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Vapor Wear
No support needed for Penelo...

When a female character's costume doesn't include underclothes; bra, panties, or both, are noticeably AWOL. This can be more or less obvious, but still, nothing quite shows. The outer clothing may be made from a translucent material (with strategically placed lace or tape for modesty), feature a window to show off some Absolute Cleavage or Underboobs, or may be something backless, but whatever the case, the outside costume is all that the person is wearing. If she's wearing any underclothes at all, they must be made of air — or, should we say, Vapor Wear.

Of course this is often Truth in Television; perhaps as a way of being daring, flaunting convention, or just being comfortable. During the 1970's the look was even a part of mainstream fashion. And, despite what a lot of people tell you, there may actually be good reason to avoid supporting parts of the human body — see for example this preliminary study. In real life, dresses that are strapless or backless, or even deep V-necks, frequently come with some built-in support or at least padding.

Vapor Wear is the default dress code for The Vamp and the Femme Fatale, whose personality traits match up well with the ability to waste no time removing her knickers, and who (if seen in something less vampy) will specifically mention the lack of underwear, which can present even an ordinary outfit as something interesting or unusual. As such, it is frequently a significant factor in the Theiss Titillation Theory.

A similar rule applies to succubi, the female Horny Devils (with the exception of one popular succubus who tends to avert or even invert this trope).

This trope can also apply to male characters, but rarely does, because nipple nubs tend to be more socially acceptable than a certain bulge. If something should be there but isn't, it's probably thanks to Barbie Doll Anatomy (common in most forms of animation), as well as a sign you might be overthinking things.

The trope is common in Science Fiction and Fantasy, regardles of the medium. Some possible reasons for this:
  • It may feel jarring if characters in the far future, in a galaxy far, far away, wear totally mundane 21st-century underwear under their outlandish Space Clothes. Instead of inventing equally outlandish Space Underwear, it's easier just to dispense with it altogether.
  • The same reasoning applies to most fantasy settings as well, an obvious exception being Urban Fantasy. For Medieval European Fantasy it may be based on the common misapprehension that people didn't wear undergarments in medieval Europe.
  • Between about 1915 and 1985, the trend was for people to wear less (and scantier) undergarments for each year. Extrapolating that trend into the future naturally leads to this trope.
  • And, of course, it could be a Fetish-Fuel Future, or just a justification for Fanservice.

Since the 1990's the trope is quite commonly inverted, with people wearing skimpy or see-through clothing to show off the undergarments beneath. Interestingly enough, the effect is more or less the same as playing the trope straight: titillation by showing what is not supposed to be seen.

Not to be confused with Censor Steam or Vapor Ware, nor with the similarly named Real Life clothing company that, alas, bears absolutely no relation to this trope. For a more generalized version see Going Commando (which means just not wearing underwear, without necessarily being obvious about it).


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Advertising 
  • There was a commercial once showing a pretty girl standing on a busy street wearing a tartan skirt. She turns to the camera and says cheerfully: "No, I'm not wearing any." Referring, of course, to the famous vapor wear of the Scottish people.
    • That sounds very much like a commercial in which the girl says "Do you want to see what's under my kilt?" The ad was for tartan patterned sanitary napkins.

