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Bare Your Midriff

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"Now a lot of you might be wondering, why didn't I put Belle on there? Well, it's not that she wasn't beautiful, smart, and a well-developed character. It's just that, well... she didn't show her navel, and on this countdown that earns you, like, 20 more points."
The Nostalgia Critic, Top 11 Hottest Animated Women (referring to why just Jasmine and Ariel were second)

Midriff-baring outfits are popular in Real Life, and have been for centuries, although for a while, it was just in certain cultures and, within those cultures, certain occasions. It's more like 60 years that it's been widely considered acceptable. Even belly-dancing outfits weren't midriff-baring before the "cabaret style" began with the most famous "Little Egypt," a belly dancer who performed at the Chicago World's Fair in 1893.

But since then, they've been a hit, with outfits ranging from tube tops to two-piece bikinis. (Also commonly called a crop top, cropped top, belly shirt, half shirt, midriff shirt, midriff halter top, tummy top, short shirt, or cutoff shirt; also sometime seen with some halter tops, and dozens of non-American styles.) So this is a trope about costumes showing the curvy area around a woman's waist.


Note that simply showing the stomach and a little skin around it, like a slightly open shirt, does not count. But a dress with a large section around the belly cut out does. Nor do completely naked characters count — although their midriff is bare, so is the rest of their body.

Starting in the late 90s and into the 2000s, the belly shirt seems to have become some kind of visual shorthand for "teenage girl" or, in some cases, just "girl". If someone does this in High School (actually in school), it's a case of No Dress Code.

This is mostly a female trope, most likely because hunky Mr. Fanservice can show off his entire torso without instantly getting the work slapped with an R rating, so he might as well just do that instead. A bare midriff on a male character is usually (though not always) a sign that he's Camp Gay and/or a Crossdresser, and a form of Fan Disservice, especially when ugly and/or old. It has become more common in stage outfits in anime male idol shows (particularly if the group is youthful and enegetic) though the female counterpart is still a lot more common.


This seems to be the only other form of Fanservice in Bollywood besides Wet Sari Scene, due to it being a traditional form of dress for young women.

Can come with a Minidress of Power, Chainmail Bikini, Lingerie Scene, Black Bra and Panties, Loincloth, Sexy Santa Dress, or Walking Swimsuit Scene as long as it is either a skimpy two-piece bikini or a topless monokini.

The Fat Slob sometimes employs this trope for Fan Disservice, always wearing a (typically food-stained) shirt that's a couple sizes too small to fully cover up his huge gut. This is most often seen in kids' cartoons.

Super-Trope to Fur Bikini and Seashell Bra. No Shirt, Long Jacket has a similar effect.

Compare Absolute Cleavage, Underboobs, Showgirl Skirt, Zettai Ryouiki (has a similar effect, but lower on the body), and Sexy Backless Outfit. Compare and contrast Navel Window, where the character's outfit only exposes their navel and a little bit of skin around it, and Navel Outline, where their clothing is tight enough to make the outline of their navel visible.

Not to Be Confused with Contemplate Our Navels, which means an act of deep philosophical thinking and has nothing to do with actual navels.

Example subpages:

Other examples:

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  • The Fantanas in several commercials.
  • In a commercial for Washington Sports Clubs: A young woman is being peeped in on by her neighbor. Noticing the man's attention, she opens her shirt, revealing her sexy lingerie-clad body, and gyrates enticingly.
  • Quite a few advert leaflets and such in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in England have a sexy woman in them. In many of those cases, their midriffs are bared.
  • Most of the Bowflex commercials.
  • This iconic Tab commercial from 1982.
  • This Sea and Sky commercial.
  • 1970s Australian RC Cola commercial.
  • "A Thousand Quivers" Coty Wild Musk.
  • Alexandra Morgan runs strapless in this commercial for Tom Tom Runner Cardio.
  • An ad for Intuos digital drawing tablets has a cartoon redhead with this.
  • Mandalay Bay commercial.
  • The woman who's suggestively eating a sub in this Jerry's Subs & Pizza commercial.
  • Holly wears a midriff-baring shirt in this Checkers commmercial.
  • A few comedic Chicken of the Sea ads have men ogling a sexy woman who's wearing a skimpy, belly-baring outfit as she's walking towards an elevator. Once she gets into the elevator however, she's revealed to be sucking in a fat gut and is left exhausted after finally being able to let it hang out.
  • This Thai tuna commercial has a beautiful woman with an exposed stomach try not to eat too much at a buffet, only for her stomach to rebel by trying to eat huge amounts of food itself. When she stops it, her belly button actually cries.
  • One Lifesavers ad has a woman wearing a shirt that shows off her chubby belly. It's attracted a lot of catty remarks about "muffin tops" from her peers, and her boyfriend is forced to lie about it being a compliment when she asks him about it.

