, by Yoon Ha Lee

Items of clothing have a way of sticking around unchanged, even if their wearer is shrunken, transformed, or outright disintegrated in front of the viewer's eyes. This presentation is usually used as a visual cue to drive home the extremity of what's just happened to the victim. Simple gravity may pile the clothes into a heap, or convenient magic scatter them a moment later, to Hide the Evidence. In other instances, the clothes are ripped apart during the transformation, leaving them in tatters. Popping Buttons may occur at the very least.

In Shapeshifting, this can be an effect of Animorphism, or as simple as Just Woke Up That Way. Shapeshifting excludes clothing. Naturally. Also a frequent pairing with the Forced Transformation or Incredible Shrinking Man. Since the clothes stay where they are, if the victim has survived the event, it's likely to lead to Naked on Revival. However, works unwilling to depict nudity may nonetheless ignore the effect on reversal, in favor of returning the character to human form fully clothed. In some forms of shapeshifting, in fact, the character must get his hands on the original clothes to change back.

This is also seen in Sizeshifter gone wrong, ascending to a higher plane of existence, or the effects of a Fountain of Youth.

Typically onscreen; in any case, the cause of the loss of clothing is revealed to the audience and characters present in the scene. May trigger a foreboding Empty Piles of Clothing moment if discovered later by a character, without this context. In more comedic situations, characters obliviously transformed into larger forms may initially assume their clothes Shrunk in the Wash. Two characters who know they're about to go through a "Freaky Friday" Flip or a Physical Attribute Swap may preemptively exchange outfits to avoid any issues.

An inversion of Technically Naked Shapeshifter. Compare Invisible Streaker (a.k.a. "Invisibility Excludes Clothing") Empty Piles of Clothing, My Suit Is Also Super, Morphic Resonance, and Dress Hits Floor. Contrast Magic Pants.

Notice: As it can be used as a possible DEATH TROPE, there can be SPOILERS here. Beware!

Example subpages:

Other examples:

    open/close all folders 

  • In the Axe Anti Dandruff commercial called "Dusted", three lovely young women are instantly reduced to dust in the presence of a certain young man, leaving their empty clothes to flutter to the ground.
  • In a commercial for Japanese fashion brand G.U., Kyary Pamyu Pamyu appears as three vampires rising from their coffins and striking scary vampire poses. One of the Kyary vampires accidentally kicks off her shoe, which hits a switch that opens a window. The sunlight pours in and poof, they vanish in a puff of smoke.

    Card Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering has several cards on theme:
    • Snakeform shows a snake slithering out of a pile of clothes that was once a mage.
    • Turn to Frog uses the same basic concept in its art, where "Target creature loses all abilities and becomes a 1/1 blue Frog until end of turn."
    • As does Ovinize, which depicts a sheep among weapons and armor, whose name is similar to the Latin, Ovis aries.
    • Possibly averted by Fowl Play.

    Comic Books 
  • Blue Beetle: Originally, activating his Powered Armor would destroy Jaime's clothes, making him naked when he turned back. The first time he actually voices a complaint about this, however, the Scarab responds by making clothes appear. When the Scarab is forcibly deactivated and removed at the end of the Reach invasion Jaime has to deal with nudity again. He manages pretty well.
  • In Crisis on Infinite Earths, Barry Allen/The Flash runs so fast that he loses himself to the Speed Force, leaving just his uniform behind. The same thing happens to Wally West in Zero Hour: Crisis in Time!.
  • Fables:
    • In #51, Cinderella is turned into a mouse. Her clothes fall empty to the meadow floor, so she can enter the village of the smalls.
    • Bigby Wolf loses his clothes every time he goes into Big Bad Wolf form. If he's planning to do a lot of fighting, he will often start battle in the buff partially transformed in a wolfman form for modesty. He does borrow a shirt from Beast at least once, at the beginning of the Mr. Dark storyline.
  • In the world of Flare, whenever the Tigress turns another woman into a cat, the target leaves her clothing behind. Tigress herself was naked when she suddenly reverted from cat to human.
  • Zigzagged with The Incredible Hulk. While Bruce Banner's pants famously stay intact when he turns into the Hulk, all his other clothes (shirts, shoes, jackets, etc.) always get ripped to shreds.
  • A villain in a Johan and Peewit book uses a potion that changes people into dogs. When Peewit tries it so that they can find an antidote, he keeps his human clothes after being transformed (and never bothers to change out of them). When another victim is restored to human form, he finds himself stark naked (the comic being targeted to children, we never see below his chest, but it is clear from everybody's reaction that it is the case).
  • Mostly averted in Mélusine, where the witches' transformations, both willful and forced, generally includes clothing. In one case, however, Mélusine transforms the village pastor (who's always trying to burn her at the stake) into a moth, and his cassock stays behind. This is because, just earlier, he vowed to eat his own cassock if she escaped him once again; Mélusine, nice girl she is, thus makes it possible for him to uphold this vow.
  • In Power Pack, the character with the mass powers, usually Jack, sometimes ran into problems when he transformed into cloud form when not wearing his special costume that changed with him.
  • Superman:
    • Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #5: "The Fattest Girl in Metropolis": Lois Lane sees a murder and is subsequently tracked by the culprit, so Superman uses a "growth ray" to make her very fat overnight so that the killer won't recognize her. When Lois wakes up newly fattened, her robe rips down the back and her pajamas are visibly strained. Since none of her old dresses fit, she has to borrow clothes from an overweight neighbor so she can go out and buy new clothes at the "Fat Girl's Shoppe". And a charm bracelet Lois got as a birthday gift from Superman is now stuck around her wider wrist.
    • Superman's Pal: Jimmy Olsen (2019): At one point, Jimmy turns into a gigantic turtle, which naturally shreds his clothing in the process.
  • Zig-zagged in Vampirella. The early Pantha falls under this trope. Later with her amulet, she can shapeshift including her costume like Vampirella. (Who later got a My Suit Is Also Super retcon to shut up nagging fans.)
  • Most versions of The Wasp have this; Janet Van Dyne usually has a tiny superhero outfit to wear when she turns into the Wasp. If she doesn't, well, then she has to fight starkers. This happened a lot in The Ultimates.
  • Wonder Woman (2006): Circe's bestiamorph transformation spell doesn't affect clothing, though the men who are shown after being rescued from her had their forms changed just enough that their clothing mostly remained intact while they were enslaved to the sorceress.
  • X-Men: Mystique can create the appearance of clothes from her own body; as she has pointed out on more than one occasion, although she appears fully clothed, in fact she is actually always naked.

