For many people, fashion is a big part of their lives. Sometimes its a love for the aesthetics of clothing that attracts them, other times its a desire for a status symbol to advertise one's wealth and influence to others, or maybe they just hold some piece of clothing
in a higher sentimental light than expected
. Whatever the reason for their obsession is, those who love fashion are bound to spend a great deal of time working on their wardrobe. Thus, its not surprising that people often get frustrated and upset when their clothes get stained, wet, or otherwise damaged while they're in public. All that work just to get humiliated! When this situation plays out in fiction, however, characters tend to react as if they'd been violently wounded, going way past mere frustration and embarrassment. They'll scream, cry, throw fits, sometimes even mourn the "death" of the garment. Essentially, this trope is when Minor Injury Overreaction
is applied to clothes.
Because such characters are defined by their love of fashion, The Fashionista
is a likely victim of this trope. Non-Fashionista characters can react this way as well, however. After all, just because a character isn't defined by their love of fashion doesn't mean they don't care about it at all. The Fashionista
or not, teenage girls tend to provide examples of this trope since ruined clothes make them easy targets for the Alpha Bitch
and this trope would probably be the worst nightmare of the Alpha Bitch
There are two forms of this trope:
In this version the character's outfit is ruined intentionally by another character as a form of non-violent "attack". This variant is usually done either by the Alpha Bitch to her victims, or by the victims as a form of retaliation against the alpha bitch.
In this version the character's outfit is ruined accidentally: the poor character is just in the wrong place at the wrong time. It may come up as a result of Giving Them the Strip
, if the surviving escapee complains about the garment's loss.
Either way, they will be devastated. A common way for the character to visually convey their "trauma" is to spread their arms out slightly to the side, open their mouth in shock, and slowly tilt their head downward as they "survey the damage". Also see My Favorite Shirt
, a super-trope, and Hat Damage
, a specific sub-trope.
Anime & Manga
- A less serious example happens in K-On!'s college arc when Ayame is using Mio as a dress-up doll. She finds out while getting Mio to try her t-shirt, being a far curvier girl, thart Mio stretched it out completely (particularly around the chest-area). Mio apologizes about this immediately. Overlaps with A-Cup Angst
- In Highschool of the Dead, Saeko performs a forced Action Dress Rip on Shizuka, annoying her because it was a Prada skirt. Saeko replies "Which is more important, a brand or your life?" Saeko has something of a habit for tearing skirts, thinking it's just easier to move that way.
- One Piece: One of Luffy's Berserk Buttons is harming his straw hat, as Buggy found the hard way.
- In Hana Yori Dango, Tsukushi's fellow students at the prestigious high school she attends use Produce Pelting to humiliate her in retaliation for the time she stood up to one of the beloved popular boys.
- Mia in The Princess Diaries strikes back at Alpha Bitch Lana by getting chocolate ice cream all over Lana's cheerleader uniform during school lunch. This leads to all bystanders mocking Lana by chanting, "Lana got coned!"
- Parodied in Not Another Teen Movie, where Janey (already soaked from jumping in the pool fully clothed) gets a bottle of water "accidentally" spilled on her by the Alpha Bitch, which leaves Janey in tears.
- In the movie Thoroughly Modern Millie, a well-meaning Millie tries an unconventional remedy for a spot on the white dress of a Rich Bitch at Muzzy's party. The guest's anguished howls of "SOY SAUCE!" can be heard throughout the whole mansion.
- In a Deleted Scene from Mean Girls, Cady, the protagonist, has a friend rig the cafeteria table that Regina, the Alpha Bitch sits at so that when Regina puts down her tray, the table tilts towards her, causing the food to fall into her lap. At least, that's what Cady intends. Instead, Regina is distracted by her boyfriend and a member of her Girl Posse sits where Regina was supposed to, thus becoming the prank's victim.
- This trope is used twice in Bratz
- First, there's a Food Fight scene in which the titular characters treat the mess made of their clothes and hair as Serious Business and the ultimate insult.
- Second, as part of the Alpha Bitch's Humiliation Conga, she gets covered in cake then knocked into a fountain, publicly humiliating her at her birthday party.
- In Pay Back, gangster Fairfax complains and acts visibly annoyed when Porter shoots through one of his expensive alligator hide suitcases cotaining his precious suits which, as he he claims, cost more than the 70,000 dollars Porter is after.
Live Action Tv
- In Carpe Jugulum, Vlad (a vampire) screams in agony when doused by holy water, then winks and complains that his attacker just ruined a lovely silk waistcoat.
- In Lonely Werewolf Girl this is the sum totality of the plan of one of the book's Big Bad's, to destroy Fire Queen Malveria's reputation by destroying her wardrobe. Since The Fashionista is her race's Hat and Serious Business this would be the Fire Demon equivalent of a nuclear strike. Malveria does suffer through a variety of of non-intentional wardrobe wounds in the series too.
- In the Georgette Heyer novel Sylvester a dandy goes into fits after a dog bites the tassels off his boots.
- Glory in Buffy the Vampire Slayer often seems more upset about her outfit being ruined than say, the fact that a teleporting spell was being put on her.
Glory: Look what you did to my dress!
- Also a variation where she was hit on the head by a crowbar.
Watch the hair!
- On How I Met Your Mother, Barney gets a stain on his tie and suddenly acts as if the tie was alive and had been mortally wounded, even going so far as to attempt CPR on it.
- In Glee unpopular students regularly have slushies thrown on them as a form of bullying.
- The Cat in Red Dwarf - a humanoid creature evolved from the common housecat, whose genes have elevated feline vanity and compulsive self-grooming into something Up to Eleven. his reaction to damage to his clothing is sometimes a Berserk Button.
- Happens in the episode "Vandalism" of Barney Miller. In the midst of all the considerable damage to the squadroom (upturned trash cans, spraypaint, files thrown across the floor), The Dandy Harris is most outraged that the vandal cut up his alpaca sweater.
"There was no need for this!"
- In another episode Harris chases a suspect into the sewer and trips, falling into the waste.
Harris: This will never come out!
Yemana: It's not supposed to!
As often as it happened to him you'd think he'd figure out not to dress to the nines while on the job.
- In an episode of Edgemont one of the girls thinks Laurel has spread rumors about her, so she confronts Laurel at the local hangout and dumps a basket of greasy fries on her, ruining Laurel's dress.
- In Devil May Cry 3, Lady shoots some holes in Dante's coat. He then gestures at them while looking annoyed at her.
- Daphne from A Pup Named Scooby-Doo often reacted with disgust if her clothes or her go-go boots got even the least bit dirty.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- Rarity becomes a nervous wreck at the luncheon for Princess Celestia, afraid anything's going to spill on her pretty party dress, in "A Bird in the Hoof".
- Rarity becomes upset when giant Spike ruins her cape in "The Secret of my Excess"
- In the Teen Titans episode A Date with Destiny, Starfire gets into a brawl with Kitten, the Bratty Teenage Daughter of a super-villain, because Kitten blackmailed Robin into being her prom date with threats of unleashing her father's giant killer moths on the city. This trope comes into play when Starfire throws Kitten into a cake, leading Kitten to furiously shout " You ruined my dress!".