One of these is not like the others.
This is where the most beautiful member of a group of people (who just so happens to be Always Female
) gets sexier clothing because of their sex appeal. If the group wears a standard uniform, hers will be modified to show off her body. This very often has little to do with the plot: The costume designer is simply having fun dressing up the sexy one. Can be interpreted as Fanservice
See also Not Distracted by the Sexy
, where the sexy character is dressed inappropriately and neither other castmates, the elements nor the plot ever notice or care.
Often applies to The Chick
or The Vamp
(even if other female characters wear more standard clothing), as well as The Hero
. Anyone fairly sexy, really.
of Rule of Sexy
Despite this trope's name, it is more likely to be a Nonuniform Uniform
than a flat-out Custom Uniform
, meaning it will still have elements of the standard outfit despite showing more skin.
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Anime and Manga
- Think of any universe in which more than one superhero exists: Marvel Universe, The DCU, Ultimate Marvel, etc. More often than not, there'll be a dozen or more people wearing Underwear of Power or Leotards of Power or less and this will be totally irrelevant to the plot and may not even be acknowledged by anyone.
- Lampshaded in Watchmen, where the Silk Spectre complains about her Lycra suit's dehumanizing nature.
- Originally completely averted by Susan Storm/Richards of the Fantastic Four, who wore first street clothes, then a uniform essentially identical to her teammates'. (Tailored to fit, but not to be skintight or anything.) Since then, there have been occasional exceptions. The most notable being the period in the Dark Age where she wore a thong and the "4" on her chest was cut into a Cleavage Window. The ludicrousness of the look was pointed out quite a bit. Even Reed chided her for "traipsing around half-naked in that ridiculous new costume". It was later revealed that she was under subtle mind control...or something. There have been other times where she wore a feminized version of the Fantastic Four uniform, but they managed to be both flattering and tasteful.
- When She-Hulk joined the team, her uniform was a mild invocation of this trope. The only difference between it and the standard Fantastic Four uniform was the bare arms and legs.
- The X-Men have some examples of this in the few instances where they wear matching uniforms:
- The original New Mutants costumes were nearly identical for boys and girls, except that the "turtleneck" was yellow for the boys, and black for the girls, suggesting a mildly different neckline, while actually being just as modest.
- Emma Frost is the most notable, even in her Generation X days. Her version of a standard uniform, until Marvel Now, always white, always shows more skin, and usually comes with Combat Stilettos. This probably has the most in-character significance, since it shows her willingness to bend the rules and use sexuality as a weapon. As of Marvel Now her uniforms are black, and slightly less overtly sexy.
- When Storm briefly took to the X-Men's "street" look in the early 2000's, she wore the standard Xavier Institute sweater with a microskirt and thigh-high boots.
- Jean Grey did it first, of course. When the original X-Men first revamped their looks, the biggest difference was Jean's feminized version of the standard uniform: the hood was replaced by a mask that let her hair flow free, and the neckline plunged to show a little cleavage (in case you're wondering, the green miniskirt came later, but all the X-Men had their own look then).
- Aayla Secura in Star Wars wears a midriff-baring top and jeans, at odds with the traditional Jedi robes. She's not breaking any rules, though - the robes aren't mandatory and the robes themselves aren't uniform from Jedi to Jedi. The main reason she is dressed that way is because she's a Twilek, who traditionally wear less clothing. Compared to other Twilek females, she's exceptionally modest.
- This appears to be common among various-skinned alien space babes in the Order, given that Ahsoka also dresses like that.
- Lampshaded in Galaxy Quest:
Gwen: My TV Guide interview was six paragraphs about my boobs and how they fit into my suit!
- In Down Periscope, shipmates of Lt. Lake give her one by sabotaging her laundry.
Dodge: Lt. Lake, you are almost out of uniform.
Live Action TV
- Doctor Who:
- In the episode The Doctor's Daughter, the Doctor's daughter, Jenny, is dressed in a tight shirt and trousers when she appears from the cloning machine (don't ask) as opposed to the baggy jumpsuits every other clone is wearing. Why? Because it's sexy.
- In The Seeds of Death all the male technicians wear hideous, shapeless jumpsuits. Miss Kelly, on the other hand, gets figure-hugging Future Spandex.
- Cited, although in not as few words, by the production team as the reason for the Cyber-kini in the Torchwood episode "Cyberwoman".
- Stargate Atlantis episode "Critical Mass," not clothing, but hair. A recurring guest star playing a female Marine, Lieutenant Cadman, while in uniform on-duty, spends the entire episode with fairly-long hair hanging loose. Director audio commentary on the season set discs says this was done because it looked good. Never mind the fact that a real military female would never have her hair that way on-duty. Given they were frequently asked to cut Amanda Tapping's hair when it got too long on SG-1 one wonders why they didn't feel the need here.
- Cadman's hair in that episode is just Rule of Sexy in action, as the commentary notes.
- And they're in another galaxy, after all. They probably get a bit lax about minor things like that from time to time. This is used as a Hand Wave when Colonel Carter shows up to run the Atlantis expedition sporting long hair.
- Most of Teyla's outfits qualify.
- Teyla usually wears standard military dress when off-world, it's just her civvies that abide by the law of Bare Your Midriff.
- Star Trek loves this trope.
- On Star Trek: Voyager, crewmembers wore Starfleet uniforms (even the Maquis, much to their initial displeasure) while Seven of Nine (who isn't even given a field commission like the Maquis) wears catsuits and high heels.
