A lingerie scene is one in which a female character removes her clothes to reveal undergarments. This exposes (and may create or enhance) cleavage and usually quite a bit of skin, but still hides those indecent things known as nipples
, so it is not as risqué as a topless scene, while the support and figure-shaping of the garments may make the actress more attractive—in the conventional, arbitrary, damaging, and most commercially important sense of that word—than were she nude. In most cases, the titillation factor intended seems to be at least as high as if a man had gone shirtless
in the same situation.
The trope was very
common in adventure (especially Westerns), comedy and romance films from the late 1940's through the 1960's, especially in movies set in pre-20th Century periods. Movies of those genres set in the 19th century, particularly the Victorian Era
and The Edwardian Era
, were particularly prone to feature such scenes because of the elaborate design and trimming of lingerie in those periods, as well as the support and figure-shaping qualities noted above. While the Hays Code restricted the extent to which lingerie could be shown, that particular stricture was more honored in the breach than otherwise, especially as standards liberalized following World War II.
After the infamous "Nipplegate" in 2004note
, networks became very conscious of the legal costs of a nipple-slip, and started using lingerie as a substitute for nudity, especially during sex scenes. Where previously a Modesty Bedsheet
or other strategically placed objects
had ensured that nothing explicit was shown, producers now made it absolutely sure by having their female characters keep their bras (or some other undergarment) on at all times, making the Lingerie Scene
more popular than ever.
In general English use, 'lingerie' is generally taken to mean undergarments specifically intended to excite prurient interest in the intended audience (whether that audience be actual, imaginary, or just the wearer) as opposed to or beyond the basic functions of undergarments (warmth, and protection of outer clothing). The two categories are not absolutely distinct, but as a
general rule the less well an undergarment performed those basic functions or were elaborated superfluously to the requirements of such, and the less usually it were worn, the more likely it were to be in a Lingerie Scene.
The trope is Older Than Feudalism
: there are ancient Roman paintings believed to show brothel scenes, where the women are wearing brasnote
and nothing else.
A subtrope of Fanservice
. See also Vapor Wear
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Anime & Manga
- The very first anime to feature a lingerie scene was Toei Doga's Mahou No Mako Chan, (1970). An updated version of Anderson's The Little Mermaid, the series' coming-of-age motif allowed the heroine to be depicted in her underwear◊ (and even nude in several episodes).
- Once the precedent had been set in Mako, the trope became a standard feature of early seventies anime. Teenaged girls were shown disrobing◊ on the flimsiest pretexts, ostensibly for comedic value (although the Fanservice element was blunt-force obvious to the casual observer). The gratuitous stripteases were toned down considerably after 1975 (probably due to the controversies surrounding Cutie Honey), although Panty Shots still remained commonplace until the end of the decade. Typical examples include:
- The infamous To Love-Ru and it's sequel has several of these scenes.
- Lingerie scenes underwent a renaissance during the "anime explosion" of the 1980s, as sexual humor◊ began to pervade every possible genre of the artform. One of the most notable examples was Studio Pierrot's Maicchingu Machiko Sensei, in which the title character found herself publicly disrobed◊ on a weekly basis.
- Despite stiff opposition from Japanese P.T. groups, Fanservice and Ecchi became extremely popular in 80s manga and anime, even in those aimed at younger female audiences. One suspects that the Parental Bonus outweighed the moral issues at hand. Commonplace examples include:
- Lupin III has been showing females in their lingerie since the original manga. As an adult-oriented series, this was considered acceptable, and the creator went even further, undressing male and female characters. The Anime has had to be slightly more restrictive in what it can show, with a lingerie scene often becoming the most an episode/movie could offer in terms of sexual fanservice.
- Fairly common in more recent anime as well: in Minami-ke, Kana has one of these when her younger sister unexpectedly brings home company, giving the entire group an eyeful of Kana in her bra. Also occurs twice for Haruka: When she unbuttons her shirt in front of cross-dressing Makoto, giving him a nice view of her turquoise bra and ample cleavage, and another where she falls asleep after unbuttoning her shirt, then wakes up while not remembering that she is exposed, thus inadvertently giving Touma's brother ample view of her feminine attributes.
- Parodied in Urusei Yatsura. Lum normally wears a tiger-striped bikini, but in school she often wears a school uniform. There is one scene where Lum starts taking off her uniform in the middle of class to reveal the bikini, and the guys are all drooling over her until someone says, "Isn't that what she wears anyway?"
