borrowed plumes

borrowed plumes

A showy display that is not truly one's own. Oh, I know you lied to me earlier, so quit adorning yourself with borrowed plumes and tell me what you really contributed to this event.
See also: borrow, plume

borrowed plumes

a pretentious display not rightly your own.
This phrase refers to the fable of the jay which dressed itself in the peacock's feathers.
See also: borrow, plume
References in classic literature ?
Heaven knows what gaudy sentimental parade we made in our borrowed plumes, but if the travesty had kept itself to the written word it would have been all well enough.
A great proportion of architectural ornaments are literally hollow, and a September gale would strip them off, like borrowed plumes, without injury to the substantials.
Her friends repeated the pleasing phrase enthusiastically, and for several minutes she stood, like a jackdaw in the fable, enjoying her borrowed plumes, while the rest chattered like a party of magpies.
And then you won't know me, sir; and I shall not be your Jane Eyre any longer, but an ape in a harlequin's jacket--a jay in borrowed plumes.
At this age, whatever one does ends up being like wearing borrowed plumes," he said.
Having tried out various identities in the preceding week, he had been back to the dress-up box and decided he looked best when capering about in the borrowed plumes of Governor Tommy Thompson of Wisconsin.