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Rip Tailoring

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"JoJo characters dress on the cutting edge of fashion — which is to say the clothing has all been chopped up with a straight razor."

Got an ugly, matronly, or just uninspired-looking item of clothing or dress? Rip it good. In fiction, using your own resourcefulness and a pair of scissors (or not even the latter), you can make that old rag into something fashionable (and/or Stripperiffic).

Basically, a deliberate application of Clothing Damage in the service of style and/or sexiness. The Action Dress Rip is a more practical and action-oriented version of the trope, while From Dress to Dressing is the one where you rip your dress to make a bandage.

Has absolutely nothing to do with Rip Taylor, or Rip Torn for that matter.


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  • This old Mentos ad has a woman accidentally putting a hole through her full-length evening gown with her shoe, then hitting on the idea of converting it to a minidress on the spot.
  • This commercial has a woman shortening her skirt on the spot after getting mustard on it while eating.

    Anime & Manga 
  • In an episode of Full Moon, Mitsuki enters her dressing room to find her stage outfit ruined by a rival artist's sabotage. With minutes before Full Moon's performance, her manager starts panicking, but Mitsuki calmly takes the outfit off the rack, and starts savaging it more until she ends up with a presentable, chic blouse and skirt.
  • Liz Ricarro does this in episode 22 of IGPX: Immortal Grand Prix. The 2050 IGPX All-Stars Tournament has a fashion show at the end of the night to see who wins the tournament, and one person from each team is sent to participate in the show, with Liz representing Team Satomi. However, during the show, her dress rips, and she decides to be creative by ripping off a significantly large portion of the dress to create a fanservicey minidress that could pass at its midnight timeslot on Cartoon Network. (It's not like they still couldn't get away with making it more fanservicey.) Liz's moment of creativity is the thing that allows Team Satomi to win the All-Star Tournament.
  • Princess Ai's reaction to getting a full-length frilly dress to wear? Scissors. In the end it's barely long enough to cover her derrière.
  • This goes badly in Tenchi Muyo!; Tenchi is furious when Ryoko thoughtlessly tears the sleeves off of his late mother's kimono after she accidentally rips one of them while wearing it without permission. Ryoko, who hadn't known who the kimono had belonged to (she had found it in storage and wanted to model it to impress Tenchi) ends up doing her best to mend it as an apology.

    Comic Books 
  • In Archie Comics, one story has Betty and Veronica coming to school wearing the exact same outfit. Veronica sabotages Betty's dress, creating a tear in the bottom part of the skirt. Instead of going home to get her dress replaced, Betty just sews the tear into a fashionable (and very fanservice-laden) addition.
  • In Hex Wives #6, after taking their revenge on the Architects, the witches change up their outfits. Isadora decides to take a pair of scissors to most of her clothing, most noticeably her coat.
  • Kate Bishop turns her bridesmaid's dress into a makeshift superhero costume this way the night she joins the Young Avengers.

    Films — Animation 
  • In the first Tinker Bell movie, Tink gets ready for her first day as a tinker fairy by taking the leaves provided for her outfit and cuts it up into her familiar skirt. She gets some attention from Clank and Bobble.
  • The LEGO Batman Movie: The genesis of Robin's underpants. He'd borrowed one of Batman's many outfits, the Reggae Batman outfit, but finds the pants too tight. Solution? Rip the pants.
    Robin: (dancing) Now I'm free, now I'm grovin'! C'mon, Batman, let's get moving!
    Batman: I can only look you in the eyes right now.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Can't Buy Me Love, Cindy makes Ron cool with a sleeveless shirt and a little hair gel.
  • In Chasing Papi, a group of women do this prior to entering a dance contest.
  • Clueless has a scene where Cher turns one of Tai's shirts into a midriff-baring "belly shirt" in this manner.
  • Violet's first shift at the bar in Coyote Ugly begins with Lil, the owner, ripping off her sleeves and the bottom two inches of her shirt, leaving her in something much more revealing and appropriate to the bar.
  • Cruella: When the Baroness sees Estella's first design for her, she pulls out a straight razor and slices off what she considers to be extraneous fabric: giving the gown a sleeker profile, but also nicking Estella in the process. Despite the injury, Estella is secretly overjoyed as hers was the only design the Baroness considered worth modifying.
  • Donovan's Reef: Amelia does this to Victorian-looking swimsuit she is sold.
  • Duchess Of Idaho: Chris does this to her friend Ellen's dress so Ellen can catch her boss.
  • Olive tramps up her wardrobe in Easy A this way.
  • Sigrit does this to a particularly unwieldy costume made by Lars in Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga. This leads to the costume showing off a lot more than was intended.
  • In The Heat, when Mullins and Ashburn have to visit a nightclub in the hopes of catching a suspect, Mullins uses a pair of scissors in the restroom to cut up Ashburn's pantsuit into booty shorts and a more revealing top.
  • Hunk: After O'Brien tells him "true hunks don't follow tends, they start them", Hunk rips the sleeves off all his shirts: starting a look that is immediately copied by all of the other yuppies.
  • Clara Bow does this in It (1927), making the trope much Older Than They Think. She takes a pair of scissors and cuts her shopgirl dress into a cocktail dress after getting invited to a fancy restaurant.
  • In Lost In The Wild, about nursing students in the Mexican rainforest who are forced to prove themselves after a plane crash, protagonist Elizabeth, anticipating several hours of physical work in a humid subtropical environment, cuts off the legs of her cargo pants, turning them into hiking shorts.
  • In Mean Girls, there's a scene where Janis tries to humiliate Regina by cutting nipple holes in the front of her shirt, but it backfires when Regina goes ahead and wears it anyway (albeit over a bra) and the other girls in school start doing the same thing to emulate her.
  • In My Big Fat Greek Wedding, the bride and groom start ripping pieces off her Impossibly Tacky Wedding Dress in the limo on the way from the ceremony to the reception.
  • In My Favorite Wife, Irene Dunne's character returns to civilization after having been shipwrecked and stranded on an island for several years. After getting some funny looks while wearing one of her old — and now unfashionably long — dresses, she goes off to the powder room... emerging a few minutes later with dress shortened, presumably in this manner.
  • Done accidentally in The Naked Gun 2½, when Frank and Jane are dancing in the middle of the movie.
  • The Rocky Horror Picture Show: During Janet and Rocky's impromptu lovemaking sesh, the former uses her dress as a dressing to cover the latter's wounds. She gets a bit carried away, though, and her appearance is noticeably more ragged than before.
  • New York Minute: Poor Jane. She has to do this to her skirt and then after she breaks a heel, Roxy breaks the other to match them.
  • Sleepover has Julie's friends cutting up her mom's old tacky dress to make it look cooler.
  • In the Disney Channel Made-for-TV Movie Susie Q, the title character, who is a ghost, is seeking the attention of the one boy who can see her. However, he is distracted by a girl in a short skirt. Thinking she knows where his interest lies (and forgetting that she's Invisible to Normals), Susie tears her Pimped Out Prom Dress until it becomes basically a skirt and halter top.
  • In The Three Stooges short "All Gummed Up", when the landlord's elderly wife turns into a beautiful young woman, she rips her Victorian-style clothes into a lighter and more modern dress.
  • In Toothless, Dr. Katherine Lewis tears off the puff sleeves and outskirt of her ornate pink tooth fairy dress as she heads to the real world to reveal herself to disbelieving parents — hell be damned.
  • In True Lies, Helen rips the chiffon off her dress and shortens it considerably when preparing to play the part of an escort.
  • Two Girls on Broadway: Pat shows up at a fancy New York nightclub with a dress she brought from back home, only for the women in the ladies' room to sneer at it as old-fashioned. She gets a pair of scissors and cuts it into something more revealing.
  • What a Girl Wants has Daphne cutting the top layer off an ugly dress to reveal a nice dress underneath.

  • In The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole, Adrian sets about a black, a white and a grey T-shirt with scissors, to wear as rags, deciding that this is now fashionable.
  • In the YA novel Calico Captive, the heroine gets kicked out of her benefactor's house because she takes a pair of scissors to a hand-me-down dress and makes it awesome (more so than the gown worn by the lady of the house).
  • In the first Circle of Magic book, recently adopted street rat Briar cuts the sleeves off the first new shirt he's given.
  • Molly Carpenter is shown to have applied this treatment to a school uniform in Death Masks.
  • Harry Potter: Ron Weasley uses a Severing Charm to get the lace off his dowdy, old-fashioned dress robes in order to make them presentable at the Yule Ball. Should be noted that this didn't go over nearly as well as most things done in this trope; it was still hideous. Possibly because it was a guy, whereas this trope typically applies to women.
  • In Kea's Flight, a group of bullies who call themselves the Gang rip holes in their clothes to make themselves look tougher.
  • In Lonely Werewolf Girl, after her Doomed New Clothes get ruined in the werewolf brawl, Malveria's solution is to have have designer Thrix cut them up some more so she can wear it as Battle Chic.
  • In Robert A. Heinlein's Podkayne of Mars, the eponymous teenage heroine, free from the eye of her parents and determined to seem more cosmopolitan than her Martian upbringing, mentions altering her only party dress in the privacy of her cruise liner cabin to look a bit more grown-up.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 'Allo 'Allo! Herr Flick gets a tailor in so Helga can fitted with something appropriate to wear to the Gestapo Officers' Club. He then proceeds to inspect the tailor's work...
    Flick: The waist is good... but the lapels are not good! [RIP!!] The shoulders are good... but the sleeves are not good! [RIP!!]
    Helga: I think the skirt is excellent.
    Flick: I disagree! [RIP!!]
    Helga: What about the hat?
    Flick: Approved.
  • This was a challenge on America's Next Top Model once. (The women had T-shirts and had to alter them to make them cool.)
  • Bones: At Angela's wedding, Cam delicately adjusts the more ridiculous aspects of her ugly dress, and then helps Bones do the same.
  • In Russell T. Davies's version of Casanova, Casanova and Bellino do this to their clothes for their first public appearance as a couple, because she's worried that she can't pull off entering high society as a typical member when everyone knows her past.
  • iCarly: In "iWedding", Carly does this to her bridesmaid's dress to get rid of the corsage, sash, lave, etc., to "look less ridiculous."
  • A variation occurs in The Latest Buzz when Amanda gets a toner stain on her evening gown before a big awards ceremony. After trying and failing to remove it, she instead puts stains over the rest of the dress; turning it into a leopard spot pattern.
  • A sight gag at the 1998 MTV Video Music Award show had Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey showing up in the same dress. After a mutual Death Glare, Mariah rips off the bottom of her dress. Whitney then follows suit, causing the dresses to have two different hemlines.
  • Rizzoli & Isles: In "Don't Hate the Player", Isles swaps clothes with Rizzoli so Rizzoli can meet a suspect at a fancy restaurant. When Rizzoli complains that the shoes are too tight, Isles uses a scalpel to cut the ends of the shoes off, turning them into peekaboo toes.
  • London Tipton from The Suite Life of Zack & Cody does this to a woman's nurse outfit at an amazing speed to make it into a pure white sequined tango dress.
    "And you can't figure out a pay phone."
  • In an episode of Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place, Sharon's boyfriend Johnny rips the poofy sleeves off her hideous bridesmaid's dress, turning it ito something quite wearable.
  • Done to achieve the opposite effect of its usual intent in the Whiplash episode "The Actress". The actress in question tears all the frills and bows off her elegant gown in order to turn it into something a farmer's wife might wear.
  • Angela does this in an episode of Who's the Boss? when she wants to show more leg in an evening gown.

  • Canadian figure skater Joseph Phan wore a black costume for his short program during the 2019-2020 competitive season with several rips on the front and one on the back because they visually depict the title of the music he performed to, which is "Torn (Redux)" by Nathan Lanier. Phan's SP was praised for its coolness, so the torn outfit adds to his awesomeness factor.

    Video Games 
  • Madison does this to her skirt in Heavy Rain during the club scene.

    Web Comics 

    Web Videos 
  • One of the pieces of clothing torn apart in the Beyond the Press channel video "How much can you lift with clothes?" is a large black T-shirt that rips very fashionably along the side and back. The host jokes that he and his wife will be going to Paris Fashion Week with it while he watches her twirl and pose for the camera with the shirt over the top she was already wearing. However, a number of comments pointed out that a torn, oversized T-shirt like that, worn over a brightly colored top with some fashionably torn jeans would work as an actual outfit.

    Western Animation 
  • 6teen has Nikki ripping apart two boring dresses and sewing them into two "cool" dresses.
  • In Wakfu season 1 episode 22, Sadlygrove rips off his tabard and leaves behind his shoes, as they sport the symbol of the Shushus Guardian Order, which he no longer deems himself worthy of. At the end of the episode, he gets them back, turning the tunic into a Badass Cape.

    Real Life 
  • Ripped and otherwise deliberately damaged clothes are of course associated with "punky" or "grungy" fashions.
  • However, much the same idea can also be found at least as far back as the Renaissance, when it was sometimes associated with tough but flashy mercenaries such as the German Landsknechts (who may possibly have wanted to look like they had been through lots of tough, dangerous battles). So the trope is Older Than Steam at the very least.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Non Action Dress Rip


Eda's Morning

Eda gets ready for the day while also putting some finishing touches on her new outfit.

How well does it match the trope?

4.2 (10 votes)

Example of:

Main / MorningRoutine

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