Let's learn clothing idioms
Here's a handy tip to learn and practice these clothing idioms: As you get dressed in the morning or when you go shopping, say one of these idioms related to the piece of clothing.
Remember that an idiom is a fixed phrase that doesn't change. The meaning is metaphorical and not literal so you cannot usually know the meaning from looking at the individual words. I've created different lists of idioms and infographics to help you as study English idioms.
Examples of clothing idioms
When you step into someone's shoes, you take over and do someone else's job.
- It's going to be very difficult for anyone to step into our nanny's shoes because our children think of her as their second mother.
- Last month I stepped into the director's shoes while he was away on family leave and I refuse to do that ever again.
- Could someone step into my shoes at the school assembly next month?
When you lose your shirt, you lose all or almost all of your money.
- Be very careful about using credit cards to pay for daily expenses because you could eventually lose your shirt if the debt becomes too high.
- My father lost his shirt twice when he started his first and second businesses but fortunately he succeeded on the third try.
- It's not unusual for gamblers to lose their shirts so I don't recommend taking so many trips to Las Vegas.
When you're decked out, you are dressed in fancy or special clothing.
- I look forward to the holiday party each year because our team gets decked out in formal wear instead of wearing jeans and t-shirts.
- This year at the Academy Awards everyone was decked out in sexy evening gowns with plunging necklines and thigh-high slits.
- Wow, you sure are decked out! Where are you going tonight?
When you air your dirty laundry (in public), you talk about your personal problems in front of other people.
- It's so embarrassing when our boss airs her dirty laundry on the phone in the lunch room.
- You look upset. If you have something to say, please tell me now instead of airing our dirty laundry again at the dinner party.
- The Smith's aired their dirty laundry at the baseball game again last night so that's the last time we're inviting them to join us.
If you say something that is below the belt, you say something that is beyond what is socially acceptable and often cruel.
- Whenever we argue my wife always says things that are below the belt. If I ever said something as cruel she would never forgive me for it.
- I was really shocked when my colleague told me I couldn't possibly understand because I didn't have children. That was really below the belt.
- Don't you think telling your date that he was the worst kisser ever was a bit below the belt?
When something happens at the drop of a hat, it occurs immediately and without planning.
- Just call me when you need me and I'll be there at the drop of a hat.
- My former assistant was available at the drop of a hat to help out and I never appreciated it until now.
- It's a good thing that you quit because your supervisor never appreciated that you were ready to help at the drop of a hat on weekends.
A hand-me-down is clothing that is given to a family member or friend because it no longer fits or is not needed.
- Since I don't have siblings I'm lucky that I don't get any hand-me-downs.
- I didn't get hand-me-downs either because I was the oldest child.
- You are lucky to have dresses! The majority of my clothes are hand-me-down pants and shorts from my brothers.
A kick in the pants is something that gives you a very strong motivation to do something or to change your behavior.
- Getting cancer was the kick in the pants I needed to quit smoking.
- When my son's unemployment benefits end next month it will give him a kick in the pants to apply for more jobs.
- I almost wish my boyfriend would get arrested for drug possession. He needs something to give him a kick in the pants to stop doing drugs.
Your turn to practice these clothing idioms
Here is your chance to practice using some of the clothing idioms from the list above. Simply write and example sentence and I'll provide feedback. Practice is the best way to improve your English and learn new vocabulary.
Do you need to learn English clothing vocabulary? Click here to see a list of clothing items (and watch the video to learn the correct pronunciation).
Main Idioms Page