    Fan Works 
  • The Beast That I Am: Shinobu's new alter ego is roughly two feet taller than her and several times her weight, causing her to shred her clothes whenever she transforms.
  • This features in the Ranma ½ Elsewhere Fic Boy Scouts ½. As in the work that inspired it, there are six characters (seven, if you count the original work's Ryōga's running gag cameo appearances) who suffer from curses that frequently alter their physical forms. This change does not affect what they are wearing. Two of the characters merely suffer a change of gender, so clothes wouldn't be lost upon changing, but depending on the apparel there is a chance it may suddenly not be appropriate. The other four turn into animals, and there has been cases of characters, after being transformed back into their human forms, having to struggle to protect their modesty.
  • In The Bridge: Humanity's Stand, Tytanna is a Kaiju who can take on a human-sized form, but she can't take her clothes with her when she goes back to kaiju size.
  • There is a most unpleasant variation in the Marvel/Harry Potter crossover Harry Potter and the Invincible Technomage. A badly wounded Peter Pettigrew is recovering (as a human) in a Muggle hospital after being attacked by a cat in his rat form. As soon as he wakes up, he attempts to shapeshift and escape... but dies once the metallic screws in his bones turn out too big for a rat body to handle.
  • Usually averted by George, whose clothes transfer to his closet when he changes, but in The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World, he makes the mistake of turning into himself as muscular as possible—in the same outfit he had been wearing. He immediately suffers the painful effects of being mummified in clothes many sizes too small for him. It tears apart all around his body, and he changes back as soon as he can, in a different outfit, of course. He then throws the ruined clothes away. Which becomes a plot point a week or so later, when after a disaster he awakens in an island hut wearing the clothing he'd trashed while Hulking Out—undamaged.
  • The Land of What Might-Have-Been:
    • During flashback sequences in the alternate Oz, the Plague of Transformations results in numerous people across Oz being temporarily transformed into various animals, usually shrinking out of their clothes or tearing out of them in the process. The alternate Glinda and Boq are both victims of this.
    • When our Glinda joins the Amorphous League, she finds that novice shapeshifters can't manifest clothes at first, so her first transformation features her growing and shrinking independently of her clothes until she tears right through them. Even once she gets the hang of creating her own clothing, she still has trouble getting it to work in battle, forcing Elphaba to lend her a cloak to spare Glinda further embarrassment. By the end, she appears to finally have it under control.
    • In one of the other alternate realities that Elphaba briefly visits, she finds that her counterpart is dying of magical radiation poisoning, forcing the alternate Dorothy to transform her into a doll to save her life, resulting in the other Elphaba shrinking out of her clothes as she does so.
    • The Childlike Researchers are stuck perpetually regressing into their youth and back, and their clothes don't change with them; as such, when Morrible begins draining Elphaba's life force to stabilize her own age, Elphaba regresses until she's an eight-year-old in adult-sized clothing. Later, Elphaba uses this same effect to disguise herself in Unbridled Radiance, erupting out of her child-size clothing when she returns to adulthood.
  • In Luminosity, this trope leads to the design of special uniforms with magnetic fastenings for the werewolves, so they won't rip through their clothes every time they phase.
  • When cast members of The Big Bang Theory end up on the Discworld in A.A. Pessimal's The Many Worlds Interpretation, Lucy discovers this shortly after she finds out that, on the Discworld, she is a specialized form of werecreature.
  • Principal Celestia Hunts the Undead: Fluttershy's outfit doesn't change when she does, so she has to strip naked so as to avoid ruining her clothes. This results in some embarrassment on Sunset's part when said stripping happens right in front of her.
  • In Raindancer, Izuku's Quirk, "Liquid Body", does not transform his clothes when he turns into water, leaving him naked when he returns to being flesh and blood unless he returns to his clothes before rematerializing. His Hero Costume gets around this by being composed of samples of his own hair and skin cells, allowing it to transform with him.
  • In What's in a Hoard?, Izuku's family on his father side can turn into dragons. Izuku notes that most clothing can't survive a basic transformation, let alone someone turning into a twenty-meter dragon with three extra appendages, so their hero costumes are made from their own scales. Though as the process is time-consuming and expensive (not to mention painful), Izuku's initial costume is only a pair of pants.

