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Ethereal White Dress

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"Very tall they were, and the Lady no less tall than the Lord; and they were grave and beautiful. They were clad wholly in white; and the hair of the Lady was of deep gold… but no sign of age was upon them, unless it were in the depths of their eyes; for these were keen as lances in the starlight, and yet profound, the wells of deep memory."

This figure is either metaphorically or literally dead, dressed in pale clothing that marks them as having one foot on the Other Side. While this character is rarely a classical ghost (see Cute Ghost Girl or Bedsheet Ghost for more typical ghost depictions), they are symbolically associated with death, often being stuck in the past. It may be difficult to determine if they are dead or alive, or if they are human or spirit. Despite Light Is Good and White Is Pure, these ethereal characters may tend towards a more ambiguous morality. If the dress is stained with blood, better watch out.

Compare Mystical White Hair, Prophet Eyes, and Psychic Powers, which have similar connotations of "a connection to the otherworldly" for a character. Can overlap with Gold and White Are Divine if the otherworldliness is specifically heavenly or godly in nature. Contrast White Shirt of Death, where dressing in white foreshadows an imminent death. In this trope, the white-clothed character has already died, at least metaphorically. Also Undead Barefooter, Magical Barefooter or any other variation, because characters with this kind of dress sometimes ditch footwear. White Is Pure is a positive version as it means the spirit is free of sin and friendly.

This trope has its origins in the legend of the White Lady, a figure in ghost stories throughout the world associated with loss of a loved one or a sense of purity before death. Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl and Yuki Onna are similar legends from Eastern media.

Supertrope to Wight in a Wedding Dress.

Note: white clothing has many different meanings. This is a specific one, and examples should explain the symbolism associated with the character. See Tropes in White for other possible uses of white color symbolism.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Meiko "Menma" Honma of Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day. She's a Cute Ghost Girl, and she was wearing a white dress when she drowned and died. She even has white-blonde hair!
  • Bleach: Rukia Kuchiki's Zanpakutou, Sode no Shirayuki, is a pure white blade and possesses powers over snow and ice. Rukia's sword and power is based on the legend of the yuki-onna, the ghostly 'snow woman'. Her Bankai activation transforms her into the snow-woman of legend: her hair becomes white, her skin icy, and her dress snow-white. The world around her transforms into one of snow and ice, and she becomes a detached, mystical being that is possessed by an otherworldly beauty. In anime filler, her Zanpakuto Spirit is introduced long before her Bankai reveal and acts as foreshadowing: the spirit is a woman with white hair, very pale skin, and a snow-white kimono; she is quiet, well-mannered even when rebelling, is portrayed in a detached, mystical manner, and also possessed by an otherworldly beauty. Any female Arrancar who wears a white dress or robe would also qualify.
  • Case Closed:
    • Horribly subverted in a filler case, where the woman In white is the actress Akiko Kinoshita... who only wears white clothes either when performing her Star-Making Role as the traditional "Yuki Onna" ghost, or when her lifeless body is found buried in the snow. She was murdered by Yoko Asanuma, her envious Body Double, who also briefly wears white while impersonating Akiko and making everyone believe she was still alive.
    • In several openings and endings of the anime, however, Ran is seen wearing white dresses and playing the trope straight.
  • At one point in Fairy Tail Erza Scarlet has a dream that she's dead and during the time she's wearing a pure white gown (notable one of the only times she wears white in the series)
  • Sawako of Kimi ni Todoke dons a white dress, pretending to be a ghost during her school's courage test. Combined with her pale skin, black hair, and semi-creepiness/fierce determination to make her peers happy, she manages to look like Sadako.
  • In Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms, the Iorph traditionally wear plain white chiton-like robes with a few golden ornaments. This matches their nature as the Clan of the Separated, immortals who live apart from mortals and are destined to fade from the world.
  • In Peacemaker Kurogane, although male, Okita Souji plays the woman in white when out-of-uniform, using feminine speech patterns and invoking the innocence aspect of white with his cute pet pig and a fondness for sweets and playing with children. Of course, to those who know him, it's a double-entendre of sorts, with the death-and-mourning aspects of white evoking his deadliness as a swordsman.
  • Princess Tutu: The Wili Maiden, the ghost of a woman who committed suicide and now tries to bring young men into the afterlife, dresses in an all-white tutu with white tights. Of course, she's based on a character from a ballet that shares the name of the episode—"Giselle".
  • In Puella Magi Madoka Magica, the final episode shows 'Ultimate' Madoka wearing a white dress upon becoming the manifestation of hope to magical girls. Said character ends up being Ret-Gone from existence, making them metaphorically dead.
  • Sailor Cosmos from Sailor Moon is a sailor senshi from a future where Chaos has destroyed nearly everything and she is the last hope. She transforms into Sailor Chibi-Chibi to assist Sailor Moon in the present to prevent her bleak future from occurring. Sailor Cosmos is actually Sailor Moon in the future. Her costume is all white, including her hair. Of course, this isn't the case in the anime.