- The first time Kyon from Haruhi Suzumiya enters the SOS clubroom, Mikuru is changing inside. And that is not the only one. Haruhi changing in the class room and the second changing-scene with Mikuru.
- The more Fanservice-filled first season of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha has the underaged main character sleepily doing this◊ in front of her suddenly flustered Mentor Mascot, Yuuno.
- Any Lingerie Scene from Ranma in Ranma ½ is usually treated as a very shocking event for the cast, since "she" absolutely despises wearing women's underwear, and has only relented while under extreme duress. Oddly enough, there is a time she forgets she is wearing male underwear when trying to flash a particularly perverted Orochi.
- Mahou Sensei Negima! does this sometimes. Notably, there is a full chapter of conversation between Asuna and Setsuna, during which they are getting dressed for their upcoming battle. The conversation is apparently so engrossing that they don't realize how they are dressing until finished.
- There is also the incident where a demon appears on campus and kidnaps Asuna. When Negi goes to rescue her, she's inexplicably wearing fancy lingerie. The demon explains that it helps complete the Distressed Damsel look.
- It also seemed to have magically enhanced her bust, which the demon was gesturing towards as he made the comment.
- Mirai Nikki: Yuno has two: when she's imprisoned Yukki and chained him to a chair, and another following having sex with Yukki where she chases him around with an axe while wearing her bra and panties.
- Don't forget the time we saw Yuno in her undies... and with her dead parents's skulls.
- The second episode of Bakemonogatari had a Lingerie Scene that lasted nine minutes. Sure, Senjougahara's weightlessness made clothing feel heavy and unconfortable to her, but still...
- Occurs in Gunsmith Cats on a regular basis.
- One episode of Dirty Pair has Kei running around in a bra and panties.
- Contrary to the general consensus, this particular trope has a long and distinguished history in news-strips and comic books, particularly those of the "spicy" variety.
- Making her debut in Britain's Daily Mirror, Norman Pett's Jane (1932) usually fell out of her clothes◊ in less time than it takes to read this sentence. The "strip" continued for another 27 years.
- In a massive shift of wartime morals, Jane was allowed to go topless on the 6th June 1944 as a celebration of the D-Day landings, thus becoming the very first topless woman in a British tabloid.
- On the other side of the Atlantic, Sally the Sleuth (Adolphe Barreaux, 1934) would lose her dress somewhere on the first page, spending the remainder of the story in her underwear. Solving the crime◊ was considered an unnecessary distraction by most readers.
- By the 1940s, hotblooded American troops were being entertained by the likes of Bill Ward's Torchy◊ and Milt Caniff's Miss Lace◊ (presumably because flesh-and-blood women were unavailable on the frontline).
- In the US, lingerie scenes were effectively banned by the Comics Code in 1955, but fortunately, these restrictions didn't extend to the news industry◊. Mainstream features like On Stage, Apartment 3-G and The Heart of Juliet Jones spiced up the melodrama with the occasional striptease.
- Meanwhile, back in Merry Old England, lingerie scenes were the main drawcard of the Sunday supplement.
- More recent examples: Vicki Vale's first appearance in All-Star Batman & Robin The Boy Wonder is her strutting around her apartment in frilly pink knickers. This lasts for about three pages. The author's commentary admits, "Okay, I'm shameless. Let's go for the ass shot."
- Smurfette was seen in lingerie when she was abducted along with her fellow Smurfs in their nightclothes by the robot servant reprogrammed by the now-sentient waste disposal robot in The Smurfs comic book story "You Don't Smurf Progress". Cue drooling male Smurfs.
Films — Live-Action
- Men In Black 2. The villainess Serleena is passing through security at MIB headquarters. When she's asked for the reason for her visit to Earth she opens her coat and replies: "I'm hoping to become a Victoria's Secret model" then knocks out the guards while they're gaping at her lingerie-clad body.
- The Girl in Gold Boots features a scene in the dressing room with Joan and Michele in their underwear for no apparent reason.
- In Enemy of the State, Robert goes to a lingerie store to get something for his wife, and is assisted by models dressed in lingerie. Later in the film, he sees his wife wearing the lingerie that he bought her, and bemoans that it was meant to be a surprise present for her birthday. And it's plot relevant both times.
- Lucy Wagner (Britney Spears) in this scene in Crossroads 2002. (mildly NSFW)
- Moira's Hellfire Club infiltration technique in X-Men: First Class. And Emma Frost in most of her scenes.
