• Before making a single edit, Tropedia EXPECTS our site policy and manual of style to be followed. Failure to do so may result in deletion of contributions and blocks of users who refuse to learn to do so. Our policies can be reviewed here.
  • All images MUST now have proper attribution, those who neglect to assign at least the "fair use" licensing to an image may have it deleted. All new pages should use the preloadable templates feature on the edit page to add the appropriate basic page markup. Pages that don't do this will be subject to deletion, with or without explanation.
  • All new trope pages will be made with the "Trope Workshop" found on the "Troper Tools" menu and worked on until they have at least three examples. The Trope workshop specific templates can then be removed and it will be regarded as a regular trope page after being moved to the Main namespace. THIS SHOULD BE WORKING NOW, REPORT ANY ISSUES TO Janna2000, SelfCloak or RRabbit42. DON'T MAKE PAGES MANUALLY UNLESS A TEMPLATE IS BROKEN, AND REPORT IT THAT IS THE CASE. PAGES WILL BE DELETED OTHERWISE IF THEY ARE MISSING BASIC MARKUP.


WikEd fancyquotes.pngQuotesBug-silk.pngHeadscratchersIcons-mini-icon extension.gifPlaying WithUseful NotesMagnifier.pngAnalysisPhoto link.pngImage LinksHaiku-wide-icon.pngHaikuLaconic
Who says Badasses can't be elegant?

A dress that is lightly to heavily armored, and thus would fit in either a social gala or an epic melee. The form of the dress can range from a fancy dress accessorized with armor and/or weapons (even if it also has typical dress trimmings), to basically a suit of armor with a skirt.

The point of this dress seems to be a combination of Rule of Glamorous and Rule of Cool, as such an outfit will almost always be Impossibly Cool Clothes. Armored skirts were historically used (and mostly for men at that) as they allowed waist protection to be maximized without obstructing the legs but they never got as large as many of the examples in this article as the sheer weight would restrict mobility anyway.

Naturally the ladies wearing these kinds of dresses are almost always Action Girls: Ladies Of War and Badass Princesses or other tropes related to Silk Hiding Steel (literally inverted in this case). If the dress is on the fancy end, it overlaps with Kicking Ass in All Her Finery. If any other girl ends up wearing this, expect her to fall over almost immediately, if she can even move.

A Sub-Trope of Pimped-Out Dress and Costume Porn.

Compare Stylish Protection Gear, Scary Impractical Armor, Powered Armor, Hot Chick in a Badass Suit.

Contrast Chainmail Bikini, Stripperiffic.

Remember that this is an armored dress, not simply a fancy dress worn in battle. These go into Kicking Ass in All Her Finery instead.

Examples of Battle Ballgown include:

Anime and Manga


  • Paintings of Joan of Arc often show her in armor with a skirt.

Live-Action Films


  • In The Wheel of Time, Nynaeve, in a moment of insecurity in Tel'aran'rhiod, wears an impossible dress made of armor plating.
  • Honor Harrington's tunics and tabards are made of a material with (limited) anti-ballistic properties. Mostly because Nimitz likes to ride on her shoulder and his claws would shred any lesser material. It has saved her life on one occasion, and her bodyguard's comfort in knowing she wears them is repeatedly mentioned.
  • In the "Mistborn" series by Brandon Sanderson, the main character, Vin, is fitted for ball gowns that designed to allow for a range of motion, silent movement, and with hidden pockets. She still prefers not to have to fight in them, since they tend to wind up destroyed if she does, but being Crazy Prepared she's just more comfortable if she has the option open.

Live-Action TV

Tabletop Games

  • In the art for the Ever Quest pen & paper RPG book, the studded leather armor is drawn like an armored dress.

Video Games

  • The hoplite class in Etrian Odyssey III.
    • The Princess class has a lighter armor dress, with tiaras, frills, and fur trim, on the one hand, but metal boots, gauntlets, and one dress with a breastplate, on the other hand.
  • Saber of Fate/stay night has a regular Pimped-Out Dress that she wears armor over when she heads into battle.
  • Chris Lightfellow of Suikoden III
  • Vanillaware often uses this design for female fighters, especially those with heavy armor.
  • Soul Calibur IV, Ashlotte's outfit.
    • Soul Calibur III offered this as an option for female created fighters, whether mix-and-match or complete armoured outfit.
  • Wild Arms XF has Alexia, who wears a Pimped-Out Dress accessorized with plate mail into battle.
  • All 6 contestants in the Princess Waltz, whose dresses (being comprised of magic and being of varying designs) are their armor. Particular note goes to Angela, who flawlessly accents her dress with a breastplate.
  • Samurai Shodown's Charlotte goes tank on top, skirt on bottom.
  • Touhou Project has Yukari Yakumo. While her dress LOOKS normal, Hong Meiling's victory quote against her implies that Yukari has some sort of armor underneath her gown, saying "I felt some odd resistance. What are you wearing underneath your clothes?"
    • Being both a supernatural being and a Reality Warper, it could very well be that Yukari's skin and/or bones are incredibly tough, so much so that it feels as hard as armor.
  • Most of the armor for the female avatars in the Monster Hunter games fit this description.
  • Tactics Ogre, at least in the 2011 re-imagining of Let Us Cling Together features this geddup for its female knights.
  • Mabinogi has Leminia's Holy Moon Armor for female characters. It's pretty much the male version with a skirt and is the most expensive armor buyable from NPCs.
  • In Chrono Trigger, the Prism Dress is the strongest armour, and can only be worn by women.
  • Lenneth, Hrist, and Silmeria from the Valkyrie Profile series all have outfits that fit this trope.
  • Special mention goes to Dark Souls. While there are "gown"-looking armor in the game, there are usually no reason to equip it except for the (now-patched and nerfed) Antiquated Skirt, which has disproportionately high defense compared to the rest of the set. Coupled with real armor for the upper body and a female character, and you have this trope.
  • Fire Emblem:

Western Animation