all dressed up and nowhere to go

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all dressed up and nowhere to go

  1. (idiomatic) Elaborately attired or otherwise fully prepared for an anticipated situation or activity which, nevertheless, fails to occur.
    • 1924 December 1, the musical "Lady, Be Good!," premiered on Broadway at the Liberty Theatre; music by George Gershwin, lyrics by Ira Gershwin. Therein, the introductory verse to the song "Oh, Lady be Good!" includes the lyric:
      Listen to my tale of woe, It's terribly sad but true. All dressed up, no place to go, Each evening I'm awfully blue.
    • 1929 April 9, “All Dressed Up, No Place to Go; Rebels Problem”, in Ellensburg Daily Record, retrieved 9 March 2013, page 1:
      General Fauso Topete's troops, encamped south of here and faced with the impossible problem of how to attack the federal garrison without firing into Naco Ariz., virtually were in the position of soldiers all dressed up and nowhere to go.
    • 1980 December 23, “Reagan's Advisers Split over 'Emergency' Idea”, in Vancouver Sun, Canada, retrieved 9 March 2013, page E3:
      "If you declare an emergency, you must have policies to carry out," adds Stein. "Otherwise you're like a man without a ticket — all dressed up and nowhere to go."
    • 2003 March 20, Meenakshi Ganguly, “Opening Night Aboard the U.S.S. Constellation”, in Time:
      For the sailors aboard this aircraft carrier, war preparations had flipped into high gear. . . . By 4 a.m., when the deadline passed, orders to begin the assault had still not come down the ranks. For many of the commanders at sea, it was a classic "all dressed up and nowhere to go" scenario.
    • 2004 August 8, Mike Turner, “Sailing: Harrison's day in calm before storm”, in The Independent, UK, retrieved 9 March 2013:
      All dressed up and nowhere to go, nearly 7,000 competitors in almost 1,000 yachts were left drifting around in the central Solent yesterday.