reveal (one's) (true) stripes

reveal (one's) (true) stripes

To reveal what one really believes, thinks, or wants; to act in accordance with one's real personality, character, or disposition. (A less common variant of "show one's (true) colors.") Dave said all along that he only wanted this deal because it was in the company's best interest, but he revealed his true stripes once he realized that he wouldn't get any special commission for his efforts. It's only in times of crisis that your friends will really reveal their stripes.
See also: reveal, stripe