Wardrobe Malfunction

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Uh oh, Tara! That dress strap looks like it's about to fall right off![1]

Clothing Damage is when clothes get torn off during combat. This type of Fan Service is more generally when clothing rips or falls off in non-combat related situations.

Related to Theiss Titillation Theory; when an outfit designed to "merely suggest the imminence of revelation" accidentally exposes far more than the wearer wanted to reveal, you get this.

When caused by a machine or magic designed to achieve that effect, see The Nudifier.

A Super-Trope to Slippery Swimsuit. Compare Defeat by Modesty. Contrast Sexy Coat Flashing.

Examples of Wardrobe Malfunction include:

Anime and Manga

  • A Certain Magical Index:
    • Touma accidentally disrobes Index at the beginning by touching her magically-generated clothes with his Imagine Breaker.
    • Happens again later in the second season to free a nun from magic-restricting clothing. Which then leads to a flashback (from another character) of Touma's hand being used to free other nuns while Touma was unconscious. He still gets in trouble.
  • During a Beach Episode in Kashimashi: Girl Meets Girl, Hazumu's swimsuit top almost falls off.
  • Yoko's bra falls off while she is jumping vigorously in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann.
  • When Nel in Bleach goes back to being her adult self, the outfit she was wearing as a child doesn't fit as well anymore.
  • Mysterious Girlfriend X: Identical Stranger Mokona, posing as Urabe and wearing her clothes, accidentally gives Tsubaki a free show when she bends down because her breasts are two to three sizes too small for Urabe's bra. When she realises this after he asked her to do it again... boot to the head.
  • Ghost Talker's Daydream: Kadotake trips and grabs Misaki's dress while falling down, causing it to rip off and reveal her sexy lingerie underwear.
  • Kemeko Deluxe has probably the most unbelievable malfunction that happened in Anime history. It's also the most awesome.
  • Miria experiences a Wardrobe Malfunction in Baccano! when Jacuzzi falls and tries to grab something to hold onto—which turns out to be the front of Miria's strapless dress. And Miria doesn't even care.
  • Sheryl Nome in Macross Frontier ends up subverting the Impossibly Low Neckline of her one-piece tube dress. It does fall off, all the way to her waist with conveniently placed hair.
  • Keroro Gunsou: Whenever Natsumi gets hit with the age ray in the manga, she always gets a wardrobe malfunction. Whether reverting back her regular age, and suddenly finding herself topless in front of a crowd of nerdy guys, or losing her ski suit to an explosion, it's pretty much a given.
  • Ukraine from Axis Powers Hetalia has a button pop off her shirt. Several times.
  • The DVD versions of Queens Blade allows any nipple flashes that would naturally happen from those outfits to take place. Most noticeable with Menace's version of the second season ending, where she exposes her breasts with every step she takes.
  • At the prefectural swimming tournament in episode 8 of Kenko Zenrakei Suieibu Umisho, Momoko gets coerced into making a bet with Nanjou, the other team's captain, that the loser of the 100-meter freestyle has to have a "nip slip" in front of the crowd. Momoko wins, and while she's rubbing it in, the crotch of her swimsuit snaps. Nanjou then pulls her own swimsuit down to show off, Amuro offers to strip as well, and Captain Ikariya apparently already has, again. In the next chapter/episode, Momoko confiscates the pictures that Takeda took that day... and gives them to the school newspaper.
  • Roughly 75% of the jokes from Maicchingu Machiko Sensei invoke this trope.
  • In Mazinkaiser's Beach Episode, Sayaka starts marching angrily towards the Iron Masks (apparently to give them a piece of her mind) and Kouji tries to stop her by grabbing her shoulder, only to slip and accidentally undo her bikini top. When the Iron Masks get completely distracted on Sayaka's bare breasts, Kouji decides to weaponize it so they can escape.
  • In the first chapter of the manga Idol Pretender, an idol contest is interrupted by some Knife Nut, angry that his Gonk daughter hasn't made it past the pre-audition screening. When the creep takes Love Interest Yuika hostage, Gender Bender Chinami snaps and sends him flying with a mighty kick. Unfortunately, they were at the swimsuit competition phase, and Chinami's string-bikini bottom unties and flutters away as a result. He/She still wins a special prize nonetheless.

Comic Books

  • A story in Veronica volume 201 had the girls discover a collection of old-style bathing suits and try them out in the water. The boys didn't really appreciate the cover-everything styles... until it became clear that the old fabric couldn't stand up to water anymore and disintegrated, leaving Betty, Veronica and the rest naked in the ocean. Heck, this even happened to Mrs. Lodge who tried out one of the suits at a pool party.
  • A very similar incident happened with Lynn in the ALF comic, when Alf, in order to stop Willie and Kate from going down the girl's throat about her new bikini being too revealing, sews a new, stylish and more modest swimsuit for her out of the seat-covers from his spaceship. Crisis averted—until Lynn and her classmates go to the seaside and it turns out that the Melmacian fabric can take fresh water without any problems, but dissolves completely in salt water.

Films -- Live-Action

  • In The 40-Year-Old Virgin, a woman at the speed-dating session has a wardrobe malfunction.
  • Barbara Windsor was made famous by one of these in Carry On Camping, as a girl scout doing aerobics. Her bra not only fell off but flew across the field into the face of the (male) aerobics instructor.
  • In the 1983 film Class a college boy has a disastrous date with a girl who he meets in an official meeting the next day. In front of various officials she shoves him over backwards, he grabs on to the nearest handhold which is her shirt.
  • The musical Biopic With a Song in My Heart had an overhead shot in which Susan Hayward's dress accidentally slipped off her left breast.
  • Wild Wild West. The rear flap of Rita Escobar's (Salma Hayek's) pajamas falls open. Will Smith and Kevin Kline are apparently quite... cheered at the sight of her bare ass.
  • During the final musical number for The Rocky Horror Picture Show, near the end Columbia's breasts slip out of her top. Little Nel did this on purpose and you can play a drinking game out of how many times she gets her nips on screen.
  • An in-universe variant: In Repo the Genetic Opera, Amber Sweet's face falls off while she's performing on stage.
  • Part of Torrance's Catapult Nightmare at the beginning of Bring It On is that she somehow loses the top of her cheerleading outfit during the pep rally in which she is introduced as squad captain.
  • Happens repeatedly to Baya, the lead female character of The Names of Love, but she's so absent-minded that she barely even notices when her breasts spill out of her clothes in public. On one occasion, she suffers an extreme case of Wardrobe Malfunction, by forgetting altogether to put any clothes on when going out of her flat.
  • In the B-Movie Lost Continent (made famous by Mystery Science Theater 3000) Sid Melton's pants slip down his butt in one scene (causing the other actors to crack up). The fact that this shot was left in the final movie suggests another trope...
  • In the movie Devil Fish, we're treated to an upwards shot as a male character descends a ladder, giving us a look right up the leg of his shorts. The MST crew censored it with their logo, but the "Greatest Hits" montage that the staff used to screw with Mike, Bill and Kevin while filming Diabolik had it uncut.
  • Star Wars: Return of the Jedi
    • Happens to Oola, the green Twi'lek dancer.
    • And to Carrie Fisher's golden bikini during the filming.
  • Happens to both Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn in a early scene in Bringing Up Baby.

Live-Action TV

Sigourney: Do you think men are gonna masturbate to this? Do you think women will?

  • One of the most notable moments is during a 1977 episode of The Price Is Right. When the contestant, Yolanda Bowersley, comes on down, her tube top slipped exposing her breasts.

Barker: She came on down and they came on out.

  • Olivia Munn has a Blink-and-you'll-miss-it nip slip on Attack of the Show!.
  • A regular event at the Eurovision Song Contest. Often leads to speculation as to whether they are done deliberately to try and win more points.
    • A splendid example, and arguably a Trope Maker, is Lill Lindfors, the host in 1985. She lost her skirt when it snagged on some scenery. This was quickly revealed as intentional when she unfastened part of her top to make a dress.
  • During the filming of one Wheel of Fortune episode, the zipper in Vanna's dress split and the whole thing peeled off her like a banana. She grabbed it just in time and ran off stage. She returned in a new dress to a standing ovation.
  • A staple of The Benny Hill Show. However contrived, you can bet that every sort of freak accidents possible will happen to the clothes of any sexy woman in most sketches (usually with a very exaggerated ripping sound). Though the males of the cast aren't entirely spared either, but there it's purely for humor and never fanservice.
  • In episode 2 of the ABC series GCB, head cheerleader Alexandra gets a boob job and ignores her mother's advice that "you can't wear last year's uniform with this year's breasts". She then plays a prank on some less popular girls just before a pep rally, and justice inevitably strikes when her top pops open (warning: contains excessive Pixellation) in front of the whole school. Clip available here.
  • One Monty Python's Flying Circus sketch has the female lead of a movie being filmed run from a monster and get various articles of clothing caught and ripped off by the cacti she passed while fleeing. This is made absurd by the fact that the cacti are so far apart that she has to obviously go out of her way to get her clothing caught on them.

Pro Wrestling

  • At the 10-diva tag match at Survivor Series 2007 Michelle McCool has an unfortunate Nip Slip and actually wrestles for a whole minute with her nipple exposed. The DVD doesn't actually edit it out.
  • While a Diva losing her clothes is often planned, at Judgment Day 2004 it certainly wasn't as Dawn Marie's tights literally ripped right open.
  • During an in-ring promo between Eve Torres and Beth Phoenix, Eve shoved Beth down and she ended up flashing her panties to the back row of the audience while trying her hardest not to flash her top area to the front row.
  • The very first ladder match at WrestleMania X had Shawn Michaels getting the top of his tights pulled down, flashing the crowd a full moon. He then delivered an elbow drop off the ladder with his cheeks exposed.
  • In his second-to-last WWE pay-per-view match, Ric Flair (who, like all old-school male wrestlers, wears a pair of bikini briefs in the ring and nothing else), got pantsed by Mr. Kennedy just before he (Flair) managed to get a pinfall -- making him a "Nature Boy" in more than one sense of the word!
  • Awesome Kong suffered this in TNA during a over-the-top Battle Royale included on the Bonus Disc for the Video Game.

Puppet Shows

  • The incident with Sophie Marceau's dress at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival was repeatedly mocked on Les Guignols de l'info, each time implying it to be less and less accidental.


  • Competition swimsuits, particularly the Jaked brand, have been infamous for ripping in the posterior area.
  • At the 2009 European Figure Skating Championships, during the compulsory dances, where each ice dance couple does the exact same routine, Russian ice dancer Ekaterina Rubleva's dress strap snapped, causing her breast to be exposed on international TV. She and partner Ivan Shefer were then obliged to finish the dance that way to avoid losing points, which they did.
    • Something very similar happened to the East German figure skater Katarina Witt in 1988, when her costume slipped during a long spin. Apparently she hadn't had a chance to test the new costume before the performance.
  • Italian Olympic swimmer Flavia Zoccari was disqualified from an event at the 2009 Mediterranean Games when her full-body swimsuit split open just before the race and exposed her rear.
    • Something similar apparently happened to Ricky Berens at the 2009 World Swimming Championships, although he was not disqualified.
  • Bobsledder Gillian Cooke had the back of her suit split open at the 2010 championship race... with a live camera directly behind her... while wearing a g-string. She completed the race anyway, and the video was briefly very popular on YouTube.
  • Women were not allowed to watch the ancient Greek Olympics, and tradition holds that this ban was defied only once, when Pherenice of Rhodes disguised herself as a man in order to watch her son compete. When her son won, she rushed to congratulate him and her disguise slipped off. The authorities decided not to punish her out of respect for her family's Olympic achievements.


  • In the last scene of The Women, a recent victim of this makes a bit-part appearance, desperately seeking a safety pin to mend the broken shoulder strap of her dress.

Web Comics

Web Original

  • There's more than one kind of wardrobe malfunction.
  • There are entire softcore porn websites dedicated to the phenomena, including an entire subgenre for "Nip Slips", which is when an actress's dress slips just enough out of the way that some of her nipple can be seen, but it doesn't shift so significantly that she feels it happen.
    • And Vapor Wear upskirts.
    • Another common occurrence is when thin dresses unexpectedly become revealing when under the blaze of lights and flash photography.

