Mrs. Astor's plush horse

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Mrs. Astor's plush horse

old-fashioned Someone dressed or decorated very ostentatiously; someone who is particularly pretentious or showy in appearance. The "Mrs. Astor" in the phrase refers to American financier William Astor's wife Caroline, a legendary 19th-century New York City socialite known for her lavish parties. Look at her swanning about in all her furs and jewelry, like Mrs. Astor's plush horse.
See also: horse

Mrs. Astor's plush horse

Ostentatious. Mrs. William Astor, the leader of New York society at the end of the 19th century, was not one to spare any expense in clothing, furnishings, or other accoutrements of the Good Life (so much for the idea of quiet old money). Her appearance and her gala parties were so sumptuous and well-known that anyone who appeared dolled up beyond normal was ridiculed as “Astor's plush [or pet] horse,” as if the formidable Mrs. A had lavished her wealth on that person as she would on a favorite plaything.
See also: horse