    Anime and Manga 
This is occasionally known as "itenai" (a shortened form of 履いてない: "haitenai", which means "not wearing") in Japan, especially when the question "is she or isn't she wearing them" is left deliberately ambiguous.
  • Mostly good guy version: Anko Mitarashi of Naruto wears only a jacket over a combination of fish net stocking and chain mail. (And a skirt.)
  • Kotoko-01 in Divergence Eve, in both seasons, she definitely dosen't wear panties underneath her piloting suits.
  • Lust in Fullmetal Alchemist.
  • Yura of the Hair from InuYasha. Of course, bras didn't exist back then, but they didn't dress like that either.
  • Princess Kraehe from Princess Tutu. There's also Mytho, who has this quirky little habit of not only forgetting to wear pants, but apparently also underwear.
  • Bleach has this a lot.
    • Harribel and her entire Fraccion, Nelliel, and Rangiku to a certain extent. But Lilynette, my god...
  • One Piece
    • Kalifa, Iceberg's secretary and an agent of the CP9.
    • Nico Robin is probably most guilty of this among the Straw Hat Pirates. Though the true masters of this trope are the Kuja Pirates. One in particular, Rindo, has the same unzipped leather jacket mentioned in the Tokko example below.
    • Subverted with Tashigi after the Time Skip. Due to a "Freaky Friday" Flip with Smoker, it looks like she doesn't wear a bra under her shirt because Smoker has a habit to wear his jackets openly and without an undershirt, that's why he has an Absolute Cleavage all time he spends in her body. However, a fan asked Word of God if she really doesn't wear a bra, so Oda asks Smoker if it's true. Smoker answered he ripped it off.
  • Miss Deep of Read or Die.
  • The girls of Ultimate Girls may fit this trope — seconds after expanding to 100 foot tall, their skintight spandex uniforms begin to disintegrate. This wouldn't be so bad, except said skintight spandex uniforms are all they are wearing. Not to worry, however, they use the feeling of humiliation at being seen naked by millions as a moe power source.
  • Precia Testarossa in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha goes with this and Absolute Cleavage.
  • In her mindscape battle with Evangeline during the Mahora Festival Tournament Arc of Mahou Sensei Negima!, Setsuna is shown wearing the clothes of the bird tribe which doesn't come with a bra. This is for practical reasons, as a bra would get in the way of her wings.
  • Some shots in Code Geass, especially the first R2 ED, strongly suggest that Kallen goes commando, though we do see that she does occasionally wear panties. Not a bra, though (at least, not all the time).
  • This is the entire basis for Hatsukoi Limited's side story. Soako, a Dojikko, was in such a hurry getting dressed that she forgot to put on her underwear. Hilarity ensues.
  • Yumiko in Yoku Wakaru Gendai Mahou has gone running around without panties twice. The first time was some unspecified number of years in the past where she threw them at a group of boys who were teasing her about it and then found herself on the run without them later. The second time, they were stolen by a daemon and she went running around without them.
  • Nowa from Queen's Blade, a forest elf, never wears any panties at all, to the surprise of Leina. She's totally comfortable with it, too.
  • Yuuma from Magical Pokaan accidentally defeats K-ko in episode 1 when this, along with the Chunky Updraft from her spellcasting effect, causes a rocket-powered Nosebleed. The same thing happens in episode 11, but this time on live television.
  • Urabe Mikoto, from the Mysterious Girlfriend X manga, shares a sort of psychic "bond" with the male protagonist that lets them share emotions (and memories, to some extent) with one another by tasting each other's drool. For real. When some other guy asked her out, she tried to test it on him, but nothing happens. Then, she went with the protagonist (worried at the moment that she might actually switch to the other, "cooler" guy) and uses their bond, whereupon he immediately gets aroused without knowing why. Then, she pulls a pair of panties from her schoolbag, revealing that these were the ones she was going to use that day, and she was, in fact, wearing nothing under her uniform skirt. And it's not the weirdest thing she has done, either.
  • Mizuki from No Bra. Despite what the title may suggest, she seems to be the only one.
  • The leotard Miu wears in Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple. Her nipples are more defined while wearing this than if she were naked.
    • When Silcardo Jenezad obtains his disciple Bulu, it appears as if she wears nothing from the waist down except for the bottom section of a tunic. Once the inevitable Clothing Damage starts to pile up, we see her rear end is indeed completely bare.
  • Black Butler II: Episode 6 reveals that, underneath her usual maid outfit, Hannah doesn't wear underwear, only a corset and a see through slip. Probably a case of Go-Go Enslavement, though.
  • Honey Kisaragi is often revealed, via Clothing Damage and Wardrobe Malfunctions, to not wear a bra (though she definitely wears panties, at least most of the time). As of Cutey Honey, her Absolute Cleavage makes this obvious all the time.
  • Ghost In The Shell Standalone Complex. In "ANGELS' SHARE", Kusanagi is in London, wearing a trenchcoat as opposed to her usual Stripperiffic battle teddy, when she has to lure a police Special Weapons officer into an alley so she can steal his uniform. She keeps the trenchcoat, but the exposed cleavage shows she's removed everything beneath it.
  • In SHUFFLE! (both the anime and the VN), Primula at first has no idea she's supposed to wear something under her shirt. Rin finds this out when the clothes get wet in Sexy Soaked Shirt fashion.
  • As Fairy Tail has gone on, it has become increasingly apparent that none of the women wear bras and that at least Erza and Juvia may not normally wear anything underneath their heavier clothing if Clothing Damage is any indication.
  • Yuka from Kemonozume never seems to wear a bra, but her breasts are small enough for her to get away with it.
  • Maicchingu Machiko Sensei has almost every Fanservice you can name. Whether or not she is wearing a bra varies from episode to episode. We can usually tell by the time her clothes are torn away.
  • Kureha from Tokko walks around bra-less and shirtless with only an unzipped leather jacket covering her. Sakura also doesn't appear to wear a bra under her tank-top.
  • Eriko from Dragon Crisis! goes bra-less sometimes - in particular, her dress from episode 6.
  • The Yuurei Shoujo from Gate Keepers 21 wears a transparent dress, scarf, and nothing else.
  • Ranma ½: Ranma Saotome, being a guy half the time, never wears bras when he's in his female form. All the male students at his high school love it, I assure you.
  • Saki Achiga-hen: Shizuno wears a (zipped) jacket, shoes, and nothing else. She's flat enough not to need a bra at least...
    • Saki in general has a strange tendency to have characters in very short skirts and to routinely show them at angles that logically should show a panty shot, but perhaps for reasons of modesty never actually shows any panties. The resulting implications are anything but modest.
  • Question Fairy, a Japanese animation created by the Japanese government to teach kindergarten children what they needed to bring to their first day of school. Some .... fans pointed out she can't possibly be wearing underwear. This is one of the reasons the Japanese government abandoned the project. See it here.
  • When the characters of Seitokai no Ichizon each attempt to write a novel about their "adventures", Ken simply writes a parade of Harem Genre tropes. This culminates in Mafuyu tripping, then admitting that she's not wearing panties.
  • In Gun Frontier, every time Sinunora loses her pink dress, she has no bra nor panties.
  • The titular character of Puella Magi Kazumi Magica has this going on. She does wear underwear in her civilian outfit, so apparently she loses it in her Transformation Sequence.
    • Sayaka from the main series doesn't seem to wear anything under her puella magi uniform, either. Not so obvious in the anime, but more obvious from certain shots in the film.
  • Mikan from Rising X Rydeen clearly doesn't wear a bra under her Sailor Fuku as the top is open from the collar down and shows off a bit of Under Boobs.
  • While Merlin from Nanatsu No Taizai wears a Badass Long Coat, she very clearly doesn't wear a bra what with her coat being open.

