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Sixty Clothing Idioms: Part 1


  1. a feather in one’s cap – an honour, an achievement to be proud of.

  2. a hand–me–down – an item that has been passed on to a person from someone else.

  3. as tough as old boots – very tough.

  4. at the drop of a hat – without hesitation, immediately.

  5. below the belt – unfair/disregarding the rules.

  6. birthday suit – naked.

  7. bulging/bursting at the seams – overflowing.

  8. by the seat of one’s pants – by instinct rather than skill or knowledge.

  9. cloak–and–dagger – involving mystery and sometimes espionage.

  10. cut from the same cloth – similar.

  11. down–at–the–heels – shabby in appearance.

  12. dressed to kill – dressed glamorously, often with the intention of making an impression.

  13. dressed to the nines – dressed smartly.

  14. hand in glove with – in close association with.

  15. hot under the collar – angry or embarrassed.

  16. I’ll eat my hat if ___” – “I think it is very unlikely that ___”/ “I’ll be very shocked if ___”.

  17. if the cap/shoe fits, wear it – since a general remark or criticism applies to someone, they should accept i.t

  18. in another person’s shoes – in another person’s situation.

  19. off–the–cuff – without preparation.

  20. old hat – outdated.

  21. out of pocket – having lost money/paid for directly by someone.

  22. the boot/shoe is on the other foot – the situation has reversed, the person in the position of advantage is now in a position of disadvantage.

  23. to air one’s dirty laundry/linen in public – to discuss private problems in front of others.

  24. to bet one’s boots – to bet all of one’s possessions.

  25. to buckle down – to determinedly tackle a task.

  26. to catch someone with their pants down – to catch someone while they are unprepared (usually when they are in an embarrassing or compromising position).

  27. to come apart at the seams – to be in an extremely poor condition/to be close to collapse.

  28. to drag oneself up by one’s bootstraps – to improve oneself through one’s own effort.

  29. to fill someone else’s shoes – to (usually temporarily) take someone’s place.

  30. to fit like a glove – to fit perfectly.

If you’ve found this post useful, why not check out our other articles on idioms?


09 Dec 2014
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