Posted by Gary Martin on April 26, 2007
In Reply to: Glad rags posted by RRC on April 26, 2007
: : I'm trying to find the origin of "glad rags" - meaning posh/party clothes.
: www.etymonline.com says it's from 1902 but doesn't list the source. Since "glad rags" reminds me of "gay apparel", I'll mention that the lyrics to "Deck the Halls" were first published in 1881.
The OED has that 1902 reference as their earliest too. The phrase just creeps into the 19th century. The Portsmouth Herald (New Hampshire) has this from 1899:
"When she came she had her glad rags on to belt the band. You could see her dress must have cost a
drayload of plunks, and she'd been to a hairdresser for hours and hours getting' her hair done."
Next question. 'Drayload of plunks'?