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This is the girl who showed up in a boys' school uniform, you know. . .

Our heroine is a Tomboy — rough and tumble, One of the Boys, as interested in fashion as she is interested in watching paint dry (or less so). However, in the reboot or in the doll, she becomes a girly girl. Often complete with princess dress or at least a Pimped-Out Dress, tween fashion and long hair, often with hair decorations.

Notice that the girl is often aged up — from little girl to tween, or from tween to an older teenager. Ironically, tweens are often less feminine than little girls — tweens are at the stage of life where the dresses and cuteness are ditched for a more mature style.

Compare / contrast Fan Service Pack, Adrenaline Makeover and Tomboyishness Upgrade. See also Chickification. Also unlike Chickification, this trope doesn't mean she becomes weaker (even if she does have issues with it early on). The trick is that the girl becomes more dainty-looking, but keeps at least a good part of her core personality underneath the skirts and make-up. If becoming girlier is portrayed as inherently better or worse than being more tomboyish, then you've got some Unfortunate Implications on your hands.

Examples of Girliness Upgrade include:

Anime and Manga

  • Sora from Digimon Adventure went from dressing as a tomboy and into things like soccer, to Digimon Adventure 02, where she started dressing girlier, switching hobbies to the somewhat more traditionally "feminine" sport of tennis, and in the end grew up to be a fashion designer. Unsurprisingly, she's falsely accused of Chickification even when she never was an actual Action Girl to begin with.
  • An interesting variation occurs in Ice Revolution when karate champion Masaki Oosawa arranges her own one by switching from martial arts to figure skating, which she views as a prettier, more feminine form of athleticism. She manages to secure her macho father's support only by proving that a "girly" activity like figure skating is a physical sport every bit as demanding as karate (which it is, if not even more). Even more: Masaki has been Raised by Dudes pretty much her entire life (her mom died when she was young, and she lives with her dad and three brothers) so she desperately desires to be more feminine.
  • Happens to Itsuki in Heartcatch Pretty Cure as part of her Character Development. She starts out hiding her love of stuffed animals and desire to doll up in cute clothing behind a masculine exterior, out of a desire to be a respected martial artist like her twin brother Satsuki and the belief that she shouldn't show "weaknesses". After joining the Fashion Club (and later, becoming a Cure herself), she learns that it's alright for her to enjoy both martial arts and cute things, and eventually grows her hair out a bit and starts wearing the female uniform during the finale.
  • When she was younger, Hungary was a Cute Bruiser who thought she was a boy, due to having been Raised by Dudes. As she grew up, she graduated to a Team Mom who wears frilly dresses and flower Hair Decorations. But no matter what the fandom says about Chickification, she actually Took a Level In Badass while becoming more feminine and maternal: she's stronger as a Team Mom than she ever was in her tomboy days.
  • At the very end of the 2019 version of Dororo, this happens... to none other than Dororo herself. As a child she looked and acted like a boy, but as a teenager she looks more girly and quite similar to both her late mother Ojiya and Hyakkimaru's once-girlfriend Mio.
  • Towards the end of the Fruits Basket manga and second anime, Akito Sohma gets one that marks quite the phase on her Character Development: she gets to wear female kimonos and sundresses, plus let her hair grow a little, rather than having short hair and wearing male kimonos. These are signs that she's finally able to live her life as a woman, after having been forcibly Raised as the Opposite Gender by her Evil Matriarch of a mother.. In the Fruits Basket Another sequel, it's implied that she chose a sort-of medium and cut her hair short again, but kept the girlier wardrobe (albeit a more adult-looking one).
  • Pictured above: Sanae Nakazawa from Captain Tsubasa was initially a super tomboyish girl who wore boys clothes and sports headbands, but few after the Nankatsu Team won its first soccer championship in elementary school, she decided to switch to girlier clothes and kept this from then on. Some manga stories, the 2018 series and the 2020 video game hang huge lampshades on this, and it's also subverted in that she didn't change her personality overnight - the manga has her screaming at Ishizaki when he sees her wearing a short dress and says she's doing it to make Tsubasa look at her.
  • The Virtua Fighter cartoon essentially swapped Pai and Sarah's personality thus giving Sarah this, with her being much more gentle and wear softer colors. She also adopted a pet squirrel because of this and is the one who convinced her older brother Jacky to help Akira and Pai.


  • In the seventies, there was a Wonder Woman action figure, that due to Executive Meddling, became a Wonder Woman doll, with a sparkly pink costume, brushable hair, and a pony.
  • In the original WITCH comic, Will and Irma are both tomboys, Hay Lin is a quirky, intelligent Cloudcuckoolander and Cornelia is a quiet, snarky Defrosting Ice Queen. In the cartoon, Will and Irma are as girly as the other girls. Taranee is the only one who escapes this.
    • Elyon is alot girlier in the cartoon show as well, particularly when she becomes a princess.