    Films — Animation 
  • In a literal case of Just Woke Up That Way: The Ant Bully has this when Lucas Nickle wakes and shrinks. After he falls from his bed, his underwear is left behind; numerous cases of Scenery Censor ensue. When he's turned back to normal, he's again without clothes, though only his butt is visible.
  • The Boss Baby: Family Business features Tim and Ted being given a Fountain of Youth formula that will allow them to go undercover at Tabitha's school and find out what the Big Bad's up to. Both men want to take the formula, kicking off a massive brawl in which Tim and Ted each take small doses while trying to fight off the other, shrinking further and further out of their clothes as they do so. The fight ends with Tim as a child and Ted as a baby, both of them completely naked — complete with Scenery Censors.
  • In Brave, Elinor's clothes are torn when she turns into a bear. Later, Fergus finds the ripped garments and assumes the worst. Her clothes are still gone when she transforms back, but luckily, she's wrapped in a tapestry for plot reasons by that point. (Meanwhile her toddler sons, who also transformed, are cheerfully streaking.)
  • In Brother Bear, Kenai's clothes apparently rip when he turns into a bear because Denahi finds them (as in Brave, above). When he turns back near the end, he's naked until Sitka takes a cloak from the rather stunned Denahi and wraps it around him.
  • In Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century, Dodgers is not concerned by Marvin's Disintegrator Ray because he's wearing his disintegration-proof vest. Marvin fires and Dodgers is totally disintegrated — except for the vest, which remains floating in place briefly before slumping down on the pile of Dodgers' powdered remains. (Fortunately, the Eager Young Space Cadet has a reintegration gun handy.)
  • When Kuzco from The Emperor's New Groove transforms into a llama, his clothes stay on him. When he takes the potion to transform him back into a human, he isn't wearing any clothes. Instead of a direct cut, a cloud of smoke appears before it presumably takes us to a few days into the future... take from that what you will.
  • In The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, Wallace's clothes burst and shred off of his body when he turns into the titular large were-rabbit.
  • In Hilda and the Mountain King, Hilda is changed into a troll because of a magical spell. Hilda is nude as a troll, but because trolls lack genetalia, this is of little concern to her. However, when the curse is broken and Hilda is changed back to her human form, he is again left naked out in the open, and must hide behind a rock to cover herself.
  • Zig-zagged in The Little Mermaid (1989). When Ursula transforms Ariel into a human, she's only wearing her Seashell Bra; the animators use creative framing until she can improvise a dress out of a sail. When she gets transformed at the end of the film, however, she's inexplicably in a sparkly dress. Justified somewhat since it was her father who changed her this time, but Gorgeous Garment Generation was never listed as one of his powers...
  • In One Piece Film: Z, during the Straw Hats' first fight against the villains, Nami and Chopper seemingly disappear after Ain hits them with her power, leaving their clothes behind. However, it turns out they have just been de-aged into kids.
  • Pinocchio, in which bad boys turn into donkeys after misbehaving on Pleasure Island. We see this happen to Lampwick, as animal instincts replace his human reason, and a combination of the shape change itself and desperate braying and bucking casts all of his clothes off.
  • The Princess and the Frog follows The Little MermaidTiana (and presumably Naveen) shrink out of their clothes when they're cursed into frogs, but when the curse is broken, they're inexplicably dressed in outfits we've never seen before.
  • Rock-A-Doodle has the scene where The Duke, the evil owl turns the live-action human boy Edmund into a cartoon kitten by way of a magic spell. (This particular scene pairs this trope with that of Toon Transformation).
  • Shrek 2:
    • After King Harold shields Fiona from one of the Fairy Godmother's spells, his suit of armor seems to be the only thing left of him... Until he comes out of the armor, in his original frog form, and reveals the truth about that to the heroes.
    • A variant occurs when Shrek turns into a human. His ogre clothes are now too big for him, so he has to find new ones. Weirdly, his old clothes are back when he turns back into an ogre.
  • Having lost the Ultimate Game to the Looney Tunes in Space Jam, the Monstars surrender their Liquid Assets and shrink back to Nerdluck size. Their Monstar uniforms do not shrink with them, leaving the Nerdlucks unclothed — though given that the Nerdlucks were originally Exposed Extraterrestrials, this isn't much of a problem. Pound lampshades this: "My clothes don't fit."
  • Tangled: No Immortal Inertia causes Gothel to crumble to dust, while her clothes remain.
  • In The Three Little Pigs, the eponymous Big Bad Wolf on two legs becomes enraged at not being able to enter the brick house of the third little pig. In a Villainous Breakdown, Animorphism kicks in. Gloves and his hat fly off, and desperate breaths to blow the brick house down break his suspenders. Ultimately, he steps out of his pants, completely naked, and acting fully like a wild four-legged wolf for the rest of the cartoon.
  • In Twelve Months, when Anya's stepmother and stepsister are turned into dogs as punishment for their selfish behavior, as they fight with each other their clothes come off.

