Kicking Ass in All Her Finery
"Kim, deciding to be badass, tosses her hat into the air, and proceeds to unrealistically fly around with a series of kicks and punches despite,
again, wearing the big, flowing dress."
Who says that being an ass-whupping Action Girl
means you can't wear feminine, pretty, opulent clothes? In some works, the two go hand-in-awesome-but-elegant-hand.
And no Action Dress Ripping
either. These are Impossibly Cool Clothes
, that don't get in the way
while this lady is mowing down hordes
or blowing stuff up
. Not that there can't be Clothing Damage
, but expect the clothes to be fine next episode
(barring getting a new outfit next season
What weapons she uses can vary, from martial arts (even if a skirt would be too narrow or poofy to kick someone), to conventional weapons, to even the more domestic weapons like Parasol of Pain
, Rolling Pin of Doom
, and Frying Pan of Doom
. Although with those latter three, she has to be directly attacking with them, not just conking a guy on the head.
The clothes could range from an evening dress and jewelry
, to an ultra frilly Pimped-Out Dress
. It can even count if the dress it cut to move around, like a Mini Dress Of Power
, but it also has to be otherwise too fancy to fight in.
A Sub Trope
, Rule Of Cool
, Rule of Glamorous
, Costume Porn
This trope often overlaps with Lady of War
, Badass Princess
, Ermine Cape Effect
, Battle Ballgown
(the frilled dress with armor variant, not the armor with a skirt variant), Qipao
(if she's Chinese), Silk Hiding Steel
, Action Fashionista
(if this character has several fancy outfits she fights in), Magical Girl Warrior
(although they tend to not be outright badass most of the time), Girly Bruiser
Compare Badass in a Nice Suit
, Hot Chick in a Badass Suit
, Stylish Protection Gear
, Bling of War
, Agent Peacock
(the Spear Counterpart
), Beauty Is Never Tarnished
, Real Women Don't Wear Dresses
Examples should describe the outfit and/or provide pictures.
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Anime & Manga
- Elizabeth Middleford of Black Butler is in very nice, prim and proper underwear when she mows down zombies with dual swords.
- Shenhua from Black Lagoon is a deadly assassin who's very talented with kukris and kunai. The difference between her and every other woman in the show is that she kicks ass while wearing an elegant red qipao.
- Dominion Tank Police has a scene where the Puma Twins engage the Red Commandos in a shoot out, in an upscale museum, while decked out in fancy dresses. Annapuma's AK-47 was hidden in her parasol, while Unapuma had a tommygun tucked under her skirt!
- Shiki from Kara no Kyoukai usually fights wearing a simple kimono and a red jacket for warmth. However, in part five, she instead goes for a borderline Pimped Out Kimono during the climatic battle (not to mention that she also brings a katana to it instead of her usual knife).
- The eponymous heroine of Madlax is shown wearing simple but elegant and very slick cocktail dresses more than once while kicking ass. (And once she takes her dress off to distract her pursuers).
- The eponymous heroine of Murder Princess wears a voluminous white gown. This is really an interesting case, as she became a princess through a Freaky Friday Flip, and wasn't this before the flip.
- Most of the dolls in Rozen Maiden fit this, due to their ultra frilly dresses being still worn in intense battles.
- In Fullmetal Alchemist, when Alphonse is basically abducted by Greed and his chimera, Al's beloved alchemy master Izumi calmly strolls into the sewers and beats the crap out of anyone who gets in her way. Her chosen attire for the occasion is a slinky black cocktail dress.
- Wedding Peach for being a Magical Girl show about girls in well ... wedding dresses has some moments where they fight in their full wedding dresses. Mostly the early episodes before Momoko learns the magic phrase that turns her pimped out wedding dress into a Minidress Of Power.
- In the One Piece tenth film Strong World, both Nami and Robin dress up as part of invading/infiltrating Shiki's base, as seen here◊ along with the men.
- Fujiko Mine from Lupin III has spent many a gun battle fighting in an evening dress.
- In Sailor Moon, very frequently unleashing her full power will require Usagi to transform into Princess Serenity, whose costume is an impossibly long (on a girl who doesn't even break five feet) white party dress.
- Wonder Woman was created partly to embody this. As Diana Prince, she had a lot of occasions to go out to dinner parties thrown by military brass in elegant evening gowns, jewelry, etc. She'd always have elbow-length gloves to cover up her bracelets. Sometime during the night it was almost guaranteed she would have to do some kind of ass kicking while still in her flossy attire. As Wonder Woman her original outfit included knee-length pleated culottes, which looked like a skirt most of the time unless she was doing something extremely active.
