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Intimate Open Shirt

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"'That's nice,' she smiled 'I'm sure Cubby can take care of herself for a while. Just rest.' Her long fingers gently and expertly lifted his dark brown hair, stroking the side of his head like a cat, tenderly embracing a brain that was yearning for solace. 'We can do this any way we want,' she purred softly in his ear, and quietly opened his shirt buttons, slipping her strong right hand under the fabric to caress his chest."
Wolf DeVoon, The Good Walk Alone

The rough Spear Counterpart to Slip into Something More Comfortable, this trope is used as a visual indicator that the mood between two people is becoming a little more intimate. The most common situation is to have the man begin the scene wearing a suit of some kind, lose the tie and open his shirt by a couple of buttons. The more buttons the shirt has undone, the more amorous the mood. When the shirt's totally unbuttoned, it's also a Shirtless Scene. Two buttons undone is the bare minimum, also frequently accompanied by loosening the sleeves. If it was a tuxedo, you'll find the undone bowtie around the neck (possibly something for the woman to pull off?). You can guess that this is a frequent Fanservice provider.

In many pre-watershed programmes, this is a common way to imply that two people are about to get physical without annoying Moral Guardians. On the flip side, it's also a good indicator to show that they've already done the deed - suggesting that the man hasn't finished properly getting dressed yet. And if the man doesn't have his pants on, that usually means they're in the middle of it. Closely related is Ready for Lovemaking.

Note that this usually happens with some kind of formal wear, although it can also happen with casual clothing. The man doesn't have to wear a suit to qualify, but the shirt has to notably open. Wearing a vest and no shirt also qualifies. Compare Sexy Shirt Switch, Open Shirt Taunt, and Shirtless Scene (which is what this sometimes leads to). It could also be considered a tamer male version of Navel-Deep Neckline.


    open/close all folders 

  • An ad for Silentnight Mattresses has a couple preparing to do the deed. As the woman goes to the bathroom, the man excitedly undoes two buttons on his shirt...only to fall asleep because of how comfortable the mattress is.
  • A Johnnie-O commercial shows a woman checking out three guys in a bar. A nerdy guy has only one button undone, a Casanova has three undone ("too much wolf") and she picks the guy with two undone.

    Comic Books 
  • Nightwing: Dick Grayson has a tendency to leave his shirt open, or off, when he's in his apartment, which is much appreciated by his love interests, though not so much by his adoptive family who have a tendency to drop in unannounced through the window.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Turning Red, Robaire wears an outfit where the bottom three buttons of his shirt are undone revealing a bit of his belly. His navel gets more noticeable when he jumps or anything similar. It's more noticeable in the Turning Red Manga artwork by Viz Media.

    Films - Live Action 
  • The Americanization of Emily: Shows Charlie dressed this way when he goes on a picnic with Emily. The scene ends with passionate kissing.
  • Along Came Polly: Reuben and Polly are back in his apartment, about to do the deed. While she's in the bathroom, he opens three buttons on his shirt. Then a second later he buttons up the third one. Later on, before performing a salsa dance for Polly, he unbuttons his shirt a little to evoke this.
  • Atlantic City: An intimate moment between Lou and Sally culminates with Lou telling her how he used to watch her through her window as she washed her breasts. The scene cuts to show Sally kneeling in front of Lou with her blouse completely unbuttoned and her cleavage on display. Sex follows.
  • Black Narcissus: Mr Dean frequently shows up with his shirt unbuttoned. Fully justified due to the hot weather, but still establishes sexual tension between him and the nuns.
  • Bram Stoker's Dracula: Jonathan's shirt is like this the first time he's seduced by the brides. The next time the film shows it, they've bypassed this and gone straight to Shirtless Scene.
  • Bride and Prejudice:
    • Wickham is introduced as a Mr. Fanservice at a beach party. While he does put some clothes on, he keeps his shirt like this to establish sexual tension between him and Lalita.
    • Darcy's shirt is like this (the tamer two-buttons-undone variation) when he proposes to Lalita at the end.
  • Bringing Down The House: Parodied as Peter prepares to meet Charlene for dinner. He looks at himself in the mirror and unbuttons his shirt like this. It's buttoned back up by the time she arrives.
  • Catching Fire: For his interview with Caesar Flickerman, Finnick Odair - the heartthrob of Panem - is dressed in a black kilt-like garment and a white shirt whose v-neck opening extends from the collar almost to the navel.
  • Cypher: Used when Morgan wakes up in his hotel room with his shirt like this - and Rita watching him sleep. Kissing at least ensues.
  • Dad's Army: Pike in the film version appears with his shirt like this when trying to seduce Ms Winters. He's evoking Rhett Butler, mentioned above.
  • Daredevil (2003): Has a tame version of this. Elektra and Matt are talking, with Matt suited up. By the time they get to the balcony and kiss in the rain, the tie is gone and Matt's shirt is open slightly.
  • The Devil Rides Out Rex's tie vanishes and his shirt unbuttons for practical reasons (he's taking a nap). But they also coincide with his following intimate scenes with Tanith.
  • In Fierce Creatures, this is merged with Not What It Looks Like. It's a Running Gag that Rollo keeps being Mistaken For Pervert, and is caught with his shirt like this with a woman in her underwear. The two were eavesdropping on the others and a tarantula was loose in the closet they were hiding in, so they had to strip off to make sure it wasn't hidden in them.
  • The Girl Next Door: Female example when, after taking a dip in Matt's principal's pool, Danielle trolls his friend Klitz by wearing her blouse like this as he answers the door — "I'm all wet, can I come in?" — but drops the act as soon as Matt appears.
  • Gone with the Wind: It's no coincidence that Rhett's shirt is like this when he and Scarlett share their first passionate kiss. It's even on the film's poster.
  • The Hole: The party that the teens have in the bunker shows Geoff wearing a tuxedo shirt nearly fully unbuttoned. He and Frankie do it, whereas Mike and Liz do not.
  • Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom: Indie does this as he's planning to get frisky with Willie. Of course, they don't get around to that since Indie discovers a secret passageway in her room.
  • Into the Woods: In the film version, the two princes' song "Agony" is essentially them angsting about how badly they want to bone Cinderella and Rapunzel. Cinderella's prince rips his shirt open dramatically in the chorus, and his brother copies him. He later has his shirt open like this for "Moments In The Woods" when he seduces the Baker's Wife.
  • Jurassic Park: Does have Ian Malcolm's shirt unbuttoning after his injury, which Jeff Goldblum says was just a Throw It In by Spielberg. Memetic Mutation has however portrayed it as this, complete with a Funko Pop of Ian posing suggestively.
  • Les MisÚrables (2012): While not used for this, a number of fans got this reaction anyway when Valjean appears in a scene with Cosette - his shirt fully open like this. He's meant to be a surrogate father to her, leading to a number of fans finding an Incest Subtext.
  • King Kong (1933): Jack begins the film with his shirt fully buttoned up. It's like this around the time he confesses his love for Anne.
  • The Notorious Landlady: Bill does this before his date with Carlyle (while she's in the living room no less). He's justified in doing it since he's changing for later. However as this is early in the movie, this is instead used to establish sexual tension between them.
  • Pride & Prejudice (2005): In one of the film's final scenes, Elizabeth Bennet is out walking in the misty dawn when the ever-elusive Mr. Darcy shows up. He's far from groomed to perfection, dressed in an unlaced undershirt, and after some beating around the bush finally professes his love for her.
  • The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie: Teddy Lloyd is shown like this whenever he's in his studio in the film version. As his studio is where his affair with a student takes place, this is understandable.
  • Psycho: Does this the other way around. Sam begins the scene shirtless and by the end is like this, as he wants to continue their raunchy hotel antics whereas Marion wants to go back to work.
  • Sucker Punch:
    • The Deleted Scene of Babydoll meeting the High Roller. We'd previously seen him in a tuxedo. At this point, the bowtie is undone and the collar is open. As Babydoll gives herself to him, she undoes two buttons on his shirt.
    • Much darker earlier in the film has Blue taking off his tie and unbuttoning his shirt as he prepares to rape Babydoll.
    • In the deleted "Love Is A Drug" musical number, Blue is seen punching a client who had requested Blondie. He's seen with his tie undone and two top buttons open.
  • The Vampire Lovers: Happens to Renton while he's having passionate rendezvous with Carmilla. Too bad she bites and kills him afterwards.
  • Wolf: When Laura gets Will handcuffed in the hotel room, she gradually unbuttons his shirt. Of course this also has plot significance; as this reveals the talisman he wears underneath to prevent turning into a werewolf, and taking it off for sex results in a transformation.
  • Young Lions: Has Michael getting into an argument with his wife at a party, while fully suited up. The argument in question is about joining the army. Later on, when they have a romantic moment Michael's shirt is now like this.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Coronation Street:
    • Ashley and Claire are away for a romantic weekend. As they get drunker and more amorous, Ashley's shirt opens by a few buttons. Unfortunately for him, Claire gets too drunk before they can do anything.
    • Nick and Natasha are getting frisky when his mother Gail walks in. Given Nick's shirt had three buttons undone, they would clearly have gone further.
    • Mike goes over to Penny's house for a "quick drink" fully suited. They're next seen with a half-empty bottle of wine, where Mike's jacket is gone and the tie is loosened. The next time we see them, Penny's in a dressing gown and Mike's tie is gone and shirt open.
    • Used to illustrate sexual tension between Dev and Sunita, while he's still engaged to Maya. Sunita walks into Dev's flat to find him with his shirt like this - along with a bit of alcohol making him say things he wouldn't otherwise.
  • Friends:
    • When Monica and Rachel are in the middle of foreplay with their boyfriends Richard's shirt is halfway open and he's not wearing pants. Since Ross wasn't wearing a suit before he and Rachel started doing it, he's got a t-shirt on instead.
    • Chandler hooks up with Rachel's boss Joanna in her office. When the scene begins, he's not wearing pants and his shirt is three buttons open.
  • A housewife in Doc Martin does this with her pilot husband when he's home after a long trip away.
  • In the Doctor Who TV movie, the Doctor unbuttons his shirt for the purely practical reason that Grace wants to check out his fascinating alien body, but the fact he starts undressing the moment he steps in the door comes across as a bit eager.
  • Happens in the Angel episode "Waiting In The Wings" when the ghosts of dead lovers possess Angel and Cordelia. He begins the scene suited up in a tuxedo, only for the shirt to open considerably. Notably after he and Cordy have resolved to resist any impulses to give into the spirits, his shirt is buttoned up again.
  • In Keeping Up Appearances Richard is merely getting changed, but Hyacinth reprimands him anyway for "answering the phone to a lady in such a condition" presumably because it evokes this trope.
  • Lampshaded in Gossip Girl when Dan has an Imagine Spot while angsting over his and Serena's first time. He imagines Serena making out with Nate, who has his shirt like this. Dan asks if he has to wear it that way, and the imagined!Serena says that it does help with the mood.
  • Kris on Charlie's Angels is depicted as having an open shirt fetish in both the "Disco Angels" and "Toni's Boys" episodes because of how the open shirt highlights their large pecs; she was physically attracted to two men who left the top three buttons undone, sexy dance shill Mario Monterro in "Disco Angels" and male Angel Bob Sorenson in "Toni's Boys", although with Bob, she actually liked seeing it off. Kris prefers smooth chests, as shown by this photo of Mario's actor Gregory Rozakis and this still shot of Bob in "Toni's Boys".
  • Two in the second episode of Westworld. When William is being shown the park by a host, she unbuttons his shirt into this as her way of indicating that he's free to take advantage. When he discovers that she is a robot, he's tempted but ultimately says no. In a straighter example, Lowe lying in bed with his shirt open is a good indicator that he and Teresa have just finished doing it.
  • Party of Five - issues between Bailey and his girlfriend Jill get resolved, and the scene ends with her unbuttoning his shirt a little, followed by a Sexy Discretion Shot.
  • 13 Reasons Why in a flashback to a party, Hannah tries to get Clay to wear his shirt like this. He refuses, not wanting to be Mistaken for Gay.
  • Two of a Kind - showing that senior citizens are not exempt from this trope - has Mrs Baker seducing Mr Fillmore by using her kitchen knife to undo his shirt buttons. The twins unfortunately spy this through the window and assume she killed him instead.
  • On one Elimidate episode one female contestant unbuttoned the man's shirt and took it off while dancing with him.

  • In the Sugababes video for "Push the Button", Mutya does this to Mr Perfect. He begins the video fully suited up. By the end he's lost his tie and the top two buttons of his shirt.
  • In the video for "As If" by Sara Evans, the first guy's shirt is totally unbuttoned and that's why he's her first choice.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Vince McMahon hears that a woman is waiting outside his office and thinking that it's his mistress Candice Michelle, loses jacket and tie, opens his shirt a lot and drops his pants. When he discovers the woman is in fact Momma Benjamin, he hastily puts his pants on and buttons his shirt up.
  • The fourth season of WWE Tough Enough had a skit where the contestants had to seduce Mae Young. Justice Smith begins by unbuttoning his shirt, and eventually draping it around her.

    Video Games 
  • A very dark version of this trope in Far Cry 3. Bambi "Buck" Hughes, an Australian Psycho for Hire who coerces Jason into finding an ancient Chinese knife for him, is constantly posing in an open Hawaiian shirt displaying his stag tattoo. The dark part? Buck's a Depraved Homosexual and he's keeping Jason's friend Keith imprisoned in his sex dungeon and raping him repeatedly.


    Web Original 

    Real Life 
  • Because of this trope, there's a constant debate about how many buttons it's appropriate to leave undone in a business setting. Just one is universally considered acceptable but undoing two is a grey area. As it can evoke this trope, it's frowned upon in some places. Three buttons undone would only be acceptable in particularly hot regions; otherwise it would be seen as inappropriate.
  • Queen Victoria apparently had a thing for this, or at least her time's equivalent; in her diary she remarks how attractive her husband Prince Albert looks when wearing only his shirt and leaving his throat exposed (hardly evocative to us but surprisingly "intimate" for the 1800's).
  • Barack Obama appearing with his shirt like this caused TODAY to do a brief report on the appropriateness of it.
  • When on a press junket for Divergent, a pushy interviewer kept begging Theo James to take his shirt off. He compromised by unbuttoning a bit.


Video Example(s):


Peter Noorth

Tracey Adams is unbuttoning Peter North's shirt and feeling his chest while he talks on the phone.

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Main / IntimateOpenShirt

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