Motherly Side Plait

One good way to show how sweet and caring a mother is, is to depict her with her hair tied in a loose plait or ponytail and put on her shoulder. For some reason, this detail immediately tells the audience, "Hey, this mom has to be nice and gentle!"

This can be explained by the fact that mothers usually have less time to spend on their appearance than other women. Since the makers of a show probably don't want to make their characters ugly, one way to demonstrate motherhood is to give her a low-maintenance hairstyle. Housewives (most likely to be the mothers of young children) also need a hairstyle that's going to stay out of the way when they're doing housework and cleaning up. This may or may not come with an apron to further emphasize their motherhood. Since the hair is only tied up loosely, it creates a soft, relaxed, gentle appearance. Putting the hair over the shoulder allows you to see her hairstyle from the front, while also providing a slight element of Fashionable Asymmetry. Braiding the hair that way is also faster and easier than braiding it behind one's head, contributing to the low maintenance angle.

Since mothers are often the object of a Dark and Troubled Past, this is also known as the "Dead Anime Mom Hairstyle".

A Sub-Trope of Long Hair Is Feminine, Expository Hairstyle.

Compare Ojou Ringlets, Regal Ringlets and Girlish Pigtails.

Contrast Braids of Action, Tomboyish Ponytail, and Prim and Proper Bun.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 

    Fan Works 

    Video Games 

    Visual Novels 
  • Higurashi: When They Cry:
    • Akasaka's wife, Yukie, has one of these, and quite an impressive one.
    • In Matsuribayashi, Takano's mother has a smaller variant.
    • Natsumi's mother in the manga-only Onisarashi arc is a textbook example... until she looses her plait as she starts to go insane. Or rather, as we see her go insane through Natsumi's eyes.
    • Keiichi's mom also sports one in the live action adaptation, but not in other adaptations.
  • Natsuhi Ushiromiya has a sort of high ponytail variant in Umineko: When They Cry. She is more stern than most examples but she does treasure her family.
  • Natsuhi Ebata has this with her loose twin braids variant in School Days. She's very kind to her adoptive or rather, her own biological daughter whom she abandoned many years ago to Hayato Ashikaga before she married him daughter, Inori, which further emphasis this.
  • In Kanon, Akiko Minase also wears her hair in such a fashion.
  • Erik's sweet mother in Missing Stars has this type of haircut, only her ponytail is braided.

    Web Comics 
  • Nei'kalsa of Drowtales is shown with this, which serves to emphasize her role as a mother figure to Sarnel (who's actually her brother, and while their mother is apparently alive she's also out of the picture). Especially since Word of God clarifies that she's pregnant in that scene so will soon be a mother for real.
  • Avela from Strays, an actual Dead Animesque Mom.

    Web Original 
  • The "Dead Mom Hair" part of this trope is Played for Laughs in Anime America in their gateway anime episode when Hannah's avatar redesign comes with a Motherly Side Plait. Robyn and Tara immediately assume she's dying, with Tara pointing out several anime examples of mothers who wore this hairstyle and died, including the AOT and FMA examples. Hannah counters that she doesn't even have children. Hannah is, of course, fine, but that doesn't stop Robyn from doing a memorial end-slate anyway, to Hannah's annoyance.

    Western Animation 
  • Pear Butter, aka. Buttercup, of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. She was the mother of Big McIntosh, Applejack, and Apple Bloom. It's also heavily implied she died when Apple Bloom was younger.