  • Brazilian Folklore: Implied in a folk tale with the Boto — a shapeshifting river dolphin who seduced women in parties, in which his clothes became river animals like fish when he turned back to his dolphin form, suggesting this is how he makes his vestments.
  • Fairy tales often avert this trope by specifically mentioning what clothes an animal-to-human is wearing. After all, if your animal sidekick is going to dramatically transform into a prince then he needs to be wearing some fancy clothes to show that he's a prince.
  • Many variants of werewolf folklore have them taking off their clothes. It's possible that, unlike in modern tellings, this is supposed to be part of the transformation ritual than just a way to keep your clothes from ripping.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the Being Human (UK) episode "The Longest Day", Lauren kills herself, dissolves, and leaves a pile of empty clothes.
  • In Bitten, Elena is regularly forced to strip herself of her clothes before she transforms into a werewolf. This is true of the other werewolves seen in the series.
  • The Boys (2019) has Termite, a supe who can shrink himself. However, the pants he wears while small get ripped after returning to normal size, leaving him in the nude.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • When Amy turns people into rats, their clothes are unaffected, leaving the rat to crawl out of the otherwise empty pile of clothing.
    • Season 5 gives us Glory and Ben, two beings who share a single body. Whenever one switches to the other, they're stuck wearing whatever clothes the other half was wearing. At one point we see Glory shift into Ben during a close-up. For the rest of the scene, it looks like he's shirtless until the camera pans out to reveal he's still wearing Glory's strapless dress.
  • Doctor Who:
    • Played straight during Time Lords' regenerations, as they start each life in their former incarnation's clothes. There have been two exceptions: the First Doctor's regeneration into the Second (at a time when the concept had not yet been defined properly and was just an excuse to change the actor), and the Thirteenth Doctor's regeneration into the Fourteenth, both of which have the new Doctor's clothes also change along with them.note 
    • In the episode "Boom Town," Blon Fel-Fotch Passameer-Day Slitheen (AKA Margaret Blaine) tries to use the TARDIS as a bomb that will open the rift under Cardiff and allow her to escape Earth — destroying the planet in the process. However, in the chaos, the heart of the TARDIS is uncovered, exposing Blon to its sheer temporal power. A moment later, her empty skin suit hits the floor. Jack assumes that she's been disintegrated, but the Doctor reveals that the TARDIS has given Blon a second chance at life: under the pile of empty clothes and human skin, there's an egg.
  • In Doom Patrol (2019), Rita Farr's powers result in her melting into a hideous blob of mobile flesh if she loses concentration, destroying her clothes in the process if the transformation is allowed to go all the way. It's for this very reason that Rita Sleeps in the Nude.
  • Farscape: The episode "DNA Mad Scientist" ends with the villain Namtar being injected with a serum that undoes all his genetic upgrades, causing him to dramatically revert to his original form — an unintelligent lab rat. In the process, he also shrinks out of his harness-like costume, his tortured assistant gladly discarding it as she returns Namtar to his cage.
  • In From the Cold: Jenny has to strip before body morphing or else use clothing that fits both forms.
  • In the Filipino soap opera Kokak, a girl is cursed at birth by a witch so that whenever her feet get wet, she turns into a small frog, then hops out of the pile of clothes she was wearing. This happens a surprising number of times throughout the show's run.
  • The Order: The werewolves. This results in them tearing through their clothes if they change unexpectedly, disrobing if they plan to change, and lounging around in bathrobes after they've changed. Lilith's is a very nice short silvery affair which shows off her legs (the most skin she displays since the camera often focuses on them while she's in this outfit.
  • In the first episode of The Secret World of Alex Mack, after being exposed to the chemical GC-161, Alex leaves her clothes behind the very first time she shapeshifts into a puddle, much to the shock of her friends. Equally shocking to them is her reappearing Naked on Arrival a moment later. The second and subsequent times Alex does this, she has learned to shift her outfit along with her (at first only that one outfit, later anything); thus, Magic Pants is the trope through the rest of the series.
  • Stargate-verse:
    • Characters who Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence leave empty clothes behind. This is first seen in Stargate SG-1, episode "Maternal Instinct", when the monk at the temple ascends after being shot by Apophis' Jaffa. Naturally, the reverse is true, where characters who descend and become mortal will typically appear nude until they put some clothes on. Usually played for laughs.
    • In SG-1 episode "Counterstrike", the Free Jaffa Nation uses the Dakara superweapon to attack a planet the Ori recently captured. Everyone there except Adria is disintegrated, leaving only their clothes behind.
  • Although Odo from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine normally averts this (his "clothing" is actually a part of himself), when he regained his changeling abilities after being stripped of them and changed form for the first time since then, he left his old "solid" clothing behind.
  • In the CITV series Woof!!, as befits turning into a dog and losing their clothes through the shift (though for obvious reasons, they are covered up in some way during this scene), all 3 of Eric, Rex and Jim go through this. In the first episode, Eric's mum comments when seeing him in bed about how dirty his hands and feet are, and she assumes it's through not washing at night, when the real reason is, he's been walking through mud as a dog. Also, in the second episode, due to a visit of the swimming pool, and that being the place where Eric transformed, while not fully dressed, his friend Roy forgets one of his socks to bring along, and also puts his trunks next to his shirt, wetting the poor boy's shirt. This causes Eric to go sockless, while not shoeless. Also, later again in a series 5 episode, his new friend Rachel has forgotten to bring clothes for him, as it's been a rush again, but fortunately, she does have some clothes, which appear to be very short shorts and a T-shirt, though no shoes or socks, as his dad quite aggressively comments on when he sees him. Eric remains barefoot for the rest of the episode, while walking in an airport, a car park, and a hospital- potentially dangerous, but then again, it could be healthy?
  • In She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, just like her cousin, Jennifer Walters' clothing does not change when she does, resulting in her clothing getting ripped at the seams. Her para-legal assistant points out that she should take her shoes off at least, before changing during a trial. In the origin part of the story, Bruce Banner asks her:
    Bruce: Who's your best friend?
    Jen: Nikki.
    Bruce: [buzzing sound] Spandex! Spandex is your best friend.

