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So, you have a female character, and you want her to appear prim and proper, while still being feminine and fitting in with all of your other female characters. It would usually (with few exceptions) be improper for her to wear pants, but it would be difficult to have her fit in full dresses when all of your other female characters are wearing short, suggestive skirts.
The solution is simple - have her wear tights with a skirt. The skirt allows her to fit in with her fellow girls, but the tights ensure that she remains proper and well-covered. It retains that feminine quality, yet prevents the lady from in any way seeming risque.
This style of dress is particularly common in Anime with The Ojou and Yamato Nadeshiko. Compare with Skirt Over Slacks, which occurs when pants of some description are added to an already modest skirt in order to convey shyness or tomboyishness, and with Modesty Shorts, which ensures modesty for the Action Girl who wears a short skirt. Contrasts with Zettai Ryouiki, which are usually employed to instead enhance the fanservice of the outfit, upping the intended sexiness, and with Tights Under Shorts, which incorporates something more boyish than a skirt but is nevertheless used more frequently on girls than on boys.
Note that when it comes to children, and especially school uniforms (except where School Uniforms Are the New Black), this is so standard that no examples need to be given.
- Homura Akemi wears this with her outfits, including her Magical Girl uniform (which, to top it off, adds high-heeled boots incorporated into the tights), in Puella Magi Madoka Magica, except in her flashbacks in episode 10.
- Sakura Kinomoto in Cardcaptor Sakura gets this with most of her CardCaptor outfits if they don't involve Zettai Ryouiki. Her friend Tomoyo does this with a few of her own outfits as well.
- The female pilots wear the leotard variation with their combat attire in Dangaioh.
- Mikuru Asahina wears this during the winter months in Suzumiya Haruhi (as seen in Disappearance with her school uniform).
- Worn by Miyuki in Lucky Star, particularly with her school uniform.
- Yui from K-On! wears this with her skirt.
- Sarah Adiemus from School Rumble is the only girl in the series who wears tights with her school skirt.
- Satoko in Higurashi no Naku Koro ni.
- Rare male example: Jun Watarase from Happiness, particularly with his Sailor Fuku.
- Mariya Shidou from Maria Holic wears black tights with his uniform and portrays himself publicly as one of the nicer girls. However, when he and Kanako are alone together, his sadistic side rears its ugly head.
- Hideyoshi Kinoshita, from Baka and Test, also does this sometimes, including with a pink maid dress.
- Some of the female Bureau mages wear tights with their uniforms in the Nanoha series, such as Shamal, who typically wears dresses or long skirts while off duty.
- Onii Chan no Koto has Kondou and it become Shuusuke's primary fetish.
- Umi from Magic Knight Rayearth as she's The Ojou and comes from a high-class school.
- Masako Natsume from Mawaru Penguindrum.
- Miki Aono from Fresh Pretty Cure.
- Sakuya's winter uniform in Tenchi in Tokyo includes black tights.
- Also Matori, Yugi's henchwoman.
- Rei Miyamoto from High School of the Dead appears to be wearing this briefly in one episode, no thanks to a minor continuity snarl.
- Jiisuri from Upotte wears black tights under her school uniform's skirt.
- Mitsuuru Takahashi from Pretty Cure Heavy Metal is a rare male example at times. Sakura Cobain also wears white tights under her school uniform during the colder months (of course, since this is Isuten Junior High we're talking about, the same outfit also includes a black leather jacket, possibly the only way to make tights look any cooler--other than using shorts instead, of course).
- Another male example is Haru Nagato, the male maiden from the upcoming Pretty Cure Strange Happenings. Yumi's thigh-high red stockings go so high they barely rise above the lower edge of her uniform's crinoline skirt, leading some to mistake what she's wearing for tights. Also, every Cure that doesn't wear Tights Under Shorts wears this in Cure form, and Cure Necro herself sports Tights Under Modesty Shorts.
- Super Cure Romance from Pretty Cure Hollywood Stars would be another male example, but in Cure and Super Cure form is actually biologically female.
- Both Meran and Korii in Shining Pretty Cure. The former is a rare male example, and both do this with tunics.
- Part of the Sakurazaki school uniform, along with a Sailor Fuku, in Pretty Cure Transient School. The only reason, ergo, why it's listed here in the first place is because at Sakurazaki, it's the boys' uniform!
- While Ichiban High School enforces this in Futari wa Pretty Cure Dragon, one of its students, Ryan Lee, is notable as a male example; another student, Susan Chan, also wears this as Cure Fortune. Yet another student averts and defies this trope, instead going for Modesty Shorts.
- Samantha (the Victorian Era...oops, Edwardian Era girl) from the American Girl franchise wears this. She expresses dislike for it, especially as her grandmother insists on her wearing long underwear underneath them from September to June (in an attempt to prevent tuberculosis).
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Willow, particularly in Season 3. Still cute and geeky, but a step up stylewise from earlier years.
- Yukiko Amagi from Persona 4 (pictured above) is the poster child for this.
- Also worn by Fuuka in Persona 3.
- The soldier-like Weiß wears this outfit in Arcana Heart 3.
- Yurika Kirishima, the resident Ojou of Project Justice, wears white pantyhose with her dress. The Pacific High School female uniform, which Tiffany Lords wears as her alternate costume in Rival Schools: United By Fate, has dark hose with a miniskirt.
- Princess Alena in Dragon Quest IV. (Although it's less a skirt and more of a tunic.)
- Street Fighter's own Chun-Li wears them with her trademark Qipao.
- This is the standard for the girls' uniform at Garreg Mach Officer's Academy in Fire Emblem: Three Houses. The only exceptions are Dorothea and Hilda (Zettai Ryouiki), Mercedes (wears knee-highs under a longer skirt), Bernadetta (wears Modesty Shorts that leave a portion of her legs bare above her boots), Leonie (wears knee-length socks), and the female Byleth's school uniform (short white socks).
- Daphne Blake's regular outfit from the various incarnations of Scooby Doo incorporates this. Of course, then it gets played for Fan Service in the Live Action Adaptation.
- Gwen Tennyson in Ben 10 Alien Force and Ben 10: Ultimate Alien
- Ahsoka Tano's first outfit in Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
- The Powerpuff Girls.
- Truth in Television; it's pretty much standard clothing for girls and is especially common among schoolgirls (especially those who wear uniforms) and some classes of athletes in Real Life.
- Although in recent years (with the exception of uniforms) leggings have become more popular, although usually with the same effect.