Film - Animation
- Mulan, at the end of the film, dresses like a courtesan (along with three of her fellow soldiers) to infiltrate the invaded palace.
- Shrek - Princess Fiona takes out Robin Hood and a squad of merry men single-handedly while wearing her signature green princess dress. She's quite put out when a single lock of hair is out of place after the dust settles.
- Anastasia, at the climax of the film, Anastasia defeats the Big Bad wearing a fine ballroom dress.
Film - Live Action
- Princess Vespa spends the entire Spaceballs movie wearing a Fairytale Wedding Dress. She's handed a gun to fight with, and refuses until a laser blast singes the side of her hair. Then she mows down the bad guys.
- Star Wars: Padme Amidala doesn't fight in her Impractically Fancy Outfits, but her "battle gear" is still very fine-looking and stylish.
- And her decoy fights in a fancy royal outfit-and uses it to fool the Viceroy at a vital moment.
- Her daughter Leia continues the tradition by spending the entire first movie in a simple but elegent white dress. Even when she was shooting stormtroopers and leading a prison escape.
- After a Gentleman Thief escapes her because she couldn't fight while in a dress and corset (and renders her a laughingstock as a result), Karigan from the Green Rider series makes her swordmaster teach her how to fight in finery.
- Kvothe in "Wise Man's Fear" likes cloaks so much, he learns how to fight in one. (Without spilling anything from all of his little pockets)
- At one point in Mercedes Lackey's Jinx High, Diana Tregarde takes on a much larger jock, who happens to be high on PCP, while wearing a silk formal dress. As the dress was specifically designed with a full enough skirt to allow karate kicks, and she was combining the karate with her Psychic Powers, the dress survived undamaged.
- Played with in Mistborn The Original Trilogy. Heroine Vin's magical powers make her strong and mobile enough that she can fight in a fancy ballgown- if she's not averse to destroying it in the process, of course. In the second book, though, she visits a dressmaker who is accustomed to having female mistborn as customers and knows how to modify his wares to make them somewhat more practical to fight in without sacrificing elegence.
- Also played with in A Song of Ice and Fire. Brienne of Tarth, who's usually accustomed to fighting in full armour, is forced into a (rather ugly, all things considered) dress as a form of humiliation and dis-empowerment, and then thrown into a bear pit by the band of mercenaries who are holding her hostage. She's able to fend off the bear until rescue arrives, but had things played out differently she would definitely have died because a dress is not armour and she was fighting a damn bear.
Live Action TV
- In the season 1 finale of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy goes to fight The Master in her prom dress.
- In The Vampire Diaries, Katherine is always dressed to kill... and the body count is most impressive. In Season Two, she attends a costume ball in a very slinky evening dress, complete with high heels, elaborately coiffed hair, and a lovely jeweled mask. Over the course of the evening she faced down witches, bodily dragged a fledgling vampire around, fought two more vampires to a standstill, and ripped out some poor girl's spine right in the middle of the dance floor. All without so much as tearing her dress or smudging her makeup.
- Cleverly averted in the Wheel of Time, the Seanchan Empress has a wardrobe of magnificent, extravagant dresses to put any wedding gown to shame... and under then she wears black combat pants and a tunic.
- In Power Rangers RPM Summer ends up kicking ass in her wedding dress after Tenaya 7 and an army of Grinders attack her wedding.
- Before she became Molly Holly in the WWF, she was Miss Madness in WCW and regularly accompanied Randy Savage to the ring wearing an evening gown, heels, tiara and sash, but never let that from getting in the way of interfering in matches.
- Any woman who ever competed in an Evening Gown Match.
- While many female characters in Exalted can dress up and kick ass in an undeniable manner (and style), but there are several martial arts that work extra well with finery. In fact, many of the higher-level styles do not work in armor, and one - Dreaming Pearl Courtesan Style - specifically uses fans, sashes, shawls, and the like as its style weapons.
- Cecille of Arc Rise Fantasia punched her way through enemies, while wearing a fancy blue dress. The sisters Paula and Luna use weapons, but still fancy clothes. Luna uses a very pretty Parasol of Pain.
- Rachel Alucard in BlazBlue wears a frilled up Elegant Gothic Lolita dress, in a Fighting Game.
- Helena of Dead Or Alive has a few dresses made a very fancy materials, including silk and lace.
- Lei-fang's standard attire is a Qipao.
- Kokoro as well with her default elegant kimono that she fights in.
- Princess Rozalin of Disgaea 2 starts out as a Princess Classic, and always has her frilly dress with large bows, but as she learns to fight, she becomes deadly with firearms. And that's not even getting to the Superpowered Evil Side of her past life.
