wear the britches

wear the britches

To be in charge in or control of a relationship or family. The phrase is typically applied to a woman, contrasting the fact that pants were historically only worn by men, who were traditionally the decision makers. Often followed by "in the family" or "in the house." I think it's pretty obvious who wears the britches in that family—Grandma Helene. Actually, in our relationship, we both wear the britches—we make decisions together.
See also: britches, wear

wear the britches (in the family)

 and wear the pants (in the family)
Rur. to be in charge in the family. Jane bosses her husband around something scandalous. It's clear that she wears the britches in the family. I don't intend to let my wife wear the pants in the family. Mary's a strong-minded woman, but her husband still wears the britches.
See also: britches, wear