Girliness Upgrade

Left: Dora the Explorer.
Right: Dora the Valley Girl.

Our heroine is a tomboy — rough and tumble, as interested in fashion as she is interested in watching paint dry. However, in the reboot or in the doll, she becomes a girly girl. Often complete with princess dress or at least a Pimped-Out Dress, tween fashion and long hair, often with hair decorations.

Notice that the girl is often aged up — from little girl to tween. (Ironically, tweens are often less feminine than little girls — tweens are at the stage of life where the dresses and cuteness are ditched for a more mature style.)

Compare/contrast Fanservice Pack. May overlap with Progressively Prettier.

Unlike Chickification, this trope doesn't necessarily mean she becomes weaker. The trick is that the girl becomes more dainty-looking, but keeps at least a good part of her core personality underneath the skirts and make-up. Bottom Line: this trope and Chickification DO NOT OVERLAP, so take any examples of Chickification to the page itself.

Almost always overlaps with Hotter and Sexier. See also Spirited Young Lady.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Sora from Digimon Adventure went from dressing as a tomboy and into things like soccer, to Digimon Adventure 02, where she started dressing girlier, switching hobbies to the more traditionally "feminine" sport of tennis, and in the end grew up to be a fashion designer.
  • An interesting variation occurs in the manga Ice Revolution when karate champion Masaki arranges her own Girliness Upgrade by switching to figure skating, which she views as a prettier, more feminine form of athleticism. She manages to secure her macho father's support only by proving that a "girly" activity like figure skating is a physical sport every bit as demanding as karate (as it is.) Ironically, she scores poorly every time she tries to skate a program that emphasizes femininity instead of athleticism.
  • Happens to Itsuki in HeartCatch Pretty Cure! as part of her Character Development. She starts out hiding her love of stuffed animals and desire to doll up in cute clothing behind a masculine exterior, out of a desire to be a respected martial artist like her Ill Boy twin brother Satsuki. After joining the Fashion Club (and later, becoming a Cure herself), she learns that it's alright for her to enjoy both martial arts and cute things (helped by Satsuki begining to get better). Eventually she grows her hair out a bit and starts wearing the female uniform during the finale.
  • When she was younger, Hungary was a Cute Bruiser Bokukko who thought she was a boy. As she grew up, she graduated to a Team Mom who wears frilly dresses and flower Hair Decorations. Notably, she actually Took a Level in Badass while becoming more feminine and maternal: as a Team Mom Meido Hungary is physically stronger than she used to be as a Cute Bruiser Bokukko... only that she looks girlier when she does so.
  • Fairy Tail: Mirajane underwent this process before the story begins; Lucy is shocked to learn that Fairy Tail's resident Team Mom and Yamato Nadeshiko used to be bitter rivals with Badass Action Girl Erza. It's explained that this happened due to the disappearance of Mirajane and Elfman's younger sister, Lisanna.
  • Ukyou Kuonji from Ranma ˝ decides to try wearing the girls's uniform and acting girlier after she becomes concerned that Ranma considers her just One of the Boys. While she does manage to attract a lot of "who's the new girl" attention from the other Furinkan students (at least until they realize it's just Ukyo) Ranma only wants to know why she's acting so weird. Once Ukyo realizes that Ranma likes her fine just the way she is she decides to just be herself. She does wear the girl's uniform at least once afterwards (and lampshades it in the original, though not in the English dub) but she doesn't act any girlier wearing it.
  • Takatsuki from Wandering Son was treated as a transsexual boy for most of the run and showed general dysphoria and a disdain for feminine things. Part way during high school Takatsuki became a model but started androgynous. Eventually Takatsuki grows her hair out, begins wearing girl's clothes, decides not to transition and leans more toward Girly Girl than Bifauxnen tomboy.
  • Asuka Sugo and Kyouko Aoi from Future GPX Cyber Formula. Asuka starts off as a Tsundere, while Kyouko starts off as a Rich Bitch manager. Both become more girly and more like full-grown women as the series goes on.

    Comic Books 

  • Empath: The Luckiest Smurf's version of Sassette goes from her original tomboy appearance to a girl in a T-shirt, pink pants, and a pink ribbon bow on her head instead of a Smurf hat. Compare this to this.

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 

  • Scarlet from The Ultra Violets gets a very minor one in book 2, Power to the Purple! She begins wearing a tutu with her rocker shirt, wears ballet shoes with pride, and auditions as Little Orphan Annie in the school play. She's also much more comfortable with her dancing superpowers. She can still and does beat the crap out of bullies, though.
  • Vin in Mistborn: The Original Trilogy undergoes a couple of these over the course of the story. She starts out as a street thief who habitually dresses as much like a boy as possible to keep the men from getting interested in her, gets recruited by the heroes and given dresses and courtliness training as part of a plot to infiltrate the nobility, then still later becomes a master of them in her own right. Since her Badass level is also going through the roof during this transition, this is definitely not Chickification.
  • The Doctor Who New Adventures books subjected Ace to this - a strong-jawed tough-girl punk in the show, a Spy Catsuit-wearing babe on the book covers.
  • The Capitol does this to Katniss in The Hunger Games.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Smallville, Chloe gradually goes through this in season six and seven, ever since she starts dating Jimmy Olsen. In worse episodes it borders on Chickification. Like the opening scene of Quest. Sleeper may count - fans seems divided on whether it is So Bad, It's Good or is a one-episode Dork Age.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: Actually reversed with Counselor Troi in the sixth season, when hardass substitute captain Jellico orders her out of her informal and rather revealing jumpsuits and into a standard Starfleet uniform.
    • Despite Jellico leaving, Troi's uniform change stuck. Some fans consider it an improvement.
  • iCarly devoted an episode to this, with Carly trying to help Sam become more girly. She was back to normal by the end of the episode, because Status Quo Is God.
    • Also inverted it in an episode where Carly tries to stay with Spencer. Carly turns herself into a punk chick with full black clothing, metal spikes and chains, and a streak of blue hair.
  • Hannah Montana generally did this to Lily as the show wore on. When she first showed up, she was a skateboard riding tomboy, by the end she's as girly as Hannah.
  • Primeval:
    • Claudia Brown was mostly dressed in business suits in Season 1. She's replaced by Jenny Lewis in Season 2 - a journalist who is always shown dolled up and wearing the latest fashions. By Season 3 she's wearing a few outfits more sensible for hunting dinosaurs however.
    • Abby Maitland was a bit of a punk-rock Tomboy for the first three seasons - with Boyish Short Hair. After being trapped in the Cretaceous Period for a year, her hair grew out long and she kept it after she returned. She also got a few more feminine outfits, though this was downplayed overall.
  • Played with in an episode of Laverne and Shirley where Laverne tries to attract a guy by dressing and behaving in a more feminine manner. It doesn't change who she is inside, and she ultimately decides she would rather be herself.
  • Patricia on House of Anubis. She's the cool goth who says what she thinks, does what she wants and scares the rest of the students in all three seasons, but come season 2 her personality started to soften up overall. What happened? Well, she met Eddie and started to turn a bit nicer.
    • Not to mention the whole near death mystery stuff and the power of friendship. If those things can't begin to chip away at someone's icy shell, nothing can.
  • A rare Super Sentai example: Mako Shiraishi from Samurai Sentai Shinkenger starts off as a Lethal Chef. By the time her cooking skills come out better as the series progresses, she might fit in this trope.
  • One Tree Hill did it to Peyton, Brooke & Hayley between seasons 4 & 5. Rather than being done to make them more feminine, it was instead done to show them as more mature than the prior season due to a 4 year Time Skip.
  • Step by Step: Al starts off as a tough tomboyish girl who is into sports like her brothers and has a Tomboy and Girly Girl dynamic with her stepsister Karen (an aspiring model Brainless Beauty). However she becomes more feminine as time goes by, and by the end she's every bit as girly, fashionable and boy crazy as Karen. This is mostly because actress Christine Lakin grew up into a beautiful young woman during puberty and the producers wanted to take advantage of her physical attractiveness.
  • Roseanne: In the first seasons, Darlene was a sports-obsessed tomboy who always had her hair tied back into a tight braid to give a boyish appearance. Then she becomes a depressed gothic chick, wearing black all the time. After falling in love with David, she becomes more girly and starts wearing dresses more often.
  • Ami in Sailor Moon was always portrayed with Boyish Short Hair. In the live action her civilian self has long hair and, while her Sailor costume has the short blue hair, it's in a much more feminine style than the anime and manga. Ami's character also gets upgraded from just The Smart Guy to also being The Heart as well. Inverted, however, with Makoto, when she always has the status of the resident Tomboy, she never actually acted masculine, it is her size and strength what makes her tough, but in this show she tends to act more butchy and never wears skirts or dresses, while in the manga and anime she dresses as girly as the rest of the girls.
  • Punky Brewster was a tomboy up until midway through the third season (first syndicated season—the first two aired on NBC) when she falls for a boy some six years older than she is. From that point, Punky's tomboy days had become history. This was most likely manifested in an early season three episode when Allen leaves, which makes Punky cry.
  • Grace Black in Hollyoaks started out as a businesslike, ruthless crook determined to make her mark in the male-dominated world of organised crime (while her sister Clare had been known as a Femme Fatale.) When it turned out that viewers preferred the actress's natural warmth over the character that had been written for her, Grace got a new, more "feminine" look and became softer; with her storylines shifting focus to her home life with boyfriend Trevor and desire to have a baby. Even her shot in the opening credits changed to a pink background instead of black.

  • Rachel Stevens commented on this after she began her solo career. She remarked that in S Club 7 she had mostly worn jeans and t-shirts in her videos but wore much more make-up and feminine outfits in her solo videos (not to mention getting a lot more provocative).
  • In the beginnings of Girls Aloud's musical career, they were dressed in fatigues and tomboyish clothing. As their singles progressed, they began to wear more make-up and feminine outfits. Compare their images in "The Promise" to "Sound of the Underground" and the difference is astounding.
  • To a lesser extent Atomic Kitten wore casual clothes in their first few music videos. After Jenny Frost joined the band, they received this along with a Fanservice Pack. In all their videos they would be shown with styled hair, more make-up and more fashionable clothes.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • As her career went on, Aja Kong got progressively more monstrous and until her appearance at Future Of Wrestling as "Erica". This would later be taken Up to Eleven at Fighting Opera Hustle, wear she got valentine shaped blush stickers painted on her face and started handing out flowers to audience members.
  • Chyna already had gone through plenty of Fail Polish by the end of the year 2000. Then all of a sudden when she entered the women's division her ring gear became more feminine and she lost weight as well as wearing dresses and high heels backstage.
  • Gail Kim went from cackling masked villain, to antisocial rogue, to a vague Matrix type gimmick to...proclaiming herself the most beautiful woman in pro wrestling.
  • Natalya Neidhart suddenly got very pretty at the end of 2010 where she was seen dolled up to the nines any time she wasn't wrestling. Her partner Beth Phoenix got in on this around mid-2011. The Bella Twins actually commented on this in their shoot interview, stating that they taught Nattie how to do the "Diva thing" while they were training - as she was not used to making public appearances.
  • Inverted with both of the Chick Busters. According to Kaitlyn, when they were on NXT AJ was not allowed to wear Chuck Taylors and Kaitlyn herself was forbidden from wearing a dress that "wasn't colourful enough". She says that management wanted all of the Divas to wear sparkly dresses. But as time went on, both of them developed their own signature styles - and became popular for their Lad Ette sense of style.
  • In 2011, El Brazo, a relatively short but burly man known for twisting arms, joined the ranks of AAA's exoticos as "La Braza". Exoticos of course cause submission less through pain than through emasculating their opponents until they are too embarrassed to continue.
  • Also inverted with Nikki Bella. After the Bella Twins Heel-Face Turn in 2013, the two started exploring different styles for themselves. Nikki opted for more tomboyish looking wrestling outfits (a t-shirt, baseball cap and soccer socks) and a more power-based offence. Though in a weird way, Brie played this straight - wearing her hair in girlier styles and favouring outfits with ruffles on them. This gave the twins a Tomboy and Girly Girl dynamic.