    Asian Animation 
  • Lisa from Happy Heroes and the City of Mystery wears a shirt that has her midriff showing through it.

    Audio Plays 

    Comic Strips 
  • Miss Buxley in Beetle Bailey does this regularly. Usually, she's wearing a bikini when she shows her midriff, although she wears a matching mini skirt and cropped top to the office in one strip and wears just her bra and panties in another.

    Fan Works 
  • Acia Rose in Clash of the Elements does this, as stated by the narrator.
  • Last Child of Krypton: When Asuka becomes the next Wonder Woman she rips parts of her plugsuit off, leaving her arms, legs and belly bare.
  • Superwomen of Eva 2: Lone Heir of Krypton: Asuka's Supergirl costume is based on one of the outfits of Kara Zor-El. When Shinji sees her costume for first time he notices very acutely that her very tight blue shirt "left her toned midriff bare".
  • In Forum of Thrones, Alysanne's clothes typically have this. It is decidedly not for Fanservice though, but rather out of the practical reason that it allows her to move more freely and also to give more room to the bandages that cover up the burn scars on her lower torso.
  • In this fanart for the 2012 TMNT series, Karai bares her midriff.
  • In this Equestria Girls fanart [1] Sunset wears a shirt that bares her midriff, so does Twilight "Sci-Twi" Sparkle. Rarity has a sleeveless button-up top that she has tied in a knot to bare her midriff as well.
  • This is a common fashion among monsters in Anonymoose's Monster Girl Saga.
  • In Guardians, Wizards, and Kung-Fu Fighters, the new summer hoodie that Jade eventually buys does this, showing off her developing abs. Irma very much appreciates the view.
  • Fu in Son of the Sannin considers baring her midriff an important part of herself, likening it to Naruto's choice of wearing orange clothes. So much that when she tames her Tailed Beast and gains a chakra armor, she has Chomei retract it around said area to leave it exposed.
  • In Cadet Scrap, Sophie wears a sports bra and boxing trunks for her sparring bout with Kate. Kate, her girlfriend, appreciates it.
  • Fate/Gamers Only: Rikku wears the top from the male version of the True Ether Mystic Code as opposed to its midriff-showing female version during Orleans to avoid this, much to Da Vinci's disappointment. When entering Septem, Rikku finds that Da Vinci swapped the male top out for another version in eye-searing bright colors to encourage her to wear an outfit with a midriff, which doesn't work until Nero forces her into the alternate outfit after being convinced by Da Vinci that Rikku lacks confidence to want to wear it.
  • The Secret Return of Alex Mack:
    • Azure Crush considers a sports bra and short shorts to be a combat uniform, due to a combination of Nigh-Invulnerability and developing newfound confidence when she received superpowers.
    • Alex doesn't flaunt bare skin in public, but she works out in a sports bra and shorts at home. Between her enhanced metabolism and a year of an intense fitness regimen, her older sister sees her and feels a bit inadequate.
  • Violet Parr during the Girls' Night Out Episode in Unity (Finmonster) wore a top that was described as leaving her stomach exposed.
  • Kara Zor-El briefly does this when subjected to Clothing Damage in The Girl Who Could Knock Out the Hulk (part of the There Was Once an Avenger from Krypton series). It's mainly done as a Mythology Gag since it caused her outfit to resemble her Post-Crisis incarnation, but it's also played for fanservice since Skye spends quite a bit of time oogling her exposed and well-defined abs.
  • BlazBlue Alternative: Remnant: A few characters wear outfits that are described as being midriff baring. Makoto's default outfit is the same as her Chronophantasma pre-battle attire and is described as leaving her toned midsection exposed, Noel's standard attire is stated to stop just above her belly button, and even Nora wears a pink crop top in Chapter 39 that exposes her stomach.

