Segmented skirts (either skirts which consist of four or more overlapping "petal" strips, or actual plates of armour, which come down from the waistband) are often used as a way to make a suit of armour more feminine by adding in an armoured skirt, or, conversely, to mark out one of a group of fabric skirt wearers as tougher than the rest, without breaking the theme by giving her trousers. The correct name for the segments are pteruges.
The reason for this trope is a short dress is a popular choice of outfit for an Action Girl, however, it is rather impractical and might look a bit too feminine for some characters. This trope is often used as a compromise, as it resembles, or often actually is, armour and thus it looks less feminine than a typical dress. An added bonus is that it looks more practical, since the segments won't restrict the wearer's movements.
This trope is also more likely to be combined with Skirt over Slacks or Modesty Shorts compared to other dress related tropes, either to re-enforce the idea that it's part of a suit of armour or for modesty.
Contrast Chainmail Bikini (although this skirt can be paired with otherwise skimpy armor).
- Supergirl wears a red and golden armoured skirt during her Amazon training in The Supergirl from Krypton.
- All of Wonder Woman's outfits tend towards this or Leotard of Power.
- In The Legend of Wonder Woman (2016) everything Alcippe and Antiope wears has some elements of pteruges, until Alcippe ends up as Diana's Spirit Advisor a state in which she wears a flowing black dress.
- In Wonder Girl Vol. 1 Hercules gives Cassie some feminine armor with pteruges that are reminiscent of his own costume claiming it to be a gift from the gods while trying to force her to accept her "destiny" as their father Zeus sees it. While she does don the new costume she rejects Herc and Zeus's attempts to control her.
- The female legionaries in Asterix and the Secret Weapon wear legionary armour that resembles miniskirts and leggings, as they're all huge, model-esque Statuesque Stunners - the similar outfit is drawn to look realistically protective, square and usually rather dumpy on the male legionaries throughout the series. The female centurion has one of these, plus a moulded centurion plate that resembles a woman's torso.
- Astrid in How to Train Your Dragon wears one, featured above. With spikes. She's as tough as any of the other characters, if not tougher. In the sequel◊, it's paired with a fur underskirt (without making her look any less tough).
- Sif's battle armour in Thor: The Dark World includes a segmented skirt made of cloth with mail underneath.
- DC Extended Universe: Diana of Themyscira/Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) wears a short version with no pants underneath, not that she needs that much armour, with her powers.
- Female members of the Watch in Terry Pratchett's Discworld are generally drawn wearing armour with this, cf Captain Angua, although the text doesn't specifically say so (except for Corporal Littlebottom, the only dwarf in the Watch who is openly female, and who therefore makes a point of wearing a leather skirt).
- Journey to Chaos: All five members of Ataidar's Ordercraft Security and Compliance Team wear pteruges as part of their uniform. It's a symbolic piece of equipment that shows the four animals of Avatar Alliance's Justice Station.
- Xena: Warrior Princess tended to have these in her outfits. Her sidekick Gabrielle also wore a few.
- In Hercules: The Legendary Journeys Atalanta has a very very brief skirt like this. As in, most of her (thong-covered) ass hangs out the back of it.
- Kaamelott has the Britons using this as an insult against the Romans, seeing as they run around in dresses and big feathery hats. The Man in a Kilt trope is used for a one-time gag when the Scottish king is forced to show up at the Round Table in a blanket instead of armored pants, and declares it the national dress in order to be able to participate.
- Josie Wahlford had a "Minerva" gimmick, which of course came with large pointed skirt tassels and a strap across her shoulder, even though her low cut(not that low, this was the 1890s) leotard didn't need it to be held up.
- Fantasia has a set of red and orange ring gear designed to look like fire and its singlet ends in skirt like tassels.
- Amazing/Awesome Kong has several sets of leather warrior skirt ring gear. They're tough enough to protect her from collisions with the spikes of the Midwest Militia\Made In Sin\Valkyrie.
- Pathfinder features among it's light armor selection the Armored Kilt, which gives a small bonus to armor that can stack with existing light or medium armor, but carries a number of drawbacks. Notably, it increases the armor's encumbrance category by one step, and is unable to be added to heavy armor. However, it still has a niche as it generally allows for higher AC on high-dexterity characters than a comparable set of standard armor. It can also be worn by arcane spellcasters without incurring a chance of their spells failing, giving a more convenient base item to enchant with defensive abilities than the traditional bracers of armour.
- In The Legend of Dragoon, Dark Action Girl Rose sports this trope as part of her armour.
- Charme the Thief from Recettear wears a black segmented skirt with many belts and pouches holding the top part in place (and a second, purple, example underneath the first). This contrasts the other female adventurers; Nagi and Tielle.
- In Titan Quest some of the armors will look this way on a female character. Justified by the setting and the fact that all armors in game are pretty much unisex.
- The Amazon player class from Diablo II wears one.
- In Persona 4, Chie's Persona, Tomoe Gozen is represented as a female warrior wearing one of these.
- Aika from Skies of Arcadia wears a dress that follows the non-armour varient of this trope (with a large belt to hold it in place). She's the tomboy to Fina's girly-girl (doing more physical damage but having less powerful magic than her).
- Leliana from Dragon Age: Origins, although the leather straps don't overlap so much....
- The Amazonian Armor from Drakensang: the upper part is a metallic corset, the lower one is a multi-segmented leather skirt.
- Male version: Barbarians of both genders in EverQuest wear kilts. ALWAYS. If it isn't a cloth kilt, it's a leather kilt. If it isn't a leather kilt, it's a chainmail kilt. if it isn't a chain kilt, it's a platemail kilt that comes included with the greaves and breastplate.
- Female members of the Imperial Legion in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim qualify, predominantly Legate Rikke.
- In Ultra Street Fighter IV, Decapre's alternate costume features a skimpy version of this style.
- Aloy of Horizon Zero Dawn has this as her defining look; every single Outfit in the game has it, all with differing designs from simple ribbon-like strips all the way to scale mail armour.
- In Rusty and Co., Madeline's attire in both appearances.
- In the Whateley Universe, Fey tries out a costume with this feature in "The Turks or the Geek". Phase points out the skirt-like thing is technically called 'pteryges' from the Greek, but Phase tends to be Mister Exposition when given the chance.
- Yang's from team RWBY's skirt is missing a few segments, but her shorts make up for this by having a segmented pattern around each leg. Appropriately, her fighting style and personality make her easily the most aggressive member of the team.
- Pyrrha Nikos of team JNPR's outfit resembles a Greek Hoplite. She acts like more of a "soldier" compared to JNPR's other female member, Nora.
- In Justice League Action Wonder Woman wears a blue skirt of pteruges to make her outfit more feminine and look less like a swimsuit like the most well known version of her costume.