Well dressed Vs Dressed up

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Hello everyone,

Is there a difference between "well dressed" and "dressed up" meaning "wearing good, special clothes, usually for an important occasion'' in the example I made below?

Anna, you are well dressed. Vs Anna, you are dressed up. Are you going somewhere special tonight? A party, for example?

*I think there's no difference.

Thank you in advance!
 
  • The Newt

    Senior Member
    English - US
    "Well dressed" means dressed appropriately or tastefully (for whatever the situation may be); "dressed up" means dressed elegantly, wearing fairly formal clothes.
     

    Sparky Malarky

    Moderator
    English - US
    As in your example, if someone is dressed up they are dressed in a way that is fancier than they usually dress.

    If someone is well dressed, it usually means that they dress nicely all the time. Although you can say "The man who came for the interview was well dressed."
     

    Sparky Malarky

    Moderator
    English - US
    Thank you very much.

    So ''well dressed'' to mean always wearing good, special clothes; ''dressed up'' to mean wearing good, special clothes in a specific moment. Right?

    Thank you in advance!
    Well, "well dressed" means "wearing good clothes, which are appropriate, and fashionable." If we say that someone we just met was well dressed, we really don't know how he dresses at other times. But if we say that someone we know well is well dressed, or that someone we know dresses well, it means that he has a habit of dressing well at all times. You are not "well dressed" if your clothing is torn or dirty, or if it is out of style. But you are also not well dressed if you wear pajamas to the office, no matter how nice your pajamas are. Nor if you wear a ball gown to a child's party.

    But you are "dressed up" if you wear nicer clothes than usual. If you normally wear dirty pajamas and you put on clean pajamas, I suppose that would count as dressing up. But usually it means wearing fancier clothes than usual. Someone who normally dresses in jeans and t-shirts who puts on a suit and tie would be dressed up. Someone who normally wears suits would be dressed up in a tuxedo.
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    Sparky's #6 :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:


    There's potentially a big difference between 'well-dressed' and 'dressed-up'.
    I am usually 'well-dressed' in public. 'Dressed-up' for me means more than usually well-dressed. It means wearing clothes especially suitable for an occasion, whatever that occasion is.

    The clothes I lounge around in at home are not those I would ever go out in. If I'm going out for a casual evening, I might wear something different from what I wear to go out shopping in a supermarket or on the high street.
    There are different degrees of 'dressing- up' in everyday life.
    It includes 'fancy dress' or 'costume' of some sort, worn as a 'disguise'.
     
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