The next best thing to nude.
"Besides, if you wear that, people will just think you're naked. It's... Paula-coloured."
You're watching a TV show or video game, and one or more characters come onscreen who look like they're wearing practically nothing
. Or even like they actually aren't wearing anything at all
. But after a few minutes of titillation
, you realize that they are
wearing clothes after all. They're just the exact same color as their skin.
Compare with Fully-Clothed Nudity
, which is where folks aren't naked at all but feel like they are.
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- Played with in the Brown M&M's commercial. The Brown M&M gets weird looks because her shell is the same color as her chocolate center and a guy is laughing because it looks like she's naked. After she chews him out for the mistake, the Red M&M shows up, sees Brown, and thinks it's "that kind of party", then strips down to his chocolate as LMFAO's "Sexy and I Know It" plays in the background.
Anime & Manga
- In Nausicaš of the Valley of the Wind, Nausicaa is fully covered. However, she's wearing a very short skirt over tan-colored pants (with the lower parts of her pants having another layer of blue fabric, making a sort of fake Zettai Ryouiki). It takes what would be a Panty Shot or a direct comparison with the skin on her face to realize that they are, in fact, pants.
- Due to poor-quality fansubs, some fans believed for years (until the DVD finally came out) that she wasn't wearing anything beneath her jacket.
- There was an omake feature in the He Is My Master manga highlighting the girls' gym uniforms, which included peach-coloured spats (chosen specifically so that the artist could draw the girls at particularly risque angles and get away with it).
- Shiro from Deadman Wonderland, to the point that viewers are likely to do a double take the first time they see her since it makes her look nude minus some body paint (which are actual patterns drawn on the suit). Her navel indentation being visible doesn't help matters.
- Girls und Panzer plays it straight. In the snow battle. Even those who normally would say "Hot!" at the sight of the miniskirts are likely to scream "COLD!" instead watching the girls wading through the snow (or lying over it) apparently bare-legged... unless they remember that at the start of the battle they specifically mentioned they are wearing TWO overlaid pairs of tights.
- Wonder Woman's foe, the Cheetah, has taken to wearing pants with cheetah-print over the crotch in recent years. Since she's already covered with cheetah spots, this makes her look like she's wearing crotchless leather chaps.
- Wild Child character Kid Chameleon from a 1970s British comic was originally drawn wearing green briefs under his transparent chameleon suit, but after the first strip they became flesh-coloured so he almost looked naked.
- There was an old issue of Teen Titans where Wonder Girl (?) was dancing in civvies (untucked shirt and pants); when it was reprinted in a Showcase (which is in B&W) it looks like she's not wearing any pants.
- Ms. Marvel's lightning bolt on her front is the same color as her skin in quite a few incarnations, particularly in some older, more color-restricted comic books. The artists have taken to making it either clearly very yellow or shiny to avoid this.
- Subverted in Top 10 — you're meant to think that the skin tight spandex that Girl One is wearing is just extremely form fitting and the same purple color of her skin, especially since it's actually multi-colored in places and has a constantly shifting pattern. It's not. She's actually nude — she has the ability to change her skin tone like a cuttlefish, and the two horny fanboys that created her also gave her an uncontrollable instinct to stay naked at all times.
- During the Silver Age, the Silver Surfer wore nothing but a pair of underwear. Since it was the same color as his body, it looked like he wasn't wearing anything. These days, he's completely naked, but with Barbie Doll Anatomy for good measure.
- In Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny there's a part where K.G. is driving off with sorority girls and one flashes him, actually showing a flesh-colored bra.
- The spy-spoof Our Man Flint features brief shots of women wearing flesh-colored bathing suits.
- Early in the film Johnny B Goode Johnny asks one of the cheerleaders to take off her panties, so as to flash the other team and distract them. The actress was wearing nude colored panties.
- In Can-Can, Simone Shirley MacLaine wears a nude (albeit with sparkles) body-suit as the lead in the "Adam and Eve" ballet.