- In the SF/Noir crossover Yesterday Was A Lie, Hoyle's shirt is removed in a rainstorm in order to dress a gunshot wound (see also Sexy Soaked Shirt).
- Showgirl Gobette spends much of her time in fancy Edwardian-era lingerie, ranging from peignoirs to black lace corsets with attached garters, as she wreaks havoc on Paris' men in the 1952 Italian comedy La Presidentessa.
- Flavia Geste flounces around in elaborately trimmed Edwardian-era lingerie in several scenes in The Last Remake Of Beau Geste.
- The Girl in the Ferrari (Christie Brinkley) stripping in this scene in National Lampoons Vacation. (mildly NSFW)
- Janet Weiss wears only her bra and panties throughout most of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The other female characters are mostly seen in some variation of more old-fashioned lingerie ... and so are the men at times.
- In Star Trek Into Darkness, one fanservice laden moment has the attractive Carol Marcus stripping down to her underwear to change out of one uniform and into another.
- Red Eye has a scene where somebody spills coffee on Rachel MacAdams and she has to go change her shirt, but it's actually not a fanservice moment and the camera doesn't pan down or anything. Mostly, the point of the scene is to establish a scar on her shoulder.
- An unusual one occurs in 1634: The Bavarian Crisis when the Habsburg Archduchess Maria Anna is delivered to her husband-to-be, Duke Maximillian of Bavaria. At the border, she is undressed to her shift and redressed in clothes provided by Maximillian's family, in front of the entire procession. Naturally, some of the teenage nobles present have to be kept from showing too much interest.
- The Benny Hill Show. Benny Hill is practically synonymous with the term gratuitous lingerie scene◊. Every single episode, like clockwork◊, on the flimsiest pretext imaginable◊. (mildly NSFW). The lingerie tended to get racier and skimpier as The Seventies turned into The Eighties and the powers that be grew more tolerant of nudity.
- One notable example is Sex and the City, where Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) never removes her bra during sex scenes, while her castmates do. The weird part is that in previous scenes she's usually not wearing a bra underneath her top.
- In the Doctor Who episode "Terminus", Nyssa strips down to her underwear. According to the companion novel she was feeling ill, but this is never explained in the script. This was Nyssa's last episode and the actress wanted to please the male fans.
- Later in the story, she tackles a male character to the ground and sits on him to pin him down. Still in her underwear. He doesn't look too unhappy about the whole thing.
- On Neighbours, Dichen Lachman as Katya gives us a bonzer.
- On Alias, Jennifer Garner opened an episode in lingerie while seducing an enemy agent. And this episode aired right after the Super Bowl. In another episode, her black underwear had to double as a swimsuit when she was escaping from a hotel room by diving from the window into the hotel pool.
- In this scene from the "Liquid Visions" episode of Baywatch Hawaii, Jesse Owens, Kekoa Tanke and Allie Reese strip down to their bras and panties to rescue a capsized sailboat. (mildly NSFW)
- In the pilot for the remake of Hawaii Five-0, an undercover Kono is forced to strip to her bra and panties by a criminal to prove she's not wearing a wire. Before allowing her to dress, he also takes her picture so he can check with a mole in the police department to see if she's a cop.
- Anya of Buffy the Vampire Slayer during her song-and-dance number with Xander in "Once More, With Feeling".
- Double Divas takes place mainly in a lingerie store. There are several lingerie scenes per episode.
- In the first episode of Chuck, there's a scene where Sarah in her black lingerie mixed with her loading her weapons for her date with Chuck.
- Deconstructed in Top Of The Lake (which also plays the trope straight in other cases). Middle-aged people in mismatched underwear in a non-sexual context are not particularly erotic, just underdressed.
- In the first season, Abby has to keep her flat warm for the prehistoric lizard she keeps as a pet. While at home, she wears a T-shirt, knickers, and nothing else.
- When he's staying at her flat, Connor also tries stripping down to his undershirt and boxers. This is played more for laughs than for Fanservice — and leads to a Not What It Looks Like situation when a colleague rings the doorbell and they open the door in their undies.
- NYPD Blue:
- In one of the first episodes with Det. Connie McDowell, a bar patron spilled a drink on her shirt, which made her go into the restroom and take off her shirt to clean it. She then discovered a hidden camera in the ceiling but didn't put her shirt back on until she'd finished investigating it, so for the entire scene she is shown in her black bra.
- The show was famous for its liberal amount of sex and nudity (which earlier had been rather rare on a Cop Show), and more or less the entire female cast had at least one Lingerie Scene, but usually less gratuitous than McDowell's.