    Films — Animation 
  • Batman: Soul of the Dragon: Lady Eve wears a green Spy Catsuit that leaves her midriff exposed, also including her back.
  • Disney:
    • Gideon the cat in Pinocchio wears a purple shirt with loose sleeves that is too short to cover his belly.
    • Mr. Smee in Peter Pan. However, he's an elderly, plump man, so it's not played for Fanservice.
    • The Little Mermaid (1989): Ariel in her mermaid form wears a Seashell Bra. Although technically this is "bra only" — she doesn't wear anything on her fish half. Her sisters (and in fact almost all mermaids) also wear Seashell Bras.
      • Melody in The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea to a lesser extent. Her full clothes do cover her midriff, but after she becomes a mermaid her shirt turns out to be to short to conceal it without her pants.
    • Aladdin: Jasmine's outfit, which codified the Bedlah Babe trope for modern audiences, consists of low-waisted harem pants and a bra-like top. Aladdin's street rat outfit is similarly revealing, wearing a small vest with no shirt under it (his prince outfit covers more).
    • Nakoma in Pocahontas. She has a crop top and skirt that shows only her abs.
    • Some secondary characters in A Goofy Movie. Lisa that has a black bikini top and ripped blue jeans and the Powerline dancers. These are justified for their work, but Lisa is the only female student with this look.
    • Kida from Atlantis: The Lost Empire, except at the end of the film when she switches to a less revealing royal outfit.
    • Jane Porter at the end of Tarzan switches from her usual Victorian dress to a Fur Bikini.
    • Nani from Lilo & Stitch wears clothes like this. Justified, as she lives in Hawaii where the climate is very warm.
    • Dr. Facilier in The Princess and the Frog wears a purple vest that exposes his belly.
    • Shanti from The Jungle Book 2, who is depicted here with a ponytail, a yellow choli, and a purple skirt (in the first film, she wore pigtails and a strapless purple dress with a pink sash at the waist).
    • Zootopia:
      • Gazelle, being an Ink-Suit Actor version of Shakira, wears a midriff-baring outfit similar to her.
      • Duke Weaselton also wears a shirt that's several pieces too small for his long, slinky weasel body.
    • The title character of Moana wears a midriff-baring top, but a high-waisted skirt that covers her navel, effectively baring her abs rather than her midriff.
    • Hercules: Terpsichore, one of the Muses, wears a midriff baring toga.
  • Daphne in Aloha, Scooby-Doo!. It is believed she is wearing a bikini underneath her crop shirt and skirt. She goes for this trope in more movies, and the cartoons as well, whether she's wearing a bikini, a crop top, or a costume.
  • Crysta from FernGully: The Last Rainforest wears a red Fairy Sexy dress that reveals her midriff.
  • Teegra from Fire and Ice wears, practically, nothing but a bikini.
  • Dolly Gnome from Gnomeo and Juliet.
  • Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer: Cousin Mel bared her midriff while singing her Villain Song.
  • In The Prince of Egypt, Tzipporah is first introduced in an outfit with a midriff-baring top. She wears a different outfit that averts the trope for the rest of the movie.
  • Linda from Rio in her Brazllian carnival costume. It's very out-of-character for her and she visibly feels uncomfortable in it, but Tulio finds her very attractive in it.
  • Chel in The Road to El Dorado has a midriff baring top that hardly covers her breasts.
  • Lola Bunny from Space Jam has the crop top and shorts combo both as her on-court uniform, and as her tryout apparel.
  • The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie: The mermaid, Princess Mindy.
  • DJ Suki from Trolls wears a top that shows off her navel area, which contains a gem.
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Forgotten Friendship: This being a Beach Episode for the series, the swimwear worn by Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Rarity, Sunset Shimmer and Trixie include bared midriffs.

    Films — Live-Action 

  • A notorious cliché of the covers of Urban Fantasy novels featuring Action Girl protagonists.
  • Queen from María Pascual's character group "The Pack".
  • Ellie Sattler in the original Jurassic Park novel. In the film she wears a top that covers her midriff under her pink knot-up shirt.
  • In Tales of the Astonishing Black Spark it is discussed with the superhero, GRAVI-Tina. She is shown, at times, to be more powerful than resident Superman expy The Almighty Asper, she takes down the world’s greatest villain herself, all while using her powers over gravity to fit into her absurdly tiny costume.
  • Masha from Robert Asprin's Myth Adventures books aims to prove that one doesn't need a slim figure to wear a bare midriff outfit. Many other characters really wish she wouldn't.
  • In the first The Kingdom Keepers book, Amanda is noted to dress this way. Charlene's Virtual Magic Kingdom avatar dresses this way as well.
  • In Animorphs 'In The Time Of Dinosaurs' Rachel discusses the 'bare midriff look.'
  • Forgotten Realms: Jarlaxle, for his first couple of appearances at least. It helps that the Underdark has a fairly constant temperature.
  • Part of Bree Pym's "youthful take on funeral attire" in Aunt Dimity Down Under was a black miniskirt paired with "a clinging black sweater that covered her tattoos but didn't quite cover her tummy."
  • Kajiya in Destined to Lead, even depicted on the cover art. However, she gets a non-midriff bearing outfit in book two, according to Word of God.
  • Many fairies in the Rainbow Magic series do this on the covers of their books. Since they look very young, however, it's not very fanservicey.
  • The Posterchildren: A Justified Trope with Jenny Chambers. Her powers open a portal over her abdomen so she can't wear anything over it if she needs to use it.
  • Claire Redfield in the novelization of Resident Evil – Code: Veronica. (Unsurprisingly. Since she is dressed this way in the game and comic.)
  • In Stephen King's Song of Susannah: The eponymous heroine Susannah, having last seen New York in 1964, time-travels to New York in 1999, where she is astonished that women are walking around with their bellies exposed.
  • Some of the characters in Spectral Shadows do this, such as Princess Tabby Tiger in Serial 2, some of the female brothel workers' outfits in Serial 11, and Saint Saffron's costume from the same serial.
  • Jack Slash in Worm.
  • Carol from I Think I Love You knots her blouse to show her stomach, even though she gets in trouble with the teachers for it.
  • Villains Don't Date Heroes!: Fialux's costume leaves her stomach bare, as Night Terror notes approvingly.



  • Summer from Sequinox has this in her outfit. It's also present in Chell and Hannah's gym outfits (Syd mentions it looks like they're trying to have an ab contest).

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Quite common for females in Professional Wrestling.
  • Stevie Richards often wore a midriff-baring tank top.
  • Early in her career, Princesa Sujei cut a hole out of her singlet to show off her six pack.
  • The All Night Express, Kenny King and Rhett Titus, wore hooded sweat shirts that had their torsos exposed on ROH TV.
  • After Super Shenlong III lost his mask to Akira Tozawa at the conclusion of the Mad Blankey vs -akatsuki- conflict in Dragon Gate, this became his new look as Yosuke (loves) Santa Maria.
  • Kofi Kingston in 2017 often wore a midriff-baring tank top.


  • In the 1930's and '40's, Lily Pons portrayed the title role of Delibes' Lakmé in this manner. Since she was both petite and slender, this made her the Ms. Fanservice of the Metropolitan Opera of her time.
  • Tsukiuta likes to use this for fanservice, starting with You in Yumemigusa. His 2015-era stage costume also featured this - the one with the jacket with no shirt underneath. Both he and Iku have this in their stage costumes from the anime, and on the live actors, a lot more shows when they move. In the seventh play, Cyber-Dive Connection Hajime, who is usually the most covered up, had very revealing side cutouts on his costume - and, of course, You did too.
  • Tsukipro's SQS series, from episode 3 onward, features both units in their 2019-era stage costumes. Everyone has this area showing except for leaders Shiki and Shu, but Rikka and Tsubasa have so much showing, combined with the flowing, silky skirt-like parts in the back, that they look like bellydancers. And then Dai reaches up Tsubasa's shirt...