- At least this time they justified the trope by saying the outfit was needed to hold her in shape after removing most of her Borg implants. Though why she couldn't wear a regular uniform over it is never stated (might have been comfort, though that wouldn't explain the heels). The worst part was when she did wear a uniform, in "Relativity", she looked absolutely gorgeous.
- Likewise, on Star Trek: Enterprise, T'Pol habitually wears a skintight, vaguely camo-pattern catsuit even though the standard Vulcan uniform consists of loose robes. Even in the desert, she wears a skintight white jumpsuit, even though Vulcans come from a desert planet and wear loose robes in their natural environment. The custom uniform part has some justification before she joins Starfleet (she's technically a civilian citizen of another state attached to the Enterprise mission), but the sexy part... You could at least explain away Seven as being the Doctor's influence.
- And, once she joins Starfleet, she switched to a skintight, maroon or blue catsuit... with some hints of Starfleet insignia.
- In the first two seasons she actually wore a Vulcan uniform, which does not consist of robes. Various episodes showing Vulcans serving on starships all show them wearing form fitting uniforms like T'Pol. Their uniforms have much in common with TNG uniforms being essentially form fitting jumpsuits. Why she wouldn't wear a Starfleet uniform afterwards, doesn't really make sense other than it being a civilian version of the Vulcan uniform. Curiously, in the episode and alternate timeline where Archer became unable to command and T'Pol had to assume command, she did wear a full Starfleet Uniform.
- Kira Nerys from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine wore a more-or-less normal uniform in the earlier seasons of the show, similar to the uniforms worn by the Bajoran security and engineering personnel (including Odo). From season 4 onwards her uniform became more catsuit-like, with ridiculous five-inch heeled boots (with thick, non-stiletto heels, though).
- The heels were more for practicality in camera framing, though, as Nana Visitor is quite short of stature compared to her 6'-and-taller co-stars.
- And then in the last few episodes of the final season, they gave her a temporary Starfleet comission so she could serve with the Cardassian Resistance, and she looked even hotter.
- On Star Trek: The Next Generation, Deanna Troi had her famous body-hugging "cleavage suits". It's lampshaded when Jellico briefly becomes the captain of the Enterprise and tells her to get into a uniform ... and by the actress herself, who said sometime later that she much preferred the uniform, and so the character "got in the habit" of it.
- Marina Sirtis talking of her reaction to this after the fact: "I can finally breathe out and wear underwear!" - Most Star Trek fans thought she looked better in the uniform, too, so it was a win-win.
- Also on Next Generation, this was subverted in the first season: both men and women wore a "skant," a skirt-version of the familiar TNG uniform.
- In every Mirror Universe episode of any Star Trek series, the female leads are always in ridiculously over-the-top Fetish Fuel outfits.
- Classic Star Trek follows its own version, with the low-cut miniskirts worn by the female crewmen of the Enterprise.
- Lampshaded in the Deep Space Nine episode "Trials and Tribble-ations" when they go back in time to Star Trek: The Original Series and Dax makes a comment on the mini-skirt uniform. Not that she seems to mind wearing it.
- In the episode "What Are Little Girls Made Of?" Dr. Corby and his android assistants wear two-tone overalls over black shirts - except the female android, who has no shirt, leaving her breasts covered only by the overall straps.
- In Space: 1999, this trope is averted: both men and women wear identical (and rather unsexy) jumpsuits. Despite her obvious star status, Barbara Bain's character, Dr. Russel, wore the same clothes as everybody else.
- However, once Catherine Schell joined the series, suddenly her character tended to wear uniforms that were cut just enough to ramp up the sex appeal. She also was often seen wearing a skirt with her uniform, whereas Bain and other female officers generally wore pants.
- In "My Life In Four Cameras," an episode of Scrubs, JD has a lengthy fantasy about being in a cliche-filled sitcom, wherein all of the female character, save Jordan, wear titillating nurse uniforms while the men are dressed realistically. This is more a parody of other medical dramas where the women will dress in low cut tops and the like.
- V (2009): Peace ambassadors' (and their V companions') uniforms usually have a T-shirt or something underneath. Lisa's... well, it doesn't. Also, her uniform's cleavage is a bit deeper than the others'.
- In Beastmaster, the Terrons wear black leather pants and vests. Except for Akili, who wears a very abbreviated loincloth.
- In Team Starkid's Starship, the sexiest of the starship rangers, Commander Up played by Joe Walker, gets a skintight, ab-showing-off uniform.
- This point could also be made for Taz, played by Lauren Lopez, who is the only starship ranger wearing a form-fitting tank top.
- Played with in Team Kimba of the Whateley Universe. Fey, the most gorgeous girl on the team has a skintight uniform that even her teammates gawked at the first time she wore it. (But it's a superhero universe, so skintight uniforms, like Phase's, are the norm.) It's worse for Tennyo: she heals from any injury, while her costume doesn't, so she sometimes ends up half-naked or with a wardrobe malfunction.
- Also played with in Phase. Her outfit makes her figure look bigger...because of her body armor.
- In Teen Titans, the Titans don't share a uniform; however, in the episode The Quest Robin is away, and the other Titans have fun dressing up in his outfit. However, Starfire's Robin outfit is noticeably tighter than the others and bares more midriff, since she's taller than he is; on Beast Boy, who is shorter than Robin, the uniform is loose, and Cyborg can't really wear it at all. It only fits properly on Raven.
- Played with in a very minor way in The Incredibles. The family's uniforms are nearly identical, except that the female version has long gloves and high boots.
- A varation occurs in Archer. When ISIS goes into outer space, Lana still has Combat Stilettos in her spacesuit.