[[quoteright:296:[[Creator/AsiaArgento http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/morsures.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:296:[[SchmuckBait Come to me... if you dare!]]]]

!!!For the Susan Hill novel and related works, see ''Literature/TheWomanInBlack''.

Where the WomanInWhite marks a mysterious but important character and the LadyInRed indicates the sexy yet morally questionable one, the Woman In Black is almost always scary and menacing.

While black in itself is a pretty common colour to find in RealLife's clothing, particularly among {{Goth}}s and similar cultural movements, there is still something unsettling to a woman in all-black garb, especially if she's an EeriePaleSkinnedBrunette. Extra points for red or dark lipstick and/or FemmeFatalons.

Strangely, the more skin the outfit covers, especially if it's a long dress, the more ominous the woman will become. {{Stripperiffic}} clothes seem to somewhat dim the effect of black, but don't outright negate it.

Not only does black outline the body even more than red, there are also [[ColourCodedForYourConvenience all the ideas associated with the colour itself]], such as {{d|arknessEqualsDeath}}eath, night, [[DarkIsEvil evil]], great danger, or refusal of sexuality (that one particularly if the clothes hide the whole body). Thus, it's a rare woman who can actually wear an all black outfit and not be ''at least'' an [[AntiHero Anti-Heroine]].

Strangely, the trope is more the polar opposite of the LadyInRed than that of the WomanInWhite in terms of concepts. In fact, the LadyInRed brims with offers of quenching one's lust and gratifying sex, whereas the Woman in Black clearly conveys that desiring her is outright dangerous or forbidden or a free ticket to certain death.

As can be assumed, this trope is mostly associated with TheVamp, FemmeFatale, {{Magnificent B|astard}}itch, WickedWitch, VainSorceress, {{Manipulative B|astard}}itch, or TheBaroness.

[[DarkIsNotEvil On the other hand]], if she's wearing black, perhaps the answer is [[HollywoodNuns nun]]. [[Film/ThisIsSpinalTap Nun more black]].

A SubTrope of EvilWearsBlack (barring the non-evil examples).

Not to be confused with the LittleBlackDress which is more a fashion item in itself than an indicator of character.

Compare LadyInRed, WomanInWhite, and ManInWhite.

