Chainmail Bikini

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Rico: Why would they give her such skimpy armor that can only protect such a small portion of her body?

Bron: How would I know? Maybe those are the only parts of her that are vulnerable!

Armor worn by female characters in fantasy (and sometimes other Speculative Fiction or even historical) settings is implausibly designed to bare and/or flatter their secondary sexual characteristics, often voiding its protective qualities. A big patch of cleavage over your heart is like a beacon for every archer in the kingdom.

Oftentimes the armor seems perfectly workable except for one area, as in a female warrior decked out with heavy boots, a chest plate, shoulder pads and gauntlets. All she has from the bottom of her ribcage to her knees is a pair of lambskin panties.

Female magic wielders are given a pass. While the dresses they wear into battle sometimes seem more appropriate to Frederick's of Hollywood than the Forest of Sherwood, their protection is not the physical sort.

Variants:

  • A metal coconut bra.
  • A literal Chainmail Bikini.
  • Leather bikini armor.
  • Armor without a helmet.
  • Relatively realistic armor, with a sizable flash of cleavage.
  • Armored spike-heel gogo boots on otherwise bare legs.

If played for laughs, it's usually "justified" by a distraction bonus. Though assigning blame to munchkins works just as well.

Form-Fitting Wardrobe is the Super-Trope for this. See Thong of Shielding, Stripperiffic, Fan Service, Bare Your Midriff, Cleavage Window. There is a Web Comic by the same name, which naturally features one. Almost the exact opposite of 24-Hour Armor, Battle Ballgown. And not much of a concern, protection-wise, if Armor Is Useless.

Examples of Chainmail Bikini include:

Anime & Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • In .hack// both male and female swordfighter classes can go very light on actual armor (Bear and Orca famously sport only a shoulder guard, man-skirt, and boots, and are covered more in ink than in clothing). Wavemasters, the mages, are typically fully covered in robes or dresses, while other classes fall somewhere in between - comfortable clothes that bare the chest, navel, a low neckline, or whatnot.
  • Mew Zakuro in Tokyo Mew Mew, despite it being a shoujo series. To balance it out, most of the men that fight wear short-shorts and/or exposed navels like she does.
  • Also famously Lampshaded in the first Project A-ko film when B-ko throws off her school uniform to reveal a skimpy armor bikini underneath. She is met with laughter from the student body, and A-ko's famous response "Ain't it cold in that?"
    • And then hilariously parodied further and subverted in the second movie, where B-Ko's father wears the exact same suit.
  • The Bronze and Silver Cloths of Saint Seiya are suits of armor that cover only a few bits of their owner's anatomy, leaving entire areas (such as the whole abdomen, thighs, face, neck) exposed to the elements. However, the Cloths of the few female Saints are even worse, tending to be more like lightweight metal bikinis, with even less protection, and breast-shaped breastplates.
    • Justified with the Bronze Saints, due to the fact that their Cloths are supposed to be in the lowest hierarchy. They protect less and are weaker than the silver cloths.
  • Played out beautifully in Wolf's Rain. Yes, Jaguara does wear armor that clearly displays her "assets" to anyone she might allow to be in her presence... so guess where Darcia finally skewers her?, granted she was trying to seduce him, but she also anticipated a battle with the wolves.
  • Leina from Queen's Blade fits rather snugly into hers. Seems like there would be painful chafing involved. It's a 1-inch thick slab of steel worn directly on her skin.
    • Her sisters as well with a metal bra.
  • Cecily Campbell of The Sacred Blacksmith wears one that's literally shaped to fit her form precisely, including her chest (and it's rather fragile). And apparently she doesn't wear padding underneath. On the other hand, her fellow male knights wear a costume with similar plate coverage.
  • In Fairy Tail, Erza's everyday armor covers her torso entirely, however she has a seemingly endless amount of armors that she can transform into that often leave little to the imagination. She summons a literal plate mail bikini while at the beach.
  • Somewhat justified in Zero Zero Nine One. Mylene is an Action Girl with missile breasts, so she gets one slapped on her if she's captured by a Genre Savvy villain.
  • The Witchblade transforms Masane completely, skimpy armor included. And that's not including all the reproduction Witchblades... Justifiable in that it's the Witchblade's power, not the armor itself, that protects her. She's taken tank rounds to her unarmored stomach and gotten right back up.
  • The page quote comes from this trope's parody/ShoutOut in Robotech; being totally unfamiliar with any aspect of culture that doesn't involve fighting, two Zentraedi spies are baffled when they view the mysterious broadcast from the "Micronian" ship (an accidental leak of their new TV station and its debut show, a beauty pagent) and behold a model wearing a bikini. They naturally come to the conclusion it must be a form of armor, as it clearly doesn't cover enough to be a uniform.
  • In Axis Powers Hetalia, Hungary is shown in both official and fan works as wearing revealing and form-fitting armor similar to the ones she wore as a child. Which also show her Boobs of Steel rather prominently.
  • In the Slayers movies and OAVs, Naga the Serpent wears the "leather bikini" version, the better to show off her ... talent.
  • Rebecca from the Dressrosa Arc of One Piece; as a gladiator, she wore a rather literal interpretation of the Trope, possibly overlapping with Go-Go Enslavement, as Donquixote Doflamingo used gladiator combat as a death sentence.

Comics[edit | hide]

  • Marvel Comics' Red Sonja is the original chainmail bikini wearer.
    • Parodied in the comic series Cerebus the Aardvark: when 'Red Sophia' tries to seduce the titular earth pig by removing the top of her chainmail bikini, he snidely retorts that the swelling ought to go down eventually if she'd stop wearing it.
  • Tarot's "armour" in Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose. The way Jim Balent draws it, it amounts to little more than a rigid thong bikini held on with pen-line-thin straps.
  • Lampshaded in the second Van Von Hunter book, wherein Stripperiffic villain Adonette is shot by a rather... distracted archer, who is promptly berated by his brother:

"Bloody hell! The woman's practically half-naked over there and you go and hit the ONE piece of armor she IS wearing?!"

  • Taken to extremes in Earth X by Iron Maiden, who's of the molded plate variety. It makes sense to a point, since her power is to shape the metal that encases her, but a concept drawing featured in issue #4 shows not just breast-plate but navel-plate and what looks to be cameltoe-plate. Ouch.
  • Occasionally, someone will claim (in-universe or out) that Wonder Woman's swimsuit-like outfit is supposed to be armor.
    • Every once in a while people will write her actually putting on real armor, but it never seems to stick. Alex Ross introduced her plate armor in Kingdom Come, partly because it was the biggest battle in the history of the world, partly to make her look angelic in keeping with the story's theme, but mostly because Ross likes making up new costumes. Since then, writers occasionally have her don it as a sign that a particular issue's fight is a much bigger deal than usual.
  • In the excellent Aliens vs. Predator storyline "Eternal", Becca Shaw is stuck in one of these while being held hostage during a hunt for Predators. It's one of the few fanservice nods in the book.
  • In the first few issues of Artesia, the titular heroine wore full armor on her upper body - and nothing between her tassets and greaves, showing off a lot of leg as well as leather "panties." After the Art Evolution, Artesia buys armor for her legs. She (and other female soldiers) has angular projections formed into her curaiss that obviously represent breasts - but otherwise female warriors wear more or less the same armor as their male counterparts.
  • Lampshaded in Barry Ween. A temporal anomaly unleashes characters from different dimensions and time periods in Barry's basement. One of them is a amazon in a Chainmail Bikini, prompting Jeremy to ask her if it chafes.
  • Helga in Garfield His 9 Lives. It's literally just a metal bikini; it doesn't even have shoulder straps.
  • Lampshaded and subverted in an issue of Dork Tower, where Igor is running a Dungeons And Dragoons game for Gilly and Kayleigh. He gives them both pre-generated characters, which has both of their characters attired in the stereotypical fantasy armour. Kayleigh immediately remarks on the ludicrious impracticality of their outfits; and promptly has her character make for the nearest armourer to purchase more practical gear for them both.
  • The Animaniacs comics had Minerva Mink wearing this Xena-inspired outfit.
  • Exoristos in Demon Knights.
  • Parodied in L.E.G.I.O.N. 007, a Tuxedo and Martini spoof. Stealth, the Girl from L.E.G.I.O.N., is outfitted with a bulletproof bikini. Sure enough, when two graduates of the Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy start shooting at her, we see bullets bouncing off the bikini, and apparently not hitting her anywhere else.
  • The titular character of Red Shetland, a Furry Comic that homages Red Sonja and the Conan mythos as a whole, wears one of these, although it's not quite as all-protecting as is the norm for this trope.

Fan Works[edit | hide]

  • In With Strings Attached, John and Ringo encounter one of these while going through the Idris' attic, prompting the observation, “Christ, it'd rub your nipples right off.”


Films[edit | hide]

  • In the Dungeons and Dragons movie, the elven ranger sports a breastplate. With nipples.
  • In Batman and Robin, George Clooney's Batsuit comes complete with Batnipples. Batgirl's costume on the other hand, lacks nipples, though that might have caused some issues with a PG-13 rating.
  • Dulcea in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie and Divatox in Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie. Divatox was covered up for the TV series, but Dulcea was a movie-only character.
    • The first movie isn't in continuity anyway.
    • Many of the old-school series had the "obviously human" villainesses wear Breast Plates, the most notable being Astronema.
      • Rita was the original to wear anything like that, right in season one.
    • Dulcea was meant as pure fanservice, but they didn't realize that the combination of Gabrielle Fitzpatrick in a sexy green bikini and her personality would be Fetish Fuel for a generation of kids and teenagers born from 1980 through 1990.
  • The Angels in the second Charlie's Angels movie wear bullet proof vests similar to the CSI Verse example above, but hey, it's a Charlie's Angels movie. They are contractually unable to wear anything unsexy.
  • In 300, the Spartans go into combat with bare chests and bikini briefs. This is taken from the original graphic novel, where the Spartans wore nothing at all aside from their cloaks, which itself draws from classical Greek "heroic nudity" in art.
  • Towards the end of the 1981 Arthurian legend film Excalibur the witch Morgana appears to be dressed in nothing more than a sheet metal corset.
  • Beautifully averted near the end of Disney's 2010 live action "sequel" to Alice in Wonderland. Alice's suit of armor covers her entire body and fits like armor should, yet still manages to be form fitting and quite feminine.
  • The Gamers 2: Dorkness Rising featured a heated discussion between a Power Gamer and his Ex about "Bikini Mail," Allegedly the best armor a female could wear but, in her words, "That looks like it chafes." She didn't wear it.
    • Astropia had a similar conversation during character creation/introduction. "I'm Hildur, and I refuse to look like this." The scene cut to the gamers' table with Hildur pointing to her character sheet, clearly not amused.
  • Kida was actually seen wearing this kind of armor during her introductory scene in Atlantis the Lost Empire, with the only protection being a single shoulder plate (located where her armband would normally be), a pair of wristbands (a metal one on her left arm and a furred one on her right), and furred knee-high boots. Fortunately, she can pull her mask down (it's the same size as her body) to protect the rest of her body.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • In The Wheel of Time books by Robert Jordan, Elayne's personal bodyguards wear such armor precisely to make people think they are less dangerous than they really are.
  • There is some humor on this subject when the City Watch in the Discworld novels starts recruiting female members and needs to find uniforms that fit them. This eventually becomes a running joke as the City Watch starts including members of all shapes and species, so being "in uniform" means wearing whatever parts of a uniform one can.
    • Although in this case the breastplates are not actually revealing and skimpy, just modified to accommodate cleavage. (There had been no women in the watch before, and the breastplates were all forged centuries ago to a standard pattern...)

The main difficulty that Angua presented was that someone was going to have to take a, well let's be honest, a breastplate down to the armourer and get him to beat it out really well here and here.

      • The trope is further referenced with regard to Watchwomen in Thud! when a skimpy skirt and papier-mache armor outfit is found in a collection of stripper costumes. The stripper explains that sometimes men like to see a pretty girl in armor. Angua is confused, as men never seem happy to see her.
    • Previously, the introduction of a barbarian heroine in The Light Fantastic caused the narrator to muse, "Now, there is a tendency at a point like this to look over one's shoulder at the cover artist and start going on at length about leather, thighboots and naked blades," before acknowledging that, like the later female members of the Watch, she was wearing sensible chainmail. (The cover artist in question, Josh Kirby, always drew Discworld heroines to fit the trope anyway, because it's Traditional.) The TV adaptation does invoke the trope not only with the barbarian heroine and an earlier character who Rincewind has to fight (although Liessa Dragonrider actually wears less in the book). Well, it'd be humanly impossible for Liessa to be wearing less than she was in the book. Not because of the Moral Guardians, but because the average pet dog is wearing more than Liessa.
    • The skinny, flat-chested witch Magrat, on the other hand, borrows the fearsomely bosomy breastplate of the mythical Queen Ynci the Terrible to go and battle elves, and as a result ends up much more fearsome herself. Because no one told her it's just a decorative "remake" made from a washbasin—it looks impressive.
    • There's also Vena the Raven Haired in The Last Hero, a Xena pastiche who, like Cohen, is pushing retirement age... and still wears her old form fitting adventuring outfit.
    • Also there's Sergeant Colon, who fits his Roman-Centurion-esque breastplate "like jelly fits a mould", and Detritus, who can't fit all his muscles into his armor.
    • It's made a bit more practical in Unseen Academicals with the advent of "micromail", chainmail made from many, many small links that, as is repeatedly stated, doesn't chafe... and it's later demonstrated that a pair of boxer shorts made from the stuff can literally deflect a blow from a sledgehammer.
  • Played with in David Eddings's Belgariad, with Queen Ce'Nedra and her armor. It looks like a functional, complete suit of armor, with pronounced feminine characteristics. Actually it's purely decorative. She never expects to be in a battle, but she needs to be seen as the leader of the army. She even forced the blacksmith to 'enhance' the breastplate beyond her actual, petite figure, because she needs them to know she's a woman.
  • In the Belisarius Series of alt-history/time travel novels by David Drake and Eric Flint, Belisarius' wife Antonina finds herself in the position of being the titular commander of a military unit, due to her close friendship with Empress Theodora. Although she originally tries to wear ordinary armor, the weight of it soon makes her switch to a custom-made ceremonial cuirass and accessories instead. Ironically, although Antonina's figure is anything but petite the blacksmith still put in "enhancements", to the point where things bordered on the ridiculous.
    • Characters in the series routinely joke about Antonina's "obscene cuirass", to the point where it verges on Lampshade Hanging.
  • Lampshaded in John Ringo's There Will Be Dragons where Bast the Wood Elf, asked why she runs around in a Fur Bikini, asks "Do you know how many men I've killed who froze looking at my tits?"
    • The character in a later novel wears a skin-tight suit of "carbon nanotube", effectively impenetrable, and effectively transparent.
  • A modern Conan story had Conan teaming up with a woman in a chain-mail bikini who explains that she knows that opponents are going to attack the bare areas and her fighting style is to counter those attacks.
  • Azure Bonds subverted this somewhat. At times the heroine wore a suit of chain mail that exposed her cleavage. However when an enemy went to attack it they found out that it was enchanted chain mail that projected a force field over the 'exposed' area. Not too surprising, as this piece was provided by a Vain Sorceress who just could not resist flaunting the body that resembled her own so much. However, in the first book Alias mostly wears a plate-based armor (despite what the cover would tell you). She was dressed in that one in the very end and only in the third book does she starts regularly wear "Cassandra's armor". She apparently kept it because with the enchantment it protected her better than her mundane armor while being less bulky. Her bodyguard (paladin) complained at how unmodest it was, but he gave up after year or so.
  • The River of Dancing Gods trilogy by Jack L. Chalker literally has a magically-enforced law that "weather and climate permitting, all beautiful young women must be scantily clad". This means the female barbarian character must compromise between protection and conforming with the Rules, which have been written into the physical structure of that universe by powerful wizards. To make matters worse, all women were constantly scantily clad. After all, to be demurely clad was to state outright that you weren't beautiful, as only non-beautiful women could wear such clothes. Any woman not scantily clad might as well have been wearing an "I am ugly" t-shirt. Of course, the whole series is a parody of fantasy tropes, which is why such bizarre things are written into natural law.
  • The subject of an entire series of short-story anthologies lampshading and parodying the concept: Chicks in Chainmail, edited by Esther Friesner.
  • Lampshaded in Phyllis Ann Karr's A Night at Two Inns, in which a sensibly dressed warrior woman watches a scuffle between Captain Ersatzs of Conan and Red Sonja, and is appalled by "Sonja's" impractical attire.
  • Played with in the Thraxas series, where Action Girl Makri wears a chainmail bikini for her job as a barmaid. The outfit is intended to get her tips, not protect her in battle. She's escaped from her previous career as a champion gladiator, and tends to deck customers who annoy her. She switches to more serious armor when she expects a fight.
  • A Simple Survey has a video-game style hero who only has a skirt on her lower half, leaving her legs unprotected. She actually complains about the fact that she's expected to dress in this manner, since her legs get scratched whenever she walks through rough terrain.

Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Xena: Warrior Princess, of course, though Xena's own armor is not a particularly heavy offender. Xena's regular outfit isn't very skimpy (though it does wonders at enhancing Lucy Lawless' modest bust), but most of the alternate armors she would end up wearing in different locales (such as when she goes to Japan) definitely fall into this trope. It's played straight with the leather armor worn by the shorter-haired, sai-wielding Gabrielle later in the series, and with most secondary female characters, e.g. Callisto (someone who is that Ax Crazy might want a little more protection before going into battle...)
    • Every amazon to ever appear on Hercules or Xena follows this trope, except for Chilapa in "Endgame".
  • Female Klingon warriors in Star Trek: The Next Generation wear the same armor as the males, except with a noticeable hole (Kleavage).
  • The Valkyries in Charmed dress in revealing leather outfits. And of course, when the Charmed sisters have to rescue Leo from being captured by these Valkyries, naturally the plan they come up with involves Dressing as the Enemy.
  • Somewhat justified in Cleopatra 2525, where the heroines had force fields for protection.
  • Stella Bonasera and Calleigh Duquesne from the CSI Verse wear low-cut versions of the Bulletproof Vest.
  • Played with in Reno 911!. One episode had the female police officers getting specially designed (and low cut) bulletproof vests, which they all liked until one of them asks another officer to test her vest by shooting at it. Surprisingly enough, even the armored parts of the vests wouldn't stop a bullet.
  • Jessica Steen, who played Pilot on Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future, jokes about the improbable bosom sculpted into her Power Suit's chestplate. On the other hand, at least it was a full chestplate with no holes in it, providing identical coverage to any other Soldier of the Future's powersuit sans the fully-armored Tank.
  • Found in, of all places, Scrubs. The episode "My Princess", a fantasy retelling of the show, features Carla and Turk mashed together into a single monstrous creature that wears armor, the female half of which falls under this trope. Complete with a nipple.
  • Used in the new version of Hawaii Five-0, as mocked by Craig Ferguson. "The guys get bullet proof vests, and the ladies get an adorable little waistcoat. Three guys in bullet proof vests and then (sticks out fake tits) 'Mm-hm!'."
  • Sikozu, and to a lesser extent Jool, of Farscape. The upper half of Sikozu's outfit is basically just a red bra.

Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • Dungeons & Dragons. This trope was ubiquitous in early product art, and continues to this day, albeit somewhat less gratuitously.
    • In some settings one can get the ultimate variant: armor not even "revealing", but completely transparent. Of course, this means the stripperifficness level is defined solely by the underwear. A suit of glassteel (enchanted glass) is expensive, but as strong as steel with only half the weight.[1]
    • Alias from the Forgotten Realms novel Azure Bonds (see above) and its related computer game Curse of the Azure Bonds is depicted in artwork with a plunging v-neck chainmail top. It worked much better than it looked, though.[2]
    • Parodied and Lampshaded in the "Boom's Garden" chapter of Aurora's Whole Realms Catalogue, a spin-off Forgotten Realms product which gave detailed game statistics for loin guards, corsets, spiked collars and the proverbial chain-mail bikini. (Most cause penalties to movement and/or attacks, rather than enhancing armor class). The Boom's Garden's corset's stats even include the following: +1 Charisma when dealing with creatures with less than 9 Intelligence, the opposite if they're above 13 Intelligence. (One should probably add another rule for further realism: that the +1 part won't work at all on lizardfolk, kenku, and other non-mammals...)
    • Dragon magazine had one infamous cover that was withheld from comic store magazine-racks, due to its depiction of a virtually naked sorceress crouched on a rock at night.
      • Also parodied in an April issue, where a joke article on minor secret societies included the "Wizards of the Black Teddy": an all-female offshoot of Krynn's Black Robes, who dress like dominatrices in defiance of High Sorcery's usual dominance by stuffy old men.
      • Parodied in an old cartoon where the female fighter's Chainmail Bra is littered with arrows and the rest of her untouched.

"Good thing I had my armor on!"

    • The D&D 3.5 supplement Dungeon Master's Guide II gave us the "gloryborn armour" from the Heroic Domains of Ysgard, which is explicitly designed to look extremely impractical (without being impractical in the least, because it's magic). You can guess how things turn out.
    • There is an available enchantment called "Glamered" that makes armor look like other clothing without losing its protective properties. Theoretically it could be used to make practical armor appear impractical. Maybe looking Stripperific can give you a bonus to diplomacy checks?
    • The latest version of the d20 Sourcebook Portable Hole Full of Beer ("The Book of Neurotic Fantasy") features chainmail bikinis as actual items, they don't even stand out.[3] That would be why the company made Chainmail Bikini; feats shown on sample pages include "Exotic Armour Proficiency", "Improved Naked Defense" and "My Face Is Up Here".
    • The D&Dwiki (the one that has all of the non-OGL stuff) also entertains a love for homebrew, such as hideously overpowered... Chain Bikini Chick Feat.
    • In D&D 4.0, there's no guidelines as to how armor looks. Thus, it's actually possible to wear a Fullplate Bikini, or slightly more effective in keeping the men away, a scale-mail bikini. It all just comes down to how boring the DM is, really. Boring DMs won't allow scale-mail Bikinis, or Spiked Fullplate Bikinis, for that matter.
  • One of the items in the Tabletop RPG Teenagers From Outer Space is a battle bikini. Inspired by the ones worn by the Dirty Pair and B-ko in Project Ako, it also comes with a BFG, built-in mini-missile launchers, jet boots, and a force field to compensate for the limited protection one would normally get from an armored bikini.
  • The much-maligned "Chainmail Bikini" ended up in the Munchkin card game, with the expansion Clerical Errors.
  • The fantasy role playing game Hackmaster spoofs this trope with an item called the "chainmail bikini of remote eye-gouging." This bikini is not only enchanted to provide actual protection, but the wearer can say a magic word that causes it to cast an eye-gouging spell on anybody staring at it.
  • GURPS has, since at least the third edition, included a sidebar option called "Bulletproof Nudity". It's noted as being suitable only for cinematic or silly games, but includes armor bonuses ranging from 1 for a few strategic patches of skin to 8 for complete nudity... but only for attractive characters!
    • The GURPS 3rd Edition Magic Items books included the Chainmail Bikini "for body-proud barbarianettes" in two forms—a suit of chainmail with Invisibility spells on parts of it to make it look like a bikini; and a true bikini with magical-force-field-style protection on the exposed areas (they also had a male version, the Macho Leathers, which was a jockstrap and some other straps that provided the same protection as a full suit of armor—Equal Opportunity Fan Service ).
    • 4th Edition retains this with a few modifications. It applies only to characters with above average Appearance and limits the bonus to + 2 (+ 3 for a topless woman). For some reason it also makes the characters run and swim faster.
    • In 4e actual chainmail bikinis got stats in Dungeon Fantasy along with chainmail loincloths.
  • Warhammer 40,000
    • Sisters of Battle wear Powered Armor with shaped chest piece (often emphasized with contrast Fleur-de-Lis outline, at that). Though it's justified, in that they work in a legal niche of the Ecclesiarchy keeping no "men under arms" and cups visibly make a point. Also, suboptimal shape of generally very tough armor cannot be worse than their habit of not wearing helmets.
    • The Sisters Repentia units from the same army run around in rags or scraps of parchment, while Dark Eldar Wyches fight in Alien Polymer Bikinis because their superhuman reflexes make heavy armor unnecessary.
    • The re-vamped 5th Edition Dark Eldar Wyches wear considerably less than the previous versions; exemplified by the new model for character Lelith Hesperax. The source material justifies this by describing Wyches as being so vain about their combat prowess that they consider it cowardice to armour more than half their body; with bragging rights awarded to the Wych who wears the least coverage into combat.
    • Eldar and Slaanesh. The former have jump suits with cast iron (well, wraithbone if you wanna get technical) bras. The latter have cast iron port holes so their breasts can hang out!
  • An item in the swords and sorcery expansion of Grave Robbers From Outer Space.
  • Largely barred in Magic: The Gathering due to the rules set by WOTC. However, cheesecake style art and female armor users are both fairly common, it's just that they are rarely mixed to make metal undergarments. However, the Mirrodin setting has plenty of examples of the trope, for example Vulshok of Mirrodin are technically topless with the metal patches on their skin strategically placed. As sheet metal is a natural occurrence on Mirrodin there are more then a few Chainmail Bikini pics.
  • Rules for a Rune Bikini show up in Palladium Books' Rifter #9 1/2 (April Fools' Day joke issue).
    • Some of the Coalition Mark II armor's get to have their cake and eat it too. The underlaying armor is a matte body suit of flexible megadamage material and then the female suits get boob tooling to invoke the trope without actually falling prey to it.

Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Outrageously commonplace in videogames, and usually the defensive abilities of armour correlate with the amount of flesh exposed.
  • World of Warcraft: Some armor for the female Warriors/Paladins makes them look as if they've just come from Victoria's Secret; however, other armor (especially the tier sets from Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King and Cataclysm) covers everything to the point of barely being able to tell that, yeah, it's a female toon in that armor. Two Egregious examples are the "Warrior's Embrace" early level 50s chestplate, which fully covers male avatars and is only a pair of breast-covering plate domes on female avatars and the "Iceworn Plate" grey set, which is basically a plate mail bikini. The cloth armor for upper level (70+) female casters, though, have got to be the ugliest and least sexy garments in any video game, ever.
    • The Black Embersilk Gown single-handedly inverts this trope in the Cataclysm expansion. This item is actually more revealing on male characters than on females, and deliberately so.
    • Among female characters, Sylvanas Windrunner and late-Cataclysm Tyrande Whisperwind both embrace this trope. The Aspects Alexstrasza and Ysera share Sylvanas's model and thus her half-armored outfit.
  • RuneScape originally had 'female' versions of plate armour that bared mid-rift and cleavage (Although females could also wear the ordinary/male version). Since the upgrade to Runescape 2, however, female plate armour no longer exists, and the standard armours display the same on PCs of either gender. Plate skirts exist but can be worn by either gender.
  • Armor in Dragon Saga can be used by both genders but the midriff portions of torso pieces tend to magically shrink or disappear when transferred from a male character to a female.
  • Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning has the scantily clad Witch Elf class. Body armor pieces include the "halter" and "corset" series. Dark Elf Sorceresses also get hit with this. Averted with nearly every other class, as the female and males both wear practical armor.Particularly noticeable with the Dark Elf Black Guard class; the lack of feminine contours on their armor makes it impossible to tell the genders apart. The reason, of course, being that the models for the particular professions in the original game are like that.
    • Witch Elves and Sorceresses are lightly-armoured and very fragile and their armour (such as it is) exists for the sake of decency, rather than to provide protection. Male Sorcerers are equally squishy because the difference in armour value between cloth and bare skin is pretty much negligible. For the more heavily-armoured careers, appearance is uniform between the sexes: a female character in heavy armour is every bit as well-covered as a male character, which is a contrast with many other games, in which plate leg armour magically becomes a Thong of Super Durability on females.
  • This might be the main point of the Valis series. Yuko's armor has consistently been illogically skimpy, being pretty much a bikini and (if it counts as armor) a skirt. Cham/Char in the third game has slightly less impractical armor.
    • Strangely, the third game's magic user is dressed in a full robe.
    • Also strangely, in the fourth game, Lena starts off with more modest clothing, even if it's still impractical as battle armor. However, when she gets special armor that grants her temporary invincibility (until it takes enough damage), that special armor turns out to be as skimpy as (or possibly skimpier than) Yuko's.
    • This whole thing was parodied in the Super-Deformed Syd of Valis, where the Invincibility Power-Up is a bikini.
  • Image from the SegaCD game Popful Mail.
  • The Final Fantasy series, as expected, uses this trope a lot.
    • Dressing in a one-piece swimsuit and some shoulderpads was practically standard for the SNES era's female characters.
    • Even the male characters weren't safe from this. Look at the artwork for Guy, a character from Final Fantasy II. He may have even pioneered the style.
  • The Kingdom of Troia in Final Fantasy IV has an all-female army, who wear leotards as their official uniform. The sprite used to represent them is identical to that of the dancers in other places, resulting in this reaction when the player speaks to one of the guards in the castle: "Dance for you!? How dare you! I am a shieldmaiden of the Epopts, not some two-gil performer!"
    • The elemental archfiend of Wind, Barbariccia, wears nothing more than a bikini. Then again, she might not need armor seeing as she's more of a force of nature and forms a protective whirlwind with her own hair.
  • In Final Fantasy VI, Terra and Celes (the strongest characters in the game) wear something akin to battle swimsuits/leotards according to the official art (Celes, in particular, wears a strapless green swimsuit with shoulderpads, a cape, and a belt. Terra's is red and doesn't even have a cape.) In-game, the strongest suit of armor is the Minerva Bustier.
  • Most female Jobs in Final Fantasy Tactics wear armor and/or clothing appropriate to the occasion, usually covering them entirely—from the full set of armor worn by female Knights, and Dark Knights, Squires, Meliadoul, and Agrias, to the elaborate robes of Oracles and Mediators. However, Geomancers and Mimes wear an overshirt and boots, Dancers wear a skirt and a midriff-baring top, and Monks wear a strapless leotard.
  • Ritz's artwork in Final Fantasy Tactics Advance appears that she wears a breast plate.
  • In Final Fantasy IX, while the male Knights of Pluto get to clank around in plate armour, the Queen's all-female guard tends to invest in helmets, boots, and one-piece swimsuits. Not often where 'show some leg' meets 'oppressive imperial army'.
  • In Final Fantasy X, Yunalesca dons a metal bikini, with the top exposing a generous amount of cleavage and the bottom being a thong.
    • Dona, one of the other summoners in the game, wears a very revealing outfit that consists of a bra, Detached Sleeves, a Showgirl Skirt, and panties all somehow held together with a large amount of string.
  • Final Fantasy XI includes a number of Harness/Subligar armor sets which, while varying a bit depending on race and gender, consist of body armor that covers some places and exposes others, and leg armor that covers only the crotch, leaving the legs almost entirely exposed or covered in skin-tight material that is usually flesh-toned (though one set in particular has navy blue material covering the legs). One particular piece of leg armor, the Republic Subligar, is the best equipment available to almost all melees over a wide range of levels, and thus is extremely common, even though players frequently express disgust and horror at witnessing Galka, male Elvaan, and male Hume models in this gear.
    • One of the first pieces of leg armour you can buy is "Leather Trousers". Which looks bafflingly close to a thong when a female wears them.
  • Final Fantasy XII has several examples:
    • Fran appears to wear armor with all of the actually protective bits cut out.
      • Not to mention that it's predominately black, with nothing discernible underneath, and that she goes traipsing about in it rather extensively through deserts and frozen mountain passes. Forget enemy attacks. Ouch!
      • Fran's costume actually covers quite a lot of her torso...in gauze.
      • And features a lovely metal thong with stiletto heels.
    • Nearly all the Dalmascan characters wear piecemeal plating over thin leathers or clothing, but this is quite deliberately contrasted with the heavily-armored Judges and Imperial soldiers. Considering the Archaedian Empire is a northern realm, while Dalmasca is almost entirely desert, there's a lot of logic to this one (try fighting in armor in temperate weather for long; it's not easy; imagine how much worse it'd be in a desert).
      • It also contains one of the oddest subversions to this trope, as one character actually is shot fatally in an unprotected area due to wearing this kind of armor... and it's a male character. Still, the gap was notoriously small, so kudos to the archer.
    • Another male example is Vaan, who wears a decent amount of plating on his legs, but his upper body is mainly protected by a very skimpy metal vest. It actually covers his back pretty well if one overlooks the midriff and arms; from the front, however, its main defensive utility lies in making its wearer very careful about getting hit.
  • Dragon Quest III had a swimsuit armor that actually changed the pixels of a female character who wore it. Its armor class is terrible though. Fortunately, there's a randomly dropped "Magic Bikini" that provides the same stunning 8-bit resolution "fanservice" with armor for those willing to engage in Level Grinding for it.
    • Made even more hilarious when worn on a jester. Since they didn't think you could get much more Stripperific than a Playboy Bunny costume, they decided to clothe them in complete dominatrix gear—complete with mask and whip.
    • That's not all. Just take a look at the female warrior/soldier's outfit. Made even more ridiculous by the fact that her class can wear the heaviest armor, but no matter what you put her in, she'll always look like Red Sonja. This look has actually become quite popular, and further Dragon Quest games often have this female warrior as an NPC.
    • Dragon Quest VII had a 'Battle Chemise' for Maribel that functioned the same way. Decent 'armor' that distracted the monsters and made her look like she was wearing a frilly pink nightie. As for the trope itself, Aira wore one along with a cropped jacket and a Showgirl Skirt as her outfit.
    • Dragon Quest VIII had not only the Magic Bikini, but a wide variety of revealing outfits for Jessica that actually changed her model's appearance, unlike her other armors.
    • Dragon Quest IX continues the tradition in Egregious fashion. You can see the male and female outfits for some of the core classes here. Most of them are comparable, but while the male Warrior is wearing a full chain shirt and padded tabard with greaves, gauntlets and helmet, the female Warrior... isn't. Particular mention must go to the wrap-around mail miniskirt that's open at the front, meaning her only protection to any frontal attack between the midriff and knees is her underwear.
    • In the same vein, Tecmo's Secret of the Stars has a piece of armor called the Bunny Suit, which makes anybody who dresses in it look like a cute, scantily-clad Playboy Bunny -- even the guys.
  • The main character in The Guardian Legend wears very little in the way of body armor. Being a cyborg built specifically for combat, it doesn't matter quite as much, since she uses a personal force field to absorb the shock of enemy attacks.
  • Fire Emblem usually averts this. When a female character wears armour, it's usually just as practical as their male equivalents'. An odd exception are the Pegasus knights. Strangely, they wear this sort of armor over less revealing clothing, effectively ruining any Fan Service appeal it would have had.
    • Pegasus Knights wear armor that is appropriate to their method of fighting—they have very low defense and high speed and critical hits. Because they fly on light steeds, it's expected that they would wear as little armor as possible to facilitate this method of flying. The more heavily armored flying class, the Wyvern Knights, wear far more armor, have more defense, and are slower and less crit-happy as a result. In Fire Emblem, lack of armor does translate into a lack of defense.
  • In the Tales (series), it's more surprising when a character wears actual functional armour, regardless of gender. Nanaly Fletch (Tales Of Destiny 2) and Judith (Tales of Vesperia) fit this trope to the letter. But the ultimate grand prize goes to Ronodline E. Effenberg from Tales of the World: Narikiri Dungeon X, who bears the most skin out of any (human) Tales (series) character, managing to wear nothing that could accurately be described as "protection".
    • Made even more laughable with Judith, who wears a full suit of androdynous armour when the party first meets her, but then changes into her Chainmail Bikini for the rest of the game (unless given a different outfit). The extra costumes in the Japanese Play Station 3 version also features actual bikinis for Judith, Rita and Estelle to wear into battle. Battle swimwear is also available for Yuri, Raven and Karol.
  • With a few exceptions, somewhere around half of the MMORPG ads on this site use/fall prey to this. Not that the other half are much better—they're just not wearing armor, period, leaving the only question a matter of how Stripperiffic the outfit in question is.
  • Rappelz...this may actually count as a Lampshade Hanging, since the ads go:

Image: [Cleavage, bare midriff]
Text: Like what you see?

  • Julia in the game Age of Wonders. Her armor covers most of her body, but it's shape is rather fitting. It's most likely meant to be comfortable though. Julia's armor is lampshaded twice during her storyline in Shadow Magic. Once by The Big Guy and once by The Vamp.
  • In The Elder Scrolls IV: Shivering Isles, the titular Shivering Isles are guarded almost entirely by women in bikini armor, which perhaps explains why they're called the Shivering Isles but not why they're not called the Shivering and Jiggling Isles. The male version of the armor is still a little silly, but not so revealing. Justified by the fact that they're Daedra (read: demigods) and thus are immortal and don't need much protection anyhow.
    • Less flagrant in Oblivion than in most games, but still present for the few armors who have different models between male and female (like the Iron armor). The female versions tend to have plunging necklines, and leave a lot more skin showing then the male versions. Compare this and this. It's the same armor, on the other sex.
    • The same applies to Oblivion's chainmail armour. On a male, it's a standard chainmail shirt. On a female it's a tank top. Check it out
  • However, the difference is visible on the lowest-level armor; Daedric or glass armor has almost no difference on men and women.
    • Also noteable, while The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind pretty much avoided this in the first place, there was the offical mod "LeFemme Armor". While it just made a few of the more common armors (iron or steel) a little more femminine on female Characters, where was also a golden one that even showed on male Characters in the feminine cut.
  • In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, the trope zig-zaggs. Lighter armor (cloth, leather, other non-metals) tend to wrap more around female models, but the heavier bits (Daedric, Dragonplate) tend to look more or less identical regardless of sex. Though steel plate armor seems to show off a woman's figure pretty well while not really showing any skin.
    • Thoroughly averted by Dwarven Armor, which covers the entire body of both men and women in such a thick layer of metal that it looks like you would stand a reasonable chance against armor-piercing bullets.
  • Hellgate:London had the female Paladins wear a helmet, breastplate, gauntlets, and then what appeared to be a skintight leather onesie all the way down to their thigh-high high-heeled boots. And this is an organization that supposedly came out of the Catholic Church.
  • Quest for Glory V puts Elsa von Spielburg in a chainmail bikini. It's an especially stupid example because not only is she a tough-as-nails warrior and a capable swordswoman in her own right, but she's spent her entire life struggling against sexism.
  • D.W. Bradley seems to enjoy playing with this concept in the Wizardry series and Wizards & Warriors. Armored bras of cloth, leather, chain, and plate varieties can be found in the latter game, while in the former, characters that begin the game in the Valkyrie class (only open to females), have a fur halter and chamois skirt wearable only by women in their starting equipment, the "Stud Cuir Bra +2" is a recurring item (and actually one of the best pieces of armor for female thieves and rangers for quite some time in Wizardry 6), the Amazulu of Wizardry 6 go into battle wearing fur panties and anklets (period), and the Helazoid of Wizardry 7 wear jackets consisting of sleeves and not much else.
    • In fact, "Stud Cuir Bra +2" in Wizardry 6 were placed in a trunk in the Queen's bodoir... along with a long black whip, and popping up rather vivid text when you loot it. That's after a long description of the Queen's bedroom with remnants of "a bed that spanned a width greater than the length of three men [...] it makes you wonder whether the rumors about her peculiar rituals with young men were true".
  • The MMORPG Dream of Mirror Online has very different appearance for the same armour settings, based on sex and race. While humans and Sylph (sort of hovering elves) are decently protected, and Sprites (eternal children) even more, female Felins (or Shura, it depends on language) are almost naked on the crotch all the time. While wearing a full heavy armour set, there will inevitably be no pants other that a colored thong, and metal breast will bounce while running. Metal breast, bouncing. It helps a lot that female Felins are humanoid vixen. The Dancer outfit is commonly referred by players as "Whore dress". Note that male Felins, that are ugly as butt (should be humanoid dragons, and are usually flat-faced with big mouths) wear the very same outfits, but with black tights under the armour, or long gown instead of mini pants.
    • There's also the option to purchase costumes that make even the most modest character look slutty or make the sluttiest character modest thereby giving players an option of adverting this trope or play it straight regardless of race or career chosen.
  • The otherwise quite sensible Queen Catherine Ironfist of Heroes of Might and Magic III wears armor like this.
    • In Heroes of Might and Magic V the dark elves makes for much worse. The trope is averted, however, with the completely armor-clad Isabel and Freyda, and the rest of the Haven faction.
    • There's also the female Rakshassa of the Academy in Heroes V, although this tends to dwell deep into Furry territory... Not That There's Anything Wrong with That.
    • The Might and Magic series, on the other hand, mostly averts it. Your female characters will be realistically covered by their armor.
    • However, VI in this series possibly lampshades it (as you can find a few corpses of women who are wearing these, implying that's why they are dead).
  • Guild Wars: Eye of the North features a Breast Plate-wearing Norn woman named Jora on the cover; she features in a few of the quests for the expansion pack. It's notable that early concept for the character was mostly identical to her final design, except that she gained about two and a half cup sizes. It should be noted that male Norn don't even bother with the Breast Plate.
    • Keep in mind that Jora was a Norn, and that she was an exception to her race given that aside from her, all Norns can turn into Bears- which sort of removes the point of wearing armor in the first place.
    • Aside from that, the game features both female armor that would be completely suitable for battle and is not more revealing than the male version, and several variants of chainmail bikini, ranging from "slightly revealing" to "underwear."
    • A good example can be seen here, where we see the pictures for the elementalist armors. One can't help but wonder why the female version cost the same amount of crafting materials as the male versions, given that they have about 30% of the fabric.
    • The same question could certainly be asked about certain female mesmer armors, particularly the "Elite Enchanter" set, which is basically a nightie accented with choker, Zettai Ryouiki stockings and knee-height go-go boots.
    • Most Ranger sets are similarly less armoring for females, most notably in Prophecies. There is an "Elite Studded Leather" miniskirt and the "Elite Druid" set that has less cloth than the undergarments you would have while "naked."
  • In Lineage 2, the armour on the female chracters is particualrily revealing (and silly). Possibly the most ridiculous is the starting armour for the female Dark Elf—a halter top (open in the middle) mid thigh high-heeled boots and a thong. All in black leather, of course. The most silly of this is how the Dwarven female character is covered head to toe in full plate armor with one set but the Human female gets a metal miniskirt.
  • In Ninety-Nine Nights the main female character, Inphyy, wears an armor shirt that covers everything but the tops of her breasts. And better not speak of the wings.
  • In Command & Conquer 3: Kane's Wrath, the Zone Raider infantry is introduced; it's a Distaff Counterpart to the male Zone Troopers from C&C 3. The Trooper armor is bulky and boxlike. The Raider armor is significantly more form fitting.
  • Lampshaded in Princess Maker 2. When you go to the armory and try to buy a very stripperiffic piece made of silk (?), the vendor tells you that it may raise your daughter's Charisma, but it covers and protects so few that it's not worth the gold you have to pay for it. You can still buy it, of course, but it DOES offer much less protection than the others.
  • Prince of Persia: Warrior Within suffers this with Shadee, who wears a metal thong-type getup that redefines Stripperific. Penny Arcade covers it quite well, in addition to the Prince's generic rage.
  • A staple inDisgaea and other Nippon Ichi titles:
    • Female Warriors are often depicted wearing full plate armor on their legs, but only an absurdly wide belt across their chest for modesty.
    • Males don't get of much better.
    • Though it is justified in the description for the class, where it states that Warriors wear light clothing to increase mobility, and can harden their bodies instantly.
    • Also the female samurai wears a fairly standard samurai hakama, except that the top is reduced to little more than sleeves so you can see her Sarashi bound assets and uncovered stomach.
  • Valkyrie Profile and its sequel frequently features the second type; many of the female warriors are heavily armoured except for the thighs and sometimes the breasts (either normal fabric or actual exposed cleavage), and several wear armoured high heeled boots. On the other hand, some of the male warriors also have somewhat questionable weakspots...
  • Many of the troopers of Valkyria Chronicles wear these, both male and female.
  • The Battle Bikini is partly justified in Bikini Karate Babes: Word of God says that the ladies get their powers from having blood of their enemies on their skin.
  • The Avernum series has one male and one female Player Character graphic wearing very skimpy armor.
  • Neverwinter Nights actually has its main NPC, Aribeth, The Paladin Who Doesn't Do Anything, wearing a suit of armour cut so low as to be positively dangerous.
    • In the game's second expansion pack, Deekin comments about the impracticality of such armour. Since the base game and the expansions were made by the same people, this may have been a Take That Us.
    • Community Expansion Pack has not only "Aribeth Armor" (description: A suit of armor strangely reminiscent of a controversial lady's...) but also "Chain Mail Bikini" (Because what fantasy RPG would be complete without one, if only to uphold stereotypes and running jokes...). Though the female variant of the "Warrior Monk's Outfit" is more Stripperiffic anyway (top part looks less like a narrow cloth and more like a very wide shoestring).
    • This gets even worse in some other community-produced modules. The Aribeth's Redemption series gives us the "Armor of Impossible Cleavage," which grants a bonus to Charisma and Persuade in addition to its armor bonus and leaves a completely exposed foot-wide strip down the center of the torso (it is also limited to female use only, and unfortunately (for story reasons) you can't play that module with a female character). The Dance With Rogues series has a hakpack that turns every possible suit of armor or clothing into one of these. One of the most infamous examples is the "Armor of Lolth," encountered in the middle of the second chapter, which on female characters looks like a dark reddish bra and panties (though on male characters it looks like an ordinary suit of black and red plate armor) and provides more protection than most suits of plate armor. If you wear that armor, all conversations with male characters (except for the psycho pervert character) begin with them stuttering at you.
  • Knights of the Old Republic, its sequel, and Neverwinter Nights 2 avert this with all armor and clothing for males and females (including underwear in Neverwinter Nights 2) covers everything except for the hands and head.
    • In KotOR 2, there is the slave Leia outfit (which can be enhanced by underlays, wonder where they go...) and Mira's ballistic jacket which has an AC bonus on par with medium armor, despite being midriff-baring. There is also Handmaiden, who is wearing black underwear when not having any clothes equipped. In KOTOR 1, a female scout character starts the game in bra and panties.
    • Even more interesting is that not only does everyone have underwear, everyone actually has two completely different KINDS of underwear. Try dressing a character entirely in Sith gear, then take it off...
  • Lampshaded in Persona 3. The High-Cut Armor (for females only) is essentially this (although you only get to see the avatar change in the FES expansion), but your party members will be embarrassed and only reluctantly agree to wear it.
    • There's swimsuits, too...
    • Lampshaded some more in the PSP rererelease, where they are renamed Battle Panties.
  • Soul Calibur 4. The Soul series of fighting games is legendary for its female character's costumes, most of which offer little protection from sword, hammer, or ambient temperature. By contrast, new character Hilde in Soul Calibur 4 wields two weapons and wears full plate armour, making her an oddity not only in SC 4 but also fighting games in general—the armour does not, however, appear to give any more protection from damage than a cotton dress. This is to show off the new system, where armor can get blown off! Even when the armor is nearly completely removed, she manages to avert the trope by wearing a formal suit underneath which - miraculously - doesn't show any skin. To be fair, however, the player can create a costume for her that shows all the skin she has while keeping it's "T" rating.
  • Samurai Shodown has Charlotte (one intro quote is actually yelling at someone for mocking her having a breastplate). She has the breastplate, what may be gloves, and what once looked like armoured (if heeled) boots that seem to turn a bit sexier in later games. Neinhalt Sieger is a more masculine example, bearing one (HUGE) gauntlet as well as greaves and kneepads. Torso protection? His big bare Teutonic chest.
  • The official artwork for Ragnarok Online: While most male classes mostly don't show any skin, all of the female classes except for the Acolyte love showing their legs, their cleavage and their waist. Female Lord Knights wear a mini-skirt, for crying out loud.
    • Some male charcters show a lot of skin. The Blacksmith type jobs are wearing a small vest and the 3rd class version of the monk has no top. the 3rd class version of Alchemist also has an exposed stomach.
  • Despite the name, the title character of Kings Bounty: Armored Princess is not very well armored. That, however, only applies to the mage version of Amelie, featured on the box art. The warrior and paladin are more realistically armored.
  • Both played straight and (!) averted in Gaia Online's MMORPG ZOMG!.
    • The straight example is Lin in the Otami Ruins, who wears a low-cut breastplate and not much else. Arguably justified, since she is a Winged Humanoid and presumably wouldn't present a whole lot of target when flying (her brother doesn't wear much, either).
    • The aversion is the female members of the Barton Guard, who wear armor almost exactly like that of their male counterparts. Gaia users have at times been surprised to find out that Alma is a girl.
  • The box art of Arkistas Ring shows the protagonist in a metal/chainmail bikini. How did they get this past Nintendo's radar?
  • Played straight in Soul Nomad and The World Eaters. If you play as a male Revya, he'll be wearing relatively modest leather armor. Female Revya, however, goes shirtless aside from pauldrons and a metal bra. See for yourself.
    • To say nothing of the nereids, although in this case it's somewhat justified, as they're an underwater race, and one really can't move around very well in heavy armor.
  • Applies to some of the light armor in Dragon Age. Equip a piece of Dalish armor on a male character and it's your traditional leather armor. Equip it on a female NPC, and their midriff is exposed. The Chasind Robes look absolutely ridiculous on either gender. Thankfully, heavy armor doesn't suffer from the metal bikini syndrome.
    • The Chascind robe (and it's variants) is basically a swimsuit with Absolute Cleavage and furry shoulder pads when equipped on a female character.
    • Played straight with Isabela in Dragon Age 2, who wears a 'tunic' that basically looks like a swimsuit with a flap of material at the front and back. Her thong is frequently visible.
  • Played straight with many (though not all) of the Vanquisher's armor choices in Torchlight.
  • Used and averted in Fallout 3 although raider armour is pretty skimpy everybody else wears more practical attire. Throughout the series, women in full Power Armour are indistinguishable from their male counterparts. Most armours in earlier games just had some bumps on the sprite instead of cleavage.
    • One mod for both FO3 and New Vegas makes Invisible Power Armor(!!!) available. Same cost, same weight, same protection and bonuses- and you can wear any other armor or outfit under it. Naturally, for female PCs, this leads to much slaughtering of supermutants in schoolgirl outfits, bunny suits, and the like.
  • Star Ocean: The Last Hope has Myuria and to a slightly lesser extent Meracle. Of course Myuria is also a Black Magician Girl while Meracle is an Action Catgirl.
    • Meracle is fourteen.
  • Kingdom of Loathing mocks this with the Chain-mail Monokini.