- Played for laughs in But I'm a Cheerleader. The homosexual rehab camp has a sort of final exam where the students divide into heterosexual couples and engage in a "re-enactment" of Adam lying with Eve. But since they obviously can't force teenagers to have sex, they have the students wear flesh-toned bodysuits to simulate nudity... but nudity is also unacceptable, so the bodysuits have fabric fig leaves sewn on top of the naughty bits.
- Part of the Special Effects Failure in Horror Of Spider Island is the use of flesh-colored bodysuits to simulate nudity for a Fanservice scene. Of course the MST3K guys picked up on it instantly and took it apart.
- Also a Special Effect Failure in Dr. No. When James Bond and Honey Rider are in the Decontamination Shower, the latter steps off wearing a flesh-colored towel in a failed attempt to make her look nude.
- A large number of buff men in flesh-tone trunks feature in the "Ain't There Anyone Here for Love?" number from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. A black line at the bottom is the only indication they're wearing anything at all.
- Comes up a few times in Marilyn Monroe movies. There's No Business Like Show Business has this number◊, and Some Like It Hot, despite being black and white, has this dress, which uses strategically placed sequins to make it appear that the neckline is just at the nipples.
- Similar to But I'm a Cheerleader, Bad Education has this dress.
Live Action TV
- In-universe example: In Seinfeld, George wants to be fired from his job, but he's too chicken to streak for real, so he wears a skin-colored full-body suit and runs around the playing field during a baseball game. The audience finds it hilarious.
- In one episode of Dance Moms, Abby Lee causes quite a stir by giving the girls a "topless showgirls" number. Keep in mind, all the kids are between the ages of 7 and 14, so she gives them all tan bras and bootie shorts that almost exactly match each girl's skin tone, and then covers them in sparkly stuff so that the audience can tell that they're not actually naked onstage. Oddly enough, the only girl excited about this is the oldest, Brooke, is 13/14...
- In some of the "Dafydd" sketches in Little Britain he sometimes wears a shirt that fulfills this trope.
- Kari Byron wore a skintight, flesh-coloured bodysuit in one episode of Mythbusters.
- In one Frasier episode, Frasier is hitting on a girl at a Halloween costume party with a nude body outfit. He guesses she's dressed as Godiva, she reveals she's Eve. The kicker is the girl is Kelsey Grammer's real-life wife.
- At least once on America's Next Top Model the models posed in flesh colored leotards.
- As mentioned in Theiss Titillation Theory, William Ware Theiss preferred to design costumes for the women on Star Trek which used strategically-placed skin-toned patches to make the costumes appear far more immodest than they actually were, though sometimes redesigns mandated by Roddenberry would make the costumes more actually revealing.
- Robin's tights in the Batman TV series, which make it look like he's just wearing short shorts.
- Common on Dancing with the Stars.
- Richard Pryor wore a brown bodystocking in the first sketch from his prime-time TV show, as a joke about being emasculated by censors. The network didn't like it, and cut it before broadcast.
- In The Dukes of Hazzard, Catherine Bach wore flesh-colored tights to play Daisy Duke, which is why her Daisy Dukes could be so short.
- Pictured in this page, Britney Spears had her (in)famous skin-tone body suit, with strategically placed glittery stuff.
- Lady Gaga has done this. (One instance is in the music video for "Alejandro", where much of the intentionally Fan Disservice Three Minutes of Writhing takes place with Gaga in traditionally nude-colored bra and panties. Which are actually darker than her skin tone in the vid.)
- Shakira's "She-Wolf" video.
- Inna wears a leotard of this color in parts of the "In Your Eyes" video, and during the sprinkler/rain dance, a backup dancer wears an even less-contrasted leotard, the rain rendering her nipples visible.
- Sarah Connor (the German singer, not the other one) once caused a scandal that involved this. She performed at Wetten Dass in a dress that was half-transparent on the sides almost all the way up to her waist. Needless to say that she couldn't wear any normal underwear underneath it, but it looked like she didn't wear any. After the Moral Guardians reared up the day after, she explained that she wore skin-colored panties complete with pictures of said undergarments (not being worn, though, and of course washed).
