Created By: ccoa on April 4, 2012 Last Edited By: SeptimusHeap on February 27, 2013

Sock Gap

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Before you declare we already have this, please read:

As per this TRS thread, we are emphasizing the expository costume aspects of Zettai Ryouiki, which will make it almost exclusively Japanese. As such, this will serve as the supertrope, since it has enough examples to be distinct from Stocking Filler, but will no longer fit under ZR.

If you have comments on this decision, the proper place to voice them is that thread, not here. Thanks.

What is sexy is often hard to define. Sometimes, an outfit that covers more can be considered sexier than something that covers less. It's a delicate balance between how much is shown, how much is hinted at, and where the eye is drawn.

Golden Thigh Ratio is the idea that showing a gap of skin between a short skirt and stockings draws the eye to that area, making the costume seem more scandalous than simply a short skirt. Additionally, the costume combo tantalizes the viewer with a minimal glimpse of bare leg skin, capitalizing on the "allure of the hidden". It makes them more interested in what's hidden by the skirt and stockings than if the whole leg was already bare.

The trope saw its origins in Flappers in Roaring Twenties America. Some of these girls would roll down their stockings, creating this look, although it is unknown how many girls actually did so and how much was hyped up by a scandalized media.

Nowadays, this trope is mostly a fanservice trope, although it's an extremely "soft" version of fanservice, since everything "naughty" is completely covered. Like the Japanese concept derived from this, it can sometimes represent a sort of innocent sexuality, although this is not codified for the trope.

Thigh-High Boots, socks, sheer stockings, and over-the-knee boots can also be used in place of opaque stockings.

Subtrope of Stocking Filler. Supertrope of Zettai Ryouiki.



[[folder:Card Games]] [[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
  • Raf from Angel's Friends wears these.
  • Appears many times during Empowered -- as part of Emp's Sexy Librarian Costume Inertia; Sistah Spooky and Ninjette's outfits; in Emp's vision of herself with bat wings that looks suspiciously like Etna cosplay...
  • One of Legionnaire Kinetix's costume's sported this look. However, given her penchant for changing costumes, it didn't last.
  • Cyclone from the Justice Society of America. The fact that she displays so little in the way of skin compared to other superheroines arguably makes her more attractive.
  • Hack/Slash: Cassie Hack, on occasion.
  • Although Supergirl's boots usually don't go above the knee, one of her costumes during the seventies did in fact combine thigh-highs with a mini-dress. Curiously, the costume sprung up from a combination of designs from two different female fans.
  • Undead girl Talia from Brody's Ghost sports the thigh-highs/mini-skirt combo as part of her Jacob Marley Apparel.
  • Envy Adams in Scott Pilgrim. She loves gogo boots and short skirts.
  • Bizarrely enough, Darkseid's normal outfit has this, but it goes up and down depending on the artist. Because this trope is associated with females, many artists have tried to update Darkseid's outfit to have pants of some kind instead of a skirt, but because of Grandfather Clause, Jack Kirby's original skirted design keeps coming back. Notably, the DCAU tries to avert this trope by giving him leggings at least to avoid the bare legs while maintaining the classic look, but even then it sort of comes across as forced. If you think of it as a tunic and armored greaves with kneepads it looks slightly less like the mighty evil overlord is trying to dress like a sexy lady, but since Granny Goodness is sort of rocking the opposite androgyny...
  • Rose Walker of The Sandman wore them for a fairly lengthy sequence in The Kindly Ones.
  • Stephanie (Batgirl) Brown when infiltrating the Academy of Evil that is St. Hadrian's Finishing School for Girls in Batman Incorporated: Leviathan Strikes. Several of the other students also wear their uniforms this way.

[[folder:Comic Strips]]
  • There's an old Playboy cartoon (probably from the magazine's early days) that features a bar graph made of three girls wearing ever-longer stockings (coupled with ever-shorter skirts). There was a caption about how the graph represented economic growth, and how the future was looking good. Hur hur.
  • Amy Pond in the strip "The Golden Ones" in Doctor Who Magazine. The story is set in Japan, appropriately enough.

