Follow TV Tropes


Minidress of Power

Go To
What is it that Kryptonians have against green cars?
"A schoolgirl in a miniskirt, armed with nunchucks. Hot."

An Action Girl, from minor to outright badass, wearing a mini dress, either as a one-piece dress or as a top and miniskirt. Often comes with color-coordinated boots ending just below the knee.

This requires being an action girl almost full time, not just wearing a mini dress, even as a uniform, or just having a few action girl moments.

In comics, it's not as popular as a Leotard of Power or a Spy Catsuit, but other media take to it just fine, particularly Magical Girl and Magical Girl Warrior series. Either expect to see plenty of Panty Shots or it will be a Magic Skirt. Proper Tights with a Skirt or Modesty Shorts aren't unheard of either.

Sometimes the dress will be simple, and other times it will be a Pimped-Out Dress. It can even start out simple and turn pimped-out through Frilly Upgrade. If the dress is fancy enough, and the wearer badass enough, it can overlap with Kicking Ass in All Her Finery.

While fighting in any kind of skirt or dress is not the most practical idea ever, this trope does reflect reality a little in that A) it's hard to run or kick when you're wearing a tight skirt or dress that's knee-length or longer, and B) a looser, longer skirt or dress might catch on to something. If it is pleated and is wide enough, it will not be hard to run or kick when you're wearing is as with a tight skirt or dress that's knee-length or longer, and if it's short enough it might not catch on to something. Yet these outfits don't provide much protection and still rely heavily on Rule of Glamorous to work as well as they do.

There is, however, symbolic basis for this trope. As popularized by fashion designer Mary Quant, the miniskirt was a mini dress of power in the metaphorical sense, representing the sexual liberation and freedom of the 1960s. Not only did it allow for freer movement than longer dresses, but it also represented rebellion against more conservative dress codes in the 50s and younger women leading fashion trends. Although the miniskirt is no longer as shocking in present times, and its significance as female empowerment remains controversial due to it also being used as Fanservice, producers, particularly women, will invoke this trope to show a female character being both feminine and willing to fight.

A Sister Trope to Lady Legionnaire Wear. Compare Sexy Santa Dress, Zettai Ryouiki, Leotard of Power, Superheroes Wear Tights.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Melonpanna, one of two female superheroes from Anpanman wears a mini dress with tights underneath, contrasting from the older male superheroes (and her older sister, Rollpanna) wearing a belted shirt with tights, and Creampanda, who wears what can be classified as footie pajamas.
  • Black Clover: Noelle's purple dress rises well above her knee, and she learns to control her incredible magic power to become a powerful mage throughout the story.
  • Kohaku of Dr. STONE always wears a minidress/tunic that only reaches her mid-thighs, though the slits in the side go up even further. Even in winter it's the same hem length, just lined with fur.
  • Gunslinger Girl:
  • The senshi of Sailor Moon wear outfits with hip-length skirts.

    Comic Books 
  • In Body Bags, Panda Delgado's Body Bagger "costume" is a cheerleader outfit with a pleated skirt that's almost too short to qualify as such. Many panty shots ensue, including when she's performing such strenuous activities as standing still.
  • The Flash foe the Golden Glider, whose costume is based on a figure skater's outfit, and had white fur cuffs.
  • Green Lantern: Arisia redesigned her uniform once she was stationed on Earth. It has a white shoulderless top and a green mini skirt with green boots.
  • Nightshade's (Captain Atom) traditional outfit included a dangerously short dress, which resulted in her getting numerous panty shots.
  • Supergirl: Several of the most iconic outfits of Kara Zor-El include a blue or red skirt: her original outfit, her Pre-Crisis outfit, her Post-Crisis costume and her Rebirth one.
  • The Teen Titans Go! version of Donna Troy wears a version of her classic red jumpsuit modified to have a really short skirt instead of the pants the jumpsuit generally has. (pictured here)
  • Wonder Woman, occasionally:
    • The Golden Age Wonder Woman's original outfit often looks like a skirt, but is really a pair of culottes, in a style that was fairly common for athletic young women at the time. After several issues, Wonder Woman started wearing the tight walking shorts that would remain for over a decade.
    • In the modern era, Wonder Woman sometimes wears skirted variants of her costume, usually either for a "formal" occasion or when gearing up for a really big battle, although this often falls under Lady Legionnaire Wear.
    • Wonder Woman's mother, Hippolyta, was depicted as the Golden Age Wonder Woman in some modern stories starting with Wonder Woman (1987), and "returning" to the role. She usually was depicted wearing a skirt.
    • In Wonder Woman and the Star Riders Wondy wears a tutu-like skirt as do all the other Star Riders save Ice.
    • In The Legend of Wonder Woman (2016) the Wonder Woman suit Etta Candy designs for her friend includes a spangled skirt, which it is made clear is worn over a red sleeveless jumpsuit with shorts for modesty.
  • Indigo from Outsiders ran around in a black miniskirt to make her look more innocent and child-like.

    Fan Works 
  • Dungeon Keeper Ami: The very first page contains a lampshade to the Sailor Senshis', who wear sailor fukus to fight monsters.
    Noting the length of the girl's skirt, or rather the lack thereof, the [Reaper] nodded approvingly. No self-respecting heroine would be caught dead in an outfit like that.

    Films — Live-Action 

  • Miss A of Please Don't Tell My Parents I'm a Supervillain wears a sparkly pink cheerleader outfit into battle, including a combat skirt.
  • While she was still known as Glory Girl in Worm, Flying Brick Victoria Dallon wore a white minidress with gold trim. After enduring horrific injury, trauma and mutilation and trying to recover in the sequel Ward, she changes her look to something much more practical and well-armored.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: In early seasons, Buffy would fight in just a miniskirt and a top. Lampshaded in season 4, where the Initiative soldiers, who wear practical uniforms to fight against demons, are slightly confused by her going patrolling in a halter dress. In later seasons, though, Buffy would more frequently wear tights instead of a miniskirt.
  • Leela from Doctor Who has a couple different little leather minidresses and a lot of deadly Janus thorns.
  • The girl Rangers on Super Sentai usually wear skirt additions to the default (male) uniform (series where it's not the case include Bioman, Flashman and Dekaranger). The reason it didn't hold true for all female Rangers in Power Rangers was that many of the Yellow Rangers... were originally men. This is for technical reasons, as even the female Rangers were portrayed by stuntmen when morphed (who would otherwise have a very, uh, masculine bulge when wearing the spand...Bio-Armor).
    • Played with in Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger and Power Rangers Megaforce, where the heroes can borrow the powers of any Rangers who came before them. If applicable, the girls will have skirts and the guys won't, regardless of what the original costume was like. Yes, this meant that Power Rangers had skirts added to suits that were worn by women in the first place.
    • Power Rangers Dino Fury is the first series to justify a Gender Flipped Ranger going without a skirt. The first time Izzy morphs into the Green Ranger, her suit does have a skirt; but she immediately tears it off on the grounds that "skirts aren't my thing".
    • Played with again in Avataro Sentai DonBrothers, which uses Power Copying just like Gokaiger but with one critical difference: the change involves Digital Avatars that stay the same gender as the original Ranger, turning the DonBrothers into Cross Players depending on who they copy. The male Pink Ranger in particular is embarrassed to find himself in a female form with a skirt the first time he does it, and nearly all of his counterparts that he can turn into are women.
  • Xena: Warrior Princess: Xena wears a short leather dress.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • WCW's Mona regularly wore one with a Cleavage Window.
  • Cheerleader Melissa, as a holdover from her cheerleading role.
  • American Angel had one in one of her outfits, but only in the back, rather than all around, as it was supposed to wave like a flag.
  • Jade Chung used to wear these almost exclusively, from Chinese dresses when she was managing, to mini skirts and tops when she was wrestling. Has since traded these in for more professional outfits.
  • Rebecca Knox wrestled and jigged in three layer mini dresses, modesty shorts of course. Although once wrestling Malia Hosaka she gave an accidental view of panties from above rather than below.
  • Shazza McKenzie, who never got around to leading cheers but kept the uniform.
  • Melina and Mickie James both came to WWE in outfits that varied between short skirt and mini dress but both stopped wearing them in an effort to be taken more seriously. (Melina, when challenging for the women's title, Mickie, when dropping her feud with Trish Stratus). In Mickie's case though, she had them before WWE and would take them back up after leaving it.
  • La Amazona, one of the powerhouses of the International Wrestling Association's women's division, liked to incorporate skirts into her wrestling gear.
  • Christina Von Eerie semi-frequently wears them, especially when on TNA Impact as Toxxin, where they got very elaborate (for wrestling gear).
  • Paige Turner, the wrestling librarian has this, though notably without the Fanservice angle, since she is not promoted as a sexy character.
  • Leva Bates went from a geeky superhero in tights, to a cosplaying stunt woman who would wear these to fit certain characters, then Blue Pants in NXT to The Librarian in AEW, and swapped her outfits to this trope long term. Leaves the skirt when she's wrestling, preferring to wrestle in shorts instead.

    Video Games 
  • Ms. Liberty (also her mother, Miss Liberty, and Mirror Universe Evil Counterpart, Dominatrix) in City of Heroes. Naturally, player characters have this as an option as well.
  • Dragon Quest:
    • Dragon Quest III: The Female Sage wears a white mini-dress with a very short skirt.
    • Dragon Quest IX is the most noticeable since your equipment decisions actually show up on your character in 3D, giving you an ample view of your female party members' bikinis and bustiers. (They actually do make really good armor choices much of the time, since they often take this trope literally by increasing your spell power.)
  • Given Fire Emblem's stock uniforms, many girls, particularly pegasus knights and mages, wear mini dresses and shorts (respectively) into warfare.
  • Lynne from Ghost Trick wears a navy blue one under her Badass Longcoat that doubles as skirt.
  • In Jade Empire, the female Fragile Speedster class model wears a sort of sleeveless tunic that barely covers her hips and no pants. The NPC Dawn Star has a similar outfit, but with sleeves and four long ribbons hanging down from her waist.
  • Kairi from Kingdom Hearts II wears a pink minidress and is capable of fighting some Heartless at the end of the game. She's promoted to a straight example in Kingdom Hearts III, where she is openly training with the Keyblade and has a new outfit that has a miniskirt.
  • All of the female party members in The Legend of Dragoon (Shana's a completely straight example, Rose has a sort of petal skirt and Miranda has a skirt of the same length as Shana, but her boots make it Zettai Ryouiki).
  • Shepard (if you play as a woman) acquires a mini-style Little Black Dress in Mass Effect 2 for an infiltration mission (part of the Kasumi's Stolen Memories DLC). After the mission, she can still wear it as her "casual" outfit on board the Normandy. Being Shepard, she still looks very badass in it.
  • Phantasy Star:
    • Alis, the heroine of the first Phantasy Star, is a Magic Knight with a sword who wears a minidress. In the remake, she wears armor over it.
    • The RAcaseal class (android gunner girls) from Phantasy Star Online has metal plates cut to be like a mini skirt, but not completely so it overlaps with Showgirl Skirt.
  • Ada and Jill of the Resident Evil games each have at least one mini dress outfit, though Jill wears pants in the majority of her appearances.
  • Nina Williams wears a little purple dress in Tekken 2 as her default outfit, but because of the graphical limitations of the game, it looks like she's wearing shorts.

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY:
    • Pyrrha Nikos wears an almost-to-waist tube top-style armor and miniskirt, which doesn't hinder her, even when running.
    • Nora wears a loose, mid-thigh skirt with an armor-like top.
    • Blake also mocks Weiss for wearing a dress into battle. Weiss claims it's a "combat skirt," and exchanges a low-five with the similarly dressed Ruby.
    • Cinder Fall wears a red minidress. Justified because it's infused with Dust. Her clothes are literally her weapons.


    Web Videos 
  • Ten Little Roosters mocks the aforementioned Weiss example above when Ryan Haywood catches Miles Luna wearing Lindsay Jones' Ruby Rose costume. When Miles gives the same reasoning Weiss did, Ryan's responds by saying "I'm in a kilt. That's the original combat skirt."

    Western Animation