"Great for dancing, not so much for cross-country."
Even an Action Girl
like Alice might enjoy getting dressed up for the night
, but alas, the one time she puts on the polish, she will find herself in combat
. Needless to say, Alice can't fight while wearing a tight-fitting top and a voluminous skirt that hinders the motion of her legs
, but there's no time to change and modesty restrains her from just taking the whole thing off. So she grabs a knife off the nearest carving station and tears her beautiful clothes (usually by raising the hem or cutting a slit in the side) so that she can move freely. (Don't ask why she doesn't ditch the high heels
occurs, as this is a combination of Clothing Damage
and She's Got Legs
A minor form
of Battle Strip
Compare Rip Tailoring
(a non-action version), Minidress of Power
, From Dress to Dressing
. Contrast Kicking Ass in All Her Finery
, Battle Ballgown
open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- Hitomi did this in The Vision of Escaflowne when Millerna puts her in some Gorgeous Period Dress and immediately thereafter, a situation arises when she needs to run really fast.
- Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: Yoko tears her long skirt when she needs to rescue a child stuck in a tree.
- The eponymous Murder Princess has to make some quick modifications to her gown whenever kicking some ass. Which is to say, often.
- Youre Under Arrest
- The movie of has Yoriko do this to her skirt during a hostage situation so she can move better.
- Natsumi also did it once in the TV series, when she needed to find a hidden bomb... placed in a huge clock.
- In the Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex episode "Meme", Major Kusanagi is in her skirted (and rather tight) military uniform when a situation arises. She tears it herself so she can run in it.
- Project A-Ko: This happens to A-Ko's skirt by the end. Not by her choice, though. It was cut by a sword during her fight with D.
- Happens to Euphemia in Code Geass when she begins her Geass-induced massacre.
- In episode 5 of Kiddy Grade, "Day / Off", Eclair's Super Strength suddenly activates while at a fancy restaurant with a friend. She accidentally starts a fight, in which her dress is torn immediately. "Aw, and this was a new one!"
- In the first season of Slayers, Lina and co. has to disguise themselves to sneak onto a ship to where the Big Bad was waiting. Along the way, they bump into a dragon. So, she does this just before fighting. Since this was episode 17, Gourry has to do this as well.
- Azaka does this in the 6th Kara no Kyoukai movie, since her school uniform is essentially a nun's habit and pretty restrictive.
- Done by Galatea in Claymore in the fight against Clarice and Miata (chapter 74).
- One Piece: In the Alabasta Arc, Nami tears the skirt of her Dancing Girl Outfit in order to fight better against the assassin Ms. Doublefinger.
- In the last few episodes of Pumpkin Scissors, Alice goes to a fancy ball with her fiancé, Lionel. She dresses up very nicely for the event, but when a mob shows up, intending to kill a certain philandering Lord and the other guests too, she challenges that Lord to a duel to keep the bloodshed to a minimum. He calls forth two assassins as proxies instead of fighting her himself. After fighting for a while in her fancy dress and heels, the hem of her skirt is cut/torn by her opponent, and she pauses long enough to tear it shorter and more even, so as not to trip on the ragged end.
- Pai does this in the Virtua Fighter anime.
- One of the female reporters does this in the H-anime Weather Girl.
- The flashback chapter of Sgt. Frog that shows how Momoka and Tamama met shows Momoka doing this as she rushes to save Tamama from an alien attack dog.
- In Highschool of the Dead, Saeko does this to the school doctor.
- Lucy in Fairy Tail did this when she fought Juvia.
- Saya and Diva of Blood+ rip their dresses during their final confrontation.
- Likewise, Saya in Blood-C does this to give herself a makeshift Eyepatchof Power.
- Charlotte does this during the Griffith Rescue Mission arc in Berserk.
- Being Genre Savvy, Modesty Blaise has invested in a skirt with Velcro instead of stitches on one side so it can be removed quickly. If she happens to be wearing something else when the mooks of the day surround her and ask her to step into their car, she'll do an Action Dress Rip and (sometimes) complain that she just bought it later. Modesty Blaise ditches both her skirt and her high heels before the fight in several episodes. She could have named this trope... except that, as noted, she typically removes the skirt entirely rather than just rip it open.
Films — Animation
- The Princesses in Shrek the Third.
- Merida of Brave does this so she can shoot during the archery contest. Not the skirt, but the back, shoulders and sleeves... pretty much by flexing, quite realistically.
- Charlotte Pickles does this at one point in Rugrats Go Wild!.
Films — Live-Action
- Indiana Jones ripped off part of Marion's dress in Raiders of the Lost Ark.
- A variation occurs in Licence to Kill, where Pam's evening gown zips off at the knee.
- The same variation occurs in Charlie's Angels, where Dylan strips off the bottom half of her ballgown to reveal more action-friendly leather pants.
- Occurs in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow before Polly starts running away from the robots attacking New York City. She carefully rips the side hems of her longish, straight skirt — but leaves on the heels.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: After switching places during time travel, April O' Neil wears Kenshin's samurai outfit in feudal Japan. Later, after escaping from the dungeon with the Turtles, we see her ripping part of the samurai clothing off by the lake while Leo and Donatello are looking.
- Hel in Bitch Slap.
