“It means that… if somebody says it to you, it means that you have recently come into some type of money. And you have spent it all on clothing. You’re all fussed up. You have bought a lot of expensive clothing and you are wearing it. It’s like you’re wearing your money.”
The informant heard this from her father. He used to always say it when she and her sister would get dressed up to go out for something. He thought it was funny. The informant said, “He was making fun of you dressing up. He didn’t like to get dressed up so he would put ‘dressing up’ down.”
The informant said she would only ever say the proverb around her immediate family because she thinks that it is racist, but the informant remembers her father saying it as a pleasant memory. As a child, she did not understand the “racist implications,” and she thought it was funny because he was joking around and happy, and he didn’t do that all that often.
I have never heard this proverb before probably for the same reason that my informant does not like to repeat it. I have heard proverbs that spread a similar message that usually discourage people from showing their wealth to others.