Got an ugly, matronly, or just uninspired-looking item of clothing or dress? Rip it good. In fiction, using your own resourcefulness and a pair of scissors (or not even the latter), you can make that old rag into something fashionable (and/or Stripperiffic). Basically, a deliberate application of Clothing Damage. The Action Dress Rip is a more practical and action-oriented version of the trope. From Dress to Dressing is the one where you rip your dress to make a bandage. Has absolutely nothing to do with Rip Taylor.
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Anime & Manga
- Liz Ricarro does this in episode 22 of IGPX Immortal Grand Prix. The 2050 IGPX All-Stars Tournament has a fashion show at the end of the night to see who wins the tournament, and one person from each team is sent to participate in the show, with Liz representing Team Satomi. However, during the show, her dress rips, and she decides to be creative by ripping off a significantly large portion of the dress to create a fanservicey minidress that could pass at its midnight timeslot on Cartoon Network. (It's not like they still couldn't get away with making it more fanservicey.) Liz's moment of creativity is the thing that allows Team Satomi to win the All-Star Tournament.
- Princess Ai's reaction to getting a full-length frilly dress to wear? Scissors. In the end it's barely long enough to cover her derrière.
- In an episode of Full Moon o Sagashite, Mitsuki enters her dressing room to find her stage outfit ruined by a rival artist's sabotage. With minutes before Full Moon's performance, her manager starts panicking, but Mitsuki calmly takes the outfit off the rack, and starts savaging it more until she ends up with a presentable, chic blouse and skirt.
- This goes badly in Tenchi Muyo!; Tenchi is furious when Ryoko thoughtlessly tears the sleeves off of his late mother's kimono after she accidentally rips one of them while wearing it without permission. Ryoko, who hadn't known who the kimono had belonged to (she had found it in storage and wanted to model it to impress Tenchi) ends up doing her best to mend it as an apology.
- Kate Bishop turns her bridesmaid's dress into a superhero costume this way the night she joins the Young Avengers.
- In Archie Comics, one story has Betty and Veronica coming to school wearing the exact same outfit. Veronica sabotages Betty's dress, creating a tear in the bottom part of the skirt. Instead of going home to get her dress replaced, Betty just sews the tear into a fashionable (and very Fanservice-laden) addition.
Films — Live-Action
- Clara Bow did this in 1927 in It, making the trope much Older Than They Think. She takes a pair of scissors and cuts her shopgirl dress into a cocktail dress after getting invited to a fancy restaurant.
- In the Disney Channel Made-for-TV Movie Susie Q, the title character, who is a ghost, is seeking the attention of the one boy who can see her. However, he is distracted by a girl in a short skirt. Thinking she knows where his interest lies (and forgetting that she's Invisible to Normals), Susie tears her Pimped Out Prom Dress until it becomes basically a skirt and halter top.
- What a Girl Wants has Daphne cutting the top layer off an ugly dress to reveal a nice dress underneath.
- Sleepover has Julie's friends cutting up her mom's old tacky dress to make it look cooler.
- In True Lies, Helen rips the chiffon off her dress and shortens it considerably when preparing to play the part of an escort.
- Violet's first shift at the bar in Coyote Ugly begins with Lil, the owner, ripping off her sleeves and the bottom two inches of her shirt, leaving her in something much more revealing and appropriate to the bar.
- In Chasing Papi, a group of women do this prior to entering a dance contest.
- In My Favorite Wife, Irene Dunne's character returns to civilization after having been shipwrecked and stranded on an island for several years. After getting some funny looks while wearing one of her old — and now unfashionably long — dresses, she goes off to the powder room... emerging a few minutes later with dress shortened, presumably in this manner.
- Olive tramps up her wardrobe in Easy A this way.
- In Cant Buy Me Love, Cindy makes Ron cool with a sleeveless shirt and a little hair gel.
- In My Big Fat Greek Wedding, the bride and groom start ripping pieces off her Impossibly Tacky Wedding Dress in the limo on the way from the ceremony to the reception.
- Done accidentally in The Naked Gun 2 1/2, when Frank and Jane are dancing in the middle of the movie.
- Clueless has a scene where Cher turns one of Tai's shirts into a midriff-baring "belly shirt" in this manner.
- In Mean Girls, there's a scene where Janis tries to humiliate Regina by cutting nipple holes in the front of her shirt, but it backfires when Regina goes ahead and wears it anyway (albeit over a bra) and the other girls in school start doing the same thing to emulate her.
- In The Three Stooges short All Gummed Up, when the landlord's elderly wife turns into a beautiful young woman, she rips her Victorian-style clothes into a lighter and more modern dress.