  • The Lady of Shalott (Waterhouse): As the legend goes, the Lady is going on this boating trip to her death. Symbolically this is represented by the stark white gown she wears in the painting.

    Comic Books 
  • At the end of the first issue of a Birds of Prey series, an Asian woman in white called "White Canary" has shown up. Given her badassitude, two possibilities for who she is spring to Black Canary's mind: Cassandra Cain or Lady Shiva. Oh, Crap!...She turns out to be the sister of the Twelve Brothers in Silk, who Black Canary fought years ago, and in a bit of Fridge Brilliance, wears white in mourning for her brothers, who she killed to uphold their father's honor after their defeat.
  • After her death in New X-Men, Jean Grey ended up ascending to the White Hot Room as the White Phoenix of the Crown, doing things like repairing galaxies. During that time, she usually appeared in a white dress or white and gold variation on the Phoenix suit (this was actually the original design for the Phoenix costume until it was realised that the printing standards of the time just meant that text and colour on the other side of the page would be seen through it).
  • Secret of Young Justice wears an all-white costume and a gray cloak. Fitting, as she's essentially a ghost.
  • Ghost (Dark Horse Comics): The eponymous Ghost is a woman who was killed under mysterious circumstances and returns as a ghost dressed in white.

    Films — Animated 
  • In Frozen II, Elsa gains a pure white gown upon entering Ahtohallan and becoming more in touch with her powers and nature as part of the fifth spirit.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Forest Spirit in Throne of Blood, who looks like an old woman dressed in white but is possibly a Youkai. She offers Washizu some eerily accurate prophecies that tempt him into evil but ultimately lead to his downfall, so she is simultaneously helpful but with suspect motivations.
  • The 1988 film The Lady In White features a ghostly woman in a white flowing gown.
  • Princess Tamina, the resident Barrier Maiden of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, dresses in white.
  • Ugetsu: Part of Lady Wakasa's beautiful but unsettling look is the all-white dress and hat she's wearing when she first meets Genjuro. She turns out to have been Dead All Along.
  • In Dead End (2003), a mysterious woman in a white dress repeatedly appears to a family lost in the woods on vacation.
  • Michael Myers in Halloween II (2009) has visions of his mother in white, accompanied by a white horse, urging him to reunite with Laurie.
  • Pet has Holly, who qualifies for multiple variants, including fragile, evil, and linked to death. And thanks to being played by Ksenia Solo, she has the pale skin and platinum-blonde hair as well.
  • Sound of My Voice: Maggie, the cult leader, wears white robes and a shawl, which mirror the white bedsheet she supposedly wrapped herself in after waking up in a hotel room with amnesia. The white robes also blend with the white scrubs she has her followers wear when they meet with her.
  • The Wailing: While investigating a crime scene, Officer Jong-goo meets a strange woman wearing a white robe who throws rocks at him and tells him that the strange Japanese man living alone in the woods is the culprit, before disappearing. She turns out to be some kind of local deity trying to protect the village against the stranger, who might be The Devil himself, to no avail.
  • King of the Zombies: The stately but silent Alyce Sangre is dressed all in white when she slips into Bill and Mac's bedroom. Her appearance is so sudden and so silent that Jeff mistakes her for a ghost.
  • An American Haunting had two of the Bell Witch's forms: the Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl from the opening scene and Betsy Bell's ghost. The latter told the woman to help her at the end.
  • In Curse of the Undead, the blonde Delores—who is being fed upon by the vampire Drake Robey—is clad in a flowing white nightgown when she responds to Robey's mental summons and sleepwalks into the garden.
  • Black Panther (2018): When T'Challa visits the Ancestral Plane and meets with his father's spirit they both appear dressed in white clothing. The sequel establishes that white is the traditional mourning color in Wakanda, with all citizens donning it for T'Challa's funeral.
  • In Murders in the Rue Morgue (1971), Madeline is always dressed in one in her recurring nightmares.

