Clothing idioms: 32 very useful idioms
Clothing idioms are the fabric of our language, seamlessly weaving together vivid expressions. From “fit like a glove” to “wear your heart on your sleeve,” these idioms tailor our conversations, adding flair and depth to our communication wardrobe. Discover how these sartorial sayings dress up our everyday conversations.
Clothing idioms: List of Clothing idioms
- Wear your heart on your sleeve
- Put on a brave face
- A wolf in sheep’s clothing
- Be in someone’s shoes
- Have a chip on one’s shoulder
- Be dressed to the nines
- Have bigger fish to fry
- Be in one’s element
- Have a wardrobe malfunction
- Dressed for the occasion
- Be out of one’s depth
- Take something at face value
- Have a skeleton in one’s closet
- Be in stitches
- Keep something under one’s hat
- Put on airs
- Fit like a glove
- Be on pins and needles
- Have ants in one’s pants
- Be caught with one’s pants down
- Be in someone’s shoes
- Have a stitch in time
- Wear one’s heart on one’s sleeve
- Put something in mothballs
- Dressed to kill
- Have one’s finger on the pulse
- Roll up one’s sleeves
- Have a closet skeleton
- Put one’s best foot forward
- Fit like a glove
- Have something up one’s sleeve
- Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes
Clothing idioms: List of Clothing idioms with Meaning and Examples
The richness of language with clothing idioms.
Wear your heart on your sleeve
Meaning: To be open and honest about one’s emotions.
- He always wears his heart on his sleeve, so you always know how he’s feeling.
- He doesn’t like to wear his heart on his sleeve, so it’s hard to know what he’s really thinking.
Put on a brave face
Meaning: To act brave and hide one’s true feelings or emotions.
- Even though she was scared, she put on a brave face and went into the haunted house.
- He tried to put on a brave face when his boss criticized his work, but he was really upset.
- She’s been through a lot, but she always puts on a brave face and keeps going.
A wolf in sheep’s clothing
Meaning: Someone who appears harmless or friendly, but is actually dangerous or untrustworthy.
- I thought he was a nice guy, but he turned out to be a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
- She’s always smiling and acting friendly, but I have a feeling she’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Be in someone’s shoes
Meaning: To put oneself in someone else’s situation or circumstances in order to understand their perspective.
- If you were in my shoes, you would understand why I feel this way.
- I can’t imagine what it’s like to be in her shoes, but I want to be supportive.
- Let’s try to put ourselves in the customer’s shoes and think about what they would want.
Have a chip on one’s shoulder
Meaning: To be easily angered or looking for a fight, often due to a perceived insult or injury.
- He’s had a chip on his shoulder ever since he lost the competition.
- I don’t know why he’s so angry all the time – he always seems to have a chip on his shoulder.
- She’s always looking for a reason to argue with people, like she has a chip on her shoulder.
Dressed to the nines
Meaning: To be dressed in one’s best or most fashionable clothing.
- She was dressed to the nines for the gala event.
- He always shows up to work dressed to the nines, even on casual Fridays.
- I don’t know why he’s so dressed up – we’re just going to the movies.
Have bigger fish to fry
Meaning: To have more important or pressing matters to attend to than the current topic or issue.
- I can’t worry about that right now, I have bigger fish to fry.
- Let’s focus on the most important issues first, we have bigger fish to fry than this minor problem.
Be in one’s element
Meaning: To be in a situation or environment where one feels comfortable and confident.
- She was in her element on the dance floor, moving gracefully to the music.
- He’s always in his element when he’s teaching – it’s where he shines.
- The chef was in his element in the kitchen, whipping up delicious dishes with ease.
Have a wardrobe malfunction
Meaning: To have an embarrassing or unexpected clothing mishap.
- She had a wardrobe malfunction on stage and had to quickly fix her dress.
- He was mortified when his pants split at the seam, causing a wardrobe malfunction.
- The singer’s wardrobe malfunction during the halftime show made headlines the next day.
Dressed for the occasion
Meaning: To wear clothing that is appropriate for the event or situation.
- She was dressed for the occasion in a formal gown for the wedding.
- He wasn’t dressed for the occasion in his casual clothes at the fancy restaurant.
- The team was dressed for the occasion in matching uniforms for the championship game.
Be out of one’s depth
Meaning: To be in a situation that is beyond one’s knowledge or abilities.
- I felt out of my depth in the advanced calculus class.
- He realized he was out of his depth in the meeting with the company’s top executives.
Take something at face value
Meaning: To accept something as it appears, without questioning or analyzing it further.
- She took his apology at face value and forgave him.
- He didn’t take the news article at face value and researched the facts before forming an opinion.
Have a skeleton in one’s closet
Meaning: To have a secret, usually embarrassing or shameful, that one does not want others to know about.
- He has a skeleton in his closet that he’s been keeping hidden for years.
- She feared that her skeleton in the closet would be exposed if she ran for office.