[[folder:Films -- Animation]] [[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
  • Felicity Shagwell from Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me is both a western and live-action example on her first appearance.
  • The eponymous DEBS wear outfits like this.
  • Shilo's outfits in Repo! The Genetic Opera.
  • Just about every girl in St. Trinian's, most notably Chelsea and Annabelle. Annabelle also adds garter belts and fishnets on any uncovered thigh area. Here's a basic summary of all of it in this movie.
  • Not involving a skirt, but Trillian's outfit in The Movie of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, in her first main story appearance.
  • Before it even had a name, the thigh-high/mini-skirt combo was seen in many of the outfits worn by the girls in Clueless.
  • Scary Movie:
    • In the first movie, Buffy has this as part of what appears to be a naughty schoolgirl outfit right after Cindy is taken down to the police station the first time.
    • Then in Scary Movie 2, the Charlie's Angels parody has the girls remove their clothing to reveal... well, they initially forgot their Angel clothing, leaving them in just their underwear and shoes, which in one case consisted of a Black Bra and Panties and thigh-high stockings. Sadly, this lasts all of about three seconds.
  • Babydoll during her battle "dream sequences" in the Zack Snyder flick Sucker Punch. This was very true to the Japanese style, as she was wearing a traditional Japanese schoolgirl uniform, and her actress Emily Browning looked interestingly high school age in the film (despite being 22 in real life).
  • In the 2008 film Tokyo!, a glimpse of this is the first thing to push a "hikikomori" (shut-in) to venture into the outside world.
  • Jennifer Beals' character Alex in Flashdance, when she's wearing that dance leotard and leg-warmer ensemble.
  • Abby in The Return of Swamp Thing when she arrives at the Arcane mansion.
  • Alice in Resident Evil 3 uses thigh-high socks. The only thing is that she doesn't use a skirt, instead she uses short pants.
  • Pretty much every girl in Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl sports this to some extent, mostly because they're all schoolgirls or naughty nurses. The only exceptions are the girls in the Super Dark Girls' Club, because they are basically cosplaying as black people.
  • Maggie Cheung's character in Heroic Trio.
  • The main poster for Pretty Woman has Julia Roberts wearing the knee-high boots variant.
  • Brittani Louise Taylor had this in EMO WITCH!, with garter belts.
  • Danielle Harris's character Alissa in Blood Night: The Legend of Mary Hatchet has the short skirt and high-heeled boots variant.
  • Jess, the Hooker with a Heart of Gold from Cornered!.
  • In the opening scene of Transporter 2, Frank is carjacked by a girl in white thigh-high stockings and a short pleated tartan skirt. When her Show Some Leg ploy fails to get him out of his car, she resorts to a gun instead. It doesn't work either. No, Frank doesn't hurt her, but the No-Holds-Barred Beatdown he gives to her burly accomplices is more than enough to convince her to drop the gun and go back to study hall.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
  • A sketch in an early episode of The Benny Hill Show takes place in a nudist colony. Everyone there is casual about nudity (except newbie Benny, but even he relaxes into it). Then one of the girls leaves to go back to the regular world and we see her dressed. One of her garter clips slips and she pulls up her skirt to fix it, at which point Benny and the other guys start with the Cat Calls and Wolf Whistles.
  • Abby Sciuto of NCIS sometimes wears this kind of attire.
  • Geoffrey Jellineck in a brief cheerleading tryouts scene in Strangers with Candy.
  • Seven episodes into Dollhouse, and Echo has already rocked it twice. Once using thigh-high boots, the other time using stockings (which can also be seen in the theme song sequence).
  • Cameron pulls this off extremely well in the third episode of The Sarah Connor Chronicles
  • Natsumi, the female lead of Kamen Rider Decade, wears tights with every outfit. In episode 10, she wears them with shorts.
  • From Kamen Rider OOO, Mezool's human form after getting revived.
  • Maddie from The Suite Life of Zack and Cody gets this in an early episode.
  • Sharona in Monk often falls into this category in skirt, and frequently wears boots around/above knee-high, often coupled with high stockings.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series: A Romulan commander, of all people, wears a sort of this.
  • iCarly: Carly had blue and white striped socks/stockings along with a fairly short skirt in iHave My Principals, where their regular School Principal was removed, and the harsh new leadership forced a school uniform.
  • Same actress, different show: from Drake & Josh, Megan in the first half of the episode "Tree House".
  • Full House: Stephanie Tanner dressed like this at least a couple times in the final season of Full House, with a plaid skirt and black socks.
  • Glee
    • Rachel pretty much owns the skirt-and-stockings look.
    • Tina and Brittany seem to be fond of it, as well.
  • Serena gets this in Gossip Girl. See here, here
  • An episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch has Libby and her friends wear this. When Sabrina changes the color of one of Libby's socks, Libby adds Fashionable Asymmetry to her look.
  • Singer Brandy rocks this in an episode of Dancing with the Stars. This trope frequently appears on the show.
  • In episode 2 of Pretty Little Liars, Aria wears this to school.
  • American Idol
    • Season 10 seems to have a fan of this in the wardrobe department, with two contestants performing in this.
    • One week after the second, Jennifer got in on the act.
    • The finale added a fourth[[hottip:*: or sixth if you consider that two of the music videos in the next section debuted on the show that year]], from yet another contestant (actually the second pair of thigh-high boots she wore that episode, but the first were paired with leggings so they didn't count). You have to wonder if we would've gotten a lot more if the contestant in question hadn't been the first eliminated.
  • Ros in the Frasier Halloween Episode where she went as O from The Story of O.
  • Charlotte Cameron in the Midsomer Murders episode "Death in the Slow Lane". No, really.
  • Molly Quinn in promotional pictures for the new season of Castle.
  • Torchwood: Miracle Day: Gwen sports this when she and Jack pose as loud-mouthed Americans in "Escape To LA".
  • Gina in the Joey episode 1x10.