    Music Videos 
  • Averted in the horror movie in the video for Michael Jackson's "Thriller", since his character turns into a werewolf but is still dressed.
  • The Prodigy: In the music video for "Nasty", the four men chasing after the fox end up being transformed into foxes by the fox and get up out of their clothes as they look confused.
  • In the music video for "Wolf Like Me" by TV on the Radio, the werewolves shown are all naked (with a heavy use of Scenery Censor to avoid showing much) upon returning to human form.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Ars Magica: The Spell Construction rules use different magical techniques to affect different materials, so transformative magic affects only the target's body ("Corpus" magic) unless extra techniques are incorporated into the spell ("Herbam" for plant fabrics, "Animal" for fur or leather, or "Terram" for metal armour).
  • Chronicles of Darkness:
    • In Mage: The Awakening, shapeshifting with Life magic excludes clothing, but by adding Matter magic to the spell, a mage can make their gear resize to fit their new form or vanish into Hammerspace while they're transformed.
    • Both Werewolf: The Apocalypse and Werewolf: The Forsaken have it so that the change does not apply to clothing unless a Ritual is performed to "dedicate" the clothing to the shifter. However, 2e of Forsaken modifies this so that clothing automatically dedicates to the werewolf — unless they're at Harmony 10 (i.e., so human that the wolf is drowned out), at which point it doesn't work.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The baleful polymorph spell makes clothes and equipment fall around the transformed victim. Note that creatures with the Shapechanger subtype can regain their true form at will, but that doesn't solve the problem of recovering their gear. In most other cases, shapeshifting does include clothes, though.
    • The "minor change shape" power of Changelings only concerns their physical bodies. As it is limited to humanoid forms, it is generally not too much of a problem if the new form stays close in size and shape. Although a changeling may need a change of clothes if using it for disguise purposes. (Their Doppelgänger cousins, however, are Technically Naked Shapeshifters and can mimic clothes along with a new appearance.)
    • The disintegrate spell can turn a creature to dust but leave its equipment intact. It can be specifically aimed at disintegrating an item and leave the wearer intact if the caster chooses so (most don't, especially when valuable magic items are concerned).
    • The Basic D&D supplement Night Howlers establishes this as fact for Mystaran lycanthropes as part of the rules that make them potentially viable player characters. A were who transforms while wearing clothes can usually tear themselves free quickly enough, but one who does it while wearing armor will have more trouble and take actual damage in the process.
  • In Nobilis, the people of Dionyl subvert this trope — they are spirits with nothing but empty clothes for a physical form.

