by admin on May 21, 2012

dressed to the ca-nines (fofl!)

a recent epistle from my mysterious male reader phashion plate describes an eye-opening fashion experience attending a museum opening:

“So, last night we went to the local museum’s opening.  There were hundreds of people there and while most (if not all) of the men were dressed to the zeroes, the women were dressed to the nines (where did that expression originate?).  So, there was lots of viewing to be had.  Many tall wedge shoes, some spikes, some flats.  Some very interesting dresses (one barely covered the gluteus maximus of the occupant).  And fascinating to see the combination of jewelry with the clothing.  I was frankly overwhelmed so I can’t report individual items to you……”

esme loves the notion of her normally calm and analytical reader almost breathless with sartorial amazement.  and of course she had to check out the derivation of “dressed to the nines”.  (she also liked his invention of “dressed to the zeroes”.)



here is one theory regarding the derivation of the phrase:


Dressed flamboyantly or smartly.


Nine is the most troublesome number in etymology. There are several phrases of uncertain parentage that include the word. Examples are, cloud nine, nine days’ wonder and the infamous whole nine yards. We can add ‘dressed to the nines’ to that list.

Dressed to the ninesThe most frequently heard attempts to explain the phrase’s derivation involve associating the number nine with clothing in some way. One theory has it that tailors used nine yards of material to make a suit (or, according to some authors, a shirt). The more material you had the more kudos you accrued, although nine yards seems generous even for a fop. Another commonly repeated explanation comes from the exquisitely smart uniforms of the 99th (Lanarkshire) Regiment of Foot, which was raised in 1824. The problem with these explanations is that they come with no evidence to support them, apart from a reference to the number nine (or 99, which seems to be stretching the cloth rather thinly).”

ok….i think i’ll go to my fashion class dressed to the…..sevens!

still counting,







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