Learn common Clothes Idioms with meaning and examples.
List of useful Clothes Idioms in English.
You can jump to any section of this lesson:
- 1 All Talk and No Trousers
- 2 All The Rage
- 3 At the Drop of a Hat
- 4 Bundle Up
- 5 Dyed-in-the-wool (adj.)
- 6 Excused Boots
- 7 Fashion-Forward
- 8 Feather in One’s Cap
- 9 First In, Best Dressed
- 10 Hang It Up
- 11 Keep It Under Your Hat
- 12 Knock Someone’s Socks Off
- 13 Lose the Thread
- 14 Mutton Dressed Up as Lamb
- 15 Old Hat
- 16 Quake In One’s Boots
- 17 Shake the Dust off Your Shoes (Feet)
- 18 Throw Down the Gauntlet
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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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
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.
- 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.