    Video Games 
  • In Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura transforming into an elemental (or being changed into an animal) unequips all your gear and puts it into your inventory, leaving you in your underwear when the spell expires. If the inventory is full, it will just drop excess items on the ground. As most of Arcanum's NPCs are devout kleptomaniacs, the gear you forgot to pick up may be either salvaged by a teammate or stolen by a nosy bystander.
  • In the Game Over scene from Banjo-Kazooie where Gruntilda succeeds in draining Tooty's good looks for herself, Tooty's clothes get strained by her bigger monster form.
  • With Darkstalkers's Morrigan Aensland, it's downplayed, averted, and zigzagged all at once. She has the ability to shift her wings into a flurry of bats, but one of the promotional videos for Marvel vs. Capcom 3 shows her dispersing her entire being into a flurry of bats, leaving no clothes behind. This is because her clothes are also composed of bats.
  • In Dragon Quest XI, Arborian mage Veronica gets turned into a kid when the monster Jarvis drains her magic from her. If you compare her as a grown-up in the intro cutscene to her new kid self, you'll notice that she's wearing the same outfit, except it's now much baggier on her.
  • In inFAMOUS 2, when the giant monster that's been terrorizing New Marais reverts to its true, human form, it's naked — though most of it is hidden by a cloud of green gas, both hiding everything below the waist and preventing anyone but Cole from seeing that the monster is actually Joseph Bertrand III. The culprit is next seen fleeing the area by boat, hastily covered in a tarp.
  • In JumpStart Adventures 4th Grade: Haunted Island, the kids retain the same clothes after they've been changed into monsters. All their clothes manage to stay on them, although they do occasionally become tattered. Weirdly, their clothes become untattered when they're restored to human form.
  • Downplayed implied example with Kafei from The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask. He was turned into a child by the Skull Kid, and his shirt sleeves and shoes seem a tad bit too big for him.
  • Metroid:
    • Metroid Fusion: The gelatinous Zombie Researchers, the result of X Parasites infecting the scientists on the BSL station, still wear the tattered, ill-fitting lab coats of their human hosts. The pants of the victims have disappeared entirely because there's no way those could fit around the glop that replaced the victims' legs.
    • Metroid Dread: The Chozo Zombies, much like the Zombie Researchers, are gelatinous creatures that only wear a few remaining shards of the armor their original Chozo hosts had. The Chozo Soldiers initially seem to instead have form-fitting armor, but once they take enough damage their gooey bodies expand and the metal plates of the armor get disconnected and spread out.
  • Moshi Monsters: When you change shape using the Morph Stone and a personal item during the Super Moshi missions, you're still wearing your cape and mask.
  • In NetHack, polymorphing into a creature smaller than your usual size can leave you buried under your clothes, armor, and pack full of loot. Polymorphing into a bigger creature causes your armor to be destroyed as it's too small to contain you. There is an exception to this rule: Polymorphing while wearing a suit made from dragon scales will transform you into the corresponding kind of dragon. When this happens, the dragon-scale armor merges with your skin, and it turns back into a suit when the transformation wears off.
  • Tengai Makyou IV The Apocalypse: Madame Appetit is a monstrous pig-woman who sends out her "Debu Rangers" to make everyone in the American Southwest obese so that she can later make them into food ("debu" is Japanese for "fat", by the way). One such unfortunate victim shown in an animated cutscene is a girl named Karen; a Debu Ranger sneaks through her window at night and force-feeds her a handful of magic biscuits, causing her to rapidly fatten up and rip most of her nightgown to shreds.

    Visual Novels 
  • This happens when a Fey channels a spirit in Ace Attorney. The clothing and the hair stay the same, while the face and overall figure change to that of the spirit.
  • Lampshaded in Fate/stay night, as it's noted Saber's civilian clothes explode every time she summons her armor. It's a challenge for Shirou to come up with enough spare clothes she can wear.
  • In Ikemen Revolution, Harr's route has a scene where the female main character shrinks after drinking a magic potion (a clear homage to the shrinking scene in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, although Alice didn't have to worry about this trope) and her dress doesn't shrink along with her, leaving her tiny and naked. She's able to tie a handkerchief around her body to preserve her modesty before she finds Harr and asks him to undo the shrinking spell, but they both forget that her handkerchief dress similarly won't change size along with the rest of her which leads to much embarrassment when he restores her to full size and winds up seeing way more of her than he planned for.
  • In Little Busters!, this gets inverted and discussed when it involves Sasami's transformation into a cat. Her clothes transform with her when she transforms into a cat, and she's wearing them again when she reverts back to a human. When Riki brings this up, Sasami mentions it didn't occur to her why her clothes transform with her, because it's natural for cats to not wear clothes, while it's natural for humans to wear clothes. Riki discusses this trope with her and uses the fact that Sasami's clothes change with her to conclude that they are trapped in an artificial world similar to the one he and the others were in after the bus crash.
  • Thoroughly subverted in The Pirate's Fate, where, throughout the many transformations characters experience, their clothing does in fact change to suit their new form. The one time clothing remains unchanged, it's a hint that the character isn't really changing who they already were inside.

    Web Animation 
  • Zigzagged in Reversal of the Heart. The Princess rips out of her dress when she is forcibly turned into a much larger dragon form. But when the Mother Dragon turns her back into a human at the end, she also conjures up a new dress for the Princess.

