Green’s Dictionary of Slang

dressed (up) to the nines phr.

also dressed out...
[up to the nines phr.]

1. dressed up to the height of fashion; thus dress up to the nines v.

[US]T. Haliburton Clockmaker III 33: The house was chock full of company, all drest out to the very nines.
[UK]Kendal Mercury 27 Oct. 2/5: Husbands and wives, and sweethearts [...] dressed up to the nines for a dance.
[US]J. Brougham Basket of Chips 401: Two elderly females, dressed up to the nines.
[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc. 68: Nines ‘dressed up to the NINES,’ in a showy or recherché manner.
[US]H.L. Williams N.-Y. After Dark 12: The young men dress generally in that altitude commonly styled ‘up to the nines.’.
[UK]Sl. Dict.
[Scot]Dundee Courier 4 June 2/4: A relative of his called at the office, ‘dressed up to the nines’.
[US]A. Trumble Mysteries of N.Y. 18: [H]e would turn up at the hotel [...] dressed up to the nines, gloves an’ all.
[Aus]‘Rolf Boldrewood’ Robbery Under Arms (1922) 189: He was dressed up to the nines himself.
[UK]Leamington Spa Courier 18 June 3/2: ’Arriet betrays this ruling passion in studying always to be dressed up to the nines.
[Aus]J. Furphy Buln-Buln and the Brolga (1948) 🌐 Fust, a woman comes on the stage, dressed up to the nines, an’ sings something.
[UK]Marvel 20 Oct. 366: Look at him, missus. There’s a picter for you, and dressed up to the nines!
[UK]H.G. Wells Hist. of Mr Polly (1946) 66: And look at ’em! Dressed up to the nines.
[Ire]Joyce Ulysses 352: Dressed up to the nines for somebody.
[UK]J. Curtis There Ain’t No Justice 17–8: When she went out to-night with the girls [...] she would be dressed up to the nines.
[UK]Derby Dly Teleg. 28 Dec. 3/3: Albert explained that Alf was ‘all dressed up to the nines’ in his riding kit.
[UK]Wodehouse Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit 19: She came breezing in, dressed up to the nines.
[US]A. Zugsmith Beat Generation 38: Some of his broads, though dressed to the nines, made a pretense of modesty.
[Aus]F.J. Hardy Yarns of Billy Borker 105: Us with our shabby clothes and down-at-heel shoes, and all them toffs dressed up to the nines.
[Ire](con. 1940s) J. Healy Death of an Irish Town 51: He came home at Christmas dressed to the nines.
[US]Rolling Stone 22 Sept. 30: Dressed [...] to the nines.
[US](con. 1930s–60s) H. Huncke Guilty of Everything (1998) 271: His wife used to come in dressed to the nines — straight out of Lord and Taylor.
[US]M. McAlary Crack War (1991) 221: This guy comes in and he’s dressed to the nines.
[UK](con. 1916) D. Farson Never a Normal Man 15: By two-thirty we were all standing there dressed up to the nines in starched everything.
[UK]A. Sillitoe Birthday 119: We used to dress up to the nines and go out to Yates’s on Saturday night.
[UK]Guardian G2 8 Aug. 🌐 A girl from a strict Pentecostal family who sneaks out at night dressed up to the nines to oursue her disco dreams.
[US](con. 1963) L. Berney November Road 222: The casino floor was crowded, hardly any room to move, suburban squares on the loose, wild-eyed and dressed to the nines.

2. occas. intensified as dressed to the tens.

[Scot]I. Rankin Set in Darkness 353: She was dressed to the tens: tight red leather trousers tucked into knee-high black boots.