[[quoteright:200:[[Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/TTT.jpg]]]]

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'''The sexiness of an outfit is directly proportional to the possibility that [[WardrobeMalfunction a vital piece of it might fall off]].'''

This basic theory underwrites {{Stripperiffic}} clothing, ImpossiblyCoolClothes, and pretty much anything else you stick female characters into: what makes clothing sexy is the potential for a catastrophic WardrobeMalfunction. The [[TropeNamers Trope Namer]] is William Ware Theiss, costume designer on ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries'', who first codified the concept.

The theory acknowledges that this possibility is entirely imaginary: the [[MagicSkirt true magic]] of these outfits is that no matter what SheFu the wearer attempts, she is ''never, ever'' going to [[NippleAndDimed expose a nipple]]. Not in this time slot. Having said that, the TTT takes advantage of an odd side effect: a particularly sexy outfit actually ''out-titillates'' frank nudity. Evidently, [[WantingIsBetterThanHaving a woman who is not yet naked is more interesting than a woman who already is]].

This trope is particularly common in ScienceFiction and related genres, where exotic or futuristic landscapes (plus the WillingSuspensionOfDisbelief) make it seem plausible that these outfits could be everyday wear. However in ''WillAndGrace'', Debra Messing occasionally wore outfits that would not be anatomically feasible for a better-endowed woman.

Though Theiss was a costume designer, according to ''Inside Star Trek: The Real Story,'' by Herb Solow and Robert Justman, most of the costumes following this theory were actually somewhat more modest before being "[[ClothingDamage improved]]" by GeneRoddenberry. According to the "Art of Star Trek" book, Theiss preferred to design costumes that only ''appeared'' to be in danger of slipping or coming off, through the use of strategically-placed sheer or skintone fabric. He was further able (forced?) to enhance the effect by the censorship rules of the time regarding what parts of the body could or could not be shown (the navel being the most well-known restriction). He found he could get surprising amounts of appeal from the carefully-arranged display of skin not generally considered erogenous.

ImpossiblyLowNeckline ("What's holding it ''up''?"), AbsoluteCleavage and {{Sideboob}} ("What's keeping those two strips in place?"), GodivaHair ("All she has to do is turn her head a ''little''...") and {{Underboobs}} ("That shirt should ride up!") are common forms of this[[note]]The answer to these questions is "Glue and a prayer", or [[StatingTheSimpleSolution double-sided tape.]][[/note]].

Compare WardrobeMalfunction.

Contrast FetishRetardant.
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!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* In ''OnePiece'' there is nothing holding up Boa Hancock's robe except the sheer cruelty of the universe. This is MUCH more apparent in the animated version.
** And yet [[http://onepiece.wikia.com/wiki/Rindou Rindou]], her bazooka-wielding underling probably has her beat as far as this trope is concerned. Seriously, is her short jacket duct-taped to her nipples or something?
* Gaap in ''UminekoNoNakuKoroNi'' wears a dress that appears to have a pretty good-sized strip chopped out of it all the way down and very barely stitched back together with [[http://images4.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20111219200338/umineko/images/0/08/Gaap3.png laces]]. It's been described as "a wardrobe malfunction waiting to happen."
** Apparently the author designed Gaap like this just to mess with an employee who enjoy doing cosplays of his characters.
* In ''MacrossFrontier'', [[IdolSinger Sheryl]]'s stage outfits fit the trope enough. However, this is only an illusion as most of the time she's actually wearing a holographic body suit.
* Halibel in ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'' wears a tight top exposing gratuitous underboob. Her pants, which barely consist of enough material to cover her inner thigh until just above the knee, are also held up only by a '''sash'''. Lilinette's vest also looks pretty malfunction-prone.
** Though the underboob never popping out is understandable, considering [[spoiler: part of her hollow mask covers them]]
** There's also Isane in the BeachEpisode.
** This is played surprisingly in ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'', considering how {{Stripperific}} many of the women's outfits can be. The female characters, despite fighting fairly often, suffer nowhere near as much ClothingDamage as male characters. You might be able to argue that this is because the women don't wear enough clothes to damage.
