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.

Due to the penchant of mothers to be 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 
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • The depicted above Trisha Elric, mother of the two protagonists, always wore her hair like this and on her shoulder. In contrast, Sloth from the 2003 anime wore her hair loose to show that despite looking identical to Trisha and being her homunculus, she was anything but motherly.
    • In the epilogue, Trisha's daughter-in-law Winry Rockbell sports a similar plait in the Distant Epilogue, but not on the shoulder.
  • Ranma ½: Kasumi Tendo often wears her hair this way, along with an apron. While she may only be the eldest daughter of the family, she handles the domestic duties of the Tendo household. It becomes even more the case when it's revealed that she's filling in for their deceased mother.
  • In Bleach, Ikumi switches to one when her son shows up and she is in "sweet pampering mother" mode. In normal situations, however…
  • In Alice 19th, Frey and members of his northern european Lotsan group, having this sideplaited braid is mandatory. Eric has one, too, but cuts it off when he turns to the dark side.
  • Chiemi Takakura from Mawaru-Penguindrum, the mother of the protagonists, styles her hair like this.
  • Eren's mother Carla from Attack on Titan. This, combined with the FMA example, have led the fandom to nickname this trope the "Dead Mom Side Pony."
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica: The Different Story: During her down-time, Mami Tomoe is once shown wearing her hair this way (normally she has Mega Twin Tails). Fitting, given her current relationship with Kyouko as a surrogate parental figure/Magical Girl mentor.
  • As a part of her post Time Skip Adrenaline Makeover, Anna Stephanie from Blue Comet SPT Layzner lets her hair down from its initial Tomboyish Ponytail and styles it like this. She's not exactly a mother, but at this point of the series she's shouldering lots of responsibilities as The Heart of La Résistance.
  • Hinami's mother Ryouko Fueguchi from Tokyo Ghoul wore her hair in a loose ponytail over one shoulder. Though a gentle pacifist, she proves to be a Mama Bear that sacrifices her life to give her daughter a chance at survival.
  • Yuuri from School-Live! is only a high schooler but wears this style a few times when out of her school uniform. She's the Cool Big Sis and Team Mom character of the group.
  • Akane Hyakuya in Seraph of the End sports this style, combined with a braid despite being a young girl.
  • In Cardcaptor Sakura, Nadeshiko tended to wear her hair loose but a flashback shows her with her hair like this while teaching Touya how to play the piano.
  • Nozomi, the Team Mom of Love Live!, changes her hairstyle to this (plus braided bits) in the last episode, when she graduates. She's shown with the new style in several of the cards in the series' card-collecting rhythm game.
  • Lorrie Berlinetta from ViVid Strike! wears her hair this way, though did so even before she adopted Rinne.
  • Lisa from the Castlevania anime, mother of Alucard, had this hairstyle... and died.
  • Sella wears her hair like this (with apron and fluffy slippers!) in Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA. She's Ilya's caretaker in the original VN as well, but since kaleid liner starts off in a much more normal domestic setting, she's ditched the hair-concealing uniform and looks like a standard anime mom, aside from the pseudo-albinism.
  • Nemu and Reki's Parental Substitute Kuramori from Haibane Renmei wore her hair like this. She also counts as a Posthumous Character as she took her Day of Flight years ago.
  • Chrono Crusade has its protagonist Rosette start wearing her hair like this toward the end of her life.

    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.

    Web Animation 

    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.

    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.