  • ABBA was playing around with this back in the 70s. See this version of Waterloo.
  • Alizée, on many live performances of "J'en ai marre", wears hotpants and overknees. As seen here and here. Soft skin, indeed.
  • Shakira in the video for her song "Las de la intuiciòn".
  • Namie Amuro:
    • She wears an extremely short dress and tigh-high stockings in her "New Look" video. Here
    • It should also be noted that knee-high or thigh-high socks or boots with short skirts, short dresses, or shorts are pretty much Namie's signature look. She's been doing it since she debuted.
  • Madonna manages to pull a this in the video for her song "Celebration".
  • Beyoncé
  • Kirsten Dunst shows this off in a non-work safe music video. Given the location, it was sure to have been noticed and commented on.
  • The Singer Avatar for Mylène Farmer in the animesque music video for "Peut-être toi".
  • The Korean girl group Kara wear over the knee socks in this video to support their South Korean team in the FIFA World Cup. Yes, Koreans know this trope well like their neighbors.
  • Noodle sports this in the Gorillaz video for "On Melancholy Hill".
  • Katy Perry and her companions show this off with their Girl Scout outfits in the video for "California Gurls".
  • Iida Kaori from Morning Musume hit this with her Little Black Dress and stockings in the PV for Mr Moonlight.
  • Britney Spears at the beginning of "Baby One More Time". In concert, the skirts were way shorter and the socks much higher.
  • Some of the girls hanging all over Steven Tyler in the music video for his new single "(It) Feels So Good" are rocking a boots variant.
  • Girls' Generation wears this in their music video "Hoot".

[[folder:Myths & Religion]]
  • "The Satanic Witch", in addition to the religious tracts, devotes three pages to this (p. 162-165). It advises women to throw away their pantyhose and wear stockings instead -- just so they can "accidentally" flash skin above the top of their stockings, all in order to manipulate men.

[[folder:Pro Wrestling]]
  • Many male professional wrestlers. Most wrestlers wear a combination of wrestling boots, kneepads, and kickpads (essentially elaborate shin guards.) This usually leaves almost everything below the knee hidden, and depending on the tights they were, this can occur. Before he changed to longer tights, A.J. Styles was on of the most famous examples.