* The strangest invocation of this trope has to be in the gag manga ''Kidou Senshi Gundam-San''. [[MobileSuitGundam Char Aznable]] says this is [[http://manga.animea.net/kidou-senshi-gundam-san-chapter-0.1-page-12.html why he wears his iconic mask]].
* Liru's [[MagicSkirt magic]] "top" in ''MagicalPokaan'' looks like it would be hard to keep in place even without [[ImpossiblyCoolClothes suspenders pulling down on it]].
* Chocolate Misu's [[MagicSkirt magic suspenders]] in ''SorcererHunters''.
* ''CowboyBebop'''s Faye Valentine. Particularly in the movie, which has a scene with strong rape-y overtones, wherein the one button that appears to be her top's only fixture is sliced away by the BigBad. Given her figure, this should have resulted in her clothing flying open rather spectacularly. Since it didn't, we must conclude that her breasts are coated with an adhesive; it's the only way that scene makes any sartorial sense. Of course, since it's implied Faye dresses like that to distract people, she may need a certain amount of help keeping it on.
* Yumi Komagata from ''Manga/RurouniKenshin'' wears a top so low that it should not be physically possible to keep up, and indeed constantly looks like it's about to fall down. WordOfGod says that he's gotten letters from female fans attempting to {{cosplay}} as Yumi asking how she does it.
* In one ''Manga/DetectiveConan'' chapter, [[http://tinypic.com/r/2cp4vba/7 a woman dressed in what looks like a dress made out of a really long scarf]] appears. AbsoluteCleavage included.
* ''Anime/PrincessTutu''. Princess Kraehe wears a black tutu which looks like it might fall off at any second. Episode 13 of ''WebVideo/PrincessTutuAbridged'' even has the cast trying to figure out how it stays up at one point.
* ''Anime/GetsumenToHeikiMina'' has Ootsuki Miina has an ImpossiblyLowNeckline that her transformation has got to include double sided tape to keep those puppies from popping out.
* An InUniverse example occurs in ''Manga/CentaurNoNayami'', in a village populated by mermaids and mermen who generally go around topless, a pair of teenage boys are more enthralled by a magazine featuring a girl in a bikini. One of them explicitly says it's different when they're covered up.
* In an anime known for little fanservice, Momo's swimsuit from the first two OVAs of ''Anime/GirlsUndPanzer'' also qualifies. One wonders how she avoids a wardrobe malfunction.
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[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Several female superheroes fall under this. Notable examples include Starfire whose outfit is part lingerie, part bondage gear and [[http://media.photobucket.com/image/Power%20Girl/fairygrl_2006/powergirl.jpg Power Girl]] and her infamous boob window.
* MsMarvel's earlier costumes were very Stripperific before her, um, "promotion" to Captain Marvel.
* Dear God, Emma Frost.
* [[Comicbook/CloakAndDagger Dagger]] has an...[[http://images1.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb58378/marveldatabase/images/a/a4/Dagger_Statue_by_diablo.jpg implausible]] costume. It's gotten worse over the years, as the character has gotten better-endowed and the costume has gotten skimpier, but even in [[http://www.comics.org/issue/37944/cover/4/ earlier days]] the only reasonable explanation is that the thing is glued on.
* Exactly how {{Vampirella}} keeps ''her'' costume from falling off is a mystery. (''Wizard Magazine'' claimed that for RealLife models who dress as the character at conventions, they use aerosol spray glue.)
** Some Harris (or was it already Dynamite?) story boldly declared the costume is a symbiont like the Venom thingie. Don't think too much about that.
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[[folder:Film]]
* ''ReturnOfTheJedi''. Was there any more to Leia's dancing-girl costume beneath the panels of cloth hanging from front and back of the waistline? According to Carrie Fisher on the DVD commentary, there wasn't, and at times, crews standing behind her could see "all the way to Florida", as it were. Oola suffers a wardrobe malfunction as she is being dragged towards Jabba the Hutt, and again as she falls through the trap door. You can still see a short bit of the first malfunction in the current special edition. Older editions have longer scenes.
* HammerHorror movies in particular lived with this trope. Women in form-fitting see-through nightwear that could slip off their smooth shoulders at any moment.