Live Action TV

  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: Actually reversed with Counselor Troi in the sixth season, when hardass substitute captain Jellico orders her out of her informal and rather revealing jumpsuits and into a standard Starfleet uniform.
  • ICarly devoted an episode to this, with Carly trying to help Sam become more girly. She was back to normal by the end of the episode, because Status Quo Is God.
    • Also inverted it in an episode where Carly tries to stay with Spencer. Carly turns herself into a punk chick with full black clothing, metal spikes and chains, and a streak of blue hair.
  • Hannah Montana generally did this to Lily as the show wore on. When she first showed up, she was a skateboard riding tomboy, by the end she's as girly as Hannah.
  • Claudia Brown on Primeval mostly dressed in business suits and casual clothes. Her replacement (long story) Jenny Lewis arrived always wearing full makeup, the latest fashions and high heels. Subverted in season 3 when Jenny starts wearing more practical clothing. Subverted again when we see her in season 4 and she's back to wearing dresses all the time.
  • Skins seems to be headed down this road with Franky Fitzgerald, despite the fact that much of her previous acclaim was due to her uniqueness as an androgynous female character who still attracted male attention. It's not helped by the fact that the show's explanation is full of Unfortunate Implications about her "growing confidence" automatically leading to girlier clothes, and it's come with personality changes, too (becoming much more self-centered and flirtatious than she was in her previous series).
  • Played with in an episode of Laverne and Shirley where Laverne tries to attract a guy by dressing and behaving in a more feminine manner. It doesn't change who she is inside, and she ultimately decides she would rather be herself.

Professional Wrestling

  • Chyna already had gone through plenty of Fail Polish by the end of the year 2000. Then all of a sudden when she entered the women's division her ring gear became more feminine and she lost weight as well as wearing dresses and high heels backstage.
  • Natalya Neidheart suddenly got very pretty at the end of 2010 where she was seen dolled up to the nines any time she wasn't wrestling. Her partner Beth Phoenix got in on this around mid-2011.


  • Kit of the American Girl doll line is mentioned to despise pink and, in the books is the Tomboy to her best friend Ruthie's Girly Girl. For the most part, her line has kept this, but when The Film of the Book came out, her blue school outfit and pajamas were both slowly phased out for girlier, pinker outfits that would be much more in-character for Ruthie to own... despite Ruthie herself getting her own doll and line of clothes.
  • Troll Dolls- cute gender neutral toys have now become fashion loving tweens called Trollz.

Video Games

  • Kairi from Kingdom Hearts is rather tomboyish in the original game, but becomes more feminine (with longer hair, a pink outfit, and whatnot) when a year passes in Kingdom Hearts II.
  • Ibuki debuted in Street Fighter III as more of an average girl to Elena's more tomboyish acts. Once she appeared in IV her girliness was amped Up to Eleven and is in line of being one of the most feminine girls in the series alongside others such as Karin and Rose.
    • Elena also was supposed to be the original tomboy (with her Second Impact theme even called "Tomboy") to Ibuki's girly girl but ended up being more Ms. Fanservice with a side of Tomboy with a Girly Streak. She became notably more feminine after the series's true definition of a tomboy, Makoto debuted - Elena even got some dresses as alternate outfits in IV.

Western Animation

  • Rainbow Brite: Rainbow Brite's 2009 doll redesign includes thinner waists, longer hair,and more sparkle.
  • Dora the Explorer: Princess Dora doll, and new Dora dolls that feature an older Dora with longer hair, a headband, a dress, and tights. Although it's not unreasonable, given that she's now "Tween Dora" and has aged a few years.
  • Strawberry Shortcake: Updated from a round cupcake to a cute tomboy to a long haired strawberry blond tween.
  • This happens a lot with the toys based on My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic. Tomboys Applejack and Rainbow Dash sport Tareme Eyes and come with pink frilly hair accessories. Applejack's hat is notably absent from almost all toys. Pinkie Pie's tangled mess of a mane is perfectly groomed, and Princess Celestia is now Pink even though the box art depicts her as white.
  • There was an attempt to do this with The Powerpuff Girls a while back. They did the standard Girliness Upgrade: Make the girls taller and skinner, had them wear makeup, gave them "girlier" hair. These versions were placed on things like makeup bags, and they had more emphasis on "girly" activities like shopping and makeup. It didn't seem to stick although it's hard to find anything on the internet regarding that. For reference, here's the redesign. Reportedly, Craig McCracken was not pleased with this at all, so there's little wonder it didn't stick.
  • Gwen from Ben 10 was this after the time skip. Her original series incarnation was a sharp-tongued 10 years old smart girl with slightly tomboyish characteristics (mainly martial art skills, short hair, and temper). Her Alien Force incarnation, while retaining the intellectual personnality and remaining a competent Action Girl, has an obvious more feminine appearance, is less of a Deadpan Snarker and more calm and responsible, and has a All Girls Want Bad Boys relationship with Kevin.
  • In the very last sequences of Voltron: Legendary Defender, while Katie aka Pidge is more or less the same personality wise, she has her hair in a still short but much more feminine style (resembling Ami Mizuno's cut) and wears tighter, longer pants rather than her usual baggy shorts.

Real Life

  • Joan of Arc's image in media is often given this, portraying her as a Lady of War. In reality, Joan was a downright Sweet Polly Oliver who wore men's clothes for several practical reasons: to not be seen as inferior by the troops, to not have privilege over them, to avoid possible rape attempts, etc.