Words and Their Stories: More Clothing Expressions
Article from: VOA Special English--Words and Their Stories, 27 August 2011
Everyone knows there are many English expressions about clothes. There is no need to keep it a secret, or keep it under your hat. In fact, if I keep talking, soon enough you will start to think I am an old hat about this -- a real expert. Do not be fooled, though. My friends sometimes call me a wolf in sheep's clothing. This is someone who acts like a good person, but is really a bad person.
I'm not really a bad person. But I do love clothes. It is always fun to get dressed up. I look great in my best clothes. When I put them on, I feel decked out. You might say when I wear my best clothes, I am dressed to the nines or dressed to the teeth. In fact, my husband says I look dressed to kill. Of course, I would never kill anyone. But, there is something special about putting on clothes that are pleasing to the eye.
My best clothes are not modern or fashionable. Maybe someday they will come into fashion. But I really do not care. They certainly look better on me than my birthday suit. Did you know that everyone has a birthday suit? You wear it when you are wearing no clothes at all. Babies are born wearing their birthday suits.
I am very careful with my clothes. I handle them with kid gloves. I try not to get them dirty or torn. Most of my clothes fit like a glove. They fit perfectly. But when I eat too much, I feel like my clothes might burst at the seams. My clothes feel too restrictive and tight.
Some of the clothes I like best are hand-me-downs. My older sister gave them to me when she no longer wanted them. Hand-me-downs are great because clothes often cost too much money. I live on ashoestring. I have a very small budget and little money to spend on clothes. However, my sister has a lot of money to spend on clothes. Maybe someday the shoe will be on the other foot. The opposite will be true. I will have a lot of money to buy clothes and my sister will get hand-me-downs from me.
I admit I dream of being rich. I dream that someday I will be able to live like a rich person. I will know what it is like to walk in another person's shoes. Some of my friends got rich by riding someone else's coat tails. They are successful today as a result of someone else being successful. But, I believe you should never criticize others for something you would do yourself. What is said about someone else can also be said about you. Remember, if the shoe fits, wear it.
I. Multiple choices:
1. According to the context in the first paragraph, what do the “hats” underlined mean?
A) experienced professional; secret B) secret; hat for old people
C) secret; experienced professional D) none of the above
2. Which of the following best replaces “dress to the nines” in the second paragraph?
A) dress very stylishly B) put one his/her best clothing
C) dress in an exaggerated manner D) spend a lot of money on clothing
3. What is birthday suit?
A) the suits for new-born babies B) a metaphor referring to being naked
C) the suit that can only be wore on birthday D) the suit you receive as birthday gift
4. When you take over your older brother’s pants, you can say it’s a ____.
A) birthday suit B) kid glove
C) pant in fashion D) hand-me-downs
5. In the last sentence, what can be inferred from the idiom, “if the shoe fits, wear it?”
A) The tip for shoes choosing can be applied to how to be successful.
B) If you had a rich family, you would also take it as granted.
C) Young people should learn how to be independent and how to find suitable jobs.
D) If you meet rich people, you’d better befriend them because they are going to be helpful like good shoes.
II. Match the idioms with the right meanings
Meanings in plain English
Having a very small budget and little money to spend on clothes
someone who acts like a good person, but is really a bad person
Trying not to get them dirty or torn
putting on clothes that are pleasing to the eye
handle something with kid gloves
dressed to kill
live on ashoestring
awolf in sheep's clothing
I. Multiple choices: B A B D B
II. Matching: (A) live on ashoestring (B) awolf in sheep's clothing (C) handle something with kid gloves (D) dressed to kill