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!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* Lust from ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist''
* Kanoe from ''Manga/{{X 1999}}''
* Subverted with the female Shinigamis of ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'', where DarkIsNotEvil and LightIsNotGood. The only exception is [[TheMedic Unohana]], who wears a white coat over her otherwise-black outfit.
* [[spoiler:[[BeingTorturedMakesYouEvil Miyo Takano]]]] in ''VisualNovel/HigurashiWhenTheyCry'', right before she [[spoiler:kills Keiichi and all his friends]]. Also, the entire main female cast on the DVD covers.
* Celty Sturluson from ''LightNovel/{{Durarara}}'' goes around in a black jumpsuit. Subverted in that, not only is she not evil, she's really quite a sweetheart. Earthworm from volume 9, on the other hand, plays this trope [[TortureTechnician very]], [[PsychopathicManchild very]] [[LackOfEmpathy straight]].
* Fate Testarossa-Harlaown of ''MagicalGirlLyricalNanoha'' is one of the nicest people you could ever meet despite ([[TheWoobie or perhaps because of]]) her introduction as a DarkMagicalGirl, but is simultaneously one of the baddest ass-kickers in the multiverse.
* Subverted with Lenalee Lee from ''Manga/DGrayMan''. Obviously, the Black Order's uniforms [[DepartmentOfRedundancyDepartment are black]], but she wears a black dress as casual wear, but she's a sweet and kind girl nonetheless. Also subverted with Miranda, who's [[ShrinkingViolet as far from your typical version of the trope]] [[TheKlutz as it's possible]] [[ApologisesALot to be]]. Played straight with [[DarkActionGirl Lulu Bell]] though.
* [[KnifeNut Chane]] [[TheSpeechless Laforet]] from ''LightNovel/{{Baccano}}''. Yet another {{subver|tedTrope}}sion, as she is not truly evil.
* Misa Amane from ''Manga/DeathNote'' wears black more than once.
* Utau Hoshina from ''Manga/ShugoChara'' is yet another subversion (moreover, she wears other outfits with other colors as well). She's just a little too willing to do bad things to save Ikuto from his commitment to Easter.
* In the {{Leijiverse}}, [[Manga/GalaxyExpress999 Maetel]] is a subversion of this trope since she is the kindest, gentlest person around despite wearing that famous black coat. That said, [[BewareTheNiceOnes she has destroyed at least one planet]] and killed any number of people who threatened her or Tetsuro. From the same 'Verse, the merciless {{Space Pirate|s}} Queen Emeraldas is a straight example.
* Both Medusa and Arachne from ''Manga/SoulEater''.
* Haman Karn of ''Anime/MobileSuitZetaGundam'' and ''Anime/MobileSuitGundamZZ'' is a scarily competent Mobile Suit pilot and ruthless dictator who almost invariably wears black, though her Qubeley is white (the colour of death in East Asia).
* In PuellaMagiMadokaMagica, Homura's magical girl outfit is black and grey. It serves to make her look menacing and suspicious especially combined with her AloofDarkHairedGirl demeanor, tendency towards CrypticConversation and mysterious powers. [[spoiler: Subverted in that she previously was a ShrinkingViolet whose mission is saving the main character]]
** Played much more straight in Rebellion where [[spoiler: [[SatanicArchetype Homura's demon form]] is dressed in all black, a counterpoint to Ultimate Madoka's WomanInWhite.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ''ComicBook/XMen'' adversary Selene plays this dead straight. Longtime X-Man ComicBook/{{Storm}}? Not so much.
* Madame Hydra from ''ComicBook/CaptainAmerica'' (with a green tint to it).
* ''Franchise/{{Batman}}'' has the modern incarnation of ComicBook/{{Catwoman}}, following her traditional [[GoodColorsEvilColors green-and-purple]] look.
* Winnowill in ''ComicBook/ElfQuest''
* ComicBook/{{Raven}} from ''ComicBook/TeenTitans'', although it was initially rendered as blue, and sometimes [[WomanInWhite white]].
* Ava Lord in ''Comicbook/SinCity''.
* [[PerkyGoth Death]] of the Endless in the ''[[ComicBook/TheSandman Sandman]]'' series openly subverts this.
* [[spoiler: Mary Marvel]] during ''ComicBook/CountdownToFinalCrisis'', after [[spoiler: she becomes a DarkMagicalGirl via acquiring Black Adam's powers.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/{{TMNT}}'', new Foot Clan leader Karai is garbed entirely in black, save for her mask.
