Is there an idiom to describe someone who is really skinny whose clothes don't look good on them at all? This should not refer to the person but instead to how the clothes look on the person. In my native language, we say:

Those clothes are crying on your body.


It seems like you wore your father's clothes in this picture.

  • I'm not sure about idioms for people wearing clothes too big for them (a skinny person in over-sized clothes). However, to describe someone who simply looks bad in a particular outfit you could say he or she is "down-at-the-heels" (shabby), or that the outfit is "old hat" (out of style, no longer fashionable). Also, the person could be called a "fashion victim" or, on the other hand, could be guilty of committing a "fashion crime". The clothes may be too large if they are "hand-me-downs" (second-hand, used by someone older in the family).
    – Zairja
    Sep 5, 2012 at 13:49
  • Not constructive: this question has no definitive answer; it will generate lots of non-definitive answers -- it's basically polling.
    – MetaEd
    Sep 5, 2012 at 15:35
  • FWIW, I've seen the idiom go the other way, as in this quote: "The minute you're asked [a question] and you reply, 'No comment,' the press will be all over you like a cheap suit."
    – J.R.
    Sep 5, 2012 at 15:36
  • @ΜετάEd: I asked many similar questions, you should close them all as NC.
    – Gigili
    Sep 5, 2012 at 17:29
  • Don't say that, Giggles - he will!
    – user16269
    Sep 5, 2012 at 18:32

3 Answers 3


It is also common to say that someone looks like they are "swimming in" their clothes, if they are way too large for him or her.

  • 2
    +1 for the only answer so far I've heard before
    – Izkata
    Sep 5, 2012 at 19:53

At least in the US, to "look like a scarecrow" would be the most common idiom that is widely understood. Some examples going back to at least 1905:

I'm really sick of all these actresses looking like birds... I'd rather look a little chubby on camera and look like a person in real life, than look great onscreen and look like a scarecrow in real life. - Actress Jennifer Lawrence, 2011


Like all the people in the loft she dressed like a hippie, and being so skinny her loose-hanging clothes made her look like a scarecrow swaying in the wind. - Kokis & Wilson, The Art of Deception: A Novel, 2002


The lad grinned sheepishly, and began to hustle into his garments. They were a world too large for him, and hung upon his shrunken limbs in a baggy and outlandish fashion. His shoes were ten sizes too big; his cap rested upon his shoulders. "Huh!" he muttered in disgust. "I look like a scarecrow." - James Ball Naylor, "The Little Green Goblin of Goblinville, 1905.

So the idiom goes back a while but is still in use in popular culture today.


My rather colorful aunt has a few sayings for this:

  • “Like two towels on a toast rack”

  • “Like a scarecrow”

  • “5 pounds of potatoes in a 10-pound sack” (and the inverse for fat people in small clothes, “10 pounds of potatoes in a 5-pound sack”)

But I don’t know that these are necessarily well-known idioms.


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