Sexy Backless Outfit

She's bringing sexy back.

"The back is what's important!"
Director Mori Toshimichi on Noel Vermillion's design.

Backless outfits used for Fanservice. Ever since the 1920s and much of the 1930s popularized the backless dress or top, whether bias-cut, halter, spaghetti-strapped or strapless, it has been a nice way of showing a little skin (fair, olive, dark or tanned) without getting too raunchy; a deeply cut dress can show the entire back and maybe a bit more, and makes it clear that the lady is not wearing a bra. At the same time, it can be more elegant and mature than Bare Your Midriff or some of the other Fanservice Costumes. Or not.

The "elegant evening dress" version may come with Opera Gloves. Whether elegant or not, it may have slits to demonstrate that She's Got Legs.

Note that outfits that never have a back in the first place don't count (e.g., Chainmail Bikini).

This may be the standard outfit of a female Winged Humanoid, since wearing almost anything else would be impractical. See also Toplessness from the Back.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Bleach: Yoruichi and Soifon both have special uniforms that leave their shoulder blades exposed in order to use Shunko, a special technique that concentrates energy on the arms and back, without ending up completely naked.
  • Naruto: We have yet to see it in-series, but one of the databooks shows that under her Black Cloak Konan wears a backless dress.
  • Karakuridouji Ultimo: Quite a few of the doji, especially Ultimo and Jealous, have backless tops. Might be Fan Disservice since it's a shonen manga and they're male, but then again...
  • Rebuild of Evangelion: Asuka has a variant: the test-type plugsuit's torso material is incredibly sheer, and at one point she turns to show that it perfectly defines her back and the top of her rear. Yeah, Vapor Wear while your entire body is clothed is pretty impressive.
  • Birdy the Mighty: Birdy's leotard-like outfit, especially in the Decode remake, in which her outfit is not only completely backless, but neither the front part, nor what back there is, is held on by anything. Presumably there is glue involved. Or it's Body Paint.
  • The eponymous Canaan wears a sleeveless red turtleneck which leaves her shoulder blades and the middle of her back exposed.
  • For whatever reason, Dio Brando (aka. the resident Casanova/Vampire Sex God/Seducer of Anyone and Everyone/Big Bad of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure) has taken so much of a liking to backless tops upon reawakening that literally every damn thing he wears from then on is some form of halter or another, often teetering on the edge of Stripperiffic.
  • Haqua du Lot Herminium from The World God Only Knows also sports this, although not shown prominently...
  • Princess Tutu: Kraehe's dress combines this with Absolute Cleavage. Compare with Princess Tutu's costume, which is much more conservative, fitting their Dark Feminine Light Feminine roles.
  • Tokyo Ghoul provides a male example with Kaneki's battle suit, which is made from black Sensual Spandex and is almost entirely backless. While it makes sense for his lower back to be exposed since that's where his Combat Tentacles emerge, the outfit features strategic cutouts along the shoulders and a completely exposed back that barely covers his sides. White accents further accentuate his body, and he actually wears modesty shorts and a hoodie over it most of the time. Word of God suggests it was designed by his Stalker with a Crush, which explains a lot.

    Comic Books 
  • Sometimes Katy Keene wears backless outfit, either from modelling or from dresses she owns.
    • A Digest issue has her wearing a red skating dress with almost no back.


  • Kushiel's Chosen: Phedre's costume for the Longest Night masque is deliberately cut so the entirety of her marque (full-length back tattoo) is visible. In her culture, marques are sported by courtesans who have completed their apprenticeships. A fully bared marque means its wearer is seeking business offers. Her back (and a touch more) appears prominently on the cover.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The West Wing: Ainsley Hayes in one episode; this being an Aaron Sorkin show when Sam commented on how attractive she looked, that led to a discussion of feminism and sexuality in the workplace.
    Sam Seaborn: Whoa, I didn't even see that thing from the back.
  • Inverted in an episode of My Name Is Earl when Joy wears a backless outfit backwards resulting in Absolute Cleavage.
    Joy: Honestly, what would you rather see, back or boobs? I swear, sometimes I think fashion designers are gay.
  • In an episode of Seinfeld, George is excited to be showing up to a fancy party with a date wearing one of these.
  • Joey Potter is quite fond of these on Dawson's Creek. An especially memorable one is her beaded blue backless tanktop in "Coming Home".
  • Ziva David of NCIS sports a stunning backless dress when undercover in a nightclub in Last Man Standing.
    • Abby spent an entire Halloween episode dressed as Marilyn Monroe. Apart from Abby's tattoos, the costume was fairly authentic.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In the 3.5 of the Eberron Campaign Setting, the example character for the Dragonmarked Heir prestige class was depicted with such a dress, though for her; it had the added benefit of showing off her Dragonmark of Storm.
  • A couple of the Iconics for Pathfinder have similar outfits, though artwork showing them from behind doesn't happen too often. The coverart for Raiders of the Fever Sea (the second part of the Skull & Shackles Adventure Path), however, plays this trope straight.

  • Murder Among Friends: The specific design of Angela's red dress is up to the director and costumer of each different production, but it should be backless or nearly so, to inspire her husband's line "Lovely dress, but don't you have it on backwards?"

    Video Games 

    Visual Novels 


    Western Animation