  • In Buster Wilde Weerwolf, Buster the werewolf still has Bernard's human clothes when he transforms.
  • The Dragon Doctors features an enormous amount of shapeshifting, and none of it ever shifts the clothing, not even when people get turned to stone. This leads to quite a lot of nudity and wardrobe malfunctions throughout the comic.
    • It seems to vary between spells since the evil guy who forced magic users to petrify themselves noticed (too late) something was up with his last victim because the scroll he left and the spell she actually used differed on that point.
    • In Sarin's case it's stated that her talent for transformation magic is based around living things. Her master taught her a spell to store spare clothes in Hammerspace to compensate.
  • Brooke, the shapeshifting Melusine in Eerie Cuties has problems with this. Her alternate form being that of a Snake Person with a relatively humanoid torso but a snakelike lower body, her blouse and skirt are intact when she returns to human form, but without her shoes or lower garments (a particular problem when wearing trousers).
  • El Goonish Shive:
    • Ordinary clothes are never affected by transformations. (Except very specific artificially-induced transformations designed for that effect. "Natural" shapeshifting won't do it.) Only special jumpsuits purpose-built by a shapeshifter race can adapt. Forgetting this can lead to awkward situations.
    • This is subverted later on, when Ellen and Elliot both achieve transformations. Ellen's mirror spell only transforms clothes if the target wasn't naked. Elliot can transform his clothes as well as his body (with varying levels of success), and his special transformations each have a special set of clothes.
    • The card game arc involves imaginary werewolves who hulk out of their clothes when transforming. This is called back to in the EGS:NP where Sarah tries to check if she has any magic ability, and strips before attempting the "big, muscular werewolf morph" (leading to her having to get dressed in a hurry when she hears her sister at the door).
  • In Endstone use of the Dragonstone (to transform into a dragon) destroys the user's clothing, and she is naked when she transforms back to human shape.
  • In Erstwhile, the brother in Brother and Sister is naked when he finally turns back into a human. (Which is odd, because when he gets transformed his clothes sort of just vanish.) Also a weird version, averting Jacob Marley Apparel: the sister died while taking a bath, but her ghost is wearing the nightgown that she was wearing right before that. Which also averts Naked on Revival.
  • Girl Genius: The werewolf knights destroy their armor when they transform. They're sore that an entire nation of mad scientists hasn't invented something for that.
  • In Hanna Is Not a Boy's Name, Adelaide turns back into her vampire form after being stuck as a bat, and seems to be naked. (In the next strip, she's wearing a jacket that she presumably stole from Conrad's closet.) However, this doesn't seem to affect other vampires, nor Toni; presumably this would have been explained if we found out how Adelaide got stuck in the first place.
  • Scott McCloud's three-panel one-shot "Man-Eating Shoes" speaks for itself with its title and the result of man at bus stop "discovering the nature" of said shoes.
  • The Order of the Stick zig-zags this: Voluntary Shapeshifting spells cause the user's gear to resize or vanish into Hammerspace; on the other hand, a Hag's baleful polymorph spell turns Vaarsuvius into a lizard but leaves their clothes behind, forcing them to take advantage of a Scenery Censor when the spell is broken. This is coherent with the D&D rules used by the comic.
  • Out-of-Placers: When Kassen gets turned into a yinglet (essentially a gangly "rat-vulture" creature half the height of a human), he slips out of all his clothes except his shirt, and even that is too baggy on his shrunken form. He has to make do with a Sarashi and a loincloth until he can get another Ivenmoth uniform tailored for his new size.
  • When Zoë from Sluggy Freelance turns into a camel, clothing she wears only transforms in as far as it rips when the camel doesn't fit into the clothes. Later, she gets genre-savvy enough to wear easily sliding tubular clothes and thus not end up naked when transforming back.
  • [un]Divine zig-zags around this. Esther the demon first appears in human shape wearing borrowed clothes, and later goes shopping for more. However, she also appears in a school uniform which can hardly be borrowed, given the size of her — and who would it be borrowed from?
  • Played with in Wilde Life: Word of God describes animal people as not so much "transforming" as having two bodies that they can switch between; hence, whatever clothes they wear remain on their human bodies even when they take animal form. However, it doesn't work on some substances, like metal; the main shapeshifter, Cliff, retains his tongue stud in both human and wolf form.