* Ursula Andress in ''Film/TheBlueMax''. There is a protracted scene where she has a folded towel looped around her neck so that the two lengths of towel, draped strategically in front of her, both conceal most of a breast, or at least the nipples. Despite how she moves or speaks, despite how her unsupported breasts jiggle and move, ''her nipples are always concealed by the towel as if it was glued in place'' (and probably was).
* Subverted in ''Vampirella'' - not very surprisingly, the iconic costume DID have a nasty tendency to fall off, and the filmers had to adapt it into a more practical form.
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[[folder:Literature]]
* Vetinari mentions this in Terry Pratchett's ''Discworld/{{Jingo}}''. "Curiously, the purpose of the nautch girl or exotic dancer has always been less to reveal and more to suggest the ''imminence'' of revelation."
* All over the place in PiersAnthony works -- Anthony is fond of having some characters go completely clothed, others go completely nude, and a third group go partially clothed. The first two groups are seen as more-or-less nonsexual, but the third is a major turn on.
* {{Discussed}} in ''LightNovel/ProblemChildrenAreComingFromAnotherWorldArentThey'' by [[LovableSexManiac Shiroyasha]] and [[ChivalrousPervert Izayoi]], with the former explaining this effect as the reason she invented a literal MagicSkirt.
* Likewise {{Discussed}} in ''[[EightWorlds Steel Beach]]'' as part of a larger exposition on why OurNudityIsDifferent in Lunar society. In a closed environment with NoNudityTaboo actual nudity is considered a sign of either stodginess or poverty, neither of which are particularly attractive.
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[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries''
** One of the best examples of it at work is Theiss' own creation in the ''Star Trek'' episode "What Are Little Girls Made Of?" In that episode, a female android named [[http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/4/45/ST_-_What_Are_Little_Girls_Made_Of.jpg Andrea]] has a costume the upper portion of which is merely two crossing strips of material. Off the set, public modeled displays of this costume ''never'' failed to get a dramatically appreciative reception from at least the men.
** In William Shatner's ''Get A Life'', he tells a story about how Gene Roddenberry talked that same outfit into a fashion show at a Sci-Fi con. According to one of the people there, the model apparently had to spend the evening [[ThatCameOutWrong "beating men off with a stick"]]. Notable is the fact that Star Trek ''hadn't even aired yet''.
** According to Herb Solow and Robert Justman's book on ''Star Trek,'' William Shatner couldn't stop hitting on Sherry Jackson, the actress playing Andrea, once he saw her in the outfit. Further, the first public modeled display of the costume was in Desilu Studios' lunch room, where Ms. Jackson entered in said outfit -- according to Herb, forks stopped midway to people's mouths.
** Similarly, the [[http://bp2.blogger.com/_tBl_3BU6-1c/RZrYC6QnGFI/AAAAAAAAAME/n-3uZ-gdEiM/s1600-h/Carolyn+Palamas+3.jpg top part]] of the Greco-Roman-style outfit worn by Leslie Parrish (playing Lieutenant Carolyn Palamas) in "Who Mourns For Adonais?" consisted of a single swath of cloth draped across her breasts and slung over her shoulder. Most people who were there believed that nothing held it in place except its own weight, and were absolutely certain it was going to fall off at any second. Parrish, on the other hand, knew that it was stuck to her skin via massive amounts of two-way tape which had torn off chunks of skin during the original fitting; this is why she instead wore a bathrobe during all rehearsals, even the dress rehearsal.
** In "Mudd's Women," Maggie Thrett, playing the character of [[http://memory-alpha.org/wiki/File:Ruth_in_sickbay.jpg Ruth]], suffered repeated wardrobe malfunctions during shooting -- apparently one of her, ahem, assets refused to remain covered. (Unsurprisingly, the final version of the costume was another of Roddenberry's "improvements.") The ruined shot was saved for a [[HilariousOuttakes Gag Reel]], however.
* In a male example, one scene in an episode of ''Series/WhiteCollar'' had Neal Caffrey wearing nothing but some very low-riding sleep pants, with a waistband that looked ''very'' loose. You could practically hear the fangirls pleading for him to bend just a ''little further''...