* Helga from Disney's ''Disney/AtlantisTheLostEmpire'' actually combines this with BlondesAreEvil where she is actually shown wearing a skimpy black dress during her introductory scene.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* Creator/MichellePfeiffer in ''Film/BatmanReturns'' and ''Film/{{Wolf}}''.
* Creator/KimBasinger in ''The Real [=McCoy=]'' and ''Film/LAConfidential''.
* Madame Giry in ''ThePhantomOfTheOpera''.
* Lana Turner in ''Madame X'' (1966).
* Anne Parillaud in the original ''Film/{{Nikita}}'' (1990).
* [[DarkChick Sophie Fatale]], [[WomanInWhite O-Ren's]] [[TheDragon Dragon]] from ''Film/KillBill''. She wears a black, high-collared jumpsuit thing that the narration says makes her look like "a villain from Star Trek".
* ''Film/TheRockyHorrorPictureShow'': Magenta wears a black FrenchMaid uniform and a slightly more revealing black outfit throughout the film. At least, until the end when she and Riff Raff reveal themselves as aliens.
* ''Film/BlackSunday'': Princess [[EeriePaleSkinnedBrunette Asa Vajda]]. She wears a long black gown and cape, and seduces and zombifies her victims. Averted with her [[{{Doppelganger}} descendent]] Princess Katia, who also wears a long black gown and cape but is the [[TheIngenue innocent]] [[PrincessClassic heroine]].
* Morticia and Wednesday from ''Film/TheAddamsFamily''.
* Mal of ''Film/{{Inception}}'' is only in black for the opening sequence, but it wholly defines her character as a recurring obstacle to Cobb's extraction work in the rest of the movie.
* The Dark Queen and [[spoiler: Helena as the Dark Princess]] from ''Film/{{Mirrormask}}''.
* Lily of ''Film/BlackSwan'', who is in competition for the role of the titular [[Theatre/SwanLake Black Swan]] with the protagonist, [[TheIngenue Nina]], who is a WomanInWhite. [[ColourCodedForYourConvenience The movie milks this]] [[{{Foil}} for all]] [[FauxSymbolism it's worth.]]
* Played with in ''Violent City'': Vanessa has been a FemmeFatale WomanInWhite for the whole movie, manipulating her lover while retaining a facade of innocence. At the very end, once she gets to a position where she no longer needs to work through the men, she changes to all-black.
* Matsu from the ''Film/JoshuuSasori'' series fits this to a tee, as an antiheroine out for revenge for her rape and humiliation in a BadassLongcoat done up to the neck, a NiceHat and gloves, with only [[DeathGlare her face showing]]. The refusal of sexuality in particular is pretty unusual for 1972 Japan.
* La Femme from the French film ''Film/{{Inside}}''.
* China from ''Film/{{Torque}}''.
* In ''Film/IronMan2'' after Tony finds out that she's the Black Widow, "Natalie" starts dressing only in black.
* The grandmother in ''Film/FlowersInTheAttic'', who wore gray in the novel. The black serves as a constant reminder that she is stern at best and dangerous at worst.
* The Empress wears either black or red for most of ''Film/LegendOfTheBlackScorpion''. Black is worn particularly in scenes where she's quietly scaring the crap out of everybody.
* ''Film/XMen'':
** Kayla Silverfox in ''Film/XMenOriginsWolverine''.
** Angel's already wearing black during her stripper days in ''Film/XMenFirstClass''.
** Yukio from ''Film/TheWolverine''. Mostly her combat outfits.
* TheGrimReaper appears briefly in this form in ''Film/TheEmptyMirror'', in which UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler spends his time looking back on his life from his prison in Purgatory/Hell. She manages to terrify even Hitler.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* Mara Jade, in ''[[Literature/{{Allegiance}} Star Wars: Allegiance]]'', ''Literature/TheThrawnTrilogy'', and the ''Literature/HandOfThrawn'' Duology, tends to wear a black jumpsuit. To the point that when she ''does'' wear Jedi robes, the text often stresses it.
* ''Literature/SwordOfTruth''.