     Fan Works 
  • Child of the Storm has Lily Potter, the White Phoenix of the Crown a.k.a. Destruction of the Endless, appear in a white dress with a golden sash and Phoenix emblem when she turns up.
    • In the Of Dungeons and Dragons arc of the sequel, one of the Undines appears in this form. Considering that Undines like luring people to their deaths by drowning, Harry is careful not to be taken in — though he doesn't miss that the entity in question at least appears to be an attractive young woman in a wet dress that's implied to be Vapor Wear.
    • In chapter 60 of the sequel, Jean and Maddie appear in Harry's mindscape wearing pure white dresses (their psychic forms having previously merged into a pure white gestalt), emphasising both their unearthly nature and purity. Here, they're unambiguously benevolent, doing their best to help Harry heal.

  • Great Expectations: Miss Havisham is an old woman who always wears her white, tattered wedding dress, and she rarely leaves her room. Her character is utterly defined by her obsession with the man who left her at the altar, and she metaphorically died that day, becoming old, bitter, and refusing to grow.
  • Both versions of The Lady of Shalott take care to decribe the white garments the Lady wears before she gets on the boat, knowing she's on her deathbed:
    1833: A cloudwhite crown of pearl she dight,
    All raimented in snowy white
    1842: Lying, robed in snowy white
    That loosely flew to left and right—
  • In G. K. Chesterton's The Tales of the Long Bow, Owen Hood fell in Love at First Sight with a woman he met in the woods, wearing white. When he sees her again, coming out of a tea-room, in blue, it is a shock to him to realize that she could wear blue (and be seen out of the woods).
  • Ravenclaw's house ghost in Harry Potter, Helena Ravenclaw, known as The Grey Lady.
  • The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins is a Victorian mystery novel, the plot of which revolves around a mysterious woman in white. This gives her something of an eerie appearance, especially since she tends to turn up at night, and one character is explicitly left with the conviction that he's seen a ghost.
  • The Ghost In The Third Row by Bruce Coville features a ghost called the Woman In White, an actress who had been murdered in the theater fifty years ago. The fact that the protagonists in the book were putting on the play of her origin story gets her attention...
  • Lydia, the mother of Rosilda and Arild and Carolin in Maria Gripe's ...och de vita skuggorna i skogen ("...and the White Shadows in the Forest") only ever dressed in white or black, depending on her mood (a trait she took over from her mysticist mother), and usually carried a bouquet of white roses as well. The "white shadows" Rosilda sees in the forest around the castle turn out to be Lydia, who is watching over her children after faking her own death.
  • Kahlan Amnell of the Sword of Truth series. She is introduced as a very mysterious woman who is obviously very important, matching the archetype. It is later revealed that a white dress is the official dress code of the Mother Confessor, the most powerful woman in the Midlands.
  • Perdina and Voile Tricante in Burying the Shadow both wear white all the time, helping their Creepy Twins image.
  • Lissar in her deerskin dress and white hair in, of course, Deerskin. The effect is enough to make people think she's not quite human, or even a goddess called the Moonwoman.
  • When Isabel is in mourning in The Kingdom of Little Wounds, she wears white. She's no longer slim and pretty enough to be ethereal, but she's still mad.
  • The Iron Sisters from The Mortal Instruments wear long white gowns that blend in with the mists of their home, so when summoned they look like they appear out of nowhere.
  • Sally Bones from Varjak Paw is a cat version of this trope. She's completely white-furred, very mysterious, and everyone is utterly afraid of her.
  • The elvish queen in The Arts of Dark and Light wears a long white gown, and makes a mysterious, striking impression. Together with her pallor, light hair, serenity, and classical beauty, she reminds protagonist Marcus of some impossibly perfect statue of the ancient heathen gods somehow come to life.
  • Galadriel and her husband, Celeborn, are both noted for their white robes, in The Lord of the Rings, alongside their otherworldly qualities even by elven standards.
  • The Grace of Kings: The god Kiji sometimes walks the world as a man in a spotless white cloak — an incongruous detail when he's disguised as a grimy old beggar.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Supernatural: There are all the girls in white nightgowns who get killed by the Monster of the Week, or the girl in the white hospital gown who caused people in her town to act out fairy tales... Let's just say that women wearing white on Supernatural are either going to be the victim or the villain.
  • The mysterious woman from Ultraseven X is dressed in white most of the time.
  • Doctor Who:
    • A mysterious woman wearing all white and credited only as "The Woman" appears in "The End of Time", giving mysterious messages mostly to Wilfred Mott. She is eventually seen among the Time Lords who turn out to be behind the near-disaster the episode is named for, as one of the two who voted against it. After the last meeting with her, Wilfred mentions her, and the Doctor looks significantly toward Donna. However, Word of God said she was originally planned to be the Doctor's mother - and that we should also pay attention to the other Time Lord who voted against the plan.
    • River Song, the mysterious woman hinted to play a hugely important role sometime in the Doctor's personal future, first appears in the two-parter "Silence in the Library"/"Forest of the Dead" dressed in a white spacesuit. She ends the two-part story dressed in a white gown.
  • Smallville, Season 10, episode 12, "Collateral": Chloe Sullivan returns, seemingly with magical powers, dressed all in white. As it turns out, the cast are actually trapped in a virtual world and her white-clad status indicates that she is hacking in from the outside.
    • That version of Chloe Sullivan appears to herself in "Masquerade", but this time as an illusion of Desaad preying on her sin of Pride.
  • In Merlin, Prince Arthur sees the spirit of his mother Queen Igraine wearing a very, very pale gold dress - it's practically white, and the costume colour was no doubt chosen to acknowledge the supernatural aspects of this trope.
  • The ghost in The Stone Tape as she's dressed as a maid from the 19th century, which gives one character fleeing the ghost a nasty shock when he runs into a female character dressed in her Labcoat of Science and Medicine.
  • The ghost of Rosa appears in this in the second season of Alta Mar. Deliberately invoked by Cassandra as part of her revenge plan.
  • Merlynn's usual appearance in American Gothic (1995). It's the dress she died in.
  • Battlestar Galactica (2003): When Head Six, Gaius Baltar's Not-So-Imaginary Friend, wants to talk to him about more spiritual matters she trades her skimpy red dress for a more demure white one. It's what she's wearing when she appears to Gaius while he's on Kobol, the homeworld of humanity. Caprica-Six later sees herself wearing the same white dress in the Opera House visions that play a key role in the final season.
  • Ultra Series:
    • Ultraman Tiga: Yuzare, the mysterious spirit woman connected to the titular hero, is dressed in a bright regal white dress along with a hood. Her clothing amplifies her nature as a mystical guide and help to the heroes.
    • Ultraman Trigger: New Generation Tiga: This series' incarnation of Yuzare follows in her inspiration's footsteps, being a mysterious woman who appears in the protagonist Kengo's visions and dreams and has a white dress highlighting her mystical status.
  • An episode of Creepy Canada features Darke Hall, an allegedly haunted building on the University of Regina campus. One student sees the ghost of a young woman walking through the building in a white nightgown. This is also implied to be Jacob Marley Apparel; the building was once used as an infirmary during a typhoid epidemic, so if the ghost dates from that time, she could certainly have died in bed while wearing a nightgown.
  • War and Peace (2016): Just before she commits suicide, Helene Bezukhova walks through a hallway wearing a sheer-ish white gown. She overdoses on an abortifacient, so the red blood around her legs stands out against the white of her sheets and dress.

  • In Genesis' Rock Opera The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, there's a character called "Lilywhite Lilith" who falls into this trope. It's implied that she's not even human, but rather some kind of cave creature.
  • Lucia in her mad scene in (traditional productions of) Lucia di Lammermoor, justified as it was her wedding night/dress.
  • In the music video for "Diary of Jane" by Breaking Benjamin, the titular Jane wears a white dress. She was Dead All Along.
  • Akiko Shikata poses in a white dress on most of her album covers. Quite fitting for the atmosphere of said albums, where there are a lot of songs about nature and magic. On the cover of Turaida, she even holds a white instrument.
  • Nightwish:
    • Tarja in the "Sleeping Sun" video is depicted as an angel walking through a battlefield of dead soldiers leading the fallen to eternal life while soldiers from various eras (portrayed by the other band members) follow her.
    • The narrator of "Ocean Soul" is a lonely, detached Broken Bird. She is obsessed with beauty and the sea, hears angels whispering, and dresses in white.
  • The original UK video for "Wuthering Heights" by Kate Bush featured Bush dancing in a smoke-filled room wearing a white dress alluding to the song being based on the section of Wuthering Heights where Catherine's ghost haunts Heathcliffe.

    Myths & Religion 
  • The Youkai onryou (better known as the Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl) are always dressed in white, because a white kimono with its collar folded right over left is the customary way the dead are buried in.
  • The Ghost of Resurrection Cemetery - Justice, Illinois, USA. Supposedly the spirit of a young lady killed in the 1930s, who always appears dressed for a white dress party. When offered a ride she usually asks to be dropped off at the cemetery on Archer Road. When they get closer, however, she disappears. This, incidentally, has happened for decades and often still does, especially with people who are not from the city and do not know the story of Mary, as she is called.
  • Princesses of The Fair Folk often come in this form. They do not always have the protagonist's best interest in mind.
  • La Llorona, a Mexican myth about a crying ghost, is also called this. Just about every Spanish-speaking country has mythology related to La Llorona, even Spain. Generally speaking, though, the story is usually the same: she was a beautiful young mistress who tried to permanently win the heart of the man she loved by drowning her own children because she knew he wasn't all that fond of kids. It wasn't until he called her out on it that she realized how horrifying her actions were and promptly drowned herself in an effort to find her children. Naturally, she's a ghost said to haunt riversides calling for her children.
  • There is another myth about white-dressed women, it's about the Mulher de Branco (it means exactly the trope name), in Brazilian North / Northeast. She is the ghost of a bride that died (mostly killed) before entering the church to marry, and now, searches for her groom near the place she died, usually in a dark, creepy forest. If she finds a man she thinks is like her groom, she takes him to the world of dead with her... Unless said man runs like hell, which they promptly do.
  • A more recent one was "la rubia de Kennedy" ("blonde woman of Kennedy Avenue"). In The '70s, a young Chilean woman named Martha Infante died in an accident in said Avenue, and for several years, her ghost supposedly haunted the corner where she perished. The "ghost" was a blonde girl wearing a white coat who would ask for a ride, then tell the driver 'please don't drive so fast' and vanish.
  • Newark, NJ has a local legend about a lady in white haunting Branch Brook Park. Story goes that a car accident killed a girl while her boyfriend/fiance/husband/prom date was driving and she haunts the place to this day.
  • The standard description for female ghosts in the Philippines is a woman all in white with long black hair that obscures her face. Often believed to be virginal and the subject of a violent death (probably rape), she's commonly known as a "White Lady". It has been the subject of many horror films, including one appropriately entitled White Lady.
  • In Oberlin, Ohio, there is a story of a woman in white that haunts the lake in a local park.
  • In Bohemia, there's the legend of the White Lady, the ghost of Perchta of Rožmberk.
  • In the Netherlands, there are legends of Witte Wieven, "White Women". They're spirits of women who were kidnapped by other Witte Wieven. Depending on where the story is set, they're either Always Chaotic Evil or just want to be left alone. A version of the tale tells of a drunk farmer walking home through the forest when he meets a woman dressed in white, and he asks her to dance. Which she does, all night long, until daybreak rolls around and the farmer drops dead at her feet.
  • In Wales, there are many different legends of White Ladies or White Maids, variously called things like Y Ddynes Mewn Gwyn ("The Woman in White") or Y Ladi Wen ("The White Lady") or "Mor Wen" ("White Maid"). Some are associated with sacred stones, such as the White Lady who haunted the Sagranus Stone at witching hour, ensuring no-one crossed the bridge after dark. Others are associated with Nos Calan Gaeaf (Hallowe'en) or will be seen near cemetaries, castles, hill tops or sacred spaces, sobbing silently in the darkness for mysterious reasons. Some will punish badly behaved children or ask passers-by for help. One legend associated with Ogmore Castle tells of how Y Ladi Wen once led a man to a hidden cauldron of gold. Although he was permitted to take half, which would make him wealthy for the rest of his life, he sneaked back later to steal more. Y Ladi Wen cursed him with misfortune, causing him to fall gravely ill; he was left suffering and bed-ridden until he confessed to what he had done; only once he had openly admitted to his greed was he finally allowed to die.

  • In Death Note: The Musical, Rem wears white robes. She's a Shinigami.
  • Many adaptations of Hamlet depict Ophelia (yep, that one) wearing a flowing white gown after she loses her mind from grief, highlighting both her innocence and how she's mentally 'checked out' of the world following her Trauma Conga Line, including her father being accidentally murdered by the man she loves. She wanders around the countryside, singing and gathering flowers, and eventually drowns; it's strongly implied it may have been deliberate.
  • Fantine in Les Misérables is infamously known to fill this trope at the end of the musical. Her spirit comes to greet the dying Jean Valjean wearing the pure white nightgown she died in, making her appear truly angelic.

    Video Games 
  • In the game Summoner, there is a mysterious Woman In White who turns out to be Flece's mother and the Empress of Orenia. In her first appearance, King Belias mistakes her for a ghost.
  • The Fatal Frame games show most of their Virgin Sacrifice Big Bads in white kimono. Exceptions are Sakuya, who is the most colored villain by wearing a deep red kimono, and Sae, whose white kimono is splattered with blood, and Ose, whose kimono became dark when tainted by the Black Water, but is shown wearing a white bridal kimono prior to her ritual.
  • "Scarlett O'Hara" in Uninvited. (Yep, evil ghost.)
  • Isolde, a Posthumous Character in the backstory for The King of Fighters, used to wear a white sundress. In The King of Fighters XIV, Kula (the final result of the experiments that prematurely ended Isolde's life) has the exact same sundress as one of her alternate costumes.
  • In the Touhou Project fan game Concealed the Conclusion, the final battle with Reimu has her dressed in white, mainly because Gensokyo is her dream, and she's waking up, causing Dream Apocalypse.
  • In The Path, a girl literally named Girl In White by the game developers leads you back to the path to Grandmother's house if you stay still long enough. Some speculate that she is a spirit who wants to protect the granddaughters from meeting their Wolves, while others suggest she is a long-lost sister to the granddaughters or perhaps the grandmother herself. Curiously, while the Girl in White does indeed wear all white and is young, her skin tone and hair color are fairly dark.
  • Resident Evil Village: Lady Dimitrescu is a vampire-like mutant who wears a white dress.
  • In Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, the Jedi Master Arren Kae was believed to be long dead, with her only legacy left to her daughter Brianna being her ornate white Jedi robe. According to Shrug of God she's Not Quite Dead, and has been with the Exile's party the entire time.
  • Rengoku: Beatrice in the flashback is a regular human operator and a researcher in a labcoat. By the time of the Tower's construction, she wears something resembling a Fairytale Wedding Dress and acts as the only force of hope in the game.
  • Galaxy Angel has Lady Shatoyan, the administrator of the White Moon, who is always clad in a white, bride-like dress, and is universally revered by the Transbaal Empire's citizens as both a saint and goddess. She is also over 600 years old, having kept herself alive through an advanced cloning process.
  • Dark Souls: In a game series that centers around inevitable death and undesirable immortality, these tend to crop up. Standouts include Rhea of Thoroland, Gwynevere, Dusk and Gwyndolin from the first game, Nashadra from the second, and Irina of Carim from the third (with Filianore from the DLC). All of these characters are mystical, ghostly, and are seen pursuing a fleeting and hopeless quest before meeting a vile fate, though at least one outs herself as a deadly enemy beforehand.

    Visual Novels 
  • Visual Novel Ace Attorney Spirit Of Justice: Ellen Wyatt, defendent of the dlc case, wears her wedding gown to all her court appearances, having vowed not to take it off until she and Sorin were finally married- their wedding having been interrupted by Ellen getting framed for murder.
  • In Ballad of an Evening Butterfly, Chou who is an albino vampire, is clad in baggy, white clothes which seem to add to her enigma and mysterious personality. It also contrasts Yoru, her twin, who's completely in all black.

  • Gunnerkrigg Court: There's a ghost lady in white haunting the Annan River.
  • Girl Genius: The Geisterdamen (German for "ghost maiden") are a race of all-female monsters who are entirely white, including hair, skin, and clothing.
  • Lapse: There is a ghost who, because the main character doesn't know her name, is just referred to as The Girl in White.
  • Agents of the Realm: Filoni appears in white dress in Norah's dreams and what happened to her to change her from Red Oni into scared and worried dream vision is still a mystery.
  • Rhapsodies: Deidre the psychopomp dresses in all-white outfits when on duty.
  • The Order of the Stick: The Goddess Hel wears a long, flowing white robe reminiscent of a shroud that gives her a ghost-like appearance, consistent with her status as a death god as well as a mentally unstable person and a god on the brink of non-existance.
  • Sleepless Domain: The woman who appears in the Dream, the mysterious dream that all Magical Girls receive before awakening their powers, is dressed all in white, highlighting her mystical nature. Her dress doesn't actually seem to have a top, instead fading into her neck and arms.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Blue Eye Samurai. The title character is often described as or compared to an onryou, particularly in "The Tale of the Ronin and the Bride". A flashback shows she was once happily married, but her husband rejected her after discovering she was a better swordfighter. Desperate to show her husband she can be a traditional wife, she dresses in a white kimono, but bounty hunters turn up instead while her husband rides off and leaves her to die. In her rage she slaughters them and her husband, becoming the demon she's regarded as now.
  • Steven Universe's Rose Quartz, in her every appearance thus far, appears in a full-length white dress. She also has far more shading and highlighting than the other characters, and goes barefoot, further playing up the ethereal appearance. Not only is she a character who gave up her physical form to give birth to Steven, she was the extremely powerful leader of a group of magical aliens, as well as a healer.

    Real Life 
  • Emily Dickinson became something of a local celebrity in her town, as during the few times she ever left her house, she would always wear completely white outfits.
  • Death is considered to wear white in some places in Asia. White is also the traditional color of mourning in Islam.
  • People who want to enter into Yoruba and Santeria "priesthood" must wear white clothes for a full year (minimum) before being officially invested, the only color element being their necklaces. Albeit this is done for both sexes, but women stand out more.
  • Mary Queen of Scots was famous for her frequent use of white within her wardrobe. This is thought to be in part because she was often in mourning for either her father-in-law, mother, husband, or second husband, and in part that she looked very good in white (and apparently wanted to marry her first husband Francis in it, during a time when white was not commonly worn in weddings, red being the preferred choice, long before she entered her period of mourning).
  • Very common in reported Marian apparitions. I.e St. Bernadette Soubirous and the kids at Fátima (Portugal) initially reported seeing "a beautiful young lady all in white"; the people from Knock (Ireland) described Mary as wearing "a white cloak, hanging in full folds and fastened at the neck"; considering there were folk legends about terrible ghost women, it's no wonder their parents got upset, although some people figured Bernadette was seeing a harmless revenant spirit.
  • Although it's well known that the Victorian era had a predominance of using blacks and shades of gray as mourning colours, what's less well known is that it had been traditional to wear white as a mourning colour. This started dying out during the Victorian era but continued to be a colour worn to funerals and to visit the graves of loved ones right up until WW1. However, Queen Victoria, who always wore mourning black while in Britain, would change to all-white attire when visiting France due to the tradition of white being the mourning colour of French royalty. White was resurrected for royal mourning in 1938, when Queen Elizabeth (née Bowes-Lyon, best known to us as the Queen Mum, or as Bertie's wife) was scheduled to make a visit to France five days after her mother's death. Norman Hartnell remade her dresses in a fortnight; they became known as the white wardrobe.
  • In Judaism, it is traditional to wear all white on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year when God is said to judge all souls and decide their fate for the coming year. In order to confront their own mortality, Jews simulate death by fasting and abstaining from bathing, wearing shoes, and having sex - wearing all white contributes to the symbolism. Some Jews take the trope even further by wearing the kittel, the pure white traditional burial shroud.