  • Kit of the American Girl doll line is mentioned to despise pink and, in the books is the Tomboy to her best friend Ruthie's Girly Girl. For the most part, her line has kept this, but when The Film of the Book came out, her blue school outfit and pajamas were both slowly phased out for girlier, pinker outfits that would be much more in-character for Ruthie to own... despite Ruthie herself getting her own doll and line of clothes.
  • Troll Dolls- cute gender neutral toys have now become fashion loving tweens called Trollz.
  • My Little Pony was meant to be gender neutral according to Zachelere. Hasbro disagreed but early media was still roughly unisex. As you get deeper and deeper into The '80s the characters and media became more feminine and girl geared. By G3, which is from The Noughties, it didn't even have male ponies.

    Video Games 
  • Kairi from Kingdom Hearts is rather tomboyish in the original game, but becomes more feminine (with longer hair, a pink outfit, and whatnot) when a year passes in Kingdom Hearts II.
  • Brigette, the young host of Pokémon Box Ruby and Sapphire, used to look a lot more like a tomboyish teenage girl in her first appearance, as she had short hair, a Dangerously Short Skirt, and brown sandals. When she reappeared as the host for Pokémon Bank, she was given a more feminine redesign, with a dress, longer hair, and girlier green sandals; she still looks a bit like a tomboy, but far less so.
  • In Robopon, several Robopon became more feminine and cute in Moon, and in 2.
  • In the Banjo-Kazooie franchise, Kazooie originally looked much more tomboyish which was guilty of many players' Viewer Gender Confusion. In the later installment, Nuts And Bolts, she appears a lot more feminine and curvy.
  • In Five Nights at Freddy's 2, Toy Chica is much more feminine than the original Chica from Five Nights at Freddy's, with a slimmer, curvier figure, long eyelashes, and even a pair of pink short shorts.
    • The original Chica also appears in 2 and actually looks less feminine than before, but since it's either a possible prequel or one of the Bite of '87 victim's many nightmares , this is another straight example.

    Western Animation 
  • Rainbow Brite: Rainbow Brite's 2009 doll redesign includes thinner waists, longer hair, and more sparkle. It unsurprisingly bombed and only lasted a few months in stores.
  • Dora the Explorer: Princess Dora doll, and new Dora dolls that feature an older Dora with longer hair, a headband, a dress, and tights. Although it's not unreasonable, given that she's now "Tween Dora" and has aged a few years.
  • Strawberry Shortcake:
    • Updated from a round cupcake country-cottage look to a cute tomboy to a long haired strawberry blond tween.
    • Raspberry Torte (originally "Raspberry Tart") was originally just as feminine as the other girls but was made into a sporty tomboy for the 2003 reboot. The 2009 reboot made her a Girly Girl.
  • In the first of the My Little Pony TV Specials, Megan looked like someone who could reasonably work on a ranch, with jeans, boots, a gingham shirt, vest, and a Tomboyish Ponytail. In later G1 My Little Pony works, she has frilly blue overalls, a slightly puffy, white shirt, and her ponytails is longer and wavier and tied with a pink ribbon.
    • This happens a lot with the toys based on My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. Tomboys Applejack and Rainbow Dash sport Tareme Eyes and come with pink frilly hair accessories. Applejack's hat is notably absent from almost all toys. Pinkie Pie's tangled mess of a mane is perfectly groomed, and several Princess Celestia toys are pink even though the box art depicts her as white.
    • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls went this route, most infamously with Applejack and Rainbow Dash. Their personalities and roles remained pretty much the same as their pony counterparts. Notably their default outfits had skirts on them (though it should also be said that their pony counterparts didn't mind wearing dresses every now and then).
  • Gwen from Ben 10 was this after the time skip. Her original series incarnation was a sharp-tongued 10 years old smart girl with slightly tomboyish characteristics (mainly martial art skills, short hair, and temper). Her Alien Force incarnation, while retaining the intellectual personality and remaining a competent Action Girl, has an obvious more feminine appearance, is less of a Deadpan Snarker and more calm and responsible (at least in the first two seasons), becoming something of a Team Mom, and has a All Girls Want Bad Boys relationship with Kevin. In some episodes she is pretty much just a Satellite Love Interest to Kevin.
  • Lola Bunny is an interesting variation. She went from being a no nonsense Passionate Sports Girl in Space Jam to a bubbly, airheaded Valley Girl in The Looney Tunes Show. However this is one of the rare cases where Girliness Upgrade doesn't overlap with Hotter and Sexier, as her original Space Jam character was nothing more than a tomboyishly beautiful sex symbol with not many defining traits other than "sexy" and "athletic", while her Looney Tunes Show counterpart is cute and girly but not overtly sexual or seductive, and has a real funny personality, without being just a Ms. Fanservice.
  • Invoked in the Mike, Lu & Og episode "For the Love of Mike". When tomboy Mike's increasingly dirty methods of trying to keep Haggis and Baggis Cuzzlewit away only make them more attracted to her, Mike decided to do the opposite and girls herself up with a pretty dress, lipstick and perfume. It works.
  • Recess:
    • In the mid-2000s, Disney Channel gave Spinelli, the tomboyish female lead, a bit of one when she appeared in promos for the show. The advertisements only featured her, and she spoke like a borderline Valley Girl. This also happened when Disney Channel was going through their own girliness upgrade. This version of Spinelli went as quick as she came in.
    • Gretchen gets one in an episode where she hangs around with Ashley A. She's shown getting her hair styled and wearing more colourful outfits.
  • There was an attempt to do this with The Powerpuff Girls once. Blossom and Bubbles are both Girly Girls however the tomboyish Buttercup received a huge Girliness Upgrade. All the girls were made taller and skinner, were given makeup, and have "girlier" hair. These versions were placed on things like makeup bags, and they had more emphasis on "girly" activities like shopping and makeup. It didn't seem to stick aaround for long so it's hard to find anything on the internet regarding this phase though. For reference, here's the redesign.
    • Reportedly, Craig McCracken was not pleased with this at all, so there's little wonder it didn't stick.
    • This was parodied in a timeskip episode where Buttercup grows up to be a shopping obsessed Valley Girl. She and her sisters end up trying to hit on the Rowdyruff Boys while Townsville is under attack.

    Real Life 
  • Joan of Arc's image in media is often given this, portraying her as a Lady of War and often with long hair. In reality, Joan was a downright Sweet Polly Oliver who wore men's clothes for several reasons: not being seen as inferior by the troops, not having privilege over them, avoid possible rape attempts, etc.
  • In some ways and circumstances, most 1920s flappers evolved into 1930s sirens. The same way could apply to 1940s workwomen evolving into 1950s housewives.
  • While Gwen Stefani had always been known for having a very unique and eclectic sense of style, many noted that around the time No Doubt went on hiatus (which was also the time she started her solo career and began developing her fashion line,) there seemed to be a sharp from tomboyish to more glamorous and feminine.