    Comic Books 
  • Empowered, the titular heroine of that series, is empowered by a super suit that gives her super strength and super toughness. She can't wear anything over the outfit because anything touching it kills its powers. She can't wear underwear under it, for the same reason, and since it is literally skin tight, even a thong looked horrible. The lack of...certain things being visible through the suit was dodged in book 3, and seemed to have become a running gag in the metatext pages at the end that they'll never actually tell us how Emp gets around that problem.
  • The Engineer from The Authority. Her "outfit" was created when her nanomachines came out and covered her skin. Earlier issues showed how form-fitting it was quite clearly. If, for whatever reason, her nanomachines malfunctioned, well, they get reabsorbed into her body leaving nothing behind. Picture of a cover with her on it here. The Engineer straight up admits to being an exhibitionist when challenged on why she doesn't wear anything over it.
  • At least one Marvel artist draws the Scarlet Witch in outfits that make it clear she can not be wearing any panties. Said artist stated Wanda goes commando, and insisted there is no canon artwork of her that shows her wearing panties.
  • Girl One, a police officer from Top 10, surprises her partner by revealing that she's not wearing a funky color-shifting outfit - she can change her pigmentation expertly at will and uses it to simulate the appearance of clothing while she's really naked. Later, she punches out her superior officer Ceasar without any warning, because she found out that dogs are color blind (he's an intelligent dog in a mecha suit — it's that kind of series) and, thus, he's seen her naked all the time without saying anything. It Makes Sense in Context when you realize the true horror of Girl One: She's not a nudist or exhibitionist. She's an artificial human created by 2 horny geeks based on video game heroine and fanservice tropes, who programmed her with a compulsion to never wear clothing but not an Innocent Fanservice Girl mentality. When asked by her partner why she doesn't wear clothes, she says she's more comfortable without, and it's not like anyone can tell the difference, but when she found out her boss was aware — no one else is outside of her partner — she assumed he was getting his jollies from looking at her. He explains later that he's a dog, and she's a human, and thus, she's about as interesting to him as a random poodle is to her. And then he married a human prostitute and adopted an Anubis-like Dog Headed Human girl. It's that kind of series. This is later subverted when Girl One dies, and her replacement, Girl Two, has an early and unfortunate run in with some would be rapists. Girl Two promptly begins dressing conservatively, and changes careers from cop to lawyer.
  • Cobweb from Tomorrow Stories, oh so very much.
  • In one Justice League of America story, after Black Canary defeats Giganta, she goes, "If you insist on wearing a skirt into battle, put on some underpants, or at least learn to sit like a lady."
    Bystander: Son, I wanted you to learn about the female body; I just wish your first sight of it wasn't twenty feet wide.
  • Gotham City Sirens makes it very clear that Catwoman cannot be wearing a bra underneath her Spy Catsuit.
  • Gemini Storm has Elizabeth Rose, whose clothes are all strapless and we can see she doesn't wear a bra underneath. She does wear a thong, though.
  • The cleavage window in Power Girl's leotard is almost always drawn in a way that would make it impossible for her to be wearing a bra underneath. Although being a Kryptonian the functionality of a bra for her is questionable.
    • And sometimes even drawn so wide that it seems she has no nipples, either.
  • In The Intimates, Destra doesn't wear a bra — or, for that matter, a shirt. She's got a little sheer cape draped over her shoulders that barely covers her up (and is probably held in place by double-stick tape), but it's, you know, sheer. Her nipples don't seem to exist in the comic, but artist Giuseppe Camuncoli did a few sketches where they're plainly and completely visible.
  • Alana from Saga clearly has nothing under the poncho-like jacket she wears, but it's justified since she's nursing her newborn daughter and needs access at a moment's notice.
  • Sonya Savage from Danger Girl wears skintight snakeskin trousers with lacing up the side that reveals that she cannot be wearing anything under them.

    Film 
  • The 1991 romantic comedy Career Opportunities was livened up somewhat by having busty Jennifer Connelly spend the whole movie wearing a white tank top with nothing underneath.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean:
    • After an Extended Disarming sequence in the third movie while in Singapore, Swann is left wearing only a shirt. One of the fellow pirates, who is hiding under the floorboards, gets a peep up her dress and informs his friend. During the interval, however, Swann has moved forward, resulting in the other guy getting an eyeful of the privates of one of Sao Feng's male group.
    • Unlike Elizabeth's 'corset', this is a rare bit of authenticity: panties hadn't really been invented yet and very few women wore anything between their undersides and their clothes but a 'shift' (the garment Elizabeth spends most of the first film in).
  • Elektra King from the James Bond movie The World Is Not Enough.
  • The writer's wife in A Clockwork Orange who Alex rapes isn't wearing a bra or panties under her jumpsuit.
  • Sharon Stone in an oft-parodied scene from Basic Instinct.
  • Rene Russo in the remake of The Thomas Crown Affair goes to a ball wearing a very see-through black dress.
  • In the Alternate Universe of Black Mama White Mama, bras were never introduced to the Philippines.
  • Carrie Fisher didn't wear a bra in Star Wars, which isn't noticeable...until she gets wet. According to her, George Lucas decreed that bras didn't exist in space, so for running scenes, she was protected from bouncing via duct tape.
    • She also confirmed that the gold bikini wasn't exactly good at covering anything. (In one interview, she said that Jabba's puppeteers were perverts and liked standing above and behind her for some reason).
    • Similarly, Leia's mother has a scene in Attack of the Clones that confirms that 1) Amidala didn't wear a bra either, and 2) Tatooine can be surprisingly cold.
    • The actress playing Jabba the Hutt's dancing girl, Oola, in Return of the Jedi is wearing a costume that basically amounts to black fishnet and body paint. This is exceptionally visible when she is struggling against her chains, and visibly "falls out" for a split second.
  • Jessica Rabbit in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. She was given panties in the DVD release, sorry to say, though she's still obviously going bra-less.
  • Comes up in Shock Treatment, when Janet's parents are upset by her new outfit.
    Mr. Weis: She's practically naked in that thing!
    Janet: Well I can't wear anything under it, Daddy, it would spoil the lines.
  • The Mike Myers vehicle The Love Guru parodies the Real Life examples below with the titular Guru caught by the paparazzi getting out of a limo without underoos.
  • Avatar: there's an occasional glimpse of Neytiri's nipples because her "tops" tend to be nothing but a bunch of strings.
  • Pretty much everything Milla Jovovich wears in The Fifth Element, much to her protector and acolytes' collective chagrin.
  • The very silly 1960's beach party movie The Girl in the Invisible Bikini. Yes, the bikini was invisible, but everything the bikini covered was invisible too.
  • In Sex And The City 2, Charlotte's nanny, Erin (Alice Eve), never wears a bra, making Charlotte jealous.
  • The alternate title of the 1968 British-French film The Girl on a Motorcycle is Naked Under Leather.
  • Alisa's red dress in the Night Watch.
  • Faith's chain-link concert dress in Strange Days. Very clearly not wearing a bra. Barely wearing a dress.
  • In Fritz the Cat, Bertha and Harriet both wear no underwear and short skirts that ride up in the back, so their butts are basically visible all the time. Oh, and Harriet's breasts are hanging out of her top during the entire first scene she appears in.
  • In the 1999 The Mummy, Imhotep's lover appears to be wearing a long gown when she secretly meets him - but then he touches her shoulder, smearing the body paint which is all she has on.
  • In The Little Devil, Nina doesn't wear panties under her dress. Not only that, she lifts it up, due to the summer heat as she says. The viewer doesn't see anything, though, as they only see her either from behind or from the waist up, but little devil Giuditta (and everyone else around him) does. In fact, Nina was sent from Hell to seduce Giuditta and take him back home.
  • Judy Garland in Easter Parade seems to not be wearing a single bra through the whole film.
  • Joy Ride: Leelee Sobieski in numerous scenes.
  • Eight Legged Freaks: In a short scene by Scarlett Johansson.
  • The female residents of the City in Logan's Run wore costumes that were little impractical whisps of nothing. The costuming department reportedly had to sew these garments together around the women, as they had no buttons or zippers.
  • In one infamous scene in Coffy, Pam Grier's character wears a dress with a slit up the side that makes it clear she isn't wearing any panties. The scene evolves into a Cat Fight where all the women end up with Clothing Damage that shows that none of them is wearing a bra.
  • American Hustle is set in the 1970's, and con woman Sydney (played by Amy Adams) wears dresses accurate to the era — which means Absolute Cleavage and Vapor Wear for most of the movie (including the poster!) Amy Adams said that such a wardrobe required a lot of courage to pull off. Jennifer Lawrence also participates in this trope, to a lesser degree.

