It’s rare that I "dress to the nines" these days

dressed to nines

Carrie and Company are dressed to the nines!

Someone asked today where I was going  all dressed to the nines?

I wasn’t really.  It was just that it was wash day for me and my everyday uniform (sweat pants and velour jogging clothes)  were in the washing machine (not that they have ever been used for jogging).  All I had to wear were my Sunday clothes.

We often use the phrase “dressed to the nines” to describe someone really, really dressed up – usually flamboyantly and smartly so.  That has always puzzled me along with other references to the number nine – “cloud nine” or “whole nine yards” come to mind.

The most plausible theory has it that 18th century tailors used nine yards of material to make a suit (or according to some authors, a shirt). The more material you had the more status, although nine yards seems generous even for a fop.

I gleaned all this fascinating information from a new book someone gave me entitled “445 Fascinating Word Origins.”

If you’ve been wondering about “Dyed in the Wool”, I have the answer to that too.  Modern chemical dyes were developed in the 1700s.  Prior to that time clothing even for royalty was drab.  Some artisan made a revolutionary discovery that led to dying raw wool instead of garments or bolts of cloth – ergo, dyed in the wool was considered the highest quality available.

Now you know.

2 thoughts on “It’s rare that I "dress to the nines" these days

  1. I know the expression, “the whole nine yards” was very popular in the Air Force back in the seventies. I had not heard the expression used that much prior to then. Do you know if that expression has any direct link to the military?

  2. Heck, I thought it was a football thing – but that wouldn’t be right since it takes 10 yards to make a first down. No wait, that’s ten feet! Obviously I never thought this thing through.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *