dress to kill

What do we mean when saying that somebody should dress to kill ? Obviously, the phrase is not meant to be taken too seriously because we wouldn’t want people to dress up and then go out on a murder spree. But why do we sometimes use the word “killing” as something good, e.g. “You’re killing it” or “You’re killing me”? The first example can sometimes be used to explain when somebody is really good at executing something and the other can refer to when you are laughing so hard that you almost forget to breath. So why do we sometimes use the word “killing” when we refer to something good?

Let’s Settle This Once and For All

Think of it from a battlefield point of view. People have always wanted power. And what do you have when you kill someone? You’ve got power over their life. And that makes you a powerful person. Whether you like it or not, when you have the ability to decide over somebody’s destiny, you are powerful.

Giving and Taking Away Power

People don’t think about it, but when we say that “You’re killing it” in terms of somebody being really good at what they do, we allow for them to feel powerful and be confident that they are winning. When we say that “You’re killing me”, in terms of when we’re laughing too hard, we allow for the person that makes us laugh, to get power over us and to feel powerful because they get to decide if we are going to keep on laughing or stop to catch our breath.

What Does Killing Have To Do with Fashion?

So what do we mean when saying that somebody should “dress to kill” then? Well, probably we want the persons clothes to radiate confidence and make the person dare to dress up in something out of the ordinary. So what are we actually doing, when thinking of it from a battlefield point of view? We are allowing for that person to take power over their life and thus, decide over their own destiny.

Isn’t There Another Explanation?

If we look at this from a not so philosophical or linguistic point of view, you can probably relate to the fact that we don’t always want to take things too seriously and sometimes when we see darkness, we add some humor to it to let some light shine through. And that might also be a reason for us to use words that originally means something else than what we are using them for.




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