    Visual Novels 

    Web Animation 

    Web Original 
  • Gaia Online:
    • An interesting inversion after the Art Shift. Unpopular Island Girl Sasha got a more modest look — and suddenly she has fans.
    • Most female Gaia characters still play the trope straight.
    • A subversion comes every year around Halloween these days, though, when little old lady Agatha dresses up as Medusa, including the world's saggiest metallic bra...
  • The Rappelz online banner ads likely on this page feature plenty of nice tummy shots.
  • In the Whateley Universe, one of the many problems with the new costume of THE CRIMSON COMET!!!. Granted, she just got the superpowers and the curves a couple weeks ago and she hasn't gotten over it yet.
  • Katarina in Enter The Farside wears crop tops that show off her midriff.
  • Genoa Rivas in Void Domain.
  • In Justice Wing, Interviewing Leather and its sequels, most heroes and villains wear protective uniforms. Skimpier outfits — especially midriff-baring ones — are generally a tell that the character is much more durable than normal or otherwise can avoid injury or inconvenience. First tier villain Beguile, for example, is nigh indestructible, and wears midriff baring clothes by preference.
    • In Motivation, one of the newer prequels to Interviewing Leather, the villainess Multiplette wears midriff baring outfits — but since her duplicates are actually made of energy and can't be hurt, she's another example of that same tell.

    Web Videos 
  • Marik Plays Bloodlines: "My midriff is like the Bermuda Triangle or something. People start going towards it and they're never heard from again!" Don't stare directly at it.
  • The Autobiography of Jane Eyre: Blanche Ingram's outfit for one party with purple top and black skirt allowed her to show off her sexy belly. See it here.
  • Fairy Tale Friday: Thumbelina spends most of the story in sports bra, and Cinderella rocks a gay pride flag belly-shirt before her transformation.
  • Sportscaster Erin Andrews' peephole video: The video shows Ms. Andrews' ritual of ironing and curling her hair in the nude, along with her casual nudity lifestyle. Her stalker secretly shot the video through peepholes in her hotel rooms at the Nashville Marriot at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN and the Radisson Hotel in Milwaukee, WI..
  • Kathy Smith in Kathy Smith's Flex Appeal: A Belly Dance Workout.

    Real Life 
  • Particularly common as athletic attire. Many people especially in hot weather go shirtless or wear something partially revealing for clear reasons.
  • Paris Hilton. Paris Hilton. Dear God, PARIS HILTON!
  • Before the early-eighties, which is when manufacturers began making half t-shirts, young women would bare their midriffs by tying the bottom front into a knot.
  • Had its peak period in the West during the late 1990s and early 2000s, where a look for women involving cropped tops and extremely low-waisted trousers or skirts (for the really daring, below the top of the pelvis) became popular on the street and practically enforced for young female entertainment personalities. Died out because of how unflattering it was if you didn't have an absolutely flat stomach (the term "muffin top" was coined). It started to reappear slightly in the late 2010s, but without the exaggeratedly low waistlines of the turn of the century.
  • Cheerleaders: Many high school and college cheerleaders often do this by wearing bikinis and shorts and bikini tops during their car wash fundraisers.
  • Hooters Girls.
  • Wet T-shirt contests, though the midriff is obviously not the "main event".
  • Jessica Nigri in most of her cosplay outfits.
  • These Vietnamese flight attendants perform a sexy bikini tops dance.
  • Traditional Indian clothing tend to expose the midriff in women, since the navel was considered the birthplace of life and creativity. This varied with the time and place, though.

Alternative Title(s): Midriff Baring Outfit