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Parental Fashion Veto

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Image by jlcomix. Used with permission.

"Don't step out of this house if that's the clothes you're gonna wear!"
— "You Gotta Fight For Your Right (To Party)", The Beastie Boys

No child of mine is Describing Parental Fashion Veto Here in a shirt like that!

A kid, often a Bratty Teenage Daughter, wants to go out with her friends, out on a date, or out to a party, but the way she's dressed does not please her guardians (usually an Overprotective Dad). This may be due to the outfit being overly sexy, or the parent may simply disapprove of the style. In The '90s and early 2000's, Bare Your Midriff was a common cause for this, the style being a visual shorthand for "rebellious teenage girl". This may also extend to makeup and hair.

What happens can vary. Often the kid will obey, but in a huge huff. Other times a fight will break out, and might even cause enough bitter feelings to make the Conflict for the episode.

Sometimes the kid will try to outsmart the parent by smuggling the offending outfit out of the house, either hidden under clothes they know will meet with parental approval or carried in a bag. The kid then changes clothes once they are safely away from their parent's disapproving gaze. However, this is likely to end with the kid suffering a mishap which results in the parent finding out they wore the forbidden clothes.


Compare Age-Inappropriate Dress, I Want My Beloved to Be Fashionable, Underdressed for the Occasion. Contrast No Dress Code, which implies a distinct lack of parental fashion veto.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • This is taken to abusive extremes in Pokémon Adventures. Lillie's mother Lusamine forced her daughter to dress how she wanted and would often mock her appearance. This emotional abuse is extreme enough that Lillie developed PTSD-like symptoms and gets triggered when her appearance is complimented.

    Comic Books 
  • The Boys: During The Name of the Game, Butcher has a meeting with Mother's Milk. MM objects strongly to the outfit his daughter's wearing. She ignores him and Butcher chews her out over disrespecting her father, terrifying the two 'gangstas' she was hanging out with in the process.
  • Archie Comics several pages of Betty and Veronica (often Veronica with a dash of Ms. Red Ink) wearing clothing that their fathers object to them wearing due to making their daughters look like the Ms. Fanservice types they are.

    Comic Strips 
  • Several Calvin and Hobbes strips involve Calvin's mom disagreeing with Calvin's style choices:
    • In one strip, Calvin's clothes gain sentience and force themselves on him, leading to him trying to leave in horribly mismatched outfit. Calvin's mom says "You're wearing that?" and is implied to make him change.
    • Another strip involves Calvin trying on Triangle Shades, only for his mom to refuse to buy them.
    • In one strip, Calvin decides to invert his pants and shirt when headed to school, but his mom has none of it.
  • In one The Far Side cartoon, a fly leaves for a date, with her father telling her to remove some of that makeup and the gallon of pheromones.
  • Stone Soup: While it's not unusual for Holly to favor pieces that are both high-priced and slutty, in one strip she managed to outdo even herself in such a way that her mother Val finally laid down the law: "NO DAUGHTER OF MINE IS GOING OUT LOOKING LIKE THAT!!!"

    Fan Works 
  • Some DeviantArt pictures spoof this by having Darth Vader from Star Wars get upset at Leia's bikini:
  • Walburga Black from The Black Sheep Dog Series is outraged to see her eldest son dressing as a Muggle - worse, a penniless Muggle. She throws his entire wardrobe out to replace them with "proper" - read aristocratic - clothes, to Sirius' big displeasure.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In Apollo 13, the Lovells' teenaged daughter wants to go to the launch dressed like a hippie, and her father, not being fashion-conscious, says okay, but her mother quickly says she can't go out dressed that way.
  • Bridget Jones' Diary has a scene where Bridget shows the modern and urban outfit she'll wear to meet Mark Darcy, her eccentric and critical mother pronounces it inadequate for obtaining a man and makes her wear a brocade skirt and vest ensemble with a red pussy bow blouse (not impressive), later (in the original script) Bridget opts to wear a sexy and black dress to the consternation of her mother.
  • The Cheerleaders (1974 softcore comedy film): Jeanne, a new cheerleader, is going to a party dressed in a very tight shirt and shorts she wore when she was 10 years old. Her father doesn't let her go. Her new cheerleader friends explain that you have to sneak out in more conservative garb and then change.
  • In Clueless, Cher is about to head to a party (on a date with Christian) when Josh asks her dad if he's going to let her go out in what she's wearing, a white mini-dress. Cher's father asks her if that's what they're calling dresses these days, tells her it looks more like underwear, and makes her put something on on top. She puts on a transparent wrap.
  • E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (bowdlerization taken from its 20th Anniversary Edition): "You're not going out dressed like that! You look like a hippie!"
  • A Kid Like Jake is about a four year old boy who likes wearing skirts and other girl's clothes. His parents allow him to dress up at home or at school, but they don't allow him to wear what he wants in the streets. Jake has a fit when his parents won't let him dress up as Rapunzel from Tangled for Halloween. At the end of the film, his parents finally allow Jake to wear skirts outdoors.
  • In The Snapper the second-eldest daughter Lisa, who's presumed to be 13 or 14, wears a Madonna-like short skirt and jewellery and leather boots much to the patriarch's dismay.

  • Colin Fischer: In seventh grade, Melissa Greer used to show up for school in dark trousers or long skirts, go into the girls' room, and come out in ripped jeans or a miniskirt.
  • In Love Anthony, thirteen-year-old Sophie tries to wear makeup to the family photo session, but Beth wipes it off before they leave the house.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In one episode of Clarissa Explains It All, Clarissa argues with her mother over what she will wear for the school photos.
  • In the first episode of Derry Girls, Erin attempts to wear a jean jacket instead of her school uniform blazer to school. Her mom argues with her about this and threatens her with a wooden spoon, leading to a Gilligan Cut where Erin is headed to school in her usual uniform.
  • In the Happy Days episode "The Fonz is Allergic to Girls" (the title Makes Sense In Context), Joanie Cunningham is going to a party with a towel wrapped around her but she's actually wearing clothes underneath it. Howard, her father, tells her not to go to the party like that but lets her go when she reveals that she's wearing clothes under the towel.
  • Sex Education: Eric's father quietly disapproves of his flamboyant outfits and crossdressing. This concern is justified as it incites violent homophobic action against him.
  • In the Yes, Dear episode, "Pimpin' Ain't Easy", the Warner and Hughes families are about to go out to eat at a fancy restaurant, when Logan decides to protest against having to wear his older brother Dominic's hand-me-downs by wearing only his underwear. Jimmy and Christine, his parents, don't approve of this at all, and Jimmy tries to get Logan to stop by telling him that if he goes to the restaurant in his underwear, people will point, stare, and laugh at him. This doesn't faze Logan at all, and he decides to go to the restaurant in just his underwear.
  • Comes up regularly in Say Yes to the Dress, where the bride's family members — including her children at times — object to her choice. Sometimes the dress is perfectly fine but she will give in anyway to avoid hurting anyone's feelings.
  • In Degrassi: The Next Generation, Alli Bhandari would wear her preferred clothes under oversized modest outfits to get away from the restrictions set by her strict Indian parents. This backfires eventually, but her parents do loosen their rules over time.

  • "(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party)" by Beastie Boys: "Don't step out of this house if that's the clothes you're gonna wear".

    Video Games 
  • In Alter Ego, it is possible to object to an especially stupid fashion involving scotch tape worn by your children.
  • In the beginning of Mother 3, Hinawa orders Lucas to change into his clothes before going outside to play with his brother.
  • Played for Drama in Pokémon Sun and Moon and Pokémon Ultra Sun and Moon. Eleven year old Lillie has always been forced to dress how her mother wants. A part of her Character Development is escaping her mother's abusive grip and beginning to dress how she pleases (which Lillie dubs her "z-powered" form).


    Western Animation 
  • Parodied in a Family Guy cutaway gag. Meg bemoans that having Peter for a father is more embarrassing than having Ronald McDonald as one. Cut to Ronald acting like a typical suburban father telling his teenaged daughter not to go out in heavy makeup.
    "You're a McDonald, not a whore."
  • The primetime animated series Wait Till Your Father Gets Home has Harry Boyle win a Salesman of the Year Award, which includes a speaking dinner. Harry's daughter Alice decides to wear a sheer top for the event, which Harry deems too risque. Alice remains adamant until Harry uses Alice's ploy against her by going shirtless himself.
  • Animaniacs had a Katie Ka-Boom short where Katie's mother objected to Katie going out wearing a shirt that didn't cover her belly button. Katie being, well Katie, this results in her turning into a clothes-breathing monster with a protruding belly, who storms out of the house, roaring that she'll dress how she wants... before coming back and changing into a less revealing shirt because it was cold out.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Parental Outfit Veto


Cher's Dress

Cher's father does not approve of the dress she is wearing.

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