* With the amount of bouncing and jumping around Creator/ElviraMistressOfTheDark does, it's a wonder her boobs never fell out of her dress. That's because she's a [[IncrediblyLamePun master (mistress?) of suspense]].
* In the ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' episode "Sleeper" JamesMarsters is shown in bed with the sheet loosely bunched around his waist, just barely above the groin.
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[[folder:Music Videos]]
* LadyGaga usually wears skin-tight clothing, bypassing this trope; but in the video for ''Poker Face'', one of her outfits is a criss-crossing number obviously inspired by the Franchise/StarTrek TropeCodifier.
* KylieMinogue's video for ''Can't Get You Out Of My Head'' features a stunning outfit that ''must'' be just about to fall off. A still image can be seen [[http://i3.mirror.co.uk/incoming/article794454.ece/ALTERNATES/s615b/ here]]. Apparently there was a lot of double-sided tape involved.
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[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* In the D&D 3.5 edition Player's Handbook, all of the female examples shown in the races chapter have clothing that looks almost exactly like the example pictured at the top of the page. Not to mention the Nymph in the Monster Manual, the Elemental Savant in Complete Arcane, for that matter just about any female character pictured in any D&D book.
** A noteable exception being the iconic 3.5 rogue, the halfling Lidda, who's typically fully clothed from her neck to her toes. On the other hand, that clothing tends to be skintight, so...
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[[folder:Video Games]]
* Jessica Albert from ''VideoGame/DragonQuestVIII''. Her breasts are [[http://www.dqshrine.com/dq/dq8/dq8-40.jpg so large]], and [[http://media.giantbomb.com/uploads/0/4547/304451-jessica_7_large.jpg her top is so low]], one would think her nipples were glued to the neckline, with how they never explode out--even with her [[http://i1202.photobucket.com/albums/bb369/diony69/Jessica%20Albert/vlcsnap-2012-04-01-16h59m29s28.png idle stretching]], her [[http://i1202.photobucket.com/albums/bb369/diony69/Jessica%20Albert/tumblr_lzv5qluESL1qzlgbao1_250.gif bouncing]], or her [[http://i1202.photobucket.com/albums/bb369/diony69/Jessica%20Albert/vlcsnap-2012-04-01-17h07m52s162.png bending over]]. The "Sex Appeal" (as her skill in the game is) of Jessica's dress is that she is essentially naked from the nipple up. As such, her top attracts much attention and many camera shots in the game.
* The entirety of the female cast of ''SoulCalibur''--with the ''possible'' exception of [[LadyOfWar Hilde]]--are participants in this trope, thanks to the implementation of female-focused clothing damage in ''Soul Calibur IV''. In addition to, you know, the huge quantities of cleavage and the rather [[FetishFuel unusual designs]] that were carried on from earlier games.
* Yoshino "Haru" Harusawa of ''[[VideoGame/DevilSurvivor Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor]]'' wears an outfit that would do Theiss proud. Looking at her sprites, it's a wonder she isn't having a wardrobe malfunction every few seconds. Needless to say she's a popular character.
** Specifically, she wears what would normally be a form-fitting dress, except that it's at least two cup sizes too big for her. This makes the top half hang off dangerously low.
** It doesn't help that she's ''constantly fiddling with the straps''.
** And you know how significant that is when all the character animations are expressed in a few sprites. That's right; out of say, five sprites they drew of Haru, one of them is of her fiddling with the straps.
** The [[http://megamitensei.wikia.com/wiki/Angel Angel]]: Her design from the original ''Devil Summoner'', which was swapped out, but later made a glorious return for ''Strange Journey'' and the new ''Devil Summoner'', can be described as so: a light chained blue scarf that barely covers the breasts ''and nothing else''.
* Pretty much the entire cast of ''VideoGame/DisgaeaHourOfDarkness'', males included. The archers are only kept decent by the camera angles.
* ''VideoGame/DeadOrAlive [[BeachEpisode Extreme Beach Volleyball]]'': Unrealistic clothing physics are the only thing that keep this from being an {{H-Game}}.
* This would probably explain the immense popularity of [[http://wiki.guildwars.com/wiki/File:Elementalist_Sunspear_armor_f.jpg Sunspear]] [[http://wiki.guildwars.com/wiki/File:Elementalist_Elite_Sunspear_armor_f.jpg armor]] and [[http://wiki.guildwars.com/wiki/File:Ritualist_Kurzick_armor_f.jpg Kurzick]] [[http://wiki.guildwars.com/wiki/File:Ritualist_Elite_Kurzick_armor_f.jpg armor]] among GuildWars's Elementalists and Ritualists, respectively.
* Morrigan's robes in ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins''. There are more {{Stripperiffic}} examples, but the loose fit, the cleavage and {{Sideboob}} indicating lack of a bra, make it look like she could escape her top during any of her magical gestures.
* Mai in ''VideoGame/FatalFury''[=/=]''VideoGame/TheKingOfFighters''. Her outfit looks ''designed'' to fall off.
* ''FinalFantasyVII'': Tifa Lockhart runs around kicking ass in a white tank top, leather mini-skirt, and combat boots. Then there're her [[MostCommonSuperpower assets.]]
* The reboot of ''MortalKombat.'' Most female fighters' outfits start off this way, and get only worse as battle damage sets in (to the point where the only thing that could possibly be keeping some of them on is glue or magic, and the only thing keeping them from flashing is Barbie-doll anatomy.)
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[[folder: Web Original]]
* In HolyMusicalBatman, Robin is a rare male example of this trope. All he's got on is a shirt, cape, mask, shoes, and ''briefs'' the whole musical. It gets worse after a scene where we see Superman and Batman rip off each other's UnderwearOfPower.
* ''GaiaOnline''--
** [[ChristmasCake Ruby]] is wearing what appears to be a strategically-tied ''bedsheet'' with [[VaporWear no bra]]. The jury's out on whether it's being held up by her rack or by the sheer force of her hotness.
** [[WrenchWench Sam]]'s original design couldn't find coveralls in her size, so the ones she had were open to her belly-button and on the verge of falling off.
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[[folder:Western Animation]]
* This is parodied in an episode of ''TheSimpsons'', when it's Agnes Skinner who wears a skintight dress to Homer's award ceremony as "Man of the Hour". Homer's father, her co-host, asks, "What's holding that dress together?", to which Sideshow Mel stands and answers, "The collective will of everyone in this room!".
* {{Invoked}}/{{Parodied}} on ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime''--[[ValleyGirl Lumpy Space Princess]] is normally naked, being a sort of [[SiliconBasedLife purple cloud-creature]], but puts on a transparent dress ([[ImprovisedClothes made from a used plastic bag]]) when she wants to seduce [[KidHero Finn]]. [[SarcasmMode Somehow, she fails]].
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[[folder:Real Life]]
* This is the idea behind the "fan dance" and "bubble dance" invented by the famous burlesque dancer, [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sally_Rand Sally Rand]].
* Gypsy Rose Lee's burlesque routines famously didn't reveal much skin; her signature move was sliding her shoulder strap off her shoulder.
* ''Soooo'' many red-carpet dresses, it's not even funny. Whether it be see-through or the slow edging of a nipslip, you know that the more TTT a dress is, the more likely that's what's gonna be leading on TMZ that night.
* In Brazil, this trope is invoked for strapless dresses/bikinis, being usually called "Tomara-que-caia" ("I-hope-it-falls-off").
* Creator/ParisHilton is well known for wearing [[http://lh5.ggpht.com/-COn7x_WyAxw/RzXetS4O7pI/AAAAAAAAAKg/ychZXjdWjIU/parishilton_26%25255B1%25255D.jpg outfits]] like [[http://www.mycitybynight.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/Paris-Hilton-11-435x650.jpg this]] for the cameras.
* Preventing this (or invoking it), especially in {{Cosplay}} situations, is the reason why Spirit Gum and similar products ''exist''.
* The high-kicking can-can was considered obscene because of its debut in the time that underwear was designed with open crotches. The hem and ruffles usually obscured a clear view, but even when not deliberately manipulated by the dancer, could part enough for a brief flash of exposure.
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