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to dress up

Idiom: To dress up; used as a verb

First Example:
Nadia: Wow, you’re dressed up for work. What’s the occasion?
Phillip: I’m going to my friend’s wedding
this afternoon, so I figured I’d just wear my suit to work rather than change
Nadia: Well, you look very nice. You
should dress up more often.
Phillip: Thanks.  I do feel nice.

Meaning: The phrasal verb “dress
” means to dress in clothing you wouldn’t normally wear.  It can be used to say someone is wearingn formal clothes, as
in the example above, where Phillip is “dressed up” in a suit for a
wedding.  In addition, you can use “dress up” when a person puts on a
costume, such as for Halloween, as in the next example:

Maria: Are you going to dress up for the Halloween party?
Neil: Nah.  Wearing costumes is for kids.
Maria: What are you talking about? I love
dressing up.  My friends and I plan out our costumes every
year.  We have so much fun.
Neil: Huh, maybe I should reconsider
then.  What are you dressing up as this year?
Maria: I can’t tell you! It’s a surprise!
But you should dress up as
Dracula! You kind of look like Bela Legosi.

Meaning: In this case, “dress
” is used for costumes. 
Notice that “as” can be added to “dress up” when specifying what/who
someone is dressing up as.  In this example, Maria won’t say what she is dressing up as, but she says
Neil that Neil should dress up as
Dracula since he looks like the actor who played Dracula.

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