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"Maybe you should put some shorts on or something, if you want to keep fighting evil today."
The Bowler to the naked but now visible Invisible Boy in Mystery Men

Not all Invisibility methods are created equal. While most works Hand Wave away the problems with invisibility — being able to see being the main one — one specific problem frequently comes up. Namely: You may be able to become invisible, but that doesn't mean things you interact with (such as clothes) can.

This can be explained in multiple ways. Invisibility as a drug or innate ability may only affect the natural body, leaving clothing and other external objects out of luck. A person's original clothing may have turned invisible as well, but that's no guarantee that they will remain intact. A Literal Genie may make the person invisible, and just the person.

Ultimately, if this trope is in play, expect the Mundane Solution to come up — since no one (by definition) can see the invisible person, going around naked is an acceptable solution to being unable to make other things invisible. This can make using the power downright difficult, especially in less hospitable climates, or for more nefarious purposes — it's not easy to steal things when you can't interact with them.

This can also be downright hilarious, as the insinuation of nudity as well as the reactions to such is classic comedy. It can also be played equally dramatically — a person trapped in this state would be unable to interact with the outside world directly, outside of wearing a burqa or similar clothing all the time. There's also an inherent sexuality to the concept — many aversions of this trope are specifically used due the producers wanting to avoid risque situations.

In short: The Mundane Solution applied to specific types of Invisible Main Characters: those who, due to Rule of Funny, Drama, or Sexy, don't have invisible Magic Pants and consequently have to strip to make use of their power. A specific type of nudity as humor. Of course, expect the whole thing to wear off just a little bit too early. Depending on the Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism, expect Exposed to the Elements (and other side effects of being naked and unseen outside) to come into play, or be outright ignored. This may also serve as a way of averting Right Through His Pants without showing anything the target audience may dislike.

Examples of Invisible Streaker include:

Anime and Manga

  • In Translucent, Okouchi's embarrassing book of poetry is accidentally taken home by the main male character. She begs Shizuka to sneak into his house to steal it before he notices.
  • Ghost in the Shell had a type of camouflage — essentially invisible spandex — that couldn't be worn over anything and was ultra-skin tight. Once the series went more mainstream, the camo became "invisible clothing" instead.
    • It actually went back toward its origin — in the original manga, the thermo-optic camouflage uniform wasn't revealing in the slightest, perhaps oddly considering Masamune Shirow's Author Appeal.
  • In Tenshi ni Narumon, Noelle's older sister Sara is invisible, and uses clothes and bandages to simulate visibility when needed. The trope in question was established in a later episode when, after everyone but protagonist Yuusuke started taking her for granted, she managed to regain visibility through sheer emotion... and flashed everyone in the area with her nudity. Fortunately, only her family were present, but her brother managed to comment how she'd grown a lot since he saw her last, before he passed out from nosebleed.
  • Done in Alabaster by the father of manga, Osamu Tezuka. The normally lethal invisibility ray hit Ami Ozawa while she was still in the womb, leaving her permanently invisible. Alabaster, the main villain, kidnaps her and breaks her will, and she helps him perform several jewelry heists by simply doing them naked. What finally causes her to do a full blown Face Heel Turn, however, is the FBI Agent raping her, then covering her in hideously colored paint stripes that she can't remove.
  • In Rumiko Takahashi's The Samurai, the titular samurai descendant is stalked by his rivals, twin ninjas who only differ in that one Really Gets Around and the other Does Not Like Men. They make use of this type of invisibility spell in order to further their goal, but the hero's perverted friend figures out what's going on when he accidentally gropes an invisible breast. Just to compound things, it's the man-hater who's invisible. Cue beatings.
  • In Ichiban Ushiro no Dai Maou, Kena Soga can turn invisible, (not that anyone knows that she can). However, since it's just her that turns invisible, it requires a lot of stripping or being caught naked after she changes back.
  • Bouquet in the anime adaptation of Blue Dragon has the same power and drawback as Kena above.
  • Lucy has to do this in a filler episode of Fairy Tail. The show being what it is, a group of children run into her on accident and proceed to prod her naked butt out of fascination. When she finally gets to the guild to ask for help Natsu, who finds her more intentionally, finds a much more standard area to grab her.
  • In My Hero Academia, Midoriya's friend ands classmate Toru Hagakure aka Invisible Girl must do this since her Invisibility Quirk's effect don't extend to her clothes.