    Web Original 


    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • Played with in an episode of Aladdin: The Series. In "Do the Rat Thing", Jasmine is transformed into a rat, shrinking out of the cloak she was wearing over her usual outfit, but the outfit itself changed with her and was restored when she was changed back. Also, her iconic earrings just vanish completely when transformed.
  • Archie's Weird Mysteries: In "Attack of the 50-Foot Veronica", Veronica gets hit with a growth ray and gradually increases in size. Her clothes at first become too tight and she is forced to change into her dad's tracksuit. Then she becomes a giant and her clothes rip offscreen, and judging by the reactions of the bystanders, she was rendered naked. She makes a toga for herself out of a tent. When her friends manage to get her back to normal, she ends up naked again and quickly covers herself with the tent.
  • Ben 10:
    • In the beginning of "Back with a Vengeance", Ben still wears his yellow rain poncho in his alien forms, even though the series usually follows "Magic Pants" rules. Possibly because it's not part of his normal outfit.
    • Zigzagged with Kevin. After having absorbed the Omnitrix' powers, his clothes transform with him until he powers off at the end of "Framed". After Ben dismisses him with contempt, Kevin's rage turns him into an amalgam of the Omnitrix' aliens, ripping his clothes, including his pants. When the transformation is complete, however, he's got Magic Pants (despite the scary scenes, it's still a kids' show).
    • During the flashback showing how he became human again in "Nor Iron Bars or a Cage" (Ben 10: Ultimate Alien), his gothic clothes are inexplicably back — except for his military green pants, which were replaced by jeans.
    • In Ben 10: Alien Force, after Gwen frees Kevin from the taedenite shell, it's shown that his trademark black T-shirt was torn in rags, but he keeps his long-sleeved gray shirt, along with his jeans, though they have some holes. When he becomes a combination of the materials he absorbs in "Vengeance of Vilgax", his clothes are disintegrated by the explosion, leaving him in his black underwear. He's still in his undies when he is temporarily "cured" in "Trade-Off", but, when he reunites with Ben and Gwen, he is fully dressed, hinting he went back home for clothes (but it's not shown how he did that without being arrested). At the end of the episode, the explosion destroys partially his clothes and apparently disintegrates his boots (or they were ripped off by the explosion). When he becomes human again in the last episode, Kevin is in his undies. Well, he is a tall, handsome teenager, and kids were not the only ones to watch.
  • Done solely for the Rule of Funny in one episode of Get Ace. After masquerading as Ace, Ned reverts to his true appearance still wearing Ace's clothes, which are comically undersized for him, as Ace is a scrawny kid and Ned is a large adult. Not only is this not how Ned's disguises usually work (Ned just has an Instant Costume Change to look like whoever he wants), it also begs the question of how he got Ace's clothes in the first place.
  • The Mask: In "Little Big Mask", the Mask creates an anti-aging cream and tests it on himself — only for Stanley to find that it's actually a very potent Fountain of Youth. Whenever Stanley regresses, his clothes fit progressively less and less until he simply steps out of them as a toddler; even the Mask can't help but notice the effects when he shrinks out of his silk bathrobe and into infancy. In the climax, Peggy wakes up to find Stanley's latest baby clothes empty and assumes he's suffered a Death by De-aging... only for it to turn out that baby Stanley was just getting a checkup from a doctor, though by now, he's shrunk out of the Mask too. Not long after, when Peggy finally manages to restore Stanley to normal, he finds himself growing up naked except for a diaper.
  • Rick and Morty:
    • The climax of "Rick Potion #9" features Rick trying to cure his rapidly spreading Love Potion, only to end up mutating the victims into praying mantis hybrids, several of them tearing through their shoes in the process. Rick's attempts to fix the matter just turns them all into lumbering blobs of flesh — and because they're much bigger than their original forms, many of them are seen bursting out of their clothes.
    • In the season 3 finale, the President of the United States ingests a shrinking pill and slowly shrinks out his suit, which Rick and Morty mock him for as Rick is capable of size-changing that includes clothes.
    • Early in "Rickamurai Jack", a forty-year-old Morty arrives in a desperate attempt to lure Rick out of his solo adventures, claiming that the family has gone to hell in the years since he left. For good measure, Morty is wearing the exact same clothes he wore as a fourteen-year-old despite them clearly no longer fitting, giving the impression of being a middle-aged loser stuck in his Glory Days. However, when Rick returns home, it turns out that Morty was just lying in the hopes of guilt-tripping him into returning, and actually took an aging serum from Rick's lab in order to make the lie convincing — the real reason why his normal clothes didn't fit.
  • Zig-zagged in the Sabrina: The Animated Series episode "Shrink to Fit": here, Sabrina and Chloe use a shrinking spell so they can fit into some extra-tight jeans, but soon find the hard way that the spell isn't stopping; their now-oversized jeans fall down right in the middle of the school cafeteria. Before long, the two of them shrink down into their clothing in mid-run, reducing them to hopping along in their gigantic socks. However, they soon substitute these for some borrowed doll clothes — which somehow shrink along with them all the way down to microscopic size.
  • Steven Universe: Normal gems' clothes are part of their magically constructed Hard Light bodies. However, Steven has an organic body and wears regular clothes, which his shapeshifting and fusion usually (but not always) leave unaltered.
  • Young Justice (2010):
    • Zig-zagged with Karen/Bumblebee, whose shrinking comes from a suit, but doesn't affect other clothes that she's wearing. In "Alienated", she's Dressed in Layers, but when she suddenly needs to shrink, her outer clothes are left behind as she flies off in her hero costume.
    • Martians and Gar don't have this problem because they use shapeshifting Martian clothes. Martians can mentally have it take the form of any outfit, while Gar's just switches between his superhero outfit and a collar when he's in animal form.
    • Minor character Mist loses her clothes when she transforms (an issue not present in the comics). However, she can also slip back into them before she reforms to avoid any awkwardness.


Cheetah's Transformation

Barbara Minerva transforms into her Cheetah form.

How well does it match the trope?

4.96 (25 votes)

Example of:

Main / VoluntaryShapeshifting

Media sources: