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[[quoteright:350:[[Disney/TheLittleMermaid http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/ariel_bra3_9844.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:Bivalves are a girl's best friend.]]

->'''Mimic:''' By th' way, nice seashells.\\
'''Siren:''' They're just B-shells, but thanks.
-->-- ''Webcomic/RustyAndCo''

For some reason, [[OurMermaidsAreDifferent mermaids]] feel compelled to fashion bras for themselves out of seashells, even though they never bother making any other kind of clothing. Although this provides {{Fanservice}} and FetishFuel, it was originally created for the reverse reason. Logically (as in, using the same logic that would apply to humans *cough*), a mermaid would be an InnocentFanserviceGirl, but we can't have that in a kids' movie, can we?

Since, by definition, a mermaid is a fish from the waist down, only her top half must be covered, and often GodivaHair just won't do. Thus the seashell bra was invented to preserve the modesty of female merfolk everywhere. You probably think this originated with Disney's ''Disney/TheLittleMermaid'', but Disney was using it all the way back in 1953 to depict the mermaids in ''Peter Pan'' (although they looked distinctly less bra-like in those days). Expect bras to also be made out of other marine trappings, such as starfish (though glomping a living creature to one's own body doesn't sound like a good idea in hindsight -- especially if it [[NightmareFuel ejects its stomach and starts digesting your nipples]]) or perhaps seaweed or other vague underwater flora, though the shells are often depicted as somehow clinging magically without any accompanying harnesses or straps, seaweed or otherwise. Also, the bra will almost always be made from scallop shells rather than clam, oyster, conch, or [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:NautilusCutawayLogarithmicSpiral.jpg nautilus shells]] (not unless they are hollowed out).

Of course, not every culture shares the notion that the sight of [[NippleAndDimed female nipples]] somehow corrupts children, hence the [[http://www.retrojunk.com/details_articles/507/ Japanese animated version]]'' of the classic Hans Christian Anderson tale features bare-chested mermaids. It's also possible to avert the whole issue entirely by making the "fish-parts" ascend all the way to the [[NonMammalMammaries bustline]] and mimick a one-piece swimsuit or a strapless dress as Disney did with [[Disney/TheLittleMermaid Ursula]].

Provides additional proof (if any were necessary) that [[MostWritersAreMale most writers are either male]] or sufficiently unimaginative to be unable to envision just how uncomfortable such attire would be. Or both.

A SubTrope of ImprovisedClothes. Compare FurBikini, BareYourMidriff.

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!!Examples

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* ''Manga/MermaidMelodyPichiPichiPitch'' takes ColorCodedForYourConvenience to the extreme, so of course, mermaids always have seashell bras that match their tails. They do, however, wear other kinds of clothing at times, such as skirts, but these are purely ceremonial, and usually a mermaid is depicted in only the shell bra.
* Somewhat related example from ''Manga/LoveHina'': Having found an oasis after getting lost in the middle of the desert, Naru makes improvised bikinis for herself and Nyamo (and then later, Shinobu, whose [[ClothingDamage clothes had been destroyed]] by one of Motoko's sword techniques) out of giant leaves. Not explained is why Kitsune put Motoko in the exact same type of outfit when they were still in civilization. This also allows a "trap" that unleashes ''caterpillars'' to be [[ClothingDamage somewhat threatening]], in a way.
* ''Manga/OnePiece''
** Sanji has some {{Imagine Spot}}s of gorgeous sirens wearing Seashell Bras, but it's averted when they meet an actual mermaid, who wears a T-shirt.
** {{Gonk}} mermaid [[NightmareFuel Kokoro]], on the other hand, does wear a Seashell Bra. One person asked if they really were seashells -- [[WordOfGod Oda]]'s initial response: "Does '[[{{Squick}} I don't want to think about it]]' count as an answer?"
** Also, a few of the younger mermaids, especially the dancers, do. It's just not normal mermaid clothing.
* In ''Manga/DragonBall'' too, when Goku brings a mermaid to Kame-Sennin, she wears a T-shirt (but doesn't look wet). While the possibility of a wet T-shirt would certainly have held great potential for {{Fanservice}}, this occurred quite early in the series when that sort of thing was only done sporadically.
* ''Anime/YuGiOh'' Red Archery Girl and Toon Mermaid have these, although the English version of Red Archery Girl gives her an extra bit of cloth to wear under her bra.
* Shows up in a dream/hallucinatory sequence in ''Anime/KaleidoStar''. Dream Mermaid!Sora gets this to a T (well, the current performance ''is The Little Mermaid''). She also seems a bit more... [[FanServicePack ample]] in this sequence.
* San the mermaid YakuzaPrincess from ''Manga/SetoNoHanayome'' wears this in her first appearance.
* Lampshaded in ''Manga/KamichamaKarin'', in which Kazune points out, "How do those stay ''on''?"
* Misty from ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'' wears a pink one whenever she plays the Magical Mermaid. In her case it's probably just a costume that looks like seashells and probably not too uncomfortable. At least not as uncomfortable as performing an underwater play bare-breasted.
* Seria from ''Anime/RaveMaster'' has an interesting variation: she wears a bikini top... with a [[http://www.mangafox.com/manga/rave_master/v13/c103/7.html shell motif]].
* ''[[Anime/GalaxyAngelRune Galaxy Angel 3rd]]'' (manga) has the girls turned into mermaids at one point, complete with Seashell Bra.
* In an episode of the ''Manga/RanmaOneHalf'' anime, during an EyeCatch showing Akane as a mermaid, she wears a pink Seashell Bra.
* Guu from ''Anime/JungleWaItsumoHaleNochiGuu'' wears one during the BeachEpisode.
* There is an episode of ''Manga/MaicchinguMachikoSensei'' in which a male teacher imagines the main character as a mermaid with the obligatory seashell bikini.
* In book 10 of the ''Manga/UruseiYatsura'' manga, both Lum and Shinobu are disguised as mermaids and wear seashell bras.
* Towards the end of the ''Anime/PantyAndStockingWithGarterbelt'' episode "If Angels Wore Swimsuits", Panty's bikini becomes ripped by a Giant Crab Ghost and falls off. Unfortunately for all the onlooking male beach-goers, two Mini-Starfish Ghosts and a Sea Anemone Ghost jump up and latch onto her in ''just'' the right places.
* In the filler BeachEpisode of ''LightNovel/TheFamiliarOfZero'', the girls punish the boys for being perverts by beating them up, tying them up, and forcing ''them'' to wear seashell bikinis. Later, when they think they are alone, the girls try on the seashell bikinis and find wearing them fun. Saito manages to spy on them.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comedy]]
* Featured in a joke by comedian Ron White:
-->'''Ron White:''' I didn't know this. If you find a girl wearing a seashell bra, and you pick her up, and put her to your ear, you can hear her scream. I thought I'd hear the ocean, but not over that bitch.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Issues drawn be Adam Hughes (and some other artists about the same time) of the ''ComicBook/{{Legion of Super-Heroes}}'' and ''Legionnaires'' comics have had seashell bras (and bottoms) indicating nudity (simply assume they aren't there, then the characters' reactions make sense).
* In the comic book ''ComicBook/{{Boneyard}}'', one of the local Universal-like monsters is a female version of the Gill Man from ''Creature from the Black Lagoon''. Nessie, as she's called, covers her monstrous NonMammalMammaries with tiny seashell ''pasties''. She also wears actual fishnet stockings.
* The Blue, a fictional underwater race from the ''ComicBook/{{Fathom}}'' comics, make all clothing up to full body armor using bits of underwater flora and fauna. Despite them also having [[SchizoTech far more advanced technology than surface dwellers]].
* The mermaid encountered by Superboy (a sort of next-gen Lori Lemaris) in ''Adventure Comics 80 Page Giant''. PostCrisis Lori herself sometimes wears a normal bikini top, but more often has GodivaHair. PreCrisis Lori wore something resembling a blouse or minidress at all times.
* When Namorita, DistaffCounterpart of the ComicBook/SubMariner, turned blue and changed her name to Kymera, she added a net skirt and one seashell "cup" to her bikini-like outfit.
* In [[http://d1466nnw0ex81e.cloudfront.net/iss/400w/182/191821/875481.jpg one issue]] of ''ComicBook/KatyKeene'', Katy and Sis are mermaids wearing these.
* [[ActionGirl Sun]] from ''ComicBook/PocketGod'' wears one.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/{{Madagascar}}'', when Gloria washes ashore, she has two starfish on her chest (beside the fact that [[BarbieDollAnatomy there is nothing there to cover]]) and a crab on her crotch ([[GettingCrapPastTheRadar make of that what you will]]).
* Interesting variation in Disney's ''Disney/{{Fantasia}}'', with female centaurs wearing tops and necklaces made out of ''flowers'' that appear to be motivated more by the TheissTitillationTheory than actual modesty, even though the centauresses otherwise exhibit BarbieDollAnatomy...
* ''Disney/TheLittleMermaid'' of course, though Ariel is unusual in that her top has a strap. Ursula has octopus flesh go over her chest instead, though. Some people think the overweight mermaid illusion seen in Ursula's song has her chest covered by scales, but looking closely reveals she too wears a Seashell Bra.
* Before ''The Little Mermaid'' there was ''Disney/PeterPan'', whose mermaids sported a motley mix of GodivaHair, seashell bras, and starfish pasties.
* The title character of ''Literature/{{Paprika}}'' wears one while briefly in mermaid form.
* In ''WesternAnimation/{{Coraline}}'', The Other Forcible wears one dressed as Venus. She's [[FanDisservice an obese old lady]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Live Action]]
* This trope and its aversion was one of the reasons a mermaid character was cut completely from ''Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie''. She was played by a 15-year-old actress who would have had GodivaHair. Probably not suitable for a family film.
* The mermaids in ''Film/{{Hook}}'' have seashells held in place with straps. Though the green-haired one's breasts are just barely covered.
* The Disney Channel Made For TV Movie ''The Thirteenth Year'' has the protagonist's mermaid mother wearing two conch shells over her breasts.
* The three mermaid sisters in ''Film/{{Mermaids}}'' normally have their breasts covered by natural scales but whenever Venus performs in the club -- doing a seductive dance "dressed" as a mermaid -- she wears a seashell bra.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* Not a mermaid, but in ''[[Literature/{{Dinoverse}} I was a Teenage T. rex]]'', one of the leads becomes a Leptoceratops, and despite not having anything to cover she didn't feel comfortable going naked. She tries sticking leaves on with sap -- they fall off. The Quetzalcoatlus character takes pity on her and makes a top-and-bottom out of seashells with holes poked in them and strung together by vines; these last a little longer.
* In an early scene from Creator/RobertAHeinlein's ''Literature/IWillFearNoEvil'', Eunice and her husband are discussing the mermaid body paint she'll be wearing to work the next day. (Office dress codes having gotten ''really'' casual in the future.) They make a bet over whether a literally painted-on SeashellBra will fool her employer into thinking it's real. (It does.)
* The ''ComicBook/SabrinaTheTeenageWitch'' novelization "Age of Aquariums" (in which Sabrina transforms herself into a mermaid) features a cover picture of Sabrina wearing a seashell bra. The book itself doesn't state whether she wears one or not.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/FaerieTaleTheatre's'' adaptation of "Literature/TheLittleMermaid" used an interesting scheme: if a mermaid was out of the water (like sitting on the beach for instance), she had GodivaHair, whereas while she was underwater (and thus her hair would be floating around and unable to do its GodivaHair function), she had a SeashellBra, or more specifically, two scallop shells stuck to her chest with no straps whatever, not even one connecting the two shells.
* The mermaids in ''Series/{{Charmed}}'' have a variation where their breasts are covered by strategically-placed scales. Worth noting is that the hair of the actresses playing mermaids was too short to function as GodivaHair.
* Mermaids in ''Series/H2OJustAddWater'' and ''Series/MakoMermaidsAnH2OAdventure'' have scales in exactly the same pattern as a bra, complete with straps, with a brae midriff between that and the scales of their tails. Mermen are bare chested.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'': The 2nd edition ''Monstrous Manual'' depicts an aquatic elf in a Seashell Bra and a mermaid in something a little scalier.
* The Orotheans in ''MagiNation'' play this trope straight.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Theater]]
* The Lady of the Lake from ''Theatre/{{Spamalot}}'' wears a seashell bra over a long gown.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* The Neireid queen in ''VideoGame/SoulNomadAndTheWorldEaters''.
* The Franchise/{{Pokemon}} [[http://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/File:368Gorebyss.png Gorebyss]] appears to have one even though it isn't remotely humanoid.
* Used in ''VideoGame/KingsQuestII''; Graham has to charm a merwoman that's sunning herself on Kolyma's shore.
* ''Franchise/DeadOrAlive''
** Helena's Godfather bikini (and its pallette swaps) from ''Dead or Alive Xtreme 2'' is this... though its so small it's more like Seashell PASTIES...
** Her "Ultimate Sexy Costume" DLC in ''VideoGame/DeadOrAlive5'' [[UpdatedRerelease Ultimate edition]], which largely resembles the above bikini.
* [=AnticEnt's=] online ''Kingdoms'' CCG has the elemental hero Jorma, who wears starfish on her breasts because she's just that badass.
* Anneta Fish from ''VideoGame/RaymanOrigins'' wears a clamshell ''pasty'' that somehow sticks to her breasts.
* In ''VideoGame/LollipopChainsaw'', a seashell bikini is an alternate skin Juliet Starling can wear.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Animation]]
* Subverted in somewhat disturbing fashion by guro manga artist Shintaro Kago. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HbYZnOFWFDw Watch at your own risk.]]
* ''WebAnimation/HomestarRunner'': In one Strong Bad E-mail, SB nicknames a cardboard cutout of a mermaid Princess Shellbra.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Webcomics]]
* The Mermaids in the Monster-only world of ''Webcomic/{{Monsterful}}'' stick to this trope as well, featuring [[http://www.monsterful.com/chapter14page14.php Starfish]] and [[http://www.monsterful.com/chapter14page14.php Shellfish bras.]]
* Parodied in a ''Webcomic/QuestionableContent'' [[http://www.questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=1236 strip]]. In a panel clearly labeled as shameless fanservice, Faye is clutching a pair of seashells to her breasts, claiming that her bikini top was swept away.
* The mermaids in Kate Beaton's ''Webcomic/HarkAVagrant'' wear these. [[http://www.harkavagrant.com/index.php?id=119 Aye, they]] [[http://www.harkavagrant.com/index.php?id=123 be a]] [[http://www.harkavagrant.com/index.php?id=124 sexy omen.]]
* The page quote is from [[http://rustyandco.com/comic/30/ one strip]] of ''Webcomic/RustyAndCo'' The "Monster Guide" page on the same site also mentions this about the siren:
-->''Don't ask what keeps the seashells on.''
* The comic ''Tsubomi Blue Dreams'' has the protagonist wearing ''starfish'' as a bra. Say it with me now: "OOOOOOOOOOOOOOWWWW!!"
* In ''Webcomic/YetAnotherFantasyGamerComic'', [[http://yafgc.net/?id=1535 Mi, the gen familiar of Sha'ir Waleed]] (likely a maridan from the Elemental Plane of Water) is wearing a seashell bra. And bottom. And headband ornament.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Asked about on Website/DeviantArt, [[http://xninjared.deviantart.com/art/The-Mermaid-Problem-155487940 "The Mermaid Problem"]]. Considers the theory if females are born with it, and if not, how they measure cup/clam size. Also deconstructs it by asking why Mermaids wearing dead clams as their bras if they are friends with fish.
* [[http://akaichounokoe.deviantart.com/art/Clamshelle-428604756?q=gallery%3AAkaiChounokoe%2F43418904&qo=2 Clamshelle]] is the only one so far wearing a seashelle bra, the other ones usually wear flowers or something akin to a bathing suit top, like [[http://akaichounokoe.deviantart.com/art/Sing-425091997?q=gallery%3AAkaiChounokoe%2F43418904&qo=4 Sing]] or [[http://akaichounokoe.deviantart.com/art/Oyster-Pinkblue-375891269 Oyster]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* [=AndrAIa=] from ''WesternAnimation/ReBoot'' is a bit more modest than the typical mermaid (at least at first), wearing one gigantic scallop shell that covers her entire torso. After the {{Timeskip}} she gets a more {{Stripperific}} outfit with a bra that appears to be made out of some kind of fish skin.
* The ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' episode "Lois Kills Stewie" has a seashell speedo on a reverse mer-man: he's a fish on the top, and a man on the bottom.
* Subverted during both episodes of ''WesternAnimation/TheBackyardigans'' that have mermaids, "Viking Voyage" and "Into the Deep". During those episodes, Tasha and Uniqua are mermaids (well, Uniqua just in the latter), but their tails ''[[http://www.coverbrowser.com/image/bestselling-movies-2007/325-1.jpg cover the entire torso]]'', so they don't need seashell bras.
* FanDisservice[=/=]Parody: ''WesternAnimation/SpongebobSquarepants''[='=] superhero parody Mermaid Man has a pair of shells over his completely round torso, despite the ComicBook/{{Aquaman}}-esque orange scale shirt he also wears.
** Later on in the series, when they do show actual mermaids, they wear a bra with seashells on it, which can be seen [[http://img3.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20110109001653/spongebob/images/2/22/Amphitrite.jpg here]]
* On ''WesternAnimation/JimmyTwoShoes'', Heloise wears one during a DreamSequence where she's a mermaid.
* In ''WesternAnimation/RegularShow'', during Mordecai's dream sequence in the episode "Meat Your Maker", he envisions Margaret wearing one that just [[GettingCrapPastTheRadar ''barely'']] covers her [[UnusualEuphemism lady pecs]].
* Angel in ''WesternAnimation/FishPolice''.
* Inverted in an episode of ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'', where Fry's mermaid fiancee wears a tube-top.
* Bloom in ''WesternAnimation/WinxClub'' has one of her bikinis with this.
* Daphne and Miyumi wind up [[GoGoEnslavement wearing these]] when they are captured by the natives in ''WesternAnimation/ScoobyDooAndTheSamuraiSword''.
* Smurfette in ''WesternAnimation/TheSmurfs'' episode "Sassette's Bewitching Friendship" wore one when Melina the good witch accidentally changed her into a mermaid.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Real Life]]
* Many companies that make swimwear have marketed actual bikinis with tops like this. Such swimwear tends to be very expensive, and usually isn't the type you should actually swim in.
* [[https://www.facebook.com/pages/Raina-the-Halifax-Mermaid/183327321702019 Raina the Halifax Mermaid]] wears a seashell bra during most of her appearances, but in later days has started wearing one made from ''an octopus''. According to her, little kids were fascinated by it (not in that way!), poking it to see if it was real (it isn't).
[[/folder]]

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