on the coat-tails of someone/something

on the coat-tails of someone/something

COMMON If someone does something on the coat-tails of another person or an achievement, they are able to do it because of the success or popularity of that person or achievement, and not because of their own efforts. Note: `Coat-tails' is usually written as `coattails' in American English. Some say she achieved fame and glory on the coat-tails of her husband. He returned to politics on the coattails of Richard Nixon in 1968. Note: You can also say that someone or something rides on the coat-tails of someone or something. It's a lesson for all of those who ride on the coat-tails of people with talent. Note: A tail coat is a man's coat with the front covering only the top half of the body and the back reaching down to the knees in a pointed `tail'. It is now usually worn only for formal weddings, or as part of formal evening dress.
See also: of, on, something