    Literature 
  • In Philip Kerr's SF novel The Second Angel, a woman named Veronica (a major character) wears a long lambskin coat, but no underwear, even though the Earth has become arctic, due to the melting of the icecaps. This takes Fanservice to the point of near suicide.
  • The female Big Bads in The Wheel of Time are partial to wearing gowns of "streith", which is basically mood cloth. Under certain conditions, it becomes transparent or smoky, showing that they don't bother with underwear, and making this "vapor wear" of the most literal variety.
  • Done by Craye Sawtelle, the Evil Sorceresses of "The Spring", one of the Silver John stories by Manly Wade Wellman:
    "She winnowed close then. I made out that she didn't have on air stitch under her silky dress. She was proudly made, and well she knew it. She stood so close she near about touched me."
  • In On a Pale Horse, when Death meets Nature, she is wearing a dress literally made out of fog. In every other book in the series, she wears a dress made of leaves.
  • Kiss Me, Deadly opens with Private Detective Mike Hammer picking up a female hitchhiker in a belted trenchcoat. He doesn't realise she's got nothing else on until she slips his hand underneath it to encourage him to get her past a police roadblock.
  • Invoked and used for nefarious purposes in Turn Coat of The Dresden Files. Harry has just finished talking to another private investigator who has been tailing him. The other PI is a decent fella, so he backs off the case when Harry tells him lives are in danger if he keeps it up. However, he doesn't tell Harry who hired him because he's got integrity. He reports this to his apprentice, barely-legal Molly Carpenter, who decides to go ask him...but not before taking off her bra and cooling her chest for maximum effect. Poor guy never stood a chance.
  • Conversed in the book Dork Diaries by Nikki in her diary. She points out about the habit of some celebutante/actresses of 'continuously forgetting to wear their underwears'.
  • J.T. Edson's descriptions of his heroines often mention that it is clear that they are not wearing anything under their clothes. This is usually a sure sign their clothes are going to be shredded in a Catfight.
  • In the fourth Claudine book, Claudine and Anne (set around the 1900s), Anne is on holiday with someone who often wears very skimpy clothes. One day this friend comes down to the beach in a very decent, very opaque dress. Anne compliments on her on her modesty, and she explains that she had to wear something so opaque as she doesn't have a stitch of clothing on underneath.
  • Inverted in Eveless Eden by Marianne Wiggins. The protagonist is a foreign correspondent who meets his Love Interest (a photojournalist) when she's hauled in by two soldiers who insist on searching her, having seen her taking photographs of something she shouldn't. She refuses on the grounds that she's naked under her raincoat, but allows the protagonist to search her instead; he discovers she's wearing a vest that's loaded with cameras and film, but backs up her story.
  • Lampshaded by Drake in Margin Play when he identifies the woman who comes to Hansen's house as a call girl (through binoculars) because "Ladies remember to wear their underwear". Amber takes a look and concurs; the fabric of the dress is so thin and clingy that any type of panty, even a thong, would show if it was there.