** Black is the ''only'' color Nicci wears. To the point that when she is infiltrating an Imperial Order camp post-HighHeelFaceTurn, her disguise consists of a red dress. Pushed down to her waist to make absolutely sure [[DistractedByTheSexy nobody will give her face a second glance]].
** The signature clothing of the Confessors. Except for [[WomanInWhite The Mother Confessor]].
* ''Literature/{{Dragaera}}'' has Sethra Lavode: hundreds of thousands of [[TimeAbyss years old]], a vampire, a brilliant general, and a sorceress powerful enough to worry gods. Naturally, she lives in a mountain made of black stone, has black eyes [[CurtainsMatchTheWindow and hair]], and dresses head to toe in black. Bonus points: in Dragaera, the color black represents sorcery and is one of the House colors for both Great Houses with which Sethra is associated. And one of her hobbies is finding new ways to use black in interior decoration.
* ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' averts the heck out of this one. Whether it's the witches or Susan Sto Helit, the Disc's women in black seem to be good. [[GoodIsNotNice But not nice]].
** Additionally, Nanny Ogg has pointed out that a black dress could signify ''anything'': "[[MissKitty Madam]] or [[HollywoodNuns Mother Superior]], it was just a matter of details."
** Agnes Nitt is another variation- she starts wearing black when she's having a Gothic phase to fit in with the cool girls in Lancre, but she carries on wearing it, probably because she suffers from WeightWoe and hopes it makes her look thinner, or if not then less visible. (Of course, she's destined to be a witch anyway.)
** They might also be Assassins, which would make them, almost by default, AffablyEvil with [[EvenEvilHasStandards standards]]. Of course, very few female Assassins have actually shown up in the books.
* Semirhage in ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime'' always dresses in black because she considers [[FemmeFatale Lanfear]], a WomanInWhite, to be her main rival.
* KikiStrike is a kiddie version of the AntiHero variant.
* Lisbeth Salander in the ''[[Literature/TheMillenniumTrilogy Millennium]]'' trilogy by Stieg Larsson. Also leaning towards AntiHero.
* The title character of ''Literature/TheWomanInBlack''.
* Arpazia's final noteworthy gown in ''Literature/WhiteAsSnow'' is black, symbolic of her becoming a crone and cementing her reputation as a witch at court. The sight of her is enough to scare her daughter witless.
* Tiphaine d'Ath of the Literature/{{Emberverse}}, who dresses all in black and begins her career as an assassin and quasi-ninja for Lady Sandra. She has a (deserved) reputation as being cool, nerveless, and lethal.
* Vin from the Literature/{{Mistborn}} trilogy often embodies this trope, especially [[spoiler: in the later books when it's used as a foil for Elend's ManInWhite]]
* Melisande at the Midwinter Masque for the peerage of Kusheth in ''[[Literature/KushielsLegacy Kushiel's Dart]]''. She wears rich black velvet as a stark contrast to Phèdre's [[WomanInWhite sheer white gauze]].
* Very much a trademark for Belinda Contague, MafiaPrincess-turned-''capa'' from the ''Literature/GarrettPI'' novels.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Live Action TV]]
* ''The Vampira Show'' (1954) is one of the earliest representations of this trope on TV.
* Creator/ElviraMistressOfTheDark
* In ''Series/DoctorWho'', when [[Recap/DoctorWhoS30E8SilenceInTheLibrary River]] [[Recap/DoctorWhoS30E9ForestOfTheDead Song]] returns in [[Recap/DoctorWhoS31E4TheTimeOfAngels "The Time of Angels"]], she's got a lovely long black dress on that makes her look like a noir FemmeFatale. Considering [[spoiler:it's hinted at that she served time in prison, has a secret she isn't telling the Doctor, and [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome vandalized a home box with the message "Hello, sweetie"]] written in Old High Gallifreyan just to get the Doctor's attention, this probably fits. She may even possibly be the person who kills him, if the hints dropped at the end of the episode "Flesh and Stone" turn out to be as meaningful as they seem]]. So, it's safe to say this is intentional.\\\
Contrast this with River's previous appearance dressed all in white, where she's an unambiguously good character, and her later appearance in the series 5 finale, where she again wears white and is very definitely on the Doctor's side. And then her appearance in season 6's mid-season finale, where some of her past is revealed -- and this time, she's in grey.