  • Wendla in Spring Awakening wears these in the first scene, where she is chastised by her mother for their suggestive appearance. She switches to a less-revealing dress and, later, a frumpy nightgown in Act II. They reappear in the show's closing number in addition to being prominently displayed on the poster.
  • Spider-man: Turn Off the Dark has female cast members wearing these during a song about the Military, of all things. Later, the female spider minions have six.
  • In some productions of Vanities, parrticularly ACT's run of The Musical, Mary wears a red (sometimes vinyl) minidress and go-go boots in the second scene, as shown here. In the Theatreworks run, this was delayed until the third scene.

  • Joybelle from Barbie's Thumbilina line wears this. Not only is she the only character to be wearing stockings or leg coverings of any kind but her Fairytopia doll wears tights.
  • One of Draculaura's costumes from Monster High give the illusion of this (if it's on Draculaura or Spectra, at least).

[[folder:Video Games]]
  • Rock Band
    • It is possible to purchase a skirt for the female characters, called Crinoline & Tears, that has this.
    • The first two games have a couple skirts with false version, i.e. short skirts with thigh-high fishnet stockings... and full-length tights under the stockings. These aren't really proper examples because no actual skin is visible, but they resemble it.
    • Rock Band 3 has a few more.
  • Mass Effect
    • Humorously, one of the Uniforms for female medical workers or scientists has a variation on this, with thigh-high boots, stockings, and some sort of space skirt that emphasizes the inner thigh area without actually showing skin.
    • Likewise, Lexine Murdoch is a similarly fully-clothed example.
    • This is Liara's standard non-combat outfit. Mass Effect never has anyone (even the Asari strippers) show any skin on the legs, preferring to use extremely close-fitting clothes for Fanservice in most cases.
  • Red Alert 3: Paradox brings us this in a strategy Game Mod.
  • World of Warcraft:

[[folder:Western Animation]] [[/folder]]
Community Feedback Replies: 38
  • April 4, 2012
    I think the last couple of paragraphs are a bit too much from the perspective "this is not ZR because it doesn't have XYZ" as opposed to "this is the supertrope to ZR, which has these additional qualifications XYZ".

    Also, nitpick: delete "unhook their garters". The flappers-rolling-down-stockings thing, insofar as it happened, would probably have involved elastic-band garters (like the ones sold as wedding novelties these days) rather than clip-on garters, as the stockings of the day were not elasticized and would not stay up without some kind of garter.
  • April 4, 2012
    If we're keeping the innocence angle, is it possible we could have a cut-off age for examples? One of the things I've noticed is that when worn by people reach a certain age, short skirts and thigh highs start getting new, decidedly non-innocent connotations.
  • April 4, 2012
    I thought of this trope as the sexy western type, but I guess it isn't.
  • April 4, 2012
    ^ & ^^: I think this is intended to cover both innocently-sexy and decidedly-not-innocent versions, but it is still a fanservice trope so it would typically not apply to little girls, who would be actual straight-up innocent without the sexy. Usually.
  • April 4, 2012
    This is the sexy Western type. As I kept trying to point out in the TRS thread, in the west it can be used for innocent sexuality, too. That's why I tried to leave it open to both uses.
  • April 4, 2012
    I would like to note that, IMO, the principle behind this costume combo is to tantalize the (usually male) viewer with a minimal glimpse of bare leg skin -- that is, capitalizing on the "allure of the hidden". It makes them more interested in what's hidden by the skirt and kneesocks/stockings/boots than if the whole leg was already bare. Something similar is done with more subtle examples of Cleavage Window (that is, only the minimum skin exposure to qualify for the trope).
  • April 4, 2012
    I feel Theiss Titillation Theory should be mentioned here somewhere. And as for the "allure of the hidden", we might have another Missing Supertrope here.
  • April 7, 2012
    I'm not sure how - if a stocking falls down, nothing of importance is revealed.
  • April 8, 2012
    Like I said in the Zettai Ryouiki thread, I'm not sure how useful the "golden thigh ratio" term is if we're not actually considering lengths. It makes sense when you consider there to be an ideal to aspire to, but if that's not the case here, I repeat my suggestion of Short Skirts And Thigh Highs, or something in that arena.
  • April 18, 2012
    Any anime examples?

