wear the trousers

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wear the trousers

To be in charge in a relationship or family. The phrase is typically applied to a woman. Trousers were historically only worn by men, who were traditionally the decision makers. I think it's pretty obvious who wears the trousers in that family—Grandma Helene. Actually, in our relationship, we both wear the trousers—we make decisions together.
See also: trouser, wear
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

wear the trousers

BRITISH or

wear the pants

If one person in a couple wears the trousers or wears the pants, they make all the important decisions. She may give the impression that she wears the trousers but it's actually Tim who makes all the big decisions. My father said he wanted to discuss the investment with my mother, to which the salesman demanded, `Who wears the pants in your family?' Note: This expression is usually used about women who seem to control their husbands or partners.
See also: trouser, wear
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

wear the trousers

be the dominant partner in a marriage or the dominant person in a household. informal
See also: trouser, wear
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

wear the ˈtrousers

(British English) (American English wear the ˈpants) (often disapproving) (especially of a woman) be the partner in a marriage who makes the decisions and tells the other person what to do: It’s not difficult to see who wears the trousers in their house!
See also: trouser, wear
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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References in periodicals archive ?
Nadine wears the trousers in their relationship."Hmm, that must be when she's not wearing a chiffon frock so sheer you can see her knickers!
Susan said: "Mum wears the trousers and he did what he was told."
In her recent "10 commandments on how to dress to impress" in Britain's Glamour magazine, she urged readers "to do their shopping all over the world." Sounds like the ultimate test of who really wears the trousers chez Beckham.
This says more about who wears the trousers in the Spielberg household than the quality of this lesbian love story.