* [[Series/{{Farscape}} Grayza]] likes [[http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://homepage.ntlworld.com/dani.moure/pkwtrailer/pkwtrailer-052.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.freewebs.com/farscapecrazy/news.htm&usg=__m5d722vrBzshjWRbcFx3ruit6pc=&h=272&w=480&sz=10&hl=en&start=0&sig2=SsjfUOqzkUaZ50_nugzTCw&zoom=1&tbnid=3joz-WWCYmjrKM:&tbnh=152&tbnw=209&ei=PQK_TOTZL8H_lgfAu8HfBw&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dgrayza%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26sa%3DX%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla:en-US:official%26biw%3D1280%26bih%3D843%26tbs%3Disch:1&um=1&itbs=1&iact=hc&vpx=862&vpy=315&dur=312&hovh=169&hovw=298&tx=158&ty=79&oei=0wG_TIbYO8GB8gau4_HOAg&esq=14&page=1&ndsp=26&ved=1t:429,r:11,s:0 black]] (and {{Stripperiffic}}, coincidentally, at least when she's not pregnant) and she's quite dangerous. Although Aeryn from the same show also liked wearing black a lot (a black leather jacket and black leather pants, to be specific), and was an unambiguously good character. It's probably some remnant of her Peacekeeper training.
* When Sarah goes undercover with Volkoff in Season 4 of ''Series/{{Chuck}}'', she not only wears black clothing, but also has black hair rather than her normal blonde.
* Series/{{Nikita}} had naturally black/dark hair and loves wearing black clothing. However, she is a deconstruction of this trope in some ways as she is the hero of the show as well as a complete {{Badass}} and FemmeFatale. Many other characters who were and are a part of Division favor this trope as well - in particular, Michael.
* Nicci in the season finale of ''Series/LegendOfTheSeeker''.
* ''Series/{{Angel}}'':
** Darla in an episode very symbolically goes from wearing white to donning a black outfit. In said outfit, she joins Drusilla and, together, they commit a massacre.
** Cordelia, while under Jasmine's control.
* The same thing happens in the ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' TwoPartEpisode Surprise/Innocence. In "Surprise" Buffy is a virgin and wears white with obvious symbolism. At the end of the episode she sleeps with Angel, removing his soul so he becomes the evil vampire Angelus. In "Innocence" Buffy starts wearing darker colours, ending up in black when she stops angsting over her lover's SexFaceTurn and starts kicking ass with rocket launchers.
* Diana in ''Series/{{Roar}}'' was a Woman In Black. Given her dark, manipulative, seductive nature, this is unsurprising.
* After embracing the Dark Side completely, Morgana in ''Series/{{Merlin}}'' dresses from head to toe in black.
* In ''Series/TheTwilightZone'' episode "Spur of the Moment," a young girl out horseriding is menaced by a strange woman in black, who chases her back to her family's house. It turns out the woman is [[spoiler:an older version of herself, who was trying to prevent her from eloping with the man who would drive her family to destitution.]]
* The season one finale of ''Series/{{Grimm}}'' is actually titled "The Woman In Black". The never-before-seen woman in question is seen skulking around town and kicking butt in little vignettes throughout the episode, until she turns up at Nick's house near the end of the episode and reveals herself to be [[spoiler:his mother, who is also a Grimm and was believed to have died in a car crash several years ago.]] By the time [[spoiler:she supposedly leaves town at the conclusion of the three-part episode]], it's still unclear whether she exemplifies this trope or subverts it.
* ''Series/{{Scandal}}'': Abby, quite often.
* ''Series/{{NCIS}}'': Abby, quite often.
* One of the most defining moments of ''Series/AmericanHorrorStoryCoven'' is when [[TheArchmage Fiona]] takes the girls on a class trip to the [[TheBigEasy French Quarter]] and tells them to "Wear something...black."
* ''{{Series/Salem}}'': Mary.
* In season 4 of ''Series/GameOfThrones'', Sansa now becomes [[ManipulativeBastard Littlefingers]] apprentice, and dons a black dress.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Music]]
* ''Lady Wore Black'' by Music/{{Queensryche}}
* "Cypress Grove" by Music/{{Clutch}}. The women of cypress grove all dress in black.
* Music/{{Evanescence}}: Yes, Amy Lee does this sometimes.
* Red Molly, the heroine of the tragic romance in "1952 Vincent Black Lightning", by Music/RichardThompson, may be primarily a FieryRedhead, but her black leathers link her to the hero's doom.