- The protagonist in Stern Electronics' Star Gazer wears a tan-colored bikini top that makes her look topless at first glance.
- Done inadvertently in Bally's Eight Ball. Due to how the playfield is lit, the top worn by "Pinky" appears to be tan/pink-colored when the pinball machine is turned off.
- GLOW girl Godiva, who used to wear a flesh-colored bodysuit.
- In some versions of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Potiphar's Wife and her backup dancers wear this type of clothing.
- This is also worn at the end of the dance for the less risque versions of the Dance of the Seven Veils in Salome. The more risque versions leave the performer nude.
- In Julie Taymor's The Lion King, there are dancers portraying plants that appear to only be wrapped with thin green ribbon. Closer inspection shows that they have at least nude-colored underwear, if not full bodysuits.
- Most of the cast also wear shoes painted to specifically match their skintones, so it appears that they perform barefoot.
- If at any time in the 1990s you found a "nude code" promising to let you finally see the Third-Person Seductress in the buff, 99% of the time she only does this, by way of a simple Palette Swap.
- The player character in Code Name: Viper uses three colors: Brown, green, and flesh. The flesh color is used not only for his face and hands, but also his pants, leading some players to believe he was running around with no pants on. It doesn't help that his standing sprite has a visible bulge...
- Eiko in Final Fantasy IX. The official art makes her look like she's totally naked from the waist down, when in fact she's wearing very tight flesh-colored pants. Considering her age, this is the cause of much Squick among fans. Judge for yourself◊.
- Final Fantasy X: The suit Rikku wears when you first encounter her on the Al Bhed ship (not when she joins your party permanently) fits the trope.
- Mushihime-sama has a paper doll feelie of Reco. Her unclothed shape is as though she is naked but with no visible naughty bits... so, the joke going around is that she's wearing a full-body flesh-colored latex suit.
- Subverted in Soul Calibur 3 and Soul Calibur 4, wherein you cannot change underwear into flesh tones. They're simply blocked out.
- Kratos' outfit in Tales of Symphonia has designs on it that some have noted make it look like there are holes over his nipples.
- Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance has one character whose tight beige trousers make him look as though he's bare-assed.
- The Ranger Elite Druid armor in Guild Wars can prove... interesting... when worn by darker-skinned female characters.
- Will from Illusion of Gaia wears short shorts that are covered up and make it look like he's going around without pants.
- Inverted in Sam & Max Hit The Road: a pair of conjoined twins appears to be clothed, but claims that they're actually not wearing anything - "their skin is naturally green and velvet-like", much to Max's horror.
- Animal Crossing's custom designs. The Video Game Perversity Potential makes it so, so possible to make custom designs accurately matching a villager's fur color. Put it up on the Abel Sisters' display and name it after the desired target and they'll wear it in a few days. Taken even farther in City Folk with "Pro designs", which get rid of odd texture repeating. Taken even farther in New Leaf, where many of the female characters who wore bulky dresses before now wear smooth shirts due to the game's Art Evolution. If you're one of the many who has had a crush on one of your villager friends at one point, well... you can talk to Isabelle whenever you need to erase the evidence.
- It is possible to do this in Super Scribblenauts with the "naked" adjective.
- There's a certain style of NPC armor in Mass Effect 2 that has this appearance for parts of it - mainly the pants. It has a corded texture, but from typical viewing distance it looks like fishnet hose. Every guard in the Arrival DLC, both male and female, is wearing this, making it look like every one of them is pantsless.
- One of the big questions about Homestar Runner: Is he, as he claims, wearing "long pants", or does he not wear pants and just has blue soles on his feet?
- There's also the titular character in Sabrina Online. At first it appears as though Sabrina is not wearing any pants, but then it's revealed that she's really just wearing pants that are the same color as her fur. Where her shirt ends and her pants begin, though, has yet to be explained... it might be a belly shirt.