    Live Action TV 
  • Sue Ellen Mischke, the Braless Wonder from the Seinfeld episode "The Caddy", is a subversion of sorts. When she was introduced, Elaine went of on a rant about how her old enemy from high school had never, ever worn a bra; in her first scene this is apparent to the viewer (but, to be fair, not too obvious). When Elaine gave Sue Ellen a bra as a gift, she started wearing it in place of actual clothing, causing whiplash and car crashes on the streets of New York.
  • Played for laughs in an episode of the prison-based Brit Com Porridge. When Fletcher's daughter, Ingrid, pays him a visit (in the open-plan visiting room), he is outraged that she's not wearing a bra and all the other prisoners can see it. Next time she visits, she puts a bra on, and just to make sure he knows it, she lifts up her t-shirt to demonstrate.
  • If Kelly Bundy ever wore a bra, she was certainly always very bouncy and pointy in spite of it.
  • In the "Dollhouse" episode of Wizards of Waverly Place, when Alex hugs Justin, she is noticeably not wearing a bra.
  • Servalan from Blake's 7. It's more obvious in motion, but still...damn.
  • Doctor Who embraced this trope whole-heartedly in its classic days. Professor Amelia Rumford in the story "The Stones of Blood" wore a silk blouse without a bra when the air was a bit chilly; companions Romana (especially the Lalla Ward incarnation), Tegan, Nyssa and Ace were seen bra-less more often than not.
  • 30 Rock: Liz Lemon counseled her assistant Cerie about wearing revealing outfits and going braless at the office, despite protests from the male staff.
  • In an episode of Friends, Monica's decision not to wear a bra results in embarrassing consequences when she chooses to sing at Mike's piano bar and the stage lighting causes her breasts to become very visible to the cheering male audience. She thinks they like her singing.
    • Rachel never seems to wear one.
  • When Parker of Leverage changes clothes in an elevator, she is notably not wearing a bra. Kind of weird if you think about it - she's on a job and must have known she'd have to change - but nobody's complaining.
  • About half the time the main cast of Charmed are on screen, they don't seem to be aware of the existence of bras.
  • In the That '70s Show episode "The Third Wheel", Eric refers to Hyde's Girl of the Week as "Little Miss Can't Find a Bra".
    • In another episode, Eric and Kitty go to see a movie. We're treated to their Internal Monologue as they watch, and each one notes that the main female character isn't wearing a bra.
  • Brittany and Santana went on a date with Finn during the first season of Glee. Brittany later informed Sue that they tried everything to seduce him—Brittany, for example, didn't wear a bra. And asked management to turn up the air conditioning. Ahem.
  • Jaime Sommers in The Bionic Woman wears quite a lot of barely legal dresses with no bra, which, in reruns, are slightly startling to modern sensibilities.
  • Shamelessly employed on the Tremors series, when Rosalita taught a self-defense lesson to Burt's survival class, apparently without realizing her white T-shirt was soaking wet. Not that the guys in the class were complaining, mind you.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • The first Slayer's costume seems to be nothing but strategically-placed cheesecloth.
    • Let's not forget the slayer's own aversion to bras in seasons 3-5. note 
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Daenerys Targaryen wears a flimsy silk dress that can barely pass off as clothing with nothing on underneath. Justified, as she was being displayed to her new husband, Khal Drogo.
    • While the ladies of Westeros wear corsets under their dresses, most women don't seem to wear any kind of breast support.
    • And as we are shown on many and numerous occasions, nobody ever wears underpants in this world.
  • Susan Sullivan in the pilot movie of The Incredible Hulk was wearing a see-through black shirt with twin breast pockets. While it would be difficult to say for certain while watching, the DVD commentary specifically states she was braless and the pockets were the only reason they got away with it.
  • Fiona Glenanne in Burn Notice is rarely seen with a bra and at times it's blatantly noticeable.
  • Frequently seen on Rome. Cleopatra in particular, with that transparent dress. Yikes.
  • Played for Laughs in a sketch from The Tracey Ullman Show, wherein Tracey plays a Salsa dancer whose panties are stolen right before her routine. Hilarity Ensues, mostly resulting from her efforts to communicate her predicament to her partner, Dan Castellaneta, while trying not to reveal it to the audience.
  • The prime minister of Serbia, Ivica Dačić, once fell victim to a prank involving this trope, perpetrated by hidden camera show Nemoguća Misija (Mission Impossible). The show's producers invited the Prime Minister for an interview administered by a very attractive young woman in a very short minidress (who was in fact a glamour model). Shortly after the alleged interview began, the model/interviewer shifted her legs, revealing a distinct lack of underwear, in order to capture the Prime Minister's resulting downward glance and goofy grin on video. When the (censored) trailer hit the internet, the government instructed the show not to release the full episode.
  • When Penny on The Big Bang Theory slipped and dislocated her shoulder in her shower, she has Sheldon help her put on just a pair of shorts and a top, justified since she needs to get to the hospital as soon as possible. She insists that he help her with his eyes closed leading to:
    Penny: Just help me get my arm in the sleeve.
    (Penny's eyes go wide)
    Penny: Is that my arm?
    Sheldon: It doesn't feel like an arm.
    Penny: Then, maybe you should let it go.
  • On a Spring 1994 episode of the French children's show Jacky Show, singer/actress Mallaury Nataf performed her song "Fleur Savage" while wearing a short dress with no panties, and, via a Marilyn Maneuver, flashed both sides, triggering a scandal.
  • In Space1999, Sandra suffers Clothing Damage that exposes her back - and the fact that she is naked under her uniform. Unfortunately, the effect is ruined by a continuity error: in the previous scene, you can clearly see the outlines of her bra and panties under her tight jumpsuit.
  • Trudy, one of the female detectives in Miami Vice, never wore a bra and usually wore tops that made this quite obvious. Didn't Miami P.D. have a dress code in the 80's?
  • In an early episode of Farscape, Zhaan takes off her robe in front of a captured alien soldier to demonstrate her lack of cultural taboos. This leaves her completely naked as she is not wearing any undergarments.
  • Debralee Scott had a wardrobe malfunction on the game show Password that revealed a braless breast.

    Music 
  • Madonna in the music video for Vogue. MTV wanted to remove such shots (which make up a good ten seconds of the video), but Madonna overruled them.
  • Lynn Mabry and Edna Holt of Brides Of Funkenstein, appearing in Talking Heads' Stop Making Sense concert video.
  • The front cover of Stacey Q's Boomerang album; only her hands are covering her unmentionable parts.
  • In "Weird Al" Yankovic's song "TMZ", celebrities in Vapor Wear make up some of the photo opportunities pursued by the eponymous paparazzi.
    Those guys are all around
    So you really shouldn't dare
    Go to every club in town
    If you've lost your underwear

    Pinball 
  • In Capt. Fantastic And The Brown Dirt Cowboy, all of the women are wearing T-shirts that emphasize (a) their large breasts and (b) their lack of bras.
  • Similarly, the women of Evel Knievel are shown wearing tight white "Evel Knievel" T-shirts that make their lack of undergarments clear. Crosses over with Sex Sells, as Real Life shirts were also available from Bally.
  • Farfalla, by Italian pinball maker Zaccaria, is infamous for the butterfly nymph on its backbox, who is wearing nothing but a very translucent gown.
  • The tight tops worn by the women of Truck Stop make it obvious they're not wearing any bras.

