In Reply to: Left/right posted by Smok ey Stover on December 24, 2008 at 17:55:
: : : I have heard/read about British gentlemen, when buying a suit, would advise the tailor that they "Dressed Left" or "Dressed Right". Based upon this, the tailor would cut the cloth and make the "left leg" or "right" leg, more spacious so that the tightness of the leg would not display the size or lack of size of the customers manliness (if you know what I mean). Are those phrases correct and are they used in the tailoring business? How did they come into use?
: : Yes, these are genuine phrases used in the British bespoke tailoring business (and for all I know elsewhere in the English-speaking world as well). As for how they came into use - if you were a tailor, and needed the information, how would you ask for it? "When Sir gets dressed in the morning, which side does Sir tuck his willy?" Hardly!
: : That said, it may have been modelled on the military drill sense of "dressing to the right/left", in which it means to line up a rank of men using the right/left hand man as a marker.(VSD)
: Well, that was interesting. I have rarely been measured for a suit, and never one that was "bespoke" (if I understand your meaning), but even so I think I would have seen this idiom somewhere in my reading if it were common in the U.S. Are there any Yanks here who have encountered this?
Never heard it in person, nor do I consider myself ever likely to. But I did hear it the other night while we were watching the 1967 version of Casino Royale. That's the first time this Yank had ever encountered the phrase other than on phrase- and word-origin websites. At least I got to explain it to my 14-year-old son, who gave me a brief funny look before continuing to pretend I didn't exist. (Peter Sellers' answer to the question of which side he dresses on was "I usually dress away from the window").