Comic Books

  • Classically averted in Fantastic Four. Sue's always been able to extend her field to whatever mundane outfit she has on (and much further if she so chooses). However, it's played straight a few times in the movies for Fan Service.
    • The Marvel 1602 version of Susan Storm has no unstable molecule costume, but this isn't much of a problem since she can't turn visible. Until the first time she activates her forcefield...
    • The original script for The Fantastic Four said that Sue would always be naked, and would be unable to turn visible, so she would have to strip down every time she wanted to disappear. Stan commented in the script that this might be too sexy for comics.
    • A Self-Parody issue of What If had a one-off joke of Reed Richards not inventing unstable moleucules. Sue is visible as a suit of clothes because of modesty. There's also male Fan Service of her brother, who finds himself naked when he flames off.
  • Infamously inverted in Wonder Woman — her plane was invisible, she wasn't, so in general, it just looked like a mysterious squatting woman shooting through the air. The plane is later retconned to make its contents invisible, too.
  • Milo Manara's Butterscotch is an example of pornographic use of this trope. Features, among other things, a woman giving the invisible character a blowjob while other characters, unaware of the invisible man's presence, look in bafflement at her "lewd mime act."
  • The Invisible Man (an alternate version of the original one) in Alan Moore's The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen must strip down to best take advantage of his condition. He was originally found wandering a girl's dorm nude... impregnating several of the girls (which they took as miracles).
  • Inverted in The Bod, a short three-part miniseries in Image Comics. The story is about a rising supermodel whose body gets turned invisible due to an industrial accident shortly after she arrives at Hollywood to have her big break as an actress. She wears lots of very form-fitting clothing to show off her beautiful body as she tries to use her new, incurable condition as a gimmick to further her career. The rest of the trope — that of the woman's invisibility not extending to her clothing, is played completely straight. Unfortunately, so are the True Art Is Incomprehensible and Small Name, Big Ego tropes — the series quickly degenerates to a series of Take Thats about how horrible Hollywood's culture is.
  • Inverted in Empowered: the suit of the titular heroine turns invisible, but not Emp. Given that Emp gets her powers from her suit and loses them when it's damaged, it can actually be useful.

Fan Works

  • Paul in With Strings Attached etc. That's because he wears an illusion for clothing anyway, so he just switches his clothing illusion for invisibility.


  • Invisible Boy from Mystery Men, whose clothes apparently just fall off him when he uses his power (which only works when he's not being watched by anybody, making it good only for fooling purely mechanical surveillance).
  • In the 1980s comedy The Invisible Kid, the heroes have to sneak around nude and invisible, partly to steal back the invisibility formula and, given that this is a Teen Sexploitation Comedy, partly to peep on the cheerleaders.
  • Mostly averted in Memoirs of an Invisible Man: Chevy Chase's outfit was hit by the same invisibility beam.
    • Understandably, he occasionally has trouble finding his invisible clothes.
  • The Man Who Wasn't There, a 1983 film, did this as well. More the female character than the male character, mind you.
  • Ditto from 1983, The Invisible Woman. In a Special Effect Failure, you can tell that Alexa Hamilton is clothed after she gets Covered in Mud.
  • Similarly, in one of The Invisible Man movies, while the character is implicitly stated to be nude, he leaves shoe prints in the snow.
  • Virginia Bruce in the original The Invisible Woman from 1940 didn't have any Magic Pants, either — and getting drunk would turn her invisible, too. This was considered somewhat risqué at the time, despite nothing being visible.
  • Hollow Man, being a by-the-books use of Invisibility, has this in it. Of course, the "mission" in this example is, er, rape, but... yeah.
    • The CG of the character walking through smoke or entering water clearly shows the penis, in case there was any doubt in your mind.
  • Invisible Mom does this.
  • Black Mask 2: City of Masks: Chameleon's body but not her clothes turn invisible (though there is one scene in which her clothes apparently "burn off" the moment she engages her hybrid chameleon form). Chameleon always goes into combat unclothed in order to make use of her effective invisibility. In fact, Chameleon doesn't wear clothes once after the midpoint of the movie. Naturally, she is Ms. Fanservice for the duration of the movie, and given her quite rare lack of concern about the varying visibility of her naked body, she is a Shameless Fanservice Girl at that.
  • Played with in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer: Only the unstable molecules clothing will go invisible with Susan Storm, so she must strip off if caught in her civilian clothes.
    • In the first movie, when she's not yet in full control of her powers, they go away when she's down to her underwear.
  • Carl Cristall, an invisible Talk Show host in Igor, wears clothes, except for pants, which is remarked on by one of his guests.
  • Rodney Skinner, the invisible man, in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. He lampshades this in one scene where he's performing recon in frozen Mongolia.

 Skinner: May I remind you, I am standing naked in the snow? I can't feel any of my extremities, and I mean any of them.

  • In Amazon Women on the Moon, the "Son of the Invisible Man" thinks he's this, but he's not actually invisible, so he just ends up making everyone around him uncomfortable.
  • The title character of Paul can stay invisible only as long as he holds his breath, so he does get caught naked in public a few times. It's not really an issue though, since people are too caught up in him being he's an alien to care that he's naked.


  • The Ur Example would be H. G. Wells' The Invisible Man, who hides from the rioting peasants by stripping naked. In winter. One of the few examples to take into account the elements, as well as other things such as being unable to walk amongst a crowd (people would step on him and hit him with waving arms/purses/packages/etc.), having to avoid mud (it sticks to the feet), etc., etc.
    • Fridge Logic suggests that Griffin was, in fact, holding the Idiot Ball when his actions created this trope, as the original novel's invisibility-induction process also worked on white fabrics. Granted, Griffin was always a bit of a nutcase, so his failure to create a suit of invisible clothes may have been a simple oversight. Later adaptations avert this problem by making the source of his invisibility a drug, hence effective only on living things.
      • Fridge Brilliance hits in when you realise (as in one of the above examples) finding where you left your invisible clothes might be difficult
  • The ultimate subversion is in Memoirs of an Invisible Man, later turned into the mediocre Chevy Chase movie mentioned above. The accident which gives the titular man his powers turns everything in a 10-foot radius invisible. Which is to say, him, his clothes, the building structure, and a number of objects that happened to be nearby. Unfortunately, as he soon finds out, when he eats and drinks, until it is digested fully, the food/beverage does not become invisible, his invisible clothes will suffer wear and tear, his invisible gun will run out of invisible bullets, and with the government after him, it's not like he can just live at his old house or sneak into places at will. The book does quite well at thinking out the rules and limitations of the premise.
  • In Things Not Seen, this is how Bobby sneaks over to the library to research his condition. In a slight subversion, a blind girl notices him.
    • This is how said blind girl, Alicia, finds out that something's not quite right with Bobby; she finds it odd enough that he's supposedly in a short-sleeved shirt in cool weather, but when she bumps into him at one point and feels his bare chest, she gets furious at him being shirtless and starts making assumptions about what kind of person he is and what his intentions are. Later, once Alicia and her parents are in on his invisibility, she mentions her mother made a big deal about him running around nude. When Bobby comes to visit and her mother answers the door, she doesn't let him inside until she's brought out a robe for him to wear.
    • Another person with the same condition is said to wear a burqa all the time so that nobody will know she's invisible.
  • In The Trouble with Moonlight, the heroine's skin turns invisible when exposed to moonlight. Works out well, since she's a gentlewoman thief. Getting the loot out is kind of a complication, however.
  • Mostly averted in Invisible Inc.: Chip fell into the magic spring while fully dressed, and has kept that set of clothes safe ever since. Of course, once he grows a bit...
  • In Smoke by Donald Westlake, a small-time crook accidentally gets turned invisible after getting turned into a guinea pig by two Camp Gay (yes, it becomes relevant) skin cancer researchers. Westlake obviously did his research, as the titular character has to deal with all of the troubles of invisibility including exposure to the elements, having to fast to avoid having half-digested food showing, and being noticed at one point by a blind man.
  • In the short story Hershey's Kisses by Ron Goulart (contained in The Mammoth Book of Comic Fantasy II by Michael Ashley et al.), a young man in trouble with his (young, hot, female, hates him) new boss runs into a wizard. He ends up trying to save his career by doing this, breaking & entering, and kissing the magic tattoo on her butt three times as she sleeps. It wears off prematurely: It turns out she'd hired the wizard in a gambit to get him to her apartment, naked, as he failed to recognize her previous hints. They find out about the other gambit when the camera crew bursts out of the closet.
  • In the Torchwood novel Pack Animals, Ianto Jones is invisible for about half of the book. At one point he must sneak into a secret facility and is forced to do so nude, since his invisible clothes were ruined. His teammates also bar him from eating anything beforehand, as a floating blob of digesting food would be noticeable (not to mention disgusting).
  • Played With in one of R.L. Stine's Ghosts Of Fear Street books (Go to Your Tomb—Right Now!) A pair of friends get 12 hours of invisibility from a girl who knows magic; it causes whatever clothes they put on to turn invisible with them, then suddenly turn visible when they undress. Unfortunately, the luck of this is Double Subverted when the two decide to take advantage of a closed community pool by going swimming in their underwear. When two of the people who run the pool show up, the friends can't find a way to escape unnoticed—and of course, then their 12 hours expire.
  • Wild Cards plays with it with Wraith, a Classy Cat Burglar who turns semi-transparent and intangible. However, as she can only do so while holding on to a certain amount of mass and she'd actually like to get away with some of her stolen goods, she performs most of her heists in a mask and bikini.
    • The series also features an inversion similar to the Vanishing Man example listed below — Chrysalis, a Joker whose invisibility is always on and only applies to her skin and hair.
  • In one of The History of the Galaxy novels, the book's protagonist finds a Lost Colony whose settlers have gained strange powers after landing. One of these groups calls themselves Shadows and has invisiblity powers, along with empathy and healing. While averted with the inhabitants of the City, who don't walk around naked and generally avoid turning invisible if they can help it, many colonists went mad after the mutation and live in the wild. The wild Shadows almost never become visible and run around naked.
  • Transparent by Natalie Whipple, a teen that has the ability to go Invisible Streaker is exploited by her crime boss father. Having enough she and her mother escape and hide out in a small town.

Live Action TV

  • In the "Linda Godiva" episode of Round the Twist, Linda has to help cheat at a horse race this way, using what an enchanted perfume spritzer. Of course, her brother accidentally deactivates it at exactly the wrong time.
  • Clara from Sanctuary is unable to use her invisibility while she's being observed, and she uses it to steal and spy at first. When Will and Druit come to recruit her, the 'no clothes' is lampshaded, and they turn on the sprinkler to find her. When completing her mission, she persuades Will to strip so she's not alone (he doesn't have the power of invisibility).
    • She's the granddaughter of Griffin, the original invisible man, who was one of the Five who injected themselves with a vampire-derived serum.
      • And yes, Griffin used to strip to fully use his power, such as when infiltrating German camps during World War Two.
  • The Invisible Man, a 1970s NBC series, had this come up — until the hero gained Magic Pants.
  • Averted in the 1958 British Invisible Man series, where Dr. Peter Brady had a set of invisible clothes from the beginning: the clothes he was wearing during the accident. Like him, they were permanently invisible.
  • Averted in the 2000 The Invisible Man TV series: The hero turns invisible by secreting a light-bending substance from his skin granted via a gland surgically implanted in his brain. Naturally, this substance also covers his clothes.
    • This was revealed to be a nice side effect that the creators of the gland didn't know about. They didn't realize he could consciously secrete Quicksilver on any object.
  • In the 1998 ITV drama Vanishing Man played not only this trope but also Just Add Water — the titular character had to be wet to be invisible. This led to some funny moments when he dries out. For example, when he's following someone in a car by clinging to the roof rack, said car overtakes a lorry, much to the lorry driver's shock he is overtaken by a car with a naked man clinging to the roof rack, thankfully it starts to rain before the car reaches it's destination.
    • Inverted — only the Big Bad's skin turns invisible, whilst his innards remain visible.
  • In an episode of Wizards of Waverly Place, Justin is turned invisible by Alex's careless wording of a wish to a Literal Genie. Justin strips off his pyjamas so his parents won't notice him, leaving him naked in a room with his parents and his sister. Hilarity Ensues as Alex attempts to prevent the parents from accidentally sitting on him, etc.
  • Played with in an episode of The X-Files. Two moronic brothers find an actual genie, and begin asking for wishes, with typical results. One brother asks to become invisible. He immediately strips down and goes out to have fun with his newfound power. He has a great time for about five minutes, then gets hit by a truck. Scully has to fingerprint dust the entire body just to see it, and is completely flummoxed by being confronted by something that is clearly physically impossible.
  • On an episode of Big Wolf on Campus, a longtime rival of Merton develops abilities for sorcery and uses them against him by (no surprise) gradually turning him invisible. Merton is reduced to a 'floating' head hiding inside Tommy's backpack and, to Tommy's disgust, admits his nakedness. Shippers swoon.
  • The Doctor Who serial Planet of the Daleks mainly averts this with the Spiridons but plays it straight with Wester's first appearance, or rather, the lack thereof, so to speak. Then subverted when the Doctor & Co. try to pass themselves off as Spiridons, by covering themselves with Spiridon garb, but a Dalek notices that the party's feet are clearly visible.
  • Elaine Joyce plays the trope straight in an episode of Fantasy Island.
  • There was a Japanese TV drama series in the 1990s (does anyone know the title?) about a photojournalist who had special pills that made him briefly invisible. In one episode, the photojournalist's girlfriend takes some of the pills and becomes invisible. While nude and invisible, she pulls pranks such as pushing a couple off their bench into a swimming pool.
  • In the Supernatural episode "Wishful Thinking", this is how the invisibility of one of the users of the magic wishing well works.

Newspaper Comics

  • Done repeatedly in Calvin and Hobbes. Of course, Calvin isn't really invisible in any of these Imagine Spots...
  • The comic strip Yenny had an arc in October and November 2005, starting here, in which Yenny mistakenly drinks her friend's invisibility potion. She decides to walk around nude and spy on Kelso and Margot.

Tabletop Games

Video Games

  • Even Princess Peach gets in on this one. In Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, she has to sneak into the X-Naut leader's office by using an invisibility potion. Of course, she doesn't realize until it's too late that her clothing won't be affected.
  • In Microforum International's mobile phone games The Invisible Man and The Invisible Lady, the player character is nude and invisible, and must collect clothing and four antidote ingredients to become visible again.



 Elan: Wooooo! I'm invisible!! You can't see me!

Roy: How I wish that were true.


Web Original

Western Animation

  • South Park: The episode "Good Times with Weapons" has Cartman trying to do this. Which turns out badly, since he was only pretending to have invisibility powers.
  • Invader Zim: The cloaking device on the Megadoomer made the vehicle invisible but the pilot was seen floating in the air as the transparent mecha stomped down the street. Hilarity Ensues.
    • Actually, the only hilarity that ensues is when Dib and Zim comment on how stupid a design flaw that is--the average IZ-world civilian doesn't seem to think much of the strange green person floating through the air.
  • On SpongeBob SquarePants, SpongeBob and Patrick buy an invisibility spray and take off their clothes before using it because the spray stains clothes. Of course, being the imbeciles they are, they end up spraying their clothes anyway.
  • Totally Spies: The villain in "Evil Boyfriend" does this after consuming the invisibility potion.
  • The Incredibles: Violet Parr has this problem. Unless she's in her special costume, she and only she turns invisible. As Violet's 15 and this is a Disney-Pixar film, she doesn't actually strip all the way down to get invisible.
  • The Big Knights: The Knights use magic invisibility hats to go spying in a neighbouring kingdom, and have to remove their armour and underwear to remain invisible. It's not terribly effective, as they aren't the brightest pair and still stomp around bellowing and waving their swords, even doffing their hats to a group of shocked nuns.
  • Eustace is forced to strip when he has to turn invisible to save his wife from the government. He keeps wearing his hat and glasses though and the guards don't think anything is strange. Strangely enough, when Eustace gets turned into a gold statue he's wearing boxers.