Quick English - Clothing Idioms

The English language uses so many idioms, that sometimes it seems like you can have an entire conversation using only idioms! You have probably heard a lot of idioms that use clothing, but sometimes it's hard to understand what they're talking about.

Here is a list of 8 clothing idioms and what they actually mean.

Clothing Idioms About... Shirts

to have a trick up your sleeve - to have a secret plan

She always seems to have a trick up her sleeve when it comes to seeing sold-out concerts.

keep your shirt/pants on - used to tell someone to calm down

Keep your shirt on! I'm nearly finished blow-drying my hair.

to wear your heart on your sleeve - to express your emotions freely and openly

Rea wears her heart on her sleeve. You always know when she's happy or sad.

white collar, blue collar
white collar: to work in jobs that are done in an office
blue collar: to work in a manual labor industry

Although Chris has a degree in accounting, he much preferred blue collar work like car repairs.

Clothing Idioms About ... Trousers/Pants

tighten your belt - to try to spend less money in order to save it

Tara and Joseph had to tighten their belts so they could buy a house.

clothing idioms

money burning a hole in your pocket - to spend money quickly after receiving it, especially wastefully

After Marek got his bonus, he spent it like it was burning a hole in his pocket.

ants in your pants - to be very restless and move around a lot

Bettina looked like she had ants in her pants after eating too many Haribo bears.

birthday suit - being as naked as the day you were born

Giorgia's son runs around in his birthday suit all the time.

You might learn a few more if you're studying at our Midtown school in New York, the fashion capital of the USA. Midtown, NY, is also where you can find the Garment District.

For more idioms that you might find useful, check out our posts on body idioms and cake idioms, as well as some popular British and American idioms.

Do you use any clothing idioms? Let us know in the comments!

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