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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)", 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 a Boyfriend-Blocking Dad and/or an old-fashioned mom. This may be due to the outfit being overly sexy, or the parent may simply disapprove of the style. In The '90s and early 2000s, bare midriffs 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 parents' 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. This trope is central to the "parents won't allow pierced ears" version of the Ear-Piercing Plot. Contrast No Dress Code, which implies a distinct lack of parental fashion veto.


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    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • Archie Comics: There are 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.
  • 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. Note that this is somewhat more justified in that his daughter looks to be almost 20 but is actually 12 due to the Compound V in her body.
  • In Dr. Blink: Superhero Shrink, when his teen daughter Emma tries to go out wearing a small T-shirt and short pants, Blink freaks out and has her put on a baggy sweater and sweatpants instead. She sneaks back into the house and changes to her original outfit.
  • Doom Patrol: In the tenth issue of John Byrne's run on the comic, there is a flashback where Nudge's father scolds her for attempting to go out wearing fishnets.
  • MAD: One strip had a father passive-aggressively berating his teenage daughter for wearing a tube top.
    Daughter: Is it okay if I wear this to school?
    Father: Sure, if you want to look like a tart!
    Daughter: What's a tart?
    Father: A tramp, like your mother. A loose woman who flaunts her goodies for every plumber and pool boy who comes around!
    Daughter: So, is that a yes?
    Father: Sure, it's a free country.

    Comic Strips 
  • Calvin and Hobbes: Several 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 the 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.
  • The Far Side:
    • In one cartoon, a fly leaves for a date, with her father telling her to remove some of that makeup and the gallon of pheromones.
    • Another strip has a calf wearing a leather jacket - his parents tell their guests just to ignore him, as he's just going for the shock value.
  • 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:
  • The Black Sheep Dog Series: Walburga Black 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.
  • The first chapter of A Day in the Life sees Professor Utonium veto a bright pink bikini that Blossom wants to wear, with Buttercup offering snarky commentary and Bubbles trying to find a middle ground between the two. During the ensuing argument, he accidentally reveals that she's actually the youngest of the three Powerpuff Girls, much to her and her sisters' shock.

    Film — Animation 
  • Superman/Batman: Apocalypse: While he's her cousin rather than her actual dad, Clark Kent takes on this role when Kara Zor-El arrives on Earth. When they go shopping together, she tries on a very revealing outfit which he quickly disapproves of. She decides it's perfect.
  • In Turning Red, this is played with. Ming says "You’re not going out like that, are you?" but what she's referring to is not Mei's clothes but her Little Bit Beastly appearance.

    Film — Live-Action 

  • Apollo 13: The Lovells' teenaged daughter wants to go trick or treating dressed like a hippie despite her mother's disapproval. She tries to appeal to her dad instead which doesn't work.
    Barbara: Dad, can I wear this?
    Jim: (mild glance) Yeah, sure.
    Marilyn: Jim...
    Jim: No! No, absolutely not!
    Barbara: (walking away, groaning) This stinks!
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Snapper: The second-eldest daughter Lisa, who's presumed to be 13 or 14, wears a Madonna-like short skirt and jewelry and leather boots much to the patriarch's dismay.
  • The Spy Next Door: Farren wants to go out wearing clothes that are wholly inappropriate for a 13-year-old. In one scene, Gillian has to make her change twice. In another, Bob vetoes Farren's outfit over the newly-installed intercom.

  • 1-800-Where-R-U: Jess's mother tries to enforce this in the first book when Jess wants to go to school in a pair of jeans that expose her knees (she'd originally planned to wear a top that would expose the upper part of her chest, but decided against it since she's acquired a star-shaped scar right there and doesn't want anyone seeing it), calling them "slut jeans". Her father, on the other hand, sees nothing wrong with them and lets her go out without any issue.
  • The Berenstain Bears: In the Big Chapter Book And the Dress Code, Sister Bear starts wearing "rad clothes" (in her case, jeans with holes in the knees), the new spring fashions, but only at school (she stops at Babs Bruno's house and changes into and out of them on the way to and from school) because Papa, who doesn't approve of them, wouldn't allow her to do so otherwise.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Can You See Me?: In Ways to Be Me, Tally persuades Mum to buy her a crop top if she promises not to wear it in public. In fact, she wants to wear it to a laser tag party because her friends will all be wearing similar tops, but Mum makes her wear a T-shirt instead. When she arrives, she sees that Layla's mum also made her wear a T-shirt.
  • In Orange Clouds, Blue Sky, Skye wears a short denim skirt that she has to secretly change into at a Burger King. She regrets it when Starr hits her at a bookstore, causing her to fall into a bookshelf and her skirt to ride up. Later, she gets chewed out by both her parents for wearing it.
  • In Carpe Jugulum Countess Magpyr feels this way about the younger "reverse-Goth" vampires, commenting that Lady Strigouli should be making "Wendy" (Hieroglyphica) wear more eyeshadow.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Clarissa Explains It All: In one episode, Clarissa argues with her mother over what she will wear for the school photos.
  • 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.
  • Derry Girls: In the first episode, 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.
  • Desperate Housewives: While Ana is leaving for school, Gaby susses out that Ana is hiding a revealing top underneath a baggy sweater and makes her change into something more appropriate.
  • Dragnet: The episode "The Big Kids" has a juvenile delinquent who changes into hippie clothes (which he stole) in a gas station to avoid his parents' disapproval. When he's picked up for shoplifting, he begs Friday to let him change before his mom sees him; Friday refuses. Sure enough, his mom seems as angry about the style of the clothes as the fact that they were stolen.
  • Happy Days: In the 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.
  • Interview with the Vampire (2022): In "...The Ruthless Pursuit of Blood with All a Child's Demanding", Lestat doesn't like the skirt that his vampire daughter Claudia is wearing when she goes out on her first hunt.
    Lestat: I'm not sure how I feel about that pleated skirt.
    Louis: It's chiffon. It has movement.
    Lestat: (disapproving tone) Hmm.
  • Modern Family: The first scene in the pilot has Claire disapproving of Haley's denim miniskirt, while Phil says she looks cute.
  • ¿Qué Pasa, U.S.A.?: Pepe and Juana are Cuban immigrants trying to raise their two children in America. One of the show's running gags is trying to control their teenage daughter Carmen's fashion choices.
    • In an example, Pepe openly leers at Carmen's friend Sharon when she arrives in a tube top, but when Carmen turns up in a tube top as well, he orders her to her room to change.
    • Another time, Carmen and Violeta plan to go out, but pretend they are having a girls' night in while Carmen's parents are out on a date. After Juana and Pepe leave, Violeta throws off her raincoat to reveal a skimpy halter top and Carmen unbuttons her own modest shirt to reveal party clothes as well.
  • Say Yes to the Dress: Comes up regularly, 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.
  • 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.
  • Time Team: Mick and Tony joke about this during one excavation where they are looking for artifacts relating to Romans invading Britain and discussing the ensuing changes in language, culture, and dress.
  • Yes, Dear: In the 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.

  • "(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 
  • Alter Ego (1986): It is possible to object to an especially stupid fashion involving scotch tape worn by your children.
  • Mother 3: At the beginning, Hinawa orders Lucas to change into his clothes before going outside to play with his brother.
  • Pokémon Sun and Moon and Pokémon Ultra Sun and Moon: Played for Drama. 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).

    Visual Novels 
  • My Two First Loves: On the first day of school, the protagonist plans to wear an off-the-shoulder crop top and a tight miniskirt. Her dad makes her change, but she can sneak it out as a diamond option.


    Web Original 
  • Gayle: Gayle objects to her daughter Terry's principal calling her about Terry coming to school crying because Gayle insults her by claiming she doesn't...right before a cut to Gayle criticizing Terry's outfit five days in a row.
    "Today you look like a storyteller and I can't stand it."
    "Do not leave my house dressed like a thief."
    "You look like Paula Poundstone."
    "You better not be dressed like a movement teacher."
    "I can't tell, is that my daughter or Howard Stern?"

    Western Animation 
  • 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.
  • Family Guy: Parodied in a 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 teenage daughter not to go out in heavy makeup.
    "You're a McDonald, not a whore."
  • Wait Till Your Father Gets Home (a primetime animated series): Harry Boyle wins 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 risqué. Alice remains adamant until Harry uses Alice's ploy against her by going shirtless himself.


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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