     Professional Wrestling 
  • Tends to go hand in hand with Clothing Damage/Wardrobe Malfunction.
  • At WWF Capital Carnage, December 6, 1998, there was a mixed tag match with Sable and Christian defeating Jacqueline and Marc Mero. After the match, Jackie attacked referee Tim White and was sitting on his neck (he was standing) and punching away at him. Sable casually grabbed Jackie's shirt and pulled it right off of her, leaving her topless on camera.
    • Jazz defeated Jackie on on the April 7, 2002 Sunday Night Heat with a reverse rollup and a handful of tights, partially exposing Jackie's bare butt on camera.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Swedish RPG Playelf has "clothing penalties" - anything above the base necessities will obstruct your movements and give penalties to everything. Armor is useless because any advantage gained is negated by all the penalties. There are some options, but for the most part, you're encouraged to dress like a Boris Valejo painting.
  • The Dark Elf Witch Elves in Warhammer practically wear anti-clothing and yet still have an armor save. This is considered by most players to be highly optimistic.
    • Same goes for 40k's Sisters of Battle repentia, who get a 4+ save despite wearing nothing but a few strips of cloth and parchment to cover their strategic area. For comparison, a flak vest gives a 5+ save. 4+ is equal to full-body carapace armor.
      • Uh, neither of the above is true currently. Witch Elves decidedly do not have an armor save and Repentia have no armor save, but have a 6+ Invulnerable (from Shield of Faith, representing their ability to shrug off injuries due to their incredible faith.
      • Some tabletop games acknowledge and actually provide statistics for the improbable amounts of protection offered by Stripperiffic "armor" (such as GURPS, which calls it "Bulletproof Nudity").
  • The Dark Eldar of Warhammer 40,000 field Wyches, evil space-elf gladiators who wear weapons, boots, and about a grand total of one square foot of black leather. Maybe two square feet for some of the guys.

    Theatre 
  • The infamous black lace bodystocking worn by the late, great Anita Morris as "Carla" in the 1982 Broadway musical 9.

    Video Games 
  • Sakura Wars: Sumire's kimono leaves her shoulders exposed. Overlaps with Kimono Fanservice a little.
  • Penelo in Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings, as seen above, wears harem pants and a tiny crop top that make it highly unlikely that there is any underwear involved.
  • In Persona 3 FES, you can equip Yukari and Mitsuru (and the female main character in Portable) with High Cut Armour or Battle Panties in, to quote the game, armour that looks like a bikini. If you look closely, they aren't wearing a bra or panties.
  • The models for female characters in the original Neverwinter Nights are set up so that they are always wearing underwear unless you have an item equipped in their armor slot, in which case the underwear disappears. Curious, given the presence of backless/excessive cleavage torso options for most armors.
    • A Dance with Rogues has dialogue options in which you can respond to Vico's insinuations about your panties with "What panties?"
  • Ilyana's 3rd tier outfit in Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn.
    • All of Linde's artwork in Fire Emblem Akaneia.
    • In the leaked prototype for the 7th game, the CG pictures don't have the grainy filter applied yet and make it easy to see Lyn's bare right cheek under her dress.
    • In Awakening, we, of course, have Aversa, but there's also Tiki, whose entire dress is cut in a fashion that implies she might be going commando. Naga herself is not immune to this either, at least in regards to her upper torso, as all awakening artwork of her shows that area semi-exposed and she clearly isn't wearing a bra.
  • Taki in the Soul Series to a ridiculous degree, to the point where it looks like she paints her whole body red and fights naked.
    • Ivy also qualifies.
  • Maki in Final Fight 2. No wonder she has an only-frontal magic skirt.
  • Female characters in Age of Conan don't wear bras. This can be seen every time when using the "Hide" ability, as hiding makes your equipment turn transparent.
  • Darkstalkers:
    • Morrigan deserves a special mention. Since her clothing is made up of servant bats that conform to her body and change appearance, literally everything she wears is Vapor Wear. Then again, she is a succubus...
    • Felicia the Catgirl also qualifies. The fur on her body is part of her body itself, and she has the ability to control where it even shows up at will (same with her ears, claws, and feet: she can turn them completely human at will). She is technically naked in every aspect. Even her ass is fully exposed, but sometimes gets censored just enough by various means during her attacks.
  • Another Morrigan fits this quite well, and the Tsundere attitude only helps.
    • Particularly egregious because she actually puts a bra on for her sex scenes... And it covers more than her default outfit does.
  • In Tsukihime, apparently, Roa's favorite outfit when it was possessing Ciel in a previous incarnation was a partially open cloak. And only that.
    • Given how he (or would it be a she?) went around raping people (regardless of gender) before he killed them, his choice of clothing is really not all that shocking.
  • Chun Li and Cammy in Street Fighter IV have visible nipples during battles. They even pull a Gainax. Oddly, Chun Li is depicted with underwear nearly all the time, except during battle. Hmm.
    • Ibuki in Street Fighter III wears an outfit that leaves the sides of her hips and waist bare with a distinct lack of a waistband for anything underneath.
  • Gaia Online has the Laceback Skirt, a miniskirt that amounts to two squares of black leather and lacing up the sides (the name references the Laceback Bootsnakes you get the materials from in zOMG!). Admittedly, Gaia Online also has articles of clothing that amount to strategically-placed clouds, "Heart Pasties", and "Porn Stars", so this is nothing new.
    • NPC Sasha used to wear a short sarong so low on her hips that any underpants she was wearing would have been apparent. After the Art Shift, she's switched to jeans and a t-shirt. Post-Art Shift Ruby, on the other hand, clearly isn't wearing a bra under her new dress (for obvious reasons, since she now has angelic wings). This is a bit more alarming than the other examples since Ruby is A) quite stacked and B) the single mother of a young boy.
    • Outright lampshaded by NPC Diedrich.
      Did you know only 1 in 1200 Gaians wears underwear? I'm the expert. Since I'm short.
  • Feral in BloodRayne 2 is covered only by what appears to be a deep indigo vapor on the surface of her skin. Since she and her animated Body Paint tend to move capriciously, Theiss Titillation Theory is heavily applied with Nipple and Dimed up top and Barbie Doll Anatomy below, while leaving her rear more casually exposed at times.
  • Numerous outfits for the female custom characters in Soulcalibur IV appear to be worn without underwear, complete with Absolute Cleavage. Of course, when Clothing Damage kicks in, a bra will spontaneously appear where there clearly wasn't one before.
  • I-no in the Guilty Gear series goes braless, in a top that realistically would show the goods to anyone she was fighting.
  • The Oracle in the first God of War has a see-through top and no bra (unlike most examples of Vapor Wear, her breasts are fully visible).
  • In NieR, Kainé falls under this trope with her backless negligee and panties. And the cutscene camera will remind you of it every time.
  • In Gladiator, in the Japanese release (and the initial USA release), it becomes evident that Irene is not wearing a bra under her armor after her breastplate is broken.
  • Janna's clothing in League of Legends is so skimpy that HOT PANTS AND A BUSTIER are considered decent.
  • In the Saints Row series, clothing customization includes underwear, and in Saints Row 2, you may go without. Depending on the rest of your outfit, Pixellation may be applied as necessary.
  • In Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, most of the women are decently clothed, though significantly bouncier than one would expect in armor. Catwoman, on the other hand, clearly isn't wearing a bra (and her catsuit is unzipped practically to her navel). Neither is Wonder Woman. As this is the skimpiest of Diana's outfits (completely backless leotard with a very high-V bottom), we can also say that she is probably not wearing anything under it, especially since thongs weren't invented in Ancient Greece.
    • Catwoman keeps the outfit, though slightly more zipped in Batman: Arkham City. Still obviously not wearing a bra though.
  • The heroine of Psychotoxic averts this in the actual game, but plays it straight in the box art. Her low-rider jeans clearly show she wears a thong in-game, but the identical outfit on the box shows no thong.
  • In Skyrim, many of the female characters, most notably Aela, sport this trope. Unless of course you remove the armor from their dead bodies then some underclothing magically appears.
  • Alice in Virtue's Last Reward is topless except for a short open-front jacket and a heavy gold necklace. The necklace stays perfectly in place even when she's struggling with people or lying on her back.
  • Bravely Default has the Bravo Bikini, which the party tries to get Agnès to wear so she can win in a beauty contest. Since the goal was just to get the attention of the vestal of water, and Agnès finds the bikini embarassing, she ends up not wearing it, but it can be unlocked as an alternate outfit for Edea. The US version Bowdlerized it by censoring the outfit and aging Edea to eighteen rather than fifteen, but it does remain skimpy. To give you an idea, here's a comparison, with the uncensored version to the right.
  • The Water Flying Clothes/Flowing Dress/whatever they're translating it as today of the Dragon Quest series is a literal example, being made out of water.
  • Many outfits in World of Warcraft produce Absolute Cleavage when worn by female characters - robes, mostly, but also some plate armor. In most cases you can wear a shirt underneath, but the bras worn by all "nude" female character models magically disappear as soon as you put on clothes.
  • In The Secret World, female characters are by default not wearing bras. Many outfits include bras, or you can choose to wear a bra instead of a shirt. In early versions of the game, many player characters, male and female, wore only an open jacket or coat without anything underneath. This led to complaints and was later fixed so that women always have to wear something in the "shirt" slot (even though the "shirt" can be just a bra or a bikini top).

    Webcomics 
  • Guest comic in Cheer
  • Concession
    • Angie's picture on the Cast Page has her in a miniskirt with no underwear.
    • On the male side, a couple of Artie's appearances imply he doesn't wear underwear.
  • Almost everyone in Curvy.
  • Ménage à 3 is pretty open about its fanservice aspect...
    • It seems that the ultra-voluptuous DiDi hardly ever bothers with a bra. It's amazing she can walk, let alone jog... She's shown to be wearing one in one strip, but she's in disguise there. Later, she's shown putting one on, but it turns out to be too small for her (strip #854, February 22, 2014, NSFW).
    • Zii seems usually to go braless as well, as does Kiley, but they're both notably small-busted and really don't need support.
  • In Misfile, Cassiel's wardrobe, to the point it seems that she only wears panties in order to do Panty Shots. Ash initially refuses to wear a bra, but comes around to the idea. S/he refuses to wear a thong, though.
  • Aurelina in Murry Purry Fresh And Furry. Even lampshaded.
    Melvin: Hey, how do you get your bodysuit to stay on?
    Aurelina: Magnets.
  • The Order of the Stick's Celia is pretty obviously not wearing a bra most of the time, although you can only tell when she turns her back to the "camera": her clothes are all backless on account of her giant fairy wings.
    • Sabine does likewise; unsurprisingly, as she is a succubus.
  • Literally (perhaps?), with Faye "boobs shaped like '70s Playboy model's" Whitaker in this Questionable Content strip.
  • In Sluggy Freelance, the MMORPG "Years of Yarncraft" has all female Rose Elves start out wearing a see-through top with no bra. You have to complete a quest in order to earn underwear.

    Western Animation 
  • During the first two-part on The Backyardigans' "International Super Spy", every time Uniqua, as the Lady in Pink, lifted her leg during her Villain Song, you could see clearly that she wasn't wearing anything under her jacket. Overlaps with Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal.
  • Futurama's Zapp Brannigan isn't wearing any pants below his jacket, as can be judged from Kif's reaction upon having a view up there.
  • The creators of Kim Possible, in animating this scene, probably did not expect viewers to be paying quite so much attention.
  • In the first The Simpsons episode, Lisa is seen dancing whilst wearing a grass skirt, with seemingly nothing under it. The creators said that she's wearing a skin-colored suit, but you can see her individual toes.
  • One surprisingly shocking moment in Teen Titans has most of Raven's clothes get torn away. A look at her bare back implies that she doesn't wear anything under that skintight leotard. Then again, most leotards are made to be able to be worn like that, not unlike a bathing suit.
  • In the RobotBoy episode "Traffic Slam," Lola sits in the back seat of the Turnbull car with her legs apart, and she's not wearing any panties. A few scenes later, she sits in the same position and is wearing panties.
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold: Princess Laethwen in "Sword of the Atom!". No wonder Ray Palmer is in love.
  • In The Legend of Zelda, Fairy Companion and Chivalrous Pervert Spryte is knocked over by an earthquake, briefly averting her Magic Skirt, and reveals for a split-second that she's not wearing anything underneath it. The radar for this show was not in working order.

