Clothes Vocabulary

Clothes Vocabulary

“Never judge a stranger by his clothes.”

Zachary Taylor, the 12th President of the United States


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  1. a dress
  2. a shirt
  3. a sweatshirt /ˈswetˌʃɜː(r)t/
  4. sweatpants /ˈswetˌpænts/ (American English) 
  5. a (white wedding) gown /ɡaʊn/
  6. a tuxedo /tʌkˈsiːdəʊ/ (mainly American English)
  7. a windbreaker
  8. shorts
  9. a sari
  10. a raincoat
  11. a poncho
  12. overall (American English) / overalls (British English)
  13. a uniform
  14. a blouse
  15. a skirt
  16. a jacket
  17. a hat
  18. a scarf
  19. a trench coat
  20. a pullover / a sweter
  21. a sports jacket / a sports coat
  22. pants (American English) / trousers
  23. a shawl /ʃɔːl/
  24. a maternity dress
  25. a T-shirt
  26. a vest
  27. (blue) jeans
  28. a tie
  29. a (business) suit
  30. a coat


Christina: The shop assistant brought me this pair of trousers to try on, nut I couldn’t get into them at all – I was really quite embarrassed. Then I realized she’d brought me the wrong size.

Melanie: I saw a lovely top the other day that I thought would go with my red skirt. But when I tried it on, it just didn’t look right.

Jenny loves going to that little boutique in the High Street because they always wrap things up so beautifully.

Samantha: When I put on the dress I bought last week, I realized it was actually too small. So, I took it back to exchange it for a bigger size, but they’d sold out of size 12.

Tina: If you are on the lookout for a pair of sandals, it’s worth shopping around at the moment because there are a lot of bargains out there.

Emily: There’s some nice stuff on sale in the market. I tried on a skirt, but it was a bit on the tight side: I couldn’t do the zip up.

Stephanie: I tried on this lovely dress, but when I came out of the changing room, the shop assistant started laughing. I had it on back to front.

  • To try sth. on – to put on a piece of clothing, often in a shop, to see if it fits and how it looks
  • To go with sth. – to look good in combination with sth.
  • Boutique /buːˈtiːk/ – a small fashionable shop
  • To wrap sth. up – to cover sth., e.g. a present or parcel, completely in paper
  • To put sth. on – to cover a part of your body with a piece of clothing or jewelry so that you are wearing it (the opposite is to take sth. off)
  • To take sth. back – to return to a shop with sth. you have bought because it is broken or not suitable
  • To sell out of sth. – if a shop sells out of sth., it has no more of that particular thing left to sell
  • To be on the look out for sth. – to be trying to find sth.
  • To shop around (for sth.) – to go to a few shops before you decide what particular thing to buy
  • Bargain /ˈbɑː(r)ɡɪn/ – something that you buy that costs a lot less than normal
  • On sale – available for people to buy
  • On the tight side – slightly too tight
  • To do sth. up – to fasten sth.
  • Changing room (British English) = fitting room
  • To have sth. on – to be wearing sth.
  • Back to front (British English) = inside out – with the inside part facing out


Clothes (always plural) are the things that you wear. Clothing (uncountable) means clothes in general or clothes of a particular type. Wear (uncountable) is clothes that are suitable for a particular activity or group of people. Compare:

  1. This shop sells sportswear. Where can I buy good footwear? She has seductive evening wear (sometimes eveningwear).
  2. Clothing is among people’s basic necessities (clothes in general). I don’t have any suitable waterproof clothing (particular type of clothes).
  3. You need to wash your clothes! I’m going to put on some clean clothes (some specific things, like shirts, dresses, skirts etc.).

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