Now that was a clothes call…


Our time is consumed by clothes.  Figuring out what to wear, what to wash, what to discard, what to buy, what matches, what we like, what we don’t like.  It’s a never ending cycle.


We can’t live with them; can’t live without them.  Well, shouldn’t live without them.

Thinking about clothes got me to thinking about how many expressions are attached to clothes, most that have nothing to do with clothes.  No wonder English is considered one of the most difficult languages to learn.

Consider the hat.  And the hat trick.  A hat trick is universally linked to sports, especially hockey, and is used to describe 3 goals scored in one game.

But, a hat trick can actually be used to describe 3 of anything.  Although I must confess that I’ve never heard it in reference to 3 hats.  Hmmm…

Then there are people who are referred to as being too buttoned up or a stuffed shirt.  Not exactly positive.  Neither is ‘tie one on’ or ‘skirt the issue’.

One of the worst is the muscle shirt, which is often described as a ‘wife beater’.  Huh?!  Most baffling of all is that, knowing that information, guys keep wearing it!  I’ve seen someone wearing one every single day this summer!  Maybe the guys in question are single and/or clueless, and need to have this reference on their refrigerator to help them.

In order, that would be good, better, and what in the world are you thinking??!!

For a blast from the past, let’s think about the pantywaist.  It used to be a garment that was popular back in the 20’s – a child’s undergarment consisting of boxer-like pants and a T-shirt that buttoned together at the waist but, starting in the 30’s, it came to describe a man who is weak or useless.  How that transition happened, I will never know.

People talk about dressing up and dressing down, both which seem obvious enough.  But, then there’s a ‘dressing down’, which is a particularly severe reprimand or scolding, often delivered publicly.  Or being told to ‘put a sock in it’.  Ouch.  Neither may be physically painful but they’re still pretty painful nonetheless.

At some point in our lives, most of us have either been told or otherwise realized that we’re wearing a pair of ‘floods’.  Ah, the lovely flood pant.  Not ankle length pants or capri’s but pants that, well, have the appearance of successfully navigating high waters.

To finish off our head to toe clothes evaluation, we come to the ever respectable footwear.  There’s the person who’s a ‘shoe in’ (usually for a job) or, conversely, the person who’s a real heel.  Or, if you have a dog, there’s the command to heel.  No wonder dogs get confused.

Then, there’s the person who continually ‘flip flops’.  Or someone who’s a ‘loafer’.  I guess if you’re really special, you could be a ‘penny loafer’.

I just made that up.

A penny loafer is an actual shoe but I guess if it was a reference to a person, it would be a loafer who has spare change.  Ok, that’s probably a stretch.  I doubt that term will catch on.

To round out our shoe section, there’s the saying “give him the boot”.  Pretty self-explanatory, and one of the phrases that actually makes sense when you consider a potential use of a boot.

Having made this clothes assessment, I’ve realized that most of the terms have a negative connotation.  What’s up with that?!  Is it really in our nature to think from a negative standpoint as opposed to a positive standpoint?  It would seem so.

I’m thinking it would suit us to avoid using these terms, and instead stick to more positive phrases like ‘suits him to a ‘T’ or ‘my hat’s off to him’.

Well, that makes me feel much happier.  On that note, I think I’ll put on some music and go ‘belt out a tune’.


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