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Painted-On Pants

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Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic through the power of her aerodynamic apparel.

"She danced by me in painted-on jeans..."
Billy Ocean, "Caribbean Queen"

If you're looking for something comfortable, sexy, aerodynamic, sexy, chic, and sexy for your characters to fight in, party in or just walk around in, look no further than skin-tight pants, preferably spandex or leather so that they can be shiny too.

Unless they're spandex, the "fight" part doesn't really work. Seriously. Female characters with nice legs and buttocks almost always feature a fanservice-heavy fighting style with lots of high kicks. Ask your local taekwondo coach to teach you some high kicks. Now put on some skin-tight leather or denim pants. Now do your high kicks. See the problem? That problem arises only if we're assuming our superwoman hasn't broken an ankle running about in stiletto heels or thrown herself to the ground from her own forward momentum, of course.

These are gold mines for having fanservice without looking too blatant and seeming hip at the same time: they're tight and shiny, which means that they show off every curve and contour of the wearer's body, and, in games, allow for heavy Jiggle Physics. Extra points if the wearer is wearing a top made out of the same material, covering all the fanservice bases.

These really became popular in the Seventies and Eighties. See also Most Common Superpower, as clothes like this are used to emphasize that.

See also Superheroes Wear Tights.

Note: Full skintight bodysuits are a different trope altogether, as are cases when the outfit really is painted on. Form-Fitting Wardrobe is for when clothing clings like this but is made of materials that shouldn't.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Death Note gives us a rare male example in the form of Mello.
  • The standard women's uniform in Heroic Age could not possibly get more form-fitting.
  • Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple: Miu's outfit is so skin-tight that she is accused of wearing body-paint a couple of times (by jealous girls).
  • The Legend of Thunder the Pokemon sub-mini series took the Tomboy Kris and girled her up quite a bit and changed her name to Marina. As she served as the series's eye candy in a kid's show her shorts don't hug her Johto butt but do outline what one can expect to see under her shorts quite accurately.
  • Funnily enough, despite the prominence of females in Lyrical Nanoha, the first one to get the skintight leather pants treatment is Tohma, the male protagonist of Magical Record Lyrical Nanoha Force, while he's using the Black Knight form. Females tend to get skintight bodysuits instead.
  • Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind has the titular princess in form-fitting white leggings, but they aren't really played for fanservice. However, the film did once have a reputation for having viewers think that Nausicaä was flying around pantsless and underwear free due to old VHS fansubs where the footage had degraded so much through multiple copying that they looked more skin-toned in colour.
  • In Negima! Magister Negi Magi, Chachamaru occasionally wears stuff like this. Not to mention that she has thigh high stockings literally built into her synthetic skin.
  • Saiyuki contains a male example.

    Comic Books 
  • Marvel and DC is all over this; Basically, any superheroine who isn't wearing a full bodysuit has this, and every other female character after that. If not, it's a Leotard of Power.
  • Male comic characters also frequently appear to have been drawn naked but with Barbie Doll Anatomy, and then colored like a Captain America suit, to the point of details like belly buttons showing. Really, clothes hanging like actual clothes is the exception, not the rule.
  • In Barracuda, the Governor wears black leather pants that cling to her extremely shapely legs and ass like a second skin. It's a miracle that she can walk at all.
  • Rare non-fanservice (at least intentional) example: when stealing the title character of Diabolik wears a full-body suit that covers everything but the eyes and makes him look like (in the words of a caricaturist) "a naked man completely painted black". Justified: when studying martial arts in East Asia, trainees at his school had to wear a ninja suit and never show their face, and after a training accident in which his face was exposed he came up with the suit because it's much harder to grab. Where he keeps his knives when wearing that suit remains a mystery whose solution he's not willing to share.
  • Poor Empowered's super suit is canonically thinner than a soap bubble and so revealing it took her six months to work up enough nerve to wear it in public.
  • Several Bronze Age Supergirl's costumes included form-fitting blue pants.
  • Storm wore skin-tight black pants during her "punk" phase back in The '80s.
  • Street Fighter has Ibuki's otherwise rather loose ninja outfit take the shape of her rear end in some scenes.
  • W.I.T.C.H. offers us Will Vandom from the New Power saga onwards.
  • Wonder Woman has occasionally swapped her usual leotard or culottes for tight white pants.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Eddie Murphy used to wear clothes like this in his stand-ups in The '80s. To paraphrase Scrubs: "No wonder he called it 'Raw'".
  • The Addams Family presented a variant with Morticia's wardrobe: she had a full-length dress of equivalent tightness. The actress, poor Anjelica Huston, must have found it almost impossible to move. It was lampshaded in the sequel:
    Debbie: I love your dress. It's so...tight.
    Morticia: Thank you.
  • Birds of Prey (2020): Dinah wears some seriously tight trousers, especially visible when she comes to Harley's rescue outside the club. Huntress even hangs a lampshade on them by complimenting her on her ability to perform high kicks while wearing them.
  • In Carry On Cruising, two of the cruise's male ship staff wear skintight pants when they dress up in matador costumes for the ship's entertainment show. It ends horribly when they show the Captain.
  • Peter Vincent, David Tennant's character in Fright Night (2011), wears nearly painted-on leather pants. They become the source of a Squick-inducing funny moments in the Hilarious Outtakes.
  • "Sandy II" in Grease. Olivia Newton-John had to have the pants sewn around her legs and the zipper actually broke.
  • Jareth (David Bowie) wears these in Labyrinth, to the point of infamy.
  • The page image is Amy Adams as Amelia Earhart in Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian.
  • The pants the male actors wore in Rock Star were so tight they had to have panels sewn into them so they could move, according to Word of God on the commentary. The musicians who had been dressing like that in The '80s also said that was one thing they didn't miss about the era.
  • Pistolera's most common outfit for her Roaring Rampage of Revenge is a leather tank top and extremely tight leather pants.
  • Action Girl Selene, from the Underworld series, wears skintight black latex pants as part of her everyday combat gear. A closeup showing this was inevitably placed front and center in the trailer.

  • The Alchemist by Ken Goddard. A female undercover cop finds herself Saying Too Much when describing her supposed criminal partners (also cops) and mentions the very tight jeans one likes to wear. Fortunately the cop concerned is not listening to the bug at the time. His partner who is on surveillance duty just bursts out laughing and says he better wear "those tight-ass jeans of yours" when going to meet the crooks.
  • Cry Wolf, by Wilbur Smith. Sara Sigud wears tight-fitting embroidered breeches and explains that her grandfather decreed that the Ethiopian women had to wear them so they'd be difficult to remove for immoral purposes. Sara then goes on to explain that in practice they're not that difficult to remove, but are difficult to get back on in a hurry.
  • Superskin, a bodystocking that fits like a second skin in Robert A. Heinlein's Friday.
  • Skinsuits, the standard issue airtight, skintight spacesuits in Honor Harrington need to be custom fitted for each person. Later in the series, even Nimitz the treecat gets one. In-text, they are described as being akin to a diving wet suit. Oddly enough, in official artwork, they're shown inevitably as spacesuits of a rather more ordinary make, a bit less bulgy than a standard spacesuit but still recognizably a spacesuit.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Half the cast in Blake's 7, Avon in particular. The infamous "lobster suit" apparently gave Paul Darrow some trouble when it came to running, and puzzled the audience when he had to produce props from nowhere.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • The series gives us Faith, a sexy badgirl who definitely enjoyed flaunting her assets with her signature skintight leather pants. Buffy also got in on the action occasionally with ultra-snug leather pants of her own, though hers tended to be either red or pink.
    • In "Him", Buffy makes snide comments about a girl doing a Mating Dance in a really tight shirt and jeans, only to realise it's her little sister, Dawn.
  • Erik Estrada of CHIPs admitted the costumers sewed in extra zippers on his pants at strategic places.
  • In another male example, Dr. Spencer Reid of Criminal Minds.
  • Doctor Who:
    • Jenny in "The Doctor's Daughter".
    • River Song is also fond of pants very similar to the ones in page picture, even managing to run and fight in them. Lampshaded while Showing Off the New Body and finding she's got a great ass. "Oh, that's MAGNIFICENT! I'm going to wear LOTS of jodhpurs!"
    • Amy Pond generally opts for these when she's not in the mood for her usual mini skirts.
  • Firefly's Malcolm Reynolds, AKA Captain Tightpants. They split on a number of occasions, and once get lost entirely. Zoe isn't immune either, given her frequent rather tight khaki style.
  • Friends:
    • Joey's carpentry jeans.
      Chandler: My lord, those are snug!
    • The black leather pants Ross buys himself as part of a New Year's Resolution. Chandler, whose resolution was to not make fun of his friends anymore, desperately wants to make fun of how tight they are and tries to prompt the others to mock them for him.
  • Gen V: In "God U." Emma lends Marie an outfit to go clubbing with Golden Boy and his friends, but warns her that she'll need to apply lubricant on her legs to pull on the pants:
    Marie: How am I supposed to pee?
    Emma: Oh, you don't. Like, literally never.
  • Kurt Hummel from Glee. His pants are sometimes so ridiculously tight you have to wonder how he can even walk in them at times. And he does do high kicks in them. Check out both 'Rose's Turn' and 'Time Warp' for proof. His actor Chris Colfer has even said that filming Not The Boy Next Door was "the battle of the bulge".
    • Blaine too, though to a slightly lesser degree.
  • As the host of Henson's Creature Shop Challenge, Gigi Edgley's wardrobe leaves very little to the imagination.
  • As are the ones favoured by Bree (and Skylar) on Lab Rats: Elite Force.
  • Shake it Up's CeCe seems to like these.
  • Kramer's jeans on Seinfeld.
    Elaine: They're painted on!
  • In an attempt to appear younger, Dick Solomon of 3rd Rock from the Sun dyed his hair, and bought a new pair of pants. A very tight, and very squeaky pair of pants.
  • Robert Conrad in The Wild Wild West - his legwear of choice is so tight that in fight scenes they were prone to splitting (and not always off-camera, as "The Night of the Pistoleros" demonstrates).
  • Wonder Woman (1975): In The '70s era of the show, Diana Prince frequently wore stylish and flattering outfits, including these type of pants. For example, in "The Fine Art of Crime", she can be seen wearing tight pants (with 70's bell bottoms!) while eluding a couple of thugs.

  • Aretha Franklin. From the song Freeway Of Love:
    Knew you were a vision in white
    How'd ya get your pants so tight?
    Don't know what ya doin', but ya must be livin' right
  • Any picture taken of Bon Scott is certain to draw one's gaze to the "area".
  • Jon Bon Jovi
  • Jim Morrison
  • Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin wore very tight jeans. Along with his bare chest and blond hair, it became something of an iconic look.
    • Plant himself, in an interview, noted that people only called him a "sex symbol" because "You can see my cock through my trousers. I don't have an instrument in front of mine."
  • Quite a few Punk Rock and Heavy Metal musicians in The '70s and The '80s, too. Megadeth in 1988 and in 1990, for example.
  • Visual Kei musicians from The '80s onward. BUCK-TICK's Atsushi Sakurai and Yoshiki, Toshi, Taiji Sawada, and Heath of X Japan are/were very famous for wearing these quite often. Among many, many others.
  • Dolly Parton's "Why'd You Come In Here Lookin' Like That":
    Why'd you come in here lookin' like that,
    in your cowboy boots and your painted-on jeans?
  • Steve Perry of Journey wears these in the "Just The Same Way" music video.
  • The early Rutles are best remembered for their tight pants.
  • The line from Billy Ocean's "Caribbean Queen."
    She danced by me, in painted on jeans.

  • The unnamed Thunder God of Flash wears nothing but a pair of painted-on green spandex pants.
  • In The Party Zone, Captain B. Zarr's assorted female followers are fond of wearing painted-on pants with either solid colors or animal stripes.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Popular in Professional Wrestling, for both male and female wrestlers. This occasionally comes up for characters who are homages to wrestlers as well (such as Hugo from Street Fighter).

  • Gretchen wore tight skinny jeans in the Off-Broadway performance of Jasper in Deadland.
  • Mimi's famous blue "Out Tonight" pants in RENT. Note that the actress wears them while dancing on a railing.
  • In The Rose Tattoo, Serafina examines her daughter's sailor boyfriend from the front and back and asks him why they make Navy pants so tight. "That's a question you'll have to ask the Navy," he tells her.
  • Fiyero's famous white pants in Wicked.

    Video Games 
  • This was often used in earlier 3D games due to technical limitations. You don't need to render creases and ruffles for something that literally looks painted on.
  • Bravely Default gives us Edea. This is normally only noticeable when she's wearing her Freelancer outfit, but... HOT DAMN.
  • City of Heroes, saying as how it's of the superhero genre, has a multitude of shiny tight pants options, from spandex to leather to metal.
  • Disgaea 3: Clothes are decorations.
  • Fenris of Dragon Age II has very, very tight pants. One wonders what they're made of, given that his low-tech world is unlikely to have spandex; his outfit is given no more in-game description than the mystifying "Grafted Spirit Hide." (How does a spirit have hide?) Rule of Sexy probably applies.
  • Dynasty Warriors: Wang Yi's armored leggings are really rather close-cut.
  • Final Fantasy XI uses this for some equipment, notably Elvaan starter gear, both male and female.
  • Fire Emblem: Three Houses: Ingrid wears tightly fitted riding breeches with thigh-high boots in her default Falcon Knight outfit, in a break from the traditional Minidress of Power (leggings optional) look of the Pegasus Knights in the series.
  • Genshin Impact
    • Jean is one of the very few female characters that wears pants instead of the shorts or skirts that most of them have. They're basically leggings, so they show her legs' every curve, and her introduction cutscene starts with a few seconds focused on those legs.
    • Kaeya rocks the look himself and likewise his pants leave very little to the imagination. To put equality in the fanservice his introduction also pans up his legs letting everyone admire their tightness.
    • Yelan wears skintight black leggings, being the second playable female who wears pants. Like Jean before her, the fabric's tightness accentuate her legs.
  • Love of Magic: Katie and Kitsune's default outfits. MC comments that Katie couldn't hide a credit card in her pants, and later explicitly says Kitsune's pants must be painted on.
  • Miranda Lawson from Mass Effect 2 certainly lives up to this trope. Her second outfit that you can unlock by completing her loyalty mission makes her look as if she dips herself in a bath of liquid black latex every morning. Most pants in the series are examples, male or female; at one point in 3 a robot infiltrator that literally has her clothes painted on passes without comment in a top-secret military base.
  • Name a Snake from the Metal Gear series (including Raiden), they're in painted-on pants.
  • Mortal Kombat Sonya Blade alternated between this and less tight pants, although she stopped wearing these in the later games.
    • Sonya's daughter, Cassie Cage, follows in her mother's footsteps with her Endurance costume in MKX and Klassic costume in 11. In 11, her pants are so tight on her that she has very noticeable visible pantylines.
  • Overwatch:
    • Tracer, as part of her "topshot pilot" aesthetic. She even has a taunt pose that is identical to a historical air force fanservice poster where she shows off her, ahem, assets rather prominently.
    • Mercy and Mei also wear leggings that hug their bodies very tightly, but their outfits keep their assets better-covered most of the time.
    • Overwatch 2 newcomer Kiriko has curve hugging leggings. While they are covered by her miko uniform usually, her aptly named Athleisurewear skin shows them off nicely.
  • Princess Zelda in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild wears tight pants that don't leave much room for imagination.
  • Common among custom clothing for The Sims 2, because it's easier - you can simply paste the pants textures directly onto the shape of a naked Sim.
  • Soul Series
    • In Soulcalibur III and IV, given the setting, no character wears this except, arguably, Xiangua, but in the character creator (where they have everything from eighties clothes to skintight chainmail) you can set female characters to wear these. In IV, with its constant Clothing Damage, it usually comes down to either these or underwear/bikinis.
    • Taki's entire outfit seems painted on. She's basically modelled as though she were naked but coloured red (blue in III).
  • Street Fighter Quite a bit:
    • While historically safe from this Ibuki gained a sporty outfit with shorts that allow her to show the results of years super jumping and working out. Not hard to figure out what is underneath those shorts.
    • Chun-Li's alpha costume has always shown why her first lady of Street Fighter butt is one of the best in the game. In fact it is so good Ling Xiaoyu tried to replicate it
    • Being newer on the franchise Juri decided she needed a change going into V and it was quite a benefit to her butt.
    • Newcomer Falke has a butt that comes in swinging and she doesn't hide it.
    • Not even a family friendly new and free all characters free outfit will be enough to cover Kolin's icey cold butt.
    • In VI Cammy gets a new outfit with a pair of curve hugging pants. In fact they hug her curves so much the textures might very well be repainted from her classic costume.
    • The Super Smash Bros. games avert this in their own way. All of them wear tights/pantyhose depending on the version under their dresses that are about as tight as BOTW Zelda's pants. But their rear ends are so small and hips so narrow that there isn't much to 'ride up' so said clothing doesn't take any shape because of their inadequate anatomy.
  • Velvet Assassin: A few missions in Violet abandons her bomber jacket and jeans in favor of something a bit more... flattering to her figure, but still tasteful and functional. The tight leather pants seem like they were molded into the perfect shape of her butt.
  • World of Warcraft uses these for most equipment, using different pieces attached to the base model to make it unique. It gets a bit ridiculous for some equipment, for instance, skin-tight plate mail or skin-tight tuxedos.
  • Saya Kho on the back cover of X3: Gold Edition. And only the back cover: other than that you only see her from the shoulders up over comms.

  • Ménage à 3 is definitely not averse to imposing this style on any of its female characters, if only by way of Fanservice.
  • In Sticky Dilly Buns, Dillon takes Ruby clothes shopping (in his best Gay Best Friend style) and buys her a pair of designer jeans as a gift. It then turns out that he has his own reasons for this...
  • In Terinu this is Space Pirate Mavra Chan's default wear.
    • It also occurred accidentally when the internist uniform Leeza once wore to rescue Teri lacked wrinkles when drawn by Peta Hewitt, resulting in double takes from some readers.
  • Prequel has this when Katia, for lack of clothing, uses permanent paint to paint on a bikini and panties. A hundred strips later, the paint has not disappeared a bit.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • In fashion fetishism, they have the concept of a second skin, where a fabric usurps the sexual role played by bare skin.
  • As a Cyclical Trope throughout The '50s and early-to-mid 1960s, The '80s, and the mid-to-late 2000s and The New '10s, "skinny jeans" were all the rage, and for good reason—when it comes to attracting the desired gaze, they worked. While skinny jeans were replaced with baggy jeans in The New '20s, leggings continued to further emphasize the attractiveness factor. Now there's even faux denim leggings ("jeggings"), complete with false pockets.
    • An urban legend tells of how a vain person sat in a hot tub with jeans on in order to shrink them into skintight-ness, unfortunately, the jeans shrank so much that it ended up killing the person from loss of circulation. The Mythbusters once tested this and busted it when even after hours of sitting in cold water Grant's circulation was not seriously affected.
  • English riding breeches. On purpose.
  • Running tights. For that matter, a lot of athletic clothes are skin tight. It reduces chafing, helps wick sweat away, and if you're an athlete, shows off that body you've been working so hard on.
    • Cycling shorts are so tight, racing designs tend to shy away from white because they can be a little too revealing.
  • Swimsuits for professional swimmers are getting nearer and nearer to this much so that the international swimming federation is starting to crack down on suits that are too painted on...(this is justified, however, in that the less loose fabric, the less water resistance)
  • A properly-fitting wetsuit tends to be like this. And you think tight jeans are hard to take on and off, try ones made of what basically amounts to a body-shaped non-slip mat.
  • Spandex in bike tights, et cetera. Spandex hadn't been invented when they first drew Superman, and George Reeves' costume in The Adventures of Superman is almost baggy by comparison with Spandex.
  • Some yoga pants ride up to such a degree that if you're in them, you're just going to have to get used to the sensation of a flying atomic wedgie.
  • Zentai suits are this, covering everything including the eyes in a one piece spandex outfit, usually either in one solid color or wild patterns such as leopard spots or zebra stripes.
  • In figure skating, male skaters are allowed to wear tight-fitting pants (for aerodynamic reasons), as long as they don't resemble leggings. This is circumvented by making everything else tight and the cuffs flare out a little.

Alternative Title(s): Painted On Clothes