18 Commonly Used Clothes Idioms in English

Learn common Clothes Idioms with meaning and examples.

List of useful Clothes Idioms in English.

All Talk and No Trousers

  • Meaning: Prone to empty boasts
  • Example: John is all talk and no trousers. He likes to talk about how he has big ideas, but I’ve never heard him propose one.

All The Rage

  • Meaning: Very fashionable
  • Example: A few years ago Uggs were all the rage, but now you don’t see them so much.

At the Drop of a Hat

  • Meaning: Spontaneously, suddenly
  • Example: Jacob is unpredictable. He won’t leave the office for weeks, but then he’ll take off for New York at the drop of a hat.

Bundle Up

  • Meaning: Put on lots of warm clothing
  • Example: It’s going to be minus-10 out there today. Make sure you bundle up when you go out!

Dyed-in-the-wool (adj.)

  • Meaning: Consistent in an affiliation or opinion over a long period; inveterate
  • Example: My father is a dyed-in-the-wool Labor Party member. He’ll never change.

Excused Boots

  • Meaning: Allowed to avoid mandatory tasks
  • Example: Susan was excused boots for the party cleanup because she has an exam tomorrow.

Note: This is rather rare.


  • Meaning: Tending to adopt new styles quickly cl
  • Example: Did you see Susan’s new dress today? She’s always so fashion-forward!

Feather in One’s Cap

  • Meaning: An achievement for which one is recognized; a noteworthy achievement
  • Example: Shepherding the new model from concept to retail is really a feather in your cap.

Useful Clothes Idioms in English

Commonly Used Clothes Idioms in English

First In, Best Dressed

  • Meaning: The first people to do something will have an advantage.
  • Example: At this company, it’s first in, best dressed. The people who joined later have a much harder time.

Hang It Up

  • Meaning: To retire, to end an activity one has pursued for a long time
  • Example: I’ve always loved bicycling, but now when I do it, it gives me knee problems. It’s time for me to hang it up.

Keep It Under Your Hat

  • Meaning: Don’t tell anyone; don’t reveal this secret
  • Example: I have a really hot stock tip for you. I can tell you now, but keep it under your hat.

Knock Someone’s Socks Off

  • Meaning: Amaze someone
  • Example: Wait until you try the new Yamaha scooters. They’ll knock your socks off!

Lose the Thread

  • Meaning: Be unable to follow someone’s reasoning
  • Example: I’m sorry. I have a lot on my mind, and I lost the thread of what you were saying. Could you repeat it?

Mutton Dressed Up as Lamb

  • Meaning: A woman who dresses in a style appropriate to someone of a younger age
  • Example: Did you see Sheila in a miniskirt? At her age, she’s mutton dressed up as lamb.

Note: This is rather sexist and is now rather rare, used mostly humorously.

Old Hat

  • Meaning: Old-fashioned, predictable
  • Example: The carmaker’s sales declined because many consumers found their designs old hat.

Quake In One’s Boots

  • Meaning: To be very frightened
  • Example: Claudette said she was quaking in her boots when the layoff annoucements were made, but she still has a job.

Shake the Dust off Your Shoes (Feet)

  • Meaning: Make a clean break with a relationship or situation
  • Example: When you really can’t continue in a job, it’s best shake the dust off your shoes and quit.

Note: This idiom is of biblical origin, and it’s most commonly used in religious contexts.

Throw Down the Gauntlet

  • Meaning: To issue a challenge
  • Example: The senator threw down the gauntlet and announced he would challenge the president in the next election.

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