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Falling is a very unladylike activity on the whole. There's lots of tumbling and screaming, your hair and clothes get ruined and there's the danger people below may see your underwear. This trope offers an alternative for the more ladylike and feminine of tumblers especially Princess characters with a Pimped-Out Dress. Basically, a character's dress or skirt flares out in mid-air forming a parachute shape and somehow slowing their descent.
The thicker and more layered the material the better. Don't worry about terminal velocities and drag coefficients (see Puny Parachute), the laws of physics tend to give way to the opportunity to see a slightly comical petticoat exposure.
Often a form of Improvised Parachute, but just as often it's accidental.
Compare Parasol Parachute (often found on similar sorts of characters).
- Zia in the The Mysterious Cities of Gold episode, "Back To Barcelona Part 2". Her dress spreads out briefly when she drops down from a tree.
- Jet Dream: In one story, Marlene's dress billows out into a "Tunic Chute" to save her from falling off a cliff to her death. Technically not "improvised," but a piece of spy gear designed for the purpose. It's a pretty goofy design, though, and one of the less "ladylike" examples, as just about any angle other than that chosen by the artist would give Marlene "full exposure." See Marlene's Tunic Chute in all its glory.
- A Liloand Stitch comic from Disney Adventures' Comic Zone has the characters playing with "jump jelly," goop that acts as a super-trampoline if charged with electricity. When Pleakley tries it, he wears one of Nani's dresses as a safety precaution. Stitch turns the electricity up and Pleakley bounces extra-high, using the dress as a parachute to float back down with.
- The falling scene as Alice falls down the rabbit hole in Disney's version of Alice in Wonderland (seen here).
- It also happened in the 1988 Burbank Films Australia version.
- Happens in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, when the Baroness is launched into the air from Chitty's Ejection Seat.
- During the boxing match at the end of The Adventures of Bullwhip Griffin, one of the fighters is slammed into the crowd with such force that one of the saloon girls is catapulted skyward, only to drift back down. (Then again, since she was dancing the cancan earlier, we'd already seen her petti's...)
- Happens in the novel Super Folks by Robert Mayer, with the added revelation that the lady in question wasn't wearing underwear.
- One of the reasons Mistborn avoid dresses is the tendency to do this when they're Roof Hopping.
- In the first episode of Jack of All Trades, Jack rescues President Jefferson's niece from a French fort in Canada. To escape the fort, Jack and the girl jump off a high cliff. They are saved because Jack grabs on to her feet and her dress billows out to form a parachute with her bloomers showing. (Jack also gets an excellent view of her petticoats.)
- Princess Zelda in Super Smash Bros. can use this to slow and control descents after being hit up.
- Princess Peach in Super Mario Bros 2 uses this to hover in the air and make long jumps.
- Rachel Alucard in Blaz Blue. Ironically, although she wields an umbrella (a cat which turns into one, no less), she doesn't use a Parasol Parachute, except in her intro poses.
- Alice of American McGee's Alice uses her dress as a parachute to ride steam.
- And in the sequel, three of her four possible jumps involve this trope as a way to cross long distances.
- In the Classic Disney Shorts "Plane Crazy", Minnie Mouse's bloomers deploy like a parachute.
- It happened to Ortensia in the Oswald the Lucky Rabbit short “Oh What a Knight”.
- Baby Piggy in Muppet Babies, as she told her version of the Lewis Carrol story, had this happen to her own Alice character, her dress taking a parachute-like means as she fell down a rabbit-, er, I mean tadpole-hole.
- In Jem, one of the Misfits videos "Lovesick" had Pizzazz do a parachute petticoat.
- At the end of the Kim Possible half-episode "Rufus in Show" Kim presses a button so her spy suit becomes a dress to serve this function.
- Rugrats had Chuckie and Phil try this while wearing dresses for the first time. It actually worked for a second.
- Princess Gwendolyn from Gawayn in "The Way We Used To Be, Part 1". After a horse pulling a cart comes to a halt, she, Sir Roderick, Elspeth, William, and Xiao Long are launched into the air. Princess Gwendolyn's dress gets an updraft, revealing her pink undies and breaking her fall before she slowly descends safely.
- In The Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat episode, "Felix Breaks The Bank" when Candy is falling quickly, she comes to an abrupt stop for a moment, as a sudden draft up her skirt causes it to billow like a parachute. She manages to keep her skirt from rising any higher, as she looks at the camera and audience, giggles coyly and descends slowly, and safely.
- Molly Coddle in the Bump in the Night episode, "Party Poopers". While she and Mr. Bumpy are falling, her dress suddenly puffs up and becomes longer, as Mr. Bumpy holds on to her leg and they descend, and land, safely.