- In The Lakes, philandering bully and village psychopath Gary Alcock makes his wife's life a misery with violence, the threat of violence, and frequent undisguised affairs. After he is (deliberately) knocked down and temporarily paralysed, Ruth Alcock gets her own back by dressing in the sexiest underwear possible for a night out and an equally undisguised affair, and as she dresses in the classic black set, tells her bedridden husband in explicit detail what she intends to do that night, and for him not to wait up for her. She blows him a kiss on the way out of the bedroom door.
- In King of Queens, Carrie Heffernan walks into her bedroom partially dressed (black bra) only to discover her eccentric father lying on the bed. She screams at him to get out, but Arthur shrugs and remarks there ain't anything there he hasn't seen before.
- In the alternate version of "My Prerogative", Britney Spears wears only her bra and panties throughout the entire song.
- A lot of the earlier clothing sets for Barbie included lingerie. They stopped selling lingerie for Barbie around 2000. Since Barbie was intended for little girls, some of the lingerie actually resemble gowns. Which Barbie will wear either underneath a fancy dress or when she is sleeping.
- Two Barbie-themed magnetic board books features such illustrations on one of their pages: one book had Barbie and her friend Teresa stripped down to their undergarments at a store so they can put on some dresses (one pink and one blue, both are magnets); Barbie wore a light blue undershirt with dark blue straps and a decorative ribbon on her bustline that exposed her midriff and white panties with pink and blue polka dots on them, while Teresa wore a pink undershirt with faint hearts vertical stripes on them and white straps and decorative ribbon (also on her bustline) that went down to her waist and horizontal rainbow-striped panties; while in the other book Barbie is a bridesmaid at a wedding, and at one point both Barbie and the young bride-to-be are revealed to be wearing gowns under their pink bridesmaid dress and wedding dress (also magnets), respectively; Barbie wore a plain lavender ankle-length gown with a black lace outline, straps, and decorative ribbon; while the bride wore a white floor-length gown with a peach flower pattern, straps, and decorative ribbon (they probably slept in them when not under their dresses).
- Modern Barbies (at least the ones sold in the US) have "underwear" molded onto the doll's bodies. Even the ones that come wearing swimsuits.
- This◊ supplemental art of Tiffany Lords, from Rival Schools.
- Dragon Age: Origins has a strange example involving both women and men; there's a scene where your party must remove all of their equipment (armor/clothing included) and walk through fire in their undies as part of a test of worthiness. Results in Fanservice, Fan Disservice, or both, depending on who you have in your party at the time.
- Dragon Age and Mass Effect 2 and 3 are all set up so that the most undressed any character gets is down to their underwear. The first Mass Effect 1 did include videos involving naked people and Censor Steam, Mass Effect 3 does a reasonably good job of placing the camera to obscure the fact that characters are still wearing underwear for any relevant scenes.
- The exception is Liara, who is shown completely naked (though only from behind) during her romance cutscene in the third game, prompting speculation that underwear is a human invention.
- Scarlet Blade, players can get their Arkana to dance in their lingerie at the dance bar.
- Agatha from Girl Genius, especially during the earlier middle part of the story. She sleeps in her underwear, so when somnambulance strikes, that's what she'll be wearing when she's found sleeping in a lab the next morning. Repeatedly. Slightly played with in that her underwear is actually pretty tame by modern standards, essentially consisting of a corset and long johns that have most of her body covered, but by Victorian standards it's remarkably indecent.
- Oddly enough, the occasional lingerie scene in Ménage à 3 tends to be considered less erotic, despite the attractiveness of the female cast - because the comic is completely relaxed about toplessness most of the time.
- In-universe in Misfile. Ash's mother is a Lingerie Model. When Ash's father was asked, he pulled out a catalog and pointed her out.
- Sandra of Sandra on the Rocks is a trainee fashion model, so the lingerie scenes involving her and various other characters can be somewhat justified. The ones that aren't about modelling in any way are more likely to be Played for Laughs.
- 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup when Brandi Chastain took her shirt off in celebration after a game-winning goal.
- Mocked in a later commercial. Two guys are playing Foosball with Brandi Chastain, and she wins. The guys and everyone stop to see what's coming... "What?" she asks, and goes about her business.
- Parodied about fifteen years before it happened on Alas Smith and Jones, when they wonder why they've gone to a women's football match. Then the game ends, and the players all swap shirts... And unlike Brandi Chastain, none of those players were wearing bras.