- Given a particularly funny lampshading when her roommate, a Squirrel Girl (no, not that one) named Amy, borrows a pair. She breaks the fourth wall to call the surprised members of the audience perverts while pulling on the waistband of her pants.
- In Sluggy Freelance some Anime parody characters have uniforms that go completely transparent during a Transformation Sequence. But only the women's.
- In Drowtales, the character Shen'fya caused a minor stir with her outfit, which is essentially lingerie with a transparent shift over it. If you weren't sharp eyed enough to spot the waistband through the transparent material it takes what would be an upskirt shot to realize that she's actually wearing leggings almost the same color as her skin (but slightly more yellow) which becomes more obvious in concept art.
- One issue of The Simpsons comic has Lisa having the entire family wear nude-colored clothing because everyone is copying them.
- In "To Surveil With Love", Chief Wiggum wants to arrest a man for indecent exposure, but it turns out he is just wearing flesh colored clothing.
- In the first episode, Lisa is performing at a school play about Christmas in other cultures while wearing a very thin grass skirt. Her unintentional nudity was Hand Waved as a flesh-colored bodysuit.
- Futurama makes a literal fashion statement out of this. In a couple episodes, namely the pilot episode, there are people walking around with see through plastic clothing containing censor bars over the breasts, groin, and butt. The flesh colored clothing in this case, is the wearer's actual flesh coloring.
- Unusual example: in one episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Ahsoka wore a full-body unitard that just happened to be the exact same shade of red as her skin.
- Truth in Television: Stage performers often do this for Fanservice or to stay warm.
- It is especially hard for nearsighted people to tell that these are clothes.
- The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City often includes at least one example.
- Often used in non-X-rated television programs and movies during sex scenes.
- For dance recitals, many dancers wear flesh-toned leotards under their costumes so they can change full outfits without taking clothes off.
- Cheerleaders at late-autumn high school American Football games will wear this sometimes - much to the comfort of cheerleaders and annoyance sharp-eyed of male bystanders.
- A lot of figure skating costumes have flesh-colored bits so that the skater can stay warm while having an outfit that looks Stripperiffic.
- There's a rule in Olympic-eligible skating that explicitly bans bare midriffs for women, so illusion net is a way around it.
- Cosplayers portraying characters who show a lot of skin like Laharl or Mai Shiranui tend to wear flesh-colored body stockings in order to preserve their modesty (and because conventions have rules against showing too much skin). Then there are the characters where it's required, like Felicia, whose "costume" is nothing more than strategicaly-placed fur.
- In Italy, it's tradition to do costumes for children portraying characters wearing short-sleeved shirts but actually making them with long, flesh colored sleeves. Taken to extreme with the Enchantix costumes, which are basically bodysuits with costumes applied on.
- And of course, nude-coloured underwear is available for wearing under clothes where any other colour would show through because of its difference from your natural skin colour.
- Some people claim this causes Unfortunate Implications, because an item that is only nude for lighter skinned people will be labeled as "nude" and the one that would be nude for darker skinned people is just "brown", implying that lighter people are the default.
- Occurs often in ballroom dancing, less for modesty than because it's a lot easier to glue rhinestones to nude mesh than to bare skin, and the more the merrier where rhinestones are concerned.
- Japan's NHK received over 200 complaints on December 31st 2006 when they aired a concert featuring performers dressed in nude-colored bodysuits with nipples painted on.
- This is essentially the idea behind certain types of pantyhose, to give the appearance of bare legs without actually necessitating exposing that much skin. Most of them are at least somewhat transparent/translucent and colored so as to either a) make it clear that you are wearing pantyhose (patterned, or a color that clearly is not the same as your skin tone) or b) match your own skin tone, thus making it look like you're "not wearin' nothin'" to quote an old pantyhose commercial.
- At the 2010 French Open, Venus Williams wore a short dress with a more-than-passing resemblance to a French Maid Outfit and flesh-colored shorts underneath. It caused quite a stir in the media.