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Absolute Cleavage

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The dress that launched an image search engine.

"You know what's holdin' that dress up, doncha? A city ordinance!"
Red Skelton
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There are low-cut outfits... and then there is Absolute Cleavage. This is when a dress or top is specifically cut to show the entirety of the wearer's cleavage and the top half of her stomach...or the bottom half if they really want to court tabloid immortality. Since it would only take one careless movement to cross the line of decency, these are bravura costumes; they hold the viewers' attention not only with their daring but the very real possibility of an embarrassing slip-up.

A Spy Catsuit is frequently one zipper away from this trope. Slightly justified in that, if you're dumb enough to wear a tight-fitting catsuit on a spy mission, unzipping the front will give you a lot more mobility in the arms and shoulders.

There may be a visible bra underneath, and sometimes there is an invisible one,note  but generally there isn't. In any kind of real-world or live-action context, the latter case generally requires some form of adhesive to avoid a Wardrobe Malfunction.

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Absolute Cleavage can also be the unintentional result of a Wardrobe Malfunction. This can be Played for Laughs or for Fanservice or both, and is quite common in Real Life as well (where it is much appreciated by Paparazzi).

Compare Sideboob, Underboobs, Impossibly-Low Neckline, Cleavage Window. Its Spear Counterpart can usually be found on the Walking Shirtless Scene. Any woman who ends up in an outfit like this is probably Ms. Fanservice.


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Examples

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Ginga Teikoku Kouboushi: Volume 2: Foundation: Commdora Licia wears a body-length black dress that displays a cleavage down to her midsection, with a cut along the side of her left leg that goes up nearly to the same point. The dress, thin body and pointy shoulder/ear accessories are there to contrast against her fat bald husband, the Commdor.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure has some male examples:
  • Macross Frontier: A male example: Brera Sterne, whose outfit has a gaping hole from the collarbone to as low beneath the abdomen as one could possibly get without something popping out.
  • My Hero Academia: Yaoyorozu's hero outfit has a plunging neckline that nearly reaches her waist. In this case, it's justified because her power is to generate objects from her skin, and so designed her outfit to reveal as much skin as possible without being completely indecent.
  • In NEEDLESS, Riru has absolute cleavage so absolute that there is barely anything covering her boobs at all.
  • In Chapter 664, during his "Freaky Friday" Flip with Tashigi, Vice Admiral Smoker retains his habit of wearing his shirts open, much to Tashigi's annoyance. It has to be seen to be believed.
  • Princess Kraehe of Princess Tutu has a dance outfit that really takes this to its logical extreme. Her bodice is entirely backless and sideless, with two narrow strips of black fabric rising from the waistline to cover her boobs. Now quick, without knowing another thing about her or her design, would you suppose she was a villain?
  • Ranma ½: In "Nihao My Concubine", the girls get kidnapped and taken to the island of Togenkyo. But as Nabiki and Ukyo explain, instead of being treated as hostages, the guards treated them like royalty and even let them choose their own gowns. Nabiki and Ukyo's parted down the middle and had split-seams showing plenty of leg.
  • Pretty much all of the female characters in Rio -Rainbow Gate!- wear skimpy outfits. However, it is the main villain, Cartia, that walks around with not only the biggest breasts but a dress that showcases most of her cleavage.
  • Kureha from Tokkô. Her standard outfit is an unzipped leather jacket with no shirt or bra underneath. Also counts as the top version of a Magic Skirt, since any forward movement should by rights blow it open.
  • Jura in VanDread wears a slinky black dress that’s open to well below her navel, with the skirt split up to her waist on the left side.
  • Mai from the manga version of Yu-Gi-Oh! wears a corset top with a gap in the front held together by laces. In the anime it's less revealing, though.

    Comics 
  • The DCU:
    • Catwoman frequently wears very low v-necks or catsuits unzipped to her waistline. During her time as the "Kingpin of Gotham" she seemed to wear such outfits almost exclusively.
    • Starfire. Most versions of her costume are sling swimsuits with boots.
    • Donna Troy's v-necked black ensemble is often drawn with an incredibly low cleavage-revealing neckline, though it was originally much more modest like the v-neck of her red jumpsuit. This is probably the reason her outfit was changed to a sleeveless turtleneck instead.
    • Jennifer Morgan's sorceress outfit from The Warlord has a neckline that plunges to her navel and a skirt that is slit to her hip.
    • Wonder Woman:
    • The more Totally Radical versions of Nightwing's costume include a v-neck that ends at his seternum or below to show of his pecs.
    • Vixen from the Justice League. Vixen’s costume has changed with the times but her most famous outfit is a yellow/orange body suit with long cleavage.
    • The memorably skimpy costume of Golden Age heroine Phantom Lady includes an opening down the middle of the flimsy top that shows off her cleavage and stomach, with the two sides only coming together at her belt.
    • From the Legion of Super-Heroes:
      • Dawnstar usually wears a yellow bodysuit that shows much cleavage by way of a neckline that plunges below her breasts.
      • Mike Grell's design for Cosmic Boy's outfit is essentially two very wide pieces of black tape that start at his nipples and go down to his matching Underwear of Power, leaving the center strip down his torso bare to his hips.
  • When Emma Frost first joined the X-Men, her costume was an unholy mix of Absolute Cleavage and Impossibly-Low Neckline, due to being a few strategically-placed scraps of clothing that formed a reverse "X" with her exposed skin.
  • Lampshaded when Firestar joined The Avengers. She was utterly mortified upon seeing the revealing new costume The Wasp designed for her, and stated that she could barely fit into it.
  • Offset of the Shi'ar death commandoes from X-Men has metal armor (if it could be called that) that is made of plates of metal that only barely covers just the nipples and a thin strip beneath them, joining just a few inches above her...well, her hoo-ha. The rest of her torso and back is bare and it forms a thong...of metal...ouch (but her arms and legs are strangely covered) so this could also count as a boob plate and is just a few pieces of metal away from being a Chainmail Bikini.
  • Satan's Hollow: The Devil's Queen is mostly covered by exoskeleton-type armor, except for her front, which has most of her body exposed from her clavicle down to her pelvis.
  • In Lady Rawhide: Other People's Blood, Pirate Girl Scarlet Fever wears a yellow silk shirt that is open all the way down the front and knotted at her navel.
  • JumpStart in Wildstar wears an outfit that's open all the way down to her crotch.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Death Becomes Her: That one gown Lisle wears, the one held together by one sole button in front of her crotch. And this is just about the largest and least revealing piece of clothing she is seen in throughout the movie.
  • In Horrible Bosses, Dr. Julia Harris wears an unbuttoned lab coat with nothing underneath.
  • Spirits of the Dead: One of the many many sexy outfits that Ms. Fanservice Frederique (Jane Fonda) wears is what's basically a swimming suit that is cut in the front down past her navel.
  • In one scene in the softcore film Girl for Girl, Sara (Tracy Ryan) wears only panties and an unbuttoned shirt.
  • At one point in April Fools' Day, Nikki leans out of her window wearing nothing but panties and a shirt that is completely unbuttoned.
  • In the 1972 version of The Getaway, Ali MacGraw wears a blouse cut down right to the navel - it doesn't even have any buttons - when she goes to see the Sleazy Politician. Subtly remarked upon by two men in the waiting room to his office.
  • In Revenge (2017), the skimpy dress that Jen wears to Richard's party with his buddies has a neckline that plunges almost to her navel.

    Literature 
  • A Spear Counterpart in the Village Tales series, Supreme Chef Teddy "The Hipster Chef" Gates, outside the kitchen, can hardly manage one shirt button. Which is just fine with his husband, retired Premier Leaguer turned activist Edmond Huskisson.
  • In Roger Hall's You're Stepping on My Cloak and Dagger! he mentions a notary public who wore a dress so low-cut that one of his buddies referred to it as an "Umbilical Special."
  • In Twilight, Rosalie's prom dress has a neckline down to her waist.
    Her vivid scarlet dress was backless, tight to her calves where it flared into a wide ruffled train, with a neckline that plunged to her waist.
  • The Wheel of Time, being rife with Costume Porn, often mentions this. In particular, the narration often comments that a woman looks like she's "about to pop out of her dress".

    Live-Action TV 
  • Manhattan Love Story: Normally conservative Dana wears a surprisingly revealing dress to a frenemy's wedding, looking more like extra-wide suspenders than anything else.
  • Unsurprisingly, Manswers once asked how skimpily a woman can dress before she's legally naked. The absolute limit consisted of two vertical ribbons in front and one slender thong in back; the ribbons' elongated-vee arrangement constituted this trope. Specifically, the garment (such that it exists) must completely cover the nipple and areola, as well as completely cover the vulva and anus, plus pubic hair. Less/no hair, technically less fabric needed.
  • Lost Girl:
    • In the first scene of the first episode, Bo (who is tending the bar at a night club) wears a black shirt which is unbuttoned way below her breasts.
    • Especially in the first season, Bo's cleavage often extends below her breasts. Sometimes a black bra is visible underneath. In later seasons she still displays a lot of cleavage, but it's usually not of the absolute kind.
  • CSI: NY: Many of Stella's outfits highlight her cleavage, but in episode 4.03, "You Only Die Once," she wears a scintillating black dress that drops all the way to the top of her stomach.
  • Control Z: Rosa wears a dress which displays this for the last episode's party, as do other girls.
  • Farscape: Commandant Mele-on Grayza's standard outfit includes a neckline that ends somewhere around her navel. The outfit earns her the nickname "Commandant Cleavage" from John Crichton.
  • The page image comes from the Versace dress Jennifer Lopez wore to the 2000 Grammy Awards. The dress sent so many people to Google looking for pictures of it, the site released a new feature for searching just for images. And that's how Google Images was born.
  • On Runaways, Morgan le Fay always wears gowns with cleavage that go below the breasts. After all, she is a Hot Witch, and using those dresses in ads is totally justifiable.