Be in stitches
Meaning: To be laughing uncontrollably, often to the point of physical discomfort.
- The comedian had the audience in stitches with his hilarious jokes.
- We were in stitches watching the silly cat videos online.
Keep something under one’s hat
Meaning: To keep a secret or important information to oneself.
- I promised to keep the plan under my hat until we were ready to announce it.
- He kept his discovery under his hat until he could verify the results.
Put on airs
Meaning: To act in a way that is pretentious or snobbish, often trying to impress others.
- She’s always putting on airs, acting like she’s better than everyone else.
- He puts on airs when he’s around his wealthy friends, pretending to be a big spender.
Fit like a glove
Meaning: To fit perfectly, as if the clothing or object was custom-made for the person.
- The dress fit her like a glove and accentuated her curves.
- The new shoes fit like a glove and were comfortable from the first wear.
Be on pins and needles
Meaning: To be anxious or nervous about something, often waiting for an important or uncertain event to happen.
- She was on pins and needles waiting for the test results to come back.
- The team was on pins and needles during the tense final moments of the game.
Have ants in one’s pants
Meaning: To be restless or fidgety, often unable to sit still.
- The child had ants in his pants and couldn’t sit still during the long car ride.
- He always had ants in his pants during meetings and couldn’t focus on the agenda.
Caught with one’s pants down
Meaning: To be caught off guard or unprepared in a situation, often leading to embarrassment or negative consequences.
- The company was caught with their pants down when the competitor released a similar product first.
- He was caught with his pants down when he realized he forgot his notes for the presentation.
- She didn’t expect the difficult question and was caught with her pants down during the interview.
Be in someone’s shoes
Meaning: To be in another person’s situation or experience, often to gain a better understanding or empathy for their perspective.
- I can’t imagine being in her shoes, going through such a difficult loss.
- If you were in my shoes, you’d understand why I’m hesitant to take the job.
Have a stitch in time
Meaning: To address a problem or issue as soon as it arises, in order to prevent it from becoming worse or more difficult to fix later on.
- He fixed the small leak in the roof right away, knowing that a stitch in time saves nine.
- She made sure to take regular breaks and stretch, believing that a stitch in time would prevent future injuries.
- The company addressed the customer complaints immediately, knowing that a stitch in time saves reputation.
Wear one’s heart on one’s sleeve
Meaning: To be very open about one’s emotions and feelings, often to the point of vulnerability.
- She wears her heart on her sleeve and is always honest about how she feels.
- He doesn’t like to wear his heart on his sleeve and keeps his emotions to himself.
Put something in mothballs
Meaning: To store something away for a long period of time, often with the intention of preserving it for future use.
- She put her winter coats in mothballs during the summer to keep them in good condition.
- The antique car was put in mothballs for years, until it was restored to its former glory.
Dressed to kill
Meaning: To be dressed in a way that is very attractive or fashionable, often to impress or attract attention.
- She was dressed to kill for the party, wearing a stunning evening gown and matching accessories.
- He always makes sure to be dressed to kill for important business meetings, believing that appearance matters.
Have one’s finger on the pulse
Meaning: To be well-informed and aware of current trends or developments in a particular field or area.
- He had his finger on the pulse of the tech industry and knew which companies were leading the way.
- The consultant had her finger on the pulse of the market and could predict upcoming trends and changes.
Roll up one’s sleeves
Meaning: To prepare for hard work or to get ready to take on a difficult task.
- The team needed to roll up their sleeves and work hard to meet the deadline.
- The volunteers rolled up their sleeves and spent the day cleaning up the park.
Have a closet skeleton
Meaning: To have a secret or shameful past that one keeps hidden from others.
- He had a closet skeleton that he was afraid would ruin his reputation if it ever came to light.
- She had a closet skeleton from her youth that she didn’t want her children to know about.
- The politician was worried that his closet skeleton would be exposed during the campaign.
Put one’s best foot forward
Meaning: To make a good impression by presenting oneself in the best possible way.
- She put her best foot forward during the job interview by dressing professionally and preparing well.
- He always puts his best foot forward when meeting new people, believing that first impressions matter.
Fit like a glove
Meaning: To fit perfectly and comfortably, as if the clothing were custom-made for the wearer.
- The dress fit her like a glove and she felt confident and beautiful wearing it.
- The new shoes fit him like a glove and he could walk in them for hours without discomfort.
- The suit was tailored to fit him like a glove, emphasizing his best features and hiding any flaws.
Have something up one’s sleeve
Meaning: To have a secret plan or trick that one is keeping hidden until the right moment.
- He had a backup plan up his sleeve in case the first plan didn’t work out.
- The magician had a few tricks up his sleeve to entertain the audience.
Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes
Meaning: To try to understand another person’s experiences, feelings, and perspectives by imagining oneself in their situation.
- She tried to walk a mile in her friend’s shoes to understand why she was feeling so upset.
- He urged his coworkers to walk a mile in their clients’ shoes to better understand their needs and concerns.