    Real Life 
  • This is of course sometimes Truth in Television.
    • Some women do this in Real Life. Why? Every woman has their own reasons. Just like there are guys who prefer to go shirtless because it's more comfortable, some women prefer to go braless/pantyless for the same reason. While a woman may be doing so to feel "sexy", the fact remains that it is their business, and if you are male and happen to notice a girl isn't wearing panties or a bra, it is not safe to assume she likes you, and it isn't really polite to bring it up or point it out unless the woman is already a very good friend of yours.
    • While this trope is about not only a lack of undergarments, but dressing in a way that makes it obvious, one should keep in mind that it may not be intentional. A shirt may be slightly less opaque than you thought, a skirt may ride up a little too far, and so on. And the directed light from a camera flash can make black clothes, which look totally opaque in normal lighting, quite transparent.
  • Runway models tend to avoid undergarments that may show through clothes and ruin the lines. This is often quite obvious.
  • Charlie Dimmock, the female gardener in the BBC's semi-cult garden-makeover programme Ground Force, didn't like wearing bras, and didn't mind if her nipples showed through her T-shirt. References to "Charlie's dimmocks" abounded for a while. She was well aware of the attention, and appeared flattered by it. When a U.S. version of the series was shot, the producers made her wear a bra.
  • Britney Spears, the time that she was caught by the paparazzi. Happened several times with other celebs, too.
    Nip slips were so 2004. This year the thing to do was to denude your ladyflower, wear a short skirt and no underwear, and then spread your legs wide as you emerged from a limousine. Exposed O'Keeffes included those of Kate Moss, Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton and, of course, Britney Spears, who flashed so much cooter the week after her marriage broke up that at this point many of us could probably provide police with an accurate sketch.
    Rebecca Traister [Salon's "Year in Sex, 2006"]
  • A famous photograph of '30s/'40s actress Carmen Miranda, taken as she danced with Cesar Romero, revealed that she was not wearing underwear at the time.
  • Similarly, Tallulah Bankhead reportedly never wore underwear, and considered it "extremely inhibiting". Several of her fellow actors on the set of of Lifeboat discovered this firsthand when she repeatedly climbed the ladder to the set ahead of all of them.
  • Jean Harlow, film star and sex symbol in the thirties, never wore any underwear. Some even say that she put ice on her nipples before shooting a scene. This practice contributed to the introduction of The Hays Code.
  • While watching the 1994 Carnaval in Rio, Brazilian President Itamar Franco invited a parade dancer named Lilian Ramos to join him in the Presidential box. She was wearing an oversized T-shirt, and each time she raised her arms it rose a few inches, revealing to the press assembled below that she wasn't wearing anything underneath. Various newspapers and magazines ran major articles about it (translation), creating a bit of a scandal. Some time later, Ms. Ramos did a reenactment of the incident for some sort of documentary.
  • Many Black Dresses look normal under normal lighting conditions but become see-through when blasted with several photo-flashes at once. When an unlucky actress wears one onto the red carpet without realizing it, certain websites start making money.
  • A photograph taken at Dutch publisher Playlogic's booth at E3 2004 revealed that one of their booth babes was going commando at the time.
  • Taiwanese model Vivi Wang accidentally created a minor scandal thanks to this trope at the 2007 Taipei Motor Show. According to contemporary news articles, her costume was so extremely tight that her pantyline was visible. So, being a consummate professional, she was forced to remove her underwear before the show, and once it started she was so focused on modeling that she completely forgot all about it.
  • Czech-Indian Model and actress Yana Gupta was caught by Paparazzi at a November 2010 charity event in Mumbai wearing nothing underneath her Little Black Dress. She later explained the circumstances leading to this on Twitter.note 
  • Shortly before the 2011 Miss Universe pageant, Miss Colombia Catalina Robayo was caught wearing this trope at an official event in Sao Paolo. After photographic evidence of this appeared in a local newspaper, event officials reminded Ms. Robayo to wear underwear while in public.
  • When she wore a green Versace dress to the Grammy Awards in 2000, Jennifer Lopez was obviously modeling this trope. Her photo was much reproduced and much commented on. However, Entertainment Weekly confirmed via the designer that the dress came with a built-in panty.
  • Adrienne Bailon made headlines thanks to this trope after a red carpet event in March 2012, when a gust of wind blew the cream-colored ruffly thing on her dress to one side, and the skirt underneath proved unexpectedly transparent.
  • Miley Cyrus exhibited this with her backless halter dress at the 2013 MTV Europe Music Awards.
  • The black and sheer dress worn by actress Jamie Alexander to the premier of Thor: The Dark World made it very clear Ms. Alexander was wearing absolutely nothing underneath, and probably even more than her performance as Sif made her a household name overnight.
  • In 2014, a number of celebrities wore see-through shirts which showed off their nipples at various events. This was a part of the "Free the Nipple" movement; a protest against the censorship rules of social media (which tend to remove any images that show even a hint of female nipple). Others who didn't want to go quite that far wore shirts or bras with nipple prints which made them look like they were topless; actress Rumer Willis made the headlines for wearing such a shirt with three nipples.

UnderboobsPartial Nudity TropesWalking Shirtless Scene
UnderboobsFanservice CostumesWalking Swimsuit Scene
Underwear of PowerUnmentionables    
True Blue FemininityClothing Reflects PersonalityVirgin in a White Dress
Who Wears Short Shorts?Stripperiffic    
Valley GirlThe EightiesMusic of the 1980s
Utility BeltCostume TropesVirtual Paper Doll
Van in BlackJust for PunVerbal Ticked
Final Fantasy XII: Revenant WingsImageSource/Video GamesFinal Fantasy XIII

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