    Music 

    Pinball 
  • Jinni Zeala features a male example, as Zeala has a shirt that is open from the collarbone all the way down to his waistline.
  • The Evil Sorceress of Ruiner Pinball wears a bustier to emphasize her cleavage... which is then cut down to her navel for further emphasis.
  • The female warriors of Laser War wear breast-separating jumpsuits that leave their centers exposed.

    Print Media 
  • Kim Cattrall appears on the cover of the April 2003 issue of FHM wearing only a pair of black panties and a white dress shirt that's totally unbuttoned. Some variation on this is very common in most men's magazines, and even many women's as well, though the men's are more openly fanservice-y.

    Video Games 
  • In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, the avatar of the Daedric Prince Noctural (who only appears during the Thieves' Guild quest line) wears a robe that shows off her cleavage, split down to her waist.
  • Fate/Grand Order: Artemis' strapless white dress showing her cleavage in her first two forms is probably one of the more striking aspects of her design. In stages 3 & 4, as well as when she uses her Noble Phantasm, she switches it for a skimpier red dress that shows her cleavage all the way past her navel.
  • Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light: The Nintendo DS remake added Nagi, the avatar of the Divine Dragon (see Awakening below). In her human form, her dress has a large strip going down the middle made of transparent material; so it covers her chest completely, while still showing everything between her neck and her navel.
  • Zyra, the Rise of Thorns from League of Legends is "dressed" only in an arrangement of large leaves which expose her torso all the way down the middle of her body to below her navel. However, this raises the question of why she even HAS a navel, considering she's actually a plant who constructed herself a humanoid body to live in. Nami's default skin is also a textbook example of this.
  • A rare male example but one of the DLC costumes for Rean in The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II has him wearing a long coat that's buttoned right at his stomach, leaving a large V.
  • Lost Odyssey's Ming has a leather corset-thing under a cropped top that features a wide expanse of her cleavage almost down to her navel. How her cleavage doesn't pop right out is a mystery. We even get a cutscene that could be an excuse for a closer look.
  • In Marvel: Avengers Alliance, the devil's daughter Satana runs around in a halter-top outfit that shows cleavage from her neck to her navel.
  • Mortal Kombat: In Mortal Kombat 3, Kitana, Jade, and Mileena wore an outfit consisting of a leotard with two sides held in place by straps across the bust.
  • The fan-made Neverwinter Nights module "Aribeth's Redemption" includes an item (female characters only, not that you are allowed to play one) entitled the "Armor of Impossible Cleavage." It consists of an ordinary suit of gold chainmail with a foot-wide strip of nothing down the entire torso. The person who wears it is a priestess of the setting's goddess of physical beauty and sex.
  • In the first Risen, Patty Steelbeard wears a cleavage and midriff-bearing vest.
  • Rumble Roses has Rowdy Reiko after the Proud Warrior Race Girl's Face–Heel Turn has cleavage almost down to her crotch.
  • In Senran Kagura, Katsuragi wears a completely unbuttoned shirt that somehow manages to cover up her lady-bits as she's kicking people.
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt lampshades this when Ves, who wears a very open silk shirt beneath an undone padded jack with little bits and bobs of plate here and there, gets chewed out for rushing into combat by her superior officer Vernon Roche without any proper armor.
  • World of Warcraft:
    • Many armor pieces have necklines that extend down to the navel or even further. Sometimes this is only true for the female version, while the male versions are more modest. Even though all female player characters wear bras when "naked", the bra magically disappears as soon as they put on a top.
    • Some cloth chest armor is in the form of jackets or vests that are open in front, only held together by straps in a way that lets the region between the wearer's breasts as well as a strip of their stomach show through. This tailor-craftable low-level item doesn't even have anything holding it closed.
    • In the matriarchal night elf society, both men and women show off their bodies to display their power. One aspect of this is that almost all female night elf NPCs wear tops with cleavage down to their navel (or lower) and no bra, the exception being those wearing full armor (though even some plate armor has low necklines).

    Visual Novel 
  • Major Minor gives us Dazz, a female wolf who wears an open coat top with no undershirt, but somehow manages to keep it positioned so it doesn't slip. No wonder Acheron was distracted by her.

    Webcomics 
  • Girl Genius: Agatha briefly appears in a mostly unbuttoned white shirt that shows her ample cleavage when she wakes up after the events in Sturmhalten.

    Web Original 
  • On Miami T.V. this is Jenny Scordamaglia's trademark. She leaves her blouse totally unbuttoned and closes it by tying the bottom front into a knot.
  • In Pixiv community, this is denoted as "下ろしチャック" note . The tag is for characters wearing zipped down catsuits which show both their chests and stomach.
  • Whateley Universe: Valley Girl of the West Coast League was seen in "a shimmering purple ‘fuck me senseless’ minidress with a V neckline that came all the way down to her solar plexus.", as reported in Ayla and the Grinch (A Christmas Story).

    Western Animation 


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