    We already have Dangerously Short Skirt for that. I suggest we change the name to... Show Some Stockings.
  • April 18, 2012
    A sketch in an early episode of The Benny Hill Show takes place in a Nudist Colony. Everyone there is casual about nudity (except newbie Benny, but even he relaxes into it). Then one of the girls leaves to go back to the regular world and we see her dressed. One of her garter clips slips and she pulls up her skirt to fix it, at which point Benny and the other guys start with the Cat Calls and Wolf Whistles.
  • April 19, 2012
    Isn't that Windows ad basically a ZR example?
  • April 20, 2012
    So basically, all of this should just be sorted into already existing tropes.
  • April 20, 2012
    So basically, all of this should just be sorted into already existing tropes.
  • April 20, 2012
    How so?
  • June 2, 2012
    Bumping. About ^^^, Lost And Found might be the right place to go to.
  • August 1, 2012
    Bump again. With no feedback on ^^^^, I argue to ignore the idea.

    But as discussed in TRS, Golden Thigh Ratio is not a good name. I am not clear on what to choose (except for Fanservice Cleavage)
  • August 1, 2012
    I like goldenthighratio, but mostly I came to put in that Nana O in Nana often wears short leather shorts and skirts, fishnet stockings and garters for that punk look.
  • August 2, 2012
    To be more specific, there is disagreement whether or not Golden Thigh Ratio is a good name. I think it works just fine, since there is a sense in Western works that there is a "golden" zone where as the socks get higher, the look gets sexier, up to a point. It's just not codified down to a precise (read: creepy) ratio like the Japanese trope.
  • August 3, 2012
    Any movie stills or film examples from the 20s or 30s (period pieces or contemporaneous films)? That might go some ways toward de-emphasizing the Japanese factor and make it more general.
  • December 27, 2012
    Can we get more hats/complaints/comments here please?
  • December 30, 2012
    Would Sock Gap be an acceptable name for this?
  • December 30, 2012
    About time. Who can spell zettai ryouki?
  • December 30, 2012
  • December 30, 2012
    Show-off. :P Zettai Ryouki is a redirect, by the way.

    I've given this a fourth hat -- clear description with interesting analysis, good name, and plenty of examples. The Sock Gap might be a good redirect, but I prefer Golden Thigh Ratio; it's more clearly about the aesthetic beauty (alright, alright, fanservice) of this, as it uses the existing concept of the golden ratio.

    Oh, and I'm doing a couple minor edits for grammar and the like.
  • December 30, 2012
    Question: Why are we linking directly to youtube for those advertisements?
  • January 5, 2013
    Because it's a visual trope, but yeah - Weblinks Are Not Examples.

    Anybody for/against Sock Gap?
  • January 5, 2013
    And the one for Windows "isn't available."
  • January 8, 2013
    Pulled these ads. Can we get some votes on the name? Anyone for/against Sock Gap?
  • January 8, 2013
    Myself, as a leg man, I am totally willing to say this is tropeworthy!
  • January 11, 2013
    And again - can we use Sock Gap?
  • January 11, 2013
    sure. +1 vote for Sock Gap
  • January 11, 2013
    I remember Noa in the TRS thread voting for it, too.

    Anyone has objections to launching this?
  • January 11, 2013
    Well, it doesn't have an Up For Grabs tag, and the sponsor is a moderator. I'd err on the side of not doing that.
  • January 11, 2013
    The sponsor is MIA since some time already.
  • February 27, 2013
    If you guys think this is ready, I'm giving official staff permission to launch this despite its sponsor being a staff member, so long as you clean up all those awful Zero Context Examples.
  • February 27, 2013
    Sep: Actually, I think I like Sock Gap better as a redirect for Zettai Ryouiki (because a silly obsession deserves a silly name). Besides, three votes for a name is a bit low, isn't it? That seems to be less support than other suggestions in this thread, even.
  • February 27, 2013
    Never heard of the Three Rules Of Three?