Western Animation

  • Family Guy has David Hyde Pierce's scrotum falling out during the Emmys, in a thinly disguised parody of the Trope Namer.
  • In the South Park episode "Good Times with Weapons", Cartman walks onto a stage stark naked, believing in his (imaginary) power to turn invisible. When put on the spot about this "scandalous" display, he replies, "I told you, it was a wardrobe malfunction!"
  • The Simpsons
    • Happens to Homer Simpson's salamander costume at the end of the episode where he tries to run for Mayor of Springfield.
    • Homer also fell victim to this trope in 1992 during a Halloween party:

Homer: Hail Caesar, in all his glory!
(the hem of his toga snags on a loose nail as he's coming down the basement stairs)
Cloth of toga: RRRIIIIIPPP!

Real Life

  • The Trope Namer and Trope Codifier is the famous incident when Justin Timberlake "inadvertently"[2] exposed Janet Jackson's breast at the 2004 Super Bowl Halftime Show. A touch of Values Dissonance—Janet Jackson was accused of corrupting youth with a half second of her bare breast, but very few (if any) people complained that Justin Timberlake was, effectively, pantomiming a form of sexual assault. Part of the reason for Janet getting more blame than Justin was the rumor that although it was planned, all that was supposed to be bared was Janet's bra (which she neglected to wear).
  • A strap of Sophie Marceau's dress slipped off at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival, baring her breast.
  • Tara Reid at P. Diddy's birthday party.
  • Judy Finnegan's dress fell open at the National TV Awards during her acceptance speech. On-screen presenting partner/off-screen husband Richard Madeley, standing next to her on stage, did not notice and appeared to believe that the crowd were clamouring for his Ali G impression. Fellow TV presenter John Leslie ran out from the audience and covered her up. Judy took the incident in reasonably good graces, and joked later that "thank goodness [she] was wearing an expensive bra."
  • In 2001, the snap on Carla Sanchez's top broke while she and her New York University dance team were performing in a national competition. She continued to dance, topless, believing her team would be penalized if she broke ranks to cover up. (The judges later said they would not have deducted points.) The NYU team won its division. The incident was referenced in a 2002 USA Today article on cheerleading as a sport and industry.
  • At the 1999 Academy Awards, Gweneth Paltrow's dress had a slip. But her father stood between her and the cameras while she fixed it.
  • At the second BIG4 concert in Seyoul, the lead singer of the group SeeYa had her breast exposed when the strap on her costume broke. She continued to dance uninterrupted, eventually using her hair to hide the exposure.
  • Dancing With the Stars
    • This happened to Nancy Grace on season 13.
    • On her video blog, Julianne Hough once described an incident in which her strapless dress fall down backstage. Even worse, she said, she wasn't wearing pasties at the time like she was supposed to.
  • While performing in Central Park in August 2011, Nicki Minaj's dancing was a little too energetic for her costume to handle. As it happened, the show was being aired live on Good Morning America, and despite a five-second broadcast delay, the censors failed to notice until it was too late. ABC issued an apology for the oversight.
  • During the Rio de Janeiro Carnival Angela Bismarchi's "tapa-sexo" (tiny piece of material covering the genital area) fell off, leaving her fully nude.
  • The "daring" Dominique Auxilly dress that Adrienne Bailon wore to a March 2012 concert is a perfect example of how the Theiss Titillation Theory can backfire spectacularly to cause one of these. She was posing for photographers on the red carpet when a gust of wind suddenly revealed that she wasn't wearing anything underneath.
  • Ryu Hwayoung of the South Korean girl group Tara suffered a malfunction during a live performance of the single "Lovey Dovey" on a music show when the non-seethrough portion of her costume slipped down just as the camera zoomed in for her solo.
  • Cosplayers sometimes have these. Most commonly these happen when their costumes fall apart, although there have been some more classic examples.
  • During Garbage's at the 1996 VH1 Fashion Awards, Shirley Manson had one.

I laughed my head off. But my breasts didn't fall out-I think that's people's wishful thinking. I think people may have very, very briefly seen a nipple. But you know, when did a nipple do any harm? I do have nipples. There, you can tell the world.

  1. spoiler alert: it did.
  2. they later confessed to planning the whole thing