Welcome back to our blog, To The Nines, here at Vittorio Menswear & Tuxedo. Today, we wanted to go back to our roots a bit and talk about where the saying “to the Nines” even came from. When someone talks about dressing to the nines, they’re referring to dressing to perfection, dressing smartly, or simply wearing your best black tux or formal wear. While the meaning of the phrase seems straightforward, it’s origin is clouded in uncertainty.
While many credit the origin of the phrase to a British military regiment, the 99th Regiment of Foot, because the entire regiment was always well dressed and perhaps 99th could have been shortened to simply nine, this poorly takes into account the timeframe in which the phase was first used. The 99th Regiment of Foot was established in the year 1824. At the time, the phrase “to the nines” was already used in literature and in common speech. In fact, the most commonly cited first use of “to the nines” is from 1719, according to the Oxford English Dictionary. Scottish poet William Hamilton utilized the phrase in the following lines:
The bonny Lines therein thou sent me,
How to the nines they did content me.
While this usage doesn’t give us any indication of why “to the nines” would be associated with dressing well and why the number nine has gained significance, it does give some indication of the area in which it originated. Some speculate that nine is significant because many groups of important figures in the Bible, Pagan history, and distinguished individuals in history would be found in groupings of nine, so perhaps “to the nines” had something to do with dress well to honor one of these groups.
No matter where the phrase “to the nines” came from, you can always look your best when you buy or rent suits and tuxedos from Vittorio Menswear & Tuxedo in Rochester, New York. Stop by today.