* "Woman In Black" by Music/{{Foreigner}}
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Newspaper Comic Strips]]
* Dethany Dendrobia from ''ComicStrip/OnTheFastrack''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* In ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'', some Suel deities such as [[VainSorceress Wee Jas]] or [[TheBaroness Shar]] apply. Many she-devils and demonesses also wear all black garments.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Theme Parks]]
* The gangster hijacker on ''Ride/TheGreatMovieRide'' is this if a woman is playing the role.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Larxene in ''Franchise/KingdomHearts''.
* Zerase in ''VideoGame/SuikodenV''.
* Dee Vasquez from ''VisualNovel/PhoenixWrightAceAttorney''.
* If you have the Handmaiden in ''[[VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublic Knights of the Old Republic 2]]'' entirely dark-side, her normal white jumpsuit is replaced with a black one and her normal red lipstick is replaced with black.
* Nevan in ''VideoGame/DevilMayCry 3''. Played dead straight. Trish also counts as well, [[spoiler:and the trope is subverted near the end of the first game.]]
* Sareena in ''Franchise/MortalKombat''. Strange in that she is the only one to actually qualify in a series where you would expect plenty of them. Subverted as well in that she's not truly evil at heart. Her (former) [[AmazonBrigade partners]], Kia and Jataaka, play this trope much straighter. While Sareena made a HighHeelFaceTurn in ''VideoGame/MortalKombatMythologiesSubZero'' after the Elder Sub-Zero (and future Noob Saibot) saved her life (with Sareena [[MercyRewarded later]] [[BigDamnHeroes repaying the favor]] in the battle against Quan Chi) and went on to become [[ShipTease something of]] the Younger Sub-Zero's [[BattleCouple love interest]], they remained in Shinnok's Brotherhood of Shadow [[spoiler:and were ultimately killed by Taven shortly before [[VideoGame/MortalKombatArmageddon the battle of Armageddon]].]]
* Princess Ishtar from ''VideoGame/FireEmblemJugdral'', though she's much less of a villainess and more of a DarkMagicalGirl.
* If you get a GameOver while playing ''VideoGame/BanjoKazooie'', then Grunty will actually turn into this.
* Vivi, the [[VampiresAreSexGods charming, sexy vampiress]] in ''VideoGame/BrainDead13''.
* Rouge, the vain, selfish AntiHero from the ''Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog'' franchise, although how evil she is depends on the incarnation.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Webcomics]]
* [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=6&p=003167 Snowman]] from the ''Webcomic/MSPaintAdventures'' series ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'' wears all black (in addition to a completely black ''body'') and is an archetypical FemmeFatale. Also, when Rose [[JumpingOffTheSlipperySlope goes]] [[WithGreatPowerComesGreatInsanity batshit]], she starts wearing a black dress, as opposed to her previous purple.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* PerkyGoth types are the deliberate subversion of this trope. [[ComicBook/TheSandman Sometimes.]]
* Lady Ink from ''WebOriginal/TheBookOfStoriesOCT'', a rare heroic example, though her personality fits the rest of the trope.
* [[http://akaichounokoe.deviantart.com/gallery/?q=Toki&offset=96#/d50t7lf Toki]] She's mostly a subversion since, most of the things she wears are black dresses but she's this trope when manipulative. Well, there's [[http://akaichounokoe.deviantart.com/gallery/?q=black#/d5dnbgb Brownie]] and she's also a subversion, naturally, and is rather harmless, unless doing what Toki tells her to do.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* TheBaroness from ''Franchise/GIJoe''.
* Magica De Spell in ''WesternAnimation/DuckTales''.
* [[StalkerWithACrush Lavona Succuboso]] from ''WesternAnimation/{{Metalocalypse}}''. Complete with OperaGloves. Say what you will about her sanity and morals, the woman knows how to accessorize.
* Wuya from ''WesternAnimation/XiaolinShowdown'', when she is in human form.
* All three main female characters, Skysurfer, Sliced Ice and Bioborgs, Cerina and Lazerette in ''WesternAnimation/SkysurferStrikeForce''.
[[/folder]]

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