Impossibly Low Neckline

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You using duct tape to hold that up?

Ah! How am I supposed to keep this thing on?!

An off the shoulder neckline that is so low on the chest, it looks as though it's one deep breath from a having a Wardrobe Malfunction (but almost never does).

The actual outfit doesn't matter. It could be a bathing suit, a Spy Catsuit, a Mini-Dress of Power, a Leotard of Power, a Sexy Santa Dress, or even a Pimped-Out Dress, Fairytale Wedding Dress, or "Happy Holidays" Dress. It can also overlap with Victoria's Secret Compartment, even though it can stretch the logic of this trope even further.

This can be worn in Real Life and live action, but it always involves either a lot of adhesive, or sewing strips of plastic or metal into the seams to keep the shape.

A Sister Trope to Absolute Cleavage, Sideboob, Underboobs.

Compare Magic Skirt, Of Corsets Sexy, Theiss Titillation Theory, Impractically Fancy Outfit, Impossibly Cool Clothes, Form-Fitting Wardrobe, Cleavage Window.

Examples of Impossibly Low Neckline include:

Anime and Manga

Comic Books

  • In X-Men, the Hellfire Club outfits include bustiers that are like this, worn by Emma Frost, Selene, and Phoenix (and Jean Grey, depending on continuity). Some got even more ridiculous recently, although that's supposedly just Emma playing mind tricks... even though it doesn't explain any other impossible comic heroine costume.
  • Wonder Woman sometimes has this.
  • Gemini Storm's artist posted the inks for one of the pages. How are her breasts staying there?


  • Jessica Rabbit from Who Framed Roger Rabbit?.
  • Belle's yellow ball gown in Disney's Beauty and the Beast looks this way in some shots, but higher up in others.
  • Esmeralda also has a very low neckline as well, not just with her main Gypsy dress, but also with her poledancing dress and her white dress as well.
  • Meg's Masquerade dress and Christine's black dress in Joel Schumacher's Phantom of the Opera. Christine's neckline in the graveyard scene is highly anachronistic, since it's a friggin' "mourning dress", which were at the time of the film's setting supposed to be modest.
  • A lot of the women in Hammer Horror films would wear outfits that would hover just at that right spot to expose enough flesh to interest any vampires/werewolves/monsters passing by.


  • In the book Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Paris by Paul Gallico, this off the shoulder dress style is described as simulating the look of a naked woman under a sheet.
  • Used in The Wheel of Time when Nynaeve, Elayne, and their companions are traveling undercover as circus performers. Nynaeve and Birgitte wear dresses with Impossibly Low Necklines for their act, in which Birgitte outlines Nynaeve against a wall with arrows from a hundred paces. Played for Laughs because of Nynaeve's frustration with being forced to wear something so immodest, while Birgitte is having a grand old time of it.
  • In Jinx High by Mercedes Lackey, the villainess commissions a costume straight out of the American Revolutionary period for the school dance. The bodice is cut so low that one of her boyfriends has almost complete access to her boobs while she's wearing it (handy when you need to distract said boyfriend while the mind control spell takes effect).
  • Parodied in Gordon R. Dickson's Hoka series: "pirate wench" Anne Bonney has to have a low neckline, but Hoka females are quadrimammarian. Her dress has two bodices.

Live Action TV

  • During the production of Star Trek: The Original Series, costume designer William Ware Theiss was given explicit instructions by the network on how far he could go; one such instruction permitted costumes whose décolletage could expose anything all the way down to the top edge of the areola. Theiss, knowing a good thing when he saw it, followed those guidelines (ahem) explicitly.
  • Cynthia Watros in a couple of later episodes of Titus.
  • Some of the costumes on The Tudors.
  • Gossip Girls Serena van der Woodsen likes to dress like this.
  • In an episode of Living Single, Regine tries to describe a new dress to her friends, but they know her too well:

Max: Lemme guess, it's strapless...
Sinclaire: ...backless...
Kadijah: ...and hits the cleavage about here. (puts her hand about two-thirds down her chest)



Video Games


Western Animation

  • In The Simpsons, Marge Simpson's default green dress. Once even lampshaded by a prison warden.



Lois: "The only thing holding that dress up is faith!"