It'll completely protect you from injury, and by 'you' we mean 'your crotch and 40% of your backside.' Because, really, what else matters?

  • In Secret of Mana, one of the female-specific bits of armor is the Tiger Bikini (and it actually has better defensive stats than any other armor you can buy.)
  • Seiken Densetsu 3 - Reis is depicted as wearing an extremely low-cut chest-plate and a skirt.
    • Angela is even worse. Not only is she wearing a strapless leotard, miniskirt, boots and her staff, she's also Going Commando, and she hails from the snowy land of Altena. The first time she leaves the magically protected castle onto the aptly named Sub-Zero Snowfields, she almost freezes to death.
  • Orion female armor in Star Trek Online. All but one of their possible outfits are of the Chainmail Bikini type (and that one is shredded cloth). As noted above, the Klingon women get this a little bit too, but compared to the Stripperific Orion outfits, it's almost unnoticeable. On the Federation side of things, the Terran Empire costumes from the TOS era are just as tiny, and even come with Zettai Ryouki to boot. This all applies if the body armor is made not to show; the armor can be toggled so it's visible, and almost all of it falls in the "Tight show-off-the-curves" variety. It's worth noting that since the main type of weapon is of the Energy Weapon sort, the only protection that they really need is a Personal Shield, so it's somewhat justified. Less so when dealing with the Klingon Bat'leths, of course.
  • The Monster Hunter series has the Kirin armor shown here. It is one of the strongest armors you can get early on in Monster Hunter Freedom Unite. "How does so much skin deflect so much damage?!?"
    • Overall for the series, it varies depending on the individual armor set. The female Renpolos armor for example is only identifiable as "female" by the fact that few men would willingly wear something painted that cute, The Urugaan set is partially form-fitting with the only skin exposed being the face and Zettai Ryouki covered by a heavy armor skirt, while the Barioth set is almost as skimpy as the aforementioned Kirin. On the other hand, the Bone armor set is skimpy for both females and males.
  • Shanoa in Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia is shown in art wearing a full breastplate and some overlapping plates to protect her hips, but otherwise has a skirt and Stripperiffic high heel boots (not to mention the Sexy Backless Outfit).
    • Somewhat justified in that the exposed areas of Shanoa's skin are, essentially, her weapons. She sports glyph tattoos that provide her with with weapons or spells, and the biggest one is on her back. That tattoo is how she acquires these glyphs in the first place - the "absorb" animation involves her lifting her hair to expose her back, then sucking any nearby glyphs into it.
  • Vindictus: While all characters have plenty of realistic armour, especially at lower levels; female characters Evie and Fiona have their share of unrealistic fantasy styles at higher levels. These include mini-skirts, see-through mesh dresses, hotpants, low-cut necklines, and so on. Interestingly, this is actually explained in-universe. Nearly all of the less-practical armour is made by NPC tailor Clodagh, who is obsesses with fashion and appearance, and not terribly concerned with practicality.
    • Similar, there is Fiona's Shining Will set, which consists of helmet, see-through miniskirt, backless Breast Plate with plunging neckline, and armoured boots and gloves. This is even less excusable, as Fiona is the game's Tank, emphasizing defensive skills.
  • While Samurai Warriors usually plays this straight (when the female warriors wear armor at all, that is), it's subverted with Ginchiyo Tachibana. While the plate parts of her armor would be a classic Breast Plate, She has the good sense to cover everything but her head in (admittedly very well-fitting) chainmail.
  • The Enchantress Emily from C-64 game Fire King falls into the "no armor at all" category. It's stated as the reason for her low defense, since "the armorer has given up fashioning a breastplate for her".
  • In Kingdoms of Amalur, the acquirable armor and robes are unisex - the leather armor is just as form-fitting on males as it is on females, for example. That said, one of the NPCs wears Nothing But Belts almost literally.
  • Rift: Asha Catari's armor is basically a plate-mail bra with Shoulders of Doom.
  • Celestine from Magna Carta 2 parades around in a tight fitting crystal-bikini-thing for the duration of the game, and is first introduced with a generous glimpse of her breasts.
  • Lost Odyssey's Ming wears a leather corset with Absolute Cleavage and a pair of trousers with the crotch cut out so that you can see her matchting leather panties. Apparently, this is normal for a Queen of Numara.
  • Jack in Mass Effect 2 wears a pair of baggy trousers and combat boots, but her chest is only covered by a leather strap over her nipples, and a copious amount of tattoos. In the third game, she decides to invest in a more practical outfit. Ashley in Mass Effect 3 hangs a lampshade on this trope when she mentions a male Shepard's romance with Miranda: "I wear armour into battle, not a swimsuit!" Miranda's outfit is actually Spy Catsuit however, and it's also a rather ironic comment given that one of Ashley's alt armours is a catsuit.
  • Princess Solange from Code of Princess for 3DS, having actual armor only on her hands, neck and nipples, the rest of her... clothing *consisting of thong, high heels and some frilly accessories is probably one of the most objectifying examples out there.
  • Saskia the Dragonslayer from The Witcher 2 wears no helmet and armor everywhere but her cleavage. Although only some of it is showing, the plot takes place in a dark fantasy setting where even the protagonist, a monster hunting mutant, can be killed by a single arrow. Saskia is the leader of a rebellion, so she should be wearing a full suit of armor. That said, her virginity and sexuality are part of why she is followed at all, so it is likely to inspire her followers.
  • Averted in Xenonauts, where female armour is indistinguishable from the male's sensible ones.
  • Notably Averted in Dark Souls Almost all armor looks identical on male and females, and it either looks reasonable, or ridiculously awesome.

Web Original[edit | hide]

  • CollegeHumor has an uncreatively-named straight up parody of this trope.
  • This... motivational... poster tells why not.
  • In the Whateley Universe, the superheroine Beach Bunny wears a titanium bikini as her costume. She has heat powers too and tends to burn up normal clothes and supersuits. Lampshaded when speedster Scrambler admits she tried a metal bikini once and got really bad chafing when she ran.
  • Savannah, a general from Castle Age (an application on Facebook) is a posterchild of this type of "armor".
  • This 3D piece, skilled as the artist is.
  • This 3D piece and this one, both by the same artist.
  • Rooster Teeth (of Red vs. Blue fame) produced this parody of the trend, having two women in Soul Calibur cosplay gear duke it out and see how well their costumes held up.
  • This tumbler, and its handy RSS feed, collects aversions of the trope and gives credit where it's due.
  • Gronkh discussed this in an early Let's Test:

Female characters in MMORPGs can be distinguished by the fact that the better their armour is, the more skin is shown off.

Web Comics[edit | hide]

  • Pella Brightwing in Twice Blessed wears a somewhat conservative leather version of this.
  • Done relatively tamely and self-consciously in Get Medieval when Rylede gets her armor made—it is a real suit of armor over maille, but it is contoured and has a low neckline. It hardly matters, as her opponents are all so unnerved by fighting a woman that they never even come close to hitting her. A lampshade is hung on this as well: When Canter asks how she planned on getting a suit of armor made in a society where women are forbidden to fight, she explains that the blacksmith agreed because it fulfilled a lifelong fantasy of his.
  • This Secret Lives Of Mobs comic parodies it.
  • Subverted in the webcomic Chainmail Bikini, wherein the titular set of armor is described as "+ 1 to AC, + 2 to charisma". Its wearer was killed off early into the comic's run, resulting in an Artifact Title.
  • What's New with Phil and Dixie had a bit of fun with the idea here. And mentioned a possible problem here.
  • All the female ninjas in No Need for Bushido wear very little clothing in order to distract their opponents. It works.
  • By Way of Booty Bay does this a lot, particularly here.
    • Note that while that particular picture is work safe(...ish, at least...) many of the rest of the comics are not.
  • In Flaky Pastry, Nitrine's powered armor is a shining example of trope subversion - cleavage is an absurd weak spot! It is also implied Nitrine found the cleavage useless when she wore the armor because it only attracts men, not women.
    • When Morganae acquire's Nitrine's powered suit, Nitrine actually attempts (unsuccessfully) to insert a stake into her heart through the hole
      • Zintiel the elf warrior, a statuesque Amazon, wears all sorts of armour at various times, including a chestplate-and-shoulderpads combination that looks like an American Footballer's pads
  • Played with during a dream sequence in Cheer: when Gamer Chick (and apparent munchkin) Lita loots a fallen Orc of his armor and equipment, what was a full breastplate on him becomes an armor bikini on her.
  • In Order of the Stick, a shopkeeper explains to Durkon that women's armor consists of any attractive outfit with at least one piece of the material the armor is supposed to be made of.
  • Gertrude & Brunhilda in The KAMics. The author did put them in full armor once, much to the displeasure of his readers.
  • This episode of Nerd Core: The Core Wars explains that the Geneva Conventions "made it a war crime to injure a female anthropoid in the area of the cleavage, stomach, or thighs. Thereby making it unnecessary for women to cover those areas in armor."
  • Parodied in these two Commissioned strips.
  • Penny Arcade's take on Prince of Persia's version here. This particular strip is Not Safe for Work.
  • Lampshaded in Schlock Mercenary, when Breya chose a low-profile carbonan suit (which is like uniforms of most human military organizations, except more stylish), but Tagon purchased for her female version of power armor that comes with huge "torpedo bays"—bigger than what they are supposed to contain. But at least "it does have a certain "distraction factor" going for it".
    • Averted by Ensign Para Ventura who despite having the general physique of a 12-year-old, wears baggy dungarees over her carbonan armour suit.
    • Subverted by Kaff Tagon's father, who made various jokes about Tagon's crotch-hugging armour - to the point that Tagon had a NEW set made which looks more business-like (even if he had to use the tailor robot his father sent to him).
  • DMFA: Clan Leader Taun's armour, which is moulded and leaves her midriff and one arm bare. In fairness, though, her abs certainly look harder than steel... plus Word of God says the armour is ceremonial. She's also an extremely powerful, millennia-old supernatural creature, so it's possible that her skin really is tougher than armour.
    • Even if her skin isn't Cubi wings in general are. Cubi are also natural shape-shifters. Simply shift your wings over your body and...
  • In Oglaf which is an oft-NSFW webcomic
    • Parodied in this (SFW) page
      • Note the chest armor of the scowling woman beside him averts this trope.
    • There is a goddess of war and sex, and use of this trope might help you acquire her favor which will help in battle. It is worth noting that this goddess this goddess doesn't seem to discriminate genders. NSFW [1]
  • In Strange Candy the Evil Overlord's groupies go on strike because he requires them to wear metal coconut bras.
  • Subverted and Lampshaded in Guilded Age. The fighter Frigg gets into a tussle with a bunch of razor-ruler wielding psycho nuns and while she wins, afterwards she is covered in bruises and lacerations. The first things she does is swear to get some plate as "the spring break look is for tards".
  • Lampshaded in Misfile.
  • The Cerberus from Spinnerette wears a chainmail bikini. The heroine even comments on how expensive it must have been.
    • Also lampshaded when Heather asks Sahira if her new costume can't have a cleavage and plunging back. Sahira points out that putting a hole over the heart in an otherwise bulletproof costume is probably not a good idea.
  • Tina Warrior Princess from Pewfell wears an actual Chainmail Bikini !
  • In Bruno the Bandit, "Warrior Hotties" typically wear what amounts to a leather leotard, cape and thigh-high boots. Which looks both comical and pathetic on Bruno's mother, an ex-Warrior Hottie who can still kick butt with the best of 'em.
  • Chasing the Sunset has a pixie who knows "what girl warriors wear". Of course, knowing that anything magicked up would exist only as long as the pixie remembers about it - and their attention span very rarely extends to five minutes - is a good enough reason to refuse any such clothes anyway.

Feiht: There should be chain mail! But not too much. And lace! And leather! And -
Ayne: Err... No. Just no.

Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Xcalibur's Djana had an exposed patch of skin right above her breasts, and her suit of armor fit along the curves of her body.
  • Taarna's get-up from Heavy Metal. What scant clothing she wears seemed to be modeled on various pieces of armor, despite being made of cloth.
  • In Kaena: The Prophecy, the title character wears basically some scraps of leather. This wouldn't be nearly as noticable if the all the male human characters didn't wear more covering than the women. Yes, even the children. Later on, when she gets armour, she's told that it's for her "protection". She steps into the light, and the armour covers roughly the same amount of her as the leather did. Even more infuriating is that the alien who made her the armour is male, and he has a suit that fully covers his body.

Real Life[edit | hide]

  • Women are strictly forbidden from wearing Chainmail Bikinis in almost all martial arts, not because of how sexy they are, but because such 'armor' is dangerous to the wearer. Breast plates with individual cups for the breasts are similarly banned.
  1. And thus used whenever possible by flying warriors, such as Aarakocra, Avariel or Nimbral's air cavalry
  2. in sourcebooks it's chain mail +2, AC bonus 7 (5+2), 40 lbs; the other was mail-and-breastplate, per Player's Option: Combat & Tactics AC bonus 6, 45 lbs - though the book was published before PO.
  3. Among such things as poodlemancers, weapuns and spells like Awaken Bellybutton