- Sapphire of Disgaea 3 has an outfit that's basically pants and a jacket (to help make it easy to fight as a Badass Princess), but still elegant and fancy enough to count.
- Entirely viable in much of The Elder Scrolls series. Find or buy a Pimped-Out Dress, pump it full of enchantments, and go to town. In games that let you enchant an item with an increase to the wearer's armor rating, the dress can even be made to function almost exactly like armor.
- The Prince class in Etrian Odyssey III has a princess option◊, and they tend to be strong fighters as well as opulently dressed.
- Peach from the Mario franchise. On those occasions when she does kick ass, like the Super Smash Bros. instance below, she is usually doing so in her iconic pink dress.
- The heroine of Princess Crown wears an armored, but fancy, gown.
- Ada Wong in Resident Evil 4 wears an elegant cheongsam dress, that has butterflies embroidered with gold thread, while kicking butt.
- The ladies of the Soul Calibur series often have elegant outfits. Special mention goes to Cassandra◊ and Amy◊.
- Rose from Street Fighter. Her standard outfit is an evening dress with pumps and a Scarf of Asskicking. It doesn't deter her in the slightest. (and in some Street Fighter IV ports, you can download even prettier dresses for her.)
- In the Super Smash Bros. games, Peach and Princess Zelda qualify for this trope, if rarely in their series proper. They battle in their standard series royal dresses.
- Lady Jane of the Time Splitters games runs around shooting at bad guys, while wearing an evening dress and fur-trimmed coat◊.
- There are levels in some Tomb Raider games where Lara wears formalwear. One particularly good example when she's at a party in Legend (which also averts Combat Stilettos; She removes them and goes barefoot).
- Many MMO s, especially free ones have wedding dresses and other finery for sale or craftable. Some examples are Final Fantasy XI's Wedding Dress Set or Star Wars Galaxies Grand Ball Gown which can be worn anytime anywhere even when fighting. Some games like Eden Eternal this is largely the way they make cash selling fashion items like Maid Outfits and Fairy Dresses that even have stat boosts to help in combat.
- With Star Wars: The Old Republic, the Consular's (especially the Sage sub-class) outfits look like they came from Queen Amidala's garage sale, and you're crossing every kind of landscape and warzone laying waste to Sith in what amounts to a ballgown.
- In Fear Effect 2, Hana has to infiltrate a high-class party in order to find some information for her current mission. She eventually ends up in a gunfight while wearing her evening gown. Before she goes into the party though, her partner Rain questions her choice in attire, sarcastically asking why she doesn't just walk in naked. Hana responds by saying that she'd only have room to hide one gun if she did that. Let that sink in for a moment...
- A staple of the Tales Series, and not just for the ladies. Games with alternate costumes will often include fancy high-class outfits that the character(s) will not only walk around in, but continue to wear while kicking ass in battle. Examples include Symphonia and Legendia, both of which provide this option for almost every playable character (the latter only has the outfits in battle though; they wear their normal outfits on the field for some reason).
- When in Final Fantasy VIII you get Edea into your party, she'll be in her Pimped-Out Dress you know and love. Subverted in that her standard attack weapon is a some kind of weak telekinetic punch and her main weapon is magic.
- Subverted by Karma's /joke emote in League of Legends. "This dress may have been impractical."
- Lili from Tekken who kicks ass wearing a fine white dress.
- Nina William fights in a Qipao.
- In Fire Emblem: Awakening, the DLC Bride class is usable by all of the females in the game and lets them head to the battlefield in an elegant Fairytale Wedding Dress. They can either support with a staff, or demonstrate the trope to the fullest by fighting with a lance or a bow.
- In the Fighting Game Persona 4 Arena, Mitsuru wears a long, white fur coat, so overlapping with Pretty in Mink and Badass Longcoat.
- In Fallout New Vegas, you can give Veronica a pretty dress. She is overjoyed and teaches you a special unarmed move in return. In the Dead Money DLC, you can obtain a slinky leg-showing cocktail dress from Vera's suite.
- Aya Brea of Parasite Eve starts the game in a little black dress, platforms, and ... well, first playthrough, a police-issue sidearm. Second? She could be packing a rifle. Justified since she's on a date and intending to have a nice night at the opera, not kick ass. Afterwards, she changes into a more appropriate outfit.
- Ana and Paula in the Earthbound franchise, coupled with their pretty pink dresses.
- Solely for her appearance in Play Station All Stars Battle Royale, Fat Princess.
- Inevitable in Touhou, due to the Improbably Female Cast. Nearly all characters wear Lolita style frilly dresses. And they can all kick ass.
- Saber of the Fate/stay night series likes wearing fine dresses, even if they are armored.