Green’s Dictionary of Slang

dress v.

[ironic use of SE dress, to treat a person properly]

1. to beat, to thrash.

[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]‘Alfred Crowquill’ Seymour’s Humourous Sketches (1866) 41: I tell you what, my lads, if I knew your master, I’d pull you up, and have you well dressed.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 25 Sept. 3/2: The trio tore her bonnet and clothes, giving her what is known in eating house parlance as ‘a good dressing’.

2. (UK Und.) to subject to robbery; thus dressing n.

[US]Calif. Police Gazette 30 Jan. 2/4: One night last week she ‘dressed’ two men, one to the amount of ten dollars, the other seventeen.
[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 5/2: It being market day, we concluded to give hull a ‘dressing’ but we had not ‘worked’ it long before the ‘fly-cops’ were out in quest of us.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

dress-and-breath (n.) [the most effort she makes is to get dressed and breathe]

(US black) a very lazy woman.

in Z.N. Hurston ‘The Guilded Six-Bits’ in Major Calling the Wind (1993).

In phrases

dress a hat (v.) [‘Most likely from the fact that a hat receives the attention of three or four people before it is properly fit for wear’ (Slang Dict., 1873)]

to carry out various methods of robbery contrived by two or more servants or shopmen, either exchanging their master’s goods (e.g. shoes for a hat) or pooling them (the butcher’s boy steals steaks, the potboy steals beer etc) and all is sold to a third party.

[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict.
[UK]Sl. Dict.
dress and res (v.)

(US black) to dress smartly, fashionably.

[US]‘Master Pimp’ Pimp’s Rap 161: Nigger, I was dressing and ressing when you were wearing shitty diapers.