- A male version in The Hunted, in which a 20th-century samurai rips off his own shirt sleeves half-way through a fight with a band of ninjas, in order to give himself proper freedom of movement.
- In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie, Buffy rips off the bottom 2/3 of her prom dress, when she has to fight off the vampires that attacked the senior prom.
- Occurs in Night Of The Living Dead 3 D as Barb attempts to flee from a horde of zombies. She doesn't ditch the high heels, though.
- Played with in the Russian miniseries Catherine's Musketeers, where the dresses of the protagonist Action Girls are specially designed to be easily convertible.
- In Snow White & the Huntsman, the Huntsman does this to Snow White's dress when they're trekking through the forest.
- In The Lone Ranger, Rebecca tears the bottom off her dress before crawling along the outside of the train.
- Jane in Austenland has been riding sidesaddle, but needs to ride astride to outrun a rainstorm. In this case the dress is ripped vertically. (She still has some kind of long underwear to conceal her legs.)
- In Machete Kills, Miss San Antonio slices a long line down her skirt so she can move freely.
- In the classic suspense movie Arabesque Gregory Peck tears open the side seam of Sophia Loren's tight skirt so she can ride a horse.
- Xena: Warrior Princess
- In an episode which has Xena and Gabrielle reincarnated in the modern day, the reincarnated Xena does this, signaling the moment that she's stepping into her previous incarnation's shoes and is about to kick serious ass.
- She also did this in Season 1 episode "Chariots of War".
- She does this any time she has to dress nice, like the time she and her princess lookalike have to "Freaky Friday" Flip because princess lookalike is being hunted by assassins.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer
- Buffy does this in "Hell's Bells", tearing her bridesmaid dress before fighting the demonized Stewart Burns when he attacks Anya.
- And in "Flooded" during a fight in the bank, when she has dressed up to get a loan. Buffy's Pre-Asskicking One-Liner becomes a Failed Attempt at Drama because she can't kick a rampaging demon. Said demon punches her onto a table, where she borrows a letter opener to fulfill this trope.
- Glory does this in "Tough Love," after a Flechette Storm tears up her red dress. She rips it off to reveal a black nightie.
- In the Chuck episode "Chuck Versus the Ring", Sarah Walker does this to her bridesmaid dress as she prepares to take on Fulcrum agents.
- On Burn Notice, Michael's ingenious plan for escape involves ripping Fi's very nice and expensive dress, much to her dismay.
- Zev does in the pilot episode of Lexx.
- Miu from Kamen Rider Fourze does this to her own prom dress as she and Shun race off to help out the other members of the Kamen Rider Club.
- In the Star Trek: Enterprise episode "Precious Cargo", Princess Kaitaama deliberately rips her dress before getting into an escape pod with Trip Tucker.
- In Castle Falkenstein, the heroine does this to a Worth of Paris gown when attacked at a ball (and it is mentioned as a standard tactic for female characters who are attacked at formal affairs).
- World of Darkness Armory mentions this as a required tactic for any female characters who feel like using an inner thigh weapon sheath/holster.
- Naomi in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. In order to run from incoming Gekko, she rips her stockings and gets rid of her shoes in other to move faster. Other than being somewhat sexier (she wasn't wearing a bra, in the first place, and left her lab coat unbuttoned. Plus if you got a stocking foot fetish well...), it doesn't have anything to do with the plot.
- This happens in Tomb Raider Legend when Lara Croft visits Japan in a very fetching Little Black Dress. The Yakuza show up, and Lara dives for cover behind the bar so she can strategically rip her skirt and strap gun holsters to her thighs.
- Unfortunately averted in the "Dreamcatcher" module for Neverwinter Nights, in which your Love Interest (be she Anera or Teira) will trot ahead back to your bedroom to change before going into action.
- Joanna Dark in Perfect Dark, when a reception at the Carrington Institute has some unwelcome visitors.
- Calista does so in The Last Story when the Gurak attack Lazulis Castle during her engagement announcement. Though five minutes later, you pass by her room and she can duck in to change into something more appropriate.
- You also get to keep the torn dress as a piece of armor exclusive to Calista. It has appalling stats and can't be upgraded, but keeps its Fanservice appeal and can even be dyed different colors!
- Red of Transistor wore a floor-length gold dress as a singer. Once the game proper starts, she tears it off at the thigh.
- Officer Hipbone in Girly doesn't destroy her dress, but when a below-the-knee hem rises way above the knee, she thanks the attacker and does a ludicrously high kick to destroy him.
- Done by Irene Adler in Mayonaka Densha when the lights go out in the museum, while chasing a criminal. Subverted by Jessica Queen who manages to kick some ass and keep her dress intact.
- Averted in Sluggy Freelance when Torg and Gwynn, out on a pseudo-date, have to run when the cops show up. Gwynn responds, "Like I'm going to run in this dress." She then proceeds to slowly shuffle away.
- Fey Winds, Kit ditches her fancy dress when the fighting begins. Inexplicably, Nigel also strips.
Sid: Why did Nigel take off all of his clothes, too?
Larina: I... don't know. Solidarity?
- In RPG World, Cherry wears a pimped out dress to a ballroom dance. But when the bad guys attack, she rips the thing down to a miniskirt and breaks out the crossbow.
- Played with in Exiern when Tiffany's ball gown resists her best efforts.
Tiffany: (rucking up her skirt) What is this thing made of?