- The Heat: Mullins to a suit of Ashburn's at a club, giving her booty shorts and a more attractive looking top.
- The Rocky Horror Picture Show: During Janet and Rocky's impromptu lovemaking sesh, the former uses her dress as a dressing to cover the latter's wounds. She gets a bit carried away, though, and her appearance is noticeably more ragged than before.
- In the YA novel Calico Captive, the heroine gets kicked out of her benefactor's house because she takes a pair of scissors to a hand-me-down dress and makes it awesome (more so than the gown worn by the lady of the house).
- Harry Potter: Ron Weasley uses a Severing Charm to get the lace off his dowdy, old-fashioned dress robes in order to make them presentable at the Yule Ball. Should be noted that this didn't go over nearly as well as most things done in this trope; it was still hideous. Possibly because it was a guy, whereas this trope typically applies to women.
- In Robert A. Heinlein's Podkayne of Mars, the eponymous teenage heroine, free from the eye of her parents and determined to seem more cosmopolitan than her Martian upbringing, mentions altering her only party dress in the privacy of her cruise liner cabin to look a bit more grown-up.
- In Lonely Werewolf Girl, after her Doomed New Clothes get ruined in the werewolf brawl, Malveria's solution is to have have designer Thrix cut them up some more so she can wear it as Battle Chic.
- In the first Circle of Magic book, recently adopted street rat Briar cuts the sleeves off the first new shirt he's given.
- Molly Carpenter is shown to have applied this treatment to a school uniform in Death Masks.
- In an episode of Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place, Sharon's boyfriend Johnny rips the poofy sleeves off her hideous bridesmaid's dress, turning it ito something quite wearable.
- Angela does this in an episode of Whos The Boss when she wants to show more leg in an evening gown.
- This was a challenge on America's Next Top Model once. (The women had T-shirts and had to alter them to make them cool.)
- London Tipton from The Suite Life of Zack and Cody does this to a woman's nurse outfit at an amazing speed to make it into a pure white sequene tango dress.
"And you can't figure out a pay phone."
- 'Allo 'Allo! Herr Flick gets a tailor in so Helga can fitted with something appropriate to wear to the Gestapo Officers' Club. He then proceeds to inspect the tailor's work...
Flick: The waist is good... but the lapels are not good! (RIP!!) The shoulders are good... but the sleeves are not good! (RIP!!)
Helga: I think the skirt is excellent.
Flick: I disagree! (RIP!!)
Helga: What about the hat?
- A sight gag at the MTV VMA Award Show had Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey showing up in the same dress. After a Stare Down, Mariah rips off the bottom of her dress. Whitney then follows suit, causing the dresses to have two different hemlines.
- iCarly: In "iWedding", Carly does this to her bridesmaid's dress to get rid of the corsage, sash, lave, etc., to "look less ridiculous."
- Bones: Much the same as the example above. At Angela's wedding, Cam delicately adjusts the more ridiculous aspects of her ugly dress, and then helps Bones do the same.
- In Russell T Davies's version of Casanova, Casanova and Bellino do this to their clothes for their first public appearance as a couple, because she's worried that she can't pull off entering high society as a typical member when everyone knows her past.
- A variation occurs in The Latest Buzz when Amanda gets a toner stain on her evening gown before a big awards ceremony. After trying and failing to remove it, she instead puts stains over the rest of the dress; turning it into a leopard spot pattern.
- Rizzoli & Isles: In "Don't Hate the Player", Isles swaps clothes with Rizzoli so Rizzoli can meet a suspect at a fancy restaurant. When Rizzoli complains that the shoes are too tight, Isles uses a scalpel to cut the ends of the shoes off, turning them into peekaboo toes.
- Madison does this to her skirt in Heavy Rain during the club scene.
- Sixteen has Nikki ripping apart two boring dresses and sewing them into two "cool" dresses.
- In Wakfu season 1 episode 22, Sadlygrove rips off his tabard and leaves behind his shoes, as they sport the symbol of the Shushus Guardian Order, which he no longer deems himself worthy of. At the end of the episode, he gets them back, turning the tunic into a Badass Cape.
- In the first Tinker Bell movie, Tink gets ready for her first day as a tinker fairy by taking the leaves provided for her outfit and cuts it up into her familiar skirt. She gets some attention from Clank and Bobble.
- Ripped and otherwise deliberately damaged clothes are of course associated with "punky" or "grungy" fashions.
- However, much the same idea can also be found at least as far back as the Renaissance, when it was sometimes associated with tough but flashy mercenaries such as the German Landsknechts (who may possibly have wanted to look like they had been through lots of tough, dangerous battles). So the trope is Older Than Steam at the very least.